As I pulled into the driveway, beaten down from our little Disaster and a Movie, I noticed the front door of my house was open. WIDE open. There was about a 99.99% chance that I had left it open in a frenzy to get out of the house before the children could bring down the support beams, but there had been two day-time break-ins in our subdivision this past month, and if anyone could beat the odds it would be me.
Normally I would have geared up in something similar to my bat-in-the-house or bird-on-the-porch catching outfit (but those are other stories, my friends), grabbed a weapon from my garage armory such as my field hockey stick, an ice skate, or some three week old leftovers from the outside fridge, and headed into my former-home-turned-den-of-potential-burglary, guns firing. Of course I would have called a friend to stay on the phone with me while I cleared my house, as even the best armor can’t protect you from potential intruder ambush. I had my children with me, though, and my jackassery wouldn’t just get me kidnapped, but them as well. I was going to need backup.
My neighbor is a personal trainer and has more strength in her little finger than I do in all of my appendages combined, so she would be the right woman for the job. Jodi’s Hummer was in the driveway, so I traipsed across the lawn, knocked on her door, and explained my situation. Her Boxer, Bandit, sensed there was trouble afoot and was all wound up in anticipation of some excitement, so I invited him to come along for the burglar hunt as well. I got the kids out of the car (yes, I had left them in there the whole time, and yes, the keys were still in the ignition so any burglars who happened to be exiting my house could have quite easily absconded with them), and headed in with the rest of my intruder task force team.
As we were walking in Jodi reassured me, “I doubt there’s anybody in here, but it’s always a good idea to…” she trailed off as she surveyed the carnage of my family room. “Is this how you left it?” she asked incredulously, her jaw dropping. I could tell by her tone she assumed my house had, in fact, been broken into and ransacked and I could certainly see why she got that impression. The burglars obviously hadn’t wanted three dirty diapers (2 wet, 1 “other”), our collection of 400,000 children’s books, the girls’ pajamas, the pants Ella had an accident in last night, a toy cash register, assorted loose puzzle pieces, an old bottle, or a bowl of stale goldfish crackers, because all of these things had been left behind on the floor. I laughed a little and mumbled something about it having been a bad morning and headed upstairs to flush out any upper level perpetrators. Sure enough, the upstairs was also ransacked, but once again it was an inside job. After making sure there wasn’t anyone hiding in the shower, scooping my cat litter, or taking a nap in the crib, I headed toward my room. The moment of truth was when I opened my jewelry box, which I stealthily keep right out in the middle of the room, and discovered that… yes, all of my jewelry was still there. No one had stolen my great grandmother’s engagement ring or my tacky red and white striped hoop earrings. Whew.
“All clear upstairs,” I announced form the landing. “Okay, there’s no one down here,” she said, adding, “You’re sure everything is how you left it?” On their way out Bandit stopped to sniff something on the ground by the front door. “What is that?” Jodi asked. “Oh, I don’t know,” I said as I tried to shoo her out the door before she could figure out that it was a piece of toilet paper Ella had used this morning and had apparently left on the threshold of the guest bath rather than flush it. I tried to nudge the toilet paper out of view with my foot, but Bandit snapped it up and bounded home with his prize. “Bandit! Drop it!” Jodi yelled. “What did he get?” she asked me. “Oh, probably just a tissue or something from the garbage can. Don’t worry about it,” I assured her, all the while willing the dog to eat the evidence before it’s true nature could be discovered. After thanking Jodi for her help and sending her on her way I headed for the fridge, praying that no one had stolen our beer.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007