If you read this blog — well, gee, thanks. But you may have noticed that I have been decidedly absent for the last month or so. Sometimes life gets in the way — and I have been living a bizarre nightmare that has forever changed the way I will see life.
On a random October night, I was sitting at the kitchen table, helping the kids with homework and cleaning up from dinner. Everything was normal. Lane decided he was dont with dinner and excused himself to the play room. Not much sense arguing with a 3 year old. A minute later he came out with the window screen complaining that it was covering his toys. I didn’t think much about it, this is an old house with mismatched windows and fittings, and jalousie windows with the screens on the inside. I put the screen in the hallway and went back to cleaning. After dinner I decided to fix the screen and see what I needed to call the landlord to come and fix next. I looked at the window in the playroom and couldn’t mentally wrap my head around why it was open. Then it hit me: it wasn’t open, it was broken.
Nothing in my house had been out of the ordinary. I had been home for a little over 3 hours. Everything was normal.
And then it hit me: my jewelry box.
It looked untouched – but when I flew open the lid, it was completely empty. Rings – including my engagement ring which I normally don’t wear to work because it’s pointy and I work with a lot of little kids; necklaces; bracelets; earrings. ALL. GONE.
We called the cops, and they came and dusted. Got fingerprints – which turned out mostly to be mine, and told us how they were quite shocked that this happened in our neighborhood. We were told several times how infrequently – if ever – they get calls near us. Didn’t really matter. My wedding ring: gone. My high school and college rings: gone. The necklaces my mom bought me when each of my kids were born: gone. Most of my grandmother’s jewelry she had given me over the years she was alive: gone.
Everyone kept telling me how lucky I was, they didn’t take the TV or computer, etc. Doesn’t matter. The fact that someone was in my house and took my stuff is a violation that I really can’t describe. Dirty and festering from the inside. We called our landlord about an alarm, she e-mail our Australian property owner, he agreed. This all took a few days of back and forth. We could call the alarm company and set it up for the following week. The window was fixed immediately. In the meantime we padlocked the playroom door from inside the house, but I felt like this was shutting the barn door after the horses got out.
We managed to pick ourselves up, and get back the world of acting normal in front of the kids, but it really wasn’t the same. I left the following weekend for a conference in my hometown of Baltimore, where I got to spend the weekend with my dad. It was some much needed healing and perspective from the situation. It’s just stuff — I was going to be ok.
I arrived home from the trip at 11 p.m. on Sunday night. I kissed the Hubby and the kids, plugged in my laptop and trudged off to bed. The next morning I was back at school, feeling like a musical bad-ass from all the conference comments we received on our presentation. I picked up the kids early from daycare and took them to our school book fair. It was just stuff, I was going to be alright.
That night we were eating dinner. Everything was normal. The kids asked for new batteries for a toy. I went in my office, got them, and returned to the table. I looked at my husband and asked – “didn’t I plug my laptop in last night?” Then it hit me again.
I ran to the playroom – the padlock had been ripped off the door from the inside. We had been broken into again.
This time it was worse. All of my electronics, my guitar, iPods, headphones. All the things that I use everyday. And he took the rest of my jewelry: my grandmother’s necklace and earrings that my mom had just handed me on my trip back home to give me some comfort. I didn’t even have time to unpack them.
I ran out of my house screaming. Nothing can describe those moments. My husband was shaken, and I was a wreck. I called my mom. I called my best friend. I called my landlord. I called my Principal and took the next day off. We had the alarm installed the next day. My mom tried to take me out to dinner the next night, but I couldn’t leave the house, I just cried. The half-marathon I had been training for all summer was that Saturday, I didn’t care. It had only been 10 days since the first break-in. I didn’t think I would ever leave the living room chair again. This time it was more than just stuff.
I don’t remember much of the following week. We spoke to several neighbors, and they all suspected the same local guy. Apparently we weren’t the only people hit on our street recently. I made my husband call the detectives daily.
On Halloween my husband called me at work. They had arrested said-skeevy-local-guy in an armed robbery attempt of the auto parts store on the corner. In his belongings he had our neighbor’s camera. They called us, it looked like they were on the trail of some of our stuff. But more importantly – that guy was not going to be in our neighborhood anymore.
I got some of the little things back, I guess they were too cheap to pawn. There is a large amount of “property” now on hold at local pawn shops this guy used. Hopefully I will be able to recover a few more things.
Even if it’s just stuff, I will never be the same.