My husband and I had to make a trip to the home improvement store last weekend for one item; just one.

We started out together, but after a cursory period, found ourselves involuntarily separated.

We were looking for lye. I make soap and you can’t make soap without lye. Usually, I order my lye online, but I was in a pinch and needed some ASAP. Sometimes, you can find it at home improvement and hardware stores. I had my fingers crossed.

When we were unable to find the lye after five minutes of searching, my husband set out to find someone to help us.

When shopping, my husband is very good about asking for directions. I am not. I would burn myself with lye before admitting my failure to find whatever item it is that I am attempting to locate.

I don’t want to waste the time of store employees. They have jobs to do, like stocking shelves and helping other customers.

My husband has no problem inconveniencing store employees if it shortens his time spent in said store.

So he went to look for an employee in an orange vest. I followed him initially, but when the employee was engaged with another customer, I made like a squirrel and took my nuts elsewhere.

Five seconds later, I located the lye; no lie. I returned to the aisle where my husband was awaiting information from the home improvement store expert. It was empty.

I walked up the main aisle and scanned each secondary aisle. No husband to be found.

So I called him on my cellphone. No answer. Really?

I called him again. Then, I texted. In the meantime, I found three or four other items we needed that were not on our list. Serves him right.

I was just getting ready to call him again, when my phone rang. He was in the garden section. I think the home improvement employee thought he said he was looking for lime. Gardening? In the middle of winter? Just planting our tomatoes in February, like all the other Minnesotans.

We met up in the main aisle and decided we needed a couple of two-by-fours, since we were at the home improvement store and all. We found the display, but no boards. He set out to find some. I got bored waiting and went to look myself.

We were lost, again.

This time, my phone rang. “Where are you?” he asked.

“By the two-by-four display.”

“Be right there.”

He took his time and I started looking, again, for any errant wooden boards. I was in aisle 32 when my phone rang.

“Sorry,” I said. “I got waylaid.”

When we met up for the final time, we’d been at the store for a whole hour. My husband hasn’t been in a store for an hour since 1992.

We went in for one item, left with seven and managed to lose each other three times, all in the span of 60 minutes.

Hey, it’s a big store. You’ve got to give us that.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. More columns are available at the Slices of Life page on Facebook.