Finding things: A Mother’s Day tale

by Jennifer on May 12, 2008

I know some of you have heard of the Uterine Tracking Device, or UTD. Last week, Mary Alice over at From the Frontlines posted about this device (it goes by a couple of names, including the Uterine Locating Device, as she called it). My sister Ducky clued me in on the name of this handy little gadget a year or two ago, and it was a huge relief to have a name for something that I’ve been using for years.

It may have several names, but it has one purpose.

To find things that men and children cannot. Or will not. (As is most often the case.) Socks. Shoes. Tiny little toys. A giant box of cereal. Things that have no invisible properties whatsoever. But it seems to take the superpowers of a grown woman to find them.

Yesterday, hours and hours into the heart of Mother’s Day (4:00 p.m., if you need specifics), I got a call from Mr. H. (The first call of the day from him. To be fair, he took an early flight from Indiana, and endured overbooking, a bump to another flight, and a long layover to get home.)

“I’m at the airport, and I need you to come meet me. I can’t find the Jeep, and I’ve been walking around for over an hour.”

Huh. If I hadn’t once lost my own car at O’Hare by going to the wrong corner of the lot, I would have had the privilege of mocking him for losing his car. For losing the bright yellow Jeep.

“Let me change clothes, and I’ll be right there.”

“Happy Mother’s Day.” Oh wait, he DID NOT say that.

On the way to the airport my phone rang.

“Go back home. It’s okay, I’ll find someone else to help me.”

“No, I’m almost there.” Like hell I’m going back home after dragging myself and the kids out of the house on Mother’s Day.

“Okay, then. I’m in the East Economy Lot. Call me when you get here.”

“Be there soon.”

“And Happy Mother’s Day.” Except, no, he didn’t say it then, either.

I arrived at the designated lot, and called him back. “We’re here. Want us to drive around and look for it?”

By this time, a parking lot attendant had shown mercy and was taking Mr. H on a row by row search for the Jeep. We were on and off the phone a few more times.

And within moments of my (and my UTD’s) arrival on scene, Mr. H found the Jeep! With no actual help from me, really. Apparently it’s just enough for one of these devices to show up on the radar. Presto! There it is.

After discussing what we should do next, and since the kids needed dinner, we decided to find a place to eat. (And I didn’t feel like cooking.)

Finally, after we had been seated at a table and ordered our food, then Mr. H said it.

“Well, happy Mother’s Day.”

“Oh, is that today?” I said brightly. I never said I wasn’t passive aggressive.

Did I mention that he gets full credit for flying across the country to arrive here on Mother’s Day? And for following up his Happy Mother’s Day with “You’re the heart of this family”? That was a great thing to hear, even though I had to wait for it.

The day had not been without its great moments. Girl and Boy started the day off with unrestrained excitement to give me the things they made for me at school. They had each written sweet things, penned in their 6 and 9 year old handwriting.

In Girl’s class they were asked to fill in the blank:

My mother looks prettiest when…pretty any time. (Awww.)

My favorite thing about my mother is…her hugs and kisses.

The best time I ever had with my mother was…when I was born.

I had to try very hard not to laugh when I read that. Or to cry at the memory of pushing for two hours, the last hour without the epidural. Good times.

But, then, there she was at the end of it, so maybe Girl is on to something.

In Boy’s class, they were asked to write a letter to their mothers. A few high points from his letter:

Your cooking is amazing, and my favorite meal you make are hot dogs. (Betty Crocker, watch out.)

You are always courteous to others.

Your book is really good.

You are good at teaching me poker. (Thank god his teacher didn’t read these…hot dogs and poker. Where’s my trophy?)

But the best part? I really appreciate you. Those are all the reasons I love you.

I love you, too, Boy.

And I’ll say this. Maybe that Uterine Tracking Device is good for more than finding lost socks and sneakers. Maybe, just maybe, if we’re lucky, we can find some really big, important things. Bigger than cars, even.

