I’ve been super busy around here, working on Matthew’s new room. I’ve been posting updates to the page as we progress through the process, and working on his room is making me feel much more prepared for the arrival of BB2. I’ve really been enjoying it – I mean – in a crazy way! Designing kids’ rooms is one of my favorite things to do! It’s been so much fun! Now, if I could just get Matthew’s birthday party planned and invitations out – that would make me feel even better! AND – if we could get decent enough weather to get our maternity photo session done, I’d feel even better still! And THEN – if I could get BB2’s fun ultrasound scheduled for this week, I’d feel extra better!
But something has interfered with our productivity and fun with all of the above.
We woke up at 1:42 last night to the sound of our alarm system going off. We had just gone to bed at 12:30 (insane, I know) because we were up watching Django last night, and in hindsight, this was a good thing. We weren’t totally asleep yet which allowed us to be alert and as “on” as possible when your security system is blaring at 1:42 AM.
I immediately checked the bedroom security panel which said, “zone 13 – back bedroom.” Holy shit – that’s Matthew’s bedroom! I ran as fast as a pregnant woman can run to her baby’s room. All was fine in there, and as the sirens were still going off, I kept thinking that this made no sense since the windows aren’t wired and we have glass break sensors in the house (not to mention that Matthew’s room is elevated a story from the ground, so it’s not like someone would climb a ladder to get in any way). It had to be a different “back bedroom” which meant the basement.
I heard B on the phone with the security people as I was going in and out of Matthew’s room, trying to make sense of what was going on. I told him to tell them that we don’t know if everything is OK yet. He kept them on the phone as he checked the house. They told him that it was for sure the downstairs back bedroom. I went in to Matthew’s room to double-check his windows, and that’s when he woke up. I heard a quiet, “mom mom” behind me and he was standing in his crib, confused. I picked him up as quickly as I could and took him to the chair to rock him, with his door open a bit.
As I sat there rocking him, I thought how stupid of me to leave that door open (and unlocked). How stupid of me to NOT grab my mobile phone on my way to his room. How stupid of me to let B tell them not to send the police yet. How stupid of me to let my husband search the house alone, with only someone on the phone with him. How stupid of me to be assuming this was just a false alarm.
When Matthew fell back asleep, I quickly put him in his crib and left his room, shutting the door behind me. I should have locked it.
B was out in the living room, very shaken, but off the phone. Things looked good, things seemed fine, it was a false alarm.
We went back to bed, but neither of us slept.
Tonight, 18 hours after the event, B just told me that he checked the house twice today and saw signs of vandalism or attempted intrusion in that back bedroom window. Our security system worked as designed. Amazingly, this makes me feel more secure than assuming it was a false alarm.
Assuming it was a false alarm would have made us more relaxed if this would happen again. Knowing this was a real threat of some kind (not sure how big or small, and I’m not one to dramatize), it has forced us to do a few things that need to be done:
- Security cameras are going up on all sides of the house ASAP
- Motion lights are going up on all sides of the house ASAP
- Bedroom windows that have first level access to them (we live in a ranch with walkout basement) will possibly be wired to our security system as a secondary measure of protection
- Certain things in our nightly routine must change including ensuring all blinds are closed in all rooms (we forget about the rooms we don’t use during the day), turning on our security system earlier in the night, and leaving front exterior lights on overnight for now
We also walked through our actions from last night from the moment the alarm went off, to when we were settled back into bed. We developed a plan for future incidents, no matter how minor they may seem (I am posting this so that we have this documented for our future reference – and I highly encourage everyone to make a plan like this in case they’re ever faced with an intrusion):
- Both of us will grab our mobile phones
- We will check the security panel for location of incident
- I will secure both children in one bedroom (most likely the nursery since there is no ground level access to it) and lock the door
- I will call the police (even though the security service does that as well)
- We will let the alarm run for at least a minute (it did run for about a minute last night, and we think a bit longer would be good to ensure that any intruders/vandals hear that the alarm is going off and that we’re not quick to blow it off as a false alarm)
- We will tell the security service to send police immediately – no matter how minor things appear to be. This was our biggest mistake. If the intruder/vandal watched to see how we handled the situation, they know that we did not have the police sent last night. Biggest mistake of the night
- We will notify neighbors the next day via letter in their mailboxes
B did call the non-emergency police line last night to report the incident and request a patrol car to scope the neighborhood. He also called them tonight, letting them know that it was not a false alarm, and they want to come out tomorrow to look and get a statement from us.
