Thursday, June 28, 2012

One Ring to Concern Them All

This is a true thing that happened.

Forty-seven days ago, it was a cool, crisp Saturday in May. My husband and I were busy with household chores and chasing children. It was getting a bit late in the day for lunch, and neither of us felt like making anything, so we decided to go into town for lunch and to pick up some groceries. He corralled our daughters into the car, and I stopped in our bedroom on my way out the door to put on my rings: the one I wear on the ring finger of my right hand (a blue round cut stone with two round diamondish stones on either side of it, set in a plain sterling silver band), and the two I wear on the ring finger of my left hand.

I walked out of our bedroom and into the storage/laundry room to toss one more thing into the washing machine, which I had turned on a few minutes earlier. Then I stepped out the door, locking it behind me, and went out to the car quickly, holding a couple of things in my hands. It was a lovely day, a bit chilly, but not chilly enough for a coat. I hurried to where my family was waiting in the car, knowing that my husband was hungry, and I don’t like to keep a grumpy, hungry husband waiting.
My husband took my purse/diaper bag from me when I opened the passenger’s side door, setting it in the back seat for me. I sat down and he revved the engine, moving the car forward around the garage/storage building. I pushed my hair out of my eyes and started to talk about what we would eat, and glanced down at my finger. All that was there was my wedding band.

My engagement ring was gone.

The first time I saw it was when my husband (then boyfriend) pulled it out of his pocket at our table at the Melting Pot in Omaha, Nebraska and asked me to be his wife. We had gone there with some friends, and while one of the girls and I were in the bathroom, he had shown off the ring and made the rest of the table aware of his plans. Before dessert, the rest of the girls in the party trooped off to the bathroom, and Sam just kind of... wandered off. The first person to come back to the table was our server, so he was the first one who got to hear the news: “we’re engaged!”

It’s a gorgeous ring. A white gold band, featuring a one carat marquis cut diamond (my favorite cut), with two small marquis cut sapphires on either side, which are surrounded by three round cut diamonds. Since it’s a bit strangely shaped, my wedding band was made to fit it, with a bump out for a sapphire on one side, and its own row of three round cut diamonds in the middle. My husband chose it himself, and I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful ring. I wouldn’t want to.

We went to lunch. I fretted through the whole thing, and we decided to take the girls home and put them down for naps instead of going grocery shopping, and while they were sleeping we could retrace my steps. We did so, my husband walking on one side of the sidewalk while I scanned the grass on the other side, and when we got to the parking lot, we switched sides and walked slowly back to the apartment, searching as we went.

We found nothing.

I told myself it would turn up. “Maybe it’s somewhere in the apartment,” I thought. I made the staff of the apartment complex aware of its disapperance, then daydreamed about someone finding it and bringing it to me. Two days later, employees from the lawn care company came to cut the grass, and I ran out to one of them and explained the situation over the sound of the gigantic mowing machine he had stepped off of, and though he nodded at me, I wasn’t sure he understood. I felt sick thinking about the amount of people that walk their dogs along that same sidewalk I had walked, wondering if one of them had picked it up and given it to their girlfriend or pawned it or something.

A couple of weeks later, in a fit of frustration, I called a nearby pawn shop. The girl who answered the phone was completely unhelpful, refusing to even hear what my ring looked like to glance through their inventory for me. “Have you reported it to the police?” she asked me. “They get all our reports and we just take in so much volume it wouldn’t even be worth looking.”  Though I was sad, I didn’t think I needed to bother the police. It wasn’t like my ring had been stolen; it was just lost. It would turn up. I called another pawn shop. The kind man on the other end of the line listened to my description, saying, “No, I haven’t seen anything like that,” but added that the girl at the other place was probably right; if any pawn shop in the area got the ring, they would tell the police, and if the police knew, they could tell me.

Reluctantly, I submitted a lost item report to the Boulder Police Department through their website. I was glad to be able to just do it online, I didn’t want to bother an officer with my silly lost ring. Of course, five minutes later, I got an email informing me that I did not live in their jurisdiction and that I should call the Boulder County Sheriff if I wanted help.

It was past 5 PM, but I called anyway, thinking that I could leave a message and someone would get back to me during business hours. To my surprise, I was told by the man who answered the phone that an officer would be sent to my home. I felt a bit ridiculous to be relating the story of losing my ring to the officer who showed up less than twenty minutes later, knowing that he definitely had better things he could have been doing. He patiently wrote everything down, and left me his card so that I could email him a picture of the ring.

My habit of adjusting the rings on my fingers with the middle finger and pinky of each hand made me feel a bit silly without my engagement ring. I found the original Shane Co box that my wedding set had come in and enshrined my wedding band inside. I closed the fuzzy gray box up inside the dark red box that it had come in, and placed the ring that I wear on my right hand on top of it, determining not to wear either ring until I could wear all three together.

Last night we were driving home from getting boxes at Home Depot in town. “There’s that rental place my dad told me about,” I said to my husband, pointing at the glowing green and yellow sign, “where we can rent the metal detector.” We learned that we were going to move about a week ago, and since then my husband has been packing up boxes of books every night. I’ve been preoccupied making baby shower invitations, but I have been secretly planning to look for my ring when I start packing. I thought I would shake out sheets, look under large pieces of furniture, etc.

Today I am finishing up making the baby shower invitations for my sister-in-law. Every one I make is cuter than the last, and I love them all. The worst part about working with paper is that lots of tiny pieces of it get everywhere. There aren’t so many that it necessitates the trash can being moved over to the table where I’m working, but if I leave the tiny pieces in a pile next to me to throw away later, my two year old comes along and blows gently on it, making sure that the tiny pieces get spread everywhere. On the ledge of the window between the kitchen and the dining room, I keep a gift bag full of fancy chocolate that I won at some function. The other day I noticed the bag splitting along the side, so I decided to use it for storing tiny pieces of paper until I could take them to the garbage can, and figured that would both keep them all in one place and be less tempting for my mischievous two year old.

I removed the chocolate.

There, in the bottom of the bag, was my engagement ring.

I called my husband. He was in a meeting and didn’t answer. I texted him and then called my mother, sobbing with joy. “What happened?!” she cried, scared that something terrible had happened to one of my children. “I found my engagement ring!” I exclaimed. I told my friends on Skype, emailed the police officer whose time I had wasted, updated my facebook status, then called my mother-in-law. Tomorrow I will go tell the ladies in the apartment complex’s office.

I can wear it on a trip to a water park without worrying. I can show it off on a trip all the way to the Bahamas and back. It stays on my finger during two C-sections (not in a row, of course, but properly two years apart).

Why is it that the most stressful time for me is when my ring has hidden itself away, safe inside a bag in our apartment?

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