Monday, June 19, 2006

Omigod, two theives tried to break into our house just now!

Thank goodness I am an insomniac and have been just browsing blogs on my laptop in the wee hours of the morning just now*, when I heard the conservatory doors at the back being forced open. I thought it was just strong winds at first, or even stray cats turning over our rubbish bins, but then the banging noise was really loud and "man-made" somehow and I sneaked a peek through my curtains. I saw the conservatory door wide-open, could hear the wind and saw the tree branches being blown this way and that, so I thought it was indeed the wind and I was about to close the curtains when I saw a tall guy in a bright yellow jacket stepping onto the wooden decking outside our kitchen. I mentally freaked out and was scared that he saw me as well (though I think he did see me). But anyway I immediately ran to my parents' bedroom and yelled that someone was in our backgarden trying to break in. My parents were stark naked and my step-dad immediately jumped up from out of the bed without bothering to put on any clothes and ran to my little brother's bedroom to look out the window there**, and then ran downstairs while I yelled at him not to go down and at the same time I ran into my room and frantically tried to locate my mobile to ring the police, because I was really scared that the guy actually got in and jesus christ it took me some time to find my phone in my handbag because as usual my bag was full of stuff. Anyway I got it and I got through on the first ring and stated immediately my address and said that somebody is out the back trying to break into our home, and the operator had to ask me if we're in Dublin because I forgot to say the town where we're in, only the name of our estate (I was used to ringing the local cab company who only needed the first line of our address). Anyway I was then immediately forwarded to the local Garda*** station and I repeated the same statement, and have to tell them where we are located again (this is bloody incredible that even though our estate has been built for almost two years now the local Garda still don't quite know where we are). The operator said that they would send someone straight away.

While I was talking on the phone my step-dad had already ran back upstairs and into my little brother's bedroom, and opened the window wide and screamed bloody murder at the theives. Thank goodness this actually scared them off and they scarpered over the back wall, which borders a construction area so it was quite easy for them to get away. Apparently my step-dad saw two fellas although I only saw one myself. By now all the family was up including my little brother of course though my little sister stayed in her bed. We went downstairs turning on all the lights and surveyed the damage, and my mum discovered that our kitchen glass door wasn't actually locked!! Thank goodness the theives never thought to try the kitchen door or they could have went straight through without a peep (although my younger brother pointed out that even if they just slide the door open our house alarm would go off and this would have alerted the local Garda station immediately because our alarm system was linked to the station). My mum kept saying that one of us should have checked that all the doors were locked before we went to bed but then I said that actually checking the doors is their chore also... thankfully this didn't developed into a blaming row as this was obviously the last thing we needed...

Anyway we switched on all our backgarden lights and waited for the guards, and it took them ages to come - it felt like ages anyway as it took about 20 minutes or so and who knows by then what would happen if those guys have actually broken in? My step-dad rang the local garda station again and while talking to them my little sister was saying that the Guards were here as she could see them through her bedroom windows. So my step-dad opened the front-door but then realised it was actually locked, and while he was getting the keys to open it I happened to look back at the kitchen and saw a woman standing there which gave me a fright until a split second later I realised she was actually a Gardai. Apparently our side door was open so the Guards just came in through the side entrance. I opened the kitchen door for her and then saw another male Gardai also in our backyard. She asked us whether the guys actually went into the house and my step-dad said that they went back over the wall because he scared them off by screaming at them from upstairs. She then asked us to describe them and I said that one tall guy was wearing a bright yellow, long-sleeved jacket, and that he has a full-head of hair rather than being a skin-head, and that he's probably in his early 20's. She asked also what kind of built he was and I described him as a lanky fellow, and that he's even taller than the male guard. I also described how I noticed them because of the noise at the back because my bedroom faced out to the back and is directly above the conservatory, and how I peeked through my bedroom curtains and noticed a bright yellow figure stepping hesitantly onto our wooden decking. Thank goodness indeed that the guy was wearing bright yellow clothing because otherwise I really wouldn't have seen him at all as it was still dark out. My step-dad said that he saw two guys but unfortunately he didn't quite see the second guy because they were then trying to climb back over the wall and he couldn't quite make them out (apart from the yellow-clad guy of course).

While we were giving descriptions the male Gardai climbed onto the top of our backyard walls to survey the area, especially the back of our estate which is a construction site. He asked us what the other house was at the back also and my step-dad explained that it belongs to the ex-wife of an Irish middle-weight boxing champion****. The male Gardai saw nothing but stayed up there for quite some time and both he and the woman Gardai radioed back to the station to give a description of the guy. She then said to us that they are sending a car out to go around the area to see if they could find anyone with that description wandering in the area. My step-dad helped the male guard climb down the wall, both Garda stayed for a bit and then they left saying that they would patrol the area in their car also.

