The Lost Mittens


The lost mittens

Sometime around Christmas, MEH (My Engineer Husband) lost his mittens. Let me explain. I had given him a pair of brand-new super-warm dog-walking mittens a few days before Christmas, but they didn’t fit. It was a shame because I wasn’t supposed to buy them at all. MEH had given me strict instructions to not buy him any Christmas presents whatsoever—you may recall that MEH lost his job in September.

He didn’t want me to spend any money on him, but his mittens had holes in them and we had a super cold winter so I was worried about him and decided that since they were a necessity, the mittens should be an exception to the rule. But THEN I felt guilty right before Christmas and didn’t want him to feel like I broke the rule (especially since he wasn’t giving me anything either, that was the other part of the agreement) so I gave him the mittens before Christmas morning…before our kids got home for the holidays …

(By the way, MEH broke the rule, too. He gave me a book for Christmas which can hardly be called a necessity, although an argument could be made because it is the collected short stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne, which really are kind of a necessity of life…)

Anyway, MEH tried the mittens on, and after ALL THAT, they didn’t even fit…so…he put them into a box…somewhere “we’d never forget” so we could return them right after the holidays. But…

Those Poor Little Kittens

You guessed it, we forgot where we put them. And we’ve been looking for those mittens ever since. Luckily we bought them somewhere that isn’t picky about returns (in fact, LL Bean is actually is a whole lot better than “not picky,” they have satisfaction guaranteed so you can pretty much return anything anytime, receipt or not).

I digress. MEH lost his mittens. And he’d never even worn them once. I felt pretty bad about it because he wouldn’t, WOULD NOT buy another pair. He wore a mismatching old pair of gloves (also too small) instead, the whole winter long.

Fast forward to a week ago and MEH’s trip to San Francisco: the one that I gave him for his birthday to see our daughter. Okay, I know what you’re thinking. If he doesn’t want a pair of MITTENS then how can I possibly justify a trip to San Francisco? Good question. Answer: frequent flier miles. Phew, now I don’t need to feel guilty about that anymore either.

Anyway, the day before MEH left for San Francisco, he had a job interview. It went well, but you just never know (and we’ve had six months of “just never knowing”) so we (of course) just put it out of our minds, and MEH went and had a blast in San Francisco with our daughter. As an aside, let me tell you that our daughter really knows MEH… she had planned all his favorite things: they went on a boat ride (to Alcatraz), to the Science Academy, to the aquarium, and walked all over the city at all times of day and night. They even had whiskey. MEH said it was “the best birthday present ever”!

I digress (again).

So, Here’s The Rest of the Story

MEH came home and the very next day he got a call and was offered a JOB!!! Yes! A JOB!! We were of course elated and incredibly happy, but mostly we were just really, really relieved. And it kind of felt like someone pushed the play button again after we’d been in pause for a really long time—if you’ve never experienced being laid off or living with someone who has been, I don’t know if that makes any sense, but that’s exactly what it felt like. (And, by the way, I don’t advise ever going through it, so I’m very happy for you if you haven’t been through it and just have hear about it from me.) This is a good place to say that I wish we could’ve known it was coming, that someone could’ve told us that MEH would have six months off then he’d find a job… then he’d go back to work. Then we really could’ve enjoyed that six months a lot more. As it was, I’m sorry to say that sometimes it was tense and difficult and we even had an argument or two, MEH and I. Unemployment is not good… well, that’s an understatement, but that’s all I’ll say about it because it’s over (MEH started his job today, and I’m a little lonely, but I’m mostly very very happy).

But what on earth does all this have to do with those mittens??? I know that’s what you were thinking, right? It’s just this. Over the weekend, after we pressed the start button, we did some spring cleaning. Well, to be honest, we finally felt relaxed enough to enjoy doing something non-job-search related, and we decided it was time to do some cleaning up…in particular to look for those mittens because it was kind of driving us a little crazy. MEH was pretty sure the mittens were in a room that had gotten pretty junky over the winter, a place we were basically storing stuff, and that was the “somewhere we’d never forget,” but long story short, they weren’t in there…which we didn’t discover until we tore the place apart.

After we finished putting it back together, and as I was putting away the luggage from the San Francisco trip, I spotted a box in our closet that had some fabric in it that I’d used to make some Christmas gifts. I lifted the fabric to put it away, and lo and behold, there were those mittens!!

We had another (much smaller of course) celebration about finding the mittens. Afterwards, I said to MEH, said I: why is it that you always find something the last place you look? To which MEH agreed: mittens and jobs alike, it’s always that last place. After that, it’s like pressing the play button.

And life goes on.

Have you ever been driven crazy by losing something? Have you ever felt like your life was paused and something happened to press play again?




  1. Chris says:

    We’ve gone through some of that job-related hassle in my household as well. It’s certainly a relief when things start to look up. It’s like the break-up of an icy river in springtime. I’m happy it’s looking up for you!

  2. So wonderful the way you can take a stressful time in your life and turn it into a pleasurable, even humorous blog post for the rest of us to enjoy. I’m very happy about the several happy endings in this story. I hope MEH’s first day on the job goes swimmingly for him! He deserves it. And you deserve to hear good news when he gets home from work. And to get some really nice store clerk when you do the return for the mittens. 🙂

    I’m having a little pause button occasion as we speak. Not on the same prolonged level as yours and all because of a silly cold that has got me sounding like Frogwoman from the Deep. Today I had an appointment for an opportunity that will involve using my voice, but of course I had to postpone it. No big deal and it has already been rescheduled . . . but it does have all those elements of pause button before possibly a new era begins.

