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August 12, 2003: When electronics go AWOL

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Richard lost his Palm Pilot last week. The Palm Pilot that he just got a few months ago. The very expensive upgraded spiffy Palm m515.

Wince.

Sometime Monday evening of last week, he mentioned in a bit of a panic that he could not find it. He'd searched his car and his bag he totes everything around in. He'd looked through all of his drawers in the computer room, and under every piece of furniture in the house and no sign of it. He asked at work, checking his desk and all his coworkers, asking the cleaning crew, putting up a lost ad in the paper. No Palm Pilot.

I joined in the search as soon as I heard the news, and together we poked and peered and prodded. We tried to think of every possible scenario where it might have gone. And when we finally decided that it was probably a lost cause we went out and got a replacement (I got a new digital camera at the same time, so it was new toys all around.

Then Sunday night, as I was sitting in the guest/storage room typing in a list of all my Nancy Drew books for an inventory, I heard the unmistakable sound of a Palm Pilot alarm beeping. It sounded very quiet, and at first I thought it was his new one or mine. But after checking, neither of ours had had any reason to beep, and suddenly it occurred to both of us that maybe the missing Palm Pilot was still somewhere in the house after all.

I've so far been the only one to hear it go off. And each time we've scoured the guest room in hopes of finding it, since that seems the most likely place for it right now, without any luck.

So now we have resorted to camping out in the guest room for hours on end, waiting for it to beep again, so maybe we'll have a better idea of where it might be. And it is driving us both nuts. I have heard it go off now three times but we cannot seem to locate it. We are beginning to think that it has somehow slipped into another dimension a fact that, considering it lives in a house with seven dimension-slipping cats, doesn't seem so far fetched as you might expect.

The cats, so far, are the only ones getting anything out of this great (and possibly futile) Palm Pilot hunt. Because the guest room gets incredibly stuffy with the doors closed, I have been resorting to leaving it open so I can still listen for random beeping while still being able to breathe. This means the cats have suddenly had access to the Great Forbidden Chamber, because back when we moved in we had some kind of grand scheme of having an actual guest room with (wait for it!) an actual guest *bed*, which would be kept cat (and thus the theory went, cat hair) free.

Well, flash forward a few months with the advent of the happy peeing-on-the-downstairs-futon cat party which resulted in us tossing the futon mattress downstairs and lugging the one from the guest room down to the one in the living room (after first encasing it in pee-repellent vinyl), and add in the fact that there really isn't anywhere else in the house for random bookshelves, leftover computer monitors and other parts, and Richard's weight bench to go, and the guest room morphed pretty quickly into the 'place where random junk accumulates' room. And yes for whatever bizarre amusement we still refer to it as our guest room because I think in both of our heads there is this silly dream that we might somehow be able to transform it within minutes to a cozy sleeping spot should the need ever arises.

But back to the subject. This evening I spent over an hour lurking in the guest room, sitting on the futon frame that is lacking a futon mattress (and may I point out that futon frames are not exactly comfy all by themselves), straining to hear any noise at all. All this accomplished was giving me an incredibly sore rear and a nagging voice in my head telling me I really ought to break down one of these days and attempt to get that room a teensy bit more organized. So far, however, the Palm Pilot remains stubbornly hidden. Plus, now that it has taunted me with the initial round of beeps, it refuses to offer any more audible clues as to its whereabouts. I have a sneaking suspicion that we will only find it once we move out of this house an event which probably will not happen for a few decades if either of us has anything to say about it. And in the meantime I am starting to get a little tired of hanging out in the guest room waiting for it to beep.

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