All the adults in the family by now were wide awake and we went checking all our locks again and again. It seems that our glass door between the conservatory and the second lounge room was a bit loose and they really could have made it in. I closed all the windows of the conservatory even though my mum said that it's pointless to do this now but I persisted, saying that if we just left them open and allow those guys to just walk in then our only other "defense" is the glass door that connects the conservatory to our second lounge room. My mum again said thank goodness that the theives didn't came through the kitchen door because it was actually unlocked, while I was thinking also that thank God they didn't bring a hammer or something with them to break the glass because all our doors at the back are glass doors. My little brother also came downstairs saying that he couldn't sleep, but he wasn't scared really - in fact, by then we weren't scared at all, as the scariness had turned into some kind of perverse excitement. I was saying to my family that it was lucky I couldn't go to sleep and was wide-awake at the time because otherwise I wouldn't have bothered getting up or I wouldn't have heard the noise at all.

After a bit when we checked all the locks and re-set the alarm again, my mum suggested that I should just get something to eat and then go back to bed. I was looking for cup noodles, however we didn't have any unfortunately. I then went to the washroom which is beside our kitchen, and then realised also how lucky we were that those guys didn't try to come in through the utility room because again our door has a big glass panel. I opened the washroom door with a bit of trepidation because I wasn't sure if one of them would hide in the kitchen area (after all the kitchen door was unlocked and they could have come in). When I came out my mum called to me - which made me jump - and she said that I should not just drink tea (which was what I was going to do as I put on the kettle already) but should eat something as well. Anyway she went back upstairs, and while waiting for the kettle to boil I went around the rooms downstairs and looked behind the doors because I was worried that perhaps one of them was hiding in the nooks and cranies during the commotion that ensued. Thankfully that wasn't the case of course.

I drank my tea and had little muffins in the kitchen while staring out the backgarden. By then I was feeling a bit defiant - that if those bastards were to come back up I would face them and throw hot water at them and would even brandish our kitchen knife if need be (!). A little while later my younger brother came back downstairs and asked me if those guys were Chinese (our only other Chinese neighbour in this rather affluent estate actually was robbed not long after we've moved in, by Mainland Chinese guys posing as pizza delivery guys*****). I am positive that the guy I saw was Irish even though he does have dark hair. We also discussed whether those guys were first-time theives - my contention was that they must be because who would have thought of wearing a bright yellow jacket to rob a house? My brother contended instead that they must be experienced and so they boldly wore bright clothing because they were too confident, and that they had the savvy to plan their escape route well because they immediately scarpered back over the wall which allowed them an easy escape as it borders a construction site, and so they must also have known the area quite well, and in fact could have been one of the construction guys themselves (my brother was initially asking me whether by bright-yellow jacket I meant the type worn by construction people, but actually it was more like a sports jacket). However, I think that even as first time theives they must have already thought of an escape route, because they have to plan how to leave even if they were successful in looting our house, because they are hardly going to leave through the front door. Anyway, my brother also surveyed all the rooms downstairs to double-check if anyone happened to be hiding behind doors, etc. I guess by then we had a bit of paranoia also...

I finished my tea anyway and went back upstairs. I am too excited to sleep and thus am typing up this account on my blog even though I really should go to bed because I still have two papers to write and I need to rest. The whole thing really is too surreal to be true and I might as well record it here while the memory is still fresh. Who knows if the Garda actually found those guys - the chances of that happening though is rather slim****** - then at least I have a record of the events right here.

Dawn has come and there are birdsongs outside - it's almost 6am now*******. When I heard the noise first it was near 4am. Hopefully this experience is never to be repeated. Ever.

* This is exactly like the Chinese proverb about how losing a horse could be a fortunate thing, because I have not been sleeping well for quite some time now and I worried about my health, now I realised that I was really lucky not to have slept well.
** Rather like Bridget Jones I'm valiantly excising those traumatising images from my memory. It's not that hard though as obviously I made a point not to look, thank God.
*** Garda is the Irish word for the "police"; Gardai is a policeman or policewoman (i.e. singular). Sometimes we also call them the "Guards" in English.
**** Our estate is actually bordered by two famous residences - one as I said is the former home of the Irish middle-weight boxing champion; the other is the estate of a supermarket tycoon. So it's doubly stupid that the local Garda didn't quite know where we are.
***** This must have given the impression that we're living in a bad neighbourhood with all these robberies going on but that really isn't the case at all. It's an affluent neighbourhood but it's rather unfortunate that the two robberies (well at least in our case it was only attempted, thank goodness) both happened to the two Chinese families in the estate. Though this has nothing to do with race either because as I said the first robbery was actually committed by Mainland Chinese guys who were almost professional in their approach; whilst the two lads in our backgarden were probably just chancing their arms to be honest.
****** It's now almost 5pm in the late afternoon and we haven't heard back from the Garda yet so I guess they didn't managed to catch anyone.
******* Even though the time-stamp at the bottom of this post says 4:39am, in reality it was 5:39am when I posted this up because the Blogger set time for "Eire" actually is inaccurate for Summer time because it is meant to be 1 hour behind (to re-adjust for the fact that in Winter we bring our clock forward by 1 hour).

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