Albóndigas!

I was robbed.

I went to dinner at my friend’s sister’s house (SO FUN! SO TASTY!) and then went to see a show, but left somewhat early as my back hurt. I cabbed it home, rounded the corner and noticed that my lights were all on. I then noticed that the front window was ENTIRELY open, WIDE OPEN, with the blinds pulled up. Being that my first-floor residence (sans bars on the windows) virtually requires a dark, hermit-like existence replete with blinds and curtains drawn to avoid the many gawkers who find it completely normal to STARE at me otherwise, I knew something was awry.

My first thought was that Jordan or Kevin had come over; why I thought this is random, but they both have keys and I figured that perhaps they were there and wanting some air. Then I realized that a) Jordan was long asleep and b) I had just left Kevin at the show, so that couldn’t be the case. I then panicked, and was certain that at least one member of my menagerie was going to be gone since the newest game in "Casa de Sabala" is to run out any time someone opens the door. Amazingly enough, upon entering, they were all there, albeit freaked out.

I looked around. Nothing seemed missing…tv, check. Entertainment system, check. Ladies’ christmas presents, check (times six.) Then I noticed my computer was gone. And, a few minutes later, after (stupidly) wandering around my house unaccompanied (while on HOLD from 911), found that my purse was also missing.

SHIT. SHIT. SHIT.

When the cops arrived (within 10 minutes, once 911 actually picked up) they scoured the place and, thus far, that’s all we’ve found to be taken. They left an iPod (though stole 2 others), 2 other handbags in plain sight, all the electronic equipment, my jewelry, etc. In short, I was very, very lucky; the cops think that Lila Belle (heretofore known as "Lila Belle, Wonderdog") scared them away by her persistent barking so it’s no wonder that dog had so many puppy treats yesterday she is certain to be sick for a week.

The rest of the evening was a blur; trying to remember what was in my purse has been an evolutionary event in that I can be eating sushi with a friend and announce "OH SHIT! MY GLASSES!" after remembering something else that was in my (brand new very expensive) purse. Thankfully, I have renter’s insurance (after last holiday’s break-in, decided it was a necessity) and I’ve done most of what I can at this point…gathering receipts, documenting what was stolen, putting my head in the oven, etc. I even got a call from my old gym; apparently, a kind citizen (who looked a bit scary himself, but apparently there’s still good in people here in The City) found a batch of my credit cards and my car key and called Crunch so they could get in touch with me. Thank you, scary homeless-looking-man who asked that they not fingerprint the cards since he was, and I quote, "on file." You just saved me the cost of re-keying.

I’ve been looking for the silver lining in this whole experience, something I try to do (yet often fail until much later, until ‘in retrospect’ is a given.) I could have lost so much more. I now know the importance of a safety deposit  box (which are in short supply here in SF – so much, in fact, that I am now on 2 two+ year waiting lists. GRR.) I am preaching the gospel of renter’s insurance. I got to ride in the back seat of a cop car!! (They took me home after leaving my car at the precinct since the robber initially  had my spare key.) I even put on my SEAT BELT in the cop car, something they didn’t insist upon (an irony that is not lost on me.) And – this is the funnest part – CSI came to my house and sprinkled black dust shit on everything, only to tell me that I didn’t have enough flat, clean, shiny surfaces. (Note to all of you who want to get robbed: invest in more flat, clean, shiny surfaces, STAT.) Besides the hassle and exhaustion and fear (lots of fear), I know I was one of the luckier robbed souls out there. And for that I am grateful.

I am also SO SO SO grateful for my amazing friends who didn’t just say "oh, that sucks" and go to bed, the ones that took me to lunch and to dinner to get my mind off of it all. The people that actually yelled at me for NOT calling or coming over at 12:30. These friends are amazing, and again, I’m so lucky. Because when it comes down to it, the overwhelming feeling is just fear and violation. I know it sounds trite, but this person broke into my home with NO prompting from me (I’ve done all I can do to try and deter thieves; it’s the stupid property management company who refuse to put bars on my house) and sleeping has been difficult. Even knowing that they don’t have a key to my house or my car, I’m scared this will happen again and I *WON’T* be so lucky. I know now why I have a top-of-the-line security system in both of my houses in Atlanta.

During the holidays, you take time to reflect on what really matters, giving thanks and sharing your love and affection in the form of cards and presents and calls to friends and family alike. And while it sounds contrary to say that after this whole experience, the feeling I’m feeling most is gratitude, but it is. More than fear, more than anything, I’m just thankful for all of y’all out there who was so kind.

I’m also thankful for comfort food like Victor’s Spaghetti and Meatballs, but y’all follow a close second. Love ya, mean it.

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