We are not concerned about ourselves. Our security system did what it was supposed to do, and it proved to be a wonderful investment. Without it, last night and today (and who knows what all else) could have been very different from how they were. Instead of going to the zoo and out for dinner, we could have been dealing with a very serious situation. What concerns us is our neighbors, our friends without security systems. SOMETHING happened last night – vandalism, an attempted break-in, or a scoping of houses for security systems and easy targets. Honestly, I think that someone was testing out the house (and others in the neighborhood) to see if we had a security system in place. If they had wanted to break the window to break in last night, they would have. I would like to believe it was a bunch of stupid kids out horsing around on a Saturday night, but the weather here is just plain awful and it isn’t the type of weather that would encourage such behavior (cold, raining, near-freezing temps).
Our house is secure. Whoever was on our property last night now knows that. They won’t be back. In a matter of days and weeks, our house will be even more secure because we learned last night that peace of mind is worth much more than the effort and investment it takes to accomplish it.
We are secure… even if B is sleeping out on the sofa tonight just to be closer to the basement and Matthew… just in case!
Do you have a discussed (and documented) plan with your family members detailing how you would handle a possible intrusion in your home? I highly recommend you discuss this with your family ASAP. You never know what could happen.
May 6, 2013 at 12:02 am
Wow! What a terrifying situation. I’m so glad you are all safe and sound now and that you feel secure moving forward. I also hope something like this never happens again.
May 6, 2013 at 10:10 pm
Thank you – me too! The security people say that the odds of it happening again are very slim – that this was our one incident and that the odds are with us that we’re in the clear now.
May 6, 2013 at 12:26 am
OMG that is so scary. We have NOTHING in place other than lock the front door with the filmiest lock you can imagine. Oh and two vicious toy poodles that attack (ahem cuddle) on command.
I am glad that you have a plan in place but how awful that you need to and go to the expense of security cameras etc. Sorry it has come to this 😦
May 6, 2013 at 10:11 pm
It’s only come to security cameras because B has always wanted them, especially since he travels some times. We live in the safest place in the world (a suburn in Iowa – I mean – COME ON!). The police today said that there have been no incidents in our neighborhood forever, so I’m feeling really secure in all of this. I could live without the cameras – believe me!
May 6, 2013 at 7:26 am
HOLY CRAP. This scares me so much! I am so glad that your security system scared off the would-be intruders and that you guys have taken the experience to heart to better your “response strategy.” This isn’t something I ever think about beyond, “I would run for Sofia.” And I will admit that I often think about how “safe” living on the top floor of a city apartment makes me feel. It’s reassuring to know that the only points of entrance are a thick, heavy door mere feet away from 3 neighbors or an outdoor patio that fronts onto a busy boulevard… seems unlikely we’d ever get an intruder.
It’s interesting because early on Stan was quite uncomfortable sleeping in my childhood home (a split level with my bedroom on the bottom floor) because he felt so vulnerable (the city boy that he is). I never thought much about it, having grown up there and sleeping with windows wide open (with just a screen) during the warmer months. And no alarm system at all. Now doing that worries me as well. I hate that it does, because – sheesh- loss of innocence, but it does.
Anyway, again, I’m glad you are all okay.
Oh, and can I ask? What’s the point of the cameras? I think the motion sensor lights are a great idea but will the cameras be monitored continually? Or are they more as a deterrant?
