Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Things That Go Bump in The Night
Once when I was a teenager, my parents were going out of town. And me and my best friend Lynnie were going to brave the weekend together. Alone. In my house. Now when I say teenager, I don't mean a 13 year old. I am talking like, 18 years old...GROWN. The bedrooms in my parents home were in the back of the house. I have a theory about this. If you are in the back, and something gets in, you have no where to go. So you must prepare ahead of time. For our protection, each of us had a weapon. Does anyone remember, when you used to go to the fair, and they would take those Pepsi bottles, heat them up, and stretch them waaayyyy out. Like a big twisty piece of glass? Filled with colored liquid? Well, that was my weapon of choice. Lynnie's was a butcher knife from my mama's kitchen. Now, I know most of you are saying that her weapon was a much better choice. Not so. I have a theory about that as well. My bottle. My LONG glass bottle. I could swing, hit and run. While my would be murderer is still dazed and confused. Her butcher knife, must actually come in contact with someone's BODY. That is too close for comfort for me. They could grab your hand..and the knife and turn it around on you. Think, you must think.
I know I have just started talking..but you should already be able to tell, I am not fooling around. I am a professional scaredy cat. I think things through. I rationalize out what the best measure of protection for me is going to be.
I've already told you when we first moved to Quincy, we moved into a wonderful house off of Highway 65. A big, fixed up farmhouse. Right smack in the middle of NO WHERE. No street lights. And the closest neighbor was at least 2 acres away. Not close enough to hear you scream, that's for sure. I moved in on a Friday night. Alone. I wanted to get everything ready before my boys got there on Sunday. Rooms arranged, furniture placed and pictures hung. I wanted everything perfect when they walked in the door. I was bringing them from the only home and the only people they had ever known. It was important, for it to be right.
An old friend that I worked with at Quincy Joist helped me with the move. Ricky Gleaton was a saint. And never complained. God rest his soul. I was too tired that Friday night to do much. But Ricky insisted on at least putting the bed together so I could get a good night's sleep. I was so worn out, I just wanted to slap those mattresses down on the floor. But Ricky, the sweet, sweet man he was, insisted, it would not take long. He was right, it really didn't take long. He asked me was I going to be alright and I said yes, of course I would. He told me he would see me bright and early the next morning, to help me finish unloading, and wished me a good night's sleep.
Now, I thought between being dead tired and my freshly installed dead bolts, I would just fall out. The minute I closed my eyes, I expected to see nothing but my eyelids for hours. Note, these freshly installed dead bolts had only been in about two weeks. Because when I first checked this house out, for me and my boys to live in, it had none. Two of the doors did not even have locks on the main door knobs themselves. Just one skinny, pencil thick slide bolt on each door. Really. Uh no. I don't think so. It was not lost on me, when I made my request for door knobs with locks and additional dead bolts, I was looked at rather strangely. And you would not believe the stories I have heard since. Of these country born people in this town leaving their houses wide open. All the time. Night and day. Of all things, I was the strange one, for wanting locks. To be safe. To be protected. So no one would come into my home and rob me blind. Or worse hurt my family.
I laid down on the bed. I don't think anything ever felt so good in my life. I didn't even shower. Which was a miracle within itself. I am a clean freak, I shower twice a day. Every day of my life. I turned the lamp off that I plugged in on the floor, beside the bed. I could not see anything. I could not see my own hand. Waving in front of my face. I could see NOTHING. My heart started to beat a little too fast. I tried my breathing exercises I do. When I become overly excited or nervous. I laid there for probably 2.75 minutes. Because not only was it black as smut..the noises had now begun. I don't know how many of you have ever lived in the country. But I am here to tell you. If you are a city girl, it's scary as hell. I had NO idea what the noises were. I can tell you they were not sweet little birds singing. That was for dang sure. This house was a wooden framed house...old heavy windows. And at that minute, it felt as if there were no walls or a roof. The noises were so loud. So close. I am telling you, I could hear crickets jumping in the grass. I imagined bear roaming around, and tigers creeping through the fields.
That was it, I was up. Feet were back on the floor. And I was stumbling, fumbling for a light. Found it. Now, because I knew if I was going to get any sleep at all...I would have to find six more. Six more lights. I slept with every dang light in that house on for two nights. My boys got there on Sunday, and I was somewhat better. But first thing that Monday morning, I was calling Talquin Electric. I wanted a pole erected in my front yard. With a light put on it. Strategically placed where it would shine through my entire, pitch black yard. They said there was a waiting list. It might take several weeks. I told them that was unacceptable. I could not live without two weeks worth of sleep. The lady said she would see what she could do. I said I would pay extra. They were out there in four days. And then there was light.
We had an incident about a year after we moved there. Zach had left one of his battery powered vehicles on our front porch. It was stolen the week before Christmas. I was terrified. Because I knew it was there one night and gone the next morning. So while we slept, someone came up on my front porch and stole it. Well, that called for MORE LIGHTS. We had a front porch light. I felt it was not bright enough. I went and bought a bigger watt bulb. The KING DADDY DOG of light bulbs. 300 smackeroo watts. We hooked that baby up and I swear, Highway 65 became a landing strip. I could see 2 miles up the road, either direction. I could see deer 5 miles into the woods that were straight across the highway from us. I was perfectly fine with the light it provided. My neighbors however were losing sleep. Their animals were confused. They had their days and nights mixed up. We were forced to lower the wattage...but not by much.
Everything afterward was pretty much alright, until Josh moved out. All of a sudden, my home was no longer safe to me..again. The home we had lived in for almost six years. I went to Bell and Bates and had wooden sticks cut to fit in all my windows. I stood them up cross ways. To keep the windows from going up and down. But my favorite addition was a dead bolt. One like I know, none of you have EVER seen in your life. Except maybe on a bank vault. This dead bolt was almost too big to go on the door frame. As a matter fact, right after I had it installed, Joshua and one of his best buddies were at the house. I was showing them my new deadbolt. I said, I bet you no one is coming through that door now. Justin, the son of a local church deacon, looked at me, just as serious and said, "Miss Michelle, I don't think Jesus could get through that door."
A year or so later, Zach and I moved in with WD. I began to sleep normally again. All night. No scaredy cat.
But every now and again, Mims will had to travel for work. Sometimes he is gone 3 or 4 days at the time. My light bill increases for the month I am sure. Because I sleep with lights sprinkled on, all through the house. I refuse to let Zach sleep with his door shut. Which is normal for him. I tell him it is so I can hear him in case anything happens. But it's really so he can hear me, should something get ME and I start screaming. I have lowered myself to begging him to sleep with me. Mims and I have a king size bed, there is plenty of room. But my now, fifteen year old son refuses. Looks at me like I am crazy and refuses.
I imagine, when Zach is grown and gone, if Mims still travels, I will have to hire someone to stay with me. Unless I have talked him into installing a full blown security system by then. Being a scaredy cat is not fun and it is humiliating. But that's all about the dark and the unknown. Mess with me in the daylight, and I will clean your clock.