Perv Cameras and Neighborly Shenanigans

Where do I begin?

A few weeks back, I came home from work one night to find tufts of black cat hair on the family room carpet, as though there’d been a cat fight inside the house. My cat, not really much of a clump-shedder, had apparently been in a fight of some sort. While he’s a smart one and knows how to use the dog-turned-cat-door, I was hoping that a stray hadn’t also figured it out. But if it had, I was hopeful that my beloved had kicked some furry butt and been the victor, despite the fur everywhere.

That same night, I continued through the house and found that a curtain rod had fallen off its incredibly stable perch. The rod appeared to have had enough bonding with the valance and tried to make an escape. I found it teetering on top of a dresser, where it had also managed to knock a lamp over. Feisty, feisty rod.

These two occurrences were also the day after an individual with a preference for homeopathic remedies and a penchant for dressing up as a pirate had stood me up on what was to be the fifth date.

(In retrospect, I’m not sure why there was more than one date, given my lack of interest in playing dress-up, and also because I’m someone who’ll happily take three Advil PM and wash ’em down with a glass of wine. Homeopathic, shmomeopathic.)

I have a neighbor across the street who I swear trains his scraggly little dog to make a beeline for my grass so it can pee on it daily. There’s a very green, very fertile patch of grass as proof of dog’s shenanigans. Mr. Neighbor often waves at me in the mornings, donning a wife-beater tank and ill-fitting shorts, letting out a neighborhood-awakening, “Hola!” (natch), then makes a labored attempt to shuffle over and remove the dog from the yard. I swear it’s all an act, because really, it happens most mornings. That aside, he’s fairly harmless, apparently nice and hey — the dog has to go somewhere. If it was #2, then we’d have a problem.

Last weekend, I noticed that Mr. Neighbor was having a cold one with the guy in the house next door to his own. They sat in the garage with the door open, chatting for about 15 minutes, then they went their separate ways. I thought it was nice they’d become buddies.

Till a couple of days ago.

I came home from work and walked into my bedroom, flipped the ceiling light switch and…nothing. I thought it was really weird because there are two light bulbs in the fixture and, unless one had already bit the dust, it seemed near impossible that they’d both burn out at exactly the same time.


I hopped up on the little bench at the end of my bed to try to unscrew the whole fixture to see if a bulb needed replacing, but everything was put together too tightly. I figured I’d wait till the weekend.

Which brings us to today.

I finally had time to wrestle with the light fixture. There’s a round silver ball that screws onto the bottom and holds everything in place, and for the life of me I couldn’t get it off. I was trying my darndest to twist it loose and decided to bend some of the metal leaves around the base to see if it would help me get a better grip on the thing (it’s a vine-y, crystal-y fixture). No luck. I busted out a beefy pair of pliers and wrapped a rubber band around the ball to see if the band would provide some grip.

Still no luck, and hey — lookie there. Now I’ve scratched the once pristine silver ball that’s visible when you look up at the fixture from any point in the room. Awesome.

I was starting to break a sweat and removed myself from the frazzling situation long enough to turn the A/C on. I came back to the fixture and decided to try turning it the other way.

It worked immediately. Dur. I was happy, but annoyed at myself.

After I got the whole thing taken apart, I removed the two lightbulbs and shook them gently. Nothing was tumbling about inside, so I was even less convinced that it was an issue with them. I’d purchased two new ones at the store earlier today and I fetched them anyway, screwed them in and flipped the switch.


Now I was just plain confused. Why did my ceiling light suddenly not work?

Was it somehow tied to that day I found cat fur tuftage in my family room, also the same day when I spotted the fallen curtain rod?

Could it be that The Pirate was somehow involved?

Or maybe it was my neighbors! Instead of them just sitting across the street sharing a beer, maybe they’d installed some sort of hidden perv camera. Maybe the whole time I was wrestling with the light fixture, my face and [minimal] cleavage were front and center because the mini-cam was mere inches above my head. Maybe the perv camera was tied to the electricity that should’ve been making my ceiling light work!

As a last ditch effort (and with fingers crossed for my sanity’s sake), I went outside to see if I’d blown a fuse in that bedroom.

Nope, everything was in order.

I readied myself to start accusing my neighbors of their pervy ways.

Instead, I decided to call my dad. It’s still their house, so maybe he had some weird electrical or wiring insight that he’d be able to share with me from his 33 years of living here.

My mom answered the phone, and passed it to my dad. I asked him if he ever remembered having an issue with the ceiling fixture in the bedroom not working. He repeated a few words to process what I was asking him, and my mom was able to overhear. I explained that I struggled with the fixture, eventually got it taken apart, removed the “old” bulbs, put in new ones and that I still had no luck.

Somewhere in there, my mom had an epiphany. I heard a faint, “Oh! Tell her I flipped the switch on the other wall when I was there the other day. I knew I shouldn’t have, but it looked funny to me and I wanted it in the off position. So I turned it off.”


Seriously? After all that, it was this random “ghost” switch on the opposite wall — a switch whose existence I never really understood but that I didn’t bother to mess with, either — that simply needed flipping back to the “on” position?

I shuffled over, phone in hand and with dad on the line. I braced myself for the results as I flipped it up.


I think I let out a curse word or two.

The good news is that, once again, I have light.

The bad news is that the light fixture is easily taken apart, but not easily put back together by one person. I’ll need a helper for that, and said helper (if it’s mom) will not be going anywhere near the ghost wall switch.

Tonight I am thankful that the casa has not, in fact, been infiltrated with any perv cameras (that I know of), and that I’m once again able to get dressed not in the dark. I’m sure others thank me for that, too.

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