Monday, April 02, 2012

My Pulse Rate Has Since Returned to Normal.

I just finished a three-day solo-parenting weekend, and I'm here to say: Such things are much more fun when your daughters are five and seven rather than, say, one and three, but they still require near-constant work. At the very end of the day, when the children are tucked in bed and finally quiet and you're totally exhausted from a day of adventures that began at six a.m., no one else is going to fold that giant pile of sheets and towels or clean up the cat vomit, now are they? So get on that. I know you can barely move. That doesn't matter.

Whew. Yawn. I'm tired. And needless to say, I didn't have time to blog or write anything else, either. But we did have a LOT of fun--during daylight hours, that is.

Genevieve coughed all night both nights, and the cat--whom I'm concerned has feline diabetes--was acting weird, yowling and fussing because no one was staying up late with her downstairs, so a good night's sleep was not on the agenda. But the real reason I barely slept for two nights was because I was afraid someone was going to break into the house and kill me and/or my kids. Someone who could tell Christopher was out of town and that the only people in the house were a defenseless woman and her equally defenseless children. It happens. I watch "Dateline NBC."

This fear was only amplified when, on Saturday night, just a few moments after I turned out the light to go to sleep, a loud crash emanated from somewhere in the house.

Yes. A loud crash occurred, in the dark, in my house, at a time when it could not have been made by me or the children.

After a moment of frozen panic, I decided it was probably the cat knocking down the baby gate that keeps her on the first floor during the night, and I switched on the lamp and put on my glasses and went reluctantly to find out.

I keep a small kitchen light on downstairs when Christopher is out of town, so when I gingerly crept to the stairs and peeked over, I could clearly see that the baby gate was solidly upright.

What? Damn. Now I had to continue downstairs to find out what made that sound.

A little further down the stairs, and I could see that the cat was far from the gate, lying on her bed behind the TV stand as usual--clearly not the source of the crash.

My house has lots of corners and counters and half-walls and closets that an intruder could hide behind, in, and under. And because a.) I was the only adult at home, b.) I could see nothing notably amiss from my view from the stairs--nothing knocked over by the cat, for example; no piles of toys or books that could have slid over on their own--and c.) I had to find out what made the crash, I was forced to look behind, in, and under every one of them. At night. Alone. In the dead quiet. Oops, did I say "dead"? Poor choice of words.

Of course by now I had very nearly had a heart attack. But what could I do? I had to deal with The Crash in the Night.

After peeking around the corner into the kitchen in abject terror (nothing there, whew!), I grabbed the phone and, clutching it so tightly my knuckles went white, I slowly opened every door. The storage closet under the stairs? Good Lord. I even needed to round the closet's corner and peek in the crawl space under the stairs. If you were a murderer, wouldn't this be the perfect place to hide? Of course it would. (Nothing there, thank God.)

The laundry room? OMG, there is a small window that goes straight into it from the front walk. (Nothing there.)

Behind the door of the half-bath? Lord help me. (No one.)

The large utility room that houses the furnace and hot water heater? Ideal for hiding. But no one there.

I double-checked every piece of furniture, every picture hung on every wall, every shelf of books, every overstuffed cabinet. Had anything fallen over? Things like that happen by themselves sometimes, don't they? I knew the loud crash had come from my house, and because I hadn't been asleep yet, I knew it hadn't been a dream. And yet I could find no evidence of its provenance.

All I could do was go back upstairs to my bedroom. You know, to peacefully drift off to sleep. With visions of "Dateline NBC" dancing in my head.

After turning on nearly every light in the house, checking on the girls more than once, and texting Christopher for 20 minutes, I went back to bed. And proceeded to pretty much not sleep all night long.

In the morning I figured I'd see something in the light of day that had escaped me at night. But no. I still found no explanation for the sound in the night.

Much later, when Christopher was back home and I was out on my first run since Thursday, he discovered the source of the loud crash in the night. The big plastic sled and snow saucers, which had been piled together, had slid off their shelf in the (attached) garage and crashed into the boxes below and into the garage wall--the wall that is, of course, also the wall of the house. The large crash in the night, that sounded like it was right there in the house, was three winter sleds crashing down on their own in the garage. That's all.

But the story doesn't end there. Because astute readers will remember that this very thing happened to me once before, two winters ago, when I was home alone in the evening while Christopher was out having a beer with a friend downtown. I was watching TV on the first floor when a series of loud crashes came from the attached garage--mere feet from where I was sitting. Holy heart attack! That time I called Christopher and made him come home immediately, even though his friend had just arrived to meet him. When he drove in, he discovered the toppled sleds, which had made a few stops on their way to the floor, thus maximizing the number of crashes--which sounded exactly like people crashing around in my garage. Because, WTF? What else would make a series of loud crashes in my garage at night?

Surely my household can figure out a way to store our sleds that does not invite a result so terrifying it nearly kills me. Wouldn't you say?

But of course all this begs the questions: Why does this only happen when Christopher is out of the house? And why only at night???

Sweet dreams.


Rita said...

My daddy used to say "if we live thru this it will make for a great story!"

Mom said...

Next time just start your search in the garage.