My stepmom usually comes over early on Monday mornings and helps me out with my girls. She holds Pringles while I drag Viva through her morning routine of getting dressed, eating, and brushing her teeth. Sometimes Stepmom will take over the morning routine and I’ll snuggle the baby. At the end of it all, Stepmom shuffles Viva out the door and drives her to day care and I collapse in my favorite chair with a fat baby and a big sigh of contentment.
This Monday, I cancelled on Stepmom because Viva had a rough night of sleep due to coughing and I didn’t want to force her out of bed early. Naturally she woke up at 7:00 anyway, but I was happy to have the morning to lounge with her and watch “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” “Hearth’s Eve” no fewer than three times in a row.
My morning began with coffee and whining: “I wanna watch ‘My Little Pony.’ The one where they get really cold.”
In this thrilling episode, the Earth Ponies, Unicorns, and Pegasi perform a play about their origins. Therein, we meet these creatures who fly around in the clouds feeding on hatred and anger.
“What are they called again, honey?” I tease. “Winnebagos? Wilburs? Windsmackers?”
“WINDAGOES, MOM!” She is only 32 months old, but she’s perfecting the “you are such a bleedin’ idjit” tone.
“Mom, do unicorns fart?” she grins, then answers her own question. “Nooooo, unicorns don’t fart! They don’t have butts!” I don’t know if this is true. I’d have to ask Kelle Hampton, unicorn expert. I’m pretty sure unicorns fart either glitter or confetti.
Pringles just giggles at Viva and grabs handfuls of her curls every time Viva gets close enough.
It was around 9:15 when I finally belted both kids into my new (to me) Nissan Versa hatchback and headed to day care with track 12 of “Snacktime” by the Barenaked Ladies playing. That day, we only got to listen to track 12 over and over. Viva is big on repetition in entertainment right now.
After a successful drop-off, I stopped at my local supermarket for milk (and yes, gummy bears and ice cream too. There. You got it out of me. Happy?). I decided to allow myself one morning a week to eat my favorite junk food and then be good the rest of the week.
Driving up the hill to my house, I always slow at the intersection where there is no stop sign. Once I see there is no oncoming traffic, I speed up to my driveway a block from the corner. My rented home is on a big corner lot that is quite unkempt because the landlord doesn’t pay for a gardener. As a result, people often throw trash in our yard or, even more annoying, cigarette butts. Sometimes teenagers loiter and make-out there, but not very often. Once I chased away a couple of boys sharing a bong in their car on a Tuesday morning. If you have to get stoned at 9 in the morning, what the hell do you do to RELAX at the end of the day?
As I slowed for the uncontrolled intersection, I noticed two women sitting on the corner in front of my hill. They were smoking cigarettes and chatting happily to each other. They had long dark hair, hoodies, jeans and sunglasses. The uniform of the young. I felt annoyed they were there. Those cigarette butts will end up in my yard, I thought irritably.
I enter my house through the kitchen door at the side because the driveway is closer to that door. My front steps go down a hill approximately 20 yards to the street below. Hedges and trees obscure the view so that a person standing on the sidewalk cannot see my house and I cannot see a person standing on my sidewalk.
With Pringles on my hip, I walked down the winding front stairs and peered around the hedge. The women were still there, smoking and chatting.
“You ladies waiting for someone?” I asked. Both turned slightly and looked at me briefly. Both said “Yeah.”
The one on the right smiled pleasantly and said “Our car broke down up there,” gestured vaguely,”we’re just waiting.”
“Okay,” I replied equally pleasantly. “Just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Thanks,” one sounded annoyed.
“Sorry,” the other sounded embarrassed.
Back in my house, I realized I’d left the milk in my trunk, so Pringles and I went out the back door to the car again. I looked up the street to see if I saw the broken down car. I didn’t.
And then it hit me.
Somebody ordered a bunch of merchandise with fraudulent accounts opened in Odie’s name when his identity was stolen last week. There are strangers sitting in front of my house. It is 10:30, about the time FedEx usually shows up.
I called the police, expecting the dispatcher to say there was nothing she could do, but they actually said they’d send someone right away. While I waited, I kicked myself internally. Why did I go out there and tip them off? That was stupid. I should have been more suspicious. Now these perps know my face and that I have a young baby. Nice.
I couldn’t see much from my house, but I did see a police car cruise slowly up and down the street. Pringles was overdue for a nap, so I wrapped her up and nursed her, then walked her around, peeking out the window from time to time. I saw a couple more cars and about four officers standing in the street chatting. I love living in a nice town where the police are not very busy so when you call for them, they ALL come.
Damn it! I tipped them off and they got away! So stupid! I didn’t even want my ice cream anymore I was so upset with myself.
That, my friends, is pretty upset. It was Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Fudge Caramel Swirl. I have to be quite out of sorts to be thrown off my binge.
Pringles was sleeping peacefully in her swing when a burly officer in body armor showed up at my front door. He held open his notebook and showed me a FedEx tracking number.
“This is the package they were going to steal,” he announced.
“You caught them!” I actually squealed. I admit that now.
“YOU caught them,” he chuckled. “Nice work.”
The police arrested two females, one with the tracking number on her, neither with I.D. or car keys or phones. Someone had dropped them off to pick up the merchandise. Probably boyfriends. Girls can be so stupid. I’ll bet they won’t give up the real perpetrators of this crime. They’ll take the grand larceny charge, do their time, and probably be rewarded with some stolen jewelry for their loyalty.
Don’t give me that “it was just petty larceny” shit. You get me.
I wish I could say I was sleeping easier. It’s a total cliché, but I feel violated. Strangers have my address, phone number, my husband’s social security number. They have seen my face and know I have at least one young child. These people tried to steal from me. They were at my home. It’s a terrible, sick, creepy, furious, scared feeling.
Nothing funny about it.
And the bitches didn’t have my popcorn maker.