Anxiety Episode #5: Neighborhood solicitors or other would be criminals force their way into our house to burglar, assault, kidnap and/or murder us.

Our neighborhood sees a fair amount of people walking its streets, knocking on doors with offers to mow lawns, pave driveways, or repair windows and roofs. Also, there are Jehovah’s witnesses (rarely), and the occasional dudes who are in transition—they’ve found Jesus, they’re many months sober, and they’re preparing to leave the halfway house. Somehow they believe their future success depends on the sale of magazine subscriptions, of which I’m meant to buy several.

Are these people legit? Are they prospecting for real business or just casing houses for potential burglaries? Are they in the (black) market for cute, bright babies? If so, I’ve got a couple I am absolutely NOT wiling to part with.

I always get both nervous and extremely irritated when I see these folks approaching the house. Nervous, because I find them to be highly suspicious, and irritated, because I have not invited them to my home, and therefore, do not welcome their presence. I know, this all sounds very Scroogey and judgy, but I can’t help it.

Usually these types come around when Liam is still at work and I’m home alone with the girls. I go into overly protective mode then and try to meet the strangers just outside the door in sight of other neighbors. Or, if I think I can get away with it, I hide from the windows, and hope they just go away. I’m sure their intentions are good, really, but these “traveling salesmen” creep me out.

On second thought, maybe I should give these people a small glimpse of our living room, so they could see we have little of value worth taking should their motive be burglary. Of course, if they’re looking for doll house furniture, children’s books, random board game pieces, broken crayons, uncapped, dried-out markers, prized coloring pages, and/or a small collection of baby dolls and stuffed ponies, they would soon come to the realization that they had indeed landed at the jackpot house.

I can usually dismiss the fix-it-up peddlers straightaway because we rent our property. We are not able to make the kinds of decisions they want homeowners to make, thus requiring their services. As for the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other reformed types, I will usually just accept some literature kindly, with every intention of trashing it once they’ve walked away. Sorry, but it’s true.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be entertaining these folks at all. It’s probably not wise that I do. They’re so intrusive. I feel the same way about 800-number callers who call many times a day over the course of many weeks and refuse to leave messages on my phone. Get a life!

I know I could probably invest a little time and energy to deter these folks. I could make a bold “No Soliciting” sign and hang it on our front window. Or, a “Beware of rabid attack dog who gets lose from time to time and has been known to break through skin” sign. Or, I could call the police. I’ve also been thinking I might just stand in the window next time and simply shake my head no while simultaneously wagging a finger until the creepers get the message and go away. This seems slightly rude, but could be effective.

In any case I’ve been locking the door obsessively lately, just be safe. In addition to the presence of the neighborhood peddlers, I’ve been worrying about how a local woman was attacked in her home recently and murdered by strangers. I don’t know the specifics of how the bad guys got in, buts it’s enough that I know they did.

Liam likes knowing that I lock the door when he’s not home; it eases his mind to know that I take precautions. However, I think he finds the habitual practice of locking the door to be a little over-the-top once he’s joined us for the night.

Take for example, a common sequence of evening events at our house:

Liam pulls in the driveway after a long day at work. I usually see him coming and go to unlock the door (which I’ve had locked since I walked in from school said goodbye to my mom or to Candace, the girls’ two favorite caregivers). I give him a hug and kiss, welcome him in, and then close and lock the door behind him. He greets the girls. We eat dinner. He may go back outside again to check mail, or empty garbage, so he has to unlock the door. I lock it soon after he comes back in (once or twice I’ve nearly locked him out while he was just making a quick trip to the garage). After dinner he decides to make a fire in the fireplace. We keep our firewood on the porch, so he must unlock the door to go get some. Minutes after he’s come back inside, I notice the door is unlocked and re-lock it, even though I know he’s likely going to need to go back out for more wood in a half hour. A half hour later, as noted, he needs more wood, and so must go back out to the porch, only after he unlocks the door for the fifth time in just under two hours. And so the game of back and forth with the locks continues until we go to bed. Often, he will look at me during these moments and simply shake his head, as if to say: you’re really overdoing things here, woman. Thankfully, he refrains from adding that he thinks I’m bat-shit crazy, and at most will do the shaking head thing and/or sigh.

What? I’ll counter. I’m just trying to keep our family safe.

I think this weekend may be a good time to get started on that rabid dog sign. I really think it might be a game-changer for us.


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