I hope those are the sounds of contented deep sleep I'm hearing from the other room. I hope I'm not busted.
We live in a three-floor house. Laura and I occupy the main floor, and we have a neighbor upstairs and one downstairs. The upstairs neighbor and we share a common entrance, since this used to be a single-family dwelling. We often hear him coming home late at night in the entrance hall, right on the other side of our nailed-shut bedroom door (we sleep in what used to be the house's living room), and prowling up the stairs to his apartment. The downstairs neighbor has his own entrance, but we share a common storage area in the basement, a narrow hall that runs the length of the house.
Well, down in that narrow hall is where I've been hiding Laura's present from Santa all week. Santa had me pick it up for him at Home Depot, him being busy with other things and not having much room in the sleigh and all, and asked me to stash it until the big night. I rearranged some boxes and nestled the big blue carton back in a niche, disguised it with some artfully placed bubble-wrap, and then stacked chairs on top and in front of it.
Tonight Laura was feeling tired and a little ill, so I read to her from Watership Down until her eyes grew heavy, and then I lay in bed beside her reading Black House to myself for another hour, until I figured she was good and asleep. Then it was time for Santa's little helper to go to work . . . since Santa had called frantically earlier in the day to report that he'd be just a little too busy to manage the transfer of the big box from the basement to the room we use as the living room.