When GoofBoy and I got home Monday afternoon, I chatted with a neighbor and gave GoofBoy a key to the house and told him to go in and get started on his homework.
“Dad, there’s glass everywhere! One of our windows is broken!”
I went over to see, there was a rock-sized hole in one of the side windows by our front door and there was a rock (and a great deal of glass) in the foyer. GoofBoy rushed into the den and shouted, “My KindleFire is gone!”
We looked around for a moment more. From the foot of the steps to the upstairs bedrooms it was apparent someone had been there and ransacked it. My iPad was missing, as was my son’s DSi.
I called the police. I called MamaGoof. I felt terrible for her, because most things are just things and can be replaced (or survived without.) But there are some things she got from her mom that are meaningful to her and that could not be replaced. I felt terrible because more then half of the time I work at home, and had I been home this probably would not have happened. I felt terrible because I scoffed at any talk of getting an alarm. I also knew that MamaGoof would imagine the worst – not only that everything meaningful would be stolen, but also that papers would be missing that would be an enormous hassle to replace and that could put us in an identify theft hell.
GoofBoy went to sit in the car in tears – unwilling to set foot in the house.
The police came and took fingerprints and a statement. GoofBoy’s back straightened and he accompanied the police around the house; pointing out things that were missing. They had taken his carefully saved money. He also knew where GoofGirl secreted her funds, which had not been touched. In our bedroom, where the sheets had been pulled of the bed and all the drawers had been pulled out I joked, “Wow, someone broke into our house and straightened up.”
The officer and I agreed that it was good that thief hadn’t taken my stash of Dogfishhead 120 Minute IPA. The police wrote their report, gave us contact information and headed out.
GoofGirl, having been picked up by Mom, called in, “Did they take my toiletries?”
When they got home we ordered a pizza, put the kids in front of the TV and began cleaning. Despite the mess, little was taken from our bedroom. MamaGoof’s worst fears were not realized. It was not that bad.
Most what we lost was electronics – my iPad, the kids’ KindleFire, GoofBoy’s DS, along with some plugs and chargers. Thankfully, I had taken my laptop to work. Despite our relatively modest losses, GoofBoy was very upset – he had suffered disproportionately, his cash was taken and his game system was taken.
I pre-emptively cancelled my credit card and began changing passwords. I got very tired thinking up all new word letter combinations that I would have a chance of remembering. GoofBoy was deeply concerned that I change his NFL.com password, lest the thieves mess up his fantasy team – apparently a common aspect of identity theft.
In the wake of these sorts of events, everyone becomes a forensics expert or criminal psychologist. It was like an episode of CSI as we analyzed the burglar’s mode of operation and probably mindset. We determined it was some kid who wasn’t that good at burglary.
“I bet he’ll get in big trouble with his parents for doing this!” GoofGirl observed.
“Mi nina, when I say kid it could be someone in their twenties. And the burglar probably doesn’t have parents who take good care of him, that might be why he started robbing houses.”
This was hard for GoofGirl to grasp, “How can someone in their twenties be a kid?”
We decided to be thankful. Thankful that no one had been home and hurt, thankful that nothing important was taken and that our lives are secure enough to absorb this loss.
Then, sitting in my office I noticed something else was missing. I have an old laptop – it was a piece of junk when I bought it new and any version of Office developed since the Enlightenment makes it crash. But there is a game I’ve been playing on it – Caesar III. It is a city building game set in Roman times, so that to amuse the population the player builds circuses for great chariot races and gladiatorial matches. When you have advanced enough levels you win and become Emperor. I play about 3 times a year, so I expected this game to last me until my retirement.
The laptop was gone (along with the Caesar III CD in the drive).
“NOOOO!” I shouted as it all hit home that I would never play my beloved computer game again.
But I decided to be thankful, thankful that I was now free of my mad ambition to rule the ancient world.
Also, I was thankful to be able to use the word “burgled.”