Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Maintenance Man: A Thriller

We live in an apartment complex. That means that sometimes management sends around people for maintenance checks, appearance upkeep checks, and the suchlike. On occasion they send out notices to say that the maintenance people will be coming into your apartment, and they give you a two-week period of when that will happen.

I don't always handle these situations very well. Especially after an experience I had when we first moved here, and a guy came over while Andrew was gone, and he was here for several hours, and I was uncomfortable and couldn't really get him to leave. I didn't open my blinds or make a noise (seriously, I didn't even play any music) for weeks after that because I was afraid that he or someone like that would come back. I was a bit like the Grinch when he was sliding about, slithering on the floor to get places.

And I don't know if you know this, but some pregnant women have incredibly active, horrid, graphic, and horrifying nightmares. Suffice it to say that with my already overactive imagination, I've had enough nightmares of a certain nature to be afraid of anyone being in my apartment ever.

A while ago, there was an apartment wide pretty-fication going on, and that included people coming over and switching out the window blinds. Now this was a very good thing seeing as one of my blinds had fallen off and broken, and I was using a scroungy looking towel in its place. Very attractive. But I'd lately had a string of nasty nightmares regarding ruffians of the worst sort breaking in and becoming violent.

Andrew was at work, and I was feeling jittery, so I called Mama up for our not-regularly-spaced-out-but-frequently-occurring chat. I was lounging on my bed, gabbing away with Mama, telling her about the dreams in all of their horrifying and disgusting detail, when I heard something faint and eerie. I stopped talking. It was the sound of a deadbolt sliding. Someone was trying to get into my home while I was telling Mama about my nightmares about people trying to get into my home! I have two deadbolts, one of which can only be operated from inside, so the intruder couldn't come in. But someone was trying to get into my house. And I was absolutely terrified.

"I think someone's trying to break in," I whispered to my mother. I peeked my head around the bedroom door frame, and the deadbolt actually was moved. It wasn't my imagination. I could hear someone pushing against the door to open it.

But of course, that quickly became this.

And I backed into my room, closed and locked the door, and looked around, trying to figure out what to do. I decided that if someone actually made it in, my best option was to run screaming through the bedroom window.

Never mind the fact that I live on the ground floor. That, along with most other facts, is irrelevant in my zoom out scenes of dramatic intensity.

My heart was beating so frantically that I almost couldn't hear my mother on the phone. I was seconds away from bursting through the window panes when I heard:


Maintenance? MAINTENANCE? I completely collapsed on the bed. Why hadn't they STARTED with that approach, instead of just trying to let themselves in?  Andrew:  Though, with the way that Tashya and her mother talk, and all the way in the back room, who KNOWS how long they were there knocking first! My heart started slowing from its pittering hysteria to beats so hard that they actually hurt my chest.

The knock and bellow came again. I didn't move. After nearly killing me with fright, they deserved to be inconvenienced by having to come back again later.

Mama spoke soothingly to me between spurts of spouts against that kind of behavior. And when Mama had to end the phone call, I just stayed on my bed, quivering under/in/around/on top of/through/tangled in my fuzzy pink blanket.

I didn't go out for lunch. I didn't get up for the afternoon. For hours, I hid, not willing to make sounds lest those people (who were portrayed in my imagination as the baddies from nightmares) come back and demand entrance to my home. Andrew had a real lump of joy to work with when he got home that evening. Good thing he's so wonderful.

But that was a few months ago. This time was different. I received a notice of entry for a routine maintenance check they do once a year. It was scheduled for one day, not a two week time period. I planned an outing to the library to avoid any scary encounters, find a book or two, and work on one of my writing projects (which, according to my sisters, is a very desirable read- I want to read it, too, and I'm mad that someone else hasn't written it so that I could just READ it already!). After a nice morning tidy, I was trying to decide between having a post-lunch nap, doing the dishes, and going to the library when I heard a voice outside my open window. He sounded older. I heard him say, "I've got to go now, honey. I have a lot of work to do. I love you." I thought he was adorable, and continued on trying to decide what to do.

It turns out that the adorable conversation maker was going to make my decision for me. There was a gentle knock on the door, which I opened to find a cheerfully smiling older man. He was standing there calmly, and politely asked if he could come in and do some maintenance.

I was so pleasantly surprised that I actually let him in. I did dishes while he did maintenance. He saw my open scriptures on the table, and gave me an approving smile. He asked if I went to church, and we talked about where we worshiped. I apologized for the baskets and boxes in his way- we're trying to make room for our baby. He gave hearty congratulations, and told me about his family.

So I, Natashya, did something brave today, and I didn't even almost die as a result. Rather, I met a kind maintenance man who loves his wife, and whose cheerful smile made me smile in return. I liked today much better than that time I didn't answer the door and was almost murdered in my bed by someone not even in my apartment. Which, you have to admit, would actually be pretty impressive.


  1. I know EXACTLY how you feel!!! In our last apartment (it was a basement apt so I feel like that's just scary in itself especially when the door is around the back of the house and hidden away) I was pregnant and let's say not completely decent and taking a nap when I hear someone at my front door. I ran to my room to get better clothes on and by the time I was back ( like 30 secs later) someone was trying to open my door! I freaked out and tried to remain calm. That was my only exit. I was trapped. Then the dark shadowy figure left and I was a little relieved until a minute later the shadow man came back WITH KEYS and opened my door! It was my land lady but still...NOT. COOL. After that whenever I was home alone I always tried to be really quiet!

    1. Danica, I'm glad that you managed to get some clothes before she came in. I neglected to mention that I wasn't fully dressed either. I'm glad that you didn't die from fright, and that you're here to share that experience with me. I hope your new place of residence provides you with more security!

  2. I confess...I did this several times with the UPS man and when people in the ward came over. Just knowing that there was someone on the other side of the door made me not want to leave our bed. Now people have to walk through 2 feet of snow to get to our apartment, so it's usually enough to detour unwanted people from coming.

    1. Two feet of snow would be a deterrent to others, but not to me! I'd get through somehow, and make you visit me, too. So... when are we going to be neighbors?