P re-Pesach preparations are a cinch compared to our post-Pesach treasure hunts. The where-in-the-world-did-I-put-that-before-Pesach search has been going on for the past month.

“Ma! Where’s the ketchup?”

“In the fridge, dear.”

“No, not that ketchup! The chometzdig ketchup that’s not really chometz but because it was open you didn’t want it in the kitchen for Pesach…”

“Oh, that ketchup? Uh, I think it’s in the upstairs fridge… or maybe in the closet in the guest room with the other non-perishables.”

Ketchup is nonperishable, isn’t it? Well, lentils and rice definitely are and since they’re kitniyos they were allowed to stay in the closet for the duration of the Yom Tov and avoided participating in biur chometz. So of course, when making my first cholent after Pesach, I went looking.

Lentils, rice, chickpeas — check. All in the closet in the guestroom. But where were the beans? Beans, beans… I had so many open bags of beans before Yom Tov, where could they be? After a thorough all-over-the-apartment search, I realized they weren’t anywhere I thought I had put them. Time for a new recipe! Cholent sans beans this week! (I don’t think anyone noticed. All they were really waiting for was the challah.)

But it doesn’t stop at food items.

“Chav!”

I hear urgency in my husband’s voice.

“We used to have these clippy things that close bags of chips and stuff. Do you know where they are?”

We used to have makes it sound like they were part of our family a decade ago. Was it really just under two weeks when we packed things away? “Um, I think, that is, I mean, try the drawers in the office. I think I stuck some little things there, or maybe in the medicine cabinet with the non-chometzdig but also non-Pesachdig medicines…”

And so on and so forth. From day to night it’s, “Ma! Where’s this?” and “Ma! Where’s that?”

And of course there’s only so much Ma can take. Late one night, when everyone was asleep, I decided enough was enough. I turned on the kitchen lights, pulled out my trusty black permanent marker and a sheet of white printer paper and wrote: “Hear ye! Hear ye! All family members are welcome to take part in an exciting family gold rush! Anything you can’t find and really want is located somewhere in our house… so go looking! It may be upstairs or downstairs, in any of the rooms, probably not in bathrooms and only rarely at the neighbors. No need to ask Ma for help — in any case, Ma can’t remember where Ma put anything so long ago, before Pesach arrived and all that cooking started… so good luck and happy hunting! Love, your kinda-forgetful-really-sorry-Ima.”

Over the next few weeks, the kids (for the most part) had a ball helping each other find whatever it was they were looking for. “Anyone need plastic cups? They’re right here in the laundry cabinet,” “Can you help me find the Saran Wrap? I already looked in the broom closet and the upstairs pantry and it’s not there,” “So we now have six fleishig pots and two fleishig pot covers, any ideas?” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 538)