Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's that noise?

Today was a day that started like any other. I woke Luke up, gave him breakfast, and got him ready for his swim lesson. We left in a rush because I'm always running late. Had I known how many people would be traipsing through my house in the next couple of hours, I would have made an effort to straighten up before I left.

I left the house at 9:40am and arrived home at 11am. Luke was almost asleep when I pulled into the garage and I scooped him out of his seat with every intention of running upstairs to lie him down for a nap.

I stepped through the door and walked through the laundry room. As soon as I had stepped through the laundry room door into the house, I heard a familiar sound. The sound of someone walking upstairs. Then I heard the sound of something being dropped. I found it odd that I had left our house completely empty and now I came home to what sounded like a person wandering around upstairs. I paused for a moment to see if it happened again. I did. It sounded like someone playing hopscotch upstairs. Whimsical yet disconcerting.

I ran through possible explanations for the sound in my head since it most certainly wouldn't be an intruder at 11am. Burglars only come into homes durning the witching hour as I've learned from watching commercials for security systems.

Could Joel be home? No, he has a job. Could we have mice? No, mice large enough to create that sound can only be found training turtles in the martial arts in sewer tunnels in cartoons in 1992. Our dryer sort of makes a sound like that when it's on because it's not quite level. Could it be...? Clearly I was in denial at this point since I was standing next to the dryer which is downstairs and was in the off mode. I should get Luke somewhere safe just in case.

I went back into the garage and put Luke in his seat. I backed out into the driveway and put the car in park. Now what? I'm just sitting in a car in my driveway. I have a lot to do but it requires being in my house. I decided to call Joel for advice.

Fortunately I caught him in between patients so I could propose my ridiculous plan. Joel answered, "Hey Honey!"
"Hey! I just wanted to call because I came home from Luke's lesson and went inside and heard something like someone dropping something upstairs. I waited for a second and then I heard what sounded like someone walking upstairs. I have Luke in the car with me now in the driveway but I wanted to go check upstairs and see what it was. Can you tell me where our handgun is?"
"What? No! I think you should call the police."
"I don't need to call the police. I'm sure it's nothing. I don't want to make the police come for no reason because I think I heard a noise upstairs. Just tell me where it is and I'll run in and check really quick."
"I am not going to tell you where our gun is. You should call the police. They won't mind. They do this all the time."
"Okay, but is there a number I can call that's not 911 because I don't think this is a real emergency."
"Just call 911. That's what it's for."

I did and an officer promptly pulled up to our home and got out of his car. I apologetically told him how I'm sure it's nothing but I think I heard someone upstairs. I have my son with me you see, otherwise I wouldn't have called but my husband advised me to do this instead of checking myself. Essentially I was saying, "I'm not scared. I would go up there and kill the sound that's not an intruder myself if my husband hadn't not told me where the gun is that I don't know how to use."

He was upbeat and kind about the whole situation and asked me a few standard questions before checking all the front entrances. They all seemed secure. He walked around to the back. He was gone ten seconds and rushed back to my car window. His demeanor had changed.

"I want to you pull your car down the street and park it in front of mine. Keep it running. When was the last time you were in the house?"
"About three minutes before you came."
"I called for another officer to come. Stay in your car."

One more officer came. Then I heard sirens. Then 4 more cars with their sirens and lights on spun into the neighborhood and parked in front of my house. I saw an officer with what appeared to be some sort of sniper rifle, cocked and aimed, march into the house ready for battle. I saw a German Shepherd jump out of one car with two K-9 unit officers. One walked to my car and said, "If we find someone in your house, will you press charges?"
"Yes."

There was someone in our house. This is when I started to shake. I imagined a shoot out happening in our bedroom. I imagined injury or worse. Blood everywhere! My finest linens destroyed by gunfire!

After about 10 minutes of commotion, the officer who had entered with a rifle came up to my car and said, "You may want to come look around."
"So someone broke in?"
"You'll want to look around and see if you notice anything missing. You see, you don't seem like the kind of lady that would leave her house in disarray but the house is in disarray."
"Well I don't know. I have been out of town. (partial truth)"
"Not this kind of disarray. Disarray."

I walked into my house that looked very similar to what I had left and blamed every bit of mess on the intruder. "The nerve! Can you believe this?! The scamp! This shower is filthy! I can't believe how he dirtied these countertops! Some people! And he didn't even bother to put his dishes in the dishwasher! I am aghast! And to think he took our clothes out of the dirty clothes hamper and threw them on the floor while pillaging for spoils....etc..."

In the end, the scoundrel got away. He entered and exited through our tiny kitchen window above the sink. He stole our iPad. Nothing else.

I feel like God intervened many times today. I'm glad my boy and every officer who helped us remained safe. Oh, and the dog. I'm glad he was safe too. He was adorable. I'm glad I didn't try to go upstairs. Especially with an unloaded pistol that I was going to pretend was loaded. Or worse yet, a loaded pistol. I'm not mad at said scoundrel. He must have had a lot of rough things happen in his life to make him feel the need to break into a stranger's house to steal things and to cause such disarray/be a scapegoat for such disarray. From now on we are always going to arm our alarm system. I also learned that I should always keep up with laundry in case an invader climbs in our window and lots of police have to walk through our house.