The phone rings. But not at the White House. At our house, which is kind of a taupe-y color.
Ryan scrambles to find the phone, bewildered and panicked because of the hour. I, on the other hand, have yet to wake up enough to realize that it is, indeed, the middle of the night and we don’t normally field phone calls at this hour.
He’s bumbling with the phone and I’m trying to calm him down because he often wakes in the middle of the night completely panicked and usually struggling to save us from the giant spiders, serial killers, and rabid hamsters that haunt his dreams when he is particularly stressed out in real life. And I am so used to these middle-of-the-night dramas that I don’t even have to wake fully to tell him that he is dreaming; that our life is not in danger; that he can set down his invisible bazooka and come back to bed.
Needless to say, it takes me a long while to catch up and realize that this is real life; that the phone is actually ringing and that when he answers, it is ADT on the other line letting us know that an alarm is going off in the house. In my half-sleep I assure him that everything is fine, an alarm going off in the middle of the night is no big deal. Happens all the time. Then I pulled the blanket up around my shoulders and laid my head down, anxious to get back to the puppies, unicorns and clearance sales of my interrupted dream.
We pause—Miss ADT holding on the line—and sure enough, we finally hear the sound of the alarm downstairs. Still, like one of Pavlov’s dogs, I am conditioned to believe we are not in danger, not in the middle of the night.
Ryan is saying things like, “which door?” and, “no, nobody should be coming in that door,” and, “we’ll go down and see” all the while searching for his pants, because if there’s anything we understand about personal safety it’s that you cannot properly defend your home and family in your underwear.
At this point, I bid farewell to the matching cashmere sweaters I was buying at 90% off for myself and my pet unicorn. Apparently we are going downstairs to check things out. And I’d like to point out here that I go to bed each night prepared to properly defend my home and family—in pajamas.
We make our way down the stairs and wander blindly through the kitchen and see the door to the garage wide open. Is it because there is not a man standing there in a ski mask or in full mountain man garb, is that why we almost immediately assure Miss ADT that everything is fine? That the left-unlocked door has blown open somehow on its own? I guess so.
It is only after we turn off the alarm and hang up with her that I flick on a few lights and make a sweeping, bleary-eyed glance around the room. Yep, everything is fine. And as we head back up the stairs, I notice my purse sitting on the counter. Even though I know everything is fine, I decide it would be a good idea to make sure my wallet is still inside. And it is. I’m suddenly peeved that I’ve made this very unnecessary trip downstairs.
Within a few minutes, we are back in bed and I am well on my way to the annual unicorn Christmas ball. I allow only a couple annoying thoughts to creep in before I make my grand entrance to the ball in my gown made from butterfly wings and angel teardrops:
1) It is possible that there is some kind of intruder in my house, especially if he had the good sense to hide behind something in the several minutes it took us to get down the stairs.
2) We neglected to check on our kids before climbing back into bed. What if someone came and took one of them and all I checked was my wallet?
I shove these silly thoughts aside, roll over, push them out from beneath the covers over and over with my big toe until I finally get up, and check on the sleeping lumpy shapes of my kids in their beds.
I do not, however, check the house for a hiding intruder because I have lost too much sleep already. I am acting on principle now! If someone is hiding in the house waiting to kill us and steal our Christmas presents, then he will have to wait until morning when I can react appropriately! I am late for a poetry reading with the fairy queen for crying out loud!
But I sleep the rest of the night with Ryan’s invisible bazooka under my pillow, just in case.