They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I am back home from New York now, after my father's memorial service last Sunday and an all-too-short Itoh sisters' reunion. We got home late last afternoon, glad to be back, very tired after a long flight followed by a short one and a 2 plus hour drive.

And then...disaster. During our absence, our house had been broken into. They entered through an old side door that we were going to replace or just block up soon, and seem to have done a snatch and grab job. They took, among other things, the food processor, KitchenAid mixer, Bamix stick blender, and one of our hotplates (the more valuable one). They took the microwave/convection oven too. They left the rice cooker, probably because they didn't know what it was. So now we have even less of a kitchen than before. Besides kitchen stuff they took the TV, my Cinema Display monitor, my computer speakers, the Wii and the few Wii games we had (but they stupidly left the Wii balance board behind), a bunch of DVDs, my Wacom tablet, the camera tripod (but they left behind our studio lighting setup) and our old and broken Nikon D70s camera. What hurts the most is that they took all of my hard disks except the portable ones that I had with me. All of my backups, all my media data including my music and ripped TV and movie collection that took me years and years to build, all gone. (It looks like I can re-download my previous iTunes music and TV purchases but not my movie purchases (bummer, and curse you MPAA)) - and now with the most recent iTunes update I can re-download my movie purchases too!

Thank goodness most of my photo files are on my portable disks. And we're an all-laptop household so we had our computers with us.

Do I feel angry, upset, violated? You bet. One of the worst things, besides them knocking down a whole bunch of stuff, overturning boxes and drawers and dumping things on the floor, was the footprints. They stepped all over my clothes, the towels, and on my bed. There was a clear footprint on a white towel I had on my office chair, and one of my desk legs is wobbly, probably because they were on the desk too.

The footprints are small. The police think the perpetrators are kids, maybe trained kids from an organized, probably Romany (or gypsy to use the non-PC-these-days term), burglary gang. It seems they are a known problem in this area.

What made me both laugh (and thus gain back a bit of sanity) and really shake my head was that the burglars also took an almost-full but opened bottle of Omo, a clothes detergent, and a full pack of toilet paper. Toilet paper! Maybe they took that and the Omo back to Mom. Heh. And I've just discovered that they screwed off, and apparently took (we can't see them anywhere) two knobs off an IKEA glass cabinet I have in my room. Who in their right mind steals pretty much worthless IKEA knobs? And just 2? (They left 1 behind.)

Last night, I was so upset that I was seriously thinking of just selling up here and moving back to Switzerland, or even back to the U.S. Or spending a very long time in Japan, even if it means barging into my mother and stepfather's place. This morning I'm a bit more clearheaded. Burglaries occur anywhere after all. It's not like it's any safer in the U.S. Switzerland and Japan may be safer, but they are not crime-free either. What really helped a lot was experiencing some immediate kindness, one from a stranger. The building diagonally opposite from ours is also being renovated, into a three-story apartment. The Guy has said hello to the owner-builders, a father and son (the son is going to move in to the top floor apartment when they are done) but didn't know them beyond that. Last night the son, without us even asking, came over and put up a big, thick board with an iron support beam holding it in place against the broken door. Later on our contractor came over to reinforce the blockage, at 8:30 on a Sunday evening. And another elderly neighbor offered to shoot any intruders if he ever saw them. (I don't think we'll take him up on that offer but the sentiment is appreciated.)

Anyway, we have insurance, which should cover the monetary value of the items lost, though probably not the value of the data. And we have to block up that entrance and secure the house better. I guess we've gotten a big wakeup call. Even in such an idyllic area, there is crime and we have to protect ourselves appropriately. We have to finish up the construction work and secure the house, and probably put in a security system.

And this week, my radiation therapy starts, to zap the remaining cancer cells in my body.

You know that old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times"? Well, my times right now are sure interesting.

Hoping to return to normal programming soon...as you can understand I'm still quite a bit jumpy.

ETA: It's now Tuesday and I'm still finding things that are gone, or broken. It's so disheartening.

ETA no. 2: I really, really appreciate all your words of sympathy. Two things I wanted to address though:

First, let us not get into racial epithets and insults. Let's just not stoop to that level.

Also: Several people have offered to or suggested a collection or a wish list or something. I really appreciate the sentiment but I have to say no to that. I am fine, except for the general shock and anger and having to try to clear up the mess and figure out what is missing, and all of that fun stuff. (This morning I found out that they've taken our mop and mop heads, cleaning bucket, some other cleaning supplies, the vacuum cleaner parts (but not the vacuum cleaner, which is a rather unusual model for this area and probably deemed too spottable), an electric drill and some hand tools. Petty theft, indeed.) We have insurance. We can afford to fix things so our house is more secure. My lost data hurts...but much of it is just irreplaceable, like some home videos and documentaries and things that were DVR'ed a long time ago. I'm sure that with time, I'll be able to replace the movies that were on those stolen disks, that I really miss. I had my laptop with me, as did The Guy, and we did not lose our important work data. There are people that are in really dire straits, who really need help. I would feel terrible if I received monetary assistance for my relatively trivial losses. Again, I thank you so much for the sentiment. It is really helping me to cope. ^_^

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