Saturday, February 11, 2012

Le Valeur d’un Voleur--the Value of a Thief

Three weeks ago, my family and I returned home from our first-ever ski trip to the Alps to find that our house had been broken into and robbed. Not just robbed, ransacked. A back window was kicked in, the latch broken, all of our locked cabinets were jimmied, scraped and scratched, closets emptied, and items strung all over the place.

Upon walking into the house and seeing a window open, my first reaction was shock. Then I saw the damage and didn’t know quite what to think. I wanted to protect my kids, even though my rational mind knew that there was no way someone was still in the house. But they didn’t need to see the house torn apart like that; they didn’t need to be scared of something that they couldn’t fully comprehend.

I took the kids to our neighbor’s house and put the little one down for a nap while we called the police, and the owner of the house. Eventually both came over to do a survey of stolen items and damage.

For anyone who has had his or her home broken into, you can understand the feeling of violation we were feeling. I was afraid to be alone in the house, and jumpy when I heard sounds during the night.

I went to our insurance company to report the stolen items and damage done to the window, cupboards, and outside lighting—the thief had cut the wires to our automatic lights. I was in for another unpleasant surprise: it was our insurance, not the proprietors, who were expected to pay for the fixes to the house, which meant that we had to pay the deductible. Talk about adding insult to injury! When we rented the house, we were told that we had to have insurance to cover the inside of the house (furniture, any anything that we broke). That makes sense: we would do the same in the US. However, having to pay for light wiring, broken window catches, and chipped cupboards that we don’t even use as the proprietor keeps them locked, made me angry.

Life continues to teach me lessons in patience. Without overreacting, we went through the proper channels, and eventually, were able to get most of the fixes done: only the cupboards need to be finished. Luckily, a friend fixed the light wiring for us, and another man fixed the window for $20 euros. I continue to be humored by the experiences that we have had so far this year, of course it might take a couple of weeks to find the funnies.