Everything I Know I Learned From Television.

Michael got his first pair of "white kicks" the other day. Before that, all he had was a pair of King's old fleece slippers and it was getting a little embarrassing. When he first tried out his new sneakers, he walked around like a show pony, lifting his knees way up like he was stepping over logs. Incidentally, he has figured out that in order to go outside, he must have his shoes on. He also assumes that the converse must be true. If I bring Mama my shoes, she will take me outside.

On this particular day, he brought me his shoes, asking to go outside. I'm lazy, but it was a beautiful 70+ degree day, so I agreed. We walked up one block and back, which I swear took about 45 minutes. I imagined that his pace was on par with a 90-year-old. Then he practically pulled me across the street to the park, where he rode the springy horse, the duck and the mystery turquoise animal with the white sailor hat (a seal, I think).

I finally coaxed him (i.e. picked him up and carried him) back to the house and put him down for a nap in his bed. I went into the kitchen and noticed that the back door was ajar. Normally, I wouldn't give this a second thought, but this was the day that we had the fugitive loose in our city.  I hadn't been overly worried about it, but I was making a conscious effort to keep the doors locked, which is why THE BACK DOOR SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN OPEN. I stood there staring at it, trying to remember when I had last used that door. I had opened it to let the dog out earlier, but I had been careful about closing and locking it. Hadn't I? And even so, why was it gaping open?

I didn't know what to do. Call Curtis? Call the police? Suddenly, I felt very foolish to even be worried about my back door. Did I really want the neighbors gathering to watch the SWAT team raid my house because I thought America's Most Wanted might be in there, when in all probability, I just didn't close the door properly after taking the dog out to pee? I was going to forget it, but then I thought about how this is exactly the point in a horror movie that you start yelling at the stupid girl who is ignoring the blatantly obvious signs that an axe-murderer has entered the house. It was clear I wasn't going to be able to relax until I knew no one was in the house. It was time to get IT.

IT is the sawed-off shotgun we got for Christmas. I'd never even held IT before, let alone loaded IT, but I was convinced it was what I had to do. I retrieved it from its hiding place and figured out how to load it. 

I was armed. Now what?

I decided I needed to check upstairs first. I stared at the closed door leading to the stairs, trying to figure out how exactly to proceed.

I was ready to open the door, but how do I hold a loaded shot gun with one hand? On "Cops" they always have handguns or partners. I shoved the gun stock as far as I could into my armpit and clamped down with my arm. I grabbed the door handle with my free hand and swung the door open. I had to prop the it open with my foot because I had recently installed automatic door closing hinges so that Michael couldn't sneak upstairs every time someone forgot to close the door.

I stood at the bottom of the stairs and listened intently for any stray noises. Nothing. I thought about sending up the dog first.  Makena, our Jack Russell Terrier, is an unintimidating twelve pounds and she'd more likely to lick an intruder than attack him, but I concluded that she might bark or at lease cause some noise that would give me a clue as to whether there was anyone up there. I found the decision to potentially sacrifice my dog surprisingly easy.

I forcefully called for her to come, wishing she had a more menacing name like "Sick Balls" or something.

Nothing.

I called again, this time using a high pitched voice and making kissing noises. Maybe whoever was upstairs would die of laughter before I got up there.

Still nothing.

Annoyed, I let the door close again went into the living room to find her curled up on the couch.

"Makena, COME ON!"

She jumped off the couch, cowering with her tail between her legs. This was my back-up?

Again, I swung open the door and stood, looking up, ready to shoot. Makena scurried up the stairs. I listened. No barking. No footsteps. Just sniffing. Was she smelling his shoes? Then I remembered that upstairs is one of her favorite places to poop. I was freaking out in anticipation of mortal combat and the damn dog was searching for an inspiring spot to lay one down. Excuse me, Mr. Mass Murderer, while I take a crap.

As I slowly climbed the stairs, I said aloud in a normal voice (for some reason I was embarrassed to yell), "I am coming up. I have a sawed-off shot gun, so you better come out... with your hands up (yes, I actually said this) and get the #@%! out of my house."

Surprisingly, no one appeared with their hands in the air saying, "don't shoot." I peaked around the corner at the top of the stairs, then stepped into the room. I could see that the upstairs was clear of intruders (and poop). As I looked around, though, my heart sank. There are SIX doors leading to attic storage spaces around the upstairs. That's SIX potential hiding spaces. I tried to reason that I didn't have to check them, but kept envisioning the perpetrator crouching between hand-me-downs and craft supplies. I'd have to check them all.

One by one, I swung open each door and quickly peered inside, my gun barrel leading the way. By the third one I was starting to feel pretty confident with my weapon. Who says T.V. is bad for you? I was clearing my house like I'd been watching two-dimensional professionals and the actors who play them do it for years. That is until I tripped on a pile of crap. (The human clutter kind, not the canine variety). No shots were fired, but I took a moment to refocused on the seriousness of what I was swinging around. If I wasn't extremely careful, blowing a hole in the roof or shooting my foot off were distinct possibilities.

I returned downstairs and closed the door behind me with relief. I took a quick tour of the downstairs, unloaded the gun and returned it to it's hiding spot. I was so grateful to have that over with and, while I was still stressed from my stint as police woman, I felt I would be able to get through the rest of the day without jumping at every noise. I went into the kitchen to find some comfort through chocolate, when I noticed the door to the basement. CRAP!

Forget it.  I was NOT  going to go through that again. If anyone was down there they would just have to come get me.