Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Third Wheel

Yes, growing up I was the third wheel. Amber and Heather moved in sync and beyond the capacity of normal "friends". My grandma called it twin power, which I enjoyed on the merry-go-round. They would push me, and sometimes Travis, until we were sick or screaming because we could barely hold on. The twins just smiled triumphantly speaking mind and eye twinspeak.

A couple of days ago Skip sent me a link with twin boys babbling a deep discussion. They gesture and mimic each other, pause, listen, answer--everything any of us do when advising a loved one. It's emphatic. My first thought was it couldn't be real. I run social skills groups every week and we really push for a hint of the engagement and awareness that these video twins have. The video twins can't articulate but they communicated to each other clearly. Then I thought of my sisters and concluded the video was real.

Skip and I laughed and joked that Amber and Heather did that and would understand it. I emailed it to my mom and sisters. Here are their responses:

It does to me. I' not sure about the twins. Isn't that fun---

Happy Easter. Love Mom

Yes it does - and i know exactly what they were saying. Amber

Memories?  Of course.  And it should come as no surprise you that I knew exactly what they were talking about......Heather

I'm not saying that my sisters were wearing matching green capris, white tank tops, blue flowy shirts and baubles on their wrists as they typed those lines, but I also wouldn't be surprised.

You can watch the twin phenom at:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ladies Night Extended

Last night I attended Ladies Night at my local bike shop. My reason? To make some friends and plan some rides. I soon realized that this was a night for road cyclists. Not a problem, but I don't own a road bike. I mountain bike and I don't really need crazy nutrition supplements for my rides, I need a partner in case my head meets a tree. While I didn't make friends I did win a new pair of gloves. Whoooo! This was not the end of the excitement.

I went home and feel asleep in the living room a couple hours later. A couple hours after that I woke up and stumbled to my bed as I worked out the crinks in my neck. What I didn't do was check to make sure the sliding glass door and the door to the garage were locked. And now for the pattern. A couple hours after that Wiley (we're dog sitting for the month) starts barking wildly by my window. Before I opened my eyes I thought it must be morning and Wiley was barking at the children who use our front yard for the bus stop. When the barks continued but moved further from my window I slowly opened my eyes. Now he was locked into the back corner terrorizing something. And it was pitch black. Only 2:30 am not 7:30 am.

Probably just a rabbit or the famed deer I'm always hearing about, I told myself. A few minutes later I'm more awake and a little freaked out because I've decided that a deer or rabbit would not be loitering. Wiley continues to bark. I wearily climb out of bed, full of dread for what I have to do. Best case, I'm chasing after Wiley trying to get him into the garage and quiet. Worst case, Wiley's got something or someone cornered and I'm going to have to sort it out. Aggressive children would seemed blissful at the moment. So I throw on my robe and debate if I should grab a gun. Wiley, who had stopped barking for a moment starts again and I can't quite tell where he is.

I grab the closest gun from behind the bedroom door. Then I realize I don't know what kind of gun it is. Skip keeps various guns around the house, including my new Daisy Red Rider. At this point I'm tempted to grab the bb gun because I know it's loaded, but it's in the kitchen and won't really scare anyone. So I get the security gun from the other corner of the bedroom. Why not grab it to begin with? Because to do so I had to walk past the window near the street. Two windows actually. I grab it and feel more terrified that I'm lugging a heavy gun around and I can't quite remember how to use it.

I can't turn on a light. I wouldn't be able to see in the dark after that. I also can't turn off the light in the kitchen, there is no rational reason I just can't. It gives me a little comfort to have a low light burning. Wiley continues to bark. I check the rooms quickly and make my way to the kitchen. There I peek through the drapes. I don't see Wiley but I do see a car parked across the street. Yep, that's where Wiley had lost his mind a few minutes earlier. Deep breaths. It 's probably been there all night. But I still creep to another window and close the blinds. Then I go back to the sliding doors and look out into the night. I can't hear or see Wiley.

