Did you know that breaking & entering in the State of New York is always a felony? Did you know that this applies even if the perpetrator has been allowed access to part of a building but then enters an area for which permission to enter has not been granted, as long as that area is not physically left open for entry?
I submit to you, then, that I am harboring a felon.
Since I'm pretty sure this blog is read only by friends and family, you are already aware of my recent vacation, during which I took a few day trips and spent several afternoons and evenings at camp. Phoebe protested these absences in typical Phoebe fashion, the usual counter-surfing, knocking the mail onto the floor, pulling her leash off its hook, etc.
Then, as any watcher of 48-Hours or reader of suspense novels knows is common, the criminal behavior escalated.
She was into kitchen cabinets again. The upper ones. She pulled down a dessert mix that was on a shelf over my head. Then she ate it. Then she was sticky. She treated a box of 500 Splenda packets like a pinata, judging from the way they seem to have erupted into two rooms. She dragged out a fondue pot. She scattered 48 plastic forks, knives and spoons.
She stole another roll of toilet paper. She placed her favorite target of violence, a purple furry slipper, in the middle of my bed, unharmed, but the message was clear that it was in grave danger if left unattended.
However, a good lawyer could have gotten her off on whatever charges might have been brought against her as a result of these misdeeds. They didn't amount to anything more than criminal mischief, maybe a bit of mild vandalism. And as it pertained to the definition of B&E, there seemed to be a gray area: while she was not given permission to enter the cabinets, and they were closed, they were not secured. Didn't seem to be much of a case, and the old finger shake, followed by a hands-on-the-hips-furrowed-brow stare down (together known as international canine sign language for "Baaaaaaad Phoebe") had to suffice.
Unfortunately, as is true in many cases of deliquency, the punishment did not fit the crime and recidivism ensued.
I came home at dusk. The house was poorly lit. There was something on the floor near the back door. It was vaguely familiar to me, and yet I couldn't quite make it out. I approached, cautious but curious. I had it in hand before I fully recognized it, and just as it struck me what I was holding, I turned instinctively toward the kitchen to confim what I already knew. There was no longer a lock on the refrigerator.
(Insert Law & Order "dun-dun" here.)
I am the mother of a repeat offender.
I, like many mothers in similar circumstances, am in denial.
I told myself that lock was worn from use. That it came off easily because it needed to be replaced.
I went out and bought a new lock. I made sure it was strongly adhered and securely fastened.
The next time I left the house, the lock was removed once again.
I have a dog who can open a refrigerator, immediately removed the velcro straps I initially tried to use to deter her, and has now decided to put an end to this game of toying with me and pretending that she can't get past a toddler lock. She seems to be saying, "Why just open it when I can remove it entirely?"
Tonight I had plans to make a very nice dinner for Cathy & Karen, but I first had a commitment to briefly attend a fundraiser.
I officially sank to a new low in the who's-in-charge-around-here power struggle when the ingredients for dinner had to go into hiding to await my return, hereafter known as the Dinner Protection Program. I could tell you where I put them, but then I'd have to kill you.