36 & Blessed

I turned 36 this week. Pause.

Okay? No big deal. Sorry, I’m still not a girl that freaks out about age or getting older. 30 or 30’s IS NOT OLD. Let’s talk when the 70’s roll around.

This week was a tested one for me and others. Boy, was it ever. Most will think having all my photography gear stolen would be the worst. Yeah? Maybe? Sure! It sucks to have expensive gear and accessories that I have been building for years to be gone like that. (one of my old film cameras that I was currently shooting with was in one of the bags and I had used it at my last shoot. Very sentimental camera.)  To have the ONE thing that means the most to me besides family, friends and my animals taken from me – HURTS. To have something taken that is a part of my being and my life. I shoot photos daily in my life and have been doing so for 17 years. I shoot for myself and I shoot for hire for others. I have always documented life. It’s WHO. I. AM.

But to lose the ring I shared with Kelley since we started dating in 2008. My precious ring from Folly Beach.. to have it stolen. Ugh. It had no money value to it so I’m sure it got tossed. It meant the world to me. It was a part of my relationship. I just cried. But even more that that, it is the invasion of privacy that is hard. To know someone was in my house while I wasn’t here… is… beyond… creepy and disturbing. The first night, thank God, Kel came to be with me. The next night was not good. I can’t lie… paranoia sets in. Worry. Wonder. The unknown. Checking all locks. Twice. Checking to make sure windows are locked.

The thief got into my house by using the key I had hidden. It is a key that was ONLY used when I went out of town for Mama to come over and feed pets. It hadn’t been touched since February. Sure after the fact everyone will tell you that it is dumb to have a key hidden outside. But no one said it prior to this week. So… I will never keep a key outside again. Lesson learned.

I came home that day after work. Let my dogs out, ate supper and did my normal after work routine. But I had walked in the living room and something caught my eye to look at the couch. See, I had a bridal shoot Sunday evening and when I got home, I put my camera bag I had with me at the shoot down on the couch next to the other camera bag I had laying there filled with gear. I grabbed my card out of the camera that I used at the shoot. Uploaded the bridal photos, sorted through them, sent them to her online gallery and then put the camera card in my firesafe box. I never touched my camera gear again that was laying on the couch until Monday after work when I put my Instax camera on top of one of the bags.

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(that photo was taken Monday night. My camera bags in the back on the couch. Sad face.)

So when I looked over there Tuesday after work and saw two bags gone. And nothing but my small notebook and Instax camera there, I had a “what the hell” moment. I walked to my  bedroom and looked at my bed. I walked back through the house to the kitchen to look at my kitchen table. I walked to my office to look on the floor next to my computer desk. I went back to my bedroom to look on the floor next to the bed. I looked in my workout room. I walked back to the living room. I walked to places I had kept camera bags before. I kept thinking am I crazy? Am I just not seeing them? BUT I KNOW I LEFT THEM ON THE COUCH. I did these things several times before I finally went back to my bedroom and saw my dresser drawers had been opened. And drawers I never open had been opened. My stomach sank. I mean it fell to the floor. The worst feeling in the world. I never wanna feel it again.

I immediately called Kel and he told me to go outside and call the cops. I called my brother next in tears to come over. Called the cops next. Look I’m a tough gal most of the time but in times like that… I’m complete shit.

Something told me to look for the key outside (because I had used my own key on my keyring to get in like I do each day and because I noticed there was no forced entry)… and when I did and it wasn’t there… oh god another disgusting feeling came over. Not only has someone been in my house… they have the key. The next moments, hours and days were what you think – police, forensics, talking to neighbors, serial numbers, reports, insurance company and all that stuff. The Clover Police Department was awesome to deal with by the way.

I feel blessed to know my animals were not harmed. All 4 pets were in that day. Chloe got out the door during the ordeal (she is an indoor/outdoor cat) but relieved the small dogs didn’t get out. Oh god, I don’t know what I would done if they had slipped out and went missing, etc.

We have taken many safety precautions to my home and many things since Tuesday night… not to go into detail but we have and will continue to do so.

I think I will never forget turning 36. Lol. But all I wanted was for the birthday was for Kel to cook for me on my new grill, eat on the new picnic table and hang with the animals. I wanted steak, veggies, the butter and the rolls Texas Roadhouse serves. (he made the butter and damn, if it didn’t taste like it!) And I wanted to eat whatever the hell I wanted. So that is what 36 meant for me. Nothing else. He made it happen.

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People have been so, so, so kind this week. So very sweet and generous. Something I will not forget. It is amazing how many people have contacted me and contacted Kelley. Between the birthday and the theft… people were moved to show double the love and concern. I’m grateful. There are 100 million more things worse in this world than something getting stolen but it awesome to see people rally around you no matter what the situation. So if you are reading this, thank you. Thank you dearly. I’m aware of every text, Facebook message, comment, etc that has been sent to Kelley. Especially from people in the racing world and community. It doesn’t go unnoticed. 

I was blessed with my favorite this week – flowers. They know me, they know me.

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Tulip’s Mama gave me.

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Asiatic lily my neighbor gave me. Can’t wait to get it in the ground this weekend.

Take the extra seconds and minutes to lock your doors.. any doors. Lock windows. Get padlocks for gates and buildings. Turn porch lights on at night. (that makes me feel safer) Do any safety precaution you can possibly do to protect your home and property. Theft is going around here in my area currently. I’m not the only one that has been hit. Don’t shake your head yes to what you just now read. Get up and go do it. 

 

 

 

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