I’m going to resort to re-posting an early blog one more time. Family illness has sidelined my writing temporarily, so I hope you’ll forgive another repeat from the days when hardly anyone saw it anyway. Here is “Nervous Nellie” (oh dear, now you’re going to think my name is pronounced “A Nellie.” It isn’t. It’s like Anne – Lee. But in this little story I was most certainly “A [Nervous] Nellie”).
When I’m home alone, I’m in charge of everything: house, garden, dog, security, noises in the night. It takes a while to get used to and my stress level is higher when it’s just me home alone. It’s a time for bad dreams and talking to myself. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the real threats from the imagined ones.
One night was particularly terrible. I was about to be choked and drowned in the bathtub by a trusted acquaintance. I shot up in bed, heart pounding. That’s it for baths for me. Showers only from now on. And if I lock the door, I won’t have to worry about Psycho Anthony Perkins with the big kitchen knife either. (I try not to think about the movie’s stabbing sound. “Yeenk! Yeenk! Yeenk!”)
The dream had an extra chill factor in that the impending murder was at our parents’ old house. All of us living there as children thought that house was creepy and for years none of us told the others for fear of scaring them.
I couldn’t go back to sleep in case the dream continued and I knew what the next part would be if I did. At last, weariness overpowered fear. I drifted off into a dreamless sleep.
Then the darned dog started to bark out in her kennel. She never barks! Why now? I had to get up and yell at her through the window. It worked for a while, but then she started up again.
“STOP THAT!” This was not the time to bring her inside either. She was safe in the kennel, but I would have to go outside…in the dark. No way. What if there was a bear out there? It wouldn’t be the first time.
Luckily, she stopped. I stood in the dark, straining my ears to listen through the open bathroom window. At last, I figured out what had been making her bark. In the quiet darkness, I heard a man peeing in the bushes.
Fear jabbed through me. Burglars! Oh, no! What do I do now?
I groped for a flashlight and shone it towards the top of our long driveway. The sound stopped. Aha!
But then it started again, and what a stream. It kept going and going and going. The guy must have drunk a whole case of beer.
It took several pees for me to clue in. The neighbours have this modern invention called a sprinkler system on a timer.
This story happened a few years ago before we had a fence around our yard. At that time we didn’t feel the need for a fence. As the neighbourhood grew and our quiet woodsy area became the neighbourhood dogwalk, we’ve had to build a fence, but for a long while we didn’t get a proper gate, using the old farm-style gate of continued fencing with a loop of wire around the post on the end.
I’m happy to announce that finally, finally, finally, we have a nice gate to keep Nervous Nellie feeling more secure.