October 16, 2007
Several years ago I met a stay-at-home-mom who was living the American Dream. She was married, with a toddler, living in a brand new home in the country. Her husband worked nights, and after their daughter was born she became frightened of being alone with the baby at night. So, her in-laws would pick her up every night when he went to work, and she would stay with them.
At the time I was young, childless, and invincbile, and I could not figure out what would possess a person to become so afraid that they would choose spending every night with her in-laws over the comforts of home. As I mentioned here, I loved having the house to myself, even as a kid, so I was baffled by her nightly ritual.
Time changes all things, and now, as a wife and parent, I understand the reasoning behind it. Granted, I would never do it myself, slumber parties with the in-laws are NOT something I want to do, espically not every night. However, I now understand how uncomfortable it must be for some people being home alone.
Every time J is off for any length of time, when he goes back to working nights, I transform into superwuss. I guess this stems from the fact that, being the only adult in the house, in the event of a break-in the fate of my children is in my hands. The transition usually begins after dark, and seems to be worse when the weather allows for the windows to be open in the house. I suppose this is because I can hear all the creepy country sounds.
In the last few years I have come to detest coming home late at night to an empty house. I am constantly looking around for places outside around our house where some psycho could hide and attack me as I am fumbling for my keys. I lock and chain the doors immediately when I go inside. In short, I’ve become a weenie. It doesn’t help that my mother watches CourtTV several hours a day, and then tells me all about the crazies she hears about on there.
One recent evening I heard what sounded like someone rapping violently on our storm door. My heart lept into my throat as I thought of one particular case my mother had told me about where a man heard violent knocking and went to the door to find some teenagers wanting to come in and use the phone. He was uneasy, and didn’t allow them to come in. They refused to leave, and he tried to call 911 but his phone line had been cut. He managed to keep them out of his house, but they later murdered an elderly person by gaining access to their home using the same method.
In my mind I pictured some murderer standing just outside the storm door, and I knew my front door was standing wide open. With nowhere to hide, I began to panic, until I noticed the cat running through the house. I looked to the litter box, and found it’s contents strowed messily in front of it. That’s right, the “rapping” on the storm door was nothing more than a long haired tabby violently kicking litter in and around her enclosed cat box. She was no doubt showing her displeasure over the fact that her regular litter had been replaced with TidyCats.
Well, J returned to work last night after being off for 2 weeks, and I was skiddish. After putting the youngest to bed, I was helping my oldest say his prayers, when I kept hearing things. At one point I convinced myself that I was hearing a baby or small animal outside, near the vicinity of my youngest’s room. I thought about going outside to check, then I thought, “you dummy, that’s what a crazy axe murderer would want you to do, draw you outside so that he could murder you, then walk right in and do the same to your kids.” I was also seeing light flash accross the windows, which of course could only be the flashlight of said crazy axe murderer.
Next, I heard strange sounds in my oldest’s room. “What’s that?” I thought while looking around for someone lurking in the shadows. I was freaked out, and the baby or animal was still making noises!
After a few tense minutes with swesty palms and a rapid heartbeat, I finally determined the sound from my oldest’s room was him rubbing his feet against the wall in an attempt to stay awake. As I was going in the kitchen to tidy up, I walked by my youngest’s door and heard his sweet little voice singing a song, then saw lightning streak accross the sky.
That’s right guys, the cooing baby was my own, who I thought was long asleep, and the psycho’s flashlight was indeed lightning. But, I have to admit, I still jumped when the dishwasher’s rinse cycle kicked on as I cleaned up the kitchen.