With mine, I found my family, so maybe I won’t mind so much next time when I’m called on to find the cereal.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn May 13, 2008 at 12:16 am

Okay. I want to focus on how sweet Boy and Girl are, and how heartwarming the stuff they wrote about you in school was, but all I can think is: How in the hell did Mr. H lose a bright yellow Jeep?? Do you, like, seriously live in a Seinfeld episode? Hilarious.

Albeit belated, Happy Mother’s Day, Happy Mother’s Day, Happy Mother’s Day. (Twice for the times Mr. H blew it and once more for good measure.)

Oh. And good for teaching Boy poker. Nothin’ wrong with that.

Carolyns last blog good.


Abraham Lincoln May 13, 2008 at 3:21 am

Amazing post.

Abraham Lincolns last blog post..


Mary Alice May 13, 2008 at 3:39 am

Blah hah ahaha – okay that one take’s the Mother’s Day Cake. He lost his yellow jeep…hahahahaahaaa!

Mary Alices last blog post..What Would You Do With 40,000 a Month?


Mrs. Chili May 13, 2008 at 4:57 am

This post alternately made me laugh (“where’s my trophy?”) and well up “With mine, I found my family”). Just beautiful, Jenn; you’ve managed to capture, in just a few words, what having a family is really like.

Much love,


Mrs. Chilis last blog post..Ten Things Tuesday


Brenda May 13, 2008 at 5:09 am

Lost Jeep: I’m thinking Mr. H shouldn’t have bothered calling you in the first place if he was going to figure it out on his own. What it’s called? The Penile Impatience Device (PID), or something like that?

Eating afterwards: I hope the horrible Mother’s Day lunch crowd was over.

Gifts from Boy & Girl: I LOVE them. Good teachers to have them do something so personal!

UTD: I don’t have one, a “U,” that is. It’s better that way. The “TD” is actually tied to the chromosomes (XX), rather than the uterus, because (shhhhh), I am still capable of great feats of finding things. However, since the “UTD” is so widely known, I just pretend that’s the way it is, say I don’t have one, and whoever it is has to find it his/her damn self!


Brenda May 13, 2008 at 5:32 am

PID: I’m sure the PID was part of the problem (see my comment above), but probably also the PCSD (Penile Community Suffering Device). (I was trying to think of the right condition before.) This is the one that makes sure when “XY Chromosome Being” is unhappy or having a hard time that anyone possible will share that with him.

(Don’t forget MY “XY Chromosome Being” is Prince Charming, so I’m only half-serious about this! Well, maybe 3/4! OK, Prince Charming or not, men have these conditions!)


Madge May 13, 2008 at 6:29 am

hot dogs and poker. see. i knew there was a reason why we were BF.

Madges last blog post..My 21st Post!!!!


suburbancorrespondent May 13, 2008 at 7:07 am

Poker. Hot dogs. Oh, that’s good…


cce May 13, 2008 at 7:10 am

I just love the cards that the kids make on Mother’s Day. Their sweet perception of the things we like are always so charming. Last year my G wrote that “My mother is happiest when she works” (I’m not sure where she got that idea but at five it was hilarious misperception.) And this year she wrote “My Mom likes to cook,” (and while this isn’t entirely untrue I still think it’s pretty funny that this thought came before My Mom likes to play tennis or read or watch American Idol or eat chocolate and ice cream.

Happy Day, Happy Motherhood!

cces last blog post..Hallelujah


melissa May 13, 2008 at 7:38 am

I call it “Male Pattern Blindness,” and experience it daily here.

I adore your daughter’s answers–and the boy sounds like he gets how good he’s got it, too! So cute.


Nicole P May 13, 2008 at 7:47 am

Aww your kids sound so sweet!!
Glad to finally have an official name for the UTD. I too have been dealing with this for years.

Nicole Ps last blog post..It’s a Mystery


Jenn @ Juggling Life May 13, 2008 at 7:48 am

You are good if all you have to do is get in the vicinity of the parking lot and the car is found.

And ain’t it the truth . . . kids say the darndest things!

