Last week, the polar vortex brought me an unexpected gift: a snow day (grown-up edition).
So instead of rushing to get dressed and meet my carpool, I had the morning to myself. I decided to help out and wash the prior night’s dishes –about half the time, my wife and I decide to play chicken to see who will clean up after dinner. Victory would have been mine too, if it weren’t for the dumb weather screwing things up for me. After waking up at close to my normal time and showering, I began washing dishes at about 5:25 am.
Ten minutes later while I was scrubbing away, I was snapped out of my early morning lethargy by loud noises directly behind me! It sounded like a heavy barrel falling down a flight of stairs, but our stairs are in another part of the house and we don’t really keep barrels in our house. As rustic as my wife, Janna, wants the house to look, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t want one in our home. Unless there was a way to make one into a bookshelf, because she’s way into that sort of thing.
So besides being super-loud for 5:30 in the morning, the sounds were also impossibly quick. My ears did the math, so I knew that something was about to pounce on me and knock me down. In hindsight, I know if Janna really found my bloody remains in the kitchen, her silver lining would be that we could finally replace the faux-tile vinyl floor in that area. She’s always thinking about home improvement.
Even though grown men aren’t supposed to be phased by this sort of thing, it was such a jarring experience that I completely freaked out and spun around in a terrified half-jump. It was my middle kid, Sam (age 3; demonic brawler-type; weaknesses: none, except for withholding desserts). He woke up early and was running towards the play room.
My heart raced. Then, after I turned the light on for him, I went back to washing dishes. And I spent the next ten minutes thinking about the sensation of what I had just experienced. That was the only phrase that came to mind: “my heart raced.” It sounded so corny and over-used, but it fit perfectly.
Looking back on that morning, I swear that I almost heard him creeping around right before. Sam has a sort of deep/husky, scratchy voice for a boy his age and you can hear it in his breathing. He’s a heavy sleeper, a heavy eater (at times), and is just generally good at throwing all of his body into whatever he does. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that sound, it was like two small ham shanks slapping and bounding their way across the wood floor. He saw me there. He had to know it was going to scare me..