Sunday, July 13, 2008

Stop Thief!

I got the call at work in the middle of the day, when I had just mustered a sigh of relief; I could see the finish line, I could go home after putting in a couple of extra hours to get much needed work done.

Someone had kicked in the front doors. I had been robbed. When I got home, the police were in the driveway. Had the deputy even gotten out of the car? I still don't know. He was sympathetic but told me, it happens all the time. Our house would get extra attention from the patrols in the area but beyond that, he could offer nothing. The most disturbing thing he said was that the thieves had probably "watched the house" and knew exactly when to strike. (M) had taken the dog for a walk at noon and come back twenty minutes later. I shuddered to think what might have happened if he had interrupted their 'work.' They cut the phone lines to disable the alarm
and exited through a door in the back of the garage which leads to a wooded area.

They had tried to take the two computers but the wires were so tangled, they left them on the floor. The money and jewelry, lap tops and other electronics in the house were not taken. They took (M's) cameras, the ones he used to take pictures of the dog, the meals I make, his friends at church and at the community center. They took the portable phones.

Even without all of this, my heart beats a steady stream of paranoia. I have trouble mustering a sunny outlook and I never expect human decency to prevail. I mean, from the White House to the crack house, what we call 'civilization' isn't very civilized. In my humble opinion, we've pretty much blown it. But I don't want to get off track here, so back to the crime scene.

I started making phone calls. I went across the street and met my neighbors; Evelyn and Frank for the first time. Both Evelyn's legs have been amputated. Frank is retired military and they have owned their home for twenty seven years. Frank asked if I had a gun and let me know, he has one in every room of the house. I swear his eyes lit up when he told me that. Frank has that false sense of security the little blue sign from the security company, anchored in the front yard, had given me. Almost all my neighbors have that sign. The man who installed my alarm system, said most thieves will pass you by when they see the sign and go on to another house. Ummmm hmmmmmm. File under bullshit. Frank and Evelyn were comforting, a lot more so than the sheriff's deputy. Frank offered me sweet tea. In the south, sweet iced tea is the equivalent of mother's milk. He also gave me the name and number of someone who could replace the door. He gave me their phone number, just in case...
I learned many lessons from my dear departed mother; one of them is this, ask someone for help and then get a back-up. I started thinking about who else I could ask to put in a door and secure (M) and I for the night. Meanwhile my next door neighbor, (D) was canvassing the neighborhood to find out if anyone had seen anything). Her husband investigated the wooded area to see if the thieves had hidden my belongings there.

My friend (K) recently moved back to the neighborhood from Atlanta. Her fiance was home. He made calls to a cousin and presto, I had the promise that Mr. Fixit would be there within the hour. He worked all night and finally after a trip to Lowes and a steak dinner, (What else do you feed a white knight?), he left at 5 a.m. the next morning. He came back once more to seal the 'gettaway' door, which he did with massive amounts of plywood and screws anchored to concrete. Two days later, the security company upgraded me to a wireless system. So far the tally is $1600 and counting. The motion lights haven't been installed and Mr. Fixit is dragging his heels on getting the plexiglass panels to frame the newly installed steel door. We scrapped his idea to put electrified wires around the windows to give unwanted visitors a lethal shock.

I've tried to find the 'up side' in all of this. I compiled a pretty good list:

a. I met my neighbors, and now have new
friends (I took them barbecued chicken a few days later).
b. That biblical story about a ram in the bush proved true. I choose to think so.
c. I learned the value of saving a dollar for a rainy day, a robbery or whatever. Lowes does not take Dolce and Gabana as collateral.
d. Prayers are indeed answered in mysterious ways. Protection and peace are my continuous mantra. I was robbed but not so.....if that makes any sense
and (M) and I were not hurt physically.
e. Most importantly, the whole incident alerted me to areas of life that needed attention. It's easy shroud yourself with a false sense of security without realizing that you are indeed vulnerable. But then again, aren't we all, no matter how thick our steel doors and layers of plywood?
I promised myself, I'd end this on a positive note, so I will. (K) took me to the "Grand Opening" a friend of hers was having for a new shop. A jeweler was in from ATL for the event. He and his associates were set up in the rear of the store weighing and appraising gold jewelry. I've never been into jewelry and took him a fist full of items I had stuffed a a sock. I walked away with $430. One ring, which I thought was a diamond in a platinum setting was not. I learned a valuable lesson. You should never hold on to the past because you might be clinging to a lie. I let go of (J's) wedding ring. I couldn't even remember where some of the pieces had come from but they all represented failed relationships. I don't miss them at all. In fact, a weight has been lifted.

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