Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Live-Blogging from Elm Street…

4:00 a.m. sharp: Burglar alarm goes off.

Sumbitch. Someone’s trying to get in the westside Arcadia door.

My pistol’s not loaded, and even if it were, the ammo is so ancient it would probably blow me to Kingdom Come before it did in the burglar.

Dial 911 while re-securing the side door. Can’t see anyone out there. It’s been raining half the night. What kind of idiot goes a-burgling in a rainstorm?

Oh wait: I forgot. The Son-in-Law. Madness knows no weather. He must’ve gone off his meds. Probably one of the 280,000 folks our esteemed legislators are throwing off Arizona’s answer to Medicaid.

Must remember to buy some new ammo and make a few runs on the range for some target practice.

Dispatcher: “Do you see or hear anyone outside?”

Homeowner: “No. But there’s no way this door could move unless someone tried to open it.” Homeowner privately thinks it’s a damn good thing she dropped a stick in the runner of the thing; otherwise the guy would’ve been in the bedroom by now. Dog slept through this episode and didn’t bark even when the alarm went off.

Dispatcher: “Well, we’ll send an officer over. If your alarm goes off again, call us back and we’ll up the priority.”

Homeowner: “Thank you.”

Up the priority? So it’ll be 45 minutes or an hour before a cop shows up here? Gaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

Taking a shillelagh in hand, I sit down to write this by way of passing the time. Nothing like a computer screen to make time fly.

Speaking of upping priorities, I have got to get some new ammo for that gun! Come to think of it, what I’ve gotta get is a shotgun. Maybe I can buy or borrow one of SDXB’s. Shotguns are far more effective against burglars: your aim doesn’t have to be good to do some serious damage. Also, burglars are allergic to the mere sound of a pump action.

Apparently my burglar was allergic to the sound of small plastic battery-operated window alarms, too.

These little contact alarms are great. Small and unobtrusive (especially if you have white window frames), they emit an ear-piercing shriek when a window or door is opened. I bought a passel of them after I realized a) I couldn’t afford to keep paying the burglar alarm company a monthly fee; b) I couldn’t afford the city fines for false alarms, which are frequent and random; c) I highly resented having to pay the city an annual license fee for the damn thing; and d) I was running out of patience with the sleazeball who ran the alarm company. Canceled the service, turned off the system and alarmed each door and window separately. Alarmed the security doors and some of the screen doors, too.

They’re a bit of a pain because you have to remember to set them when you close the door, but after a few times it becomes automatic: when you lock the door or window, you flip the switch to “on.” That is a lot less of a pain than false alarms, dodging around a system every time you come home from the grocery store, hurried calls to the cops and the alarm company to assure them the latest episode is not a real burglar, and dealing with a jerk of a company owner. And they do not do false alarms. The only way to set it off is to open the switch, and the only way you can do that is to move the door or window about an eighth to a quarter of an inch. Rain, wind, thunder, and passing F-16s do not set them off.

A good-sized earthquake might cause one to go off, if it moved the door or window. But I believe the dog and I would’ve noticed an earthquake.

The cops show up. They walk around. They don’t see a burglar. They leave.

Welp. Five hours till I have to show up for choir. Rain has started to pour again. The adrenalin high is beginning to wear off, so now I’m starting to feel hungry. Guess I’ll get some breakfast. Maybe there’ll still be some time to go back to bed…

Author: funny

This post may be a paid guest contribution.

14 Comments

  1. Years ago, a man broke into my house through the bathroom window while I was at home. Investigating the noise I walked into the bathroom and there he was. I ran back into my bedroom to fetch the unloaded gun kept under the bed, thinking all the while he might be right behind me.

    When I got back to the bathroom he was gone but I didn’t know if it was out the window or into the house. It all ended well.

    BUT, now I keep a loaded gun in the house. I know alot of people wouldn’t approve but I don’t care.

  2. @ E. Murphy: That’s a terrifying story!

    My ex- and I had a similar adventure, years ago, when a hapless burglar entered a back door while we were sleeping. He was discovered by our normally very mellow German shepherd only after he’d made it to the kitchen. She got between him and the door he’d come in.

    A German shepherd that flies into a high rage is something to see. Well, no: it’s something you’d like NEVER to see, especially when the dog’s ire is focused on you.

    The poor wretch managed to find the side door by flashlight, about a half a millisecond before the dog could sink her fangs into him. That was years ago, and I expect he’s still running. By now he’s probably circumnavigated the globe several times.

  3. When you need help, it’s always minutes away.

    Ammo lasts a long time.
    I’m still using 9mm reloads I made back in 1995.

    The owner at one of our local gun shops told me to purge my ammo every 6 months. He’s crazy as a loon.

    Home defense? A pump action shot gun is the best you can do.
    The sound of you racking in that 00 12 gauge shell will make a burglar jump out a 2 story window and you will probably never have to use it.

