Monday, November 7, 2016

Code & Safety Words

When the Guppies were younger and just beginning to venture out into the world of hanging out places without us (i.e. sleepovers at a friend's), we sat down as a family and came up with a code/safety phrase.  It was a tricky task!  It had to be something that we would never really say to each other, yet, something that didn't sound so odd that it would raise alarms either.  Over the many years we have had this in place, no one has had to use it....

Until last night....

When I did!

Here's the story...

As I mentioned in my last post, I was going on an exploration adventure with Guppy 1 and her best friend yesterday.  Papa stayed home with an exhausted Guppy 2 and did yardwork all day long.  Around 4:30, once he knew I was almost home, he decided to go visit his brother at the physical rehab place 45 minutes away.  Around 6:30, after I made dinner and go a few things done, I thought I would just take the dog for her normal evening walk myself and not wait for Papa to get home - I knew he would be tired and would appreciate it.
If you are a long time reader, you have probably guessed I live in a pretty suburban town.  (If you are really savvy, you may even have figured out which town in CT LOL!)  Apart from a horrific homicide here in 2007 (I think), this is a quiet town.  A town where I feel safe.
Except last night....
Our usual evening walk takes us down my street (which can be very dark since there aren't many streetlights) then we take an office building parking lot as a cut through to a main road and walk on to the high school where we reverse direction.  I have walked the dog alone in the evening before and the only thing I worried about was being able to see well enough in the darker sections of my street so I didn't fall flat on my face!
Last night, as I was beginning to walk into the (well lit) office building lot, I heard loud voices and saw that the dumpster in the lot was seriously askew.  Before I rounded the corner that led to the main street, I heard a man shouting.  He was asking someone (possibly me?!?!) if they sold crack cocaine! I pulled the dog around out that parking lot so fast!  Then I continued to the main road but crossed the street so I would be on the opposite side so the man/men couldn't reach me easily and there would be traffic/witnesses.  I should have gone home, I know, but if the dog didn't get her exercise in, she would have been horrid all night and I felt safer on the main street. 
I thought that they would be gone by the time I came back around but stayed on the opposite side of the street still and didn't use the cut through to be safe.  Of course, they were still there.  I could hear them mumbling loudly and could see at least one man searching through the dumpster! 
So, I called Guppy 1 and casually used our code phrase and tried to keep up a normal conversation with her until I could see our house.  It took her a minute to catch on and, even though I didn't want to alarm her, I needed someone to be on the phone that was close by in case I got jumped from behind.  For my quiet area, this was all super sketchy.
Once I got home, I decided to call the police station - using the main dispatch number instead of 911.  The policeman who answered took down the info and sent a car to check it out.  Did they find the men?  I don't know but Papa drove through the lot on his way home (I had called him once I was home) and it sounds like the dumpster was even more wrecked than before.
Needless to say, I won't be walking the dog alone anywhere after dusk again for awhile!

Do you have a code word or safety phrase in your family?  Has anyone ever needed to use it?

Have a great Monday!



  1. We had one that was totally bizarre, but we only used it for a change in pick up plans. My kids went to schools with no bus service and I was in car pools for the older kids so I could always swap days if something came up. I had to take and pick Son3 up daily and occasionally had to have others pick him up. He was fine if it was either of my parents or a couple of my friends, but on rare occasion someone I was working with had to get him. We used the code "purple peanuts" because it was something no one would ever use randomly and that way he knew I had sent them.

    1. What an unusual phrase! And a safe one for sure!

  2. How unsettling. I am glad you got home safely.

    1. It was scary and having the dog didn't make me feel much safer. I'm not sure how she would have reacted if they did approach me. I would like to think she would have "felt" my fear and responded accordingly. But, she's also just an 85 pound lump who would lick you to death before bite you! =)