Friday, September 5, 2008

The Secret Life of Socks

By Nichole Giles

Do you ever wonder where all your kids’ socks go? It seems like I buy new packages of socks every couple of months, and every time one of my kids cries, “Mom, I can’t find any socks!” I wonder if all the socks in the house have escaped to sandal wearing communities. Wouldn’t you if you were forced to be the barrier between feet and shoes? Ick.

So, as we were buying school clothes this year, I—once again—bought everyone several new pairs of socks. But it was no use. Two weeks into the school year, my daughter was putting on her shoes and I heard that all-too-familiar phrase. “Mom, I don’t have any socks!”

“Yes you do,” I told her. “I just bought you ten pairs!”

“But there are none in my drawer and none in the clean laundry.” (I suppose it’s important to mention here that I only fold my never-ending mountains of laundry about once a week—thus at some point, we end up digging through them for odds and ends, like socks.)

I sighed. “Go get some of your sister’s then.” What is a mother to do? I was frustrated enough to rebel against having to buy more new socks, and was even more convinced that the socks have some kind of secret night life in which they escape one-by-one, and occasionally in pairs, to live a better life. After all, they’ve seen what happens to the old ones in our house. Can you say, puppet factory?

Fast-forward another week. The kids are in school, and I’m on a fall cleaning kick. One of the things I have been meaning to do (since last spring) is get my carpet cleaned. So, I had scheduled the cleaning guy to come on a day when everyone was in school and my husband was home to help me move furniture. It turned out to be a fairly busy morning, with a few neighbors stopping by, and the phone constantly ringing. But Gary was still home, so I grabbed him and we hurried into the family room to move the couches and the speakers.

Under the loveseat we found a pile of about ten socks. I shook my head, hauling the socks to the laundry room and vowing to have a chat with the kids after school. Then, we moved the larger couch, and found another pile of twelve to fifteen socks. I set this stack on the stairs (so I could finish moving the furniture before taking them to the laundry room) and grumbled some more.

Then we moved the speakers.

Oh my gosh! Actually, there was nothing behind the speakers. But moving them away from their position next to the entertainment center revealed a space between furniture and wall that was crammed with…you guessed it…more socks. There were two speakers, therefore two openings, and also, two more piles. Both of these piles were larger than either of the other two—meaning in fifteen minutes of moving furniture I had solved the mystery of somewhere around thirty to forty pairs of missing socks.

My grumbling turned into anger as I realized what happened. It wasn’t the socks revolting at all, but the kids who left their socks on the floor, and then when asked to put them away, crammed them in the nearest available hiding space. No wonder no one had any socks! There had to be a year’s worth of missing socks in that room alone.

I consoled myself with the smug knowledge that I had, in fact, solved one of life’s big mysteries. Now, if only I can figure out what keeps happening to the batteries in the remote control…


Rachelle said...

Ha, ha. Hey I'm good with the socks, it's the shoes that disappear around here and drive me nuts! A couple weeks ago, Maggie lost one of her crocs and I found it in one of my decorative tin pails in the living room a week later!

Kellie Buckner said...

That's hilarious! I'm going through the same thing with my kids--but I haven't found their secret stash of icky used socks yet.

Nichole Giles said...

Good luck with those shoes, Rachelle. Just wait until that baby boy of yours starts being able to hide his shoes, then it will be three against one. Or well, two counting your husband.

Unless he hides his shoes too, then you're in BIG trouble!


Nichole Giles said...


If I were you, I'd check under and behind the furniture in the highest traffic areas of your house. Or you could try using your nose. Eventually all those smelly socks will start giving off unusual odors.

Good luck!