Keep a Clean House

Last summer there were some break-ins in the neighborhood so I called ADT Home Security and had an alarm system put in.  The first couple of weeks I kept forgetting about it and setting it off myself (man, is it loud!).  About 1:10 pm on a Wednesday, I received a call from ADT reporting that the front door alarm was compromised.  They asked me how I wanted to handle it.

I wasn’t prepared for this question.  I assumed they would automatically send the police.  What the heck could I do from work?  Even if I could make it home quickly, I didn’t want to surprise a burglar.  I said, “Well, I am at work and by the time I get home the burglars will probably be done.”  She said, “Do you want me to dispatch the police?”  I said “I guess I could call a neighbor, but you probably should call the police instead.”

After I hung up with her, I did call my next-door neighbor and told her about the alarm and asked if there were any strange vehicles in my driveway.  She said no.  I told her I might not have latched the door securely and the wind might have blown it open, “Is it windy out today?”  My neighbor replied “No, not really.”  She did walk over to look and said my door was open “but, I’m not going in there.”  I told her I totally understood and the police were on the way.

So I took a few minutes to tell my supervisor and co-workers what was going on and that I was going home.  I grabbed my things and headed out.  On my way to the garage (I park in a building across the street from the one where I work), I got another call from ADT telling me that my garage door alarm was going off.  I explained to this representative that I had just received a call about the front door.  She said she would check the dispatch log and find out the status.

Normally I drive my car to work; it gets better gas mileage and is easier to maneuver in the parking garage.  Today I drove my truck, which normally sits in my driveway.  Because of that, I considered leaving through the front door this morning instead of the garage.  I actually took a couple of steps in that direction, but decided to go out the garage instead.  If I had gone out the front door, I would have noticed whether it was closed tightly and would have locked it on my way out.

Note to self:  If you start to break a habit or normal routine, there is probably some reason for it.  Don’t second-guess it, just do it.

When I arrived at the parking garage this morning, I realized I had left my parking pass in my car – big mistake.  Parking prices downtown are outrageous.  I took a ticket and bemoaned the fact that it would cost me $12 when I left work.  I paid the $12 and started home.  I hadn’t gotten far, approximately two blocks west and one block south when I got a call from a Sheriff’s Deputy.  He was at the house and said that there was no sign of forced entry.  My TV and computer were still there and nothing seemed amiss.  He said the wind probably blew the door open.  I walk my dog Andre in the mornings and obviously didn’t shut the door tightly and lock it when we got back.

The deputy also checked the basement and said “no one was hiding down there.”  I cringed at the thought of him being in the basement.  It is a mess down there because of the remodeling I am doing upstairs.  Most things from upstairs are boxed up and sitting in the basement.   I feel like one of those hoarders when I go down there.  He said he locked the front door and went out through the garage (thus the second alarm call from ADT).

I hung up from the nice deputy and found I had a voicemail message from ADT.  I circled around and headed back to the parking garage.  Once again bemoaning the fact that it would cost me another $12 to go home tonight.  I would have just gone on home, but I am getting low on vacation time and didn’t want to waste it.  ADT wanted to know my ETA for home and what kind of vehicle I would be driving.  I guess so the police would know it was me and not a burglar returning for more booty.  So at the next stop light, I called to let them know that the deputy had things secured at home and I would be returning to work.

So, why the title of this story?  Remember your mom telling you to always wear clean underwear because you never know when you might be in an accident?  Well, keep your house clean because you never know if a policeman, fireman or neighbor will have to enter your house to check things out.  I for one don’t want to be known to my neighbors as a crazy hoarder or dirty slob, or be the subject of anecdotes around the water cooler at the police/fire station.

Side Note:  Andre was fine.  The officer said he was pretty scared at first, but was wagging his tail by the time he left.  Did I mention how nice the officer was?

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