The CSI family of TV series have made dumpster diving an almost commonplace activity. Back when I did my first dumpster dive back in the last century, dumpster diving was only for bums and destitute vagrants. The closet TV show to CSI we had back then was Quincy M.D. and he never went dumpster diving. Needs must when the devil drives, yes?

The devil was definitely driving that night we went out to dinner. It was a Red Lobster ‘All You Can Eat Buffet’ night and we all took full advantage. Susan discretely removed her retainer and neatly folded it in her napkin… which meant that I had to request more napkins because she is a finger eater. No, she doesn’t eat fingers, (that would be silly!) but she does eat *with* them, tearing her bread into bite-size pieces, skinning the shrimp or chicken with her fingers, dipping lobster bits into the lemon butter sauce which inevitably dripped down her chin… we always ask for extra napkins even when she doesn’t “borrow” mine. (In her defense, I think she was 10 at the time, or maybe 11.)

We returned home…but the retainer didn’t. They cost (at that time) $125 to replace and we already had to replace one of them. A second one on our limited means was *not* something we were willing to consider. Back to the Red Lobster we asked around and heard that our table had been cleaned and already bagged and out in the dumpster. I got permission to look. I spent at least 30-40 minutes poking at and peering into plastic bags, palpating napkins, and trying to ignore the stench.

I didn’t find the retainer, but the story got the bill significantly reduced at the orthodontist office.

Compared to my most recent “dumpster” dive, the larger Red Lobster open fork-liftable container was a sanitary picnic in the park. My most recent dumpster dive was merely a large cafeteria garbage bin. It smelled just as bad as I neared the bottom of the barrel. The contents were nowhere near as nicely ‘packaged’ in the toss mix. But, like the first time, I didn’t find what I was looking for.

Yesterday I went to Subways for my 6″ veggie delite (love those!) and returned to work, using my key to enter the building. I then hung in my pant pocket. I went straight to the cafeteria and inhaled my lunch and left after 15 minutes for a 1PM conference call. That took me to 2PM when I left for another meeting down the hall. I left that meeting early at 2:30 to go to a dental appointment (read: more screwing around in my mouth).

Where were my keys? Not in my pocket. Not in the cafeteria and not under my desk, or in the stairwell. I checked my sweater on my chair, and moved the chair about to look under it. I had them announce the loss over the company intercom and got no response.

It was at this point that I asked for plastic gloves and an empty garbage bag to dumpster dive the lunch bin I used in the cafeteria in case I wrapped them up with my lunch wrappers and tossed them.

No, I did not.

Called the dentist and rescheduled. Called hubby for a pickup. (No, I do not have a spare key.) Once home I called the dealership to learn what I needed to do to get another key:
1) pay to have car towed to dealership from office (approximately 9 miles)
2) wait for them to work it in their schedule and pay $150 plus labor to have a new pair of keys made.

So… this morning I drove hubby’s car to work and asked a few more people who may have heard or found keys. Nada. I returned to my cube with a heavy step. Rounding the corner of my cube I spied something in my chair, between the arm support and the seat.

My keys.

My keys that at least 5 people had looked for in my cube, moved my chair and checked my (pocketless) sweater for.

The keys that I am going to use when I schedule a visit to the dealership to order a second set of keys before I *do* have to pay for a tow truck to get it there!

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