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?