Lost... and found (the hard way)

Inspired by this thread where Two Many Cats loses her wallet, only to discover it was in her other hand the whole time. What are some things that you have lost, and later found, although not in ways or places that you would have preferred?

A couple of weeks ago my wife lost her glasses. She had been working out in the yard and switched from her glasses to her sunglasses, and thought for sure that she had left the glasses in the house somewhere. But we spent a day and a half searching for them with no luck.

That weekend I was out mowing the front yard when I heard the blades hit something. I thought maybe it was a rock or something. I stopped the mower, bent down to look around, and picked up a mangled piece of plastic. I thought, “What the hell is that? … Ohhhhh…” It was a section of the eyeglass frames. I looked around a little more and found two other pieces of the frames and both lenses, which had huge gouges in them. I went back inside and said “Honey, I have some good news and some bad news. Good news is, I found your glasses! Bad news is, I found them with the lawn mower.”

I was walking with my wife on a windy day and my rain hat blew off my head and onto the commuter rail tracks we were walking beside. There’s a big fence, and a drop of 15 feet so we couldn’t go looking for it, and the wind blew it so quickly we didn’t even see where it went.

About two months later we were walking in the same place as the RR crews were clearing brush and debris from the side of the tracks, using a brushhog-like flail, destroying everything it its path. Maybe 50’ ahead of the flail we saw my hat, sitting on the side of the tracks! We yelled to the flail operator but he couldn’t hear us, but the other workers could. We explained quickly through sign language about the hat and they retrieved it, and passed it up to me on a long branch.

It’s now my lucky hat.

What’s this behind my ear?

This happened near on 40 years ago, and doesn’t quite fit the idea of an “unfortunate” find, but it was memorable nonetheless.

When I was a kid, probably 3rd grade, we had a pet parakeet Pretty Bird*. Well, one day, someone decided to let him stretch his wings, and she flew out the window. Now, I’m not sure if parakeets are known for their intelligence, but this one showed no interest in going back to the place where all its food has been for years. Up in a tree, then gone, never to be seen again.

Fast forward about a week and my older brother was at school, practicing with the football team. The school is about a mile and a half from my house, as the parakeet flies. Lo and behold, a bird flies in and lands on the field. It’s a parakeet. Our lost parakeet. One of the players sneaks up on it somehow (I’m guessing hypoglycemia may have played a part) and throws a towel over Pretty Bird, and we get him back.

Now, in retelling the story, it’s conceivable that it’s 100% bullshit and someone bought a new bird and made up a cock and bull story to satisfy the 8 year old. However, this would require that my parents give a crap about me (the youngest of the kids) being sad about the missing bird. While my parents were nice people, and all, they weren’t particularly sentimental about pets and Pretty Bird wasn’t MY pet by any stretch of the imagination. So, I’m going with the found parakeet story, it’s definitely better than the “got eaten by a hawk” alternative.

  • Yeah, we weren’t great about naming pets, had a dog named Puppy around the same time.

Cheesesteak- I’ll believe it. My parents, who run a little wildlife park, once lost a Splendid Sunbird. It just wasn’t there one morning; they’re teeny birds, that need to eat a lot of nectar to keep going, and this was in England- not a lot of tropical flowers around. There was no sign anywhere- we weren’t sure if it’d been killed by a rat, or found a little hole somewhere, or what, but it was gone.

A week later, a lady dropped by, with some pictures on her phone of this weird bird which had flown into her conservatory that morning, over 2 miles away. She’d never seen anything like it, did any of us know what it was? Cue :eek:

It wasn’t an unfortunate find- but it was damn close. Poor thing was too exhausted to fly or even hop, he could barely sit up to drink his nectar mix. A few more hours and that would have been it.

Happily he made a full recovery, and lived out his full life expectancy, picking fights with butterflies and people thousands of times his size :smiley:

How about the time I lost a fish?

