Let me start by saying that I am not normally a jumpy person. I have lived alone for 2 years, and things that go bump in the night don't generally bother me. However, this past Thursday, as I was sitting here playing around on the computer, I heard a noise that scared the daylights out of me, to say the least. It took me a few minutes to figure out what the noise was, but I suddenly realized that it was the sound of the plywood over the steps that lead into the crawl space under my house being moved - like it had been lifted up and dropped on the cement ledges that support it. I grabbed a flashlight and looked out the kitchen window, and sure enough the plywood had been moved to the side by a good 18" or so.
I immediately called 911 and asked them to send someone out to take a look around to make sure that there wasn't anything that I needed to worry about - being here alone, a single mother with 5 kids, I do feel a bit vulnerable at times. Not to mention the fact that the previous tenants had engaged in some rather colorful illicit activity when they lived here - because of that, I'm a *little* bit more cautious when I hear strange noises.
The dispatcher stayed on the phone with me until the officers arrived - she let me know when they were on my property and that they were in stealth mode, poking around without flashlights first to see if they could see anyone without scaring them away first. I could hear them move the plywood away from the stairs and go under the house.
The crawl space under the house is grotesque, to say the least. It is not a cellar - it is a crawl space. I can stand upright under there, and at 5'4" I still have to duck in some areas. There was a sewage leak under there when we first moved in, and there is a carcass of *something* under there - maybe a cat - that I have no intentions of moving. It can stay, as far as I'm concerned because I'm not spending any time down there unless my life depends on it.
When the officers were done poking around, the dispatcher had me go out on the front porch to talk to them. They assured me that there was no sign of human life down there, as there were still massive amounts of intact cobwebs all through the space. Their theory is that a raccoon came in through the window on the opposite side of the house...
...and when it couldn't get back out the window, it went up the steps and pushed the wood aside to get out. I've seen raccoons in action and I know how smart the little buggers are, so I bought the theory with a minor amount of embarrassment at having called 3 officers out in the middle of the night for nothing. They assured me that it was fine and that it wasn't a big deal, and we chatted for a few minutes. I told them that I was aware that there was some drug activity in the house before I moved in, and one of the officers snickered and muttered under his breath, "THAT'S an understatment" and gave the other officers a knowing glance. Great - the neighbors had filled me in on some of the goings on here, but I didn't realize that it was so frequent that the cops would remember the house - it's been 8 months since we moved in here. But then again, it's a small town so it shouldn't be too surprising that they remembered it.
They did assure me that because of the house's history and my living situation, that if I EVER "hear, see, or even feel anything wrong" to call them and they will be more than happy to check it out for me. That did make me feel better about the whole thing.
So after they left, I came back inside, got back on the computer, and had a rather long (uh, 400+ comments on one status) discussion about everything from the noise to the cops to beer to who-knows-what. Laughing and joking with my friends - even at a distance - put my mind at ease until I was finally able to lay down and get some sleep.
I did find it extremely ironic that it was 2 years, almost to the day, since the last time I had to call the police to my home. Thankfully, this was a much less dramatic call than the last one, and a whole bunch of people got a good laugh out of it.
Oh, and I spent some quality time on Sunday anchoring the wood back to the window to keep critters out, and I also fastened the door at the bottom of the steps shut - no one is getting down there again without either brute force or power tools.
Have any of you had to make a 911 call that ended up being nothing?