I had been away from my home for a week.
Over that time, I had a house sitter looking after the dog and the home and the massive DVD collection and a myriad of other home-related items. Phone check-ins with the “sitter” would go smoothly. E-mails would come back with cheery replies. But when I would return home, something strange would shake me to the bone.
Lime juice. That wasn’t mine. In my fridge.
I stood in front of the open fridge even more startled than the time I found a squirrel in it. At least with the squirrel it all made sense. At least a squirrel crawling in through an open doggie-door and into an open fridge made perfect sense in a “hunter/gatherer” kind of animal-kingdomesque way. But to come face to face with a brand-new, never-opened bottle of lime juice?
I did what any self-respecting vacationeer just returning from a week vacation would do. I immediately contacted the house sitter via Instant Messenger in an attempt to get to the bottom of the conspiracy at hand in what is now referred to as the “lime juice IM accusation conversation.”
me: so i have this very big question to ask you…
me: and i need you to be completely honest with your answer.
me: Did you buy lime juice and put it in our fridge and not open it and leave it there for us?
me: like as a present?
them: haha no
me: I came home and found LIME JUICE
me: in a big container
me: in our fridge.
them: I did eat some of your cheese though with the triscuits.
me: that’s all good…
me: but really, no lemon or lime juice?
me: it’s a friggin’ mystery – because it wasn’t there when we left.
them: I swear.
me: god, that’s so weird.
them: I have never owned any lemon or lime juice ever…
them: is it old or something?
them: I didn’t notice any, but I mostly was looking for cheese.
them: that is weird now you are creeping me out
them: like what if I was sleeping there
them: and someone came in to put lime juice in your fridge?
me: i just looked again.
me: totally unopened.
them: what do you even use lime juice for?
them: where was it in the fridge?
me: in the area you’d put a bottle of wine
me: on this plastic thing that hangs from one of the shelves…
them: I have no idea where that area is
me: that holds a wine bottle
them: is it near the cheese drawer
me: second shelf down from the top
me: on the right
them: huh no clue
them: that’s weird are you making this up
me: didn’t you say you were going to make some kind
me: of blended thing?
them: uh no
them: I bring bottle fraps.
them: but I don’t think I left any of those there.
them: as I drank them all.
me: so weird.
them: do you think someone snuck in and put a bottle of lime in there?
The sitters words hung heavy in the back of my brain. They echoed, in fact. “Do you think someone snuck in and put a bottle of lime in there?”
Who would do something so random and freaky like that?
If you know me, and I think you do, you can probably imagine the slew of scenarios that had rushed through my head at that very moment. Someone was playing a mind game with me. In the first stage of trying to drive me mad (and rob my house) they had snuck into my house late at night (the sitter hadn’t put the alarm on since they didn’t feel comfortable in a strange house putting it on) and thus didn’t have to deal with the alarm system. They had snuck into the house, but instead of stealing anything — they simply placed a brand new bottle of lime juice in my fridge in an attempt to mentally destabalize my internal cranial organs.
That had been step one.
But they had carefully selected a specific lime juice bottle. One that was bilingual. The words on the label, half-written in Spanish and half-written in English — the bottle had obviously been purchased from a store that resided in a part of town where bilingual food items were sold. This obviously whittled down just who was doing this to me. Someone, from a part of town I didn’t frequent, had gone out of their way to purchase a bilingual bottle of lime juice, sneak into my house late at night (while I was gone), place it in the fridge, and take nothing else from my house in an attempt to say to me, “See? I can sneak in a bottle of lime juice into your fridge this easily — just imagine how easy it would be for me to sneak into your house and take everything that’s worth anything!!”
They’d probably add some kind of “muhahaha” at the end of that line if they were talking. But they’re not, since I’m just typing the line I think they’d say, so we’ll just move on.
I immediately contacted the wife. Checked with her. Did she buy lime juice for some upcoming lime juice pot luck margarita party without telling me? Had she bought the lime juice for some special occasion?
Her: “Lime juice? I don’t buy lime juice.”
We had not had a party recently in which someone would have brought lime juice. For god’s sake, we have a tree on our property that GROWS LIMES. For what reason would we ever need to buy lime juice? Even more startling was the fact that “the sitter” hadn’t even seen any lime juice in the fridge while they were holding down the fort (which they obviously weren’t doing too well if someone had been able to sneak into the house and put a perfectly good brand-new bottle of lime juice in the fridge).
That meant that sometime between the sitter leaving and me arriving back home, someone had gotten into the house, stolen nothing, and put an unopened bottle of bilingual lime juice in the fridge as some kind of psychological warfare against me and my family.
As you can imagine, I threw out the bottle of lime juice within the hour. In someone else’s garbage pail. Down the street. So in case there was something noxious or explosive in the lime juice container (or maybe even some kind of listening device) — I wouldn’t be affected by it.
Weeks later, there’s still been no leads in the case of the lime juice. I’ve asked my neighbors (who all say they had nothing to do with it while giving me a weird cockeyed look at the same time). I’ve asked my friends and family who have keys to the house. I’ve even asked the people at the local grocery store who (once) were hired to deliver food to my house when sickness was running rampant.
And still, the case of the lime juice remains open. A cold case, so to speak.
I highly doubt we’ll ever figure out how this happened.
And that shakes me to the core.