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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Panic Button

Mr. Mint travels for work.  A lot.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for single parents.  Being all things to all people 24/7 is draining, emotionally and physically.  Lately he's been gone quite a bit.  

When my twins were infants I would be paralyzed by fear when he was out of town.   It was so hard for me to make it through the day knowing that no one was coming home to give me a break at the end of the day.  I had elaborate routines for bathing, feeding and rocking my two infants to sleep.  When they woke up in the middle of the night, both crying, I would sometimes call him in his hotel room just so he could hear what he was missing.  But mostly I would call so I could yell some not so nice things into the phone.   

Over the years I've done plenty of bitching about his travels and the strain it puts on me and the kids.  He's missed teacher conferences, I've had to flake on my book club and it's not like we're taking fancy vacations with all the miles he has racked up like we did before the kids came along.  The reality is that he loves his job and he's good at it.  His job allows me to be at home with our kids, it gives us good health insurance, cute shoes on our kids feet and a house that we love that is walking distance to an award winning public school (something very rare in the SF Bay Area).  For all that I am grateful.   So you can call me a whiner, but don't ever call me an ungrateful whiner.*  

Now that Lolly and Frostine are in school and Gloppy spends one night a week with my in-laws, Mr. Mint's trips, while still annoying, are not the huge source of anxiety they once were for me.  I have my routine with the kids.  I get at least an hour or so to myself during the day.  The kids can occasionally entertain themselves for a short time and are old enough for drop off playdates.  I eat healthier since I don't eat two dinners, one with the kids and one around 8pm with Mr. Mint after the kids are in bed.  No one is around to ask me "why do you watch this crap on TV?"  I get the whole bed to myself and I don't get woken up by any snoring.  I've come to accept that his trips are part of our life and I need to deal with it the best I can.

But lately when he's been gone I've been paralyzed by a different kind of fear.  The fear of rapists and murderers.   Our house is big and echoey when all the kids are in bed and I'm downstairs by myself.   There are a lot of windows with what I consider not very secure window locks.  You can't see our house from the street and it would be easy for someone sinister to walk up our driveway and peer into our windows without any of our neighbors noticing.   Then I watch shows like Dateline and Primetime Crime and my mind starts messing with me.  I start picturing that hunky, witty Chris Hansen narrating the story of my demise.   He'd talk about how my kids slept through all the horror and they'd probably show this photo since it's the only one I have of me with all three of my kids.

My sister would talk about how happy we were on that vacation and how she will never let my kids forget their mother.  Then they'd show this photo while Chris interviewed my grieving husband and Mr. Mint talked about what an amazing mother I was and how my kids are in therapy.

I get stuck on the couch because I'm too afraid to turn the lights off and walk upstairs.  Then once I do finally make it upstairs, I stay up way too late reading because I'm afraid to turn my bedside lamp off.  I'm sure the murderer is watching my bedroom window waiting for me to turn the light off and fall asleep so he can attack.   

So all you bad and evil people out there I want you to know that I sleep with this next to my bed.

See that blue button?  That's the "panic" button and it will bring the police straight to my house.  It only takes about 2 minutes for them to get here.  I know this because Gloppy pressed it once while playing with my keys.  There were two big, strapping policemen with hands on their weapons coming up my driveway in what felt like milliseconds.  So if you're thinking of targeting my house and my family, move right along.  I've got a panic button.

*Wow.  How's that for a paragraph full of run on sentences.  Do they give blogger awards for the most run on sentences in a post, because I think I might have a shot.


heartatpreschool said...

Dude, you have put way to much thought into this (so never going to happen) scenario. Stop watching crime shows when Mr. Mint is out of town!

Although, I would definitely talk about how much fun we always had together, and how I'd never let your kids forget thier Mom - that is for sure.

Jolly, the sister

Mama Ginger Tree said...

I KNOW. I am total freak right?

Inzaburbs said...

Hooray for the panic button!
I have one which came with the house but I put it away after randomly giving it to the baby to play with one day. He set off the extremely loud alarm and we couldn't find the key fob to switch it off. Finally found it behind the chair but by then our ears were shredded.
Oh, and nobody came to investigate, not even a neighbor.

anymommy said...

