Friday, May 16, 2008

Twice in Two Years... Enough is Enough!

Yesterday was a jumbled day in more ways than one... I had such focused plans for the day, and a to-do list (in my head anyway -- I never tend to put those things on paper!) to complete, including some more work on the children's story contest, which absolutely MUST be wrapped up in the next week so I can get the winning booklets assembled and ready for the Awards Party on the 31st. I was planning on spending a good part of my day on that, while alt-tabbing back and forth between some regular office work, and catching up on anything else in cyberspace, per my usual...

But I also had a doctor's appointment for my monthly check-up -- 7 months and counting! Although for some reason I appear to have had the due date off by a week -- my doctor has it down as August 5th, and for months now I've been calculating it as July 28th. (After all, who was there when this little bean was conceived -- her or me?!) I waited in the doctor's office for nearly 2 HOURS before I actually saw my OB/GYN. Now, I know she's in great demand and you have to expect these kinds of delays, but two hours seems to be stretching it just a wee bit. I literally fell asleep in the waiting room, if you can believe it. I was reading there for a while, but then started nodding off, surrounded by a dozen other patients waiting their turn. Each time a name was called we'd all look up, surprised that it wasn't yet our turn.

I had expected to be back to the office by 4:00, given that my appointment was at 2:30 and the cabinet médical is only 4 métro stops away. Plus, she usually has me in and out in a flash, just checking to make sure everything is on track and there are no major problems. I had a few issues to address with her, but I've learned now to make it quick... Basically just little typical pregnancy ails (trust me, you don't want to know!), and she gave me the prescriptions for all that I needed. But with the delay, I didn't make it back to the office until nearly 5:30, and all of a sudden I was incredibly behind schedule. And for once I really needed to leave on-time to make it to the SCBWI event I was attending at 7:00 -- all the way on the other side of the Seine, in the Montparnasse neighborhood.

Bridget was warm and wonderful, sharing a bit about her creative process and lots of images of her work -- both in progress and as a finished product. I fell in love with her book, How Do You Make a Baby Smile and knew I had to have it. But when I told Bridget afterwards that I wanted to buy a copy, she told me that she had hoped to give me a copy as a gift for my baby on the way, with (and this is the best part!) her signature and a drawing inside. So she's going to give it to me the next time I see her, probably at the end of the month for the Red Wheelbarrow Contest Awards Party.

Afterwards, I had dinner with a group of SCBWI France members, and headed home exhausted just before midnight -- an exceptionally late night for me these days... But unfortunately, my night was far from over, as terrible news awaited me on my arrival home. Actually, I got a call from my boy when I was in the train, and he had just arrived himself after spending the evening with his father. When he told me what had happened, I was immediately distraught, and completely oblivious to the stares from people around me... He kept saying he was hoping that it was only an attempted break-in, because he couldn't get into the apartment and couldn't yet tell if anything had been taken. But I already knew that he was holding out hope for nothing -- it was clear that it was a burglary. The locks were mangled, just as they had been nearly two years ago in July, barely 6 months or so after we moved into the place. You'd think we would have learned our lesson the first time around... But life gets away from you, and even if the first 6 months after that burglary left us both skittish and suspicious of basically everyone in our neighborhood, a year later we had other things on our minds, namely my boy's heart attack, and then after that my pregnancy...

So many thoughts whirled around in my head as the train dragged its way from one station to the next... What had they taken this time? How bad was the damage? Did they only take insignificant, replaceable things or did they take anything and everything of any sentimental value? I kept trying to tell myself to be rational, to put things in perspective, as obviously the most important thing is that we are safe, healthy and that no one is hurt... physically, anyway. But that still didn't stop me from picturing the worst, and knowing somehow that we wouldn't have gotten off scot free one way or another. Why hadn't we moved sooner? Why hadn't we gotten our butts in gear and made a move HAPPEN? Why had I hemmed and hawed for so long on the few apartments I HAD visited and not made a decision? Why am I so gosh-darn indecisive, PERIOD? My one small consolation, I told myself, was that I had for some random reason grabbed my digital camera that morning, at the last minute as I was running out the door, thinking I might take a few pictures at the SCBWI event. I also had my iPod in my bag, as well as my most important documents... I feared the possible dissappearance of my U.S. Passport, which I don't keep on me at all times, but miraculously they didn't take that, possibly not knowing what value it may have. Or what do I know? Maybe these days people don't steal passports anymore...

In the end, the burglary definitely could have been worse -- things can always be worse, right? But more than anything else, I've come through these experiences feeling like it's definitely a violation of our intimacy, our security... Everything you can imagine it to be, only worse when it actually happens... The drawers turned upside down, clothes -- lingerie, for God's sake -- everywhere, on the floor, scattered on every surface. And on my dresser, where I keep the few pieces of jewelry I own in small pouches in a wooden box, things were topsy-turvy, and I had to go through one by one and see what they had taken. The bedroom is apparently where they spent most of their time, going meticulously through my things to find that rare piece that might actually be worth something. Because trust me, most of my jewelry is sentimentally precious to me, but nothing more than costume jewelry, or sterling silver, my one small luxury. But I do have -- or check that, I did have some gold rings from my childhood, namely one tiny gold signet ring my grandmother gave me when I was 10 years old, with my initials on it, and another ring that once belonged to my grandmother. As well as some earrings that I don't actually wear that often but still held a certain value.

What can you do in these cases? You try to make an inventory of what's missing in order to give it to the police in your statement, and then of course to the insurance company for any possible reimbursement. But unfortunately, this time around, all that was taken was jewelry I've had for years but held onto, once again, more for sentimental value than anything else (also more than likely because we really don't own much of value -- how reassuring is that, huh?!). So I don't have any receipts, nor any recent photos of my wearing the pieces. So no chance of recouping anything for them from the insurance company.

