Friday, September 30, 2011

Rites of Passage Have Never Been More Frightening

A few months back, Katie came up to us and wanted us to take her to get her learner's permit so she could practice getting her driver's license. At the time, it didn't seem like that big a deal. She had to take a written test to make sure she understood the rules of the road and I was all for it. It's good for her to know them! It's good that there are requirements for knowing the rules before one actually starts driving! Look how responsible our child is!

Yeah, uh, I kind of forgot that getting her permit meant she would actually be allowed on the road. In a car. Behind the steering wheel. Driving. Granted, it had to be with another licensed adult, but still. That meant one of us had to be in the car with her while she was in control of the vehicle. Thankfully I was smart enough to dodge that bullet! However, Harry wasn't so lucky...


Thursday, September 22, 2011

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

Once upon a time, there was a woman who suffered from 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 psychopaths (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 & 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 wonton? 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 that unfortunately 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 Nature?), 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. She tried again to pull the window up, nearly giving herself a hernia in the process. Nothing. She cursed some more. 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, when she realized that it was possible her sizeable badonkadonk 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 (what turned out to be) the bathroom 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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School Daze

As most of you are now aware, I have some paranoia issues. And OCD. And probably a dose of ADD thrown in for good measure. At any rate, because I’m married to a man that has yet to be run off by my...quirks...he takes my freak outs about various situations (mostly imagined, but could totally possibly be real & happen, so it totally counts as legitimate!) in stride. Usually he's very supportive & understanding. 

However, sometimes he doesn't fully grasp the severity of the potential threat about which I'm panicking, and thus ends up being snarky and sarcastic instead of supportive. I guess no one's perfect. Anyway, every year since my kids were old enough to go to school, on the very first day, I would either walk them to the bus stop, or when they got too "old" to be escorted, I would watch compulsively from our kitchen window to make sure they did indeed get on the bus and not kidnapped by murderers intent on abducting my children and throwing them into the back of a rape van so they could be sold off into slavery never to be seen or heard from again. 

Don’t ask me why it’s only a First Day of School (FDoS) freak out and not year round. It just is. And it’s vital that I physically see them get on the school bus. Because what if those murderers tried to grab them or lure them away with candy or puppies and I hadn’t noticed because I just assumed they wouldn’t have any problems? Would that be any comfort while they were being repeatedly drugged & tortured in some dirty, smelly shack? NO, it most certainly would not. Never mind the fact that the bus stop is literally 10 steps from our door. Or that even if I did see puppy & candy-wielding murderers abducting my kids, I'd still be too far away to stop them. Or that both our kids are black belts. Or that my 13 year old son is bigger & looks older than some of the 16 year olds in our neighborhood, and that my daughter dresses like such a freak I'm fairly certain most folks in the area are afraid of her. It’s possible, and that posibility is all that's needed to freak me out. 

However, this year because of my work schedule, I was unable to perform my annual task of making sure they weren't kidnapped by murderers. My beloved husband pre-empted my inevitable freak out & reassured me that he would take over this duty and be ever diligent to make sure they made it on the school bus safely. I went to work, my mind at ease knowing my husband (who is also a 2nd degree black belt, thus much more capable of catching and disabling said murderers) had taken me seriously and would prevent any wrong doing from happening. I should have noticed him rolling his eyes...

So, when I got to work this morning, upon opening my email, I received this from my beloved:

"The kids are off to school. Both got on their busses okay and only had to fight off 2 or three waves of puppy and candy wielding kidnapper ninjas before doing so. Here is a picture I made for you to remember the kids' first day of school this year! Have a Superwonderful day!

P.S. Just be aware this is an artist's rendering of this morning's events, not an actual photograph. Also it is only *based*on actual events...some liberties may have been taken, and names have been changed to protect the innocent."


Today was also Harry’s first day back at school. He’s gone back to get his Masters so he can teach Middle/Junior High School kids. Why he would voluntarily work with hormonal, newly-minted teenagers is beyond me. Although he puts up with me on a regular basis, so I imagine teenagers are probably not as exigent (thought I’d use an SAT word since school is back in session and everything...I had to look it up, hence the link...). 

Since he is making his foray back into school after a somewhat lengthy (*cough* 18 years *cough*) absence, Harry was worried about being so much older than the other students on campus, but I reassured him that it wouldn’t be that big a deal. Of course he’d make friends and fit in! How could he not? After all, those kids are going to need someone to buy them beer! For some reason, that sentiment wasn’t as comforting as I expected.

But, just as I assumed, he had no problems at school. He even had a nice little exchange with one of his professors! Yay, Harry! Good job!