I had one of those all in one aquariums, 10 gallon, with the filter stuff at the top and a fancy bio-wheel thing. One of my prized fish was a Pleco, not huge, maybe 3-4 inches long, but easily the biggest fish in this 10 gallon pond.

One day he was gone. No carcass being nibbled at by tetras, he didn’t dig himself into the gravel, he didn’t jump out of the tank and onto the floor (like my dad’s poor rope fish) he was just not in the tank anymore. I lived by myself, so nobody snuck in to steal him (this time!)

So, I resigned myself to the unsolved Mystery of the Vanishing Pleco, and went stoically on with my life. A couple of days later, I changed the tank filter, and there he was! He swam up the waterfall of water from the filter, past the bio wheel and nestled himself under the filter until he was discovered.

I had a Border collie, ‘Pretty Boy’ ( another in a long list of uninspired namings)
He was a runner. Could not keep him contained. A little Houdini. He disappeared on the regular. One day I was calling for him. No Pretty boy, I didn’t worry too much. On the third day of his absence I began to be really worried. I decided a drive around was warranted. I got all the way to the little town closest to us. Stopped at the store for a drink. I was absently looking at the bulletin board and right, front and center in big red letters, a message “If you own a Border Collie with a blue collar, he is now deceased and you owe me for the 13 hens he killed”
Oops. I slunk outta town.

Continuing with the pets theme, our 4 year old black cat, Smudge, disappeared one day. He’d done that before (he was an indoor-outdoor cat) and we didn’t get worried until after the third day. After a week we were adjusting to the notion that he’d gotten himself run over or fed himself to the coyotes that roam the canyon rim.

A full week later, our neighbor calls to say he’d opened the trunk of his car and a discarded sweater or something suddenly turned into a cat and came to life and jumped out, and he thinks it may have been ours. And yeah, Smudge came sauntering up to the back door within an hour, miaowing to be let in and fed.

Seems unlikely that he’d been trapped in the trunk the whole time but he never told us what he’d been up to.

When I was a kid, we had a black and white cat named “Abe”. Abe was an indoor/outdoor cat, but usually followed us around when we were outside. My grandpa stopped by on his way to work to drop some stuff off; he was there maybe 15 minutes. While my grandpa wasn’t a huge cat fan, Abe absolutely adored him and was always underfoot when he was around. When we went inside after grandpa left, Abe was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, grandpa gets to work, (he worked in a warehouse, loading semi’s). He said this cat shows up on the dock and won’t leave him alone. In fact, the cat would even jump up on his forklift and wouldn’t get down. After a bit, he realizes it’s Abe. The cat hung out with grandpa through his whole shift, followed him out to his truck and jumped in the back for the trip home.
While we thought we lost him, we are pretty sure Abe just thought he was going to hang out with grandpa for the day and didn’t feel lost at all!

One evening long ago I let my guinea pig, Eno, gambol on the front lawn. He took it into his rodent head to escape into the alleyway separating our house from the neighbor’s and thence into deep undergrowth and I was unable to recover him (the boy displayed a friskiness and speed not previously seen). Given the number of cats prowling the neighborhood I figured he was going to be a feline snack in no time.

The next morning my father came in the back door of the house, and upon the screen door slamming shut he heard a “weeick, weeick, weeick!” not far away.

By using the door closing sound I was able to track the weeicks and creeping up cautiously I spotted the errant beast in a daylily patch. Stealthily I drew closer, and made a grab (“shriek!”).

Eno was back in custody.

His mistake (?) was learning to associate the back door closing with someone coming to feed him lettuce.

I lost a tub of nightcrawlers in the garage once; looked for most of the day for them. A few days later the smell helped direct me. Luckily it directed me to the yard where I had set them after the fishing trip with the intention of putting them in the garden.

When I was about 10 or 11, there was a group of us playing around in the neighbor’s leaf pile. My glasses fell off and I could not find them. We searched and searched, but nothing. My parents went and looked - nothing. My dad beat my butt for losing my glasses. Several months later I was out walking and I went past that pile and there, sticking out of the snow, were my glasses.

