Sunday, November 13, 2011

Welcome home! We hope you enjoyed our stay…

Normally this would be the obligatory blog post where I extol how awesome my vacation to Disney World was, and all of the awesome things we did, complete with pictures that you love to see.  But that post will have to come another day.  Instead I’ll recap what’s happened since I returned home.  There’s nothing quite like the feeling of coming back home from a fantastic vacation… especially when you come home to find that someone else wanted to enjoy your house while you were away. 

I arrived home on the Saturday night before Halloween.  After picking up my car from my parents’ house and driving home, I arrived in the driveway hoping to climb into my nice warm bed and get some sleep.  As I pulled up, I was somewhat surprised to find that the garage door wouldn’t open.  Odd, but plenty of reasonable explanations why that might have been the case.  So I parked my car on the street and made for the front door.  However, as I looked up from the street into the living room window, I noticed the lights were on.  Just very dim, but on no less.  And the blinds were open.  I was pretty certain neither of these were the case when I left, and at this point I think I subconsciously knew something was very wrong.  At this point, I didn’t even bother reaching for my house keys, but just went straight for the door handle, and found it decidedly unlocked.  As I went in and turned on the lights, my worst expectations were recognized as it was obvious someone else had been there. 

I walked into my office on the first floor, and couldn’t see the carpet because papers were scattered all about every corner of the room.  I cautiously made my way up to the main floor, to find things surprisingly relatively orderly, but also remarkably bare at places.  I honestly wouldn’t have noticed much wrong except that a couple of the kitchen cupboards were open, and a few things open elsewhere.  At this point in partial shock, I just grabbed my phone and called 911.  The dispatcher said she’d send a police officer over to take a report.  Much to my surprise, a Shoreline officer showed up in less than 5 minutes.  He looked around and surveyed the situation.  This was also the first I went up to my bedroom to see what had happened up there.  Again, besides a few drawers that I never use sitting opened, I wouldn’t have noticed much wrong. 

After a bit more investigation, we found the point of entry: the downstairs window.  The perps had used a screwdriver to pry the trim off around the window frame, then jam the screwdriver through to pop the latch on the window.  In hindsight, this is one form of entry that could have been thwarted by ye olde stick in the window.  However, my more cynical opinion is that had I made it harder to slide the window open they would have just broken the glass, which would have been a lot worse for me to have to deal with.

I’m not generally one to live in fear, but I have to admit, I didn’t really get much sleep that night.  I was lucky that I didn’t realize until morning that one of my spare house keys was missing as well.  I was able to secure the window with a stick that made me feel reasonably safe, but it took me several days until I got the locks changed and believed that things were really secure again.  In the meantime, I took the rather insane approach of barricading the front door with a bench before I went to bed, just in case someone wanted to come in the middle of the night.  I also for the first time locked my bedroom door, because well, if it helps you sleep better more power to you.  Smile  By the end of the week, my paranoia was gone, and I now feel like it’s back to my own safe and sound house.  All things considered, getting over it that quickly is probably better than most. 

Two weeks following the break-in, I’m still finding things missing.  There’s nothing quite like looking at an empty shelf and thinking “I know there was something there, but what exactly was it?”  The obvious stuff was gone:  several laptops, a bunch of collectible coins, pretty much anything shiny.  It took me a while to realize that some of the more important things were gone, such as my flute and piccolo.  On the whole, not too much that was irreplaceable was taken.  The exceptions were some random souvenirs I had gotten from trips over the years, like from the Vancouver Olympics, and unfortunately all of my pins I had bought or received on the various trips and bowl games over my years in band.  I’ve heard that most thieves make use of what they find for hauling the booty away, namely any sort of bags they find to load up.  I think the most noticeable was the fact that nearly every duffel bag or storage bag in my house was taken, presumably to load up the goods.  But on the more bizarre side, there was a noticeable amount of random food and such taken from the fridge.  Ice cream, cheese, salami, and even peanut butter.  I mean, honestly?  Who takes such things?! 

But without a doubt the strangest thing I never noticed happened the other night when I was going to wash a pan in the sink.  As I’m standing at the sink I immediately reach out for the dish soap, and it isn’t there.  Yes, that’s right, they stole a half empty bottle of Dawn.  I do not at all understand that one.  It makes next to no sense to me whatsoever. 

So I’ve been dealing with the insurance company, sending along lists of what was taken, and then replacing as much of it as I can.  Part of the reason it’s taken so long to get this posted is that I just got a new laptop on Friday.  While in some ways it’s fun shopping to replace all of the things that were taken, I really would much rather just have my stuff back. 

No word as to if they’ll ever catch the people who did it.  My flute was probably the most traceable thing that was taken, as I even had the serial number to track it with, but unless they take it to a pawn shop to try to get rid of it, it’s unlikely they’ll ever get caught.  Maybe someday they’ll get caught for some other crime and they’ll find some of my stuff, but I’m not counting on much.  As it goes, you just have to move on and pick up the pieces.  It’s only things, and things can be replaced. 

But I still want my stuff back…