Saturday, February 21, 2009

We forgot to tell you...

Last night I went to bed early.  The Engineer was hanging out with a friend, and at 10:22 the doorbell woke me.  I staggered to the front door, figuring for some reason he couldn't get in...and nobody was there.  I opened the door into the garage and the overhead garage door, and his car wasn' there.  It freaked me out and really messed up my sleep until he came home a little while later.  Now, to be fair, I might have dreamed the doorbell.  But if I did, it sure was vivid and convincing.

It reminded me of a crazy housesitting experience I had one summer when I was home from college.  Some good friends of my parents were going out of town and needed someone to housesit, to watch their cat and dog.  Being a poor college student, housesitting was a great way for me to supplement my meager income, and to get a little bit of private time when I was staying with my parents for the summer, so I agreed to do it.

The first day I was there, I went out the front door for a second...and discovered it's one of those doors that opens from the inside even if it's locked from the outside.  I guess they forgot to tell me that.  A neighbor helped me remove a screen from one of the windows, which thankfully wasn't locked from the inside or outside, and I got back in.

Later, I started noticing a couple of very odd things.  There were drops of blood on the tile floor.  There were also thin, little streaks of blood on the wall of the hallway.  Ew.

After puzzling for awhile, I discovered the source.  The cat had this big, bleeding thing on her side.  With wide eyes, I resisted my gag reflex and called the owners.

"Oh," they said, "We forgot to tell you.  The cat has a bleeding mole."  Now, calling it a "mole" is like calling a tumor a "pimple," but...okay.  I'd deal with the blood.

I figured that somehow the cat was rubbing along the wall in the hall, too, though the blood there seemed a bit high.  A couple of days later I discovered the true source.  The dog, a large labrador puppy, had a little scratch on his tail.  As he happily lumbered down the hall, his wagging tail would hit the walls on either side, knocking off the scab and painting the wall with small, distinct brushstrokes...uh, tailstrokes.  I'll give the owners a pass on this one; I don't think they were aware of it.

On my last night there, I was in the living room when I heard the distinct sound of the front doorknob turning.  It was locked, but my heart stopped.  For some reason my first call was to my dad, who of course said, "I'm coming over; call 9-1-1."

I explained to the 9-1-1 dispatcher what had happened, and she immediately sent over a couple of police officers.  I warned her that they might find my dad outside--being a good daughter, I wanted to prevent him from being tackled and arrested.

When the officers arrived, they searched the premises and found no one.  Not having heard anything since that first doorknob rattle, I became convinced maybe I'd imagined it.  Embarrassed, I told them and my dad I'd be okay.

A couple of days later, after the owners had gotten home, I stopped by to give them their key.  "So," Mr. Homeowner said, having talked to my parents, "I hear you had an issue your last night here."

"Um, oh, yeah," I stammered.  "I don't know what happened."

"Well," he said with a smile, "We forgot to tell you, sometimes the cat puts his paws on either side of the doorknob and rattles it."  

Oh.  I felt vindicated that I'd indeed heard something, even if that "something" was an attempted feline burglary.

Remembering this story, I'm given some insight into the ridiculously-detailed, typed instructions I leave for our housesitters.  I really don't want to forget to tell them anything.


Shannon said...

That is really weird. And a funny story. Thanks.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Love the idea of the cat-burglar, C-Beth - They are crazy creatures!

Isabella said...


First I laughed at the post...then at A Woman Of No Importance's comment. Cat burglar...HA!

Oh's the little things that send me into a giggle fit. Thank you for the early morning laugh.

p.s. you won our giveaway (via your sister)! Just drop me an email so we can talk fabrics.

Sandra said...

I was a real "scaredy cat" when I babysat. Every little sound freaked me out. I really feel like these people didn't think about, and warn you about, what you might encounter enough. I always left detailed instructions too!

Eternal Lizdom said...

Having done my fair share of house sitting back in my own college days... that all would have been too much for me!!

Bloggymommy said...

That's freaky! It would have scared me too! Yikes! It's sometimes scary being in someone else's house b/c you don't know all of their usual sounds...kind of like when you move into a new house you have to get used to all the new noises.

Call Me Cate said...

Our first catsitter left us a daily journal. Cute things like "played with Rusty on the stairs, Tonya meowed for her food." It also included mention of the fact that she tore the entire house apart looking for Tonya one day. Even though our kitties are indoor kitties, all she could think was that Tonya had escaped. Turns out she was sleeping behind the tv.

Now when we leave, I practically write a book for the cat sitter. Weird behaviors, all the bizarre sleeping/hiding spots, current injuries. We would appreciate each other very much!

Chris said...

My cat does that too. I can't get used to it. Still freaks me out when the door knob starts to turn.

Unknown said...

Hello Beth,
Renee and I will try "The One-Minute Writer" sometime, It looks like fun. Do you count off for misspelled words or incomplete sentences? Renee has trouble with that.

Five said...


(Bleeding animals? God, I thought it was something PARANORMAL...)

(I think I left my courage to sleep ALONE tonight...)

C. Beth said...

Mama to a diva--You're welcome! :)

A Woman of No Importance--Ha!! I'm only disappointed I didn't make the "cat burglar" connection! That's great!

Isabella--I'm excited about the giveaway! I e-mailed you.

Sandra--I agree, it would have been good to know this stuff! But I know they meant well. :)

Liz--Yeah, it was definitely the most "interesting" of my housesitting experiences.

Bloggymommy--True, just the unknown part of housesitting can cause stress!

Call Me Cate--The daily journal is so cute. And yes, we'd appreciate each other a lot!

Chris--I think cats do it just BECAUSE they know it freaks us out. They're master manipulators, you know. ;)

Paul--Hi! Great to "see" you. Well, I don't "grade" the entries on TOMW so misspellings and incomplete sentences are fine. In fact, people often delete their first entry and re-do it with edits--I know since both versions are e-mailed to me. I actually prefer that they leave it as-is, mistakes and all, since that's more in the spirit of the "one minute" concept. As for choosing the winner, perfect grammar and spelling are not required, but it does need to make sense and flow nicely to be chosen as a winning writing.

Eugene--Ha! Hope you still slept well, without any "cat burglars"!

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

Ahahaha! That's a fabulous story. I would think a detailed note would be in order for those types of things - can't be too informative, if you ask me... and even if you didn't.

Michelle Brunner said...

what a crazy story! So glad it wasn't a real intruder!