As the pangs of a miserable winter ended, thoughts turned to spring cleaning and deferred maintenance. My husband was inspired to stain our front porch, steps, and the wood around the flowerbed. The stain made a huge difference in the porch’s appearance and I was thus inspired to get rid of the porch swing and to make the front porch a comfortable place for numerous people to enjoy summer evenings.
Excited, I went on the hunt for front porch furniture and was delighted when I walked into a small, local antique market and lo and behold, spied a set of white wicker furniture. The furniture was in great shape and on sale for a great price, so I left the market with three chairs and two tables. Of course, the chairs weren’t complete without cushions, so again I went on a hunt. Pier 1 Imports had just the bright, citrus green I was looking for and I ordered cushions and throw pillows.
As I anxiously awaited the arrival of the cushions and pillows, I decided to further upgrade the look of my porch and found a large planter and a hanging basket of bright flowers. I planted the large planter with bright purple and orange petunias and felt that my decorating was almost complete. I added some brightly colored coasters and a couple of citronella candles and my porch finally met my vision of a front porch oasis. The cushions and pillows arrived and I must say the front porch looked beautiful.
Fast forward to Saturday, July 20th, the day I threw a party for my husband’s birthday. I anxiously awaited the surprise guest of the party – my husband’s best friend from Minnesota, a friend he hadn’t seen in 16 years. His arrival was a shock to my husband and the party got into full swing. The party was a huge success, with the front porch the gathering place for many of the partygoers. The friend and my husband and I spent hours on the porch on the Sunday and Monday nights following the party. All was right in my little world until the following Wednesday.
Our company departed, the house was back in some semblance of order and it was time to once again relax on the front porch. I walked out onto my front porch and stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn’t believe my eyes – there was one chair cushion and two throw pillows missing.
What the heck?
I ran through the most likely list of culprits, at the top of which were the teenagers who had destroyed our mailbox the previous year. The idea that someone had trekked through our large yard onto our front porch to steal three out of six pillows was unnerving.
We devised a plan to move the driveway alarm to the front porch. The alarm sends a signal to an indoor receiver and alerts us that someone is on the property. That might seem strange to urban dwellers, but when you live on 1.5 acres of land, you are sometimes unaware that someone is on the property.
We retired to the bedroom to watch television on Wednesday night and at about 10:30 pm the alarm sounded. My husband grabbed his shotgun (more for the fright factor than anything as I had no desire to shoot anyone over pillows) and we raced to the front door. He opened the door as I simultaneously switched on the flood light. Braced for whomever we might confront, we peered through the glass storm door and what did we find?
Yes, the neighbor’s dog had come back for another go round of cushion and pillow theft. We ran him off, laughing at the absurdity of the idea of him making three trips to drag a heavy seat cushion and two throw pillows off the porch.
On Thursday, my husband walked across the street to talk to the dog’s owners. Amazingly enough, they had two of the three items missing from our porch stored in their mudroom. They also had a stack of stuff the dog bandit had pilfered from another neighbor’s yard, including, ironically enough, a no trespassing sign still attached to the post, as well as a number of solar lights he ripped out of the ground.
My husband retrieved our items. We weren’t mad at the dog as he only did what he was allowed to do – roam the neighborhood bored, displaying his retriever instincts to retrieve something. The neighbors never attempted to stop him or find the owners of the articles the dog regularly dragged home.
For now, our pillows are brought in each night and the alarm is set up on the porch. We hope to eventually break the bandit of his thieving ways, but hold out little hope because of the lack of cooperation from the dog’s owners. We haven’t seen the culprit for a few days but heard him barking last night. Something tells me he hasn’t changed his ways – he’s just watching and waiting for an opportunity to retrieve something else to add to his stash of goodies.