Jenn @ Juggling Lifes last blog post..Warning: If You’re Over 25, You Don’t Know Cool!


Lisa Milton May 13, 2008 at 8:23 am

I can’t mock Mr. H; I have lost my car before. But I’m so glad that the wait was worth it.

And if being the heart of the family means hot dogs and poker, I’m all on board.

(I love those kid notes. Zack mentioned how important it was that I tickled him in his, and he’s not even ticklish…)

Lisa Miltons last blog post..1


Daryl E May 13, 2008 at 9:28 am

Fabulous! And I bow to you … not only did he not insist you come get him, he took you out to dinner and said something nice.


Daryl Es last blog fodder lacking


Shauna May 13, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Ok, so I totally call my kids “girl” and “boy” sometimes “girl kid” and “boy kid” – but not really on my blog – just to their faces!

I was cracking up reading this. Although I am sure you refer to them this way all the time. I am new here. Give me some time.

Shaunas last blog post..I really love Chase


Ree May 13, 2008 at 12:17 pm

How lovely. And that car thing? Been there, done that…. Which is why I totally hate stores with doors on two sides of a corner.

Rees last blog post..A Post in 3 Parts – warts and all.


SteveCinNM May 13, 2008 at 12:51 pm

As proud holder of both X and Y chromosomes (it must be so boring to have only one type), I can say without hesitation that I have never lost my car. Hmmm — can everyone at my address say that? I will admit that I can’t find things on occasion, but usually (almost always?) they are things that I did not put away or have last. (N.B.: This is the genius behind not putting things away, but that is another discussion.)

So, when I have to ask where something is, it is a much more efficient course of action (efficiency, that equates to bonus points for all you XX’ers, does it not?) than to wander around trying to guess/divine/imagine where the “logical” (don’t get me started here) place for something might be. It is a mystery why asking help to find something rather than wasting time looking in a myraid of places can be so irritating or is a sign of some sort of genetic flaw.

That said, I have learned that there are (many) benefits to living in the XX World and that “put away” is just one of them. Moreover, even if we do struggle at times with the locations of certain things, XX’ers ought to cut us XY-types a break. You try walking around loaded up with testosterone your whole life (it takes a couple decades even to figure out that not everyone acts/feels/perceives the same way). On the positive side, the XY life is a simple life. And that’s not all bad, either.

[Dislcaimer: this message was brought to you by the TongueInCheek Foundation, and I can neither confirm nor deny its veracity.]


Jennifer Harvey May 13, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Uh, Steve? So it’s that cloud of testosterone encircling men that prevents them from finding things…like fog, really?

Got it.

Now that we’ve settled that, I’m going to need an explanation of why 6 year old girls lose things. Of course, it’s because their UTD isn’t yet fully operational, but will be in about 10-12 more years (I hope). Still, I would love your explanation. Or whatever explanation the Tongue In Cheek Foundation publishes in their handbook. 🙂


SteveCinNM May 13, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Fog. Yes, that sounds about right. But I would not say that it prevents us from finding things; instead, I would say that it enhances our focus on just a limited number of things. A very few things… like two, maybe three. These are like lighthouses for us in the fog (how far can I extend this metaphor?), and they guide our reactions (I was going to say “actions,” but that would imply thinking, or a plan of some sort) in almost every situation. With such bright lights shining in our eyes, the rest of the world is rendered indiscernible, and sort of… foggy. You’ve probably witnessed this phenomenon in other creatures.

I told you the XY life was a simple one.


Elaine May 13, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Ok, my hus has lost a few things in out time together (wallet, keys, sunglasses) but never his car! HA!

