Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Christie Asks: Are We Scared Yet?

Friday night, Surfer Guy and I went to happy hour with some new friends. (At a wine bar! I had never done “wine flights” before. Very cool.) We left Son 2 home alone with the ever-faithful, but now deaf yellow lab. Son 2’s best friend and family lives across the street. We know all our neighbors, well. Before leaving, when it was still light, I turned on several lamps downstairs, so that it would never be dark in the house. Son 2 has actually babysat other people’s kids!

But an hour after sunset, Son 2 called and wanted to know when we’d be home. Surfer Guy reassured him (Surfer Guy didn’t exactly tell me all Son 2 had said until we were in the car heading home) and we continued on with our evening. But I phoned as soon as we left the wine bar and found out that Son 2 was sure there was someone in the house besides him and the deaf dog! But he wasn’t about to investigate (much smarter that those too-stupid-to-live book and movie heroines who head off into scary spaces) and so confined himself to the upstairs until we walked in fifteen minutes later.

Mystery was solved right away, as he’d heard the doorbell ring, but when he looked out from upstairs, no on was there (so he thought they’d come in). In reality it was just a book delivery from Harlequin (a copy of one of my books in French, Une Exquise Vengeance). The Fedex man had rung the bell and then continued on.

We all had a little laugh about it, especially since Son 2 was now brave enough to go down to the kitchen where I made him something to eat. And hey, who hasn’t spooked themselves when they’re home alone? I remember babysitting for the Brights, a wonderful family, but if it was night, I wouldn’t walk into their kitchen from a certain direction because I’d have to pass the door to their basement.

I still quickly change the channel on the remote if I’m home alone and a scary movie is advertised.

Do you have anything you do to stop from scaring yourself? Will you read a scary book at night if you’re home alone (I won’t)?


Debra Dixon said...

Oh, Christie-- I'm a major weanie. The contractors laughed at me when we did the remodel because I had *solid* doors with deadlocks put on the entrances in and out of the master suite (there are two doors). now when hubby is out of town, I just set the regular locks and alarm, then skedaddle back to the suite and deadbolt those doors. I finally sleep like a baby. (That end of the house requires a ladder to reach from outside.) I figure by the time you could actually get to me, I'd be awake, have the gun and have already called 911 !

Christie Ridgway said...

Deb: We have an alarm system but I'm out of the habit of using it because the dog has always worked mighty fine in alerting us. But now that he's gone deaf...

And as much as I love being home alone, when Surfer Guy and Sons are gone overnight, I don't sleep well at all. Usually leave the TV on all night.

Cindy Gerard said...

I'm a weanie too. I double check doors and windows when I'm home alone. We have a pup that barks at every little noise and you can bet when 'daddy's' gone, she barks even more because her 'pack' leader is gone and it makes her feel insecure.
No scary books at night. No scary movies - EVER. And if I do accidentally get stuck watching one,I watch between my fingers - because you know if I can't see the boogie man, he can't see me. Right? Right???

lois greiman said...

Okay, seriously, I am the biggest chicken evvvvvver. I hattte scary movies. I read a friend's book a couple months ago, The Pale Immortal. Probably by normal standards it wasn't even scary, but I may never be the same.

On the other hand, I don't even lock my doors at night. I wonder if I'm one of those too dumb to live people?

Cindy, I didn't think you'd worry about anything out there in the wilds of Iowa. Cuz see, that's my problem...grew up in ND. Things just don't happen in ND.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I miss my dog. He was the best alarm system ever.

When I'm alone at night I check the locks before I go to bed. That's it. I don't think I'm a weenie. Too stupid to live, maybe. If the security light goes on outside I'll probably check to see what's out there. I'll pick up a cordless phone so I can dial right away if I need to. If I hear a noise and dh is there, I wake him up. Otherwise I'll probably get up and investigate, albeit with caution. I've never been afraid of the dark. I have no trouble finding my way in the dark. Kat eyes.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Scariest babysitting moment...I was sitting across the street from home. I'd won a major award (not a leg lamp; it was academic) and my picture was in the local paper. Got a call from a creep who knew my name and had some icky fantasies about smart girls. How did he know where I was? I cuddled up to the German Shepherd in the house and called home. My brother was the only one there. He'd gotten a call from some guy who said he was in my English class and needed an assignment. He gave him the phone number! Assured me he hadn't given the address. I thought about telling my brother to get his butt over here, but decided the dog had bigger teeth and was better company. Mind you, those were the days when people left their keys in the car and only locked the doors at night or when they were gone.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh, Lois, ND. I grew up in MA (see story above) but lived in ND for 20 years. Safe except for Bigfoot. Eons ago were were hearing about Bigfoot sightings in our area. We were living waaaay out in the boonies. Big crash in the middle of the night--big enough to wake Clyde up, and that's big. I said, "Go check." He said, "You go check." I called him a weenie. He went to the back door armed with some sort of club. (One time it was a bottle of hand lotion off the dresser. Don't remember what he went after Bigfoot with.) Turned out to be the storm door crashing against the house. Out there on the prairie the wind is usually the culprit.

