The day started out great. I had my Christmas cards ready to mail (before New Years), have my shopping well in hand, if not finished, and generally felt like I was overcoming some of my annual winter Bah Humbug.
Elliot and I set our for errands and shopping around 1:30. We ran around quite a bit, hit Taco Bell for a bit of a snack, and got home around 4:30.
I had my hands full as I walked in, and I hate to admit my house is currently enough of a disaster that I couldn't tell we'd been robbed. As I put my shopping bags down on the couch (already covered with packages and presents) I noticed a drawer was open on the buffet, and a sleeping bag was awkwardly spread out on the dining room floor.
At the same moment, somebody knocked on the door. I yelled "Who's there??" and it was my neighbor Phyllis. I grabbed Elliot and stepped out the door, closing it behind me.
Two years ago I gave Phyllis an ornament, and she's been bugging me to sign it. She had a pen, and I took it from her and tried to remember my name. What was going on in the house? Could the cat have dragged the sleeping bag out? He's a big cat...
"I'm a little freaked out right now..." I wrote my name and asked what year I'd made it. She told me, and looked worried.
"Um, somebody's been in the house. I think. Maybe my parents were over for something?" I called my mom. Yes, I know. When you suspect somebody's broken into your house, you should call the police. But I am the master of denial. I really am.
I told mom about the drawer and the sleeping bag. "Hold on," she said, "we'll be over in a minute. Just hang outside and David will go in and check things out."
Elliot, Phyllis, and I decorated our front bushes with red and gold ornaments while we waited, a project I'd been meaning to get to but it's been too cold. The box of decorations was sitting on the porch, so we dug in as the robbers most likely fled out the back.
After about 5 minutes, the cavalry arrived, and David went around back, confirming that the basement door had been broken in. Denial shattered. Reality's a bitch.
911, details of address, name, etc, and the cops were on their way. I tried my best to play it cool and not project stress at Elliot. How to keep him safe while keeping him totally unaware of danger... a fine line. The police arrived about seven minutes later, looking stern, and entered through the broken door.
We saw flashlights flash through the house, bottom to top, and I held my breath till they finally came out with the all clear.
And here's the really embarrassing part...
"Man," said one of the officers, "Messiest burglars I've ever seen!"
At which point I shrank a few inches and meekly admitted we were likely the cause of the majority of the mess. This was confirmed when we got inside. They had knocked over some piles and tossed a few things around, but most of the chaos preceded them.
I'm still trying to access my mental log of possessions to figure out what they took. I know what they left - the cord to my computer. The tv, my guitar, and a bag of chocolate and booze, all of which they left by the garage door (guess they couldn't get it over the fence...) My DSLR, which was buried on the table, my jewelry, still in it's travel pouch in the bathroom, incognito.
They got my computer, my(Elliot's) ipod, and our wii. My little point and shoot also seems to be missing, along with Elliot's birth year Mint Proof set from his godmother. I'm sure there are other missing things, but it will take me a while to (not) find them.
In the mean time, I refuse to be that put out by all this. I guess I just don't have a victim mentality - it was stuff, and all of it replaceable. We're safe and sound, and the alarm will be getting more use from now on. Other than having a lot of sticky black powder about the place from the finger print dusting, things are actually quite a bit tidier than before the robbery, so I've got that going for me... which is nice.
I'm not holding my breath that they'll catch the guys, but Christmas is coming, and I refuse to be a humbug. A small technical adjustment has allowed me to deadbolt the offending door, and life goes on.