Several years ago my daughter and I were in the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon at WDW. I was holding her on my hip, jumping over the waves as they came in. A Disney photographer stopped us to take a picture. Unbeknownst to us, a wave was coming up behind us (which you can see in the photo). Because we had our backs turned, we didn’t see it coming and it washed over us, taking my hat with it. I looked around but didn’t see it. I wrote it off as gone for good.

About an hour later we were jumping “one last wave” before we had to go and what comes floating along? My hat!

One of my daughter’s favorite stories (and her two favorite pictures of the trip—one before, with the wave in the background, and one after, the two of us all discombobulated!)

When I was a kid, I used to keep all kinds of wild critters.
Once, I had a pair of Eastern Newts, which I had collected on a camping trip. I kept them in an aquarium in my room, on the 2nd floor of our house.
Well, they got out. One day they were there, and the next day - gone. I looked everywhere, expecting to find some dried-up newts someplace, but couldn’t find them.
Some time later (I don’t remember how long, but it was between several weeks and a few months), I was helping my dad find the source of a water leak in our basement, and was looking in the crawlspace (which was a small room-like area accessible by a small “hatch”), and I spotted both of them - alive and seemingly perfectly happy. I just left them alone, figuring that there was no way I saw going to catch them in there, and they seemed to be doing fine.
Near as I can figure, they must have crawled under the gap in the molding where the wall meets the floor, and then fell down two stories, all the way into the crawlspace.

My California King snake got out of his aquarium cage once. I could not find him anywhere. I knew he was about to shed and so I was looking in all sorts of hidey holes, since they like to find safe close shelter in such times. After many hours, I was back to re-searching previous spots. As I cleaned out the closet again I happened to glance inside my hiking boot and there he was. From then on, whenever he was getting near shedding and somehow got out of the tank (despite increasingly difficult measures on my part), I knew right where to look and would just put the boot in the tank.

Great story, Woody!

Back in our poor days, right after we retired, I made our food dollars stretch further by shopping the sales at an ethnic market. Mr VOW hated the place. While I shopped, he sat in the car and bitched, convinced every other person who walked by was a thief or worse. Kind of like reading Presidential tweets…

I finished shopping, and when I got back in the car, I was putting stuff away and…I COULDN’T FIND MY ATM CARD!

We checked everywhere, and his bitching and moaning got worse and worse. Finally, I said, “Call the bank and cancel my card.”

More bitching and moaning and waiting (“Your call is important to us!”) and finally the card is cancelled.

He pulls out of the parking space. Wait! Something is in the parking spot, right where the car was!

It’s my card.

Back in college, I used to wear my ID/meal card around my neck in one of those plastic sleeves. Which I generally wore inside my shirt, so that gunk wouldn’t get into it.

One night my parents come to into the city to take me out to dinner, and at some point in the meal I realized I was missing my ID. I was still wearing the necklace, but the plastic sleeve was empty. I looked all over, but I couldn’t find it; for all I knew it had fallen out before I had even arrived at the restaurant.

Well at the end of the evening, my father suggests that I look one more time. I started to say that I didn’t think there was anywhere else I could… wait. Wait a second. Could it possibly be…? I gingerly felt around a rather personal area.

Yup. It was in my bra the whole time. :smack:

My brother used to keep frogs when he was a kid. (I say that he used to keep frogs, but it’s truer to say that he kept frogs for a few weeks until he got bored. After that, my mother and I kept his frogs, or we did all the work, anyway.)

One day, I went to feed the frogs, and … the bowl was empty. Still don’t know how they got out, but we searched the room for what seemed like forever. No frogs.

An hour or so later I happened to go into my parents’ bedroom for something or other, and…there were the frogs. Half-way up the curtains. Where they thought they were climbing to, or even how they were climbing the curtains, I’ve no idea.

