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haystack house

Last night Cara and Alan came over for dinner and to paint easter eggs. In preparation, we blew* several easter eggs (*note: this means poking a hole on each end and blowing the egg filling out through the opposite hole. Just to be clear, you dirty fellows.) For the purpose of piercing the eggs, Dan asked me for a sharp needle, which I provided with a loop of thread attached for easier retrieval. When we had blown the first four eggs, I stuck the needle through the paper of the egg carton for safe keeping.

Later in the evening, when we had each finished painting our first egg, Dan took the needle from me to blow some more eggs. At this point I was two beers in, and less rigorous in recapturing the needle. Dan blew the eggs, everybody painted them, and by the time we were done it was too late to clean up, so we went to bed saying we would finish in the morning.

So this morning I started to clean up, and the first question I asked Dan was "Where is the needle?" He searched on the counter a bit, and said the least reassuring six-point-five words ever: "I dunno. We'll find it later."

Later, I had put away all the painting supplies, fingering each one individually, swept my hands over every inch of table cloth, vacuumed the entire down stairs, and when that still turned up nothing, I crawled on my hands and knees from the corner of the dining room all the way around the house and back again, to make sure it was nowhere on the floor. It wasn't. It wasn't in the trash, which we sorted by hand. The big sharp needle with the string attached wasn't anywhere.

I called the vet. If you hadn't already guessed the reasons for my panicked searchings, you are obviously not a puppy parent. I asked the technician if they do X-rays and if they would be able to locate a needle either in the stomach or the intestine, and how much the X-rays cost. I explained the story to two different technicians. I hadn't seen him swallow the needle, nor did I have any indication that he was suffering, but I'd searched my entire house for two hours to no avail. The needle was nowhere. Rascal eats anything off the floor. I wanted to be safe. The technicians told me $200 for x-rays and office visit, and obviously more if he needed surgery.

So I asked Dan to go through the trash one more time, which he dutifully did sitting on the back stoop. Then I called Cara and Alan.

"Did you see the needle, or touch it, or move it, or see it?" I asked.
Alan said no. "Hold on," he said. "I'll ask Cara."
"Ask her if she saw it, or touched it, or moved it, or saw it!" I yelled into the phone.
"Cara remembers Dan poking the eggs on the counter."
"Yes," I said, "But it's not on the counter!"
I was already yelling at them, even though I hadn't said so much as hi.
"And then we were talking about leaving the eggs out." Alan continued, relaying Cara's recollection from the background. "Cara says we were talking about the danger of leaving the eggs out. So Dan put the eggs back into the fridge."
"Back into the fridge..." I said. Frantic, I opened the fridge. I hadn't checked the containers with whole eggs in them. Could life really be so crazy that the needle was in the fridge?
"Oh my God, it's here! It's in the fridge!!!" Sitting on the shelf with the eggs, there was the needle with its thread attached. We had looked in every drawer, in every cabinet, even under the stove where i had found a rotting piece of squash. It wasn't in any of those places. It was in sitting on the top shelf of the fridge.
"Thank you," I told Cara and Alan. "You just saved our marriage."

I called the vet and told them that Rascal hadn't swallowed anything that I knew of, that I had found the needle in the fridge, and I tried to frame it in the most humorous way possible, like, haha, wouldn't you know it was in the fridge??!

Lastly, I told Dan that any needles in use in this house from now on can only be used as long as they are firmly attached to my wrist. I am unclear as to whether he is still willing to father my children. At the end of it all, the several-hour-long ordeal which found me crawling around on the kitchen floor and sorting through egg-shells, he did say to me, "You're a good Mommy." I don't know if he meant it sarcastic or not. We both deserve it either way.

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