Your kids were so sweet in their notes to you! Happy belated Mother’s Day

Elaines last blog post..Warning: Don’t Read This, It’s Not Very Interesting


Melody May 13, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Oh – that’s too sweet! One of mine brought home a ‘complete the sentence’ card also – I truly think I love the homemade stuff better than anything that could come from the stores…

Melodys last blog post..Lazy Post today


david mcmahon May 13, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Simply brilliant!

david mcmahons last blog post..Orville and Wilbur Ride


Sandy (Momisodes) May 13, 2008 at 4:33 pm

UTD–Genius! What a great Mother’s Day post 🙂 Hot dogs and poker??? You are undoubtedly the envy of all of Boy’s friends 😉

Sandy (Momisodes)s last blog post..Unemployment? Not Really….


slouching mom May 13, 2008 at 7:32 pm

aww… on so many levels. just aww.

slouching moms last blog post..Scenes from the OB/GYN’s Office


Neva May 13, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Jennifer, you are an amazing writer! gotta love those husbands and I love passive aggressive. Hope you had a nice dinner with the family!

Nevas last blog post..ABC Wednesday Q is for Quentin


Tootsie Farklepants May 13, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Aw man! I thought for sure he was luring you to the airport to surprise you with some gift of some sort.

Mother’s Day school gifts are the best. Probably because the kids themselves are SOOOOO excited about them!

Tootsie Farklepantss last blog post..Amidst the Cacaphony an Aging Wannabe Jock Expects Very Important Call. Probably From His Mommy


chaotic joy May 13, 2008 at 8:55 pm

The best time she ever had with you was at birth. HA! Since then it’s all been downhill apparently. That was priceless. Funny Mother’s Day post. Thanks for sharing.

chaotic joys last blog post..All in a days work


flutter May 13, 2008 at 9:04 pm

this made me all sniffly, girl.

flutters last blog post..Connections


Tricia May 14, 2008 at 2:53 am

Great Mother’s Day post. I wonder what your daughter thinks she remembers about her wonderful time with you while being born. Adorable.


Kathryn May 14, 2008 at 6:38 am

Now that is a Mother’s Day post. Love it!

Over from David’s.

Kathryns last blog post..Seven Years And Counting


Minnesota Matron May 14, 2008 at 7:20 am

When I was born! Oh my god – that’s hysterical! And that UTD just never stops tracking, regardless of holiday. Scarlett and I both know where every last little item in the house is. If the five-year old can’t find his baseball bat, and I’m not home, he doesn’t ask John. He goes right for the only other female in the house, even though she’s just nine years old!

Minnesota Matrons last blog post..1


liv May 14, 2008 at 10:38 am

‘sokay…mine said, “My mom is special because… she lets me play computer games.”

parenting SLAM and DUNK.


pass the bourbon.

livs last blog post..


dragonfly May 14, 2008 at 12:31 pm

What sweet things your kids wrote about you!!

dragonflys last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: My First Mother’s Day – Trier, Germany


we_be_toys May 14, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Awwwww! Those kids sound mighty sweet, even if hotdogs are your speciality! I’m so glad you ended up having a good day – oh “heart of your family!” Ain’t it the truth, girl?
Oh, and not having to make dinner – priceless in my book!

we_be_toyss last blog post..Blog? What Blog?


Sandi McBride May 14, 2008 at 2:41 pm

okay so it was supposed to be funny right? I mean I’m in hiccup hell from laughing now…oh and David sent me…congrats!

Sandi McBrides last blog post..Would John Wayne leave the garden and go sit down?


JCK May 14, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Oh, I loved this post, Jennifer. You brought everything together so beautifully in the end. Hysterical UTD. I’ll have to find Mary Alice’s post on that.

Those little presents, cards that they make are the BEST, aren’t they?

JCKs last blog post..I look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy gone BAD!


Just Jamie May 15, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Great post. It’s the *real* stuff that makes Mother’s Day authentic and special. Glad you were celebrated for the greatness that you are.

Just Jamies last blog post..Good News


HRH May 16, 2008 at 7:42 pm

My favorite was the best time I ever had with my mother was birth…classic.

We are going to have to get the kids together to play poker. I think by the time they get to college they will have 12 years of competitive poker playing under their belts which should offset some of that tuition. That’s our investment plan at least.

HRHs last blog post..Worth noting…


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: