It happened between the hours of 10am and 3pm, when I treated my kid out to viewing How to Train Your Dragon 2, eating a post-movie pizza lunch, and making a light grocery run. Once I pulled up the driveway and saw my front glass door wide open, I knew exactly what had happened.
The usual stuff got stolen: laptops, tablets, stringed musical instruments, jewelry, watches. I looked around, saw the kiddo look at me with wide eyes, and I declared, “Eh, these things happen,” before dialing 911.
Not that I wasn’t mad — I was, not much for the stuff but for the invasion of privacy and my lack of foreward-thinking, in not replacing a glass door that was clearly not burglar-proof.
My friends and family were upset that so much stuff got stolen, but — except for the kiddo’s iPad and netbook, which I’ve already replaced with eBay orders — I’m really not. I generally have a sanguine attitude towards material possessions, as seen in this post eleven years in the past, and I’ve often wandered towards websites such as this, describing the “Tiny Houses” movement.
After all, my bedroom is one of the two smaller bedrooms, having turned the master bedroom into a home gym for the kiddo and myself.
Instead, the burglary — with having to go to Lowe’s to order a new glass door, with having a conversation with my brother about alarm systems, with having to assuage my mother’s paranoia that the burglars would case my house again — has only reinforced my mixed emotions in being a homeowner.
My house, bought during the heady optimism of being newly wed, has a different feel as a divorced, single mom. It’s a 1963 ranch-style house on perpetually shifting and drought-addled clay soil, nowadays experiencing occasional minor fracking earthquakes and freak hailstorms. It’s sitting on a typical suburban lot that has grass that refuses to die back enough in the summer, mocking me with non-winter yardwork.
There are cracks in the walls, ceiling, and doorways, indicating an expensive foundation repair sometime in the future, an old toilet that really needs replacing, bathroom wallpaper that is slowly divorcing itself from its wall, cracked kitchen tiles here and there, and an old berber carpet stained from a stress ball leaking its guts after the cat enacted undue violence to it.
Let’s not even go to the issue of the leaky lawn sprinkler system, the arthritic-looking backyard fence, and the half-dead tree sprinkling its tree limb parts like spiky confetti.
With all that, the burglary just becomes part of the “Welcome to home ownership!” lifestyle.
But I said, “mixed emotions” — so what’s mixed with the bad is the good: a stable home that’s almost paid off, with plenty of space and nearby amenities for the kiddo and myself. I’ve been teaching online classes this summer, and I know I wouldn’t be able to from the comforts of my home office if I didn’t have a home large enough to accommodate those comforts.
It has served as a safe haven for those who needed it (like my sister and now her cat), and it’s the only home the kiddo has ever known.
I’ve written my novel after grading in the home office, during the wee hours of the late night/early morning, and I’ve published my books from that same home office, in a well-worn, bulky workstation that the previous homeowners left behind because it’s a pain in the ass to move.
The nearby elementary school actually groks my kid, and for that I am immensely grateful.
How could I not love this house?
So — new glass door. Perhaps new, simple alarm system. But no claiming all the stuff that got stolen to my homeowner’s insurance company. I certainly don’t need a higher premium, of course. However, most of that stuff I’ve already let go.
And it’s not bad.