Lessons Learned from a Break-In by Cassiel Knight
Writing a blog post is agony for me. I have a hard time thinking of what I should write. I like my industry interviews ’cause that takes the pressure of me to compete with Nancy’s snark and Susan’s enthusiasm. I figure I’m somewhere in the middle. Well, last week provided me with a post for today. This is called making lemonade out of lemons.
Last Thursday, I got home from work around 5:45 p.m. to discover that my house had been broken into. I can’t even begin to describe the unsettling feelings I had walking into the house and discovering this horrible violation of my husband and my personal life. Now, in a move reminiscent of the TSTL (too stupid to live) heroines we all love so much, I walked through the house, my three little dogs trotting at my heels (no, they were not burglary deterrents at all but I’m sure the thieves thought they were adorable) until I reached our bedroom. And then, I saw stuff that made my heart stop.
In the center of the floor was as sledge-hammer. Scary, sure, but worse, there was a light on in the closet and afterward I got to thinking that I could have walked right into actual burglary in process. So, Lesson #1 – don’t do that! Call 9-1-1. Seriously. Curiosity in a potential threatening situation is so not a good idea.
Luckily, they’d gone. I thank God ever day for the timing.
What did they take? Well, they took my laptop and our spare laptop. They took my husband’s gun, a jewelry box and my husband’s valet. They took some Canadian money (I don’t know – maybe they are planning a trip? It sure isn’t worth much in the US) and we learned yesterday, they took a nice pair of binoculars. They trashed our bedroom and shuffled through another room. The biggest damage was to our front door. Apparently, our thieves don’t come with this own tools because they kicked in the door to our barn and used our sledge-hammer to break into OUR house. Is that ironic or what?
More than my laptop (upsetting but my most precious things are on a thumb drive I keep with me) and a few pieces of jewelry that were gifts from husband and family or sentimental, they took peace of mind. I think I was in shock Thursday night. After the initial panic, I was fairly calm when I talked to my husband and spoke to the police officer. I slept okay. Well, Friday, not so good. The reality had struck that people had broken into OUR home and stolen OUR stuff and upset OUR dogs. They had no right to be there. No right to take things from us – things we worked hard on and in taking our peace of mind, they did more damage than anything they took (thank God they left my girls alone and closed the doors when they left. I can’t even imagine…)
Anyway, my goal in sharing this was not to get sympathy for my story. Others have had worse. It could have been worse. I thought about some things I’ve learned from this that I’d like to share.
Lesson #2 – Our society is really in a tough place right now. This was an in/out operation targeting things they could easily move or pawn. While this is nothing new the fact it happened in a less populated area makes me wonder just how desperate people are now.
Lesson #3 – Never think it won’t or can’t happen to you.
Lesson #4 – Expect spouse/significant other to freak out worse than you. At least, he did in this case. We went shopping the day after. Short of breaking glass, they ain’t getting in again. In this case, husband does not believe in overkill.
Lesson #5 – Reset all your passwords – for everything. You never know what they can get into after they’ve taken your computer. The lesson should be don’t allow passwords and log-on information to be saved but really, that’s not going to happen. So, just make sure you change them.
Lesson #6 – Shih Tzus, while adorable and cuddly, do not make good watch dogs.
Lesson #7 – Protect the things important to you. I mean other stuff too but mostly I mean my writing stuff. If I hadn’t begun living my life on my thumb drive I would have lost EVERYTHING. My books, promo, stories in progress and so much more. Think of this what you will, but that would have devastated me. So, while I have my thumb drive, I’ve also learned to back things up. I have a Skydrive (http://www.Skydrive.com – have free storage and low cost) account and all my important stuff is now there. Including the things on my thumb drive.
Lesson #8 – Remember, this too will pass. It’s horrible, a violation and very unsettling (the first two nights I woke up my husband gasping ’cause I dreamt we were being broken into) but, again, it could have been much worse.
Bottom line is I’m good. I have a brand new laptop (got the very next day), I still have my writing and editing work and all that stuff. Peace of mind will come with time, and extra security, but we are okay.
What I’d like you to take from this mostly is #7. Is your writing protected? Do you have a back up? Is it stored in the cloud? What are you doing to protect your writing profession assets?
I hope you are doing more than I did. If not, I hope my tale will inspire you.