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Monday, Aug. 3, 2015

From my Front Porch

Friday, July 19, 2002

Sleeping with Leo DiCaprio

When I agreed to spend two days and nights house-sitting for friends of mine, I considered it to be an opportunity to have some much needed quality, quiet time while attempting to get some work done. I was in Mississippi after dropping off two of my four children at a nearby summer camp, and instead of making two 14-hour round trips in seven days I decided to stay in the area and visit with family and friends.It seemed like a perfect situation, except for the fact that I was going to be completely alone in a house big enough to require those you-are-here mall maps placed at various points of interest. To make matters worse, the house is located on several acres in a secluded neighborhood where other equally large homes are located on several acres. In the event of an emergency, the likelihood of any scream for help being heard is pretty much nonexistent. Unfortunately, I had not considered any of this when I, along with my vivid imagination, agreed to keep an eye on their house and their three dogs. I am not sure how Rex, the German shepherd, or Peanut, a terrier, got their names, but Leo, also a terrier which actually belongs to my friends' 21-year-old daughter, was named for the incredibly handsome movie star from the movie "Titanic."My absentee hosts had been gone for only an hour or so and I was intently involved in my work when suddenly I was startled to hear a loud and persistent clanging and banging racket in the basement.My first thought, based on personal experience, was that maybe a water heater had exploded, but when I looked out of the window and noticed the garage door to the basement was open, I realized that even if there had been an explosion, I was no longer alone. Someone was in the basement and because I had just let them out for a run, the courageous canine members of the household were nowhere to be found.I hurried to the front of the house and was somewhat relieved when I noticed a pickup truck parked just behind my van. "What kind of bad guy is going to park his vehicle in the open like that," I hopefully thought.I then proceeded to the basement door and slowly opened it. I could hear music playing and more clanging and banging. "Yoo hoo," I yelled as I nervously walked down the basement steps, foolishly unarmed, I might add. "Is anyone there?""Yeah, it's just me." I heard a familiar sounding voice yell. "Gracious, I didn't know you were going to be here," I said with tremendous relief to an old friend I immediately recognized."I didn't know you were going to be here, either," he said, laughing as he continued to clang and bang while lifting weights.It seemed our mutual friends had failed to inform either of us of the likelihood of the other's presence.We visited for a bit, but for all of its innocence, the situation had shaken me to the core. All I could think about was that in a few hours I was going to be completely alone in this huge house in the dark.Of course, true to form, by nightfall I had a plan. That evening, after I had double-checked all the locks and strategically turned on lamps throughout the house, I assigned Rex his customary duty of guarding the back door. Peanut and Leo seemed thrilled as I allowed them to follow me into the usually forbidden territory of the guest bedroom. I encouraged the dogs to jump up on the bed and snuggle in. Feeling a renewed sense of bravado, I told them, "You get to sleep with me tonight, guys." The next morning, despite the crowded conditions and Peanut's tendency to sleep-scratch, I was well rested and relieved. We had made it through the night undisturbed.When I awoke, Leo DeCaprio gazed lovingly into my eyes. Then he barked. It was time for his morning walk.