**Cat Tale #1: **Years ago, before Typo and I got married, we were living in towns about 3 hours apart.

One Friday evening, I drove the 3 hours to spend the weekend at his place. I had my cat in the car. I needed to stop just before I got there - and the cat bolted from the car. I know, I was a dumbass for not having her in a carrier or at least on some kind of leash, but…

45 minutes of looking and calling, with the help of a couple of strangers who saw my distress, and no cat. I drove to Typo’s place, in tears.

2 hours later, we went back to the place I’d stopped, crossed the somewhat major road she’d bolted across, and called - and I heard her meowing. Poor thing was probably frightened and quite relieved to be back with me even if it meant riding in the evil car.

**Cat Tale #2: **Same cat - remember, this was in the days when you just let them run outside. She didn’t appear one night, or the next morning. That afternoon, I went around the apartment complex calling for her and finally heard her. She was on the roof of the building behind mine! The building consisted of garden apartments (flats, vs my own where I had two stories to myself), so I went up one of the stairwells, knocked on someone’s door, and asked if I could go out on her balcony to try to retrieve the cat. The resident let me use a deck chair, and even had some discarded chicken guts for me to use to try to attract the cat. At one point I nabbed the cat but her leg was caught in the gutter so I had to release her or risk breaking her leg. It took a few more minutes for her to be willing to approach me again but she was eventually rescued.

**Missing wallets: **I once lost my wallet. Realized it after I got to the office. Spent an hour or two calling to cancel all the cards etc. Then I went back out to the car for one last look… and it had somehow wound up under the front seat. This was the last work day before Christmas - and luckily my husband had a non-joint credit card, so we had a way to pay our travel expenses.

Missing ID card: A couple of weeks ago, I had to go to our client site (a Federal office building). I’d cleared some things out of my purse before vacation and this was my first day back afterward. I keep my Metro card and the building pass in the same plastic card-holder / lanyard, so I knew I had it with me once I got on the Metro. Only… I had my company ID on the holder, not the client building pass. So I had to go through the full blown security including running my laptop through the x-ray belt, and step through a metal detector, and wait for a co-worker to come escort me in.

But nobody was answering their phones.

45 minutes later, someone responded - but asked me to go around to the other entrance. That meant repeating the whole security thing - got me wanded too, as that machine evidently did not like my bra hooks.

Got home at the end of the day. I knew exactly where my client badge was, right where I’d put everything I offloaded before vacation. And it wasn’t there. Cussing under my breath, I began searching. Then I turned everything out of my bag onto the kitchen table… and the damn badge was there. I’d had it all along.

Hammie goes walkabout: When I was about 10, one of my brothers had a hamster. The hamster lived in a cage in the basement. As hamsters are very good escape artists, he got out a couple of times. One time, he was gone for a day or more. We found him in my bedroom (on the main floor of the house), in the space underneath my desk - it was enclosed, and I had to pull the desk away from the wall to get him out; not sure if he could have gotten out by himself. He’d chewed up a plastic toy that was under there. To this day I have no idea how he got there - that was a massive distance (plus a flight of stairs), there was no food or anything else to attract him in the room or behind the desk. I have to wonder if one of my brothers put him there as a prank, as it’s the only thing that makes sense.

My mother once lost her engagement ring - it fell off her finger into a parking lot at a convenience store near home. She went back an hour or so later, when it had gotten dark - and found it by shining a flashlight until the reflection turned it up. A friend lost her engagement ring; she’d lost a bit of weight and it was loose, and it flew off her finger in another friend’s back yard in Arizona. We all looked for hours but no luck. Several years later, the mutual friend jokingly told her young son “10 dollars if you find it”… and he found it in a half hour. It was stuck in a shrub.

**National Zoo #1: **Not my story of course, but this one is along the lines of the missing bird.

**National Zoo #2: ** Thezoo recovered several stolen Gaboon vipers.