Saturday, November 29, 2008

Reality Check

This past Monday afternoon around 1:30, I walked into our house after volunteering in the art room at Michael's school to discover that we had been burglarized, sometime between 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM. The first sign was the hardest one--the 40" flatscreen Sony TV that Joel had been wanting several years--the one he took an extra job as a TA (Teaching Assistant) for the semester at Emory's theology school to pay for--was gone. I walked out of the house (as one is "supposed" to do when an intruder as been in, just on the off chance that s/he is still there) and called Joel immediately, then the police, but was able to tell by looking through the window that both of our laptops were also gone. When Joel got here (note: faster than he did when I called him almost 12 years ago to tell him I was in labor with Daniel...!), we walked through together and realized they had gone through all of our drawers and stolen all jewelry of value as well, in addition to the Wii and all controllers. Apparently one person (assumed) came in through the back door (not very secure, and perhaps even unlocked, although there were signs that pointed to a possible forced entry) emptied out Adam's soccer bag, and loaded it full of our stuff, then called an accomplice to come for a quick load up. The house behind us is vacant, so we think they may have even taken the stuff out through the back door and over the fence. They could have taken so much more, but they didn't. Either didn't have time, or didn't want to bother with sterling silver or anything that wasn't a guaranteed quick, easy sale. But still...what a pain.

It's been long enough now where the sense of violation is beginning to wear off and the anger is settling in. I'm finally sleeping at night, and we have begun to replace a few things. Thankfully, most of it is either a) replaceable, or b) won't really be missed. The only thing that was hard to lose was Joel's mom's wedding ring. It was fairly valuable as well--18K and some fancy kind of etching on it. Has a name, but I'm not sure what it is. He would occasionally wear it around his neck on a thick, gold chain that was my grandmother's. We lost all of our gold jewelry, which I never wear anymore anyway, but much of it was my grandmother's, so that is a bit of a blow. The ironic thing was that my engagement ring was in the kitchen window because I had been baking bread that morning, and then went to the school to do art, so I just left the ring there. Thankfully, it was still there. Had they taken it, it would have exceeded our insurance limits on jewelry AND we would have wanted to replace it. As it is now, we can take the money we get for the jewelry and use it for a couple of much-needed home repairs / improvements, including a security system, which is the silver lining in this dark cloud.

Friends have been wonderful, offering all types of support, from prayer to computer loans to cash gifts. So as I've reflected on it, it's been a nice reminder of what really is important in life. I've missed my laptop the most, as expected. Sharing one desktop between five computer junkies is not exactly fun or easy! Computer time is rare and frustrating at the same time. I tried to replace my laptop at Best Buy on Wednesday, but realized the hard way that if you buy a Dell through Best Buy, you don't get the awesome Dell customer service. You get the crappy Geek Squad techies. There were issues at startup, and when the customer service nightmare began, I just packed the thing up and ordered from I've already returned the one to Best Buy, narrowly winning the argument about whether or not I was obligated to pay the 15% restocking fee, and happily await my new, blazing fast, mocha brown beauty to arrive from Dell later this week.

We've also already replaced the Wii in the event that they become a "hard to find" item this Christmas as well. That made the boys happy. We're waiting on the TV until we are able to secure the house a bit better and install a security system. Typically our dog Shadow is a security system, but she had thrown up that morning, and I had crated her so she wouldn't get sick all over the house. Poor baby--I know she was going crazy--locked in her crate with a stranger going through our things. She's much more stranger-wary now than she was, and goes NUTS when anyone comes to the door. Hopefully that will subside. She's been a good watchdog for sure, but I've noticed she seems more on edge now than before. I'm just so very thankful that nothing happened to her. That would have devastated all of us.

We are recovering rather quickly, all things considered. None of us have had any feelings of being unsafe in our home, because we know that the theft was about our stuff, not about us. None of us have difficulty going to sleep at night, but if I wake up in the night, getting back to sleep as been hard because I start thinking about it and get really, really angry. But even that is finally subsiding, and life is resuming normalcy for us. All in all, we are thankful. Thankful that we are all okay. Thankful that we did have insurance that will cover most of it. And more grateful than ever for the love and support of good friends. Life goes on!