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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas—I stole your iPod

Just before Christmas, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a cross-country ski date (without children). So we hired a sitter and headed to Nakkertok.

The weather was perfect. We had a nice lunch of paté and crackers and fruit in the lodge afterwards and met up with old friends.

We returned home; I paid the sitter; she left; Oli looked over at the kitchen windowsill and said, “Where’s your iPod?”

And there it was, THAT SINKING FEELING. The iPod nano was a gift I had received the week before from my employer after working for months on a big project. I used it only a few times.

“I thought it was right there,” I said, hoping I was wrong and misplaced it.

“It was exactly there,” he said. “And the cord for my phone charger is missing too.”

You see, my husband seems to have a photographic spatial memory. He seems to always know exactly where things are. I’m very spoiled because I use this memory remotely, never having to wonder where my keys or glasses are.

He picked up the phone and called her. This sitter is a high-school student who had babysat for us once before.

He asked her where the iPod was. She said she didn’t touch it. He asked her if she perhaps borrowed it and forgot to put it back.

“I wouldn’t do that to you guys,” she said. The denials continued.

Then, my husband suggested that perhaps it was dropped outside when she was playing with the kids and that she should go look for it. He offered her a reward for returning it, but warned that if it wasn’t returned he would be calling her principal and employer (where she works part time).

She agreed to look.

I felt sick about this, but marveled at how calm, kind and persistent he was in questioning her.

When he took the kids out to play a little more, our “former” sitter showed up, handed me the iPod and told me a story about how she found it in the snow.

She refused the reward and then said, “I want to work for you again.”

I tried not to laugh. Then I shut the door.

All this had me thinking about some things:

  1. Dealing with behaviour like this is a skill and one that my husband demonstrated handily. He was clear about the consequences, provided a face-saving option for recovery and never lost his cool.
  2. I’m really naïve. I can’t believe that someone would go for instant gratification, forgoing a future income in excess of the value of the stolen item. She’s never going to work for me again, nor for any of my friends. The sad part of this is that my kids really like her and pestered us for weeks to call her.
  3. Thank goodness, I packed the laptop away. Mind you, that's much tougher to hide, even in a bulky winter jacket.
  4. I wonder what went “missing” the last time she was here. But if we never noticed, it couldn’t have been that important.
  5. Bad shit seems to happen when I go skiing.
  6. I don’t see many dates in our future now.
  7. Sometimes the greatest gifts are the ones you get back.

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