When I lived alone, I always worried about intruders. For one thing, I live in the middle of nowhere. If anything were to happen, my neighbors would never know about it. I’m too far away from them.
I was in bigger danger of coyotes and wild hogs than people, but when you live alone, the world can be a scary place.
My first home away from Greg was in a suburb. My realtor was extraordinary in helping me find a safe environment since she knew I’d be living alone a great deal of the time. She suggested a home in a neighborhood with young families, where people would watch out for one another.
Once I moved to the boonies, though, I was on my own. I had the dogs, of course. Tank was a faithful protector. And let’s face it, a dog that size is a formidable adversary. No one messed with Tank. They didn’t realize he was also a marshmallow, nonetheless, he was very protective of me.
I also packed heat. In Texas, guns are a way of life for many people. I’m not a gun enthusiast, but I do know how to shoot. More importantly, I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t be afraid to shoot if the need arose.
If I had to go out in the field after dusk, I went armed. Back then my woods were still fairly wild and there were often reports of wild hogs. These are beasts I could neither outrun nor evade.
Other times, I’d hear strange noises outside the house. I’m not an idiot, and I won’t go looking for trouble, but if I hear something, I get the gun out. Tank and I would stay up and listen to see if whatever it was moved off.
Nowadays with Iko and Nana, they make enough racket to wake the dead. Tank only growled if he felt there was imminent danger. If Tank growled, I flipped off the safety. Tank didn’t warn without reason.
Experience is the only real teacher but these are my tips for a safer home.
• Keep a dog. Even a small dog is a good deterrent. Thieves don’t want to be announced.
• Don’t tell people on Facebook, your blog, or in a mixed group that you’ll be on vacation or away from home until after you’ve returned.
• Keep the outdoor lights on.
• If you feel comfortable with weapons, keep a gun by your nightstand.
• Keep your phone charged. More importantly, keep the phone with you.
• Keep a working flashlight. Always.
• Live in a neighborhood where children play and neighbors talk to one another.
• Install security cameras. I like this one. It’s the Annke HD 1080 with two way audio. (Yes, I talk to my dogs when I see them go past the camera.)
You want a camera that can be directly connected to your phone, so you can even keep an eye on your place when you’re away.
For outdoor use, try the Dericam. It’s more expensive, but it’s weatherproof and it has a 360° coverage and a 65 foot range. Our security system is hardwired, but if you don’t want to go through that much trouble (and it is a lot of trouble if you don’t understand electronics) opt for a self contained unit like this one that’s more plug and play.
• Install driveway sensors if you have a long driveway to your home. The cheap ones wear out fast and they go off at the slightest breeze. If you want advance warning that someone is coming up the drive, opt for the more expensive models.
• Use motion sensors. No one can sneak up on you with motion sensors.
• Install an alarm system.
I’ll leave you with a funny story which might say more about me than you want to know. Many years ago, Greg was working the graveyard shift. We lived in an old house and the neighborhood was a little dicey.
Well, for some reason the house must’ve shifted on its piers because I could not shut the door. No matter what I did, it stayed ajar. It was getting dark and there was nothing more I could do. I phoned Greg at work and told him that I was sleeping in the front room (with the open door) and that I had the gun with me. I warned him to make sure to yell BEFORE he opened the door because I was shooting first and asking questions later.
Greg (fearing for his life and knowing me too well) PHONED me from a nearby convenience store and told me he was on his way. There was no way he was going to risk opening the door, in case I fell back asleep, or forgot he was coming.
We still laugh about that. I’m fairly sure I would’ve waited to see the dogs’ reactions before I opened fire. Well…almost sure. 🙂
And that’s why we’re still married.
PS The very first thing Greg did that day was fix the door.
So how about you? Do you ever worry about keeping your home safe? Do you have a dog? Is he much help? Although Tank looked menacing, he could usually be found in this position.
We still miss our big boy.