There's always something to scare you when you're a home owner. Fires, for instance, are very scary. Although I suppose they're pretty scary to anyone regardless of their living situation. Flooded basements are terrifying, as are holes in your roof. You basically become a furtive property manager, praying to whatever gods you believe in that nothing will assault your castle and inflict damage or, even worse, cost money to fix.
But these fears all fall by the wayside when compared to the ultimate terror: the break-in.
I always lock the door to our bedroom when we go to sleep. Kat sometimes mocks me for it, especially now that our bedroom has two unlockable French doors right next to the door I lock. But it's a habit I've had since I was a kid wanting privacy for my GIJOE battles on my bed. I just sleep better knowing that if someone WERE to try and get in, they'd probably make enough noise to wake me up and give me time to...well, let's be honest, I'd probably just start screaming and scrambling for my phone to call 911.
I consider myself extremely lucky in that I've never had a break-in. When we lived in LA our car window was smashed and a GPS and camera were stolen. It was awful and scary and we felt violated, but I would take 1,000 car break-ins rather than someone smashing into my house. I'm not sure I'd ever feel safe in the place again, and while I tend to think the kind of person likely to break in to your house would do so when you're not home so as to steal as much stuff as possible and leave, there's the media-fueled phobia in your head that someone might break in with the specific itinerary of murdering you and your loved ones.
Which is exactly what flashed in my mind early this morning when a huge, ominous crash rattled through the house. Kat and I both jolted upright in bed. "What the fuck was that?" we whispered simultaneously.
I consider myself a staunch supporter of gender equality, but it should be noted that all that shit goes out the window the second there may be a murderous criminal in your house. There's not even the illusion of a choice: as the man I was obviously the one tasked with exploring the house and possibly confronting my death. I checked our room for any sort of weapon or bludgeon and found my over-compensating-for-my-penis knife I bought from Amazon when I deluded myself into thinking I'd use a six-inch-long katana-style blade to go...camping or something. I grabbed the blade. There was a weird mix of emotions as I suddenly felt empowered to defend myself and ominously like I had just picked up the thing our burglar would take and use to murder me.
"It's probably just something that fell down," Kat said as she stayed in the warm safe bed, watching me. I pulled the door open slowly and peeked my head out.
And I saw a picture frame had fallen. I just hung a bunch throughout the house yesterday, and since our walls are old plaster that blows apart into huge moon craters if you so much as try to tap a nail into it, I used some of those removable adhesive hanging strip things. Except I forgot they specifically warn against fluctuations in temperature, and the downstairs of our house gets about 15 degrees colder than the rest of the house (Seriously. I know I exaggerate a lot but it's a huge temperature swing. You can feel it as you walk down the stairs.) so I assume the adhesive gummed up in the cold and lost its hold.
"See? Just a picture frame. I'm surprised the glass didn't break," Kat cheerfully noted, "Oh well, let's go back to bed." I lied down, adrenaline rushing through my brain at the thought of possibly having to stab a person in my house, and tried to will myself back to sleep.
And that's pretty much exactly what my inner monologue is always like: trying to quiet the screaming voice in my head that's freaking out that I might die in the next 30 seconds just long enough so I can go to sleep.