Coincidence, Correlation, and Cause.

At 2:30 AM last night. I was having a bad night because I had insomnia, so, when my next door neighbour’s motion-sensor light came on right outside my bedroom window, I noticed. In fact, I noticed enough to get out of bed and look out of the window. I didn’t see anything, so I went back to tossing and turning in bed.

In the morning, I thought I would do a reconnoitre of our property and see what I could see. I found nothing on the side of the house with the neighbour’s motion sensor and my bedroom window, but on the other side I found some things that puzzled me. On the path on the other side of the house was a grocery store bag containing two bottles of Sprite and two pastries. In addition, I also found a small burn mark in the concrete. A burn mark! How does that happen?

When I looked a little further I found that the bolt holding the back latch locked was missing, so I used all my Sherlock Holmesian abilities and deduced that our visitor(s) had left in a hurry out of the back gate and had taken the bolt with them. Also, I noticed that the gate in the front garden was open.

It occurred to me to check the shed and the garage, and the shed was still locked and all contents were as I had left them. The garage appeared to be intact also, but when I tried to turn on the light I found that the power was out. I then looked up at the light and I saw to my dismay that the garage door opening mechanism was falling off of the ceiling. Apparently, it had not been bolted into a beam but only into some superficial thin wooden cladding. I wondered if the recent heavy rains had something to do with the ceiling’s collapse. The machine was poised perilously above the roof of my car which I removed from the garage shortly after.

When I went back inside the house to check on the security camera’s recordings, I discovered that, although the doorbell camera was working, the back driveway camera was not. So, I could not see who had exited our back gate, but I could see the recordings from the front. Strangely, it had not recorded any movement on our property during the night.

In my mind, all those things had happened simultaneously, so my mind tried to create a connection between them all. My mind failed.

I waited until both my son and daughter-in-law seemed to be available to chat. They are both working from home and using the phone and Zoom a lot, so I tried to pick a moment when neither of them was in conference. When I heard only music, I went upstairs to tell my tale and ask for their advice.

I should tell you in advance that neither my son nor his wife is given to drama. They have both worked with at-risk teenagers and my daughter-in-law still works with people in challenging circumstances, so not much surprises or dismays them. My son went with me on a walkabout to see what I had seen, and then we went back in the house to talk it over.

Once we had established that nothing had been damaged or stolen, we concluded that someone must have accessed our back garden by hopping over the neighbour’s fence, which would have set off the motion sensor. The burn mark may have been from a dropped match which may or may not have been related to drug use.

I don’t know what caused the visitors to forget their snack, but I left it out in the alley for them (or someone else) to find later.ย  I looked around our driveway and the alley for the gate bolt but I couldn’t find it, so I replaced it with a metal hook that serves a similar purpose.

That leaves only the mystery of the power outage in the garage and the collapsing garage door opener. This seemed to us to be beyond the normal scope of mischief from your average late-night wanderer, so we called an electrician. I had a medical appointment today, but I was able to get home to meet the electrician soon after he came by later this afternoon. He did a thorough job of assessing the problem and explained it a second time for me after having already explained it all once to K and J. His estimate for repairs will come later, but his first best guess is that the power outage has to do with a failure in grounding.

The collapsing garage door opener is beyond his expertise, but he knows a guy who can help. In the mean time we have propped it up with the extension ladder. Otherwise we feared it would crash to the floor and we would have to buy a new one.

While the electrician was here and explaining things, four friends arrived to help us lure and trap a family of feral kittens that have moved into the neighbourhood. We had a back yard full with the friends and the electrician and all of us, but we all got along and managed to do what we came there for.

In view of all that, it is pretty clear that just because one thing follows after another thing doesn’t mean that thing A caused thing B. And, just because three things happen simultaneously does not mean that they all have a shared cause. And, just because a whole bunch of things happened at the same time in my garage and back yard, doesn’t mean that one event caused them all. In fact, they probably have nothing in the least to do with each other.

Here ends your lesson in logic for today. Does anyone want a kitten?






  1. Awe, kitties! Are you socializing them? We did that one year and it was so much fun โค
    I love how calm you are about your night time visitors. I aspire to that!

    1. The plan is to have the kittens spayed and neutered and to have the Humane Society find homes for them. So far, though, I don’t think we have caught any of them.

      I was calm only after I had talked it through and come up with some solutions! It helps that K and J are both very calm people. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Ah-ee! I do not want any irresponsible sleuthy kittens who smoke drugs, leave matches burning on driveways, eat pastries with Sprite (unless it’s Sprite Zero & raspberry-filled pastries), unlock fence-gates, play with electrical wires and wiring causing outages, make garage-door openers freak out as if possessed by Gremlins or demons, AND who jump up and down on the roof after hard rains ala Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers-like, trying to make a DRAMATIC ENTRANCE on stage on the garage floor… otherwise known as Edmonton’s Spectacular Cabaret Royale Le-Pussycats!

    No, those kittens sound like LOTS of trouble and sleepless nights Anne! I’ll pass. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜›

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