The kids used to take juice boxes to school. This was working fine until two things happened: First, the big kids' new school won't allow them to throw away their trash at lunch, only compost, so that when they come home and you open their lunchbox you are faced with the full weight of your hippie transgressions in the form of that single-use, non biodegradable, non recyclable drink container of the devil. Second, the little kids' school frowns upon giving Satan's fruit nectar to children so I was spending two thousand dollars a week on milk boxes for those two.
And then honestly I just got sick of buying juice boxes and making sure we had enough juice boxes, and storing juice boxes and one day I just decided to stop buying them and instead bought four stainless steel thermoses for them to take either milk or water to school.
WELCOME TO THE UPPER-MIDDLE CLASS, CUPCAKES! (oh wait, you can't have those either)
We had two blue thermoses, a purple one, and a red one.
I was going to buy three blue ones and a red one, but that didn't seem progressive enough.
The first day I sent whole milk in the red one for Mary, skim milk in the purple and one of the blue ones for James and Wes, and water in the last blue one for Charley.
Somewhat predictably, after school that day I was left with a red one, a purple one, and a blue one.
Naturally I blamed Charley because he sometimes loses things.
So for a couple of weeks Charley didn't have a drink at school. Occasionally I sent him one of our "B Water Bottles" with the sheriff department logo on it, made completely from baby seals and BPA. But usually he just didn't have a drink. I told myself that this was a natural consequence for losing his thermos. I mean. They go to the water fountain it's not like I'm asking him to complete Ironman without water.
A couple of times Wes complained about having the purple thermos so I tried to send that one with James. This is important later.
I made a mental note to replace Charley's thermos on an upcoming store trip and moved on with my life because ain't nobody got time for lunch thermos drama.
But then the other day I was washing out the lunch stuff and noticed that we had:
A red thermos.
A blue thermos.
AND ANOTHER BLUE THERMOS.
AND NO PURPLE THERMOS.
Well that is puzzling.
I said to Ryan: "Something weird is going on because I SWEAR we had red, blue, and purple, and the other blue one was lost."
I was emphatic, perhaps more emphatic than a milk thermos inventory issue would warrant in a normal person, but he was unconvinced.
"I KNOW we had a purple one because Wes freaks out every time I send it in HIS lunchbox so I have to remember to give it to James! And now we have NO PURPLE and instead we have the BLUE ONE which was MISSING."
He did not understand my zeal for the truth.
Fast forward ANOTHER week. I get everyone home from school. I dump all of their lunch stuff in the sink. I eat a handful of Oreos. I get them started on homework. And then I turn to the sink to wash the lunch dishes.
IT'S A MIRACLE!! What was lost has been FOUND!!
And by that I mean the second blue one! Which apparently disappeared into another dimension for several weeks only to mysteriously REAPPEAR IN ONE OF THE KIDS' BACKPACKS.
This still does not explain where the purple one went and then ultimately returned from.
What I suspect happened is that the missing one made its way home and back to every family at the school with our fairly common last name, only to return each time, return to lost and found, and then it finally, stealthily found its way to Wes's backpack. I should have tagged it like an endangered spotted owl.