Our dog Joey wasn’t allowed to go upstairs of our house that was carpeted. A couple of months ago we installed wood floor on the second level and my daughter and niece had been taking Joey to their rooms. At first, even with repeated encouragement, Joey would freeze at the bottom of the staircase and hesitate. After about a week, as soon as one of them got home, he’d follow her upstairs.

I insisted that Joey should still sleep in the sunroom downstairs because he is a 12-year-old dog and frequently has accidents. Joey seemed okay with the arrangement but not for too long. Last week, he started barking whenever he was put in his room at night, and it got progressively worse when his barking continued throughout the night. Talk about the brain expectation system!

Tuesday night, nobody went out after dinner and Joe had arrived in Shanghai. At 10 pm, I set the burglary alarm system and told the girls that I was going to get some needed sleep. The alarm went off an hour later and woke me up in a confused and frantic state. I jumped out of bed, fumbled with the key pad and turned it off. As I walked out of my room trying to see if someone had accidently opened a door, Jane’s nervous voice came from upstairs. “M-mom, did someone try to break in?”
“Nobody opened any door?”
“No. We are all upstairs in our rooms.”
“That’s very strange …”

Then I realized that the alarm company didn’t even call to check on me. So I called them. The answering service picked up. A few minutes later an employee called back. He was pretty useless and told me to call back in the morning.

Lying in bed, I could no longer fall asleep. “What if someone did try to break in? What if he is still out there?” I never like to make a big fuss out of nothing. On the other hand, there were 4 kids upstairs under my watch and I felt obligated to make sure we were safe. So I picked up the phone and dialed ‘911’.

A police car stopped in front our house a few minutes later. Another 10 minutes passed before the doorbell rang. I let the two policemen in. They looked around and also checked the basement windows. Nothing appeared suspicious. On their way out, the shorter officer fixed his eyes on my book stacked up in the dining room by the door. I picked up a copy, held it next to my face and smiled. “Yes, I wrote this book.”
“Yeah … I thought this looked like you. Nice!”
They each grabbed a book and started flipping through it.
“Let Go of what?” The shorter one asked.
“Everything that has held me back.”
“So are you making a lot of money out of this book?” The other officer asked.
“No. But I love writing.”
“Maybe you’ll become famous.”
“Someday, maybe.” I chuckled.

I handed each of them my “Author and Blogger” business card. “I also have a blog. Please read it when you have a chance.”

They smiled at me.

The officers advised me to turn on the alarm again after they left. I decided not to because I was afraid it’d go off again. Michelle had an AP test in the morning and could use some sleep. It was 1:30 in the morning and I really didn’t want to wake up the neighbors. The second half of the night was peaceful. We all managed to get a few hours of sleep.

Jane left for Indiana again on Friday to celebrate her friend’s 21st birthday. I reminded her to drive carefully and text me as soon as she got there. A week before on the Saturday when we took Jane home from college, 5 IU students also drove back to Chicago in an SUV. They got a flat tire. The car flipped several times and landed on the driver who was ejected from the car because he didn’t wear a seatbelt. He died on the scene. It hurts me to think about the pain and grief his family is going through.

As promised, Jane’s car pulled into the driveway before dinner on Sunday. I was relieved that she got home safe. Michelle, Jake and I went out to dinner on Saturday to celebrate Mother’s Day. It’d be nice to have dinner with all my kids on Mother’s Day. Jane walked into the kitchen as I was setting the table.

“I don’t mean to freak you out, mom. But I need to go to the hospital.”
I noticed her right arm was wrapped up in gauze and tape. “What happened?”
“I slipped on the sidewalk and fell last night. There was broken glass on the ground and I got cut.”
“Is it bad? Are you in pain?”
“It’s okay. But there was quite a bit of blood.”
“Why didn’t you call me? Were you drinking?”
“No. I wasn’t. I didn’t call you because I didn’t want to worry you. But I want to go to the hospital to get it cleaned, bandaged properly. I may need stiches.”

I immediately called our family doctor and she agreed that Jane should go to ER to get the wound taken care of. Since Jane is 19, I didn’t have to go with her. So Jane, Michelle and their friend Tiffany headed to the hospital.

I had promised to take Jake to Target after dinner to get his best friend a birthday gift. As he was buckling himself in the car seat, my little man made a comment.

“At times like this, I wish dad was home.”
“Why?” I wondered if he was also feeling the heat of the turn of events.
“My fingernails are growing long. Dad is the only one who knows how to clip them properly. So I wish dad was home.”
“Wow, my son just disqualified me for cutting his fingernails.” I thought to myself. But I wasn’t going to argue with that. He could wait one more day for his dad to come home and clip his nails.

Jane and Michelle came home before midnight with flowers and a Mother’s day card. The cut on Jane’s arm was glued transparently and she didn’t even have to wear bandages anymore. Pretty neat.

Here are the lessons learned from a crazy week. Joey should be kept from going upstairs so that he’d be content living on the first floor of the house. Naperville police are nice when they are not issuing tickets. And Joe’s presence was missed maybe for reasons he didn’t expect.

Yesterday I walked into the house after a long day at work and went directly into the kitchen to get dinner going. Joe had called to say he was on his way back from the airport.

Michelle peered in, “Mom, today is the Senior Awards Ceremony night.”
“Are you getting any awards?”
“What time does it start?”
I glanced at the clock. It was 6:15.
“We don’t have to go, Mom.”

I looked out the kitchen window. Joe’s taxi was just turning in. I turned around and stared at the steaming pots on the stove.

“Well, I guess we aren’t going today.”