Compartments

Ancient History

The Curse of the Zip-Off Pantleg

I’ve been defeated by a square foot of polyester blend. Well over a year ago, I bought a pair of pull-on athletic-style pants for Ryley. They feature pant legs that zip off, transforming into shorts. He has never worn them as pants. The first moment he took ownership, he zipped away the extra material. I told him to keep them in a drawer so he’d be able to find them when needed.

There would be no reason to take the pant legs out of the drawer unless they were going to be zipped back into the shorts.

One day, I was sorting through the boys’ laundry and found one of the pant legs. It was still clean, so I tossed it back into the drawer. But it happened again and again—a single pant leg would find its way into the hamper or even through a complete wash and dry cycle. I’d hand it to Ryley and tell him to put it away, in the drawer, do not take it out. I did not want to see it again.

A week or two later, I’d paw through the dryer looking for something and there it would be—The Pantleg, clean again. After a scream of frustration, I’d call Ryley and shake it around while demanding to know how and why and how and why I was seeing The Pantleg. “I always put it away!” he’d shout back and then I’d retort it was obvious he didn’t.

Everyone else was beginning to think it was terribly funny. The Pantleg turned up again and again. Sometimes, I’d catch it before it made it to the wash, other times I didn’t. Lee and I talked about things we could do with The Pantleg—stuff it in Ryley’s pillow? His backpack? Hoist it up the flagpole in front of the school?

But then, I began to suspect he…might…be…putting…it…in…the wash. On purpose.

A game, undeclared. Or, a new way to communicate?

Maybe he’d listen for my Mr. Bean-ian rage grunt when he knew I was about to delve into the boys’ hamper? I could picture him giggling with a tear or two in his eyes. Mom found it, he’d snicker to a brother or two.

Maybe he did it when he felt he wasn’t getting enough attention from me? It’s too easy for a mom and teenage son to miscommunicate or only communicate about things like the lawn, the trash, the grades. The Pantleg changed the subject for a few seconds.

Today, I had a sudden pang. I haven’t seen The Pantleg in a long, long time. It’s been a couple of months.

I miss The Pantleg.

I missed it so much, I found one and took a picture.

2 comments to The Curse of the Zip-Off Pantleg

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