Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Things That Go Bump in the Night

We live in a pretty safe neighborhood, at the edge of town. According to a Wichita Eagle story published June 1, 2008, last year we had zero murders, rapes, or robberies in this neighborhood. There were 2 cases of aggravated assault, 8 burglaries, 2 cases of auto theft, and 38 cases of other theft. Total crimes in our neighborhood last year was 50, which was down 12 from the year before. May still sound bad to some, but it was MUCH better than other parts of the city. Lately though, I have gotten a little bit nervous at night.

A few weeks ago, my 10-year-old niece stayed the night with us. In the morning, Kimmy came and told me she was scared because the night before, she had seen a man in the house (and proceeded to describe what he was wearing). She said she had seen him outside banging on the door and then later, saw him walking around the house. I asked why she didn't come get me or her dad and she said she was too scared, she didn't want him to see her, so she covered up her sister so she wouldn't be seen and I guess fell asleep. I remember when I was in elementary school, my friend Amy had spent the night and we stayed up half the night, telling ghost stories and giggling. I was half-asleep in my chair and sat bolt upright because I swore I saw a man in the backyard holding, of all things, a fluorescent light bulb. But a second later, he was gone. I knew I was so tired that I was imagining things, though it had me shook up at the time. So, I figured Kimmy, who is imaginative enough in the waking hours, was just dreaming. She insisted she wasn't, but everything was locked up tight and surely she wouldn't have just drifted off to sleep if someone was really stalking through our house. Arrena, who had been asleep when Kimmy had this sighting, was freaked out about this story and consulted her cousin, who told me that they did see someone outside, banging and yanking on the front door. I asked if someone got in the house and she said she never saw anyone in the house, but that she and Kimmy had witnessed the guy at the front door sometime around 2am. I don't know why they didn't think to wake us up, but they have strict instructions that if it ever happens again, they are to wake us up immediately. That was enough to keep me awake at night, listening, and double-checking all locks.

Okay, so then yesterday morning when we left the house, the girls pointed at something yucky sliding down the side of our house, by the front door. Earlier Arrena has looked out the window and exclaimed that someone had TP'd a tree in a yard across the street and to the north. When I saw egg shells littering our porch and the sidewalk, I knew we'd been egg-ed. They were amateurs--they didn't get much TP in the tree and I only see evidence of maybe 3 eggs. It could have been much worse. I am guessing that they are either young kids or that they were interrupted by a car coming down the street. Chris was leaving around 2am and I had been up. I went to QuikTrip at 1am and went to bed a little while after that. Everything was fine then, so it had to be after 2am. It must have been a random hit--we keep to ourselves and don't bother anyone. Maybe neighbors don't like Chris' loud motorcycle (especially when he takes it to work in the middle of the night) and the elderly lady next door doesn't care for us. She's kind of grouchy--doesn't like our dogs barking, but it's okay when hers do; she keeps an immaculate lawn and garden and I think she doesn't like that we don't care too much about ours--it's a rental, I refuse to spend a fortune landscaping it! And then there was that time one of Chris' friends came to pick up a truck at our house and left his car on the street in front of her house--she came knocking at the door, asking for it to be removed, irate, like she owns the street. But, I can't see her egg-ing our house. They got my truck too, so that ticked Chris off and I had to wash it in the rain--it wasn't raining hard enough to get the egg off the paint. They had to be IN our yard to have hit the truck where they did. Makes me want to install one of those invisible fences and leave the dogs in the front yard. We have a black lab/shepherd mix and a Rottweiler mix. They are big babies really, but they'd sure scare some kids.

Okay, I confess that I once participated in TP-ing and egg-ing. Every senior year at my high school was the junior-senior initiation, where the senior girls picked a junior girl to "haze" as an initiation into their upcoming senior-hood. We would get them up early, dress them crazy, slather on bright sloppy makeup, mess their hair all up and take them to the park, breakfast, the school and force them to do humiliating things. The night before this rite of passage, it was tradition for the seniors to run amok. Pranks abounded. I went with friends and we egg-ed a house of one of the senior boys that was out performing other pranks. Then we TP-ed a teacher's house who basically issued a challenge, stating that no one who had ever TP-ed her house before had done it "properly." We TP-ed a house where one of the girls' boyfriends lived. Then we went to a friend's house and stuck cream-filled sandwich cookies to his car windows. After that, we went to my ex-boyfriend's house. I wouldn't let them TP the house because I liked his mom too much to cause her problems. Instead, we blacked out all his truck windows with shoe polish. That was the extent of our mayhem. We went back to one friend's house, but I left shortly thereafter. They started drinking and I wasn't comfortable with it, so I made an excuse to leave (in case any of them ever read this, I'm sorry I lied to you!) and went home. My mom was proud of me for leaving, so she wasn't mad that I woke her up in the middle of the night to let me in. But afterwards, I felt so guilty for what we'd done. I felt like such a ninny for feeling guilty about it--it wasn't THAT bad (some did WAY worse)--but I felt bad all the same. That was my only foray into a life of crime....

Anyways, it really bothered the girls that some kids would egg our house and they puzzled over it all day. Arrena asked Chris, "Why would they do it?" I think she took it personal. Or maybe she just doesn't understand why it would be such a thrill. Anyways, I stayed up a little late last night, checking outside to be sure no little punks were sneaking around after Chris left. Wish I could figure out some booby trap for them--that would be fun and satisfying!

Last year, not long after we moved in, we found dead kittens all over our yard. Two different occurrences within days of each other. It was weird. There were a couple in the front yard, and a few in the back. The next time, we found three more, I think. The lady next door said there had been one in her yard too. We're still not sure what happened. We didn't have our dogs then. But, we had a male cat, so we had wondered if he had done it. But we decided we didn't think so because their throats were ripped open and it seemed a big job for a little cat. Chris thought maybe someone had been using them to train a pit bull to fight and then dumped them in our yard. But why? And why front AND back? There is a pit bull that sometimes gets loose in this neighborhood and we came to the conclusion that maybe he had killed them and drug them into our yard. I bought a lock for our gate and keep the backyard as secure as I can--there are 3 gates--one is chained and padlocked; one had a sliding bolt on the inside that is so tight, it's hard to work and it also has a long log in front of it; and the last one is secured with wood planks and leads into the dogs' pen, which has another gate into the yard with a sliding bolt lock. Haven't had any dead kittens since then, but it was very disturbing.

I have this fear of waking up in the middle of the night with someone in my house. I can't hear anything upstairs in my bedroom with the fan on. You'd think, though, with our weird schedules, no one would dare mess around our house--I come in from work around midnight (or later, depending on if I go to the store or work late), Chris goes to work anywhere from midnight to 2am, and if it's a weekend, one or both of us might be out late. I feel like maybe I should sleep in the living room with a ball bat and my cell phone. Or maybe I am just overreacting.

No comments: