It was a dark and stormy night. It was also late, and no one else was home. SS was alone with the creaking of the old house, the rustling of the ancient trees against the powerlines, the scraping of the branches across the fence and the side of the house. She was all alone with her thoughts when all of a sudden she was jolted from her reverie as the dog started barking angrily, loudly, pointedly, her attention fused to the front door. Surprised at the vigor with which the dog bellowed, SS got out of bed to investigate. Donning her robe, SS told the dog, "Find it. Show me where it is" and followed her downstairs. SS looked, but she heard nothing, saw nothing at the front door. But the dog didn't relent. She was intent on something -- delivering her message, but to whom? -- so SS continued on, following the dog's lead. They inspected the kitchen door and then the side door and were about to go into the basement when SS saw it.
The side door. The sliding glass door.
It was dark outside. Nothing so unusual about that except SS had just, not five minutes ago, turned on the deck light. The one with the outside switch that could only be turned on from its hidden spot on the side of the deck. It was now off. SS could see nothing outside, and only her worried, confused and increasingly anxious reflection in the sliding glass door.
Feeling intensely alone, SS thought to herself, "Where the hell is my cell phone?" Her heart rate increasing as she chided herself for being so careless.
The family room. It was in the family room. The now dark family room. "Shit," she thought and went in quickly, but stealthily to grab it off of the sofa.
The dog had hushed and was now quiet. SS could hear nothing, see nothing.
"Okay," she thought. "All of the lights in this room -- and only this room -- are out. It's gotta be the circuit."
SS crossed back through the kitchen, clutching her cell phone in the pocket of her robe and nervously glancing out the back windows as she went downstairs with the dog at her heels. Stepping gingerly over the refuse and rubbish from the recent construction on her basement, SS made her way to the back closet where she flicked on the light and opened the breaker box.
Yes, indeed, the circuit had flipped off. With a quick click, SS returned power to the family room and went upstairs where she was relieved to see the outside light back on, illuminating the deck.
"Phew, only the circuit," she thought. "That scared the crap outta me."
SS sat down on the sofa. The Tivo powered back up and began recording the Red Sox game for SM, interrupted only briefly. With the dog and her cell phone to keep her company, SS decided not to be caught with a dead battery. She went back upstairs to the bedroom to plug her cell phone back in, check on her eBay auction and read email, the dog's clackety-clacking of her nails on the wood floors echoing behind her.
Distracted for a moment by impulse competitive shopping, SS got caught up in her eBay bidding. Sadly, she didn't win the auction, despite vulturing over it and sniping with a higher bid at the last moment. "Oh well," she thought. "I wouldn't have paid more than that for it. The other guy must have really wanted it."
The rhythm of the clicking of her keyboard and the dog snoring from her bed in the hallway gave SS comfort. "I trust her ears," she said to herself. "Even if she is asleep."
No sooner was the punctuation on that thought than the dog again burst into life, barking with determination and bounding down the stairs. SS grabbed her cell phone and followed her once again.
"Find it," she told the dog. "Show me."
This time, the dog did. She scurried through the livingroom, kitchen and family room and scrambled out the doggy door onto the deck. Then she quickly ran down the stairs and disappeared into the dark of the back yard, barking at great volume and intensity and length. The light was still on over the deck, but SS couldn't see the dog. She could only hear her.
And then she couldn't. Suddenly, abruptly, the dog stopped barking.
SS started to sweat.
The light was still on, so SS, in her bathrobe, sidled up to the curtain closed over half of the sliding glass door and peered out. From that angle, she could only see part of the deck and nothing beyond it. And no dog. No barking either.
"Shit," she whispered to herself.
Images of mutilated pets ran through her mind, and her heart started thumping in her chest.
SS, still unwilling to step directly in front of the sliding glass door, called for the dog. "Gidget," she said in a low voice.
Nothing. No rattling of the dog's collar. No clackety-clacking of her nails on the wood.
"Here girl," she said louder and then called her by whistling.
Finally, after what seemed an eternity but was in reality perhaps ten seconds, SS heard the dog climbing the deck stairs and come through the doggy door.
SS grabbed her. Just in time too. She had to wipe off her paws and coat before she shook off the rain all over SS's new suede chair!
"Okay," SS thought to herself. "Enough of this. I'm just freaking myself out. And when the fuck does SM get home?"
The lights were still on, but rather than subject herself to the continuing drama of an over-active imagination, she decided to go upstairs where she could ignore the fickle circuit breaker by playing online. So she did.
Until she noticed that she had lost her internet connection.
"Fuuuuuuck," she thought to herself. "The modem is plugged in in the family room." Cell phone in hand, she trudged back down to the basement to flip the breaker. Which she did. And did again, four or five times in the course of an hour.
Yes, ladies and gents, with slight embellishment and an intentional attempt at campy descriptions, that was my evening. The lights did go out. I did freak out mildly. The dog did go beszerk and run outside. I did recall stories of pets being beheaded. This is how NOT to entertain yourself when you're home alone on a dark and rainy night.
Gidget is asleep on her bed in the hall outside of my bedroom. She detects no bogey-man right now, but I do have to trek back to the basement because for 80% of the time while I was writing this post, the internet was down. Because the modem was down. Because there was no electricity in the family room. Because the circuit flipped again. Because... I don't know why. It can't be overloaded. When Carlos was doing work on the doggy door yesterday, we used more juice than the TV and light take. I don't get it.
And SM called from the airport. I told him the whole story. He's on his way home. I'll be glad to have him home.
UPDATE: SM is now home. He went outside to check the lights and figured out my little thriller mystery. Seems that some of the wiring for the outside light isn't properly insulated, so the rain is shorting it out. Which shorts out the circuit. No bogey-man. Just an old house with lots of things jerry-rigged.
Labels: home stuff, yikes