Missing in Action
Published On: December 10, 2010

Upon hearing of my current hat phase, my dad graciously offered up his head for swathing in woolly goodness.  We talked about head sizes, yarn colors, and hat styles.  A hat was planned and executed.  I bound it off the other night.  The next morning, I washed it, shaped it, and set it out to dry.

Around these parts, hats get dried over the heating vent in our kitchen.  Most of our heating vents are giant cookie sheet sized affairs in the walls, but the one in the kitchen happens to be on the floor.  If you put a wet hat on a bowl, stand the bowl on a water bottle, and set the whole shebang on the heating vent, the hat is dry (and toasty warm) in an hour or two.  This suits my impatient nature quite well.  I followed this procedure with my dad’s hat and went off to do other things.  I came back a few hours later to check on it, and it was gone.

This did not bode well.  Kittens were immediately declared persons of interest and vigorously interrogated.

A search was initiated.  The hat was not found.  There did, however, seem to be a secondary crime scene.  In the bathroom (that would be the room right next to the kitchen) I found this.  That, in case you can’t tell, is a displaced vent cover and a crumpled bath mat.  (I struggled with posting a picture that shows this much dirt, but if the insides of your heating vents are sparkly clean you have an entirely different set of problems, and I don’t much care if you want to judge me.  Also, we’ve been meaning to replace that hideous gold monstrosity since we moved in five years ago.  This might just be the spur to action that I seem to need.)

I could think of several scenarios.  The vent cover and the missing hat could be two unrelated incidents of kitten mischief.  Or, the kittens could have lifted up the vent cover (a new trick by the way, they’ve never done this before), decided the hole was an excellent hiding place,  gone looking for something important to stow in there, and settled on the hat.  Or, better yet, some other creature is living in our ducts and lifted up the vent cover.  The kittens, in a valiant attempt to defend their home, sought to thwart the invader by burying him in wool.  The hat went down the duct (where it will soon cause the furnace to explode), and some sort of furious hell beast is now on the loose in my house.  I think it’s more or less a tossup at this point.

The hunt for the hat continues.  As a stop-gap measure, the duct leading to the bathroom has been closed at the furnace (There are these very mechanical-feeling lever things on the ducts near the furnace, and they seem to close some sort of door in the duct.  Closing that seemed like the thing to do, though I’m not sure it will actually do any good.  I’m working on the theory that the angle of the duct running from the furnace to the bathroom is very shallow, and that something like a hat wouldn’t go far if it did fall (cough, was pushed, cough).  I’m further theorizing that if dropping things down a vent were all it took to blow up a furnace, no one with a three-year-old would have heat.)  I’m searching the house and concocting various levels of back up plans starting with a flashlight, coat hanger, and hand mirror and working up to that lighted camera thing they use to check out sewer pipes.  Should be a fun day.

And Dad, when I do find the hat, I promise to wash it again before I send it to you.

Edited to add:  Found the hat…in the cabinet where we keep the kitten’s food.  It wasn’t in the food mind you (that is all sealed up) it was just sitting beside the food.  The kittens are quite capable of opening that cabinet (and often do when they feel they’ve not been fed recently enough), so I think the disappearance can safely be blamed on them.

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