Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The invincible iPod

In late June of 2011 I make a deal with my youngest daughter. If she helps me with the garden and a number of other extra chores around the house for the entire summer, her parents will help her to buy her own iPod Touch complete with a neon green protective case. And so, every day, she is found out in the yard watering the strawberries and cucumbers, pulling weeds and completing and checking off a list of indoor chores so that she can get a little machine like her sisters'. It seems like a win-win deal, especially on some of our longer travel days during our vacation to the coast. She plays a little frog game for hours without complaint, amusing herself and her sisters, too.

Early on said trip, we go up to the top of Logan Pass in Glacier National Park in Montana and have a marvelous time climbing around on a gorgeous glacier. As we run back toward the eco-friendly transit buses, I just happen to see a neon green flash in the sunlit snow. Julia's iPod has flipped from her pocket after she has been its proud owner for all of a week. I scoop it up with the definite feeling that the invincible iPod will have many similar adventures.

A week later, we climb Mount Tzouhalem on Vancouver Island with my friend, Cathy. As we come back down, Julia discovers that the invincible iPod is not in her pocket where she last put it. So we scour the trails, but there is no sign of the thing. Cathy phones home when we're back in cellphone range... and her husband tells us that there is a neon green iPod on the kitchen table. Whew.

Flash forward to a sunny October day. I'm doing the laundry because the weather is perfect for hanging sheets out on the line one more time. My husband calls from work as I realize that the washing machine is shouting a loud, rhythmic KLUNK, KLUNK, KLUNK! As we talk, I comment that there's a loud noise coming up from the basement, and Lee jokes that maybe Julia's iPod is in the washer. My heart sinks... and I hang up and run down to find a soapy, wet, but invincible iPod with a neon green case. I feel terrible, but I had spoken to Julia only a few days earlier about keeping her portable electronic device in a safe place. I guess her idea of a safe place was the last one I would have considered. I take the thing and set it on a heat register for a couple of days, but its microphone is no longer invincible. Oh well.

Two weeks after that, the doorbell rings. When I go to the door, there are three neighbourhood boys trying to find the rightful owner of an iPod in a neon green case... I tell Julia that she can have it back when she comes up with a good way to thank those boys. Two weeks later, she delivers cupcakes to their doorsteps, and the invincible iPod is hers once more.

The iPod is more invincible than I ever expected... but even so, it is prone to being misplaced frequently, usually turning up within a few hours, after Mom has been coerced into helping to look for it (Moms are just better at finding things, ask any kid). It disappears for a week in December when Mom is on strike from looking for things. Eventually, it is rediscovered between the cushions of the rec room couch.

Unfortunately, last week, the invincible iPod with the neon green case went missing for the last time. Julia took it with her to her school's Iron Cops for Cancer Bike-A-Thon, to while away the time when there wasn't a police dog demonstration, the Cash Cab for Cancer wasn't doing its thing, and she wasn't riding for her team to raise the rumoured school total of $44,000 (I haven't heard officially). Our girl was suffering from a headcold that day and didn't realize anything was missing until we got home at 7 p.m. She was too sick to want to go back and look. When my husband returned to school to collect our older daughters at 9 p.m., he talked to the teachers and visited the lost and found cupboard with the principal, but Julia's little device wasn't there. Julia was too sick to go to school the following day, so her sisters checked around for her, but the thing had vanished.

Julia wasn't too worried because she figured her invincible iPod was trackable. It supposedly had a program in it that reports back to the Mother Ship when the thing is turned on. Julia asked her sister to track it... but there was no sign of it out in the cyber universe, so we suggested she get used to life without it.

Oh we of little faith...

Back at school yesterday morning, Julia tells a friend that she lost her iPod, and the boy says, "you mean the neon green one on Madame's desk?"

You see, it's no longer called "the invincible iPod." The iPod with nine lives has returned to its home...

tucked under her pillow in its usual place!

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