So, one Friday afternoon while the boys were eating lunch, my door bell rang. As is her usual response, the dog went beserk. I quickly wrestled her into her kennel, scooped up Grace in my arms, and ran to answer the door. As expected, it was the appraiser. He was very polite, and following a quick introduction, got straight to work. He walked around the front and back yards with obvious purpose. He took down measurements and notes with great efficiency. Then he started on the indoor assessment. He went room to room with obvious experience. The whole time, the dog was losing her mind from the sight of this strange man invading her territory; from the safety of her kennel of course. Grace seemed very concerned by this stranger in our house as well. I was forced to stand in the living room holding the baby and petting the dog through the roof of her kennel to attempt to forge out some semblance of calm. Other than the obvious auditory trauma we were all experiencing, everything seemed to be progressing satisfactorily. My only disappointment was that I couldn't walk around with the man. Call me crazy, but I don't usually just give strangers free reign in my house.
Over the following weekend, we decided we would like to listen to some music. The obvious choice seemed to be the Ipod (60G w/ video)and Hi-Fi speaker that Will gave me as gifts for this past Christmas and my birthday. Since I spent a ton of time loading up every CD we own onto the Ipod before our trip to Ethiopia in April, we were sure to find something we wanted to listen to. There was just one problem. The Ipod was nowhere to be found!!! We searched, and searched, and searched, and searched some more! Still no Ipod. I was seriously bummed, and I think Will might have been even more upset. We spent hours searching and trying to think back over the last few days. I knew I had not taken the thing anywhere. No one else in the family had used it. We had not had any company over, and the kids had not had any friends over either. As hard as it was to think of it, we really thought the appraiser might have taken my Ipod.
Will emailed our friend that was helping with our loan to see if he thought this man might have done such a thing. He felt strongly that his appraiser friend was totally incapable of such an act of duplicity, but he also agreed to look into it further if he ever saw his friend with an Ipod. You see, Will had an inscription put on the back when he gave it to me. I was pleased that Will made this contact, but I also felt some hesitation about pursuing the issue any further. Even though there seemed to be no other explanation, we also had no proof. The principle of "innocent until proven guilty" was apparently ingrained rather strongly in me.
For the last few weeks, the subject has been raised on several occasions. Even the kids have brought it up. Will and I both spent time looking for the Ipod now and then. We took off all the couch cushions. We looked under all the furniture. We checked every shelf, drawer and top of every high piece of furniture. I even searched both cars top to bottom. Still no luck.
Today, we decided it was time to do some SERIOUS house cleaning. This actually had nothing to do with the missing Ipod at all. I think I was pretty much resigned to the idea that it was gone. The housework today happened because I told my family that we would not be getting out one single Christmas decoration until the mountains of clutter were gone. I was not about to add more stuff on top of the junk that was already all over. I know...Bah Humbug. Since everyone was excited by the propects of getting to put the tree up, they were all fairly enthusiastic about their chores. There were the typical distracted kid moments, but we got a ton done. They even earned ice cream at the end of the long day of hard work. I was thrilled!
During the cleaning marathon, Will took on the computer desk. Now, this is no typical desk. It wraps around the corner of the room, and has a huge file cabinet and book shelf attached. A ton of stuff had collected there. Most of his day was spent sorting out piles of papers and finding homes for all sorts of other sundry items. Just after dinner tonight, as I was sitting on the floor sorting out my huge piles of magazines that have been collecting, Will decided to check behind the desk. This no easy feat with such a large piece of furniture. We can't just pull it out from the wall, so Will crawled under the desktop with his trusty Mini-Maglite to see what he could find. He came across a paper or two, a baby toy, a coaster and much to his surpise.....my missing Ipod. Yippee!!! The kids were cheering, and I gave him a big hug and kiss and told him he's my hero.
So this brings us back to the appraiser. We were so tempted to go farther in our attempts to find out if he took my Ipod before. I am so glad we didn't. I am so grateful that our loan officer friend kept our suspicions to himself, and didn't allow our concerns to damage his relationship with his friend. This whole thing could have turned out bad in so many ways. So mostly, I'm just happy it didn't.