Last month our house was robbed. The thief uprooted the pole from my son’s totem tennis in the backyard and used it as a lever to prise open our ensuite window. He then went on a merry spree, looting us of pretty much every possession worth a little money, and sometimes a lot.
I’m not going to bore the reader with the deep sense of loss we feel from the theft of jewellery passed down from departed grandparents; cherished gifts from loved ones, and mementos that might not have been worth much dollar-wise, but were rich in history. I won’t inflict upon you the devastation of losing our camcorder that held footage of our son from birth until his recent fifth birthday.
I can’t keep gnashing my teeth over the theft of our laptop that held every photo we had taken over the last five years: our wedding, son’s birth, landmarks and milestones and beyond, family holidays and events, etc.
The computer also held every word I had every written: stories, manuscript drafts, poetry, feature articles, over two hundred pieces of freelance client work, and all those half-finished works that you keep in your digital “bottom drawer”. The stories that you know aren’t quite there, but could be with a little spit and polish.
If you’re a writer and think about that for a minute or two, you’ll just about puke from the horror of it.
But, weren’t you backed up? I hear you ask. Yep. Faithfully, every couple of months. The bottom feeder stole our hard drive too.
I didn’t lose my words. They were stolen! By someone that I know will never even read them. Grrrrr!
And that’s enough of that from me. I want the real guts of this post to be about the positives that you can pull from a negative. So, I’ll start with this:
Recently, someone mentioned that my faith in humanity must be destroyed more than usual. Interestingly, this experience has restored my faith in humanity. The outpouring of support, sincere wishes and genuine goodwill that has been directed towards us from friends and family has been overwhelming. It’s made us release how fortunate we are to have so many kind and caring people in our lives. Bet the scumbag that robbed us doesn’t have a tenth as many good people in his.
Secondly, I want to share some lessons that I have learned from this experience. So, here is my Guide to “How to Make Getting Robbed Half As Bad As it Could Have Been.”
1. Ladies and gentleman, do not keep all your jewellery in the one place. Sounds pretty obvious, huh? So many of us have our shiny things in a jewel box or wrap. In my case, I had one of those wooden wardrobe-style boxes. I pretty much handed everything over on a platter. Divide and scatter your jewellery. Get creative where you hide it. That way, if some of your bling goes missing, chances are pretty good they missed other hiding spots.
2. Big money tins. You know the kind: they cost a couple of bucks from the Reject Shop, usually have an Aussie note printed on the side, and you need a crowbar to hammer the bastard open. Most people chuck all their loose change in them, but I do know some who stuff in a decent note every now and then. We used ours to save our gold coins. It acted as our annual holiday fund. I had even decorated ours with palm trees and holiday slogans. Noone will get it if I hide it in the toilet, I reasoned, congratulating myself on my wile. The asshole came in through the ensuite window and probably used it as a footstool on the way down! I actually laughed as I typed that, which is a good sign. Anyway, my advice: don’t have them or, if you do, hide them well or just use them for your silver.
3. Take photographs of all your insured possessions. Preferably with you holding or wearing them. Print them out and keep them in a folder attached to any receipts or valuation certificates. Scan them in to digital files as well. It makes things so much easier when it comes to processing your insurance claim. Insurance companies are not your friends! They will not make things easy, and they will not be flexible.
4. Also on insurance. If you have any pieces of jewellery that are especially valuable, list them as separate entities within your insurance contents. Check your policy and make sure this is the case.
5. Any photographs or videos that you have stored in your mobile handsets that you want to keep, make sure you download them regularly. We lost a ton of footage and photos that meant so much to us, simply because we ‘never got round to’ downloading them. Ditto with the camcorder. Learn from our complacency!
6. Writing. We all know to back up our work, don’t we? Ok, make sure your hard drive is hidden somewhere creative, and not carelessly placed somewhere where it could be snatched if someone was so inclined. Better still, have two hard drives. That way if one is stolen, or malfunctions, there is a backup to your backup. Other options include:
- Using a storage Cloud.
- Printing a hard copy of your work in progress as you go, and of course your completed work.
- Email your work to yourself. That way you will always be able to access it.
- Trawl through your sent items. It’s amazing what you can recover by way of attachments that you have sent to others.
All the above seems pretty obvious, and it’s hardly rocket science. But it’s all the things I didn’t do that would have made such a difference.
Hopefully, this never happens to any of you, but if it does, make it hard for the mofo’s!
If you have any other hints or tips, please comment below so we can all benefit from the shared knowledge.
Happy writing, happy reading and, of course, happy days