Ok, so I wussed out yesterday and posted a nice, safe story about the Thunderbirds that was pretty bland and rather un-entertaining. Today, in honor of having the house to myself all week, I will take you through my house checking routine. This is something I do whenever I’m home alone, but also when we return from a weekend away, or simply whenever I’m feeling particularly anxious that someone could be hiding in my house. I essentially go through the entire house and check anywhere that a person could potentially hide. This is how I walked through it last night:
Enter the house through the garage door into the Laundry Room – deadbolt and lock doorknob handle, check coat closet, half bath, and storage closet in the half bath. No one is huddling with my vacuum, all clear.
Walk through the Kitchen – check under kitchen desk. Clear. Pass through Dining Room into Sunroom – look behind couch, loveseat, and television. Verify sunroom door is deadbolted and locked. All’s good.
Walk towards Foyer past the staircase leading downstairs – check in coat closet. Empty (minus my wedding dress that has still not been dry-cleaned or ‘preserved’ over two years later). Ensure front door is deadbolted and locked, turn on house lights (because we all know house lights deter intruders, right?) Walk into Office – check behind couch and under desk. Nothing, there’s really no good hiding spots in the office anyway.
Walk back past the staircase and go down the Hallway, making sure to keep an eye on the stairwell in case someone is coming up. Look in hall closet (even though a person probably couldn’t fit). Good. Enter first Bedroom – look under bed, in closet, and behind door. Clear. Glance at staircase on the way to the Master Bedroom – check under bed, in closet, and in master bathroom (yay for glass shower doors). Nobody. Glance again at the staircase on the way to the Guest Bathroom – check behind shower curtain. No random naked people bathing in my home, good. Finally, walk to last Bedroom – look under bed and in closet. Done with the main level.
Walk back to the dreaded staircase. This is where it has been nice having a dog. I send her down first, to sort of scope things out a few seconds before me. That’s not bad of me, is it? She doesn’t seem to mind being the guinea pig…anyway, once downstairs in the Family Room – turn on all lights. Check behind couch and television, then in all the deep cupboards. Most are full of board games, but a person could definitely fit in there. Next, open door to Unfinished Storage – turn on all lights and check under stairwell. Nada. Walk to Downstairs Bathroom and check behind door, in shower, and in cupboards. A few spiders, but no people. Cross over to Workshop – open door and send dog in first. It’s a pretty open room, but I always check behind the fake Christmas tree we leave assembled back there. Nothing. Back to the unfinished storage area to check inside the wardrobe before closing all doors and heading upstairs.
Although it seems tedious, the whole process only takes about 5 minutes, and I feel significantly more relieved once I do it. Once I complete this check, I’m usually in for the night.
However, last night, I did the check and then went back outside to rake my yard, leaving Roxie in her kennel inside. I left the garage door unlocked, so I decided to only rake the front yard so that I would be able to see the garage door at all times. This way I could be sure no one was going to sneak into my secure house.
But, I really got going on raking and eventually moved on to the side of the house, where I could no longer see the garage. Once I finished, I immediately wished I had locked the door while I was outside so that I wouldn’t have to check the whole house again.
But I stopped myself.
Roxie, who had been in the house the whole time, was acting normal like always, and surely she would be going nuts if someone came in the house. I decided to let her out of the kennel, and if she didn’t bolt around “looking” for anything, then I would agree to pass on the second round of checking. Well, you guessed it – Roxie came out of her kennel wagging her tail, being a regular dog, and so I didn’t bother going through the house again.
However, right before going to bed is always anxiety-provoking for me. What if someone did get in, Roxie just really didn’t care, and they were hiding out all this time until I fall asleep? What if they come into my room while I’m sleeping and I have no way of defending myself? To counter all this anxiety, I decided to lock my bedroom door, which is usually good enough. But for whatever reason, last night it was not. So in addition, I slid one of our nightstands in front of the door so it couldn’t be opened. And our nightstands are big and HEAVY! That was definitely enough to make me feel safe.
So despite the checking, despite the dog’s superior sense of smell/vision/hearing/senses in general, and despite the rational part of my brain assuring me there was nothing to fear, I still needed a blockade at my door in order to fall asleep.
Just when I think I’m making progress, I slide a bit backwards. Is the fear real? Yes. Is the routine a little crazy? Yes. Am I embarrassed to admit I actually go through this routine quite often? Yes, I am. But I’m working on it, because what I fear even more than home invaders, is that if I don’t, this routine will escalate to even more crazy and embarrassing levels.
And we just can’t be having that.