This Old Creaky House

When you think of the word safety, what does it mean to you? I ask this question because there’s been a minor rash of theft in our neighborhood. The most recent incident happened two houses away. Someone kicked in their basement door while they were gone Saturday. Hearing this story as a parent really freaks me out. What would I do if I encountered a stranger in my house?

If I was a single person or just married and no kid, I might handle it differently. I’d probably get physical and might try to fight the intruder. Although my rational self knows it’s very unwise to do so. A gun lover I am not so I won’t ever be reaching for a pistol. If I hear a suspicious sound, who knows what will happen.

However with a child, I don’t think I would act out. Of course, this is all theoretical. I’m really trying to work this out in my head. What makes someone feel safe? I hope it never comes down to this scenario. I’ve always felt a bit unsafe when living in a house, especially during the long winter nights. Someone could easily camp outside the house and watch our every move.

I feel like living in the city provides safety in numbers. Living out in the country is nice, but I’d think you’d be even more exposed if you didn’t have neighbors you could flag down from your front porch. I’ve lived in my share of apartments and felt extremely safe in them due to the secured entrance and the fact there’s usually only one way in.

If someone gained access to our house, I fear I might rage hardcore. Believe it or not, there’s quite a bit of rage which can reer its ugly head when I’m provoked. I hope like hell I never have to display that side of me as it’s not pretty and could be dangerous for all parties. I picture myself getting very overprotective of my wife and daughter.

My definition of safe is: I can leave town for a three day weekend and not tell anyone our plans. I can go for a walk after dark and not worry about my personal safety. (damn, there’s that word again: safety) I can accidentally leave a door unlocked and not panic about its status. So what does safe/safety mean to you?

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About lessinges

Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
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42 Responses to This Old Creaky House

  1. Airam says:

    Safety for me means that I can walk down a street and not worry that there is someone lurking in a bush …. or that I wouldn’t second-guess the man who is approaching me, probably just out for a stroll himself.
    I can forget to lock my car door and realize that everything is still in there.
    I hope that nobody ever goes into your house. If you don’t already have one, I think it might be a good idea to get a house alarm. You can even arm it as “stay” when you’re in the house. If something does happen though … please don’t play hero. Just go to your wife and daughter and keep them safe. And call the cops. They get paid to be heroes.

  2. jane says:

    Pretty much the same thing- safety in numbers, all that jazz- I always like to have older, retired folks as neighbors ’cause they freaking keep an eye out on EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE…there’s no need for ADT with them around. speaking of, yeah safety- my place is like fort knox at night- as soon as we start night routine, part of it is, complete lockdown and setting the alarm. Of course one time I tripped it by mistake and scared myself out of my pants and couldn’t go to sleep.

  3. The Scarlett says:

    We live in a beautiful, leafy neighborhood and my kids can walk out the door and find a play date. They are old enough that I can trust that they can play within the confines of our street (as long as I know where they are) and I don’t have to be out there standing guard.
    That said, there was a rash of break-ins 4 years ago. They caught the guy (a drug addict that did not live nearby – they caught him when he resorted to stealing a car that had a tracking system) and he was put away for two years. As soon as he was released, the burglaries started again. Our next-door neighbor and the couple across the street were victims. I was told by the authorities that they pretty much have to catch him in the act and that our neighborhood was a target because we were seen as having valuable, salable items easy to transport. In other words, we had been profiled.
    So a year ago, we got a security system (as did most of the other neighbors). The sign in the front as well as the stickers on all of the back windows and each door acts as a deterrent. If anything, the guy knows that we aren’t an easy target. We have motion detectors in multiple locations for when we all gone (including the bedroom, his favorite target) and all of the back windows are armed. We can arm it ‘stay’ for when we are in the house. Peace of mind is priceless.

  4. qt says:

    Dude, I would be freaked out right now too if I was in your sitch.
    I feel pretty safe at home, I live out in the country but on a well-traveled road and my BF has lived here his whole life. If someone drives by and sees a strange vehicle, we hear about it.
    I love to go running on a trail here in town, but now that it is getting dark so early, I probably won’t. I am a HUGE baby about being out after dark by myself. To the point where I have thought about buying one of those personal Tasers. No joke!

