My version of Spring Break

I’ve mentioned before that I work for a university, and next week we get a couple of days off for Spring Break. It could not be coming at a better time for me. I am just frazzled. Frazzled, I tell you. Things are happening around me that are totally out of my control – and that is something up with which I will not put. (To borrow from Winston Churchill.)

You see, we are having a crime wave in our neighborhood. And while it’s true that I live “in the city,” I live in what has been a fairly crime-free part of the city, an “occasional car broken into when a GPS was left in sight” part of the city. But last month a retired veteran who lived about 6 blocks from us was stabbed to death in his home in the middle of the day. And then the break-ins started all around the neighborhood – last week it was a home down the street from us, and this week it was the house next door to us.

fritzface2And it doesn’t matter if you have an alarm or not – our district is so large that by the time one of the few police cars in our district makes its way to the break-in, the burglars are long gone. They know they have plenty of time to grab the DVD player, camera, laptop, etc. We have Fritz, of course, who does indeed have a badass bark when he hears someone come onto the porch. But I am not wholly convinced that he couldn’t be persuaded with a nice cut of beef or a large wedge of cheese …. Although I can hope he might react the way a German Shepherd belonging to a friend of my neighbor did – the owner came home from work to find the dog choking on something, whereupon it was discovered to be a burglar’s finger.

The feeling of not being safe in your home is just sickening. Coming on the heels of my post earlier this week about my former student it’s almost overwhelming. And when I try to put it out of my mind as I did last evening, I drive past the Sunoco station near our house to see 5 police cars, lights flashing, with two men sitting on the ground. I don’t know what was going on, but it can’t be good.

Last night I woke up from a dream that our house had been broken into. In my dream, the burglars came in through the basement window – which is how most of these break-ins have happened. Only, in my dream, Unnamed Partner and I went down the basement stairs to see — not only the basement window broken,  but the entire side of the house missing!

I know – subtle, eh?

We have really good neighbors, all around, and I know we’ll all be looking out for each other now more than ever. But this sense of helplessness in the midst of crime and violence is so unnerving. I am trying to take a lesson from it, to have more empathy with the many people around the world who live with uncertainty and fear in their lives each and every day. I thought I was pretty empathetic, but apparently someone/something felt I needed a refresher.

Value every day, every moment, every one. And hope your dog is not easily swayed by cheddar ….



  1. The horrible part is that until the economy starts to turn around, it’s going to get worse everywhere. Having Fritz around should reduce your risk level some — and I’m sure you know all the common sense things (motion sensor outdoor lights, for example).

  2. Hi Nan — Oh yeah — we’ve got the motion sensor lights, the radio/tv on during the day, deadbolt locks. But every house has its weaknesses. Am just hoping Fritz makes enough noise to make someone not want to deal with it….

  3. Should I send in Lupa for back up?
    It is stressful. Nan is right about economics being a direct factor. We have seen a rise in crime also, namely burgaries and robberies. Individuals are feeling their backs pushed against the wall. If Madoff can take billions, why can’t others take a few hundred to feed their family? The sickening fallout is when people get that desperate, it leads to unfortunate incidents like which involved your neighbor. During your spring break at home, remember to lock your doors while inside your home and be aware of your surroundings while out in the yard. You may feel better about being there to guard your home, but let your home be your guard also. Be safe. My thoughts are with you guys.

  4. Should I send in Lupa for back up?

    Yes please! We may need to send for Beanie to come down from Massachusetts, too, at this rate!

    Don’t worry, though, about us letting down our guard — we’re pretty obsessive about that, at this point. And I even take Fritz to the curb with me when I take out the trash in the evening.

  5. Fostering a dog or two is not a bad idea for any of us who live in a space where we’re allowed to and have the resources and time to do so. Pet abandonments are also up — another of the unanticipated consequences of rising foreclosure rates and a shrinking economy.

  6. there is nothing worse than not feeling safe in your own home. it sounds like you have done about all you can do to make yourself secure. good luck, and i hope you don’t have any more dreams like that.

    i don’t know if sara would agree, and as much as i love beanie, i am not sure she would be much help. unless licking the burgular to death would work! LOL

  7. Nan, if I could, I’d take ’em all in! We’ve always had rescue animals, and if I could I would foster them as well. Several people I work with do that and often bring the dogs into work for extra socialization time (I love when I can get some puppy kisses in the middle of a rough afternoon at work!).

    Unfortunately, I’m 2 doors down from the boss, and he’s not so crazy about it.

    Donald, I’m sure from what I’ve heard that Beanie and Fritz would indeed work together to corner a burglar — and lick him to death!

  8. Beanie doesn’t bark. Ever. She growls, but never barks. Not even when she’s been left outside at the back door.


    but it’s been proven that someone breaking in will choose the house sans dog. not worth the bother when there is another place, no dog, next door.

    I’m sorry, sue. that’s awful. I can remember what it felt like when I was broken into, when I lived in the city- it was a horrible violation. I moved because I could not sleep. but that was years ago when I was renting an apartment- not so easy to change when you own the home.

    just please god, don’t get a gun.

  9. Good grief Sara! Don’t you know me better than that by now?! I’m about as likely to get a gun as I am to get a perm!

    Although we’ve never had a problem here before, I have lived other places where I had to call 911 in the middle of the night because someone broke a basement window trying to get into the house, and I have also come home from work to find a back door open, my camera and VCR gone. And Unnamed Partner says every apartment she ever had was broken into.

    Part of city living is crime. I know that’s the trade-off for being able to walk to the library, convenience store, etc., etc. Right now with everyone on high alert, I pity the foolish burglar that comes around this neighborhood!

  10. oh, I know you wouldn’t get a gun… maybe it’s me that thinks about it from time to time. not for here, by any means, but for downeast.

    let the crazy stalker comes to the house, re drinking the rain. but I love her solution, and don’t ahve the guts to own one. I know it would be used the wrong way.

  11. Some how I am not afraid of getting broken into. or the house I mean… its sad but I’m always locking doors and being only so trustful of passers by.

    I have lived in the city most of adult life, and every apt. I lived in except one was broken into, even one while I slept in the bed and didn’t even know it ( thank someone…!) there is that horse shoe up my ass again. ..knock wood.!

    Though I have lost some things that have cost a lot of money to replace and it is an awful feeling; for some reason I’m not afraid. I can only hope and pray for our safety, they can have the material crap. All of it., Hell I’ll even give’m the keys to the car…
    It’s not that important anyway.
    Now – if they come for my family- they better be ready for a fight.

  12. OMG, sara with a gun downeast, tell me it isn’t so!!! i drop over unannounced (since there is not phone) and kaboom, history!! i will have to start yelling out my name the minute i get in the driveway.

  13. donald, I am NOT getting a gun for downeast.

    but it is NEVER a good idea to startle me. ask walter.

  14. I have had a perm or two that might have deterred evil-doers. I know they scared the bejesus out of me when I looked in the mirror.

    Toni. Well intentioned but totally inept mother. Need I say more?

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