    Buckshot kills and you don’t have to be an accurate shot.
    Aim for the body mass, the belly. If a perp is going to move, he’s going to move his head and shoulders first before his lower body moves.

    Always plan ahead for a home invasion.
    Think out a plan where you have a safe room you are either in or can get to.

    Safe room should have a phone and your chosen protection device.

    Call 911 and don’t hang up, if things get tense put the phone on the floor.

    One kick on the safe room door and you should fire your weapon.

    It’s your right to protect yourself.

  4. Glad it ended well, and second the motion on the shotgun. A couple of thoughts:
    – a 20 gauge has less recoil than a 12, and might be more manageable.
    – You still have to aim with a shotgun, and aim well. At short ranges typically found in home defense situation, the buckshot spread is not that wide. I was surprised to see how narrow it was on paper targets at 5 to 7 yards.

  5. Yipes, George, but you’re fierce!

    Yeah, 101, I do know the spread is pretty narrow at short range. Had I been standing in the hall and seen an intruder enter through that side door, he would have been about 45 feet away. The hall alone is about 20 feet long. However, in the dark, with the lights off, it would be hard to see a man, especially if you were taking cover behind the entrance to the bedroom. He probably would be fairly close by the time you could get off a shot.

    On the other hand, if you miss or if you have to shoot two or three times to hit your mark, birdshot isn’t going to go through the wall and take out some innocent bystander.

    The ammunition my father left for his Ruger is .357 magnum; the shells are reloads. It’s been a while since I shot a pistol. I used to be an OK shot, but obviously I’ll need to get out to the range for some target practice and to be sure the sights are aligned on this thing. And really…if all you’re doing is practicing at a range, you have no idea how you’re going to react under pressure. To kill another human being on purpose, I think you have to be absolutely convinced that you will do it, and I suspect for most people that takes military training.

    In fact, George, the room directly across the hall from the bedroom, which functions as my office, has a solid-core door with an elephantine lock on it that is extremely hard to break into. Many times since I installed these improvements, I have thought that if anyone broke into the house while I was here, I’d grab the dog, fly into the office, and lock the door between me and the perp. Last night that would have been the sensible thing to do.

    But speaking of having no idea how you’re going to react, the strangest damn thing happened. Maybe it was because I was groggy or maybe it’s a function of the changes in one’s behavior as one ages…but when I realized the alarm was going off and that the only explanation was that a door was open, I felt absolutely no fear. It was as though no adrenalin was coursing through the ancient system at all.

    Normally a jolt of adrenalin brings everything into ultra-sharp focus for me, and it also causes things to seem to happen in slow motion so that, in the past, I’ve been able to reason in detail through every action, even though in reality those actions were happening very fast. Not so this time. It was like business as usual.

    I picked up the phone, started talking to the 911 dispatcher, and — incredibly! — walked up the hall toward the source of the noise. What on earth could I have been thinking???? It was like I just wanted to go see what was going on at the door, without any regard to the possibility that whatever it was couldn’t have boded very well. By and large the only emotion I felt was mild annoyance that the gun was unloaded and stashed in its hidey-hole.

    Not until after the cops had left did I remember my carefully laid plan to grab the dog and hole up behind the hardened door.

    So:

    Item 1 — You not only need to think out a plan for each possible contingency, you need to rehearse it. In the next week or so, I’m going to start drilling the imagined dodge to shelter, and once it’s down pat, I’m going to do a little rehearsal about once a month. Try to make it a knee-jerk reaction, not something the aged brain has to remember.

    Item 2 — Yes, you should have a weapon in the safe room. You probably also should have one next to the bed, in case you can’t get to the safe room before the perp gets to you. SDXB sleeps, when he has no female companion, with a pistol in the bed.

    Item 3 — The precautionary hardware I put on the Arcadia doors worked. However, the house could do with a little more hardening. Specifically, some part of the little windfalls that recently came my way is going to get spent on a security door for the kitchen entry, which IMHO is far more vulnerable than those sliders. Without a double-cylinder deadbolt, which I think is unsafe on a door between the stove and your only way out of the kitchen, that door serves no other purpose than to keep the breeze and the flies out. Though a security door can easily be popped off with a crowbar, at least the guy will have to make some noise to do that, and it’ll slow him down considerably.

    That the dog wasn’t barking…well, that was weird. Maybe the fact that she didn’t seem alarmed lent to my unnatural calm. On reflection, though, there was really no reason for her to bark if she couldn’t hear a person. Being a dog, she has no logical way to connect the sound of the alarm with a door opening.

    During the day today I’ve considered adding another German shepherd to the pack. But oh, GOD! The vet bills, the vet bills…a Ger-Shep is a walking vet bill. Checked the GSD rescue: pannus in a four-year-old(!), anal fistulas, pancreatic insufficiency…gaaahhhh! A dobe isn’t any better; a rottweiler is too big for me to handle; and I’m not lettin’ any pit bulls in here.

    I think the next pack member is gonna be a pump-action shotgun. We’ll call it Fifi.

