We’ve got an 11-96 and a 5150 at The Pudding House.

On Monday morning, at approximately 8:27, the girls and I exited the house for the drive to school and quickly noticed a man sitting in his car right by our mailbox. I looked at him. He looked at me. I gave him the roughed up “Dude. This is MY house. Move it along.” raised eyebrow action. He didn’t flinch.

I quickly corralled the girls into the car, loaded their favorite Selena Gomez song onto the iPod, and slowly backed down the driveway. When I was parallel with Suspicious Vehicle and Man Inside, I made it clear that I was writing down his license plate number in one of the 38 tiny notebooks that I keep with me at all times.

I dropped the girls off at school and called Jeff, who took down the plate number and description of the car and the guy. He then alerted the police, because we’ve already had one person die at our house, and Better Safe Than Sorry.

I killed fifteen minutes (The drive to school takes about five minutes.) before re-entering our subdivision. The car was Still There. Instead of turning onto our street, I drove straight and looped around until I found myself in a Dairy Queen parking lot.

Me (to myself. Soliloquy!): Okay. I need to keep driving by the house to see what he’s doing, but I’ve got on this bright yellow sweater thing (which seems severely unflattering lately. Perhaps I should give it away?) and these black glasses. I need to shake it up to become unrecognizable so the guy doesn’t notice me driving past him every twenty minutes!

Me (on the phone with Jeff): Do you know of a place that can alter the appearance of our car in less than fifteen minutes?

Jeff (always dealing with me in the nicest way possible): No.

I then did what anyone would do in this situation. I took off the top half of my clothes in the Dairy Queen parking lot, removed my glasses, and tousled my hair until it looked exactly the same, only a bit more AWESOME. I then put my black t-shirt back on, sat up, and drove back to the subdivision.

Still there. Once again, I went straight instead of turning. This time, *I* called the police, and a woman who was in NO MOOD for chit-chat told me that an officer was on the way. (I suppose I’m sort of glad to know that the lady who dispatches the calls doesn’t like to spend time gabbing on the phone with people like me.) I headed straight to the Kentucky Fried Chicken parking lot, where I noticed a manager unloading a few boxes from his truck. (What could he be bringing in from home? Straws? Lids? Those Delicious Biscuits?!)

From the KFC lot, I called my neighbor to let her know what was going on. She said she was going to get a better look at the guy just in case we would need to identify him at some point.

People, this was getting Exciting. In my world, where the biggest adrenalin rush occurs when I have lunch plans AND a batch of cake balls that need to be made, having a potential menace in front of my house is Heavy and Invigorating. I drove into the subdivision again. Still there. Still There! (This was about thirty minutes after I spoke to Mrs. No Nonsense at the Police Department.)

Me (on the phone with Jeff): Damnit! He’s STILL THERE! And I think he saw me. I’ve driven into the subdivision THREE TIMES NOW, and I’m supposed to be meeting my mom for lunch in less than an hour and I’ve been driving AROUND for nearly an hour and I STILL HAVEN’T APPLIED MASCARA! I NEED TO GO HOME!!!

Jeff told me that he would place a sane follow-up call to the police to see what was going on, because really: I’m sure our fish is a small fish compared to the other fish they have to fry.

I slowly drove back into the subdivision and wound my way around until I was parked on a side street where I could see Potential Danger, but he couldn’t see me. (I really need to have a hat made that says Bird Dog to wear during my imaginary super sleuth adventures.)

Suddenly, my phone rang and scared The Crap out of me. It was Jeff.

Jeff: Go home. He’s a detective.

Me: He’s a what?!

Jeff: All they could tell me is that he’s a private detective and at this point you’re being doubly protected.

Me: Doubly Protected?! What is he DOING?

Jeff: Well, I told them that I didn’t feel good knowing that a detective is parked in front of our house, but they assured me that everything is okay.

Over an hour after I took the kids to school, I returned home—wearing completely different clothes, no glasses, and with screwed up hair. When I looked down at the guy in his car, he rolled down his window and quickly flashed his badge at me. I cautiously approached him. (Probably not so cautiously, actually. Cautious is hard to manage when your lashes are in need of definition and you’re carrying your clothes. Embrace Your Whimsy.)

