Step 1: Use your $3,000 Nikon (the one that took 3 years of waiting and most of your 2008 tax refund money to get) to photograph your friend in your "mobile studio" (which is really a pop-up background frame that you bought on Ebay, set up in your Grandmother's borrowed front parlor between a 1970s wing-back chair and a piano so out of tune you can play a piece in tune by transposing the music down a third step or so). Do this on the first day of the busiest retail month of the year, when you have a part time seasonal job with new and constantly changing hours.
Step 2: Set said $3k Nikon down on a table in aforementioned front parlor, instead of putting it back in it's bag. WHERE IT BELONGS.
Step 3: Become distracted by 4 kids, Mom (who brings all her Christmas decorations down from the attic [where you have your room and all your stuff] to that front parlor, your job, making Christmas gifts- because even with the new job you are too poor to buy them, your kid's elementary school chorus concert, part of the house randomly catching fire, panicking because you were asleep upstairs and the only one home when it happened, packing 6 people for a 3 hour drive to the mountains, getting snowed in (and your car breaking) for 4 days with extended family, being at in-laws house another 8 days while you figure out what to do about the broken car. Become so distracted by the time you make it home the week after New Year's that you have a compulsory NEED during a second round of being snowed/iced in (at least this time it's at home) to clean out everything you don't use (including kid's outgrown clothes, stuff you haven't worn since college, and a pile of junk papers that you swear you already got rid of, but here they are telling you how many times you bought milk at Kroger and ate at Taco Bell last month...) AND rearrange every piece of furniture in your attic pseudo "flat", in the belief that it will keep you organized and on task because "it's much more functional in this layout". Your horrible memory and ADD-laced brain cells wish.
Step 4: Find yourself randomly awake at 1 a.m. and unable to fall back asleep for thinking of an image on your camera that you'd like to edit a certain way.
Step 5: You have to pee anyway, so get out of bed to fetch camera from the last place you remember having it... front parlor?..., after stopping by bathroom first.
Step 6: Become confused and concerned when $3k camera is NOT WHERE YOU REMEMBER LEAVING IT.
Step 7: PANIC
Step 8: Search the entire downstairs. The Christmas decorations had been put away; maybe someone moved it to keep from damaging it. Nowhere to be found. Search attic and kid's rooms. Panic some more.
Step 9: Wake up husband and ask him if he knows what happened to it. Do your best not to be put out with him when he burrows deeper in the covers and mumbles at you to "come to bed and we'll find it tomorrow." Right. Like I can sleep now that I'VE LOST A 3 THOUSAND DOLLAR CAMERA. IT'S SUPPOSED TO HELP PUT OUR KIDS THROUGH COLLEGE!
Step 10: After thorough search of entire house in semi-darkness (well, minus Mom and Grandmother's rooms since it's 3 a.m. and they likely want to stay asleep until past dawn sometime before being bothered about my camera), conclude that your $3k Nikon is temporarily missing and you can't remember anything else about it between the Dec 1 shoot and today. Curse your faulty, fuzzy memory cells and try to stop panicking. Fail.
If you add one more step, which is to sit down and write a blog post about your complete and epic inability to handle things like temporarily misplacing an expensive career investment and being unable to calmly and rationally wait (asleep) until daylight hours to find it, you'd be about where I am right now.
I KNOW it's IN the house somewhere, because even though it was grossly irresponsible of me to not put it away in it's bag when I was finished using it, I would never have taken it outside the house without it being in that bag. Extra lenses, memory cards and the battery charger are all in that bag. I purposefully did not pack it along with me to the mountains so that I could spend my holiday with family, instead of behind the lens.
It's here in this house, but I can't help freaking out until I find it! I hate cleaning up. I lose track of so much when I do that. Ugh. I'll let you know later what happens...
1/13/11 UPDATE: We've searched the house from top to bottom, moved everything possible and still no Nikon. I've cried about it. A LOT. I know I can start saving up for a replacement, but there are other goals and responsibilities laying claims to any money that I bring in, so this could take a while. It makes me nauseous. Yet, photography is my chosen career and I will win it. I don't care how long it takes. I want to know what happened to the camera, though. It was in that room when I left Christmas Eve and it's not now. Very, very upsetting.