I spend a lot of time looking for lost things. My own, my husband’s, my childrens’. And especially my father’s things. Mostly I am looking for other people’s belongings, not my own. After all it is not really lost until Mum can’t find it. Inevitably – and often quite quickly – I am successful, but Dad’s garage door remote control defeated me.
When Dear Old Dad gave up driving just before Christmas, I took one of his garage door remote controls to keep in my car, as collecting him for an outing, was much easier if I could drive into the garage, and also easier for him in terms of stairs to be negotiated, concrete ground and shelter from the weather.
This has worked well for a long time until the great meltdown of 2017 where I found that I was having to drive Dad somewhere every day, and sometimes twice a day. Dad goes to church twice a week; Wednesdays being one of those days. Uber became the preferred method of transport, once I discovered you can pre-order Ubers. And then I found a local Uber driver who became a regular driver for Dad. Everything was coming together nicely. [insert evil genius laugh]
However we have had
a lot of rain cyclone blow through town recently and it was necessary for the Uber drivers to drive up Dad’s very steep driveway and into the driveway to collect him. This required Dad to open the garage door with his remote, and take the remote with him to open it again on the return trip. What could possibly go wrong?
Last Wednesday, the Uber driver collected Dad for church, and I collected Dad from church to take him to a medical appointment. And then we went home, driving up into the garage using my remote control to open the door.
Some days later, he announced that he had lost his remote control. We retraced steps. He had used it on Wednesday going to church. It had been in his pocket. But didn’t use it on the way home. I called the driver – not in his car. I got on my hands and knees and inspected under the seats in my car. No sign. Called the doctor’s surgery. Nothing handed in. Called the church – not there either. All of this convinced me it was in the house. I checked the pockets of every pair of pants he owned. I looked under the bed. In the bins. Under the desk. In the corners of couches. Under papers on the desk. In the kitchen drawers. Behind the filing cabinet. In the freaking garden. It was nowhere to be found.
So I did what any sensible person would do – assume it was lost forever, assume the other one would one day go missing and immediately reach for my phone and google the remote to purchase a replacement. And I found it immediately on a specialist remote control website. In fact, they could sell me a generic remote for less than half the price of the real deal.
I love a bargain. So I bought two, assuming again that at least one would be lost in the future. It’s why I have a spare wheeling walker in storage and a spare walking stick. Just in case. Doesn’t everyone prepare for the worst like this?
After just a couple of days the new remotes arrived and I went back on the website to download the instructions to get the remotes to sync with Dad’s garage door. It was at this point that I noticed, in very small writing ‘Do not purchase this remote if your remote has the words ‘Merlin +2.0’ on the front. I knew – I just knew that when I glanced down at the remote in the coin tray in my car what I would see. Sure enough:
I was in the car, parked by the side of the road. I’m sure the people passing by heard me beating the steering wheel. Should this not be written in LARGE RED LETTERS rather than small writing as an afterthought? I called the remote company hoping perhaps there was a mistake (idiot). Nope – patiently, the man in the ‘people who don’t read instructions department’ explained I had to send those ones back, order the proper one, pay for it plus express post and I’d be right. Of course the legitimate remote was twice the price. I helpfully suggested that they use the LARGE RED LETTERS idea on their website. He didn’t respond.
Wearily I pointed out to Dad that I had made a mistake but the new remote would be with us soon.
That night we had the family all together for dinner. I was relating the saga of the lost remote and my son, who had driven Dad to and from church the previous Sunday said ‘Is it black and green?’. It was in his car. Dad hadn’t used it on Wednesday; he had not used it since Sunday.
Meanwhile, two new wrong versions of the remote were paid for, sent back with a begging letter for a refund, a new, legitimate remote ordered, paid for, with express post, while the ‘lost’ one, which was never in fact lost, had been sitting in my son’s car, while I went slowly demented trying to find it.