Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Power of the Network. And Darling Daughter. And Scotch.

Yesterday afternoon, I made one of those absolutely necessary, but embarrassingly-infrequent circuits of the house, checking the exterior paint, security lights, gutters, etc.  (Really, which kid do you suppose penciled in a monster face on the wood siding?  And when?)

As my inspection reached that side of the house least seen (and every house has one, right?), I saw that a towering pyracanthas bush against the fence had been tethered to our home by a ropey, six-foot strand of spider silk.  It tickled me to think that this favorite shrub, which I rely on year 'round for foliage cuttings, floral filler and seasonally decorative berries, had been assimilated into our actual home.  The bush was now, officially, Chez Wiles.

That night, hours after my completed inspection, I was on the phone with a Charleston friend who likes to be referred to as Cougar Bait (CB).  (Honest.  He's 23 days younger than me.  This is just the beginning of things not fabricated in this blog post.) As I babbled about my day, Darling Daughter (DD), who'd been upstairs getting ready for bed, came down to notify me that the lights were on in my car.  It was 9:30 at night and raining.  I was irritated that I had to go outside and see which door was ajar, so I could get the lights off.

Long story short, I disrupted a car break-in in progress.

First, no worries.  We are fine.

Second, it turns out that 12-year-old girls are pretty darn powerful because what happened next was like a scene from a horror movie.  Still on the phone, I went outside, opened the driver's side door and was ticked off to see the glove compartment door gaping wide.  At the same time, DD, who is home with the flu, was watching me from an upstairs window and saw a man ("no hair, about 30, red shirt, red umbrella, about as tall as my mom," as she later told the police) crouching on the other side of the car.  Despite being nearly voice-less a few hours earlier, DD summoned the energy to frantically and loudly alert me, scaring off the perpetrator.

Terrifying?  Well, let's say I may have found yet another target market for Depends adult diapers.  And not just 47-year-old female crime victims.  Thirty-something-year-old crime suspects, as well.  In the words of Mr. T, "I pity the fool" who crosses a pre-teen who thinks her mom is in danger.  DD's siren-like warning penetrated that second-story, double-paned glass and sent the would-be burglar scrambling.

That's when the strands of my network began revealing themselves.  I quickly hung up on CB to call 911.  Unbeknownst to me, CB -- who'd heard DD's shrieks over the phone (did I mention she was loud?) -- quickly called Dear Friends (DF) who live nearby.  At my request, DD called CB to assure him that we were OK.  DF pulled into the driveway minutes later.  Two police cruisers followed shortly thereafter.  DD and I each gave our statements.  With police escorts, we inspected the property -- just as I had earlier in the day.  And then, a mere 35 minutes after the break-in, DD and I were on our way to DF's for a sleepover.

Thirty-five minutes.  No fabrication.

As news spread over the next 12 hours, my network continued to emerge. Friends, family and neighbors supported us -- offering advice, cell phone numbers, resources for improved security, unrelenting love and lavish praise for DD's quick thinking.

Our network turned into a virtual "net"  -- a comfy hammock holding, supporting, comforting and cradling us -- something we very much needed, even though we were perfectly fine.

DD took a five-hour nap this afternoon, recuperating, I think, as much from the flu, as the night before.  I've answered countless e-mails and phone calls and even shed a few tears out of sheer gratefulness.  I've also offered my undying gratitude and assorted favors to Cougar Bait and Dear Friends -- the starter strands of last night's network.

I can't say I've got much in the way of a recipe right now.  Between the flu and the napping and the network, DD and I haven't broken bread together today.  The most memorable thing I had last night was a stiff Scotch while unwinding at DF's last night.  Talk about an easy recipe.

But first, how lucky am I?  Yep.  The answer is "amazingly" -- thanks to DD and our powerful network.

Scotch On The Rocks
As served by DF and as consumed while on a late night call to CB.

One hefty, cut-crystal double-old-fashioned glass
An abundance of crushed ice
Lovely, fragrant, smooth, calming 15-year-old single-malt Scotch (I prefer Dalwhinnie, which, serendipitously, can be found in DF's liquor cabinet)

Fill glass to rim with crushed ice.  Pour Dalwhinnie over ice until glass is 1/2 full.  (Really, it's not that much when you think about it. Remember, ice is frozen water, which makes it an ingredient.  When you think of it that way, Scotch is only the second of three ingredients.)  Splash some non-frozen water (the third ingredient) on top.  Sip slowly as you recount the tale of your evening.  Decline, when offered, a second Scotch (and Dear Friends always offer a second).  Sleep well, knowing your network is stronger than any spider's web.
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