May 6, 2013 at 8:29 am
Well, B has ALWAYS wanted the cameras. I wasn’t sure why until this happened, so I, like a good wife, blew it off. ;). He’s explained it further to me now. They will send us still images instantly via email and text, so if something is happening outside, we will see what it is. Also, if someone is outside but not breaking in, we will be alerted. And finally, if we’re out of town, we’ll be alerted of activity around the house. It is a bit extreme… And I said to B last night that security companies make money on incidents like this (see Stephanie’s comment!). Ha!
We’ve also discussed that the next house will have no ground floor access to bedrooms, and the kids will be on the same end of the house as us. Right now, they have their own end and we have ours. Not smart!
Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________
May 6, 2013 at 10:13 pm
You know, I grew up with my room in the basement with ground-level access and it never bothered me until I was an adult. It’s weird how we learn to fear things. Now, I hate sleeping in that room.
I never felt vulnerable in my big city apartments. I envy you for having that nice sense of security!
May 6, 2013 at 7:37 am
This scares me so much. I’m glad that you feel secure in knowing that your alarm system did what it was supposed to, and I don’t mean to put any fear into you, but that would freak me the hell out. We had someone remove, yes remove, the lock to our back gate a few years ago one night when JJ was working and I was home alone. I felt so violated in my own home, like someone was watching us 24/7. It took a while for me to get past that and we ended up getting an alarm system because of it. We used to set the alarm every night, but now we usually only set it if JJ is working overnight and I’m home alone with Chloe. This is a good reminder that we should use it all the time, we are paying for it anyway. So glad you guys are safe though and have a plan! We do not have a plan and it’s probably something we should talk about. Funny that the first thing I’m reading this morning is this post. About 3:30 this morning I heard a loud noise out in our living room. I was sleeping in the guest room and debated on getting up, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I looked. I thought about waking JJ too but I went out on my own, knowing if it was something really wrong the dogs would be barking. I couldn’t find anything, but I sure hate noises (and especially alarms!) going off in the middle of the night!
May 6, 2013 at 10:16 pm
I would freak out too if someone took the lock off my gate! How weird is that?
I cannot stand noises in the night, and used to wear ear plugs because of them. I hate being in the basement when B is out of town, and now I have no interest in being there. I know that will change in time, but I have always felt uneasy down there and now I feel even more exposed. Ugh.
May 6, 2013 at 9:44 am
Oh Courtney, I read this early this morning when Lids woke for a bit and it scared me so much!! I am so sorry you had to deal with that but sooo thankfully that everyone is okay and that it didn’t go any further. I just hate that there are people out there who put us in this scared situations. We have 3 dogs who are our security but if they got past them, our house is VERY easy to get into.. we don’t even have glass on our wooden / shutter style windows so you can just put your hand inside to open! This made me think we should at least put sensor lights around our whole property because I do think those can help to scare people off when they flash on. Ugg.. so scary. Hope nothing like this ever happens at your house again!!! 😦
May 6, 2013 at 10:18 pm
So when I called the security people today to discuss additions to the system, they said the #1 deterrent is loud barking dogs. Sounds to me like you are all set! They said the second most effective thing is a security system, and the third is good lighting outside. You have 3 loud dogs – no one wants to mess with you! 😉
May 6, 2013 at 11:43 am
Oh that is so scary, Courtney! I know our house is not that secure and we do not have a security system. Honestly – it really scares me! We live in a fairly safe neighborhood but have had a few vandalism incidents. Your plans sound so good but I’m really hoping nothing happens again! And so glad everyone is okay.
May 6, 2013 at 10:19 pm
Thanks! Our neighborhood is super safe too – so this is really out of the norm. I grew up with a security system, so getting it was just a no-brainer. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure!
May 6, 2013 at 11:57 am
oh my god, this is so scary! I am glad all is okay. We don’t have a security system. EEK!
May 6, 2013 at 10:20 pm
Thanks! Hey, it’s not for everyone. I have lots of friends who think we’re nuts for having a security system. I just grew up always having one, so I’m not comfortable without one.
