Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things that go bump in the night

I am a strong, independent woman. I shake hands with a firm grip. I’m not afraid of spiders. I can change the oil in my own car.

(OK, I’m not saying I do change the oil in my own car, but I could if I wanted to).

I also have a paralyzing, pants-peeing fear of scary nighttime noises.

I’m not talking about crickets chirping or the cat hurking on the floor (though the latter can strike fear in my soul).

I’m talking about the creak of a floor, a thump on the roof, or the rev of a chainsaw outside my window.

Pythagoras is a charming and companionable mate, but he could have six eyes and intense halitosis and I would still keep him around because when faced with a scary nighttime noise, he does not pull the covers over his head and cry.

That would be me.

Pythagoras, on the other hand, is a man. And also sane.

When our doorbell rang at 2 a.m. last fall, I woke with my heart pounding. “Someone’s breaking into our house!” I hissed.

Pythagoras flipped on the bedside light. “And they’re ringing the doorbell first?”

“Don’t turn that light on! They’ll know we’re here and will kill us!”

He rolled his eyes at me and started dressing. “We don’t lock our front door. Now you’re concerned about security?”

I didn’t answer him, mostly because I had my pillow over my head and was humming Ozzy Osbourne’s “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll.”

Pythagoras, meanwhile, thumped downstairs to look around. “Take a weapon!” I yelled.

I heard the muffled whir of something electronic.

“What’s that?” I whimpered.

“The drill I left on the stairs,” Pythagoras called. “You told me to take a weapon.”

I lay there for a moment, trying to decide how I felt about my husband maiming an intruder with a drill. I decided it would be OK as long as he was careful not to get blood on the fern by the front door.

Once Pythagoras completed his circuit around the house, he returned to the bedroom and set the drill aside. “Probably kids screwing around,” he muttered as he undressed to crawl back into bed.

I sat up and blinked at him. “Aren’t you going to call the police?”

“Nope,” he replied, snuggling under the covers. “Goodnight.”

And that was pretty much it. Well, for him, anyway. I lay there all night keeping a close eye on the drill. I had no idea how to operate it, but figured I could use it to beat someone over the head if the situation called for it.

I had actually forgotten the whole incident until three days ago when Pythagoras called while I was visiting my parents to do research for my current book. “Someone rang the doorbell again last night,” he said.

“What did you do?” I whispered, trying to picture the scene if I’d been the one home alone.

It wasn’t a nice picture, and involved changing the sheets and maybe throwing away the mattress.

“I went outside and looked around,” he said. “Then I got a flashlight, sat on the porch, and waited.”

“You were going to beat someone to death with the flashlight?”

“No,” he said with exaggerated patience. “I waited for the kids to come back up the street before I flipped on the light and scared the crap out of them.”

Oh.

OK, so I’m not proud. I know I’m a weenie and my husband is a bigger man than I am.

But I did learn to operate that drill. That counts for something, right?

27 comments :

L. T. Host said...

That is priceless. Thank goodness for husbands-- well, fiance still in my case. They are invaluable at being brave.

Though mine hates bugs more than I do. Kinda cute, really.

Sharon Axline said...

Damn I keep forgetting NOT TO READ THIS AT WORK! The cube rats scare easily. Things that go bump in the night are always scary - and a drill is the perfect tool to ward off the bump beasties. So how did the dogs react? Usually if my guys go crazy THEN I get worried. If they don't even budge I'm pretty sure we're safe..

Candyland said...

You're overactive imagination is gold for writing:)

I'm the same way. I hate noises at night and think I'm going to die.

Sydnee said...

I feel your pain. I have a faulty alarm system that sometimes goes off in the middle of the night. I'm somewhat used to it by now, but the first few times it happened I couldn't help but pee my pants in fear, thinking of the masked men downstairs eating my food and wielding a hacksaw to torture me with. Now, when the alarm goes off, I yawn and think, "Oh, the alarm went off," and then I roll over and go back to sleep. I don't know which scenario is worst!

