As nutty as life on the road is sometimes, there are days (and nights) at home that borderline weird. George assures me this is a self-inflicted condition. I, of course, attribute it to our close proximity to Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the aliens.
We moved into the actual city limits almost a year ago, and it just so happens we’re within cat-swinging distance of the labs over at Wright Patt. That’s right, I could totally reach out a touch an alien if I felt like it. Well, if I felt like touching an alien and catching a federal felony trespassing case while possibly being shot to death in the act, I could totally do it.
I consider this a lot when I’m sitting in my office, especially back when the weather was nice enough for me to open the windows and I heard whale songs coming from the general vicinity of the base. No, seriously. All summer long, I heard weird, sonorous tones I was pretty sure were aliens screaming for help from their tiny little cryogenic tanks, and until we passed the local Catholic church on a recent Sunday afternoon and I realized the alien whale songs were actually the electronic bells of the church, I was pretty sure some kind of intergalactic PETA was going to show up any minute and liquefy my delicate human skin with their death rays. It’s stressful living near the only widely-known storage facility for captive aliens. Wright Patterson Air Force Base is probably designated by spacemen far and wide as the Guantanamo of the Milky Way.
George spent the past week doing shorts around Ohio and Kentucky, which means he’s home every night. I use that term loosely. He generally shows up looking like a chimney sweep, sheds his clothes in the garage, hits the shower and bed, and I don’t “see” him again until he stops snoring like a warthog six hours later. I’m not sure that qualifies as actually “being” at home, but his presence is noted when he’s coherent and I ask him, “How’d it go?” and he mumbles, “Fifty-three-foot tarps and three hundred bungies with one to the eye is how it went…” and he gets a faraway look in his remaining eye and walks off.
Anyway, as mentioned before, he sleeps really, really hard and I sleep like a hunted fugitive most of the time, unless Benadryl or tequila is involved, so I’m used to waking up four hundred times a night when the cat moves, or the dog farts, or someone three blocks over decides their Chevy racing K-maro is the greatest damn thing on the face of the earth and all must know the power in the glass packs from 1982 and that anyone still sporting a mullet in 2016 may be subject to acting like a jerk and waking innocent people who just happen to sleep like fugitives, at 3 a.m. (That could possibly be the longest run-on sentence in the history of run-on sentences, but I think the sentiment is familiar to all of us. There’s at least one — or scientifically speaking, there has to be more than one, because they clearly keep reproducing — person in every neighborhood who needs to give up the mullet, PBR and car they drove in high school.)
So before I went off on my little rant, I was going to mention that George and I both slept really soundly the other night, and I did so without Benadryl, or tequila, which is unusual. I slept like a log until I heard someone walking down the hallway toward our room at 4 a.m. I knew exactly what time it was, because we have children, and I have mom time stamp automatically ingrained in waking hours, especially wee-morning hours. I can snap out of a dead sleep and instantly know what time it is when I hear someone sneaking around the house. (Trust me, every mother who read this understands it completely.)
The fact that our children no longer reside with us doesn’t dampen the ability. It also makes me automatically think one of the dogs is walking around, looking for a place to do something horrible, so any kind of hallway walking makes me sit up immediately, like I did after an unusually sound sleep at 4 a.m. when I started this long, involved story. I sat up, looked around, realized everyone was in the general vicinity, dogs included. Who might be walking down the hallway at 4 a.m.? Here’s where it finally gets weird – the animals were all sitting straight up, just like me, looking at the hallway with the same alertness I was. Which was totally creepy. So, my normal reaction would to be wake George, grab the sidearm in the bedside, call a priest, and prepare for both body and soul mortal combat. But I totally didn’t do any of that.
Instead, I rolled over, went back to sleep, and again slept really hard without waking until way after the sun was up, which is super-weird for me.
George and I were having coffee the next morning, both completely sober and well-rested, when I asked him if he remembered someone being in the house the night before.
“Was someone here? I remember you waking up, but I was pretty hit.”
“I think we had visitors, dude.”
“Like, the kids?”
“No. Like, visitors. From outer space.”
“Were you drunk when I got home?”
“No. Seriously, I had a totally illogical reaction to someone walking down the hall last night. I went back to sleep when I knew someone was here.”
“I can’t imagine you having an illogical reaction. Is this like the whale thing?”
“You promised me you wouldn’t tease me about that. You heard it too.”
“I did hear it, but I didn’t think it was aliens screaming for help.”
We totally had visitors. Two ancient dogs who only wake up when they hear cheese wrappers and a surly, serial-killer cat confirmed it. Call me nuts all you want, but things get weird in the Parker house, and I’m not the only source.