Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A brick through the window

This must be the year of house intrusions. I got back from work in the early afternoon, eager to go on a quick errand to procure butternut squash and to return here and collapse for a very long nap before a quiet evening of soup-making. I found the cat hiding in the bedroom closet, and in the other bedroom, which is my study and which faces the back yard, the window broken and a brick and dirt on the floor.

There was glass all over the room. The window wasn't fully broken, because it is a jalousie window (I just learned that's what it's called -- I used to refer to it as a-window-that-works-like-window-blinds), but enough of it was, and the screen that had been behind it was halfway across the room. No one had broken in and entered, but the crime was intentional: there was a chair outdoors, below the window, and there are no bricks near the house.

The chair usually lives about 40 yards away on the side of the house, with another plastic chair and outdoor table.

When I see or hear about bricks through the window, I think "hate crime," but this did not seem to be one - more likely a failed break-in. It's possible I pulled into the driveway during or right after the person threw the brick through the window. Or they may have looked in the study and thought "boooooooooooring!" There are no fancy toys there. My laptop was with me at work, and the fax machine and printer are very basic. Just lots of books and papers and files, icons, and on the desk, a Bible and a book on Julian of Norwich and a bunch of notes and a few student papers and a bunch of paper mess and a few flash drives. There was original art on the wall above the desk but if you don't know from lithographs, you don't know that.

Of course I phoned the police and my landlady, and I have had two visits from the police, in both cases very nice officers, one man and one woman, the first to check things out and ask me basic questions and assign a number to the case, the second a crime scene investigator (yup, my very own CSI, not that I ever wanted one, and thank Godde it wasn't worse) who photographed and dusted for prints and asked questions.

A neighbor whom my landlady phoned says he saw a kid (by which he meant a teenaged boy or young man) cutting through from my yard to his (there are no fences) and definitely not from the immediate neighborhood, three days ago. He thinks that it was probably this kid (or maybe another kid) who threw the brick, it being a day when school was out and adolescents are bored or looking for loot. His house was broken into a while back. (I forget whether he said six months ago or six years ago. I think maybe six months. I was still a little rattled.) My house was not.

The yoga mat, however, is no longer usable. I'd left it flat on the floor of the study instead of rolling it up as usual since I knew I would be home early with some quiet and I wanted to remind myself to do some good stretches and take some time for some asanas, on this first day of finally-having-time-and-space, the first half day of Thanksgiving break.

So much for quiet life in the suburbs. In the city, people are bunched close together and I have never had any break-ins -- not that I haven't been careful and locked my door, I have, but 90% of the time I have lived on the 2d floor or higher. Living on the first floor is another story, one worries more. Anyway, no robbery and no big damage. It did rattle me a little.

Of course the window break made it possible for +Maya to make a run for it once she got out of the closet and saw the coast was clear, and she has escaped three times already, but she knows on which side her bread is buttered and has always come back a minute or two later. Now she is out again --she was quicker than I-- and I have almost finished my makeshift window repair with much dark plastic and duct tape, and she had better come back in through that window as she did twice, or through the front door as she did once. {...Interruption to talk with a friend on the phone...} Ah, she has returned. As I said, she knows on which side her bread is buttered despite the lure of the great outdoors (where she is not supposed to go, but an open window is a great temptation).

Now we are all safely at home, +Maya is not too traumatized (she did snuggle in my arms purring for a very long time while the second police officer was here, but she was purring and not hiding) and I am okay. I have gone to buy the squash, since I am making butternut squash soup tomorrow (it ain't gonna happen tonight) and after a resolution to save money and calories and not buy any more chocolate from this month onward, I did purchase one large bar of fair trade organic dark chocolate with cocoa nibs and ate some of it, and it was good.

The landlady and her home-repair-gifted husband had already decided they'd come through town tomorrow, so they may fix the windows then, or maybe the next day.

Life on campus was a bit less private, but there were Campus Security people patrolling the place all the time and I felt very safe in my house. This is more quiet but obviously more exposed to the risks of life in the U.S. of A. Well, could have been worse. Probably a good thing I am a boring intellectual church lady with no fancy electronic toys. Or that I pulled into the driveway when I did.

Have a good Thanksgiving holiday, everyone, and remember Native peoples for whom Thanksgiving Day is a Day of Mourning, and refugees everywhere who have been displaced, often violently, from their homes and their land. And enjoy the food, friendship, and family too! (It is possible to do both of these things - remember and feast.) I will write a short foodie post in the next 24 hours inviting your participation, of the share-your-menu sort.