And then there was the one time when I jerked awake at the sound of glass breaking. My dad and mom went to investigate, and in the long minutes while they were downstairs I imagined a hundred and fifty ways for them to brutally die. Turns out a picture frame fell off the wall and broke. Whew.

Lisa said...

Hey. At least your hubby gets up. If someone knocked on our door in the middle of the night, mine would tell me to get my ass up an answer it, lol!!!

KAK said...

"sic 'em, Bindi, sic 'em"

Claire Dawn said...

I'd be just a tad bit worried, if you were a bigger man that your husband...

Misty said...

Oh, Sista...
There was an unfortunate Easter when the door bell rang that I checked the peep hole and freaked out. I dragged my own version of your Pyth upstairs because the people outside looked like OJ and a bag lady. My guy looks out the peep hole and says, "JC on a pogo stick, M...it's your sister!"
Indeed it was. She was wearing a furry-collared vintage coat and her boyfriend hovered over her with a leather jacket and knit, 'stabbin' cap'.
A...whoops.

Tawna Fenske said...

L.T. Host, my husband, bless his heart, won't kill spiders. It' not that he's afraid of them. It's that he knows I like them, and he doesn't want to upset me. I once watched him scoot a black widow the size of a cherry into a butter tub and take it out to a field so it could be free.

Sharon, the poor old man dog is deaf and pretty confused, so he slept right through it. Bindi sat in her kennel and cried. Kinda what I felt like doing.

Candyland, I swear, the overactive imagination is at its very worst when I'm awakened in the middle of the night!

Sydnee, I totally would have wet myself if I heard glass breaking. I'm glad it was just a picture frame!

Lisa, Pythagoras has many faults, but at least he knows I'm a wimp and is willing to accommodate me!

KAK, no kidding, Bindi wasn't much help! Of course she was locked in her crate, but she didn't even bark.

Claire Dawn, this is an excellent point!

Misty, OMG, I almost died laughing about your sister in her furry-collared coat. Priceless!

Thanks for reading, guys.
Tawna

Xuxana said...

You don't lock your front door?!!!

Karla Nellenbach said...

hahah! that was hilarious...I have to admit that I am more like Pythagoras. I'm usually the one investigating, but at least my dogs protect/hide behind me while I'm doing it!

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

My hubby mans up and deals with the nighttime noise, but I have to wake him up first. He'd sleep through a hurricane ripping the roof off the house.
:))

mumfusa said...

Once the sun goes down, my imagination kicks into overdrive as well. Fortunately, though, when scared, my heart (and all other bodily fluids) freeze, so at least I don't have to worry about changing sheets at 4am.

As is it was last night, I was woken up by my refrigerator popping (normal), and then couldn't go back to sleep. But couldn't read the book I'm in the middle of (since it involves zombies and well, what if that was what was making the noise in my kitchen?) so I read Princess Diaries instead. Nice and safe.

Rhonda said...

LMAO! Just what I needed after a brain numbing morning spent serving on a Grand Jury.

Personally, I'm scared of all things creepy crawly - bugs, spiders, mice, etc. I scream like the girl that I am and it's the hubs job to kill or otherwise dispose of said nasties from our home (don't worry, he takes the spiders outside and sets them free).

I've never really been the nervous "I heard a noise, go check it out" kind of a person but the one time that's happened since the hubs and I have been together, I was the one who had to go check it out. Not because the hubs was too scared or lazy but because no matter how hard I nudged him he just kept right on snoring.

I suppose I could have yelled at him but I was slightly afraid of letting the potential Manson family style serial killer know exactly where I was in the house. So, I crept out to check that all was secure. It was. The hubs snored on. I, on the other hand, spent a restless night waiting for Squeaky Fromme to return to finish the job...

Maggie said...

