Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fortunately/Unfortunately: A Tale of Misfortune, Paranoia and Stupidity

Once upon a time, there was a woman who suffered from terrible paranoia and fear that one day she would be murdered in her sleep. She has, on several occasions, awakened her husband from a sound sleep just to check the locks on the doors, convinced that one was left open, thereby allowing murderers, rapists and pyschopaths (or - her worst fear - a combination of all three) easy access to their home to inflict unspeakable amounts of violence and mayhem. However, when her husband is unavailable for door-checking, she makes certain to check, double check & triple check the locks herself. She also goes through this same ritual with her stove, because what good is it to lock all the doors to keep the psychopaths out only to burn to death in your own home because you forgot to turn off the stove or oven, and maybe there was a piece of paper or something that somehow got stuck on the stove or in the oven and then it catches fire, which then catches fire to the oven mitt you accidentally left out, which then catches fire to the wooden spoons (and let's face it, they might as well be kindling!!) and the next thing you know you've become your own personal deep fried wanton? It could happen, people. It could happen!

*Ahem* Anyway...

Recently, she found a job that requires her to commute long distances (160+ miles round trip), but fortunately she was able to work out a plan with her in-laws where upon she could stay at their house a few nights a week in an effort to save gas money and extra wear & tear to her vehicle. This worked out nicely because they no longer lived in the house and had put it up for sale. By staying in the vacant house, her in-laws had someone who could keep an eye on things and make it look as if it was still occupied. And of course (especially because she was All Alone in the house), whenever she stayed there, she was sure to lock all the doors, including the one that opened from the garage into the house, despite the fact that one can't actually enter the garage once the garage doors have been shut, thereby negating the need to lock the door into the home but you just never know.

One day her father in-law kindly asked her to check their basement for water damage, as it had stormed the night before. She agreed, and upon arrival at the home, proceeded to bring all her belongings (a rather hefty skate bag, her overnight bag & her giant purse) into the house, where she (of course) promptly locked the aforementioned garage door. After having checked to make sure the other doors & windows in the home were securely locked (she didn’t want someone to sneak in & murder her while she was in the basement, because you can get murdered during pre-dusk hours too, you know), she went down to the basement to see that, fortunately, no water damage had been done. What a relief! Her father in law would be so happy! She went to send him a text with the good news, only to discover her phone battery had died. So she plugged her phone in to charge it and left it on the nightstand next to her bed (so it would have enough charge to dial 911 if that was needed at some point during the night - always prepared, that one!), as she did nearly every night she stayed there.

Then she remembered that he also wanted her to check the gutter by the basement to make sure it wasn’t clogged up with leaves. Fortunately, the door to get outside was right next to the gutter so she slipped outside, remembering to close the door behind her (there were bugs flying about, and it would be just as traumatic for her to awaken with bugs crawling/flying on her as it would to be murdered. Yes, she knows she’s completely crazy), when she heard an ever so faint “click” that turned out to be the automatic locking mechanism to the door. Unfortunately, she had no key to the home in order to get herself back inside - she always used the remote key pad on the side of the garage to get into the house. More unfortunately, ALL her things were in the house, including her cell phone (which was dead anyway, so that really didn't help, but the idea of her phone being in the house and her current position of being out of the house was making her panic) and any kind of implement she could have used to maybe pick the lock to the garage door, because she could get into the garage, just not the house once she was in the garage.

However, wanting to complete her requested task, she quickly checked the gutter (fortunately leaf-free because she really didn’t like the idea of having to dig out leaves in all that muddy guck), and then walked round & round the house, checking all the windows and doors in case one may have been inadvertently left open but they were (of course) securely locked. She was nothing if not thorough in her quest for safety. Eventually she noticed the little basement window on the side of the house that was surrounded by dirt (okay, a flower bed, but it was still dirty and gross. Did I mention her great dislike for the outdoors and the dirt that goes with it?), and covered in cobwebs, spiders and other unidentifiable yuckiness. She also noticed the window lock was up.

She knew what she had to do. So she squatted down to the window and tried to pull the window up. Nothing. She cursed. A lot. She tried again to pull the window up, nearly giving herself a hernia in the process. Nothing. She took her shoes off and threw them. Obviously the shoes were not allowing her to get a firm stance in the dirt. Pulled some more. Still nothing. In fit of anger, she shoved the edge of the window while profanity poured out of her mouth faster than a runaway train. Miraculously it opened. Just a smidge. Because the window in question was not the kind of window that pulled up or pushed down to open and close. It was the kind one pushed in or out. Had she bothered to really look, she’d have noticed that a lot sooner, and before her feet were covered in dirt.

So she shimmied and squirmed her way through the window, fairly certain her sizeable bandonkadonk wasn’t going to make the trip. Visions of Winnie the Pooh came to mind and she thought how no one at work would believe she wasn’t able to make it in the next day because she managed to get herself stuck in a window. Fortunately, her ability to measure accurately is just as faulty as her observational skills, so she was able to get through the window and into the house, where she cleaned up the dirty footprints on the bathroom sink (fortunately for her, the window was directly over it because falling onto the tiled floor in a heap wasn’t a fun thought) and closed the window all the way, but didn’t lock it. After all, she figured, if a murderer is going to go through all the trouble of getting dirty and squeezing through a tiny basement window just to slit her throat in her sleep, then he earned it.

And the next time her father in-law asks her to check the gutters for leaves, she's going to tell him to check his g-damned gutters himself.
The end.


  1. Uh, I meant "wonton" Chalk it off to exuberance at blogging again.

  2. You are a wanton wonton!
    I used to lock myself out of my parents' house and have to crawl in through the dog door. Now you are going to have to have TWO phones and keep one in your car and never leave a house without your car keys and...and.. and...

  3. Hey girl, I've missed you! You're back in rare form, I see!

    I hope you don't mind, but I've put you on the front page of The Fly. I'm sorry it took so long, but I didn't know you'd posted anything (and believe it or not, I check 2-3 times a week.) I'm doing Fly co-editor duty now, so next time you do a blog entry, let me know at theflymagazineonline@gmail.com and I'll put you up on the front page right away. (Or you can PM me in our secret spot, that's probably quicker!)

    Glad to hear you and your bandonkadonk are doing okay! :*

  4. Your paranoia needs some work. Never leave the house without some form of weaponry at the ready. Or at least the cordless phone/cell phone. If the phones are unavailable, the waiting can happen until they are. ;-)

  5. And check the kettle. At least twice. The Boy's grandmother once phoned from Vancouver to ask someone to check the kettle and YES, the electric kettle was both plugged in AND on a hot burner. Oh, and make sure the dog/cat dish is extra-full, in case you're delayed getting home, what with the carjackers and all. You just never know.

  6. Glad to see you back. I'm sorry about the commute, but glad you have employment and a place to stay while there.

    Maybe you should stock up on the 8 seasons of Monk and work through them as quickly as possible at the in-laws' home. In the end, even he began shaking some of his fears and repetitive actions.

  7. Ah, SS, that was brilliant stuff my paranoid little friend. It is good to see you back!

    Um, did you look under the bed? They hide down there, sometimes. Got to think like them, see.

  8. Hi, Guys!! I missed you all! MM, I will totally email you the next time I post something (which I'm hoping will be soon) - 'Cat told me you're the new guru - congrats!

    Oh, and I totally check the kettle AND look under the beds. And Monk? I'm pretty sure we were separated at birth. LOVE him! :)

  9. Hi Sis! Love the story of this adventure and sure can identify with it!

    Once upon a time, I was visiting my boyfriend who was living in a cabin in the woods. He had to go somewhere for a couple of hours and I locked myself out. It was summer luckily, but it was night, very dark, and a breeze made the tree branches move in suspicious ways... and then I heard this strange noise, some sort of scratching moving in the bushes. I thought it must be a mountain lion or Jack the Ripper or something big that's going to eat me, or slit my throat, etc etc etc...

    But I was smart, so I quickly hid behind a wall and armed myself with a sturdy branch and I waited... eventually a bunny showed up, hop hoping my way... well it could have been a ferocious bunny, right?

    I check things a lot too, but somehow I burned a kettle twice. The first time the bottom actually turned into a lump of metal in the shape of a Hershey kiss but bigger. The second time, the bottom just desintegrated without a trace....

    So life is full of mysteries...

    Hope to read more of your amazing adventures!

  10. There's a serious lack of OCD-level preparedness here.

    You guys probably remember that I have rental houses, right? That makes me a landlord even if I don't have the little thin mustache that I could wax and twist into a point on either end as I laugh in a sinister way, but that's another day's story.

    I had a mustache once, that started right under my sideburns and down my cheek and across my upper lip and back up the other cheek to join the other sideburns on the other side, but that's yet another day's story from a time long past and a place far from here.

    Back to the point of my story, if there ever was one...

    As a landlord I get a call once in a while to let one of my tenants back into their rented house. I keep a ziplock bag full of spare keys in my car for such opccasions.

    Last weekend when I was in Iowa, I got a text message that one of my tenants had had a break-in. Nothing missing, everyone safe, but a broken back door window. Hmmmm. Implausibility alarms went off. That's coming out of her deposit. I think someone forgot her house key when she went out.

    Once in a great while I have a tenant leave unexpectedly without paying their rent but usually having taken most but not all of their possessions with them. Those tenants usually lock up the house as they are leaving (town) but not in a way that you can open with a key.

    Then there is the occasional broken lock problem, where the key to the house just doesn't work any more.

    For these last two situations, I keep a canvas bag with a spare set of locks and a hacksaw in my car. A locksmith visit runs from $100 to $150, and a new set of matched door locks only costs about $30.

    I hope everyone and their bodacioius badonkadonk is doing well this fine morning.

  11. Wow Tonto! I wouldn't mess with a hacksaw carrying landlord! Just notify any prospective tenants and you won't get any trouble!