In any case, more than anything else I was just numb from the whole mess, and my stomach was tied in knots. I thought I might get sick last night before finally crawling into bed, but I did finally manage to fall asleep somewhere around 3:00. This morning I woke up feeling not much better, and I knew it was pointless for me to try to go in to work. I rarely call in sick anyway, but this was just one of those times when it had to be done... For my own mental sanity more than anything else. And I needed to get some extra rest as well -- I'm glad I laid down for a while, because a few hours later I started feeling a bit better. My boy took care of the major formalities, including the official statement at the police station as well as the phone calls to our insurance provider and to the locksmith, who spent several hours this afternoon installing a new, heftier system on our door, although it's far from a guaranteed form of protection from any future break-ins. We can only pray that we will be out of here before that happens again...

Because more than anything else, there's that one French expression that just keeps trotting through my mind, and no matter how hard I try I can't seem to get rid of it: "Jamais deux sans trois..." Say it ain't so.

13 comments:

Antipo Déesse said...

My sympathies Bloomie, I know exactly how that feels, as we were burgled once many years ago. I wasn't pregnant at the time though!! But I do remember that feeling of total shock and incomprehension upon seeing all my things scattered all over the floor. Horrible.

The Bold Soul said...

Oh, how awful, and although there can never been a good time to be burgled, being pregnant has to be about the worst time possible. Rest and take care of yourself, that's the first priority. The second is to figure out how fast you can MOVE so you will have the peace of mind you need when the baby comes. Moving is a royal pain, I know only too well, but it's a short term pain, with long term gains in this case!

Le Tigre in France said...

Oh that's awful! Being robbed one time is bad enough but twice? It was most certainly the same people as well. I think moving house is probably a good idea..your piece of mind and feelings of safety have been totally destroyed, it takes so long to find that back so perhaps a fresh start for your piece of mind is best. I do know exactly what you mean about the feeling of your intimacy being walked all over. When our house got robbed it was the same as yours...clothes and things strewn everywhere..it's like they get to take a peak inside your private life and that feels so terribly violating...

I'm so sorry this has happened, especially at such a time..it couldn't have happened to a more undeserving person.

Anonymous said...

Oh what horror! I was robbed once years ago....and nothing is worse than the feeling of some stranger going through your things. Sad. But what is most important now is you and the baby. Try to sty calm and relax...as much as you can. And it's just an expression don't validat eit by thinking of it!

lapagefrancaise said...

How awful! I'm so sorry to read this post. That feeling of violation, knowing that someone has been in your home, is just a terrible feeling.

Marianne said...

This is terrible, I'm so sorry for you both. Good luck with the house hunting and I hope you've got some rest. M

The Late Bloomer said...

Thank you so much for all your kind words, Antipo, Lisa, R, Anonymous, Page française and Marianne... Yes, it has been a tough time, but I'm trying so hard to move forward, to look to the future.

I have so many mixed feelings going on right now, I don't even know how to put them into words. There are so many moments when I just want to break into tears, and my boy has a hard time understanding this. He keeps telling me to be strong... And I know I need to be, but I somehow don't feel very strong right now!

I've of course told myself numerous times that all that was lost was "du matériel" as they say in French, and that it was more than likely just some young s***heads looking to just find themselves some quick cash for whatever reason... One of my few consolations it that at least they weren't so horrible as to destroy our furniture or our other few belongings. Which I know sometimes happens, and that would be even more heartbreaking.

The big step we need to make is finding a new apartment -- but how to undertake such a hunt when I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant?! I just can't even fathom it at this point... And I don't even know where to begin to look! Honestly, we thought it was just bad luck, a one-off the first time around, and granted we had other reasons to need to move as well, but I didn't want us to rush into something new and make a mistake, or regret our choice.

Now of course I'm just regretting not making a move ANYWHERE, anywhere but here...

Anyway, thank you again for your comments and thoughts. R, what a really lovely thing for you to say... And anonymous, you're absolutely right: the most important thing right now is our baby, and the baby's health. I've got to focus on that! Even more than ever.

screamish said...

Oh man that's shitty news...try not to stress too much. You're OK and the Boy is OK and that's the most important thing.

Remember though that it isnt personal...those guys are off doing it somewhere else, they wont be back anytime soon and the best thing you can do is get some more locks, or a new door (blindée?)...something to make you feel safer...

Aralena said...

How horrible to have to deal with this - again - right now. I'm so sorry to read this, but so glad that you are all safe. Like everyone has already said, take care of yourself. XOXO.

poppy fields said...

I am sorry you had to go through that, it would be hard to know that someone had been in your house, going through your belongings....

joy suzanne said...

Aw no. I'm so sorry Alice. Really truly. That's never happened to me and I can't imagine how it feels. Shitheads, like you said.

Can you go out and get yourself a massage or something? Make a little time to get some bodywork or even just a pedicure. Something to soothe the anxiety. You poor thing.

R's right... it couldn't have happened to a less deserving person! I hope you find yourself in a new place, and in toute sécurité very soon...

avec amy said...

Wow, so much news in one post! I haven’t been keeping up w/blogs (because of my job – started in September). What a wonderful surprise to learn that you’re pregnant. I’m definitely going to have to check in more often : )

Anonymous said...

Australia has the "distinction" of leading the world in burglary rates. People have big gardens that allow thieves to hide and the usually fine weather means windows often stay open.
It's happened to me and it's awful and I'm practically resigned to the fact that it will happen again.
If it's any consolation, if you'd moved to a new place, you might have been burgled there too. And it's totally understandable that you put of moving as it is such a damn pain.