(Originally posted in 2012)
I was going to write a poem for my valentine, but once I got to the Valentine’s Day Sucks line, it kinda went downhill. We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. Never have. I don’t want the flowers or the candy or the last minute $1 card from CVS that you found on the floor because the good $4.59 ones with the glossy covers and the pretty black couple on the cover were all gone since you waited until February 14th to think to buy a card. Also, there is no envelope.
Nope, not us. In fact, we make it a point to laugh at all of the roadside gifts and bears. Oh, that’s cute; your husband bought you a stuffed animal. Aw. Why does it smell like exhaust fumes? Roadside teddy bears are bad for the environment. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s adorable when little kids exchange Valentine’s Day cards (although sometimes I wonder if the ones that say Be Mine aren’t creating little stalkers). My girls don’t want to make cards this year. They do, however, want their mother to help them bake cute cookies in the shape of hearts and decorate them with cute sayings and sprinkles. I can’t wait for their mother to come back.
But! We aren’t going to talk about Lame Love Day (seriously; can you tell me you love me on May 8th? What about October 18th? Random days, not overly commercialized “supposed to” days). No, we aren’t going to talk about that. I’m going to tell you about who was at the door. Wait, that’s not true. I can’t exactly tell you who was at the door because there really wasn’t anyone at the door, but would you please just let me tell the story, sheesh.
It is 2007. The kids are in bed, daddy and I are watching a movie, having a drink or three around midnight. By the time we decide to head to bed, it’s nearly 2:00. We’re going upstairs, giggling, still tipsy, when suddenly, the house alarm blares. We look at each other and the following scene unfolds (because we have discussed this. We know how to react during a potential home invasion):
Me: Shit! (moving closer to him)
Me: Shit! (holding onto his arm)
Him: Get the kids! (pushing me up the stairs)
Me: And do what with them?
Him: You have to leave! Hurry up!
Me: Why just us?
Him: Get the kids!
Me: What about you?
Him: Don’t worry about me. Where’s the bat?
Me: By the bed.
(There is lots of bumping into one another as we run room to room, grabbing shoes, throwing on clothes).
Him: Shit! The bat’s not here!
Me: The robber has the bat?
Him: He couldn’t have come upstairs without us knowing.
Me: Then where is it? What if he’s been in here all day, just waiting?
Him: I don’t know, I’ll use the knife.
Me: I told you to move that knife, I don’t like it in the bedroom.
Him: Get the kids!
Me: (waking sleeping kids) We have to leave. Hurry!
Them: (mumbling) What’s going on?
Me: Sssshh, no talking, just moving. Put on your robe, we have to go. Now.
Him: I found the bat! Why is it under the bed?
Me: Oh, damn, yeah, I moved it because it fell on my foot when I opened the closet door.
Him: Why didn’t you tell me?
Me: Why didn’t you move the knife?
Him: It’s the alarm company. What’s our code word?
Me: How do you know it’s the alarm company?
Him: Because she said it’s the alarm company, our alarm is going off, and they call to make sure we’re okay.
Me: It could be a trick. To get the code word so the alarm will be turned off remotely. What if it’s the robber calling from inside the house?
Him: Shit! (hangs up) They do that, don’t they?
Me: All the time. Except the dumb ones like that one who got stuck in the ceiling trying to rob the liquor store.
Him: How did he think he was going to climb back up with the bottles?
Me: Maybe he was already drunk.
Them: What’s going on?
Him: (into the phone) We need the police. There’s an intruder.
Me: I don’t remember the code word anyway.
Him: Get in the car and go to my parents’ house.
Me: You can’t just stay here. And what if they aren’t home?
Him: Hurry up! It’s 2:00 in the morning, they’re home.
Me: What if they’re busy?
Him: At 2:00 a.m.?
Me: We were about to be busy.
Him: That puts an image in my mind I’d rather not have about my parents and come on, we have to get them out of here.
(Outside, in the car, I see the police approaching so I don’t pull off).
Officer: Sir, is this your house?
Him: Yes, the alarm goes off if a censored door is opened. There’s someone in the house.
Officer: Sir, you need to put down the bat.
Me: Shit! (Thinking: they’re going to shoot him because he’s a black man barefoot in a pair of shorts at 2:00 a.m. With a bat).
Officer: We’re gonna have a look around, walk through the house, OK?
(Another officer shows up with a flashlight, heads around back. There are no lights. I realize I am still slightly tipsy as all I can think is he’s being a typical murder movie victim, investigating sounds in the dark. The weird sound in Jason movies plays in my head).
A few minutes go by and they give the all clear. Perhaps someone had tried to get in, they explain, and the alarm went off, and they were scared away. They ask us questions about where we were in the house when the alarm went off, what we were doing, the various ways it can be turned on. We explain that when we’re in the house it’s usually set to Motion Off meaning that if a censored door is opened it’ll go off, but we’re otherwise free to move around. We can also set it to go off instantly at the detection of motion or an opened door, or to give a warning chime to let us know a door has been opened. They write all of this down and tell us we can go back inside; sometimes these things just happen. Check with the security company tomorrow to see if there was a glitch of some sort.
Once inside the house, we don’t speak. We give the girls something warm to drink, soothe their fears about robbers and closet monsters, and put them back to bed. We sit on our bed, close together, not speaking, until:
Me: That was scary.
Me: We should work on our plan of escape.
Me: Because what if it had actually been an invasion?
Him: They’d be angry.
Me: They’d be disappointed.
Him: Two TVs? Really? You only have two televisions? And what the hell? You still have a PlayStation? Where are the games? Tetris and the Muppets? You deserve to die.
Me: They’d tie us up and break our records.
Him: The records would piss them off.
Me: I was really scared.
Him: I know.
Me: You turned the alarm on incorrectly, didn’t you?