Adventures in Intruder Alerts

by Elizabeth on August 9, 2013 · 13 comments

in Adventures, my cat is better than your cat, the house

One of the things that helped sell me on my house was that it came with a fully installed alarm system.  All I would have to do was call the company and have them turn it on and send me a bill.  Easy right?  Until the cable guy cut the wire, tripped the alarm, and ended up having to detach it in order for it to stop going off.  So, because it was going to take someone coming out to the house to fix it before I could have the system turned on, I never made the call.  And lived with only the protection of the sign in my front yard and a cat who may or may not welcome an intruder into the house, beg for treats, and ask for belly scratches.

About 18 months ago, my next door neighbor’s house was robbed in broad daylight.  They completely cleaned out the house (the police estimated it would have taken them at least an hour) and were never caught.  The police said that the reason they picked that house was because it was the only house in our townhouse unit to not have an alarm company sign.  While that gave me some measure of security, I didn’t feel like it was enough and called ADT the next day to come out and turn on the system.

It turns out that whatever the cable guy had done to my alarm had completely broken it, so I ended up with a new system and two motion detectors.  Which Caty proceeded to set off so many times that it stopped being worth turning them on.

I’m really good about setting my alarm and even on nights where I’ve watched one too many crime shows and scared myself silly, I feel very safe knowing that my alarm would go off if something was to go wrong.

So when my alarm started blaring at 1:30 Thursday morning, I was terrified.

It took a few seconds to wake me up and then for me to realize what was going on and decide if I was going downstairs or not.  But I had to turn off the alarm before it woke up the whole neighborhood so I ran downstairs, turning on every light in the process (if I was going to be attacked I should at least know what the attacker looked like).  And then I saw that the door from the kitchen to the garage was open about a foot.  As I was closing the door and turning off the alarm and panicking, the security company called.  He asked what was going on, if I was okay, and did I want him to contact the police.  I told him what happened and he contacted the authorities and told me to lock myself up someplace safe while I waited.

So Caty and I hid in my bathroom (which has a lock and a stockpile of cleaning supplies that make good weapons if you have good aim and no qualms about spraying someone in the eyes with toxic chemicals) while we waited for the police.  Longest 10 minutes of my life.  Of course, Caty didn’t get it and was being really loud, protesting her dislike of confined spaces and all I could think was “this is it.  This is how I’m going to die.  Because my cat can’t keep her mouth shut”.

When the police arrived, they were extremely professional and comforting, and made no mention of the girl clutching a bottle of Febreeze in one hand (my weapon of choice), a cat in another, while wearing acne cream and a TMJ mouth guard.  They searched the whole house (they even looked under the beds!) and looked around outside, but couldn’t provide an explanation of why the door to my garage would be open, but the garage door itself was not.  After they left, I did what any girl does.  I called my mom.  Who sent my dad over to protect me.  🙂

By the time my dad got to my house, I had calmed down a good bit so we were able to reason out what we think happened.  Although I know that I locked the door to the garage as I was setting my alarm (my nightly routine), we think the door was shut, but not latched.  Somehow during the night the pressure from the air conditioner going on and off caused the door to open, thus setting off my alarm.

Now that I’ve settled down, I see so many things wrong with what happened.  The first being that I’ve gotten lazy in my nighttime routine, and am not doing a very good job of checking all the doors before heading to bed.  Also, I’m extremely unprepared for any sort of home invasion.  There were numerous opportunities for me to have been attacked had there actually been someone in my house.  I need some sort of plan and possibly a better weapon than cleaning products and a slightly overweight cat.

Have you ever had a nighttime adventure like this?  Are you prepared for home emergencies like fire, inclement weather, or home invasions?

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amber August 9, 2013 at 9:28 am

I would have peed my pants. Seriously. I hate hate HATE staying at home by myself, because (A) I’m a weenie (B) I read waaaayyy too many true crime novels. With Rob traveling, I’m by myself 2-3 nights a week and I’m a paranoid mess. We have 2 guns, which make me feel a little bit better, except can you imagine an 8-months pregnant me, waddling down the hall with a camoflauge hunting rifle that I can barely lift, and then actually shooting someone? I think the intruder would die laughing before he died of any gunshot wounds.

But, seriously, I’m glad you’re okay. You’re a much more logical woman than I, because I would have been absolutely convinced that a killer/robber had opened the door. Or a ghost. One or the other, but definitely not the air conditioner or anything remotely non-dramatic.