Me: Yeah, so, I’m sorry I called the police on you. It’s just that I HAVE DAUGHTERS.

(Really. I said that.)

Detective: I get it.

He then rolled up his window, which told me that he didn’t have time for my breeze shooting.

And that’s HIS loss, because I was going to offer him some cake balls. (If you give me an inch, I tend to take a yard.)
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24 thoughts on “We’ve got an 11-96 and a 5150 at The Pudding House.”

  1. The person who lived here two buyers before us fell off the roof and died in the front yard. She also cut off her finger with our garage door and sewed it back together with a needle and thread because she was afraid of hospitals. (She also burned her trash in the fireplace so she didn’t have to pay for trash removal.)

  2. I read a lot of mystery novels, and I love your technique! It’s good that he’s “legit” but still – WHY is he there?!! Do any of your neighbors seem to be having marital issues that involve documenting infidelity? I think that’s a lot of what private detectives do, right? How about mail fraud/identity theft? Wracking my brain trying to consider all “safe” but “questionable” activities that could be investigated by a PRIVATE detective – oooh,ooh – corporate espionage? Is someone stealing trade secrets? Dying to know over here – if you find anything else out, you must tell!!!

  3. We have had this happen a couple of times and luckily we seem to have pretty observant neighbors. Both times they had multiple calls to the police department on them. The second time it was for possible insurance fraud/workers comp. Does make for exciting days! :)

  4. When I first moved into this house, there was an incident with a police officer IN my house. I was bathing my then 3 yr old son and I heard someone calling out from my foyer. I found an armed, uniformed cop inside my front door looking to serve a warrant to the previous owner. For kidnapping! Yeah, that was not fun. I appreciate the police but uh….

    I hope whatever he was investigating was something minor like lawn gnome theft.

  5. AHAHA! You’re so much braver than me. I would’ve assumed that I’d done something terrible and illegal and hightailed it to Mexico.

  6. Love it! Especially the fact that your favorite places-to-hang-out-when-strange-men-are-parked-in-front-of-your-house include only fast food chains. Have you tried the Blizzard of the Month for April yet? I think we should indulge…

  7. The way you were lurking around, so unincognito-like (if you can make up words, so can I), I’m surprised no one sent an officer after YOU! Haha. Plus, what was up with that KFC manager? Go back and investigate.

  8. The detective missed his chance. He should have made time to talk to you. He would have then found out who did the big bank job, and where they are hiding. Also where they hid the money, and most importantly where they can find the nearest Dunkin Donuts. His loss

  9. Wow. (no exclamation point, just a very quiet “wow”)


    So, 1) you live within spitting distance of multiple purveyors of fast food and 2) you unwittingly may have alerted Neighbor Lady to the fact that she is being spied upon. Also, it turns out you were dealing with a private detective who, you know, probably “notices” things. Any chance you are now down in one of *his* 38 tiny notebooks along the lines of “Left home wearing yellow sweater and glasses — returned later, disheveled & wearing different clothes. Contact husband to see if potentially interested in my services”?

    (snerk ;-)

  10. Not only do you make me laugh, but your commenters do too!

    Keep us updated! I’m intrigued!

  11. Uhm, yeeeah…just when you feel relief about the creepy guy not being so creepy…take a breath…and now that unsettled feeling smacks you upside yo’ head that you must have a creepy neighbor VERY close by that is DOING SOMETHING that warrants being investigated by a P.I. That’s a big swinging creepy pendulum!

  12. I think all detectives should have mustaches, wear Hawaiian shirts and drive red Ferraris. Then you know who they are. no muss, no fuss.

  13. Someone wouldn’t usually pay for a private dick all day like that unless it was for an insurance fraud or WC claim case. Infedelity detectives are infrequently used in divorce cases because you can rarely um see from a parked car what you’re looking for. Ahem.

  14. I love that you didn’t just just drive to Target and buy some new mascara before meeting for lunch. Too much Magnum PI or was it Rockford Files for you.

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