This year H and I have been in our house for 6 years. Amazing how fast that time has gone by. We've bonded with our neighbors, seen new people move in and move out, and we've done $__,000 work on this house. I can't tell you how much, it makes my head ache. But this house had a rough start. So rough that for a few minutes there, H & I thought we'd made a $300THOUSAND dollar mistake.
In 2003 H & I decided to move. We'd outgrown our little 1600 sq starter house and wanted something with some more breathing room. In the 3 years we'd lived in Richmond we'd stalked a few neighborhoods, and we had a good idea of where we wanted to move. Now it was just a matter of waiting for the right house. By September, we were starting to lose hope, until the perfect house for us came on the market. By Perfect I mean 'in the price range' and 'in the neighborhood'. So we bought it, without a second glance. Probably we SHOULD have glanced, but in the end, it's been a great place, and if we'd never moved here I would have never met Ann, SDD, V, and who knows, maybe not T or Rach. You never know....
Now, by 2003 my husband and I had been married for 5 years, and never in that time had his parents ever visited us in our home. Once they canceled on Christmas EVE because it was "just too much trouble" to make it down for a holiday when we didn't really have a guest room in our small home. Sean's mother & I have had our differences, and only with a few years of "growth" have we learned to get along. (I like to think that we both have learned each other's language). When we bought the new home - 4 bedrooms and a detached garage- my husband laid down the law. We had plenty of room in the new house. No excuses. Get down here for Christmas OR ELSE.
I spent the month unpacking and getting to know my immediate neighbors, and his parents and sister bought tickets to fly into Richmond on Christmas Eve. For the first time in my life I had been entrusted with a major holiday, and I was responsible for hosting a Christmas Dinner. By God, I was going to do it Hallmark/Martha Stewart style. You know those Kinkaid "art" prints, very mystical and romantic? Well, THAT is the image I had burned into my mind about how beautiful the holiday would seem to my guests. I am one of 4, plus parents and spouses. By the time the RSVP's had been received and counted there was a table set for 20 in my new dining room. My family would arrive from Norfolk/Virginia Beach at 1pm on Christmas Day.
We celebrated with our usual Christmas Eve type stuff (church, cookies, making breakfast casseroles), Sean picked up his parents at the airport, and all reunion fun took us well into the wee hours of the morning. I was still toting items out to the garage fridge well after midnight, and my hands were too full to lock the garage door on my last trip to the house. I wasn't even worried about it at the time, the house is in a really nice neighborhood, and the garage door entrance is in our fenced back yard. We have two dogs and they're pretty fierce, they will bark at anything. Squirrels, Rabbits, Mailmen, Fed Ex men, you name it - and it is vicious sounding barking. I came in without a care in the world, H & I did the Santa thing for our 2 children, ages almost 4 years old & 15 months, and we passed out at 2am.
The next morning at about 6AM we heard a loud hollow "WHOMP" from down stairs. It sounded like vibrating plastic. I turned to H and mumbled, "Honey, the kids have gone downstairs and are playing with the sled we gave them..." He says, "Oh yea.... Hey wait, did YOU get the sled out of the attic?" Me, "No...." We both laid in bed for about 2 seconds before he shoots down the stairs and I shoot into the kids' room - they are sound asleep in their beds. So, what is that noise?
I am a little freaking out at this point, Sean's parents & Sister's doors are closed, the kids are in bed, the dogs are with me... so what is the noise? Then I heard a more frightening sound, my husband is now downstairs talking in a calm sounding voice, "3XX6 Ridgemere Drive, yes.... Richmond, Henrico.... yes... A man is trying to break down our door.... no ma'am... no.... no.... yes.... " and I think, OMG! He's on with 911! I come running down the stairs and Sean's barking at me to lock the kids in with his sister - his sister has suddenly awakened and she's shouts at me as I am halfway up "GOT IT!" The kids are safe with an adult behind a locked door, it's now time to go down and defend our home with my mate.
I arrive downstairs with the dogs. Remember, they'll bark at anything? Well, apparently they will not utter a noise at the sight of a 280 lbs NAKED MAN trying to break into our house. He was throwing himself against the sliding glass door. Sean asks, "do you know him? Is he a neighbor?" "UH NO, he is not anyone I recognize", but, I'm thinking to myself, it's 17 degrees and he's naked, so... he might not look like himself.
H and I are now standing in the livingroom looking out through the sun porch doors at a man who is slobbering and screaming at us. I'm holding a frying pan (we don't own a baseball bat, and even if we did, it would have been in the garage), my husband is holding the phone with 911 talking in his ear, and the dogs are standing behind me. Its as though a mute button was hit on the sound in the living room. We weren't speaking, my husband was listening to the 911 operator, and we could hear only the rhythmic whomp of hollow glass as a large pale dark haired man is throwing his body against it, walking 3 steps away, before launching himself again. (mentioned, NAKED, right? Quite a site, I assure you). Upstairs we suddenly hear Sean's mother talking in an agitated voice to Sean's father, "Greg?? Greg!!! Wake up!!! The police are here... and... AND they have their GUNS DRAWN! Greg, I'm SERIOUS. Get. Out. Of. Bed! Did you hear me? Guns!!!"
Five uniformed cops showed up, each in their own cruiser with lights flashing, and each with their guns drawn. Using the duck and cover method we've all seen on TV, they advanced across our yard. These boys were young cops, the kind who draw duty on Christmas day, and to be very honest, they looked like "kids on Christmas morning". They were so happy to be on a call. I watched them stealth across the dry grass with hand motions and nods, silently hop our fence gate before the lead cop shouted "FREEZE!" His voice was a roar, bellowing across the yard.
Did the Naked man freeze??? NO, he did not. Instead he ran into our garage and dove into my husbands car! The police had to kick in the garage door and drag him out into the front yard. They were kind enough to cover him with some kind of tarp on the way across the yard so my neighbors wouldn't be shocked. Then they arrested him, popped him a cruiser, and Officer Roddy (who became dubbed as Officer Hotty by my Sister In Law & Myself) came in to take our statements.
As Officer Roddy came into the house, my dogs went ballistic on him, I thought they were going to eat him. My husband had to drag the one dog out of the room. The cop says, "yea, they all act that way, it's the uniform that makes dogs afraid & therefore aggressive toward cops and postal workers."
"But", I protested feebly, "they didn't bark at the intruder..."
He calmly points out, with a hint of a smile, "well, he was naked..."
It was about 9am when they finally left, and not one present had been opened, breakfast was not in the oven, nothing had been done to prepare for my meal for 20. My "Halmark Holiday" really turned out the way I could have predicted... a disorganized jumble of lateness and crazy, but with a story worth telling.
We would have let him in you know, seeing as it was so cold, if he'd been acting sane, but he wasn't. He was screaming and such. It turned out he lived about 5 streets away and was so drunk that the cops said he could have died. He was 19, and we didn't press charges. Around 8pm his father came by our house to apologize. There'd been some damage to our car, so he casually wrote out a check to cover it and thanked us again for not pressing charges.
So, now each year on Christmas when the presents are opened and the wrapping is cleared, when the dishes are cleaned and H & I are sitting by the toasty fire watching the embers burn into ash, we have a standard "was it a successful holiday? Checklist" that gets covered... "1) no illness? 2) no major cuts or injuries? 3) no naked men breaking down the door? etc".
May Your Christmas be Merry and Bright,
May No Naked Men try to Break Down Your Sliding Glass Doors!!!