As usual, the weatherman was right on target with predicting the weather – completely wrong. The northeast corridor of the United States was expecting a torrential downpour starting Saturday night, which didn’t happen. I thought that I would put the day to good use since I have procrastinated far too long with cleaning up the yard. I have way too many trees surrounding my house that I wish to acknowledge and every year they shower my front yard with useless foliage. Each year I bag up damn near sixty bags of leaves that clutter my sidewalk for weeks waiting for the township waste management experts to come and scoop them up. I came up with an idea of loading my friend’s truck up with rotting leaves and relocating them to the dump ourselves. Brilliant, I know.
And that is exactly what I did! The entire operation couldn’t have gone any smoother. We raked the leaves into a huge pile and chucked them into the bed of the truck. We attached a tarp to the top of the bed and off we went to the dump. We just made it there with ten minutes to spare. However, I completely forgot to bring the rake to pull the leaves out of the truck so I used my legs. In just under ten minutes, we had a clean truck, a neatly folded tarp and growling tummies. We decided to go out for lunch but I wanted to grab a quick shower to avoid walking into any respectable dining establishment smelling like leaf mold and garbage.
About an hour later, I climbed back into my friend’s truck smelling nice and a passing thought of where were my keys came in my head.. I checked my purse with no luck. I jump out of the truck to go hunt down my sweatshirt to find that there was nothing there. I ripped my house apart from end to end. It seemed as that they have mysteriously disappeared.
I began to retrace my steps. Vivid images of memories that were created no less then an hour ago flashed before my very eyes. I watched myself put my keys in my New York Yankee sweatshirt before I started raking. I remember hearing them clank together as I was putting the tarp on. I watched myself move my arm across my stomach that brushed up against the keys on–the–way–to–the–dump. Oh dear god!
I don’t know what came first, the sinking feeling in my stomach or the sheer wave of stupidity. We decided to go back to the dump and with some slight glimmer of hope that they were still open. They close at three and it was now four o’clock but you think that stopped me, absolutely not! All of my keys are on this key ring; car keys, house keys, mailbox keys, work keys – every single key I own is laying somewhere at the township dump – a massive wasteland the size of a small smelly island. I remind my friend not to forget the rake – says the-girl-that-lost-her-keys-in-a-mountain-of leaves-at-the-township-dump.
Ten minutes later, we pull up to the dump that conveniently was closed and gated. I’m staring at the complexity of the metal that was barring us from executing a much needed search and seizure. I thought aloud, “What the hell, I’ll jump the fence.” My friend obviously thought my magnet was on just a touch too tight. Just when I thought my fence hopping days were over, here I go hopping another one. Once I came down from the adrenaline rush, I glanced over just in time to see my friend walk through the fence. I started walking over with a puzzled look on how she just did that. She shouts, “There an opening here!” As I neared, I saw a gap in the gate wide enough to fit a couple people through. “How clever is that.” I said under my breath. “Is this trespassing?” my friend asked. I nodded affirmatively. As we walked over to the designated area, we occasionally glanced up to smile for the security cameras.
As we approached the mountain of leaves, I was hoping that the bulldozer didn’t come and tidy up the area but no such luck. My friend and I stood elbow to elbow scanning over the sheer size of the pile of leaves.
With my friend behind the wheel, we were now en route to the local Radio Shack! On the way there, we were shooting the breeze but all of the sudden she tensed up and closed her eyes as if she was about to get hit by another car. I braced up as I quickly looked over to see a flock of pigeons about to broadside us. They narrowly and when I mean narrowly missed us, I mean narrowly missed us. We laughed like giddy little girls at the irony of being broadsided by pigeons on the way to Radio Shack to get a metal detector to find my keys in a mountain of leaves at the township dump. This type of thing happens all the time.
I’m no stranger to Radio Shack since I worked there at one point of my life. I walked in and proceeded to walk right to the metal detector section. There was nothing there and I started acting like a mad woman who just got her period running through the store looking for tampons. A store associate finally came around to ask if he could help me. I tell him I am looking for a metal detector and his response was, “We don’t have any in stock.” My inner voice shrieks, “are you kidding me?!” I clamped my jaw together and asked if he could find a store that does have one in stock. He tried selling me this idea that he could have one by Monday. I shook my head no and told him I needed it by tomorrow, no later. The dump was closed tomorrow and it was my only chance to find my keys before they meet their untimely demise Monday morning. He found a couple of stores within a 45-minute drive that had one in stock. We left with the list in hand and the unfortunate news that the closest store was closing in five minutes.
I wasn’t too keen on driving forty five minutes so I decided to call all the local stores; Circuit City, Best Buy, Sears, Target, Costco, Wal-Mart, Modell’s, Sports Authority and none of them carried metal detectors. I don’t get it, metal detectors were all the rave one time and now, no one carries them! We decided to head home for the night until I get a phone call from my mom telling me that Bob Kislin’s store has metal detectors in stock. We turned around and zoomed right there.
I aimlessly walked around the Bob Kislin’s store until I found the aisle harboring the metal detectors. I eagerly approached the boxes when the bright orange price sticker caught my eye– $999. I gulped and walked towards a guy behind the counter that was feverishly cleaning a Smith & Wesson. I put on my best face and giggled nervously as I said, “Is there a more affordable metal detector in stock because I am not trying to find pieces of the Titanic here? Heh-heh.” He pointed towards the floor. I thanked him as I jogged to the aisle and looked at the price sticker on the next box – $499. I walked out, went right home and sulked.
The next morning, I become an educated consumer of metal detectors while I was waiting for Radio Shack to open. I researched the brand that was sitting in store just waiting to come home to momma! Everything looked good until I got to the section that read: Maximum Detection Depth: 6”. I forecasted that it was going to be a long day if that all it could do, six measly inches.
My friend brought the metal detector since she always wanted one and we headed back to the scene. We trespassed once again. I reminded her it was only a misdemeanor. We didn’t have time to smile for the security cameras, we just went right to the mountain of leaves. We conducted some tests involving a soda can with leaves on top of it to get an idea of what the depth was. To my surprise, it was much more then six inches. :)
So here we are, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, raking and sweeping the leaves at the local dump. At one point, I thought I needed grappling hooks but we uncovered a section where the sticks looked oddly familiar. We swept over the entire area until we hit this one spot up against the concrete wall. It emitted a beep. My heart jumped. I swept again and it emitted another beep. I held my breath because there was something righteous fermenting in the garbage truck right behind us. I took the rake and gently scraped the area where it was beeping. I saw one of my white grocery store tags peek out from behind a leaf. I scrambled ten feet up this mountain and grabbed what was my keys!
I can’t believe I found the proverbial needle in a haystack.