November 23-24: All libraries will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Will a Moat Increase the Value of My Home?
Irony happens. Just after writing about the possible mafia-related history of my house, I came home to find I'd been burglarized. It ranks among the top five scariest experiences of my life. I left work around 8:15 pm, stopped off for some groceries, and then walked through the front door. Nothing seemed odd until I entered the kitchen. The light in the adjoining laundry room was on. Then, after staring for a few moments, I saw the debris on the floor and realized the side door which leads to my deck was wide open.
It had been kicked in.
You’re not alone in this house.
I heard this thought as if spoken to me by another person, and I ran like hell to the front yard and called the cops. Thornton’s finest showed up a few minutes later and we re-entered the house.
“Damn, they really trashed this place,” the lead officer said as we went room to room. He was referring to the clothes, dishes and junk mail scattered everywhere. I blushed. I live alone and sometimes my housekeeping skills go a little . . . unused. So I grunted in agreement rather than explain the mess was mine. If anything, the untidy state of affairs probably caused the burglars to work extra fast, fearing they’d catch cholera if they loitered too long.
In the end, only one thing was stolen—my 50” plasma TV. I have little else of value, and often joke that thieves breaking into my place would actually leave me stuff, along with a note promising to return when I’m better off.
I doubt I’ll ever make that joke again.
I spent the night in the house, though it was the last place I wanted to be. I couldn’t leave because the ruined door was impossible to secure. I stayed up pondering the situation. Why was I targeted? Was it a crime of opportunity? Had someone been studying my schedule? Creepy.
By dawn, fear turned to anger. I resolved to upgrade my home security. I’d been stupid. I have a fence with two gates and hadn’t locked either. The door that was kicked in had a protective storm door, but it never locked or closed properly. I knew it was a problem, but I never bothered to fix it. After living in the house for five years without incident, I ignored how easy a target I’d become.
Hardening my defenses has now become a fetish—50 Shades of Home Security. Monitoring system installed? I’m aroused. Tall, firm locked gates? You turn me on. Motion detection lights and security cameras? Yeah, baby, let’s make a home movie. Reinforced steel entry doors? You make me want to shoop!
But these are just conventional improvements. I want barb wire. I want land mines and remote controlled gun turrets. Over the holidays, I watched Home Alone ten times in a row. Let me tell you something: you can’t watch Home Alone and not learn a little something about innovative home security. Hey, burglars, make sure to step on the third kitchen tile. It’ll be a real treat when the ceramic snaps and plunges your foot into a bed of spikes!
I want mutated grey wolves patrolling the perimeter. I want DNA-altered bottle-nosed dolphins that can walk on land and paralyze thieves with sonar blasts. When not walking on land, they’ll hang out in the moat. Did I mention the moat? Having one really increases the value of your home. Of course, these upgrades are pretty costly. It’ll be decades before I can afford a replacement TV all the additional security measures will one day protect. But like I said, irony happens.