Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Over Active Imagination and Last Night's Scare

Last night was evidence of my over active imagination.  It also showed me that I'm really incredibly thankful for our alarm system.

Here's my overly dramatic rendition of what was probably just someone mistaking our house for someone else's house and how much it freaked me out:

And of course, when I look out the window I
see this... and can't see the front
porch area.
It was almost nine o'clock at night, and had long since been dark outside.  Paul was at the library studying.  Patrick was in his bassinet in the kitchen, sleeping, since he seemed to have something of a tummy ache and it had taken three tries to get him to stay asleep when I put him down, and the girls were both asleep in their room upstairs.  I was kneeling on the floor cutting out the pieces for a new quilt when a huge thundering banging began behind me, on the front door.  I jumped and froze for a minute.

Our door has a window on it, with slightly blurred glass, so I knew that the person standing out in the dark could clearly see me in the lighted room, in my oversized pink Winnie the Pooh sleep shirt, while all I could see was distorted dark blurriness.  My phone must have been right next to me because I grabbed it and ran over behind a little wall in the dining room, next to the security panel and called Paul.

And then, as the thundering on the front door continued and I debated hitting the police button on the box next to me, I heard Paul's phone ring on the mantle in the living room.  Seriously!  I thought, with annoyance mixing with the adrenalin rush that had been brought on by the loud startling pounding.

I was actually rather surprised that the alarm hadn't gone off, since it was set to doors and windows and had gone off yesterday morning from the girls racing back and forth across the living room when it was still set... and the pounding on the door was of a rather fierce variety.

I'll admit that the only thing that stopped me from calling the police at that point was the knowledge that an ear splitting siren would sound if the door so much as opened a crack.

The pounding stopped and I crept over and peeked out a side window.  I couldn't see a car or a person. I called my parents as I walked around looking out windows and then checking on each of the babies, finding Mae Bae asleep clutching a little pink bunny sweetly in her hand.  I promised them that I would call 911 if the person started pounding again.  I fired off an email to Paul and then glared at the computer, knowing he wasn't online and was reading books, which wouldn't let him know that he had a little message in his facebook email box.  Then I posted a message on his wall asking anyone who noticed it and saw him in the library to have him check his email, while trying not to sound like a panicked wife who was debating calling the police.

All the while my fears were of course running wild with thoughts like:  "What if it wasn't the girls who set off the alarm this morning?  What if someone broke one of the basement windows open and that set off the alarm and I just turned it off and reset it and now the doors and windows sensor won't pick up a change and someone's in the basement right now?!?!?"  I crept downstairs and peeked my head in each door in the basement to check the windows, phone tightly in my hand.

Our Mom totally has an overactive imagination...
I was so much more fearless before I had kids.  With kids I freak out about things like, "if someone broke down that door, I would have to get to Patrick in the kitchen and get upstairs to the girls and which direction to go first because that's pretty much impossible since the front door is between those two points."  Before kids I would have remembered that I'm a black belt and have spent hours and hours training for exactly this sort of thing.  After kids I feel panicky about the difficulty of defending someone small and defenseless (or three) if I were outnumbered.

So that by the end of it I was wishing that I had a gun safe and had taken those conceal and carry courses that are offered in our area on Groupon pretty much every other week.

And yes, I apparently have a fanciful imagination that runs wild when the whole thing was likely just someone getting an address wrong and banging on the wrong door of the wrong house during a snow storm.

I have never been so thankful for that alarm system though.  I'm sold on the idea of having one now, wherever we live.

Maybe I need a sign next to the alarm sign that says: "If you bang on this door late at night I won't be opening it... I'll be calling the police..."  or something like that.  I don't know... What would you have done?


  1. I totally understand the panic you felt. I have dogs instead of an alarm (plural, because one didn't seem like enough protection anymore once the family grew to five)as our power goes out often. I also feel the same sense of panic about trying to protect myself and my's so different then when I was childless. If someone banged like that here, I would have answered it, but only because I have a pack of big dogs on hand and I'm incredibly curious by nature. If I'd been home with no dogs I probably would have done the exact same you did.

  2. You need a dog! Or two! My husband used to be a police officer and there is NOTHING better than a barking dog to deter intruders. And the dog will always know if it was the kids who tripped the alarm vs. someone in the basement. There would be no peaceful night in this house if it weren't for our sweet pups. Ugh. Scary!

  3. That does sound scary. I think I would have done the exact same thing you did. I don't think I would have called the police because if someone was trying to break in, I would assume they would be a lot more subtle.
    I would have been totally terrified too, though,

    Having children does make this a lot harder, because you have to think about them.

    I also agree with the previous commenter who said that dogs are more effective than an alarm system. My parents always had a dog growing up, because my it made my mom felt safer.

