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Thursday, January 06, 2005

A Not So Stealthy Attack

A Not So Stealthy Attack

It's been a little cold around here. Yeah, yeah, I know. When we say "cold", there isn't a lot of sympathy. So just understand that I start to whine when the thermometer says 60. It's automatic; I'm polynesian. But, just so you know, it was a chilly 45 last night. For us, that's downright freezing.

I sat in the living room in my big, comfy chair; feet up, blanket over my legs, dog sleeping happily on the ottoman near my feet, and a roaring fire in the fire place. A nice vision, yes? It felt nice. Safe and warm. It was the first opportunity I had to get the knitting out since the holidays and I was actually happy to get back to it. I was working on a much overdue birthday scarf for Jon, when I heard a noise outside.

Since we'd been having storms lately, I thought maybe it was the wind blowing against the little welcome sign I had outside the house, disregarded it, and went back to my knitting. Even Shanahan didn't budge from her place; still happily chasing handsome golden retrievers in her dreams as I noted her little paws moving while she slept. I returned my attention to my sage green yarn, and even though I heard the noise a few more times, I was quite sure it was the wind, and paid it no more thought.

Caris lay on the couch reading, snuggled up with her own blanket, and Charlie was on the other side of the living room, sitting on the loveseat, reading the new Clive Cussler novel he got for Christmas. We were listening to "Bruddah IZ" on CD. The sweet sounds of "What a Wonderful World/Somewhere Over The Rainbow" were filling the room. It was peaceful and felt like home. The kind of night that makes you feel that all is right with the world. The chair I was sitting in is right next to the front window, so I could hear things that couldn't be heard by others in the room.

Five minutes or so had passed since I'd heard the first sound. Then another. And still another. Even though I was sure it was the wind, I still reached over and peeked between the slats of the window blinds to satisfy my suspicion. It was then that I saw what appeared to be lots of legs running on my front lawn. Since I was just peeking through blinds and it was dark outside, I couldn't get the whole picture. Then I noticed white paper hanging from the porch overhang. It was just starting to hit me what was going on when I heard muffled giggling and lots of "shhhhhhush"-ing. We were being T.P.ed!

When I was a kid, you toilet papered the houses of people you didn't much care for. But I've learned over the course of this new generation of parenting that you T.P. people that you like...a lot. I knew that I could stand up right at that instant, open the front door, and scare the bejeezus out of these kids. But I didn't. I just let them go at it. I recognized some of the voices as being Caris' friends. She was supposed to go out with them, but because she had a big test the next day, she opted to stay home and study. They apparantly took the opportunity to let her know they missed her. I could tell that they were doing a pretty thorough job, and after another five minutes, I quietly said to Caris; "Bunny, your friends are teepeeing the house."

She sprang up from her prone position on the couch, jumped up and down and excitedly squeeked:

Caris: Mommy, PLEASE don't stop them! Don't open the door! Don't go out there!

Me: Caris, they've been at it for about 10 minutes. I've been listening to them the whole time. If I was gonna do anything, don't you think I would have done it by now?

Caris: (smiling) You're awesome! Ok, ok, ok, be really quiet. I'm gonna go around the back of the house and kinda stand there and watch them and see if they notice me!

Me: (laughing) You're a goofball.

Caris: (giggling) I know! Oh my gosh! I'm so excited!

So, while Caris ran around the back of the house and through the side gate, Charlie and I watched through a crack in the blinds. We waited and listened, and within two minutes, we heard the unmistakeable sound of T.P.ers getting busted; screaming and laughing. "RUN!, RUN!" and "CARIS! YOU SUCK!" At that point Charlie and I knew we could open the front door. We couldn't step out too far, because they had done a really good job. We had to wade our way through it like Indiana Jones through a cob-webbed tunnel. By the time we got out there, the kids had scattered and fled laughing, with Caris standing in the driveway calling out, "Thank you you guys! I love you! Thank you!"

When she came inside, I asked her what happened when she went out there and "caught them." She said she stood behind a couple of them and watched for a minute before she said anything. They didn't realize she was there, and then she quietly whispered to her friends "Hey you guys, you missed a spot!" To which, her friend Taryn turned, screamed, and yelled at everyone to run. As they ran away, they called out; "Happy Toilet Paper!" (which they spelled out in T.P. on the front lawn). I made a comment to Charlie that I won't have a problem being happy...I don't have to clean it up. Caris does. Yet I don't think she really cared. She was still on a cloud as we all settled back into our respective places. As she snuggled back into her blanket on the couch, she had a faraway look in her eyes as she sighed; "Aren't my friends the best?" Charlie and I couldn't help but look at each other and laugh. It's amazing how kids show their affection these days.

Yeah, they're not very stealthy, but they're the best. I hope she still feels that way when she's out there picking up toilet paper. Somehow, I think she will.


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