OT: Fright Night

Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
OT: Fright Night
3
Mon, 10-14-2013 - 5:55pm

Admittedly, I do not love living alone.  I have periods of time where I'll leave the TV on all night just so I don't lay in bed and analyze things I hear all over the house/outside.  Last night was one of those nights.  I have to preface this story with the fact that I had my gutters replaced last Monday & Tuesday.  So . . . I sit straight up in bed at 1:30 AM thinking I'd either heard a knock or a thud or a bang or that I had dreamt that I had . . . I muted the tele and didn't hear a sound - not even dogs barking.  After 15 entire minutes which seemed like an eternity, I turned the volume back up a little bit.  Every time I'd start to feel like I *might* be able to fall back to sleep, I'd hear an odd noise outside my window.  Around 2:30 the dog across the street barked one time.  Within five minutes of that, I heard what sounded like someone falling off of something in front of or near my window into the bushes beneath.  It isn't a two story house but there's a lower garage under me (which stays locked up tight) there's a window obstructed by the bushes that leads into the garage.  Anyway, what I'm getting at is, you would have to have a ladder to get to my window and I know this because I've locked myself out of the house before ; )  I jumped out of bed, ran to the front door to turn on the front porch light, ran back to my room and locked the door.  I flipped on the flood lights which are in the hallway on the way back through, but when I made it back to my room, I noticed they didn't come on (it's a weird sequence to get them to turn on which, I think is stupid).  I called my brother who was there within 35 minutes.  He headed around the back of the house and I headed to the front with a flashlight.  Over the raling of the front porch (& to the right) which sits about ten feet from the ground, I notice that there is literally the shape of a body in the bushes (evergreen shrub - kind of light/airy bush) .  My brother comes walking around from the back, I point it out to him and he starts freaking out because he saw what I saw, plus, what I couldn't from that height, which was broken twigs.  I decided to call the police.  Mind you, we had the whole conversation about the gutter guys and to be honest I don't know where they put the ladder because I didn't stand around and watch them.  However, they had finished five days prior and he swore he thought the breaks looked fresh.  How he was so sure of himself, I don't know.  I knew the police weren't going to catch anyone.  If there WAS someone out there, I would think they'd have flown the coop when I turned on the front porch lights and if not then, definitely when my brother arrived.  I called them because I figured if some weirdo were peeping in my windows, I wanted him to know that I was calling the PO PO!  There is one weirdo two houses down who exposed himself to my nieces when they were little(they used to live in the same subdivision).  I don't even want to get into all of that . . . he was reprimanded - it was a case of he said she said, it never went to trial and he basically got a slap on the wrist.  He put his house up (he's retired, a widower in his 60's) for sale shortly after, but it didn't sell.  The way I see that is, he obviously has a preference and it isn't 40 year old women.  He's never done anything weird when I've been outside.  Sometimes he does tend to come out when I'm out there but to be fair, sometimes I come out to do things when he's outside.  I don't think anyone was trying to break in because they had too many other good options.  There are two windows on the front porch.  IF someone was out there, had almost had to have been dangling (scaling) the side of the brick wall where the side of the porch is but why do that when they could stand on the porch?  If it was a person, I'm guessing it was either a peeper or maybe someone casing the house to see if anyone was inside?  Sorry, I know I have diarrhea of the fingers.  I am still trying to process what I heard and then that formation pressed into the bushes.  It would have been one thing if one of those things occurred without the other, but unfortunately they both happened.  The officer said something large definitely fell into the bushes but then he came back after speaking to his supervisor, and said that it could have been a large raccoon.  This brings me to my question!  LOL!  I have no experience with critters.  Do any of you?  Do they scale gutters or the sides of houses?  I've only had two sightings (years ago) and no other signs.  When I approached the bushes from the porch above, a bird flew out of them but you have to realize this was half an hour after all of the commotion.  Plus, birds don't sound like a fifty pound bag falling into the bushes do they?  I have no idea. 

Do these types of things happen to you guys?  I don't live in a bad neighborhood.  I live in the burbs.  The crime is almost non existent and that goes for the entire city limits.  The police said they weren't going to take a report but that I would see them patrolling the area more frequently and to call if anything else happens.  Two similar incidents have happened over the past decade at another address (no arrests but I SAW the individuals - don't know what they were up to but they didn't belong there because both took off when they saw me) and while I am thankful I wasn't harmed in any way - it makes for a good dose of paranoia.  How much paranoia is healthy and how much is detrimental? 