  4. I definitely would have had an adrenalin rush myself. This is one of the reasons I do like having a dog, and have insisted to my husband that, the day we don't live with my parents, I want a dog. (Besides, I figure she'll end up saving me sweeping the floor so frequently. :) ) It is also an example of why I like curtains and/or blinds on all my windows… I don't like people being able to see in when I can't see out. Same for the front door.

    That said though, I hate to think it was someone who needed help. I probably would have asked through the door what they wanted or who they were looking for, either to inform them that they were at the wrong address, or to offer to call for help for them. Or threaten to call 911 if need be. Or if I was feeling particularly hormonal, ranting like a lunatic at the obnoxiousness of pounding on strangers doors at 9pm!

    Glad y'all are safe and sound regardless of who it was!

  5. Because we lived so far from family, and we have always had an odd schedule due to my husband's hours (not getting home until his late newscast is over) ANYONE knocking - much less banging! - on the door was cause for alarm. My girls actually used to run to their rooms and hide!

    I would NEVER NEVER NEVER open the door to someone you don't know, and I think I would have called the non-911 police number to ask them to do a "close patrol". If you had real reason to believe it was an intruder, I wouldn't hesitate to call 911; shady characters sometimes do bang on a door to see who's home and what the response is.

    A dog is a good idea, but I have a feeling that you'd soon discover a dog allergy.

    God bless!


  6. I totally would have called the police! I think you need more confidence in those black belt skills! First that escapade in the grocery store, now this...Oi!

  7. I'd have called the police because anyone banging on the door is already on a high emotional plane or they would not be banging.

  8. Calling 911 solves many of the issues. IF this was merely a lost person seeking aid, the police will discover this and help them without your risking getting anywhere near the door.

    Also, if the person were a drug deranged potential home intruder you don't want to speak to them through the door for fear of setting off a drug induced rage.

    Meanwhile, there are reasons why gun training can be a reasonable thing to take. We have a responsibility to defend our children.

    But again, CALL the police next time. It could save you ever having to USE a gun to defend the children if you are quick enough to contact them.

    Anyway, the police here say they would rather get a call that proved to be nothing than get a call that includes a body count!

  9. They installed these at the church offices after a nasty incident. It allows a very clear view of what is on the other side of the door, one way.

    Though from the sound of it, a different door might be needed to install it.

  10. Yep, I get it completely. I often think what I'd do if someone broke in -hide in our bedroom (with phone) or Ella's room (no phone but easily barricaded door).

    That's my one main beef with being on a farm. I'm used to having my doors locked. Can't do that now because I never know when DH is coming in and we sell pork/eggs/veggies from the house.

  11. Call the police of course! That is what they are there for!!! As a man with a gun I would have opened the door. But I don't quite understand why the alarm offers you so much security. An alarm does nothing a cell phone can't do and it does absolutely nothing against an immediate emergency. Take some courses, or at the very least get a dog. I watch those adt commercials prey upon the fears of people and wonder why someone would not protect themselves. All an alarm does is tell the police where they can find a potential body.

  12. This actually happened to me last week. I was home alone and someone rang the doorbell and was fiddling with the doorknob. I thought it was my mom, but wasn't sure so didn't answer it. When they rang the door bell again, I looked out the window (its frosted and hard to see through) and saw someone about my moms height with the same black jacket. I opened the door and realised it wasn't my mom, so I slammed the door shut and called my neighbours, because my brain couldn't agree on whether or not it counted as an emergency enough to call the police.

  13. First line of defense get a dog. They can hear things before we do and you would know if someone was in your yard before your security system told you. Second, get a gun and learn how to use it, spend time at the range weekly if you can. Just because your a black belt in karate that means nothing to someone meaning to do harm who may be amped up on drugs or carrying a fire arm. You dont want to bring a knife to a gun fight so to speak. I believe I read the average time for police to respond is about 4 minutes perhaps longer in a rural area. In those 4 minutes a lot can happen and you have a duty to protect your family. Calling the police is reactive, arming yourself so that you and your babies dont end up victims is proactive.
    Lastly I think you probaby should have called the police for no other reason than they need to know if this kind of stuff is happening, you may have not been the first person in your area to have something like that happen. Stay safe.

  14. Having a black belt in Karate gives you the confidence that you can fight burglars on your own. But everything changes when you have kids. It’s only natural for parents to think of their kids’ safety first of all. What you experienced is scary alright, so you really have to be thankful for your alarm system. And yes, you have to make sure that they’re in running order especially when your husband’s not at home. Maintain a quality security system and always stay safe!

    Meri Berger

  15. Sometimes it is very scary to live alone in the house. Instead of security equipments like alarms, electronic locks, you just can't get comfortable. I own 9mm pistol for myself and I keep it with myself when I have to live alone in my house.



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