I love books. If you follow my book blog, you know that. I love literary fiction, contemporary stuff, experimental stuff, classics, crime novels, Norwegian crime novels, Swedish crime novels, horror novels, and vampire and witch shit. So it’s not uncommon for me to be reading 2-3 books at a time, plus one on my Kindle app. I read constantly. My house is a cesspool of books read and unread, and I have tried to instill that love of reading in my children. Well, they’d rather read the dialogue in a video game than flip through a copy of Huck Finn.
My youngest loves the idea of books, and he loves the library. Mostly because they have a train table, and stuff you can climb on. We always get a pile of books about trains and trucks and street sweepers and backhoes. He’s seventeen, by the way. Kidding. He’s 5.
I always throw in a couple books for my 9-year-old that I hope he’ll like. I try to get the most disgusting looking books, or sports stuff. That’s what I figure might have the highest potential that he will even glance at it. Usually they’re a no-go, or he will read the first couple pages when he is forced to.
So it’s surprising when, after the two weeks are up (four if I’m lazy and just renew them all) and I need to return them, any of the books are missing from the original place they are dumped when we get home from the library.
Last night, the rest of the fam was at basketball practice. I was on my own for the evening, so I decided to run out, return the library books that were overdue and pick up some takeout. Easy peasy. I pulled up the email from the library just to cross-check the books and make sure I had everything. Trains by Liz Smith? Check. Trains by Ian Jones? Check. Trains: Super Machines by R.W. Whitley? Check. And so on.
Except one was missing.
The library had it marked as “Fear the Barfitron.” Judging by the gross title, I figured it to be one of the books I’d picked for the older child. But where the F was it? It’s not like he actually READ it … it should be in the pile! And of all the books we had taken out, THAT one was on reserve. Some other kid is eagerly awaiting the return of the Barfitron to the library. Great. So now that’s on my conscience.
And that is pretty much when I lost my mind.
In the empty house, I felt free to sprinkle my search with F-bombs. After a cursory sweep of the living room, I moved to the kids’ bedroom. Not a book to be found in there. I went back to the living room for a deeper dive. I looked under the couch. I didn’t find the book, but I found FOUR plastic bowls. Blood? A-boilin’.
I called my husband and told him to ask my son where the book was. He asked what the title was, and I told him. I had to tell him a second time. And even then, he kind of laughed, like, are you setting me up for something? He relayed the message and my son said he had no clue what I was talking about.
Great. Back to my frenzy of looking for the book. I take a trip to the basement/rec room where the boys’ video games are. I find yet another plastic bowl, but no Barfitron. At this point, I’ve completely thrown my neck out of whack due to searching high and low (literally) for the book. I decide to suspend the search for the night, go return the rest, get my food, and lay down with an ice pack.
Today was a snow day, which was a hellish day wrought with breaking up fights, tears (theirs and mine by the time it was done), the kids eating every bit of food in the house, and amidst all this, me trying to “work from home.” Around mid-day, I thought I would inflict some mom-type punishment on them for driving me nuts, and told them to read for 15 minutes. And I remembered the Barfitron. I asked my 9-year-old if he had any library books laying around that he’d forgotten about. Kept it generic, just to see what he came up with. Voila! He immediately goes to his backpack and whips out the Barfitron! He was actually reading it!
I felt my blood pressure rise and then recede back to normal. It was found, and my kid was actually reading.