In trying to think of a title for this post, the following words come to mind but none capture fully the essence of how I am feeling after the events of this past week....
Maybe all of the above.....
When my son returned home from school one day last week, he texted me and said our dog was shut in my bedroom and did I not realize that when I left for work? My first thought was that he and the cats were chasing each other around during the day and one of them accidently bumped the door shut. That has never happened before of course, but it wasn't unlikely. I gave it no more thought. Neither did my son who later said, as the course of events unfolded, that everything seemed pretty usual when he got home - key in it's 'hidden' place, all doors to the house locked, everything in its usual place.
After dinner, he wanted to show me a video on Youtube and went to get my laptop to view it on. Nope, not on my desk - where I KNOW I placed it before heading to work. Not on its charger on the kitchen counter. Not in my room. Nowhere. You just misplaced it, he says. Go look in your car. No. Didn't bring it to school. I never do. But we looked anyway. In the car. In the garage. In every room. In laundry hampers. No laptop. You can't miss it. It has a lime green hard shell protective cover on it. As I'm standing in the study area, I see an empty spot on the bookshelf. My first ever Canon film camera is missing. As is an older Canon Elph. My professional digitial camera is still on the counter where I leave it normally. (Can't take spontaneous photos if the camera is always tucked tightly in the bag.....)
Then it hits me. Someone was in our house that day. They took my iPhone charger from my dresser, too. This explains why the dog was shut in my room. The hairs on the back of my neck raise. I am not afraid. I'm pissed.
But who? And why only the laptops and not the desktop computers, tv, professional photo printer, my full framed professional camera - all in plain view? I found it hard pressed to think it was a stranger. Who would open the door and come in not knowing if my no-doubt loudly barking 65 pound Shepherd-mix dog would attack and bite or not? It had to be someone here before. Someone who knew were the key was and what our weekday habits are.
The sheriff finally shows up at 11pm - more important needs were being tended to that evening. A pedestrian fatality on the highway. Spouse beatings. I apologize for taking up his time for this oddity. There is no sign of anyone having been there other than us - no footprints in the dirt surrounding our desert home. My son had racked it clean a few days before. The sheriff interrogates my son as he says usually things like this are related to someone IN the home. An inside job. It was doubtful any more investigation would happen in this case.
After a full day of changing pass codes, putting new locks and door knobs on the house, contacting pawn shops, alerting banks and such - it's time to move forward. I want our items back. While I've backed and saved many things, many more were not yet. Several clients' projects were on there, ready to print and frame. My daughter's laptop was also stolen. She had nothing backed up. All her music and cherished photos from her adventures are gone. Gone is my son's laptop, laid on his closet shelf - still very usable but the screen was shattered. He was waiting to save up money to replace that eventually. What did this person(s) want? Really?
Those are just things. Things get lost. Broken. Stolen. Things can be replaced. Memories are stored in the cells of our brains and hearts...easily carried with us wherever we go.
What I really want is my peace of mind back.
In spite of this bewildering event, I am grateful. Grateful whoever it was didn't hurt our dog or cats. Didn't destroy the house. Didn't take more expensive things on top of that. And even more grateful whoever it was was not there when my son came home. I shudder to think what may have happened....
It's just stuff after all. And many friends have come forward sharing their similar ordeal with intrusions in their personal space, taking things and peace of mind along with it.
This weekend I find myself with time to do other things to keep my mind off of who, why, and will they come back...
I graded ALL my students' papers AND logged them in the gradebook.
I finished lesson plans for the next 3 weeks.
I sorted through piles of paperwork way overdue in needing attention.
I took a nap.
Toby got an extra long walk.
I watched Indie movies.
I worked on things to continue doing to add more security to my environs.
I thought about what's right in my world to remind me that there is way more good than not so good.
At least I have my 10K photos on the 'old' desktop - earlier works and sentimental memories marking the passage of time.
Things to do when you don't have a pc:
2. Spend time with your 4-legged family when your 2-legged ones are not around.
Toby @ 3 months and Toby now.....
As for the 'hidden' key. No more. Ever. My 'hood is not the same anymore and I found out the hard way. Hope I don't lock myself out of my house....
PS ~ Should the reader be the intruder or someone even thinking this home is easy pickin's once again - be forewarned that a most unpleasant surprise will await any future uninvited guests.....whether we are home or not..... Smile for the cameras while you're at it ;-)