  5. Chris says:

    An intruder is such a horrible thing on so many levels. Im my theoretical head, I would go into fight or flight and kill the fucker in a rage of survivalist anger but ultimately, safety and survival is my priority with sanity and noth having a heart attack right up there. It’s a tough hypothetical because it’s the type of situation that can only play itself out in the moment.

  6. tori says:

    How scary!
    I agree about feeling so much safer in an apartment. I used to have to stay with my inlaws when my husband went out of town because I hated it so much. Obviously now that I have 4 kids and they have school and stuff, it just isn’t possible, but I still hate when he is gone. It isn’t that I expect him to protect me necessarily, but it is nice to know that would be an option.

  7. Safety to me means that I cnago about my daily routine without a second thought of thiinking about my security. That being said I do all I can to prevent myself from becoming a statistic. My husband is home nights but since daylight savings it’s darker earlier now and I someties get scared.

  8. furiousball says:

    My town is 2.25 square miles and we have 18 police officers. No one locks doors or cars around here. I feel very, very safe here. But then again, my very sweet 110 pound Golden Retriever turns into a beast when I’m not home and protects his cat and lizard. When the kids are around, woe be tide the stranger that might decide to either come in the backyard or any molecule that floats past.

  9. Leezer says:

    Egan:
    It means you need to march your urban style-living self over to the Sammamish Plateau with all us Microsoft-employed Lexus SUV-driving soccer Moms and be my neighbor. Georgia is almost old enough to babysit the Annas. (Yours and mine).

  10. sizzle says:

    is there such a thing as “safe”? because i am not sure there is. i’m pretty sure i’d rage against someone trying to steal something from me or break into my home. it’s a scary thought!

  11. brookem says:

    for me, a big part of feeling safe is being with others. oh, and daylight. for some reason daylight makes me feel better about safety issues. i dont always feel “safe” when im home alone at night. coming home to a dark apartment after a night out, if im home alone, i dont feel totally… comfortable (which is putting it lightly). i check under beds, in the tub, closets, the locks. nothing bad has ever happened to me to make me so freaked about break-ins or what not, but ive been like this since i was a child. and i hate that feeling. i feel safest when other people are around. and that makes me sound almost…. wimpy in a way, sort of. it’s not that i cant hold my own, i just feel more secure, more… at ease (“safety” wise) when i have some company.
    and if that company is a four legged furball, that will have to do… meow.

  12. brookem says:

    and, in regards to your safety situation- i can understand how you would feel differently about things now that you have a little one in the house. it’s a whole nother’ level of protection and safety that you are now dealing with. no longer is it just you. or just you and your wife. now, it’s you, your wife/mother of your precious little girl, and your baby. i hear ya.

  13. H. A. E. says:

    For myself, being a female, I am happy having a gun and knowing how to use it properly and holding a degree in martial arts. Not only to protect myself but my two year old daughter (and my husband if necessary).
    I feel I’d use a gun quicker now than if I was single. Then again I’ve never been in that situation and hope never to find out.
    I can say I feel safe at home in the country with neighbors a distance away but I’m always on the lookout…just in case.

  14. tori says:

    OK, here is some crazy I forgot to share this morning. When my oldest daughter was really little and my husband went out of town, I used to put crackers and a cup of water on a table in her room. That isn’t so weird UNLESS you know that the reason I did this was because she slept in a bed but couldn’t turn the handle to open the door to her bedroom. She wouldn’t sleep with the door even a crack open, and I was positive that if someone came in and killed me while we were sleeping, she would starve to death in her room. The fact that I thought all that out is what makes me crazy, but you know what? I didn’t used to think like this until I had little people to protect. I totally get how having a little one makes everything more stressful and scary.

  15. Diane Mandy says:

    I was actually at home by myself as a teenager when our home got broken into. I hid in my bedroom closet with a telephone and called my folks who were at work. We suspect that it was our crazy neighbor, but never knew for sure. Still, I wouldn’t stay in the house alone for a full year after it happened.

  16. Safe means I have stolen base and not been tagged out and that my TV blocks all stories related to Anna Nicole and Britney and thus it is “safe ” to turn on.
    Safety is a the dance I do when things are safe (’cause if I don’t nobody will)!

  17. churlita says:

    There have been a rash of sexual assaults on campus here, so I’ve been thinking of safety as well. It seems weird to have to when you live in Iowa.

