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Best Laid Plans

In the last three months or so, we’ve been having trouble with some neighborhood kids vandalizing my plants. Oh, it started innocently enough. Trampled flowerbeds. Loud bangs on the garage door when soccer and baseballs went further than expected. But next thing we knew, husband caught one of the kids swinging a bat at our newly sprouted oak tree. Warnings were issued. Parents were talked to. I became that old lady on the block who yells out the window, “GET OFF MY LAWN!”

To make a long story short, three trees were mysteriously de-leafed and destroyed despite protective fences and barriers. In one case, the barrier was removed and hidden. No kid took responsibility. Well, we are a household of engineers (and one mad old lady who has a great love of plants).

The only sane thing to do was wait for the kids from behind a bush and hose them down with vinegar, blue dye and skunk oil. No wait. I mean, the only sane thing to do was to wait until the kids were in school and install a camera.

Husband worked hard to place the camera PRECISELY where it could not be seen, but was pointed at the newly planted tree. He studied angles. He downloaded software. He climbed ladders and trees. The only thing he wouldn’t consider was the rosebush, and I still say he erred on the side of “I’m not getting stuck by those thorns.”

The camera was barely installed in time for “home from school.” It was in place for all of two, maybe two and a half hours when we heard a hellacious bang from the garage region.

I ran for the front door, determined to catch the little fiends running away. Husband sat complacently, trusting in his technology. Technology, smology. I wanted to see the fear in the whites of their eyes…only no one was there. The driveway was completely empty and…a little boy that I knew very well, but who had never been a lick of trouble, called out, “I was riding my bike and going too fast and I couldn’t stop. I ran into your garage.”

“Are you okay?”

He nodded, his helmeted head well protected.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. I was just going so fast, I couldn’t stop.”

“Okay.”

I went inside to tell husband that of all kids, it was the nice kid who appeared to have had an honest accident.

Husband said, “Well, let’s review the tape.”

Into the control room we went.

“Hey!” Husband shouted. “My camera isn’t even pointing…That isn’t where I set the thing!” Mouse clicks. Sorting. “Which side of the garage did you say he hit?”

“I didn’t look closely.” Off I went. There was a foot long smear of tire up the side of the garage, right next to the bush where the camera had been carefully installed.

Back inside, we reviewed the tapes. Sure enough, we saw the kid make two circles. On the third round, he came right at the camera. BAM. He hit the garage door, bounced off of it and fell RIGHT INTO THE BUSH ON TOP OF THE CAREFULLY PLACED CAMERA, knocking it askew.

Never underestimate the power of a kid, a bike and pure dumb luck.

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Posted: May 17, 2013

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