How Not To Impress Your Neighbours
I was reminded of this story today by reading another blog about an Amaryllis plant and thought I'd share this story.
I used to love forcing plants to give me a little lift during the winter months and the particular plants I had chosen that winter were Paperwhites. Now a little imagination is needed here since I don't have photos. Imagine a tripod style metal stand about 12 inches tall on top of which rests a shallow ceramic bowl. Said bowl was filled with river stone and on top of that sat my pot of Paperwhites which was also a glass bowl filled with marbles instead of dirt. The Paperwhites had grown to about 18 inches tall and I did have them supported tied to a stick. This entire contraption sat on top of a glass coffee table and looked gorgeous.
One night after setting our house alarm and retiring for the night Steve was sound asleep and I was still hovering on the edge when I heard a big crash which sounded like broken glass. Assuming someone had smashed a window to get into the house, I called 911. Steve of course wanted to go downstairs to investigate but the 911 operator forbid it. She said the police and canine unit were on the way. She asked a series of questions, did the alarm go off, negative...did we hear any noises...negative, was my neighbour home, again negative since I didn't see her car in the driveway from our window...did I see footprints in the snow, yup lots of them in my neighbours backyard. Looking out the window, we saw the house and neighbouring side street surrounded by police cars.
After a few minutes of just waiting on the line and being comforted by the operator I watched in horror as Steve broke the rules and sneaked downstairs carrying a shoe. Ya right, what was that going to do. He opened the front door only to be confronted by a police officer who told him in uncertain terms to close the door and just wait. Meanwhile upstairs, still on the phone I was told that a perimeter search of the house showed that we had not been broken into and I could now go downstairs. You all know where this is going don't you?
Yes of course, just as the police rang on our doorbell to tell us they found nothing, I found the entire pot of Paperwhites, river stones and all had toppled onto the table and then on the floor. I hung my head in shame when I pointed this out to the police officer, who was really very nice about it. He said it was good practice for the dogs.
Here's what I didn't find out until later. Our neighbour was indeed home but because she has two driveways on a corner lot one of which is attached to a garage, her car was out of sight and the driveway that I could see from our window was empty. Bad assumption and I haven't done it since.
She also has a dog who was sick that night and taking some drug that made her want to go out to piddle constantly. My neighbour having let the dog out and being half asleep herself forgot to close her back sliding glass door by a couple of inches and went back to bed. The police, finding the back door open assumed (there's that word again) that the burglar was in the house and went in with guns drawn. Of course the dog barked, woke up my neighbour who had a few terrifying moments until the police realized she was indeed the homeowner.
This could have turned out very badly, we could have alienated her forever or worse and it is certainly a lesson well learned.