  6. I agree on German Shepherds. My parents had them for years, and while they’re wonderful, lovable dogs, they’re heavy on the vet bills. Two of them that lived into a ripe (pun intended, they were very gassy) old age, ended up with hip dysplasia.
    Our main alarm dog, the foofy poodle, has much better ears than the boxer, and earns his keep by yipping anytime someone’s close to the house. The backup bark comes from the boxer. Even following the poodle’s lead, it takes her some seconds to figure out that it’s time to bark, although we’re pretty sure she’s got no idea why (she’s pretty dense, even for a boxer).
    On shotguns, I’ve been debating on a new 20-ga pump or a side-by-side coach gun. Decisions, decisions….

  7. Boxers are highly vulnerable to valley fever and don’t make it to old age in the low desert. That’s why you don’t see many around here.

    My son wants a golden retriever and would like me to babysit it during the day. In a year or two, it would grow mature enough to bark if someone were around. But that won’t help me during the night.

    How much does a 20-gauge shotgun cost these days? Do I even want to know? 😉

    BTW, if your dog is gassy, check the food. Many dogs can’t digest or are allergic to corn in any form. My greyhound was given to making rooms (sometimes the whole house!) unlivable. After I finally tumbled to the corn business and switched him over to a kibble that was free of the stuff, he was fine. Because so many dogs are sensitive to corn, there are quite a few high-quality dog foods out there now that have no corn. Trader Joe’s premium dog food is a LOT cheaper than the same stuff in the pet store, and it’s corn-free.

  8. Ah, good tip on the dog food. Regrettably, we don’t have a Trader Joe in Tulsa. We’ll have to find another source.
    A lady, this boxer ain’t. She gasses, burps, barfs, snores, and snuffles. Only after we rescued her did we find out that boxers have notoriously finicky innards.
    My parents have two rescue greyhounds, but they’re incredibly pampered, with hand-made dog food.

    Last time I checked around, the Mossberg 20-ga Bantam goes for 250 to 300. A Stoeger coach gun for around 350, I think.

  9. @ 101 Centavos: I’ll keep an eye out at the next gun show.

    Petco and Petsmart also carry dog foods that don’t contain corn. I found that both the Ger-Shep and the greyhound thrived on real food–actual human food, excluding garlic & onions. However, it’s a pain to fix it for a large dog, since the animal eats so much.

    One of FaM’s sveral posts on the subject: https://funny-about-money.com/2008/06/18/dog-food-the-costs-and-benefits-of-making-your-own/

  10. FAM, the worst part of your safe room plan is “grab the dog.” My friend is dead because he tried to get the dog out of the house when it was on fire. The dog might actually decide to chase a burglar away if he were on his own. Dogs are not logical in an emergency when a person is trying to get a obedient response. However, he might instinctively attack an intruder if left to his own devices.

    Get a large dog bowl and paint a ferocious name on it. Leave that outside the door, one outside each door. Get a vicious recording on a hand recorder. Take it with you as you go looking for intruders. And, keep the gun loaded. Keep a gun in your bedroom and one in safe room.

    Seriously, you will just confuse the dog by grabbing him. Your instinct should be toward self-preservation. Even if he is very obedient, a panic situation with your adrenaline running high and a burglar or worse in the house may be overload for the animal.

  11. FAM, the worst part of your safe room plan is “grab the dog.” My friend is dead because he tried to get the dog out of the house when it was on fire. The dog might actually decide to chase a burglar away if he were on his own. Dogs are not logical in an emergency when a person is trying to get a obedient response. However, he might instinctively attack an intruder if left to his own devices.

    Get a large dog bowl and paint a ferocious name on it. Leave that outside the door, one outside each door. Get a vicious barking recording on a hand recorder. Take it with you as you go looking for intruders. And, keep the gun loaded. Keep a gun in your bedroom and one in safe room.

    Seriously, you will just confuse the dog by grabbing him. Your instinct should be toward self-preservation. Even if he is very obedient, a panic situation with your adrenaline running high and a burglar or worse in the house may be overload for the animal.

  12. @ Practical Parsimony: The dog is on the bed with me at night, so picking her up as I jump out of bed is quick & easy. She can’t get off the bed without being lifted down, because she’s so small and her spine is so long and because the bed is so high even the human almost needs a ladder to get into it.

    Noooo…I certainly would not chase her down in an emergency.

    Excellent advice in general, though: Try to rescue the kids, but remember: it’s a dog, it’s not your child!

    Daughter-in-sin also ran back into the house to rescue the family dog when her now ex-hubby torched the house in an attempt to murder her and her love-child. Mercifully, she and the dog both escaped alive…but it was a miracle.

  13. “Daughter-in-sin also ran back into the house to rescue the family dog when her now ex-hubby torched the house in an attempt to murder her and her love-child. ”
    Wow….. that’s another story altogether….

  14. @ 101 Centavos: Never a dull moment here in Drama Central. 😀