I begin to wish I'd grabbed a darker robe and put black paint on my face. I don't own black paint but am certain that anyone outside can see my pale face. I put the barrel of the gun next to my cheek. Maybe they can see that too. Wiley starts barking. I can't see him but his in the corner to my right and the car is in the far corner to my left. Has someone been in that corner?! Can they see me?!

I retreat to a back bedroom. I want to call the police but I don't know their number and my phone is in my bedroom. To look up the police number I'd have to go back to the kitchen. Not going to happen. My phone I manage to grab and I go stand watch at the bedroom window. I can see the car. If nothing happens after 20 minutes I'll relax and go to bed. I see someone light a cigarette inside the car. Just a flash of orange and my heart races. A coincidence. Pure coincidence.

CRASH CLANG WRRROOOOOOFFFF! That came from inside the garage. I pull back from the window convinced that I just saw someone give a signal and another person is going to barge into my house. I dial 9-1-1. I tell them I think someone is breaking into my house. I tell them I can see a car across the street. I'm speaking louder than I want to but I can barely hear myself over the pounding in my chest. I've had three people break in to my house over the years. Twice I knew them. The third time I didn't but he took my roommates computer.

I give my address and they ask me if I see anyone. No, I don't hear anything but the car is still there....And the car door is open. The gun I'm holding starts to shake and I'm worried I'll set it off because it's not the gun that's shaking but my entire body and the gun could drop. I'm now cradling a rifle, or a shot gun, or a pellet gun because what if this isn't the loaded gun. Where are my shoes?! I'll get them.

"Is the car still there? Did anyone get out of the car?" a voice asks. Wiley is still in the garage barking.

I'm still on the phone with the 9-1-1 agent. I look back at the car and the door has shut. I still can't see anyone. The headlights flash. Another signal. Then the car starts and drives slowly. Wiley's barks get muffled and from the variation in sound I know he's running around the back yard.

"The car is headed towards Sherwood," I whisper. "It's turned and heading toward IL-8."

"Ok, a police car is on it's way. Don't open the door unless it's an officer."

Dial tone. They hung up. I panic and do the only thing I can. I call my mother. It's 2 am where she's at and still she answers. I tell her just enough to give her a heart attack before the cops are calling me.

"I have to go. I'll call you later."

She either thinks I'm a dead woman or I'm hallucinating again.

Knock, knock.

I see the cop car, notice the uniform and still struggle to open the door. He's a nice looking guy. A little more librarian than hero with his wire rims but he's got a tool belt that looks like Batman's so I accept. His hands go up and he takes a step back with alarmed eyes.

"I really need you to put that gun down," he insists.

I jump and start to toss it on the ground. Luckily I stopped myself and rushed to put it in the hall. Illinois has some funky gun laws and I probably just violated nine of them. He takes my information and tells me he's going to look around some more but I should quiet the dog. Oh yeah. Wiley's barks had become familiar, something stable in that moment. I waited until I heard Wiley's deep growl. The cop was in the back yard, now I could open the door to the garage.

Wiley grinned when he saw me. Have you seen a dog grin? He bounded over to me, licked my hand and listened when I told him to sit. His owners will read this and shake their heads in disbelief. Skip will read this and wonder how I tamed the beast. Wiley won't come to anyone but his master, and me at 3 in the morning. I lock him inside and wait for more instructions.

The cop comes back to the front door and asks me more questions. Did our bedroom window always have a tear in the screen? Uhhh... Well you would have known if someone was trying to get into your bedroom window. Don't worry. We've got the car stopped. It's a female.

I listen to some cop radio garble. "We've got a serious 96 here." A 96? What is that. The officer relaxs. You didn't see anyone try to get into the house did you? No. Not really. A 96 is a psych patient. He proceeds to tell me how safe my neighborhood is and if anything else comes up they'll call me.

A mentally ill woman. Confused. Stalker. Or just wanting to be my friend? Ladies Night may have been a success.

Oh and Skip? He's hunting turkeys, the kind that gobble not park across the street.