Crime. Close To Home.

So, one of my neighbors texted the other night and asked if I’m concerned about the crime in our neighborhood.  I’m really not.  For three reasons.  First, we now have a locally-based social media site that reports every single burglary in our neighborhood, from routine bike theft to armed robbery to someone reporting a sack of potting soil missing.* My theory is that most of this crime was going on in the past but we didn’t have someone obsessively reporting everything that comes across the scanner.  As a sidenote to this first point, I’d like to point out that our bicycles were stolen out of the front yard (except for mine, because according to Chuck, no self-respecting heterosexual thief would want my bike & its gay wicker basket) & we didn’t notice it for over 4 months, so it’s also entirely possible we don’t care.  I digress…….my first point is that crime is always happening & seems more prevalent when it’s brought to your attention on a daily basis.  My second point is that I try to make my house as secure as possible without making it look like the Cummins Correctional Unit with bars and razor wire. Past that point, if a criminal wants to get in, I guess he will.  If they want to bad enough, they usually do.  But I refuse to live my life in fear, imprisoned in my home.  My third point is that my dog, Apollo, is bat-shit crazy (postal, some might say) when it comes to protecting me so I think the sound of him awakening and threating to gnaw on your carcass like a dead buzzard after he chews through your jugular is at least a mild deterrent.  I hope so.  I continue to feed him well and make him watch Cujo on Netflix once a week or so.

Sooo……in review:  No, I’m not scared.  I don’t have anything material I can’t live without.  I try to keep my house fairly secure.  I have Apollo. HOWEVER, none of these things can protect me from my children.

I like privacy.  I LOVE being alone.  If you know me only through Facebook or my blog, this may shock you.  I grew up as an only child and I could stay in my room for hours, reading, crafting or just daydreaming about my future plans to have a pool, a cook, servants to wait on me & a hot husband that I could lie in bed with for long stretches of time without worrying that our parents would come home & freak.  So, now that I’m older, I still like time to myself.  To read, to stitch, to sketch, to dream about that pool, cook and servants & to lie in bed with my husband, uninterrupted.  This is, apparently, NOT possible.  I believe I’ve said this before but let me say it again.  Our house is small — around 1700 ft to be exact.  FIVE of us live here.  I love the neighborhood, our neighbors, and I’ve even grown to love the house despite it’s quirks and constant need of repairs.  What I DON’T love is the lack of privacy.  First, we have a bedroom with door access from the hallway & the kitchen.  Yes, the kitchen.  The downside is people just randomly stroll into your bedroom when they want to go out on the back deck or when they want to “cut through” to the hallway.  The upside is that when you want a bag of Oreos, a Coke or a martini at 3 a.m., it’s just a few steps to satisfying your craving.  From the day we bought the house, though, that door has been able to be locked.  So, if things were looking like one of us might get laid, we would lock that door and then go to the other door which leads to the hallway, be SURE it was completely shut and then open the adjacent closet door so that if an intruder (read: nosy kid) came in & we were in a compromising position, they would barge in, bang their head on the second door, & we would be alerted in time to pull up the sheets.  This plan is not foolproof.  It relies on memory, the kid choosing the correct door and, you guessed it, remembering to lock the door to the kitchen.  Right in the middle of our naked, heated passion, we hear the knob & both get that sick feeling in the bottom of your gut that you get when the realization hits that neither of you locked the door.  We both turned to see our middle child with a traumatized look of horror on his face turning to make a slow, stunned exit.  And well, let’s just say that an experience like that KILLS anything that might have been going on at the time.  We were leaving for Florida that very morning and I will never forget the serious, “holy shit, what did I just witness?” look on my son’s face as he gazed out the window all the way to the Gulf Coast.  If you’ve ever seen the Modern Family episode where the kids catch Phil & Clare in THE ACT, you’ve basically watched my life in action, as I am married to a real life version of Phil Dunphy.

Sooooo…….time to put a lock on the door.  Chuck spends part of one Saturday installing a doorknob & I am in heaven.  I can lock the kids out, the dog out, even CHUCK out!  I can have peace!  Napping!  Stitching!  Reading!  Sex without an audience!  Notsomuch.

Sunday morning, Chuck & I enjoyed the opportunity to sleep in.  One kid was at a friends’ house, Ryder is unable to be awakened by an army of Iraqi insurgents & that just leaves Wyatt.  We’ve had enjoyed a little romp in the hay earlier that morning and at this point, would kinda just like to lie in each other’s arms and sleep.  Undisturbed.  Soon we hear stumbling around the house.  Hallway doorknob rattles.  No luck.  Footsteps around the living room through the kitchen to the other doorknob.  Rattles, but no luck.  We’ve been successful.  Privacy at last.  Notsomuch.

After lying there a few more minutes, thinking we are safe to nod off and sleep another hour or so, I begin to hear rattling and scraping.  I thought the dog was out so at first I ignored it.  He knows to come knock on the door when he wants in and I assumed Wyatt would be in there to take care of that.  More rattling and then I swear I hear a window open so I say to Chuck, “Do you hear that?”  He says, “Yes, I think we have a breach of security.  An inside job.” I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on in my head when the door to our bathroom that is INSIDE our master bedroom swings open and my 5′ 11″ 7th grader walks out, strolls past the bed and says, “Get up, Dad!  I’m hungry for bacon!”  We just sat in stunned silence.  He had gone out the front door, entered the backyard, climbed the stairs to the deck and lowered himself into the bathroom through an unlocked window.  All to tell us he wanted bacon, which he could have done by simply knocking and using his “outside voice”.  DUDE, did you not LEARN?  Do you want to be traumatized again?  And have some manners!  Chuck & I look at each other in defeat & Chuck says, “That’s it!  I’m telling the kids, if you come in our room unannounced there’s a good chance we’ll be naked and having sex. Being blunt with them will be our best deterrent yet.  THAT’S WHY DOORS LOCK.  Keep out.”  We shall see.  The only thing left is for one of them to throw a rock through the sliding glass door and enter that way.  Hopefully they have better sense than that but at this point I’m wondering if they have any sense at all.

So, now the bathroom window is locked securely & I’m still feeling relatively safe in the war against criminal intruders.  It’s the tribe of humans I birthed myself that I can’t seem to keep out. Maybe those barred windows aren’t looking so bad after all.

*You laugh at that last one but a guy who lived down the street actually went door-to-door a couple summers ago questioning all of us as to who could have stolen a small bag of potting soil from his driveway.  Don’t think I didn’t use some restraint in my answer. I said, laughing, “Can you look at my barren yard and honestly tell me you think I’m the thief?”  I COULD have said, “No one wants your peat moss, granola-head & yes, I walk my dog on a leash even if you think it ‘inhibits his doggie freedom.’  Also, my 8 yr.-old (at the time) refers to you all as ‘the drunk people’.  Now, carry on with your search for the real killers, OJ.”

One thought on “Crime. Close To Home.

  1. pretty good insights. I’ll be sure to stop by and read more from you. thanks.

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