Sunday, September 26, 2010

Feline Burglar Alarm (Patent Pending)

I'm cool with being old enough to be my sons’ grandmother, but not so much with being old enough for my friends’ babies to be having babies. Talking about baby showers got me remembering mine.

It was one of the most terrifying experiences in my life.

On a Saturday morning that September I was pregnant with Agent 96, we had planned a morning of apple picking with some friends. Neatnik Tom was more annoying than usual, making sure the house was picked up, the dishes done, and the rugs vacuumed All before 9am. Like I'm supposed to know all our knickknacks had to face forward before we leave to pick apples. I had one particular towel that I used in the downstairs bathroom (aka the downstairs bathroom towel, sheesh) and I was peeved that, with that towel in the laundry he made me, made me, put a random towel in the bathroom.

“The yellow towel? Are you effing kidding me? No, I don’t need to put the yellow towel in the bathroom. I’ll put the right one back when the laundry’s done. Jerkwad.” Forgive me. I had hormones. And a big honking watermelon pressing on my bladder.

“Humor me, Linda. I just want a towel in the bathroom, okay?”  Harumphing loudly enough that I was sure he'd know I was the better person, I hung up the towel, and we headed for the door. Leaving the house, I gathered up C and tossed him inside then closed the door behind me, checking, as always, that it had latched.

I’m sure I bellyached during the drive to the orchard about the foolishness of putting the yellow towel in the downstairs bathroom. I’m quite sure I complained to our apple picking companions, Eric and Barbara, about how unreasonable Tom had been over the great towel debacle. But I enjoyed the apple picking, and the fresh air, and the company of our friends. I can only assume they did not equally enjoy the company of my insufferable self.

I knew something was wrong when we returned and I saw C in the front yard waiting for us.

“What’s C doing out, Tom? I’m sure I left him inside.”

“I must have gone back in for something and let him out by mistake”, was Tom’s explanation.

Confused, I knew that Tom had been waiting for me in the car. That was the usual scenario; I invariably forget something, and never make it out the door on the first attempt. The only reasonable explanation for C's presence in the front yard was that the house had been broken into, and the burglars were unaware C had escaped. Was he trying to tell us something? (Like, “There’s a burglar in our house. Maybe two. Meow. And is there any food out here?”)

“No, Tom, really; C shouldn’t be outside. Something’s wrong.” 

Adding to my overall pissedness at Tom was that he was making me, his beloved and by now seventy-three-weeks-pregnant wife, go in first. I touched the doorlatch. My heart stopped,  my fears of an intruder confirmed. We have one of those old-style front doors with the button on the edge that locks and unlocks the mechanism, and we always have the button set so that the door won’t unlatch from the outside. You have to use the key to open it, and the door locks automatically when you close it. The door was unlatched. Clearly someone unfamiliar with our doorlatch protocols had been messing with the door. All signs pointed to a burglar. 

Holy hot cross buns. There’s a band of armed robbers in my house, and you’re making me walk in first? Who are you? And what have you done with Tom? Was what I was thinking. 

What I said was, “You want me to open the g-d front door? Okay, then, I’ll open the g-d front door and then I’ll say I effing told you so.” Or words to that effect.

So I open the door, take a step inside, and …

I just realized I still wear this t-shirt

Tom and Agent 96, Fall 1997

By the following year I had recovered from the trauma, and we went apple picking again. I was pregnant. Again. But the day didn't involve a single curse word.

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