Say, What’s That Shovel Doing There?

Okay, I’m telling you this story. I’m telling you this story because how many real life people can I tell this story to? Not that many, because they’ll all freak out. And you guys will too, kind of, but still, I’m telling you this story.

So I come home from work last night, it’s a touch after 11pm, I drive down the alley and I pull into my parking pad. As I get ready to get out of the car, I notice something leaning against the wall of my parking pad that I’ve never seen before. I’m kind of looking at it puzzledly (is that a word? I’m making it a word) for a minute, and then my next-door neighbor, Tyreese, opens his back door and holds up a hand and tells me to wait a minute. He’s making wide eyes at me. “Just wait. Just wait.”

Clearly something’s up. So I wait.

A minute later he comes back out and tells me that there were two guys behind my house just a few minutes before this. His girlfriend saw them, yelled at him, he jumped off the couch, put some clothes on, grabbed his gun and looked out the door. When he looked, they ran. He says they looked like teenagers. As he told me this I realized that the thing I saw propped against the wall of the parking pad is a shovel – one of those heavy iron ones – and there are footprints all over my metal cellar door. I had left the damned kitchen window blinds open by accident. That window is right above the cellar doors. The damned punks were going to break into, or at the very least were casing, my house. Tyreese had told me to wait when I first pulled up so he could look around a little, make sure no one was watching from anywhere. He was worried someone had been watching me come and go, waiting for me.

How awesome is Tyreese, by the way?

I knew when I bought this house that I was taking a chance. I mean, it’s the city, I’m a woman, I live alone, yadda yadda yadda. Frankly, living alone in a house as a woman is always a risk, no matter where you live, but you can’t be afraid your whole life. Still, though… two and a half months and some punks are breaking into my house? Come on. It’s not a bad neighborhood. Plus I’m so freaking careful it’s ridiculous. I bought my TV and had it shipped to the UPS facility so I could go pick it up instead of having it delivered here. I never put the box for it outside. I kept it in the basement. My dad took it to Pennsylvania to throw it out. Swear to God. That’s how careful I am.

So, I call the cops. The officer gets here pretty quick and I tell him the deal, and he says all the exact things one should not say to me at this stage in my life, post-predator/prey episode involving the court system and at least three detention facilities. Things such as: Yeah, they probably know your schedule, they know you’re coming and going, they target women who live alone.

Hey. Buddy. Can we not? With the stalker talk?

That’s not what he meant, of course; he meant that they do that so they know who the easy targets are for robberies. And I get that. Again, this was a risk I knew I was taking. But now I feel like some weak and defenseless damsel in distress all over again, and dammit, this was not supposed to happen. I have faith in this city and I have faith in this street where there has not been a crime report in months. Also, in that typically liberal, feminist, made-for-TV-movie way, I refuse to be a “victim in quotation marks.” But I noticed about 30 minutes after the cop left that the screen to my window was gone. I called him and he changed the report to an attempted breaking & entering. Definitely tried to break in. Tyreese probably stopped them just in time.

Tyreese and his girlfriend are getting some home-cookin’ for this, at the very least.

Also? The cop asked if I was okay, and I totally started crying. Never ask me if I’m okay. The longer he stood there staring at me and not believing I was okay because for some reason a woman ugly-crying in front of him indicates some level of not-okayness, the harder I cried. Poor guy felt bad.

Needless to say, the alarm company is coming tomorrow morning, bright and early, to install sensors on all three doors and all the ground floor windows, plus a motion detector inside and a remote access thingy so I can– well, frankly, so I can probably set off the alarm myself a gazillion times by accident. But mostly so I can get in and out the back door without setting the alarm off, since the keypad will be in the front.

Oh, and I was mid-text conversation with Rick when all this went down, so he got roped into the we’ve-had-exactly-three-dates-what-is-the-protocol-for-this situation. I was trying to keep him from feeling obligated and wound up feeling like an asshole drama queen for even telling him about it. The guy must think I’m a total spazz. First the stalker, which is the oh-so-romantic reason we met, and now this. But he informed me that he has dealt with drama queens before and I am so not that.

Phew.

I suppose I shouldn’t tell him about the creepy state trooper just yet, though.

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16 thoughts on “Say, What’s That Shovel Doing There?

    • Yes, you’re right… and I was shopping around for the best deal when this happened. But I think the company I’m going with actually is the best deal. I’ll feel much better when they’ve installed everything.

  1. The alarm is essential. I used to keep mine on even when I was in the house, especially when I was sleeping. God bless your beighbour! Home cooking for sure.

    • I will definitely use it at night… maybe not all the time when I’m home, since I’m often opening doors to do this or that and I’d be terrorizing the neighborhood with the 110-decibel siren…

  2. Wow. If you’re able to sleep tonight, I’m sending you a medal. I’m glad you’re getting an alarm and I’m so glad you have Tyreese next door… NOTHING like a good neighbor to help counter-balance the assholes. Also? I think maybe the universe would like you to get a big, fierce dog.

    • You and Sam have been chatting, it seems. He demanded that I get a killer dog and that he move in. Which his wife will totally love. The universe needs to step up and get me a nice local job that doesn’t require me to be out-of-pocket 10.5 hours a day so I can actually have a dog without feeling like That Owner.

  3. My business partner has Rottweilers and no one bothers him. But they are a big insurance risk. how about a recording of Rottweilers triggered by all those sensors you’re putting in? I’m glad you’re getting alarms. You know that you should just yourself with Rick, right?

    • Yeah, I don’t think I’d be going with a Rottie. I HAVE thought about a recording of Omar from “The Wire” whistling “The Farmer In the Dell”… but you’d have to have seen that show to get it. Or just a recording of a shotgun being pumped. Apparently that’s quite the diversion. Rick suggested I get a gun, but I’d end up shooting the cat. And I assume you meant I should “be” myself… and yes, I do know that. Trouble is, Myself can be a little contradictory. Ha.

  4. You don’t live in a bad area – neighbours in bad areas don’t look out for each other. Your neighbour sounds pretty kickass, and they definitely deserve some home cooking! I’m glad it was only an almost-breakin, and that you and all your stuff is ok 🙂

    • That is exactly right! And that’s how I feel. I have wonderful neighbors and we have a very active neighborhood association. I’m trying to figure out exactly what to make Tyreese and Tamara. What kind of food says “Thanks for grabbing your pistol and scaring the bad guys away?”

  5. The alarm system is definitely the right way to go! But you’re right, you’ll probably set it off yourself a half dozen times, especially if you temporarily can’t find the remote access thingy (on a different key chain), before you condition yourself to be VERY careful to have it with you at all times! And that buzzer/alarm is LOUD!! EEK. You can’t even think, loud. I’ve lived alone for many years now, and am glad I have that system. Put alarm company stickers on all your windows. 😉

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