I have the same irrational fear. I hate being alone in our house at night. I leave way to many lights on! Glad that he'll be home soon.

A Mom Two Boys said...

I hear ya, sista. DJ's RARELY out of town and we live in a perfectly quiet, safe neighborhood, but when he is gone, I'm a wreck. And America's Most Wanted? I need to block from my TV. TERRIFYING.

And your kids? Are too beautiful. It should be illegal.

Average Jane said...

Hi! Just wanted to let you know I'm going to be interviewing you for the Citizen of the Month Great Interview Experiment. I'm a little swamped with work right now, but I'll try to get your questions to you tonight or tomorrow.

Maura said...

How did I not realize that you are also in the Bay Area? Guess I didn't see "Candy Cane Forest" on the Google map. ;-)

I've never been in the situations you describe (being the lone "no kids, no husband" standard bearer around these parts!) and I don't mind being in an empty house at night, but I can understand where you're coming from. I think you definitely need to ban the true crime TV stuff from your viewing list, though!

PsychMamma said...

I am totally with you on the paranoia thing in this regard. We had a registered sex offender (rapist) living across the street from us and another (child molester) down the street. That only fed a paranoia that was already much too large. It's weird how your rational mind can say, "The odds are SO slim that anything like this would ever happen" but something at the gut level is screaming, "YEAH, BUT WHAT IF I'M THE 1%???"

I'm completely creeped out when I'm home alone with J and have been known to sleep with my cell phone and a huge Maglite in bed with me. What I'm going to do with it, I'm not entirely sure - bean them or blind them - whatever works. Sigh. It's always such a relief when the Hubs comes home.

I agree with everybody else about the true crime show viewing - - that's not helping anything!

EatPlayLove said...

I hear ya. My hubby is so not present these days. I double lock all doors and windows before bed. Then I probably get up and check to make sure I locked the windows.

My daughter just asked me tonight if I could go away, so daddy could stay home, because daddy is always going away. Sounds like a post to me.

Carrie said...

this post made me laugh. and for once.. not in the maniacal (sp?) crazy-lady laugh I've been working lately, either.

murderers and other no-good-doers know better than to mess with me. I've had such a run of things lately that I will most likely take his ass and do all the things that I read that people do to their kids when they're having tantrums but I won't do cause I'm not ever gonna be one of those moms so it just keeps getting stuffed further and further inside and don't you KNOW somebody's gonna GET IT one of these days if they just try me.

or maybe I could throw unfolded laundry at him. or TELL him what's going on in my head. surely that should be enough to scare ANYONE away.

(ps.. just trying to add to the run-on theme... cause you never know.. the prize might be chocolate. or coffee. or a drink. you can thank me later.)

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

As I was reading, I was going to tell you to get a panic button! They calm my fears.

I have escape routes planned in my head for if something happens. I don't know if I'd actually be able to pull it all off, but I'd sure try. BAN the scary TV!

Anonymous said...

I definitely feel you! I've always lived with other people - family, roommates, fellow apartment dwellers...now that we have our own house, when Mr Blue is away its freaky. Even though we live in the city and have like 20 people within shouting distance. Still.

My plan is to yell like Ferris Bueller's sister "you should know I have my father's gun and a searing case of herpes!!"

(I don't really have herpes, BTW :-)

Your whole family is beautiful, thanks for posting the pix!

Mama Ginger Tree said...

OK, so I will take everyone's advice and lay off the crime TV watching. Glad to know I am not alone in my fear.

My favorite advice is from Stella Blue: "My plan is to yell like Ferris Bueller's sister "you should know I have my father's gun and a searing case of herpes!!"

That made me laugh!

And thanks for the compliments on my gorgeous children!!

Lish said...

Ok. I'm waaay behind but I'm slowly catching up. I have an ENTIRE DATELINE STORY in my head also. Photos, interviews and everything. But it's not the evil intruder ones. It's the getting killed by a date or boyfriend ones. And occasionally an internet stalker one.

I'm actually relieved now to hear the tag on Dateline say: "An encore presentation" cause I know I've already seen it and don't need to watch it again.