Our family never does things in typical fashion. Our holidays are a good example.
The three of us left for Maine in two separate cars. Papa planned to stay overnight Friday and return home to sing loudly Saturday and Sunday.
Meanwhile, Liev and I would enjoy a blissful vacation at the Hearthstone House, compliments of my parents.
I learned two things from my trip.
First–I should always have a solid, written plan.
I am accustomed to travelling with Mom–my backup frontal cortex. My husband prefers to “play it by ear.” I need all contingencies clarified, discussed, and documented.
The second thing I learned–unplug the telephones at the destination.
After a two hour drive with the question machine, I took a lovely shower. I stepped out to a ringing phone. I picked up. The man identified himself as emergency services. Appalled, I realized Liev must have dialed 911 while I showered.
Despite my explanation, the operator remained dubious. The chaos and screaming in the background certainly contributed to the operator’s concern.
The police showed up in less than five minutes. I asked my son if he wanted to meet the nice officers. Liev’s resultant paroxysm of shrieking satisfied understanding policemen, who had special training in dealing with autistic individuals.
The police showed up second time Sunday.
At 4:00 am Easter morning, Liev and I were sleepless. He occupied himself with math worksheets as I played Spider Solitaire. From downstairs, a thunderous racket emerged:
WHAM, wham, WHAM, creak, creak, tinkle-scrape.
I thought, “Radiator? No. Radiators don’t tinkle or scrape.”
WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! Creak, creak, rattle, rattle, tinkle-scrape.
I thought, “That sounds like a screen door slamming violently in the wind.” I looked outside. No wind.
WHAM! Wham, wham, creak, creak, rattle, rattle, tinkle-SCRAPE, SCRAPE, SCRAAAPE!
I realized, “Oh, Dear God! Someone’s trying to BREAK IN!!“
And then I thought, “Where did I hide the phones Friday night?!”
I slapped the nearest window with menace. As my brain spun, I tried to recall where I put the phones. I slapped the window until I saw a phone atop a bookshelf. I spent the next 90 seconds fumbling with the jack to plug it in.
I called 911. The police were there in minutes.
Officers scoured the neighborhood with infra-red cameras and flashlights as bright as helicopter lights. The emergency service responder chatted on the phone with me for the next 45 minutes as they combed the area.
A sweet, obviously excited officer met with me after an hour search. He told me drinkers often get lost and try to enter the wrong house. This explained the racket. What stealthy robber makes such a commotion?
The policemen explained that a series of similar rental properties rested a block below us. They still planned to patrol for the next two hours but reassured me the person was likely sleeping it off elsewhere.
Despite the turmoil, Liev placidly read and filled out worksheets. He resembled a little professor with his calculator, workbook and serious frown. I felt even prouder when he fell back to sleep at six o’clock.