I am an introvert by nature. I enjoy my own company. I can spend hours by myself. Yet my favorite thing to do is spend time with others. If you are familiar with the book "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, I am a quality time person. You would think that would make me an extrovert, but it doesn't. In addition to needing time with others, I need healthy doses of alone time. As an empty-nester, I have arrived at the perfect world for an introvert.
Michael goes to bed early. I stay up late. It works for us, except for that one thing. Last week, after Michael had gone to bed, I had the television on, and computer on my lap. A commercial came on, I muted the tv, and that's when it happened. I heard the sliding glass door downstairs open. You can't miss the sound of the heavy door sliding against the metal frame. I was stunned, I couldn't move. Should I go downstairs to see who had entered my home, call 911, run to the bedroom and awaken Michael? It's amazing how quickly your mind races when adrenaline starts pumping.
I unmute the tv. If it's a burglar, I want him to know that I am not asleep and that I hear him. (Are they called burglars anymore?) I don't hear anything, so I turn the volume up louder, just in case.I am waiting for a sound to know what my next move should be.I am frozen to my chair. I realize with the blaring noise I can't hear what's going on downstairs. I glance at my cell phone. The battery is nearly dead.
Maybe I've been watching too many late night Dateline Investigative Discovery shows. I imagine all kinds of gruesome possibilities. Am I being a little paranoid? I don't hear any further noise. No one walking around, nobody coming up the stairs, and I never hear the door shut. I shudder to think what I would do if I was alone in the house. Thankfully I'm not. Suddenly, I snatch up my phone, jump out of the chair and bolt towards the bedroom.
I quickly inform him of the noise downstairs, that we might have an intruder. I laugh as I say it, to let him know I am only suspicious and not freaking out. He gets up and goes downstairs to investigate. Funny thing. He finds nothing amiss. The sliding glass door is locked. I am grateful, but concerned. What made that noise? Ugh! Was it a window sliding open? Did he check to see if any of the bedroom windows were open? Maybe a homeless person has taken up residence in our downstairs. He secretly comes in every night, sleeps in a cozy room, then sneaks back out before we get up. Except this night, he wasn't very quiet about it. He's probably hiding in a closet. Seriously, this isn't so far fetched. We rarely go downstairs.
With Michael awake, and able to hear me if I scream, I go downstairs to examine things myself. No windows ajar, nothing out of place, nothing has fallen. I wrack my brain trying to figure out what else could have made that noise. It's possible something may have been leaning against a wall, like a broom,and if it slipped down it could mimic the sound of a sliding door. I find nothing. In spite of not knowing, I begin to relax.
I wonder aloud to Michael what I would have done had I been alone. What if something ever happened to him? If I had a dog and there was an intruder, he'd protect me. He'd have run down those stairs and chased that thief. I'd have to get a dog-a big dog.
Two nights ago, it happened again. This time, I hear someone knock over a Diet Pepsi in the refrigerator downstairs. I know, you all think I am paranoid. I realize our house makes all kinds of creak and bumps. Old houses, especially ones with wooden floors, creak and groan a lot. The heating system bangs and bumps. But this was the unmistakable sound of a can or something hitting a glass shelf in the refrigerator. I know the sound. Michael gets a Diet Pepsi out multiple times a day. It's a very distinct sound.
I am convinced that our homeless person, who creeps in late at night, has become brave enough to raid the refrigerator. A warm bed is no longer enough. He wants food too.
Hoping I'm mistaken, and something merely tipped over in the refrigerator, I choose to ignore the sound. I will not be afraid, or wake Michael up again. Life was easier when lots of people lived here, even pets. Noises never bothered me. When something bumped in the night,that didn't sound like the house talking, I knew it was one of the kids or a pet. It was easy not to be afraid.
Tonight I'm listening to a new skritchy noise. It sounds like a mouse. Ugh, there is nothing worse than hearing a mouse in your kitchen, or seeing it scurry across the floor. I need to remember to ask Michael to put out a mousetrap. I can't stand the thought of having to pick up a trap with a dead mouse in it. What would I do if I lived alone? A cat, I could get a cat. I would definitely get a cat.
I could happily live alone, if it wasn't for that one thing....
In case you are wondering, the ice maker was accidently turned on when the girls and I were making freezer meals. I had removed the ice bin to make room for the food. Ice was dumping itself onto the shelves, sounding suspiciously like a can of Diet Pepsi.