  18. egan says:

    Airam – I think you and I have the same definition of safe. I’m really torn on house alarms. I find them so annoying, but I guess they would provide peace of mind. You’re right about the hero thing. As Chris states, you just never know how you’re going to react in that scenario.
    Jane – I’m not so sure about the old folks though. They might be around all day, but they’re not so nimble and their eyes don’t work so great. I say this because we lived in a neighborhood before our current house with many older folks. We had car accidents in our hood quite often and the old folks never came out. You know how you spot a new neighbor? ADT signs in the yard.
    The Scarlett – this is an interesting story. Do you like your security system? My buddy has one since he travels often and it works well for him. I’m just not sure they are for me. I think criminals know how easy it is to get away with what they do.
    QT – yeah, it’s quite annoying. My wife says if someone broke into our house it would be the final straw. I think that means we’d move somewhere, but I love it in Seattle. I don’t blame you for having a fear of the dark. I think it’s wise to be safe when it comes to nightfall as a woman. Too many sickos out there.
    Chris – it really is hard to say what would unfold. If weapons were present, lives were threatened, or something else. Ugh, I can’t even go there in my head.
    Tori – I guess apartments are so small you’d know immediately if someone was there and you could always bang on the floor or ceiling.
    Princess Extraordinaire – damn that daylight savings crap. I like to be blissfully ignorant about some stuff, but I’m all over the creepy stuff in our neighborhood.
    Furiousball – ha, I think you just put out a bulletin to be robbed. Kidding. Having a dog is probably a wise idea. I might have to get that thought some merit.
    Leezer – I grew up on the Eastside yo. I’m not sure I feel any safer when I go back to my mom’s house in Totem Lake than I do our own house in Seattle. I do like the babysitting offer though. The Two Annas, very cute.
    Sizzle – it’s a very scary thought and one I hope I never have to act out on. That is a great question about safe. I guess it’s a mindseet more than anything, so I guess “safe” does exist.
    Brookem – I didn’t know this about you. Do you think checking all those things make you more or less paranoid though? Daylight is a good thing. I do feel very comfortable at night though, meaning it doesn’t spook me.
    Brookem – so damn true. Anna is defenseless and I can’t go chase a criminal down the street if I saw something suspicious. Not that I should do that anyways, but it’s how I think I’d roll.
    H.A.E. – hello and welcome to my blog. I’m not a gun person, but I guess if that works for you… it’s your right. Let’s hope it never comes to that. Martial arts are very handy for defense purposes. Thanks for your input.
    Tori – that is an interesting thing you do. I guess I can’t let myself ever go there in my head. That’s good you did that, but not something I could do. It is weird how the little ones get us to shift our thinking.

  19. egan says:

    Diane Mandy – being home alone when something like that happened had to be terrifying. I think hiding is a really good idea.
    The Older Bro – very funny sir. Yes, you are right about the baseball and tv definitions. I could go the rest of life without ever hearing another Britney Spears story and I’d be quite happy.
    Churlita – do you think it matters where you live though? I think crime is prevalent everywhere you go. Sucky to hear about the sexual assaults.

  20. Kerry says:

    I think that’s very natural for you to feel this way now. When you have a baby, things change and you do become alot more protective. Although you were protective of your wife before, its different now. Anna depends on you 110% and you’re going to naturally come to their defense.

  21. justrun says:

    I think, as a woman, my view on safety in general is different than a man’s. Most men I know, unless they’re in an unusual situation, rarely think about how “safe” they are in everyday situations. Places like parking garages, stair wells, empty hallways, etc. don’t tend to intimidate men in the way they do women. So, safe in my house means something different as I’m always thinking about it. Not so much because I feel unsafe, but because there’s always a real need to make sure I’ve been cautious.
    Also, when I was younger and I’d hear a noise at the other end of the house, I’d just stay in bed (or wherever I was) and wait for it to “get” me (though nothing ever did). Now, I jump up, turn on all the lights and go looking for it. I don’t know if it’s more nerve or stupidity, but I sleep better.

