A strange bike showed up in our back yard. It was our neighbor's bike, but they hadn't put it there. In fact, neighbor Denise had been leaving that morning and seen a guy in a hoodie putting the bike in our yard, and assumed it was Ethan. Ethan was with me on the way to school, and no one had been home at the time. Along with the bike we found a single shoe on the ground. Which made it go from weird to a little Twilight Zone.
The best we can tell, some guy was going from house to house after everyone was at work and sneaking into back yards, stealing what he could. When he found the bike and took it, he had no idea that that was the moment Denise would come out of her house to take her teen daughter to school. The back tire on the bike was flat, so this guy couldn't just hop on and take off. He must have ducked behind our garage and pushed open our floppy, broken, held-shut-by-a-bucket-o'-bricks-and-a-trash-can gate. He stashed the bike. Since we were gone, who knows how long he was back there and what else he might have been doing. It gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.
It was creepy. There have been strangers in our yard before, using it as a shortcut through the block. We've had our cars broken into, and even had a car stolen right out of the driveway. But having a bike-snatcher use our yard as a stash is freaky on a whole new level. I didn't like the thought of him casually coming back to retrieve his loot.
We took the bike back next door and propped a huge old couch against the gate to get us through the night, then the next day I had the boys demo the gate. We built the new fence and gate that day and got a sturdy lock. I had every child help in some way. Natalie was the project forewoman, and expert holder of screws. It's really my thing to make sure my girls get the same opportunities to use power tools and help with big projects.
I guess I should thank the bike-snatcher. He lit a fire under our tails to get that horrible fence and gate fixed. I wonder if there is anything he could do that would force us to paint the house.
Ellie and Dad
Hangin' with my sib!