    • Thanks, Milli… MEH and I always do find a way to laugh. Thank you for your kind words and understanding. BOO on the cold, though. And, of course it would be when you need your voice (always happens for me!). Here’s to pause and restarts 🙂

  3. Micky Wolf says:

    Yep, identify with the pause-button-syndrome of joblessness (thankfully, years ago)–and lost mittens. Well, not at the same time, as was your experience. 🙂 Glad to hear you are in motion once again. And with spring here (it is is here, right?),plenty of time to pickup the appropriate cold weather gear for MEH before the next season of cold, blowin’ and a snowin’.

    • Thank you for your empathy and yes, we never do forget those feelings, do we? As you say, spring is here (YES!!) and plenty of time to aquire the MEH gear now 🙂 Thanks again, Micky!

  4. This was one of those F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C, face-splitting-grin inducing posts. A great way to launch the day!

    • Is it possible to have a THIRD good thing happen? I think so, and it’s your comment — thanks a million for your positive frame of mind. I really appreciate that I can always count on you to leave an inspiring comment, Laurie, and I really appreciate it 🙂 Have a great day, happy to launch it for you 🙂

  5. Lisa says:

    Congrats on the job, the mittens, and hitting play. I feel like I’m in pause right now.

    • I’m sorry you feel like you’re in pause right now… not fun. Hope you’re feeling off pause soon. Thank you for reading and especially for the congrat on the job! 🙂

  6. I’m so happy for you both. Congrats to MEH on the new job! I’m glad you’ve found your mittens. That sounds like a euphemism to me. Achieve something great after a tough spell? You’ve ‘found your mittens.’ 🙂

  7. I’m SO very happy for you! New job and found mittens! What’s not to love?

    I can so relate to that feeling of being on pause. E was recently unemployed for a few months and I kept trying to tell him, let’s enjoy this, this will pass soon, we’ll look back and wish we’d spent the time in different ways…but it’s so much easier said than done. Now that he’s working again, it’s true that I don’t see him as often (it was nice to have a co-worker again) but when he does get home, we’re much more relaxed, and we can enjoy life in a different way, on play.

    • Thank you, Natalia, and glad (well, sorry too) that you can relate. Enjoying the time without the knowing is incredibly difficult. Right now — pre-work-beginning but knowing — is a wonderful time. One more week 🙂

  8. What a happy post, Julia! Congratulations to you and MEH for making it through a challenging time.
    (And how lovely that he had a nice vacation with your daughter before starting back to work!)
    I’m with Annie. You ‘found your mittens.’ Yea!

  9. Julie Luek says:

    I love how sometimes, when we quit striving, it all comes together after all. A big congratulations to him for getting the job offer– so so happy and relieved for you all. And a woohooo on finding the mittens, saving the crying kittens, and keeping his paws warm 🙂

  10. That’s the BEST news, Julia — about the job and the mittens. I understand what it feels like when your life feels like it is “paused.” It can be so stressful for the person who got laid off and for the other family members. If you could only look into your crystal ball and know when you’d have a new job, you could really enjoy the unemployment. Well, I’m so happy that is all behind you. And you found the mittens to boot!

  11. This post brought tears to my eyes, Julia. I am soooo happy for you and MEH, so glad about the job, his fantastic birthday, and the mittens! Now to enjoy life again…. phew! xo

  12. So glad that the job came and the mitten reappeared. Have often found that things turn up when no longer chasing them, although have to admit to having a room where all the ‘junk’ tends to be put away\’in a safe place’ – ‘The Glory Hole’ my late mother called it. Having just moved house we found things when we cleared out our ‘glory hole’ but are still looking for other vanished items. (At least no room for a ‘glory hole’ even in a bigger home.)

    • Thanks, Roland! (And thank you so much for the visit to my blog!) Why is it always that things vanish when one moves? We’ve lost hammers, pottery, and other things I can’t remember, haha. Some have turned up and others haven’t. Thanks again for the visit and comment!

  13. Eric White says:

    Enjoyed reading this Julia! I was recently let go from my job and have been living “on pause” for a few months now… sort of. Luckily, I live in permanently sunny Los Angeles and don’t have to worry about holes in my mittens!

    • Glad you enjoyed, Eric — and thanks for the visit. Sorry about the job, but you have been busy with GlassDuffle, creating something we can all enjoy. Thanks for that, too! As for mittens… I grew up near LA so I’m pretty sure without holes in mittens it would be miserable!

  14. Nina says:

    This totally reminded me of a that short story The Necklace for some reason. Anyway, I always love the escapes of you and MEH.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking of you because I’m listening to Orphan Train, and there’s lots of Maine scenes.

    • I’ve never read The Necklace — but now I want to. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Nina. I also haven’t read Orphan Train… now I need to read that, too. Thanks for the kind words (and the reading recs!).

  15. Lisa Ahn says:

    I love, love, love your stories. So happy that MEH has a new job and mittens, and even happier that you have each other!

    • Thank you, Lisa!! So glad you enjoyed the story — you’re so supportive! Thank you. It’s wonderful that MEH has the new job (and mittens) but more wonderful that we have each other, so true 🙂

  16. So, so happy to hear about MEH finding his mittens, but especially happy about the job! My dad was self-employed all of my life, and I remember how things were always tight over winter (he built barns, so people didn’t buy as much over winter). It was a very stressful time for our family, and I remember that season well. So glad spring is now upon you and you can put those mittens in a drawer! Hugs to you!

    • Yes, I think it is hard for kids, Jolina — and stressful in general. Thank you for understanding. (How wonderful your dad built barns, btw, what they must be beautiful). Thank you for your kind words and support! Here’s to a happier spring after a tough winter. Hugs back 🙂