  22. brandy says:

    Creepy event- A friends brother was on the phone at home talking to his girlfriend and could hear breathing on the line. He hung up and could hear a burglar in his house. He snuck out, set the alarm and called the police from across the street. While he was calling, he could SEE THE GUY IN HIS HOUSE PRESSING HIS FACE AGAINST THE WINDOW trying to see where he was. So for me, safety is locked doors and all the lights on. And mousetraps. When I lived in the country I was all about having a few mousetraps outside on the deck- bad guys always step in them in the movies.

  23. mez says:

    Dude, I wish it was just about ‘home’ but you know I don’t feel safe walking to my car alone at night not to mention a myriad of other things. I live in a reasonably safe city where not a lot of crime happens. Sorry to get political, but being a girl alone, doesn’t make me feel safe at all.
    I agree with airam – don’t be hero. I bet your wife and daughter would want YOU to be safe. That would be the biggest tragedy for them – if something happened to you because you were being a hero. You call the cops and you get your family out. I mean, if they are puny you can go back and give them a roundhouse kick chuck noris style …but only if your house being being invaded by a midget with no gun.

  24. Just Moi says:

    Doors are for locking? Yoikes!Yeah, I KWYM. Do you apeshit on the intruder to protect your family, or do you play it safe in case they do something stupid? Or are they going to do something stupid anyway? It’s a gamble.

  25. Just Moi says:

    Oh crap. Not “do you apeshit” (though a monkey might) but “do you GO apeshit. . .” 😛

  26. patches says:

    Honestly, I am more afraid of dying in a car crash than finding an intruder in my house. I try to exercise caution (ie locking doors, motion lights paying attention when I enter my house) but I don’t live in fear of scenarios, when my number is up my number is up. Having said that, keep in mind I don’t have the responsibility of little one….that changes everything.

  27. JQ says:

    A Louisville Slugger next to my bed makes me feel safe. That and knowing Pixie will use it to protect me.
    Fixed mortgage rates, seat belts, chicken wire, and anti-spam words also do the trick.
    Maybe you should form a block watch? Champion for more street lights or cruisers patrolling your neighborhood?

  28. Carrie says:

    Safety means – well, having the security guard and 80 billion (I lie, but you get the point) cameras pointed everywhere that I can even watch one (the front door one!) from my television in my apartment.
    But seriously – I’ve had that experience of coming home after a day out only to find that you had been robbed… we got into the front door and there were boxes and boxes in the front hall, and the neighbours had told us that our 2 dogs were going bezerk earlier that afternoon. The kitchen door was almost broken (thanks to the strength of my golden retriever) and the patio door was also broken. Minor things were gone, but the sense of security of living in a small suburb couldn’t ever be replaced.
    Security is… whatever you want it to be. Within reasonable limits, of course. Nobody REALLY wants a mote around their property…

  29. meno says:

    Oh Mr. Egan. The full import of reproducing rears its ugly head. Will you ever feel safe again?
    Nope, not completely. Fear = parenting.

  30. If I think too much of the crazies out there, I dont feel safe. We can only do so much but I am more into taking precautions than ever, now that I have kids. Living on the second and third floor of my condo building makes me feel secure as well as the double doors on either end of the hallway.

  31. egan says:

    Kerry – absolutement, c’est vrai. Anna needs her mom or dad for everything and that’s a tad bit freaky at this point in the game.
    Justrun – yes, you’re so correct about the differences between a man and a woman. I learned this in college. While dating a woman she pointed out all the areas on our campus where guys could be lurking. At first it was a bit over the top, but then when you think about the fact Mr. Ted Bundy roamed our campus at one point in time… I get the fear thing. The fact I can run at night is not a liberty available to most women. It’s a risky thing to do as a man, but much more dangerous for a woman. I like how you turn on all the lights. That’s a great approach.
    Brandy – now that is one creepy story. Reminds me of those Friday the 13th movies. I can see why you remember that story so well and it didn’t even happen to you. Yikes. Ha, mousetraps along the perimeter of the house will stop all criminals from entering. The movies are so true.
    Mez – I know, being a woman is not easy on the safety front. There are many freaks who prey on women. I think a woman’s definition of safe will vary greatly from a man’s. Mez, you’re right about the hero thing. It’s just so hard to say how I would react in a given, yet hypothetical, situation. I think I could take a midget.
    Tall Chick/Just Moi – yeah, I think the apeshit thing could happen. Part of me knows you got to lay low though too. Who knows if an intruder has a weapon or not.
    Tall Chick/Just Moi – I feel you woman. I got what you meant. Glad to see you back.
    Patches – car crashes are scary and maybe that’s because I lost a brother that way. I guess an intruder in the house is so much more personal vs. a car crash. It’s more of a violation. I do agree, when my number is up there’s little I can do to prevent it from happening.
    JQ – we do have a BlockWatch group in our neighborhood. I think it needs to be revisited. There’s much we could do to improve our ‘hood to make it harder for the baddies to profit. A bat is a good idea. My thinking though, your own weapon could be used against you too.
    Carrie – yeah, I don’t want to live in a castle or gated community. We’re all in this sort of thing together. Your apartment was burglarized. That’s pretty insane. I felt so safe in my apartments, maybe it’s because they were always so small.
    Meno – wow, you really did nail it on the head there. So right you are on this statement. Every morning I spring out of bed to make sure the blankets aren’t swallowing Anna.
    steppingoverthejunk – I know, I try not to give it too much thought. The incident at the neighbor’s house got me thinking about it a bit. Your condo sounds very ideal, safety wise.

