Catching Hope

Looking for the grace of God that surrounds us

Doorbells, and the End of the World.

So it seemed to be, anyway, as I was getting ready for bed at 1:00 am on a Friday night not too many weeks ago.  The end of the world, that is.

*Note: this post is dedicated to my dear roommate Rachel, who was not home to witness it and to whom I refuse to give the pleasure of a re-enactment for the sake of photographs.

I am not even sure it has been a long enough time for me to recover.  Even as I write this I am feeling my fingers tense up and my heart rate increase.  Two weeks ago on Friday night I thought the end of my world had come.

The doorbell rang.

Sounds innocent, right?  HOWever keep in mind it was the middle of the night.  In a still-somewhat ghetto neighborhood.

When I was little I was taught to NEVER, never never never answer the door after dark.  Especially when I was home alone.

Which I was, at this particular hour on this particular Friday.  Rachel was working and Sarah had left a note that she was staying at a friend’s house overnight.

So, being the good little city-living person that I am, I let the doorbell alone and didn’t go to look who it was.  I figured it was either a kid or a drunk person and they would go away.

They didn’t.

After a few minutes of constant doorbell-ringing, my head started a slight spin.  This slight spin soon turned into a downright downward spiral of irrational panic.

That’s right. Panic, folks.  Sheer terror.  As I thought about the fact that people who want to break in to houses often ring the doorbell several times to make sure no one was home before they kick the door in.

As I saw the pickup truck parked directly in front of the house.  The getaway car, of course.  Lots of room for everything they were going to steal.  Were they (*gasp!) armed??  Knives? Guns? Anything?

The pitch of my voice and the speed of my speech heightened as I called my Superhero Daddy. (“What do I do? what do I do??….*gasp* …ringing….*gasp*[pitch of voice increases] they’re in the back now….I think there’s two of them…oh daddy I can hear them….*gasp*…”)

The tremor in my voice increased as I then called 911 and panickedly told the operator that I thought I was about to get broken in to.

“What do I do while I wait for the police?”, my little voice eeked out (by this time the pitch of my voice was at a pure squeak).

Apparently there’s nothing TO do while you wait for the police, except call if anything changes.  Or so the operator told me.

The doorbell kept ringing.  Whoever It was, was going from the back door to the front door, back and forth, back and forth.

I got back on the phone with Superhero Dad, waiting for the inevitable.  My little chipmunk voice now pretty much could only peep out, “It’s still going, it’s still going….what do I do?” over and over again.

(*pace* squeak out some unintelligible expression of fear into the phone* pace* repeat.)

That’s how the next 1o minutes went, mostly.

Except when I was planning my Official Escape, which was to go on to my porch roof via my bedroom window and let the Perps take whatever they wanted (I, rather brilliantly, had locked myself in my bedroom).  I attempted this escape just prior to calling the cops.  Did I not mention that before?  You see, it just so happens that around the time Superhero Dad mentioned calling the police (about three minutes into the doorbell-ringing) I was slurking around on the roof trying to determine the best place to avoid being seen by the Unknown Creep (should I close the window behind me so they don’t know I’m here??? but how would I get back IN once they were gone…) and it then struck me that the neighbors, if awake, might just call the cops on ME for suspiciously prowling around on my own roof.  Despite the red stripey pajamas and fuzzy white zippey-up hoodie, it probably looked somewhat suspicious.

Besides, what if the Crazy-Eyed Assailant/s could HEAR me talk on the roof?

So I slunk back in. I left the window unlocked and ready to go just in case.

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  (*pace*squeak*pace*squeak…..)

Now Superhero asks if there are any lights on at the neighbors.  There are.  He calls that neighbor from another line, who shines a flashlight on the Lone Blatant Decrier of Justice (by this time I have determined that there is indeed only one of them, judging by the time in between front and back doorbells).  The Fearsome Criminale doesn’t answer.

*pace*squeak*pace*squeak (“oh daddy, can you PLEASE ask him to come and see who it is???”)

Daddy asks the Kind Neighbor. Kind Neighbor gets dressed and goes out to see what the trouble is.  (Despite the lights, I guess he was in bed after all. oops.)

Muffled voices.  Female voice….familiar voice….

Sudden wave of relief mixed with ocean rush of adrenaline leaving my body.

Sudden thought that I had better call 911 back and tell them not to come.  This was fortunate, for my roommate at least.  Because the Nefarious Personage was not a criminal at all.  It was my roommate who didn’t have her keys or her phone when she got dropped off earlier than she expected.

I let her in (poor thing was freezing), then spent the next hour trying to realize that no, I was not about to get attacked and yes, I could indeed now close and lock the window.

Everyone was finally in bed (Superhero Dad and Mom, Poor Half-Frozen Roommate, Kind Neighbor and Rather-Foolish-Feeling-Yet-Still-Totally-Freaked-Out-Me).  And then there was a garage fire across the alley.  I missed it, because even though the sirens were close I decided we had had enough for one night.

I cannot quite laugh about this yet.  Perhaps in three months.  Or maybe three years, considering how elevated my adrenaline levels were and how ridiculously out of control the old “Fight or Flight” response was.  Perhaps you will laugh, though.  Or maybe you will (or should) cry.

Point of this story is, it was not the end of the world, as I so highly suspected at the time.

I am sorry don’t have any major applications to life on this one.  Except to say that I am glad my sympathetic nervous system is intact.  Or was, at least, before this incident.

