Piano Terror in the Attic

It was Saturday afternoon and I promised to help my daughter build a closet in her new bedroom “the attic”.

Hesitation, fresh out-of-college and the loss of freedom was her current mood. Moving back home with us was a far cry from the independent life of a college student. Four years of dorm/off campus living and now the dreaded move back home with parents. Rules to follow, questioning of whereabouts, etc... The privacy and liberty has all but diminished (somewhat)...

Secretly… I was so excited with the idea of her being back home, although, I couldn’t tell her out of fear she would think I would continue to hover - as I have in the past :)

As an alternative to moving back to her childhood “dream” bedroom, she was inspired to renovate the attic adding touches to repurpose the space. Creating a dressing room/closet, tv section and resting area for her bed (inspired by Pinterest) - deserting the pink, flowery teenage girlie room.

Memories flood my head of slumber party sleepovers, all nighters of final exam studies and the paint chipped door (occasional door slamming) are fondly tucked away in my head.

So the construction began - both of us novice carpenters to say the least… Making stride with handling tools, hanging metal frames - both determined and eager to accomplish the renovation! Quite frankly, the measuring tape is not as easy to use as one might think - snapping back when least expected.

As we measured the angled wall, adjusting the approach to ensure adequate room for the rod, I heard my son shout “will you give me a ride to the train station” which is several blocks away… He was speaking at an event in Manhattan and opted for a ride rather than leave his car in the train station lot.

I eagerly take him - giving my daughter time to inspect our work...

A little insight about myself… I am a bit overprotective (putting it mildly) - a helicopter mom as some might say - I have the tendency to provide guidance & feedback to my children (adults then ages 20 & 21) even when I know they don’t need it… Purely out of love!!!

I dropped my son off, he was purchasing his train ticket from the vending machine so I waited for him to complete the transaction to ensure all was ok. As usual he waves - coaxing me to leave, I pretend not to see him and continue to put my head down as if I was looking for something. I see him walking through the tunnel to reach the train on the other side of the tracks - going East to NYC. I heard the train blowing the horn, which I then felt confident he was boarding soon and excited to get back home to tackle the closet.

Well back at the homestead, we continue with the tedious challenges of carpentry. The screws were loose and brackets crooked - I don’t know how it came to me, I somehow remembered to use a molly to anchor the screw to the wall. Yeah it worked!!! Ta Da!

The closet was coming to life… Silently - thinking to myself - will the rods hold all her clothes, did the molly’s work? (fingers crossed)!

Suddenly… we are startled by a thump, which sounded like Coalby (our sweet, playful and curious cat) - we both laugh and get back to hanging the shelf. Hmmm, we hear the noise again- yet increasingly louder. Noticing out of the corner of my eye - there is Coalby (the cat), sleeping on a chair purring away… That’s strange - what could be making that noise - I try not to panic, yet I begin to feel my heart beat faster.

Abruptly - the noise we thought was the cat sounded like someone walking two floors below us, then we heard knocking on the doors, banging on the windows and the piano keys were aggressively sending frightening tunes. The sound of running footsteps and banging on the windows increases, the piano is not stopping. Did a crazy person or persons break into our home? It sounds like multiple people in the house. I felt my hands shaking uncontrollably, my heart beating as if I ran a marathon, my mind racing with thoughts of being murdered.

We furiously look for a spot to hide (my first thought is to hide in the crawl space - but there was no time to decide), the entrance to the attic is extremely steep, my daughter grabs the ladder and holds it over the opening at the top of the stairs, Coalby is curious, he scurries with interest down the stairs. More banging, more piano and more running throughout the bottom floor!!! Coalby is down there - will he be harmed?

I sheepishly stand behind my daughter with a hammer in my hand… I beg her to hide with me, she took control of the situation - scared yet willing to make a bold move not leaving her guard post hanging over the attic steps…

Panicked, I grab the phone - move to a corner of the room to avoid my voice from travelling - I didn’t want the intruder to hear me. My hands are shaking uncontrollably - I find it impossible to select the numbers 9-1-1 on the phone. Meanwhile, my daughter remains at the top of the stairs with the ladder, ready to drop on anyone that takes a step in our direction.

I finally managed to dial 911! I hear the dispatcher say “911 what is your emergency”, I whisper as to not let the intruder hear me… I explain that we hear someone or several people on the first floor, banging, running around and playing the piano. Again I hear the piano - I repeat to the dispatcher someone is playing the piano. He replies “Mam… someone is playing the piano?” Again, I repeat there is an intruder or more than one and they are in the house. The dispatcher was completely thrown off when I repeated the piano. The tune was so creepy/eerie - as if the person(s) wanted to play with our minds...

The police station is located directly across the street from my house (not more than 500 feet) - in which I beg the dispatcher to send an officer immediately, I am afraid for our lives. I hear him request a dispatch to our address, he repeats there is an intruder.

Still shaking, panicking, trembling and frantic that the person(s) will get to us before the police arrive. Suddenly, I hear the officers outside speaking with someone near the kitchen door.

The voice sounds familiar - I suddenly hear my son say “Oh man are you serious - they called the cops”... With an uncomfortable chuckle… He explains to the officers what has happened - he tells them he wanted to scare his mom and sister, he didn’t think they would call the police… Strangely enough, without requesting to see us they leave… the officers believed him and didn’t feel the need to check on us. Thank goodness it was my son - shocking - no confirmation that we were ok (we could have been involved in a horrific situation and no one to save us).

As it turns out - my son missed his train, the train that arrived when I left the station was traveling a different route - not going directly to NYC directly so he opted to take a later train. On his walk back to the house, he had an idea to scare us, knowing we were in the attic. He googled how to play a tune on the piano (which he has never played the piano - ever) and at our expense successfully completed the intention.

Well his plan worked! After I was done crying, shaking and exclaiming how damaging that was to my psyche, we all laughed!!!

Needless to say anytime I hear anyone strike a key on the piano I panic. The following was posted on an online site: Piano FREE - Available Immediately!

When was the last time you got scared and who was it that scared you?