They Came in Through the Bathroom Window
Last week, my husband and I became victims of a crime. As such, he has some thoughts of his own and asked for co-writing privileges. His contributions are indicated in green.
I hit a milestone last week: I managed back-to-back marketing events with nary any pain. I was patting myself on the back Thursday morning for bouncing back from the first one well enough to make the two-and-a-half hour drive to the second one in Santa Ana, when my husband called. As my friends all know, this is not an unusual occurrence: He calls me, often when he’s stuck in traffic somewhere, feeling bored. He usually forgets when I have an appointment somewhere and I have to remind him.
“Hey, I can’t talk right now, I’m doing my event.”
But this wasn’t one of those “I’m bored” calls:
“We’ve been burgled,” he said.
He remembered I was going to be out of the house all day and came home for lunch to check on the dog. What he found was a dog who was soaked amid a puddle of water in the living room. The bedrooms and home office had been ransacked. In the master bathroom, the window screen was mangled and on the floor. It must have been left open, because if it had been closed, the only way someone could enter would be to break it (we know! We locked ourselves out once!) — and it was intact.
“They took my camera and all my equipment,” he said. And as my friends and family all know, to my husband, that was tantamount to
a stab in the heart kick in the nuts.
My jewelry box was open. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry (I leave that to my husband) and don’t own much that’s good (and most of what I do have came from my mother and grandmother, so has more sentimental value than anything else).
There was an empty ring box strewn on the bed. It had held an emerald ring I purchased for myself about ten years ago because it was relatively inexpensive and emerald is my birthstone and I always wanted one. I stopped wearing the ring because it gave me a rash on my finger (like I said: it didn’t cost much!). I don’t feel too bad about losing that. But I started thinking about what else might be missing and began a little inventory over the phone. Most of my stuff was safe. I don’t think the culprit(s) knew how to tell the difference between what was real and what was costume.
I ended up leaving my event early: There were plenty of other staffers there to cover for me, and I was unable to focus. My husband took the rest of the afternoon off to wait for the police to come so he could make a report. This time, I was the one calling from the car. All I could think about was how violated we both felt and that I wanted to be home.
Seeing it in person was creepy: Everything from my drawers was spilled out on the floor. My lingerie. My bags and purses. Worse, they rummaged through my daughter’s room and broke a little wicker box that held only a doll and toy tea set. They took her old laptop off a shelf and left it on her bed (obviously after examining it and realizing a 5-year-old Dell wasn’t worth much now).
All in all, we were lucky: Aside from the camera bag and the ring, all they took was one gold earring. I can’t imagine why they took one and not the pair, but the police speculated that my husband may have interrupted them when he entered our home through the garage. We also know that our dog probably saved us from losing anything from the main part of the house: It was obvious that they were dousing him with water from the cats’ dish in an attempt to get past the barrier we use to separate our canine and felines. No animals were harmed in this burglary. No real damage was done to our property. The camera and equipment can be replaced. It’s a financial hit we don’t need, but fixing that is relatively easy.
What’s harder to replace is our sense of safety and security. My first thought was to blame myself: For two months, I’ve been home nearly 24/7, recovering from abdominal surgery, with my car parked in our driveway… and almost the minute I was out of the house for longer than an hour, this happened. We spent the weekend looking at options to make our home more secure, and we will.
Here’s the thing: I don’t want to become that little old lady with bars on the windows, who is afraid to leave the house. I want to be able to come and go as I please. I want us to feel comfortable taking a vacation once in a while. I have always imagined our golden years traveling the world and I refuse to allow that world to shrink to the confines of our home. But right now, we’re going to give ourselves permission to feel a little bit paranoid.
“Are you leaving the house today?” my husband asked this morning.
Yes. I have some errands to run, including taking the dog in for a booster shot. YES, THE HOUSE WILL BE DOG-FREE FOR ABOUT AN HOUR.
My husband went to work as usual – but took some of our stuff with him. Just in case. As he left, his parting words to the robbers were: “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” He has a way with words.