The only other thing I can think of is just perhaps some little word of wisdom, something having to do with red stripey pajamas and fuzzy white zippey-up hoodies and not sneaking around on porch roofs.  I’ll let you know if I come up with anything.

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In other news….

I attempted a repeat demonstration of Kitchen Tae Kwon Do tactics.  In socks (again).

It didn’t work out so well.

It didn’t last time I tried it either.

You’d think I would learn……

Maybe the blow to my head knocked some sense into me.  : )

As an aside, I haven’t laughed so hard at anything in ages…and I think my roommate was rather entertained as well.  Dear, oh dear.

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Things I Learned During My Stint as a Single Mom

I watched my friend’s three delightful children while she and her husband were away at a marriage retreat this weekend.  I learned a lot–especially about myself!  Here’s a sample:

1.  A large german shepherd, two running children, and myself cannot all fit through a doorway at once.  When I try to fit, I lose my balance and run into cupboards, spilling bath salts all over the floor.

2.  It is nearly impossible to keep small children from trying to eat the said same bath salts while trying to clean them up.  They’re so pretty and purple and look like candy.  Non-toxic “candy”, I hope.  : )

3.  I am not as patient a person as I thought I was….

4.  …but the Lord gives LOTS of grace!!!

5.  It is nearly impossible to get three children bathed, dressed, and out the door in two hours.  Who knew?

6.  I love nap time.

7.  The weekend was easier than I thought in a lot of ways–early bedtimes and long naptimes helped with this…but was challenging for me as I realized that there is very little room for selfishness and impatience when caring for children 24/7!

8.  I really, really like doing homemaking-ish stuff.  I wish I could do it more.

9.  Play-dough is our friend.  Although, pink play-dough is hard to remove off of jeans after one small three year old intentionally sits on her play-dough to squish it down better.

10.  7:15 am snuggles with a just-woke-up but still sleepy three year old provide for priceless moments.

11.  Showering while trying to supervise a 15 month old is also nearly impossible.

12.  I LOVE little kid questions about things–they’re so refreshingly blunt!  (i.e. ‘Miss Kristi, where is your husband?’ [I don’t have one, David]. ‘Oh.’ [Next day]  ‘Miss Kristi, why don’t you have a husband?’)

13.  I also love how kids get excited about mundane things–like a dead ladybug or a garbage truck passing by.

14.  One cannot get a five year old boy to temporarily put on his sister’s pink mittens to pick up some snow.  Because, “Well….(long pause while he thinks very hard)….Miss Kristi boys aren’t supposed to wear pink!” I should have known better than to even try.  🙂

15.  The Lord is indeed very, very faithful–and gives us so much joy.

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Sawdust

I have been been working on a furniture refinishing project lately.  Scrubbing things with steel wool, you know.  Sanding things.  And inadvertantly inhaling various and sundry strong chemicals.  And dust.  This project feels entirely endless.  And I hate things that seem endless.

Maybe it’s my impatience coming out.  A reflection on our “instant gratification” drive-through culture.  Or perhaps the frustration that there are so many other things to do, too.  You’ve all been there, I know.

You’re also probably wondering if the ‘various and sundry strong chemicals’ mixed with sawdust that I now have floating in the alveoli in my lungs has crossed the blood-brain barrier and is causing some cognitive and verbal consternation.

You’re probably right.  Why would I even bring this up?  Simply this–I have found that life often has these moments.  Seemingly endless struggle–over a “besetting sin” (as my mother would call it–that one thing that is a life long struggle)….or perhaps over trying to change a habit (such as my bad habit of taking 4 days to do laundry)….or perhaps a struggle over waiting for something and fighting to be patient and hopeful (as in the case of my non-married social status).

It’s that “waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel”…the constant falling down and getting back up again…the battle against discouragement.  It’s tough.  I know it is.  But I also know that our God’s mercies are new every morning…and that with Him, there is always hope.  There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it now.  Even if you won’t see it until Heaven.

In the meantime, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the “author and perfecter of our faith”.  As the song goes, the things of this earth “will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace“.

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My New Career Path

Today, I became an official Tree Wrangler.

I had to trim my tree.  In the process, my tree saw–

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got stuck in a branch (sans the squirrel)–

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one-and-a-half stories up.

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Unfortunately for me, whilst attempting to wrestle my saw free from the death-grip of the branch the tree trimmer extension separated from the main section.

This was rather unfortunate because it involved me having to climb up a ladder set against the tree.  I don’t like heights.  Or ladders for that matter.  Makes my legs hurt. However in a happenstance of sheer providence, my neighbor’s daughter

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who is three years old came along as I was precariously perched on top of the ladder with my arm around a branch for security, and inquired as to what I was doing.  And if I were a monkey.  I said I wished I was, because then I wouldn’t be scared of the “up high”.

In the meantime I managed to re-attach the two parts of my tree trimmer and climb back down.  At which point I was able to free my tree trimmer, by hanging on the handle and jumping up and down (incidentally, looking somewhat like a monkey as I dangled there).

Fortunately, as the saw came loose so did the branch.

Unfortunately I think it was actually a branch that shouldn’t have come off anyway, as my tree looks slightly like a shorn sheep on one side.  But, nevertheless, the job is done for another year…

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I think I’ll hire someone to powerwash my house.

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