This is not a funny story, but if my words are chosen carefully and cleverly enough, I hope that you’ll at least chuckle a bit.
This is how it all unfolded.
I was at home this morning, as usual, with my two grandkids and our four year old friend. We had our breakfasts and cleaned up. We played a few rounds of Elsa and Anna and then we made some ridiculously goofy and adorable paper plate turkeys.
It was just your average day in the life of Nonni and the gang.
But suddenly, I heard something truly unexpected.
I heard my garage door opening.
“What the absolute FUCK?” is what went through my mind, while, “Oh, my goodness” came out of my careful Nonni mouth.
Nobody was due here in the middle of the day. Not my husband, my son-in-law or my daughter. Not the guy who is going to be renovating the bathrooms, not my neighbors, nobody.
But the garage door had definitely opened.
In the first ten seconds, I watched the reactions of the dogs. If a car that they know pulls into the driveway, they yip and dance and jump around like a couple of happy drunks. If it’s a stranger, they bark like they mean it and they both get a ridge of hackles down their normally smooth backbones.
Today, as the garage door opened? Deep barks and semi-hackles as they looked out the window into the drive. I peeked over their heads.
And saw nothing.
Now our garage has one of those openers with the little push button devices that sit on the cars’ visors. You can’t manually open the door. So, if there’s no car in the drive, there’s no device on a visor. Nobody should have been able to open the garage door.
But I am not quite insane. The door had definitely opened. The dogs and I had heard it. And there was no car anywhere in sight.
Ergo: Nonni panicked. I looked to make sure that all three kids were safe in the living room. They were. I didn’t hear anyone in the garage, so my assumption was that a bad guy was standing there, listening to the sounds of Olaf chasing Anna around the ice castle.
I can’t retell the next 30 seconds with any clarity, but this is a rough estimation of what went careening through my addled old panic stricken brain: “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod…there’s a bad guy in the garage….he must have some wide band thingymadgigy that can open garage doors ….he knows we’re in here….whadooIdo? I’ll stay here with the kids and keep them safe! Whaddayamean safe? SAFE? From a crazy assed KILLER BAD GUY? I can’t keep them safe.”ˆ
By now my heart rate was approaching 200 and my head was absolutely splitting with adrenaline pain. I had a split second of complete indecision, and then for some reason, my brain said this, “I can’t hide up here with the kids…I have to go see who it is…if I hear any sound at all, I’ll just dial 911. where’smyphonewhere’smyphonewhere’smyphone? I got it, don’t drop it, hold it tight, tell the kids to stay here, tell them to sit on the sofa, they won’t sit on the sofa! Why would they sit on the sofa? Tell them to go hide in the bedroom! No, I’ll scare them…tell them you’re doing laundry….NO! They love laundry, they’ll wanna come! Just open the frickin’ baby gate and go face the deadly threat!”
At this point my whole body was shaking. It had been roughly two minutes since we’d heard the door open. The kids were still blissfully playing, making so much noise that I knew the bad guy must have heard them. I didn’t have a real plan in my head, but it seemed to make sense that I should try to scare off the threat. I could dial for help if it got dicey. No matter that chunky old Nonni couldn’t fight off more than chipmunk at this point, it still seemed like a good idea. So I went.
Our house is a split level, so the front door opens onto a set of stairs that go down toward the basement and garage, as well as a set that go up to the living room. I crept down the upper stairs, cell phone in hand, and glanced out through the glass pane of the front door.
There was movement out there on what should have been my empty lawn!!!
I took one more slow step. I got closer to the glass.
And there was my husband’s car, parked in the middle of the lawn. Behind it stood the man himself, pulling a bale of straw out of his trunk.
“It’s Papa!!!!” I yelled to the oblivious kids. Then I flew through the door and let the poor guy have it.
“OhSo, The daySo
So. The day is over. Papa made it safely back to work, and I made it back into the house. All three kids made it safely back into the arms of their parents.
After all that drama, there was no bad guy. No killer. No menacing stranger. I tried to tell myself that I had over reacted, but what else could I have thought? I couldn’t think of any other explanation for no car, no door opener but a wide open door. I started to chuckle at my foolishness, but a sudden thought stopped me:
What if I had owned a gun?