It was Thursday morning when we noticed.
It had gone missing before, loads of times. But this time was different. There was a hectic nature to this search, and once we’d checked all the usual places – under the sofa, behind the curtains, inside the oven - worry arrived quicker than heartburn on Christmas Day.
The longest we’d searched before had been a paltry eight minutes but we’d heard the horror stories - parents forced to watch the CBeebies test-card on date night or worse still, make actual conversation.
Hell on Earth.
As I lifted the sofa up six inches so my wife could wave a torch underneath and quite literally shine a light on our frankly lacklustre hoovering policy, an awful thought dawned on me – what if we never find it?
Blind panic kicked in. I jumped over to the TV to see if I could operate it manually. After bashing at the buttons like a pensioner on his grandson’s X Box I managed to turn it off and on again and somehow convince it to initiate a software update. As part of me yearned for the days of four channels and clear buttons on the front I thought of a place we hadn’t looked yet.
“THE FRIDGE!” I shouted and made my way to the kitchen, losing the rest of my dignity as I slipped on a discarded ‘chunky flap’ pop-up book on the floor.
I flung open the fridge door with all the desperation of a hungover student looking for the leftover pizza.
No joy. (Although I did find a jigsaw piece and a very confused-looking sock, Plus I shoved a few cheese slices into my ever-fattening dad face, hoping it would add clarity to my scattered train of thought.)
Once all the key places had come up blank I put it out to my Facebook page. The comments ranged from helpful to ridiculous but were all welcome.
Minutes turned into hour and hours into days. Still nothing.
I went to bed that night dreaming of remote controls. Big ones. Little ones. Retro ones with wires. Chunky universal ones. I woke up in a cold sweat after a nightmare about the old Videoplus+ remote my Nan used to own. (I blame the cheese slices for that.)
The second day was tough but at least we still had Cbeebies. Or so I thought. The software update had rendered the TV completely unuseable, unless we could find the remote.
Kids screaming. Parents losing control. I could barely hold it together.
As I was casually rooting through next door’s bin I had my Eureka moment.
I grabbed an old remote from the broken stereo system, offered it to my 19 month old son and asked him to ‘go and put it with the other one.’ He took it and toddled off into the dining room. I followed him at a safe distance, like a tracker hunting his prize deer.
He turned round and saw me following.
“Show Daddy where the other remote is, son? Please? PLEASE?”
He handed the new remote back to me, blew a raspberry and waddled off, laughing his little head off.
I lay my head on the kitchen floor. I wanted to sob but I feared if I started I may never stop. The coolness of the kitchen tiles soothed my head and a calmness washed over me like a gentle tide. My eyes dropped to the floor.
And there it was. Underneath the fridge. Covered in fluff and crumbs. It looked so beautiful.
I didn’t instinctively reach out and grab it like I thought I would. Instead I gazed at it’s simple elegance. I had found my prey.
Until next time...