  32. brookem says:

    brandy’s story really freaks me out (how come he heard “breathing on the line?” was the guy on the phone listening to his call?). this is why i check around the apartment before bed, or if i hear a noise (like justrun said). i dont know what in the holy hell id ever do if i came face to face with an intruder…
    i like the mouse trap idea though…that’s good. because mice are also intruders you know.

  33. no rules just right says:

    Funny…having lived in the country for 18 years of my life and then in a city for the past 10, I felt safer in the country. Even though the closest neighbor was 1/2 mile away, I knew that they had our backs. If an unknown car drove down our road at any time of the day or night, we’d all be on the phone seeing if the other knew who it was. I never had that sense of feeling safe when I lived in town because that feeling of community and helping each other out never existed where I lived in the urban setting.
    Know what else?
    We can go when we want to
    The night is young and so am I
    And we can dress real neat from our hats to our feet
    And surprise ’em with the victory cry

  34. egan says:

    Brookem – I know, Brandy’s story is whacked. If I ever heard heavy breathing like that, I don’t think I’d be investigating. Grab the girls and get out of the house.
    No Rules Just Right – I can see the comfort you mention. At night though, aren’t those long driveways scary? Someone can turn their headlights out and just do what they want on your property. Didn’t calling the neighbors each time seem like overkill? I guess I got the best of both worlds as a kid growing up in the wooded suburbs of Seattle. You had to include the link to my bro’s song didn’t you? S-S-S a-a-a F-F-F…

  35. egan says:

    My Bro & No Rules Just Right – really, what was the point of that song? Now you’ve got that damn song stuck in my head. I’m going to return the favor by sending you some cheesy Air Supply song.

  36. Cheryl says:

    I would much rather have something happen when I am not around. My car has been broken into twice in Chicago, and both times all I could think was better my property than me…

  37. Lynn says:

    Walking the dog at night with a baseball bat, or golf club, in hand helps Elle and I feel safe…not from muggers, but from coyotes. I know that I hate it when my DH gets home late, because when he is home I feel safe.

  38. Michelle says:

    Safety in numbers. In being able to walk to a neighbors house or anywhere nearby without worrying about being harmed. My parents live in a nice neighborhood where we usually don’t have to worry about danger, but in the past few years there had been thefts (the rowdy college-age, but not college-educated, guys next door were highly suspected) and so we finally just got a security system like our other neighbors. But my car was broken into 😦 It’s sad when you can’t feel safe in your own area.

  39. egan says:

    Cheryl – yeah, I will take my car being vandalized any day over an intruder in my home. It’s a bit too personal in my house.
    Lynn – funny you should mention coyotes with this post. The same night the neighbors had their house robbed, they spotted coyotes on our street. I’m never going out at night again.
    Michelle – damn those security systems. I’m not really sure I would want to install one, but I guess they do the trick. In my mind there’s nothing worse than feeling at risk in your own home.

  40. stepping says:

    I just used your topic on my most recent post. and I linked to you

  41. egan says:

    Stepping – thanks for the shout out. I like what you had to say in your post. Maybe we can blame big West Coast cities for our safety issues?

  42. Cake Lady says:

    Great question. To me safety means trusting people, and that includes myself.

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