May 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm
Yikes – very scary! We live in such a tiny town that security systems aren’t something we’ve ever even discussed. Honestly, we don’t even know where the keys are to lock our doors when we leave town! (Though we do deadbolt from the inside and leave via the garage IF we don’t have someone stopping by to check on the dog). I can’t imagine how frightening this must have been. I’m glad y’all are okay!
May 6, 2013 at 10:22 pm
My mom grew up in a town like yours. My aunts and uncles still don’t lock their doors. I don’t think that’s a problem until they move to bigger cities and think it’s OK to still not lock up.
May 6, 2013 at 6:42 pm
Terrifying! I am so relieved things are ok and your system did its job. Thank you for the reminder we need to be diligent in protecting our families.
May 6, 2013 at 10:22 pm
Thanks, Elizabeth! I think we all need reminders to be diligent… we were for sure not diligent enough and now are better.
May 6, 2013 at 10:28 pm
A quick update… a police officer came out today and saw the damage to the window and agrees that someone tried to get into the house through the window, or was testing it out to see if we had a security system. He said that most thieves just go house to house, looking for one that is unlocked or easy to break into.
I spoke with the security people today and we are wiring the windows in Matthew’s new room since it has ground-level access, and one in our room as well. We are doing this because Matthew unlocks the windows without us knowing, and that would allow people in without needing to break the glass. This is getting done next week before he moves into the room.
Outdoor lighting will be going in as soon as an electrician can wire things up the way we want them wired. Security cameras – I’m not sure what’s going on with that. I think it’s a “nice to have” but B has wanted them for years so I think we’ll be getting them – even if they are just the most basic of cameras.
I feel much better knowing that the police believe that there really was a threat. I feel confident in our security system and in our new plan for “if this happens again.” It was very scary, but honestly, I think it needed to happen to force the conversation.
May 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm
How scary! We just recently bought a security system, but have yet to turn it on… Ah, the final step is the most important. So glad to hear you guys are fine, and have a new and improved plan! And thanks for the reminder for additional safety – so important!!!
May 15, 2013 at 9:47 pm
Get that thing turned on!!!
May 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm
We have the dogs and a couple of motion lights but I keep putting a security system on the ‘maybe’ list although I really want it to be on the ‘to do’ list! Scary and sad that we need to have these plans in place at our homes— but we do. Glad you guys are okay!
May 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm
Yes – it is sad that we need to plan for these types of things.
May 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm
Oh wow, that’s terrifying. You never know how you’ll react in a situation like that. Once when I lived in an apartment, the screen to our sliding glass door opened while we were sitting on the couch and I screamed and ran to the bedroom where I would have been trapped without a phone or an exit. Duh. It turned out to be a strong gust of wind. I am glad you’re okay and have reminded the rest of us to make a plan!
May 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm
Hey – all we do in that situation is try to get out of harms way, and don’t really think about where that is – just that it’s not in the room where things are happening. That would TERRIFY me – even if it was just a strong gust of wind!
May 11, 2013 at 10:16 am
So it was not the best idea for me to read this post before going to bed the other day when Andrew wasn’t home…yikes! I’m so glad that you’re all alright and that you have a plan in place for next time…assuming there won’t be a next time, but still. You got me thinking about creating a plan myself, so thanks for sharing this story.
May 15, 2013 at 9:50 pm
You bet. I really think everyone should have a plan. If we have them for fires in the home, shouldn’t we have them for intruders? The things we don’t think about until we HAVE TO think about them.
May 14, 2013 at 10:09 am
Oh my god this is terrifying!! I am so glad you guys are all OK. Crap, this really makes me stop and think. I mean, it’s not as if we live in a crime-ridden area, but we have ZERO security system in place. My “plan” if I hear someone in the house is to run upstairs to the top deck, climb on the roof, call 911 and wait. Erm, yeah, not so awesome of a plan. Especially not if there’s a baby in the house. So very glad your security system did what it was supposed to do in a time of need, so that you’re here blogging about it today.
May 15, 2013 at 9:59 pm
I sort of like your plan 🙂