Tuesday, March 08, 2005


As I was preparing our taxes the other night, I heard some bizarre noises coming from the back mudroom. It sounded like the boogeyman had indigestion and was passing gas loudly for all to hear. The noise continued for about 20 seconds, and then stopped.

I listened, sitting quietly at my desk. A few minutes went by with no further noises. I peeked over at Nathalie, who remained napping on the couch. The curiosity was killing me, but my anxiety level was off the scale. Not that I actually expected to see a monster in my mudroom, but it was less than a month ago that someone tried to break into our house.

I looked around the office for something dangerous.

Letter opener.
Metal ruler.
Clothes hanger.

I sighed at my armory. I immediately put aside the hanger and ruler. Running with scissors is never recommended, but the letter opener is more menacing despite its wimpy appearance. I picked up the letter opener and started to tiptoe towards the back of the house. Halfway there, I decided that I'd rather scare a burglar away than have to fight him, so I started to make a bit of noise.

I got to the mudroom without incident. I turned on the lights and looked around. Nothing. The door was intact. Windows were clear. Nothing was out of place.

Much relieved, I shrugged and went back to the humdrum of doing taxes.

The next morning, as Nathalie and I were leaving for work, I discovered the source of the noise.

At Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, they brought three helium balloons to the table because Nathalie and I were celebrating my birthday. After dinner, I took the balloons home with me and let them loose in the mudroom. And then promptly forgot about them. During the night, they floated up to the ceiling, got tangled up in the ceiling fan, and then ground the fan to a halt as the strings got wrapped around the shaft. The noise I heard was the fan blades scraping and rubbing the balloons for 20 seconds until the fan came to a stop.

A gift from Ruth's that kept on giving.