Monday, January 16, 2017

An Explosive Tale

[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published January 18, 2017] ©2017
All right, our home can now officially be certified as weird. 
I’ve written about this phenomenon before: the phantom street light in front of our house that both SD G&E and the city claim does not exist. (You can only imagine what it takes to take a burnt-out non-existent street light fixed.) Our quirky address has, over the years, rendered it unfindable by the La Jolla Postal Service, city trash collectors, delivery vehicles, the police, and even our own friends. The only service that routinely found us was Fed Ex.
But now even Fed Ex seems to have gone off into the Twilight Zone. 
One afternoon the week after Thanksgiving, Olof went out for his customary walk while I went to do errands.  When I came home, there was a box that bore teeth marks from what appeared to be a very perturbed Rottweiler sitting in the middle of our front yard.
But hey, it was the holiday season, a lot of seasonal drivers. But still, what a sloppy delivery job! 
I picked up the box and lugged it up to the front door, shifting it to one side so I could get my keys in the lock.  That’s when I notice the words “explosive” and “ordnance” on the label.  I’m thinking, whoa, those Trump folks have no sense of humor! But wait! I haven’t even written that column yet!
The delivery address was 92155 – Coronado.  There was nothing with our name or address even remotely associated with this box.  But I decided that in the meantime, it was going right back outside to the place I found it.
When I came in, I saw that Olof was on the phone.  He cupped his hand over the receiver and yelled , “Don’t touch that box outside!”  Oops, too late! He was alerting Fed Ex Ground to the package.  They didn’t seem overly concerned.  I guess if it’s been on their truck all the way across the country, it can’t be too dangerous. 
We briefly pondered calling the police about it. But that might create more excitement than we wanted. When our older son, Rory, was 12, he made a pretend bomb for two young camo-wearing neighbor kids who liked playing GI Joe. Seriously, he slapped this thing together in about five minutes, wrapping two round blocks from our block set in aluminum foil, adding a couple of green glow sticks, and the face of my swim watch that had a broken band but still ticked, and wrapping the whole thing with masking tape. In Rory’s defense, those guys in the Hazmat suits should have determined it wasn’t a real bomb before they cordoned off the whole area.
So we decided against calling the police. TWO visits from the bomb squad and you’ve got a reputation.
Olof said he’d found the box on the sidewalk in front of our house and had the initial same feeling I did: sloppy delivery drivers. A few days before Thanksgiving, we were delivered someone’s very bulky countertop convention oven. At least there, the first three letters of our name and the recipients were the same even if the address was totally different. Deciding that these ovens were probably not happening on EBay, we restored it to its rightful owner.
But this new box was such a mystery: how had it ended up in front of our house? If it had fallen off a Fed Ex Ground truck, was it even possible that the same truck was delivering in both La Jolla and Coronado?  Even after we concluded that this box was not likely to explode in our faces, we were just as happy to have it stay outside. 
But no, this story was going to read like a bad sitcom. The next morning, our lovely lawn maintenance guy showed up unaccustomedly early and graciously delivered the box back to our front door. Olof wrapped it in a plastic garbage bag and deposited it on a far corner of the lawn and indicated to the totally mystified non-English-speaking lawn guy that he should not go near it. I’m guessing our lawn guy came home that night and regaled his family with yet another story of the strange habits of his La Jolla customers. Why put a box where someone could steal it, he would wonder aloud, shaking his head?
When Fed Ex still hadn’t shown up that afternoon, Olof placed another call to them. He was sure that the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group on Coronado must be wondering where their package was.  So shortly thereafter, a Fed Ex guy showed up and with no explanation whatsoever (probably because he simply didn’t have one), collected this box.
And the story will be added to the on-going lore of this strange house. We’re really pretty sure it’s going to have to be a disclosable when we sell it.
But about those teeth marks…
So how did this box end up at OUR house?
Our bomb-sniffing dog, Lily

Those are DEFINITELY not Lily’s teeth marks. (She only has 6 teeth.)
Box hangs out in the middle of our front yard awaiting eviction
(somebody steal it please!)

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