Kirstin said...

I am so sorry. Our house was broken into when I was twelve, and I still remember how violated I felt.

Peace and prayers to you and +Maya.

Paul said...

Sigh. How horrid.
Hugs and more hugs. May the holy angels guard you both!

Kirstin said...

By the way, thank you.

FranIAm said...

Jane! Oh no! Well I am glad that it was not that serious and that +Maya is fine, you are fine, but still.

Sending you lots of love - I think boring, intellectual church ladies are rather cool and I aspire to such a spot. (Speaking of which, the Paulist Center in Boston was mentioned numerous times in my class on Monday which I will email or call you about!)

And that link - The Day of Mourning. I will have to go back there and read more comprehensively. I knew some of this, but wow.

I am thankful for you and +Maya and so much more today.

Chris said...

Oh Jane, what awful news. When the title and picture popped up in my feed reader, I was hoping it was a metaphor. :-(

Our prayers are with you.

eileen said...

Ugh..poor you!! Yuck!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Jane, how awful! Poor baby. Trouble upon trouble. It could have been worse, as the usual consolatory platitude goes.

susankay said...

Jane -- I had break ins in two different Boston appartments. The first involved someone literally bashing down the door. It is a kind of violation.

Perhaps +Maya scared the perp away BEFORE retiring to the closet.

I am so sorry, but thankful it wasn't worse.

Ken said...

Wow. Glad you're okay and Maya did not make her way outside. I've heard too many of those stories.

You were not there. Be grateful.

The cat was not hurt and did not escape. Be grateful again.

I don't need to imagine how you must feel. This is one case where I know and then some. Back in 1977 my ex and I got home find that someone had entered our apartment and removed our typewriter (remember those?). The door had not been forced, leading to the unprovable suspicion that the super of the complex was in on it. We felt as though we'd been violated in some non-sexual but nevertheless degrading way. I am glad that our kids weren't around yet, and that nobody was home who could surprise whoever did that.

And 1956, 12-year-old Ken had a knife held to his throat to obtain his jacket and a camera. So when I read about things like this, I want to play a TV cop as dirty as that crud on "The Shield."

I suppose the point is (enter Eeyore mode) no place is safe anymore, if it ever was. Evil exists and should be called by its rightful name. And it is sad this conversation even has to happen.

it's margaret said...

Oh dear Jane! Bless you! I hope you find that calm space to relax and stretch some time this weekend.

You are in my prayers.

Jane R said...

Ken, she did escape, four times, but came back every single time - so that doesn't count? I was a tiny bit worried the fourth time, when she stayed away much longer.

Thanks, all, for the virtual hugs and good wishes. Enjoy your day!

pj said...

Jane! Ai yi yi. I'm so glad you're okay. Be glad your stuff is boring, I guess!

Big giant hugs to you and Maya.

Caminante said...

What a fall. May it quiet down now that we are close to winter. Sorry for all the excitement of the unwanted variety.

If you had Young Guy and Miss Agatha closed up in a room, their growls would scare off anyone.

Ken said...

She DID get out? Oh God, are you lucky. Animal escapes are nobody's idea of anything but a nightmare. Something else for which to be thankful. And no...nobody served tofu tonight, thanks be.

Jane R said...

Yup, 9th paragraph down. Guess you didn't read that far, I was too wordy...

Hey, tofu is not so bad. Elizabeth Kaeton just served some (see her blog) to her daughter, who has no more asthma since she went off meat.

Magdalene6127 said...

Oh, I am so sorry Jane; what a violation.

I hope you are resting well tonight despite the trauma. Much love to you and the bishop.

Algernon said...

Along with all my thanks today, I add that you are safe, and did not interrupt a very mean burglar.

janinsanfran said...

This sort of thing is very disconcerting -- especially perhaps when nothing important is really gone. Glad you both okay.

Melanie S. said...

Dearest Jane -

When I saw the brick, I thought of our Thanksgiving dinner. One of my nieces is a vegan and made a mushroom-nut loaf which she dubbed "the brick" since that was very much what it looked like (fortunately it tasted much better!) I was hoping that your 'brick' was along those lines. SO sorry to hear of the hurtful break in - and so relieved to hear that you and the cat and artwork and all are fine. Blessings to you as you go in and out in the coming weeks...


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