2 Amber August 9, 2013 at 9:32 am

And, in regards to fire/inclement weather, I’ve told Rob that there is a very specific order that he must adhere to when removing our family from the house:

1. Olivia
2. Harley and Pebbles (ideally he would have Olivia in one arm and the pups in the other)
3. Me, if he has time, and not at the sake of his own safety.

He thinks I’m joking.


3 Elizabeth August 9, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Sounds like a good plan. Plus, you can always carry a dog too. 🙂


4 Amelia August 9, 2013 at 9:55 am

My aunt had a situation like this. She was in the house alone, my uncle was in the hospital. The alarm when off in the middle of the night. She grabbed his unloaded gun and stalked downstairs yelling that she had a gun and then left the house, went down the street to her neighbors and they went back to the house together to check. It ended up being something with the phone and the alarm system and one of the two resetting or something.

I’m glad everything is okay. We don’t have an alarm system and while our neighborhood used to be safe there have been problems and we do get lazy sometimes with our doors. We have guard pugs who bark at the slightest noise so I hope that scares people away.


5 Elizabeth August 9, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Guard pugs! Love it! lol


6 Amelia August 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm

They scared the shit out of the delivery guy the other night. He jumped off the porch and ran…they sniffed at a bush.


7 Elizabeth August 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I literally laughed out loud at this because I can so see it happening!!


8 Ashley Vice August 9, 2013 at 9:57 am

John’s parents bought us an air pistol that looks like a real gun. It shoots tiny metal balls with a CO2 container. Though I know it would take incredible luck and aim to actually harm someone with it, it makes me feel better that it’s in the house. You honestly can’t tell that it isn’t a real handgun, it’s even made of metal. It’s perfect for scaring away small wild animals (which is what it was bought for). I also feel safer knowing that there’s not a real gun in the house.


9 Amber August 9, 2013 at 11:35 am

I like the idea of an air pistol. I don’t think I’d have a problem shooting a real intruder, but I’d afraid that Rob is going to come in late some night and I’m accidentally going to shoot him. I would have to pry the real guns from Rob’s cold dead hands, though, because he’s all “grrr I’m a man” & “‘Murica” and all that jazz (I mean, I’m all for our 2nd amendment rights, but do we really need a camouflage hunting rifle with a baby hanging around?).


10 Elizabeth August 9, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I like the idea of an air pistol as well. My dad has an air rifle that he uses to shoot chipmunks and possums when he senses they’re getting too comfortable. Maybe I should get one of those. I’m not against guns at all, but I don’t know if it would be of any real use because I’d keep it locked in a lock box and unloaded.

And yes, I realize that my dad sounds like a redneck in the above statement.


11 Amy August 9, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Yeah. So one night, in my first apartment, I woke up to the sound of grunting. LOUD grunting, coming from the direction of my kitchen. I woke up Dave, who agreed that the grunting did seem ridiculously loud and like it was coming from the kitchen…. so we picked up laundry baskets (!!! yeah, gonna kill someone with one of those), raced into the kitchen like idiots, and realized….. it was the sound of our fridge dying. After that, we felt like morons but at least we didn’t call the cops on our appliance (there had been a lengthy debate on whether or not to just call without leaving the bedroom).

I honestly have no idea what I’d do in a home invasion. Probably die because I’d be the girl with a laundry basket and 3 babies hiding in an unlockable closet. Guess it’s time to think of a plan too…..


12 Judith August 9, 2013 at 9:31 pm

So glad everything is okay. I’m worrying constantly about safety since we just moved into a house. We have nothing to protect us and I keep thinking maybe I should bring one of my dad’s guns here even though I couldn’t tell you which bullet went into which gun or how to shoot the bloody thing.


13 Christine August 13, 2013 at 10:27 pm

So I’m super behind on reading AND can’t believe I didn’t hear about this sooner! We don’t have an alarm system but I do have A: two guns, one of which would scare someone shitless if I pulled it on them and B: a dog who is super sweet but has a vicious warning bark and LOVES her mommy. I do get nervous sometimes when Manny is gone but try to remind myself that I can take care of myself!…though on the flip side I avoid going in the basement at night when Manny isn’t home because the book Room totally freaked me out. I mean, she wasn’t even in her own basement but still…


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