I guess I need to put ma big gurl panties on and suck it up.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 10-14-2013 - 7:51pm

I don't live alone but since my kids used to go to their dad's EO weekend I stayed there many nights alone--and also since I got divorced when the kids were little, it was more like I had to protect them.  Now at least I have a young man in the house.  I am usually not scared to be home alone but recently I had the 2nd incident when I had squirrels that got into my attic & would run around all night right over my bedroom.  I just had to spend the money to get the hole repaired because I know I couldn't stand listening to that all winter.  I was afraid one of them would drop through the ceiling some how & end up in my room.  They jump onto my roof from trees in the neighbor's yard.  I have woods behind my house & there are various kinds of animals, including raccoons.  I don't know if raccoons could climb up much--they seem pretty fat.  Maybe you could start leaving an outside light on all night for  a while.  I couldn't sleep w/ a TV on--not to mention that I don't have one in my bedroom.

Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Tue, 10-15-2013 - 11:33am

As a single woman living alone, I don't think it ever hurts to be vigilant. There is plenty of crime even in nice neighborhoods. Men can figure out you live alone and start watching your house.

I've heard that sometimes break-ins are comitted by construction workers in the area. Oftentimes, a contractor will hire less than desirable men to work on the job site, and they can case houses in the area. You don't think any of they guys working on your gutters would fall into this category do you?

I sleep with a white noise machine because I don't want my cats to wake me up while they're jumping around the house. But there have been times I have heard things--sometimes it's a big branch falling in the yard or on my roof. I did have rats for a while (ewwww!) and I've had squirrels running across my roof. They never sounded like a person though. I've never heard what I thought was a person in my yard. I wouldn't hesitate to call the police in a case like that.

You could have a security system installed. That could give you more peace of mind. And, if you're really tough, you could buy a gun and learn how to use it (I couldn't do that, although I will say that I was mugged a long time ago--a man pulled a knife on me. If I had had a gun he would be dead today. I was terrified and thought he was going to kill me. I considered buying a gun for many years, but in the end, just couldn't do it).

Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
Tue, 10-15-2013 - 3:44pm

I have an alarm but I am seriously considering putting up some security cameras.  At least if I hear something I can look and see for myself without going outside.  About a year ago, my nieces were staying over a lot and one or both of them broke the security sensors off a couple of the windows.  Neither would confess, but the sensors were on the inside of the house.  I'm thinking they were sneaking out and weren't sure if I was turning on the alarm or not.  I could still strangle them when I think about it.  Anyway, I need to have those fixed.  I let the actual monitoring aspect of it lapse because I wasn't using it often.  Just knowing that if something was tripped, the alarm would sound, made me feel better.  I used that sucker last night!  I also left the flood lights, front porch and back door lights on all night.  I thought I'd feel safe having the house lit up like an Xmas tree but the dogs barked on and off all night; I couldn't relax.  I think I slept an hour, maybe two?   

To answer your question, the contractors were hired through a family friend who I've known my whole life.  They installed his gutters a week prior.  It was a man and his sons, supposedly.  Although, one of the guys looked too old to be his son.  I only talked to the "Dad" and he seemed like a decent person but you really never know . . . the only problem with that theory is, I didn't hear or see a car but I guess that doesn't mean anything.  Another issue would be, they have to come back one day this week to attach some rain hose things to the ends of the gutters.  I would think they would wait until after all of their work is done but maybe that's naive.

There are several neighbors who I know nothing about.  The houses are fairly spread out and everyone tends to keep to themselves.  There's a house across the street with some boys who used to terrorize me doing the typical, bored, teenage pranks.  I think the oldest is 17 or 18 now so, I doubt it was them.  There's no telling who or what it was . . . I am familiar with shooting guns but I don't think I'd want to keep one in my home. 

I wonder if men ever get this afraid being alone at night?  It actually infuriates me but it is what it is . . . I feel silly typing out these torturously long posts about being afraid of the boogie man.  I know people have so much more they are dealing with . . . it will pass.  It always does . . . until the next incident.  Dun Dun Dun Dunnnnnnnnnn.