Thursday, April 08, 2010

Always Something There to Remind Me

Possibly one of my biggest fears is losing my wedding ring. Not being eaten by a crocodile. Not falling from a skyscraper. But having the symbol of my marriage disappear from my sight, never to be found again. Lily doesn't inspire that fear. Yes, she'd be upset. She'd be more than upset, she'd be really pissed. But she'd forgive me at some point. But I don't think I'd ever forgive myself.

And I know that somewhere in the archives of Lee Lee the Musical Bee, I've written at least once about losing my wedding ring. And one would think that I'd be more careful. And from now on I'm going to be more careful. But in the meantime, I lost my wedding ring.

It was a slightly cool morning at the preschool swings in Santa Monica. Judah and I were doing the daily routine with the rest of his friends: Judah's dad pushes all his friends on the swings. I love it. I'm legendary in their minds. The boys see me and Judah enter through the gate, and they run toward the swings and wait for their turn for a "blast off". Which entails me pulling each of them in a swing back as high as I can, then pushing as hard as is considered safe. It usually sends them high enough to make them think they're going to be launched, but not really.

I'm pushing Judah and his friend Aris, and I've got them going in perfect alternating harmony. I push Aris with the left hand, and Judah on the right swings back in time for another push. As I'm doing this, the thought crosses my mind that my wedding ring is a little loose due to the shrinking of my flesh due to the cool weather, and I think I should probably take it off. But do I listen to this voice of reason? No.

It was getting close to the time when the kids need to get inside for school, and after one good push of Aris, I felt my ring fly off. I immediately stopped pushing the kids and said "nobody move". I did a quick scan of the area where it felt like it may have landed, but no dice. It's sand everywhere, and my ring is made of platinum, and rather heavy as far as rings go. So it could be mere centimeters below the surface of the sand, but out of sight.

I started digging around in the sand, and another dad came up and said "did you lose something?" I replied "my wedding ring". He didn't say anything, but he immediately started digging next to me because I'm pretty sure he knew the gravity of the situation. The school office manager came up and asked the same thing, and next thing you know there were three adults clawing around in the sand digging for treasure.

Luckily the kids had to go inside or it would have made the whole search a lot tougher. One by one the school staff came by asking "did you lose something?" to which I replied "my wedding ring" and they'd be speechless. After a while I started getting the next logical round of questions:

- "Did you see where it flew off?
- "Are you sure it's in the sand and it didn't fly off over there someplace?"
- "How did it fly off your finger?"

As much as one can expect, given the same line of questioning, my answers became more and more curt with every reply. I eventually had to call my work and tell them I lost my wedding ring in the sand at my kid's preschool, and I wouldn't be in until it was found. Luckily it was one of those days where I didn't need to be in first thing.

My digging dad compadre had to leave for work, and as he left he shot me a look that could only say "it was nice knowing you" or "you're a dead man walking" or something to that effect. And the staff person and I were left with those little plastic sand sifting toys that weren't going to do the trick. Finally someone came along and said "you know what might work? a metal detector!"

Because my ring is made of platinum, I wasn't even sure that would work, but the day was starting to get away from me. One of the teachers recommended I call a hardware store to see if I could rent one. I sat down in the teacher's lobby and started my online search on their iMac for nearby hardware stores. I called a few, and each one told me that they didn't rent metal detectors, nor did they know where to find one. I got so desperate that I even called Home Depot, but after the first round of getting shifted from department to department, I hung up.

I Googled "metal detector west los angeles" and found one place near UCLA that sold surveillance gear, so I called. The guy on the phone said that yes he had one, but he wasn't at the store currently. I looked at the clock, which read 10:15 or so, and he said "I might be able to get there around 11." I guess surveillance doesn't need to get going very early in the morning. He told me it would cost around 35 bucks to rent the metal detector for the day, plus deposit, but he wouldn't say what the deposit was. I didn't want to waste any more of my work day, so I decided to bail on the rental idea and just go ahead and buy a metal detector outright at Big 5 Sporting Goods.

to be continued...

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