Monday, January 2, 2012
The Mystery of the Missing Measuring Cups
I was given the cups by my mother when I moved into my first apartment. She had been searching garage sales and thrift stores for months gathering a little bit of this and a little bit of that. She made quite the score when she found these cute vintage 1940's style tin measuring cups for $2 at Goodwill. They were one of my most treasured items that she gave me, and I used them nearly every day. No one ever complimented me on my cute measuring cups, but it didn't matter, because I loved them. Their simple design was pleasing to the eye and I couldn't help but think, "Who owned these cups before me? Did she make bread? Did she make pie? Was she a muffin kind of gal? Or was it cookies?" I imagined her, in her cute little apron and her perfectly manicured nails and done up hair-do.
The girls were about 2 years old when disaster struck. I don't remember what I was doing, or what they were doing. Only noticed that one day I went to use my 1/2 cup measuring cup and it was gone. I went through everything in my kitchen. The dish drain, the drawer it belonged in, the toy box, the bath tub, every little hiddy hole that I thought the girls might stash something away in. But nothing. It was gone. I was so upset! What did I do with it? Did Hubs put it someplace strange trying to "help"? No? Well, it must have been the kids then... those darn kids!
Where oh where could it be???
And then I had a thought... the trash. The girls were going through a phase where they thought putting things in the trash was fun. We'd caught them several times trying to throw away "good stuff" like the remote control. Well, that must be it then. It went in the trash. It was gone forever.
Renewal (... sort of...)
Six months later, and still no sign of the missing measuring cup. This whole time I've been using the 1/4 cup twice each time I had to measure something and each and every time I was reminded of my incomplete set. I was still irritated about it.
Hubs thought he came up with the perfect solution, he searched the internet and found another cup set and bought it for my birthday. Alas, this "new" set was more than just antique, it was antique. It was darkened in color, had several dents, and one of the cups had a hole in the bottom. They were perfect for a display of old kitchenware, but not something I could use on a daily basis. I went on with my 1/4 cup twice.
After that I looked into buying new measuring cups. I gave up on the idea of finding another 1940's style cups and found myself browsing Bed Bath & Beyond and Anthropologie (which do have some cute cups by the way!). But nothing was quite the same. Sure, the new cups were nice, but they just weren't me. The new cups didn't have some other lady making cakes with them years ago.
I'd tell the story of the missing cup to anyone who'd seem remotely interested. Usually other mom's with young kids understood the significance of my loss. It was more than just treasured measuring cups. It was about personal space, and how we as mom's give that up when we bring kids into the world. Nothing is "mine" anymore. All of "my" stuff gets messed with, broken, lost, tangled up, marked up, and dented. Nothing stays the way I left it. Nothing is in the same place. I put something down so I can take a pee only to come back and have it gone! Just gone! And after a while I start to feel like a crazy person! "But... it was just THERE a second ago!"
The cup at this point had been missing for over a year. I was getting tired with the 1/4 cup twice. One day, I was browsing Etsy and I was very excited when I happened to find a set of measuring cups EXACTLY like mine. They were tin, and old, but functional. They were $40, but I didn't care. I bought them.
I now had three (mostly complete) sets of antique measuring cups. I thought that was pretty much the end of the story.
Several weeks before Christmas I was working on baking some goodies for gifts when I was clearing out the dish drain and realized... I was missing another cup. It was the 1/4 cup this time. "ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Where is my cup?!?!? Is nothing sacred around here???" I questioned both of the girls, at 4 and a half they are completely capable of remembering where they put things. They said they didn't know. I questioned Hubs, he didn't know. I questioned my mother-in-law who had just flown in from out of state, she didn't know. I backtracked my own actions, opened cupboards I knew I was into, looked through everything. Nothing. Then I called my mom and lamented on the phone, "Again?" she said. Yup, again.
Thankfully, I now had a stash of measuring cups! I got out the 1/4 cup from the set I bought and went on with my baking.
I told the story Christmas Day to a rapt audience. We laughed about how funny it was that it happened AGAIN! YEARS later. And that I still don't know what happened to them. They were just gone, into the abyss. Along with the missing socks that never come out of the dryer. It was just going to be one of those things... Amy and her missing measuring cups. Wonder what ever happened to those?
And then two days after Christmas the most amazing thing happened. I was putting away my big crock pot, you know, the one that goes into the back of the cupboard that I pretty much never use, and I looked down, and there inside my 1940's tin egg poacher were not just one, but BOTH of the missing measuring cups!!! They were neatly stacked one inside the other. "I can't BELIEVE MY EYES!!! I CAN NOT believe my eyes!!!" I laughed and laughed! I ran upstairs cups in hand to where my mother-in-law and daughters were playing. "Do you SEE this?? Do you SEE what's in my hand right now??! It's my CUPS!!!!" I told them where I found them to which my mother-in-law said, "I guess you don't poach eggs that often." Nope, I use the microwave instead.
Which of course begs the question, "Which one of you girls put them there???" To which, I got blank stairs and "Uhhh...I don't know, Mommy." I have a hunch which child hid my measuring cups, but it's just one of those mysteries that will live on.