The Neighbour and the Crock Pot

Several months ago, we had new neighbours move across the street from us.  Brian and Sherry are the the kinds of folks we clicked with right away.  Brian is ever willing to lend a helping hand.  Sherry was the first to offer a hug when my father-in-law passed away – even though she hardly knew me.  Seems we all enjoy a good laugh, have similar values and are ever-ready to play little jokes on each other.  All in good humour and harmless of course.

Well…. last weekend, Marc went away with our youngest to a hockey tournament.  They organized a pot luck supper the one night up there, and Marc took our well used crock pot and all the fixings for a beef stew.  The stew was a hit, so I heard.  But this story is not about the stew, or the hockey tournament, or even about our lovely neighbours,  This story is about my husband’s journey with the crock pot.

I love my husband.  He makes me laugh.  He compliments my style and he makes my life complete.  But this crock pot episode has left me truly concerned about his mental state.  Read on and tell me if my concerns are unfounded – or if I need to call in the professionals.

Now, like I said, I love my husband.  But we all have our faults and weaknesses.  For example, Marc claims I snore.  Admittedly this seems to be true.  Marc, like most men, does not put cleanliness at the top of his priority list.  So…. after making a wonderful and hearty stew for the team, the thought of actually cleaning out the crock pot before he packed it into his truck was somehow foreign to him.  He is pretty specific in telling this portion of the story – as it has a lot to do with his subsequent claims.  He claims he placed the internal (and by now crusted with dried stew remnants) ceramic pot inside the external warming devise and then placed the lid on top of it – when he packed it in the back of his truck.  He had several witnesses to this fact, but oddly none of the 11 year old boys seem to recall the exact packing procedures of this said crock pot.  In fact, most of them failed to register any memory at all of the crock pot or its packing details.

When Marc arrived home (remember this is the love of my life) he unpacked the bare essentials.  That would be the alcohol.  Temperatures are dropping and we don’t want to put any alcohol at risk.  I think all you women  have similar stories of this skewed version of priorities.  All the guys are saying “Yeah buddy – you did good.”  And so the crock pot remained in the back of the truck.  The next day Marc drives Ethan to the arena, and mentions to me that the oddest thing happened.  Someone, it seems, has stolen the ceramic pot and the lid from the back of his truck.  Now, I have been married to Marc for a long time, and I have a pretty good idea what the back of his truck looks like after going to a hockey tournament and not yet being unpacked.  So, I did not waste any time going to have a look.  I was pretty sure that, as items slowly made their way from the back of the truck to their permanent homes, the missing insides of the crock pot would be discovered.  I was just hoping this would happen before we had a warm spell – but being December in Ontario, we had several months leeway.   I did not, however, offer Marc support for this stolen crock pot theory.  I mean, really, who steals the unwashed, crusty, disgusting insides of a crock pot.

Marc went about trying to solve the mystery.  He knows he had the insides when he packed it up.  That was Sunday night.  He notices on Monday that the insides have been stolen?!?  The truck was at the arena, at his work, and in our driveway.  Seems to be a local criminal.  Hmmmm.

Tuesday night he drives Jacob to his practice.  The external portion of the crock pot still sits in the back of his truck, sans ceramic pot and lid.  He will swear on a stack of bibles about the truth of this rendition.  (My question is more along the line of “Why is the truck still not fully unpacked”, but it is still too early to bug him about that – his procrastination can often be measured in years, so a few days is hardly worthy of thought.)  So, he leaves our house with an empty crock pot base.  He drops Jake off at the arena; he joins a buddy for a beer at the local pub; he picks up Jake and brings him home.

About an hour after Jake and Marc arrived home, we found ourselves all downstairs at the same time.  Jake mentions to his Dad that the crock pot seems to have been reunited with the base.  Marc rips out to his truck and confirms that yes, indeed, the base has been returned.  Now he wonders, who steals the dirty insides of a crock pot and then returns.  I ask if it is still unwashed.  Seems it is. For those of us who possess any form of sanity at all, we can easily deduce that the ceramic innards have been in the truck the whole time.  Jake may have found it and replaced it back in its logical spot, or more likely, it has been there the whole time.

Well now, there is an even more unlikely mystery to be solved.  This new development points to a devious, dangerous and criminal mind.  We are no longer dealing with a one time prankster.  We are dealing with a serial prankster.  He had to get to the bottom of it.  I decided to play along.  Well, I said, it has to be our new neighbour Brian.  Yeah, he yells.  There is no doubt in Marc’s head that Brian is the culprit.  He even laughs a bit at what a great gag Brian has pulled on him.  No doubt.  He got me there.  That was a good one.  Hahahaha.  What a guy that Brian is.

Then he starts planning how he can get even.  Wow.

Jake pipes in with a small piece of sanity.  He reminds his Dad that the base was missing when they went to the arena.  Then Marc drove to the pub – back to the arena and then home.  The truck was not parked in the driveway to allow Brian the chance to return the stolen morsel.  Hmmmmm.  Hmmmmm.

But there was no straying Marc from this mental path.  He had solved the mystery and Brian was the culprit.  He figured Brian either followed him to the arena, or followed him to the pub.  Had to be.

Okay, now I am really starting to worry about the mental stability of my husband.  Brian does not know the town yet.  I bet he as no idea where the arena is.  I know he works very very early and also tucks himself in very very early.  Did Marc really think Brian gave up his beauty sleep, followed him to the arena – just to return the insides of a crock pot he stole 2 nights before.  Come on!

No amount of sane talk could stray Marc from this line of deduction.  Brian, dear sweet Brian, was the guilty party.  He had to pay.  And in the spirit of one-upmanship, it had to be a good one.

Sorry Brian.

I tried to talk sense into him.

He needs professional help.

In the spirit of Christmas, just let sleeping dogs lie.

I am pretty sure we are going to have to seek some clinical help for my husband.  I don’t think he is a danger to society yet, but he is walking a thin line and it is only a matter of time before he completely loses it.  Until we can get him the help he needs, the kids and I are being very vigilant around the house.  We make sure the cap is on the toothpaste, the dishes are put away in the correct location, the toilet paper roll comes out on top and the alcohol remains hidden.  Wish us luck, and please, if you know where the crock pot lid is, just keep it.  I am afraid the mere sight of the lid will trigger a recurrence.

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