But think of the story I would have had if he'd seen Bigfoot!

Christie Ridgway said...

I got one of those weird man calls when I was a teen. I'd put a babysitting ad in my little local paper and he called and wanted to know my measurements, etc. Yuck. It even took me a few minutes to catch on, I was so young!

Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, and as to "checking out the noise downstairs"...I did that once and found out two baby skunks and climbed through our cat door and were in our living room!

I opened the front door, went back upstairs and closed our bedroom door and hoped for the best. They were gone by morning.

Michele Hauf said...

I don't read scary books for the fact that I creep myself out too easily. :-)

When the hubby is gone on his hunting trips I usually don't sleep that first night because I am ultra-alert to any little noise in the house. The cats know this. They make noises just to freak me out. Creeps. I usually get a good night sleep around night #3 just because I'm so exhausted by then.

I wish I had a security system. That would make me sleep much more peacefully.

Dara said...

I used to be such a fan of Stephen King and John Saul - until I had kids. Something changed for me after my first child was born - I didn't want to imagine anything frightening anymore. DH and I went to see "Seven" at the theater when it came out and I had nighmares for weeks. Never again!

Helen Brenna said...

We had several instances of my daughter getting freaked out home alone. Twice, she called 911. One of the times, an overzealous charity person started wiggling the front door knob when she was home alone because she "could" see someone was home. I was so mad I called the charity and complained. Kids are told NOT to answer the door when they're home alone!!

The second time, she and a friend saw someone peeking in the back basement windows when we were out to dinner.

Guess I don't blame her for getting wigged.

Me, I don't scare too easily, but I think I blogged about this once. I'm thinking I'm the odd one out here. I'll watch scary movies, but generally don't like to read them. And I sleep like a baby when my dh is out of town. No snoring is pure heaven!! LOL

Christie Ridgway said...

Dara: I think having kids makes it so much easier for our imaginations to go in dark directions...always worrying about them.

I took Son 1 for a run in his stroller around a pedestrians-only lake in a nice part of town when he was teeny. I was freaked that he wasn't attached to me somehow (that I wasn't holding him or having him in a carrier). I kept imagining people snatching him from out of his blankets. Maybe that was the post-baby hormones talking, though.

Helen: Your poor daughter! Those experiences would definitely creep me out. I am =not= telling Son 2 about them.

Fiona said...

We have a security system (it came with the house) but I trust the dog more. She wakes up when the paper is delivered at 5:45, which is a good thing, because my oldest child needs to get up at 6.

The scariest thing that happened here was the dog going nuts at 2 AM, and my husband was away. I called the police.

Me: can you send someone over to check around my house and garage?
911 person: What seems to be the problem?
Me: The dog won't stop barking at the window, and now I hear vioces outside.
911 person: We'll send a car around.

I felt like a fool, but the police officer was very nice. He checked inside and outside.

I found out the next day that a group of college students had a party a couple of blocks away and were walking around the neighborhood that night.

I'm still glad I called the police. They were VERY NICE about it.

Betina Krahn said...

I have a security system that's on the fritz right now. . . red lights everywhere. I think a squirrel must have chewed some wires somewhere. But I'm not exactly losing sleep over it.

And I guess I used to be the biggest scaredey-cat ever as a kid-- lots of doing my sister's chores so I could sleep in her bed at night. I was terrified of monsters and dark and scary movies. for some reason, not any longer. I really kinda like scary movies now and I even read some horror books with relish. (Hold the mustard and onions.) Anyway, I can read a scary book at night or watch a scary movie and go straight to bed and sleep like a log. The exception is when I'm really tuned into a character and things go wrong for them. . . like in the current movie "I Am Legend." Did not sleep particularly well the night after I saw that. Terrific acting and suspense, I was on the edge of my seat. . . and believe me, I'll not buy the DVD or ever watch it on HBO. It had an impact. The gore and slash movies I usually skip. . . it's too easy to identify who's gonna get killed and then refuse to identify with them until they die. Does that mean I'm turning callous?