Sunday 11 Dec 2016

Bumps in the Night
Jennifer Flaten

Crash! Thump. What was that? I blink groggily at the clock. When I finally bring the giant red numerals into focus, I see that it is 3 am. Uh-oh things that go bump in the night usually mean trouble.

Trust me, nothing good goes crash thump at 3am.

Three in the morning, 3 am, is the time of night when children who've been fighting off illness finally succumb to the virus. 3am is the time the cats decide that the new crystal vase would make an excellent hockey puck.

I reluctantly get up to check things out.

At first glance, nothing seems amiss, but that is probably because I don't have my glasses on and without them I can barely see my shoes to tie them-it also happens to explain my slip on pink fuzzy bunny slippers.

After I put on my glasses (and belt my matching pink and fuzzy robe), I set off to find the source of the thump.

A quick check of the kitchen shows that everything that was on the counter when I went to bed is still on the counters.

Okay, I can rule out my usual suspects (the cats). Although when I flicked on the light they did scurry away looking guilty-uh better make a mental note to check on them later.

Further investigation (a glance out the window) shows me the source of the noise.

Even without my glasses, I would be able to see the cause of the thump. How could I miss it? The light illuminates green leaves pressed up against the window-I am positive those weren't there when I went to bed.

I am not sure what I expected to find, but a tree is not it.

This particular tree (now slapped up against the window) previously stood 10ft from the house, now a significant portion of it is resting on the house.

It reminds me of a scene from a movie. Maybe you saw it; it was about plants suddenly attacking humans. Eh, never mind I think I am the only person who watched it.

For a brief moment, I actually entertain the notion that the tree is out to get me (hey I just woke up give me a break). Obviously, I've been watching too much television.

I open the door to further assess the damage and see that the tree is completely blocking the door.

Well, good thing I have an axe (what well-prepared woman doesn't?).

After checking, to make sure the rest of the tree isn't going to follow its limb onto my house, I go back to bed; not that I sleep. Nope, no sleep for me, I spend the rest of the "night" waiting for another thump.

The next morning the kids, who get up early and so perky it borders on obscene, take one look out the front window and speed into my room.

The miniature town criers inform me that there is something "amazing" and "weird" is awaiting me in the yard.

I assure them that I know exactly what is out there and that I don't find it either amazing or weird.

I go on to inform them the whole incident took place as they were happily snoozing away in their beds, for which I am grateful.

I tell them they will have plenty of excitement helping me remove the offending tree from the roof-see it is all about how you sell the work...like Tom Sawyer and white washing the fence. I tell the kids hauling the tree away will be fun and voila, they want to help me haul it away.

Do I feel bad for hoodwinking my children into manual labour? No, no I don't.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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