Internet, today I am going to post some pictures and give you some relevant facts/less-actually-relevant-facts about them, and you are going to tell me what to think and do about them. That’s just how this post has to go, because I am really at a loss here.
(I am HOPING that you won’t tell me I need to move, because that would… not be good. But honesty would be appreciated.)
Let’s get started.
Last night, my husband went outside to fire up the grill because we wanted to take FULL advantage of this balmy spring interlude before the snow starts falling upon us in great bulldozersfull. He came back in, rather perplexed.
“Some of our lawn furniture is broken,” he told me.
My in laws had given us a huge set of lovely Crate and Barrel lawn furniture when we moved here – second hand lawn furniture, but still. We never would have shelled out the money to buy it, so we were grateful and pleased. There are six chairs (meant to go around a table that we do not have) and an adjustable lounge chair and a loveseat and two side tables.
My husband and I – knowing nothing about the proper care and handling of lawn furniture, nor having any extra storage space indoors, nor wanting to shell out the may-I-say EXORBITANT fee Crate and Barrel was asking for covers – kind of just took the view that the furniture lives outside and will last as long as it lasts and that’s the end of it.
So the furniture – even though it is teak and probably requires weekend coddling and monthly trips to the spa – lives outside year round.
I have somehow detoured down a guilt side alley here.
ANYWAY, four of the chairs, the two side tables, and the loveseat live on our deck. The remaining two chairs and the lounge chair live with the grill on the concrete patio adjacent to the deck.
The broken chairs my husband was referring to were the concrete patio dwellers. They had been moved up against the house to protect them from the crazy winds we’d been having in Decemberish.
This is what they looked like when he found them last night.
Okay, now here is where is make your first impressions, Internet. But please: hold off on running to the comments to tell me I must move immediately lest I be slaughtered in my bed.
First, I would like to tell you the related relevant facts and less-actually-relevant-facts, to help you come to a more informed conclusion.
1. The chairs et al reside in our backyard. The yard is fenced on one side. The house is opposite the fence, and bracketed on either side by white gates of the Home Depot variety. The other two sides of the yard are hemmed in by arbor vitae – tall, thin bush-trees that make their own fence-like boundary between us and the neighbors. So the yard isn’t impenetrable, but it looks, to the outsider, like it wouldn’t be EASY to penetrate.
2. We recently had some Major Snow – at least 10 inches, if not a full foot. Snow is heavy. (But… it’s not that heavy, is it?) And water and ice can be very destructive.
3. None of the other chairs had damage.
4. One of the broken chairs was situated (stupidly) directly under our laundry room window. That window just happens to be the only window in our house without a screen. (Let’s discuss the issue of leaving screens on year round at a later time please.)
5. But the other broken chair was situated beneath nothing.
6. Our neighborhood is typically pretty safe. But I did spend some time going through our local police blotter last night, and there was a cryptic and not particularly helpful entry about a break-in on a street that’s just a mile away from us… And another entry about a burglary just a few miles from us wherein the homeowner had left the door unlocked for her sister that day, so the sister could feed the homeowner’s cats. Both incidents happened recently – the first in the past week.
7. Just this past week, I was upstairs getting ready for work when I heard a loudish crash. In my head, I thought, “That must be the watering can on the deck railing – it must have fallen over onto the concrete six-odd feet below.” (I don’t know how one ignores a watering can until it has filled with water/snow and been ice-fused to the deck railing, but that is what happened.) But when I looked out the window, the watering can was still there. My brain rationalized this new information by thinking that some of the snow must have melted enough to slide off the roof in a great loud pile. But I didn’t really go looking for the source of the noise.
(And now here is where we get into the less-actually-relevant-facts.)
8. I have had several mornings in the past few weeks where I’ve heard sounds that I brushed off as typical house-creaking, neighborhood normalcy… But then my mind would start going through scenarios in which a burglar/murderer broke in and I would have to… deal with that.
9. I read an article last year about two women who were brutally attacked and one of them flung herself out of a second-story window – naked, for a reason you don’t want to know – to get away, and the other one didn’t survive, and that article has been on my mind a lot recently. I’ve been going over in my head how I would react, and I’ve been trying to steel myself up to re-read Swistle’s post on how to deal with a home invader type (haven’t reached optimum steel yet), and I’ve been running through horrible scenarios in my head on a loop.
10. My dreams, of late, have had to do with home invasions. One the other night was so vivid and awful that I had to write it down. (Maybe it will turn into a novel!) (One can always hope!)
11. If someone were to be watching my husband and me (shudder), he would very easily know when one or the other of us was in the house, and when we were both gone. I keep thinking that it is really pretty unfortunate that my husband and I have such an established routine. But when you have a job that starts at a certain time each morning, it’s kind of difficult to switch things up, you know?
12. When our yard was covered with a thick layer of snow, my husband and I both commented – rather jokingly – to each other that some of the animal tracks looked an awful lot like human footprints. But because of the placement of the tracks, and the ridiculousness of the idea that some human would be tramping through our back yard, we didn’t really examine them closely. And now the snow is melted and the tracks are gone. (Also, any burglar worth his salt would know not to leave to footprints in a clean sheet of white snow, right?)
Okay. That’s all I have for you, Internet.
I mean, it looks like someone stood on that lawn chair to get up to the laundry room window, right? And that the weight of that person – a burly, well-muscled man with insidious intent, I’m assuming – ended up breaking the arms of the chair.
What else could cause that kind of damage?
My husband, ever the optimist, suggested that perhaps an animal chewed on the chair… or stood on it… But I just don’t think that’s realistic.
I mean, sure, we’ve had some shady characters lurking around our back yard lately…
Like this guy…
But I can’t see him wanting anything to do with two lawn chairs.
And if snow or wind were to blame… Well, then why were only those two chairs affected, and the other four chairs – plus loveseat, plus tables, plus lounge chair – left undisturbed?
So of course I am now driven to new heights of paranoia.
I keep thinking back to the random home invasion dreams and murderer-break-in thoughts I’ve been having… And wondering if that’s my brain understanding something on a deeper level that my conscious mind is not sophisticated enough to process. That maybe I should be paying rapt attention to these thoughts, because they could be indications that something is seriously wrong.
But then again, I could be Gift-of-Fearing myself right into deeper paranoia. (Which is the big problem with the Gift of Fear, thank you very much Gavin de Becker for making me unable to trust myself EVER.)
And it’s not like I don’t already have a murderer-thoughts proclivity.
But then again, again, what could have broken those chairs?
And what do I do?
I mean, obviously, I am now sitting in my house in the broad daylight with the alarm on. So there’s that.
But do I… call the police? It seems like such a time waster. Especially because we have no idea when the chairs got broken. Especially because any evidence (“evidence”) has surely been tainted by snow and rain and thaw.
I guess I could mention my concerns and see if they would increase their patrols through our neighborhood? I don’t know. My experience with the police is limited to Drug Abuse Resistance Education in middle school, that time I backed into the police chief’s daughter’s car in the high school parking lot (I maintain that we backed into each other), and a long history of watching Law & Order and CSI and the like. Oh. And that time I burnt the popcorn, which was more like a near encounter.
We DID move the chairs away from the house, though. No point in just straight out inviting someone to climb through your window, am I right?