My solution to such frights is to usually grab the pen on the table next to me (because that's the only sharp thing in reach and I will NOT get off the bed. Plus, it's still sharp and that's good enough for me) and whisper-cry for the dogs to get on the bed with me (even though theyre bigger chickens than i am). Then I stare at the door all night and make sure every inch of my body is covered with blanket.

Yep. That's me being brave. :)

Theresa Milstein said...

Between this story and your vacuum cleaner bag post, I'm beginning to see a pattern here.

I'm a baby when it comes to the dark. I actually check under the bed when I go to sleep. After seeing "Poltergeist", I don't want any surprises.

danicaavet said...

OMG, this was great! I remember when I was 7 and I'd sleep at my dad's house, I'd climb in bed with my younger brother when I heard those scary night sounds. The way I figured it, if we did have a Freddy Krueger type killer coming in the house, I'd have a 50/50 chance of making it out alive. To make sure I woke up before I was killed, I slept next to the wall so my brother would be the first thing grabbed. I amaze myself with my clever planning. Now that I'm older...I just make sure my dog is with me, not that she'll protect me or anything.

Larissa said...

LOL - That was awesome. I can tend to let my imagination get away with me when home alone in the middle of the night, but spiders definitely win for my worst fear.

Linda G. said...

Ha-ha! Nighttime noises don't really bother me--which is a good thing, because our house is kind of old and creaky. But spiders...*shudders* Well, let's just say I feel about spiders the way you do about needles. ;)

Patrick Alan said...

A post titled "Things that go bump in the night" and it isn't innuendo?

I'm disappointed.

We've come to expect dildo winestoppers, simulated sex, and sucking wine experts. Please try to keep the sex references in.

Tawna Fenske said...

Xuxana, shhh, don't tell anyone. Oh wait. I already did. Well, for the record, this isn't exactly a high crime area. And we don't have much anyone would want to steal.

Karla, I admire you deeply. I'd hide behind you, too!

Nicole, I'm lucky enough to be the heavy sleeper in our household, though I do always wake up when an animal yaks.

mufusa, I've heard about those refrigerator zombies. They can be deadly!

Rhonda, isn't it funny how you try to be all quiet when you hear a noise in the house? Like a serial killer might just leave because he couldn't figure out which room is the bedroom :)

Maggie, hey, don't knock the pen as a potential instrument of death. If used right, it could easily take down half-a-dozen vicious killers.

Theresa, it is possible I need therapy. I'm with you on checking under the bed though. You never know who might be hiding there!

danicaavet, I'm impressed by the cleverness of your childhood death-avoidance strategies!

Larissa, I'll trade you some spiders for the guys who keep ringing our doorbell!

Linda G, remind me never to come to your place for a sleepover. Then again, you wouldn't like my place much, either. Lots of black widows in these parts!

Patrick, I have to tease so you never really know when I'm being disgusting and when I'm not. Come back tomorrow, I'm thinking of blogging about the hole in my crotch.

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

Southpaw said...

Do you sleep with the drill by the bed now all the time?

Joelle said...

It's like we're twins separated at birth! I relocate spiders, but night noises! Gah!

Cynthia Reese said...

Bwhahahaaa! You and the Permed Dachshund have something in common. Last night the little pup woke The Husband up with insane barking ... and it turned out to be a deer blowing raspberries. I kid you not.

Rhonda said...

I know, it's like I'm banking on a stupid serial killer coming in and getting confused. In our tiny one bedroom apartment. Where the bedroom door is literally feet away from the front door. Yeah, so serial killer logic isn't exactly my thing.

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

night noises are the worst. Especially when you're alone. *hiding under covers now* yes I know it's daytime, but I's scared.

The Blogger Girlz said...

LOL! I cracked up laughing when I read this post! I'm just like you, I freak out at every night time noise! At least you've got a big strong husband to beat intruders with a drill or a flashlight if he needs to, all I've got is a dog who snores! :P

Love your blog, I'm definitly becoming a follower! :D

~Ella