Friday, March 13, 2009

The Case of the Missing Buttons

About a month and a half ago, I was helping Hubby pack for a trip to a warmer weathered clime and as we took out the appropriate clothing, we inadvertently began cleaning his side of the bedroom closet.

I would have to say that I can't remember the last time his side of the closet was cleaned, or my side for that matter, because if I'm the Princess of Procrastination and the Queen of Clutter then he's the King of Kan't Throw Anything Away Because His Highness Might Need it His Next Reign. We are a pair.

But as there is so much stuff in the closet, we barely made a dent in the mess as it was as we went along, tossing through the clothes, separating the short sleeved from the long and summer from winter.

In our excitement, and going off on a tangent, Hubby began looking at his sport coats as well, trying them on and asking my opinion on their conditions. One sport coat in particular was a tan corduroy coat that he's had for several years and also one of his most favorite, but, being a bit worse for wear, he was finally convinced that it had seen better days and that it was time for it to go into the rag bag along with several other items.

He handed things to me - old shoes, a stained shirt, broken shoelaces - and I plunked them into the trash with determined finality. (I had impressed myself for my strength of will.) Distracted, I wasn't paying much attention to what he was doing, just took things as he handed them to me for disposal. I seem to remember he also offered me a handful of leather buttons.

"What are these for?" I asked, puzzled.

"I was thinking that we could save these," he said, "as they might come in handy later."

Disgusted, I replied, "Oh, what do I need a bunch of buttons for? I have loads of buttons downstairs and I've never used one of them!"

That said, the buttons went into the trash. I gathered up the discarded items and took them downstairs to add to the garbage.

When he had returned from his trip, Hubby was grumbling at me because he had set aside a couple of coats from his closet for dry cleaning and I hadn't found the time to take them to the cleaners while he was away. That week I got them dropped off and had him pick them up on his way back from work on Friday night.

The following Monday, he had been running late in the morning and so I had left before he did to take the kiddies to school. When he came home that evening, I noticed that he had on one of the sport coats I had had dry cleaned.

"Wow, that coat looks pretty good," I commented.

"Yeah, it does," he said, "but do you notice anything unusual about it?"

"No," I replied, checking from top to bottom, "I think it looks nice." And it did look good, and here we were going to throw it away. It's amazing what a little soap and water can do.

"I had to run out for a meeting today but had forgot my coat," he said. "Being cold, I tried to button my jacket but couldn't because there were no buttons on it."

"What?" I exclaimed, and, sure enough, there was not one button on the front of the sport coat, and not even one on the sleeves.

"I had to go to the meeting like this, but I made do," he said. "I don't think anyone noticed."

My mind reeled. I couldn't fathom where the buttons had gone.

"What kind of maniacal dry cleaner would remove all the buttons from a coat and not put them back on!"

I continued my rant and rave, but that wasn't all I did. I retrieved the phone book, looked up the cleaner's number and gave them a call. A distracted sounding young man answered.

"Speedy Cleaners, Chet speaking, can you hold for a moment?"

"No!" I snapped. "I will not hold. Now listen here," I fumed, "I brought in my husband's coat for cleaning and now all the buttons are missing. What kind of a cleaners are you taking all the buttons off a coat?!"

"Uh..." There was a long pause.

"Well? What are you going to do about it?" I was really steamed and could feel my red hair glowing redder.

"Um, bring in the coat, ma'am, and some buttons and we'll sew them on for free."

"Buttons!" I really couldn't believe the audacity of this guy. "The coat had buttons and you were the ones who took them off. I'm not going to buy anything!"

"Uh..." Chet was at a loss for words. He didn't know what to say except for, "Just bring in the coat, ma'am, and we'll try to take care of it for you."

I snapped out a hostile, "Thanks," and ended the call. Who could believe those people?

"You need to take the coat in," I informed Hubby. "If you go right now you can drop the coat off before they close."

Now my Hubby was repeating what poor Chet had been, "Uh...Um..."

"Well, what's the matter?" I said. "Get going!"

"I'm too embarrassed," he said. "Why don't you take the coat?"

At this point, I too began to feel embarrassed as I hadn't been very nice on the phone.

"Oh, alright," I relented, "I'll take it tomorrow."

Well "tomorrow" came and went and the next business day and the next one. All that time, I couldn't forget about the coat and tried to piece together what could have happened. As I examined the coat more closely I noted that all of the button threads had been cut. And then the horrible truth came crashing down as I remembered back to the closet cleaning day and Hubby offering me a handful of leather buttons which had ended up being tossed into the trash.

To this day I still haven't gone back to Speedy Cleaners, and, though I have tried in vain, I still have not been able to find any look alike leather buttons at the store. Hubby still has the sport coat, too. Though no longer useful, the favorite is hanging there in the time capsule of a closet that will doubtfully get cleaned again for fear of what could happen...

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