My Front Door

Machovka-Door-800pxWhen things that go bump in the night, I rarely take notice. It’s the little sounds that get me.

A clunk rising from the basement will barely disturb my sleep because I know it is the water pump.  But the faintest crunch of gravel at the end of the driveway – who knows what that is?  We live on a remote road and things like that jolt me upright in bed.

Sometimes it is not even a sound – just a beam of headlights sweeping across the swamp behind our house will rouse me from the deepest slumber – and when I awake with my heart pounding, I wake my wife. 

“Did you lock the doors?” I whisper.

She is a night-owl and locking up is her job.

“I think so,” she murmurs.

It is what happened last night and it got my radar pinging at full volume. 

As we lay in bed, something brushed through the leaves on the front steps. It was either the stray cat who has taken up residence under our porch or a serial killer. It sounded too big for the cat. She is a skinny little thing who we put out food for – perhaps a raccoon or a possum was cashing in on our generosity.

That is what my rational side told me – but no one was listening to it. My irrational side had the floor and was browsing through its inventory of slasher films.

“Are you sure you locked the door?” I asked again.

“Don’t be paranoid,” she said, dozing off.

She says I am paranoid but I say she is not paranoid enough. She grew up in the country during an innocent age when people didn’t latch their doors. My experience was different.  I lived where people bolted thick steel grids to their ground level windows.

Now we live in the country and she trusts her surroundings. 

I don’t.

I know what goes on out there.  I know what lurks in the ditches. I recognize the scream of owls. I comprehend the madness of coyotes. I hear the cries of terror and despair piercing the night. I heed the silence of the lambs. 

I have witnessed the aftermath of the night.  In the daylight, it is easy to be indifferent to the carnage. It is like watching a livestock trailer speeding toward the killing floor and not thinking about what that implies – until dark comes.

Whatever it is thumps against the door.

My wife sits up. “I can’t remember locking…” Her voice trails off.

Uh, oh…

But then I realize what it is. The screen door has come unlatched and is slowly flapping in the breeze. The sighing of its pneumatic piston tells me that.

I am not worried now.

“Why don’t you go check the door?” I say.

“Me?” she says.  Her voice drops below a whisper.

“Don’t be paranoid,” I tell her.

She shakes her head no – then gets defensive.

“You’re the man,” she says, “that’s your department.”

Author: Almost Iowa

www.almostiowa.com

61 thoughts on “My Front Door”

  1. Can’t figure out how you got stuck with litterbox duty. You need to let the missus “accidentally” catch you Google searching “how to barbecue a cat”.

    Spider killing and noise investigation are my dept.

    1. I admire the grace, agility and beauty of raptors – but their table manners are atrocious. Hearing a hawk pick at a live rabbit for hours is the sort of thing that sends me into the woods with my baseball bat.

  2. This is completely awesome. I laughed out loud at almost every sentence because it’s so relatable (I’m not 100% sure that’s an actual word, and I’m an English teacher), but I’d worry about what was on the other side of the flapping screen door. This is such a great post.

      1. My husband went to a football game the other night. I was in bed reading, no music, no TV. I, too, know the sounds of the heat and the patter of little mice in the walls. But the serial killer sounds coming from the kitchen?

    1. That is not a bad route to go but I got to tell you, I lost all faith in security when I worked for the Minneapolis Police Department and someone stole my pie from the lunchroom refrigerator. I would have reported it if not for all the paperwork. 🙂

  3. Yeah, man up- that’s what I tell my hubby. Did you hear that? (no) listen! He’s walking downstairs to check doors and such. (and sometimes, I follow him from a distance) we are like that scene out of the Great Outdoors where John Candy and Dan Akaroid are trying to catch the bat. They have lampshades on their head. 🙂

    That’s us.

    We’d end up injuring ourselves before catching the intruder. Quick- over-here, no not me! OW.

    1. My wife has so many end-tables and knick-knacks scattered about that is unsafe for me to navigate – much less an intruder in the dark. I doubt they would get halfway across the living room before calling 911 to save them.

  4. Fun to read, as always. I don’t worry about intruders. At the home place where I grew up we had wood stoves and a furnace, I worried about chimney fires. After a few snaps and a little wind, I just knew the whole place would go up in flames any minute. I would get out of bed, climb up into the attic and check the chimneys. If the bricks were cool, I went back to bed…only to sit straight up two minutes later and make my way to the basement to see if someone had left the furnace door open. Flu fires did occur often enough to keep you awake.
    Now I have electric heat…and one cat who likes to warm her back against the electric bars close to the floor. The odor of singed cat will make me bolt upright…at which point I get dizzy and have to sit down before I take a headed into the clothes cupboard. Then while I’m up….

    1. They do… but why break glass when you can pilfer the next house? 90% of safety is shuffling the bad luck down the block. I always used the “rings of defense” approach: locks, dog, shotgun.

        1. On my running route, a property owner wired a picture of two dobermans to his fence. Above the picture the caption read, “Ralph and Amos can make it from the house to the fence in 3.5 seconds. Can you?

  5. My wife is in charge of the doors and never misses. The dog is in charge of security and is remarkably alert for an Irish Setter. I’m in charge of being well rested for the next day.

  6. Almost Iowa, even though I thought this “My Front Door” post would be about Jim Morrison (he was the Door at the Front of the concert stage), I forgot my disappointment when I saw it was another piece of yours that’s funny, engaging, and easy to relate to.

    1. Naw, we don’t worry about that. We captured one of the 30 lb snapping turtles that lurks in the Minnesota Mosquito Preserve and chained him to our back steps… nothing goes there – and if it did, there would be nothing left.

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