You hear these things on the news where someone says that a bad guy sneaked in to their house in the middle of the night and took things. Or worse, took kids. When I hear that, I always assume that it's
1) a lie
2) the home owner/renter was drunk/high
3) a lie coming out of a drunk/high owner/renter
4) a medically established case of hearing loss
5) a lie
But now I'm the one who feels like a smacked ass.
Last week in the middle of the night, someone broke into our house and completely wiped us out of everything materialistically valuable. While we slept.
I've heard people say "robbed blind". I always figured it to mean that everything was taken right down to the eyesight. Now I'm wondering if it meant you were totally blind to anything happening. I'll have to look up the etymology on that one.
That exact same day, probably about 12 hours before it all happened, I was laughing with a friend about how having two kittens explains away things that go bump in the night. I've always said that. How having a pet makes the goblins less goblinnier. It was actually sort of creepy between the time Tyler was alive and the time Emily and Layla moved in. All the creaks and squeaks and ghosts didn't seem to come from anywhere in particular but everywhere all at once. I didn't like it.
Yes, I heard someone come up the stairs, but I assumed it was Dave or Jake (who now live in the basement. You can mail all correspondence to the house, I'll be sure it gets to the apartment below). Yes, Dave heard someone in the basement with them, but he assumed it was me rooting around for something I had left down there. My phone, or my Nook, or whatever.
It doesn't happen the way it does on the Slomin Shield commercials. No breaking glass. No scary face in the kitchen window while you're finishing chores before bed. No fast slamming drawers or quick creaking doors nor the icy slice of the butcher's knife coming out of the wooden box on the counter. No neighbor's dog barking.
Our neighbor's dog barks all the time. I am considering calling the SPCA, they never bring it in. Not even in this heat.
I woke up that morning and reached for my phone, which I keep on the edge of the bed to check the time. I couldn't find my phone. Or the charger. I assumed maybe Dave needed to make a call- his was dead and he couldn't find his charger.
I reached for Jake's Kindle, which was on the other edge of the bed. It has a clock on it. Gone.
I see my dresser drawers and sewing box open and stuff all over the floor.
Now I'm worried that something happened to someone and Dave was rooting for the credit cards or (heavenforbid) Jake's medical insurance card.
Go downstairs and my bag is overturned and the record player is on the floor, writing desk- which looks like a table when it's closed- is open and the drawer is pulled out. All places where credit cards and (heavenforbid) Jake's medical insurance card could be kept.
I call downstairs to ask Dave what is wrong and what he is looking for, he is completely confused and I call him up.
"We've been robbed. Someone else did this."
Quick check for Dave's phone and he sees it gone. The computers are gone. Anything that we can use to get help is gone. Anything that can put us in touch with the outside world.
Getting robbed is like turning Amish, but with less beard and more zippers.
I ran outside to see if anyone was out with their dog or leaving super early for work and luckily a bus was coming, so I head down to the stop and the driver stops.
Stops for a girl in men's pants and no bra and no shoes and bedhead. The look on her face was a good one.
I borrow her phone to call the police and they are there in minutes.
And then a detective.
And then the crime scene unit.
Ever have the crime scene unit in your house? They leave it messier than it was when they came. Black finger print dust everywhere. It doesn't come out of everything. Especially white carpets. I'm wondering if home owners insurance covers crime scene investigation clean up.
All our favorite things are gone. Every bit of my jewelry. I had loads, being the only girl on one side of the family and the eldest on the other. Both of my grandmothers' jewelry. Their wedding rings. Engagement rings. Some of my mothers'. Family heirlooms older than any family I've met. My 1.25 carat five-stone diamond ring. Gone. My two .25 carat diamond rings. Gone. Worth ten-fold over what I paid for them now because of the price of gold.
Gorgeous things that I felt I never deserved in the first place. Things I never could quite believe that I owned. Things that my dad bought me for big milestones.
Things, things, things, only things.
And of course everything that plugs into the wall or has a charger. We are so portable these days. Except the television, which is practically hardwired into the house.
These guys were good.
They knew they couldn't get that out unnoticed.
The television we have.
The car we don't.
I just sent the final loan payment. It should clear by the end of the week.
I heard someone beeping their car lock button four times. I thought that strange. You beep it once to lock it. Oops, you forgot your phone and wallet so you go back for that. Beep it one more time for the re-lock. But three times? Four times? Obnoxious. I cursed them as I rolled over and went back to sleep. We have on-street parking and sometimes your partner parks the car and you need it later but forget to ask them where it is so you use the lock beep to find it. Like sonar.
I live on a street that doesn't sleep. Insomniac elderly woman who watch out their front windows all night long. Chain smokers who aren't allowed to smoke in their own houses so they sit out on the front steps next to the juniper bush that needs a bigger pot. Kids coming home from the bars that are popping up in our gentrified neighborhood. It all must have happened in a magical hour where no one was paying close attention. Three in the morning or so.
We are so lucky. So so so lucky. I was sleeping naked in bed all alone, two stories above anyone else. Naked in a bed with no covers on account of the heat. I don't like to be in the air conditioning. Naked in a bed where someone(s) stole things out of. They weren't rapists, they were burglars.
Jake was sleeping on the downstairs couch with Dave. If Dave would have woken up, Jake would have probably watched his father kill someone. Or be killed. Most likely the latter. The bad guy(s) were most likely ready for a fight. We were deep in sleep.
The police said that there has been a string of burglaries in the area and while they don't know who is doing it they are pretty we were hit by the same people who did the other ones. It's not really a common crime around my parts. It's something that doesn't happen much in the better parts of the city unless you are a drug dealer or someone who flashes what you have or you are targeted by a family member/friend/friend-of-a-family-member-or-friend who knows what you have and needs that stuff to buy drugs or whatever else can turn you monster enough to steal from your own people.
The police said there were a few people who have gotten hurt.
The police said those are probably the people who woke up and tried to fight.
The police said that the best thing to do is just pretend to be asleep if you wake up and there is someone in the house. Or call 911 if you still have your phone and you are certain the bad guys won't hear you.
The police said the first thing most good cat burglars do is render you out of contact with anyone, then they start stealing your shit.
The police said they were really sorry and couldn't have been better about the whole thing.
They were the sort of people who reinforce your belief that for every bad person in the world, there are at least one hundred really good people who are willing to do anything they can to help you.
I have that belief. I hold it dear, above all other beliefs that exist in my world. It makes me keep faith in humanity and lets me do what I do for a living and allows me to bring children into this crazy life we all share.
There are blessings in every misfortune.
One time I had a cookie tell me that opportunity sprouts from crisis. I keep all my fortune cookie fortunes because they come true eventually.
I don't have my favorite things anymore, but I have my favorite people. The huge outpouring of love from family and friends is almost overwhelming, and more than fills the holes in my heart that were left when I woke up and realized how much was missing.
After the police left and things settled down a bit I had a chance to talk to Jacob about what happened. He crawled in my lap and said to me, "mom, our stuff is gone but we're still here. They are the kind of bad people who only wanted our stuff, they didn't want to hurt our bodies or take us away from each other. All we need is our family and friends, and they are still here for us and we are still here for them. Plus, I think I needed a break from all the screen time you were letting me have since school got done. My brain was starting to melt."