Thursday, August 5, 2010

Heightened Unease about Security

Everyone in our household will be a bit sluggish today as we had a good night's sleep interrupted.

I'm not really sure what time it was - I'd ballpark it around 4:30 a.m.ish - but our reliable guard dog got excited and started barking and growling.

At our apartment, this meant either a dog was in the hallway, some kids were running past our door or someone was at the door. And all of that would have been fine here as well, if she were barking and growling at the front door. After all, that leads to the street where anyone who got home late could be.

But Tiffy was growling at our backdoor, which leads to our walled-in backyard with spikes on top of the walls and where you need to know the secret handshake to enter.

Our initial reaction was to settle her down and get back to sleep; it was early, we were tired, and Tiffy sounding her alarm was nothing new to us. Nothing new to us in the States at least. It was new to us here. Especially at night.

So a couple of minutes passed and Natalie asked if I still was awake. Yeah. Should we (me) check the back door? Yeah, I think so. Peek through the blinds and couldn't see anything.

House is locked, right? Yeah. Maybe we (me) should lock the panic room just in case. The "panic room," by the way, is nothing more than an extra set of iron-rod gates that divide the house in half. My general feeling is that if someone managed to get through the gated community's security measures, past some of the other surprises the State Department provides and into our house, which requires getting through at least one more set of iron-rod gates and locked doors, and beat the security system (beginning to sound like Ocean's 11), I don't think another set of iron-rod gates will slow them down that much.

But it is early in the morning, we're both more than a little perturbed by Tiffy's outburst, so I more than willingly oblige. And it was a good thing I did, too, because it revealed a chink in our home's armor.

Another crucial part of the intricate security system is changing the locks between every resident. In changing our panic gate locks, it appears they didn't do such a good job in realigning the lock. The dead bolt hit the door as opposed to going through the hole in the door. Oops. Guess what it is getting fixed today.

So instead of easing the situation a little, trying to lock the panic gate probably only upset us a little bit more (at least it did me). The air condition would turn off, and it would be silent and I would listen for any sound. Then the air conditioner would kick back on, and I could hardly hear anything at all above the racket.

Eventually I heard Tiffy let out one of her big sighs, and I knew she no longer was upset about whatever she thought she heard in the backyard. And that finally let me try to get comfortable and fall back asleep. Which I eventually managed to do, though for had to be only a short period of time.

I have no idea what she thought she heard. Perhaps there was a critter lurking about. Maybe it was the Chupacabra. Maybe she heard something on the street behind us. In all likelihood, she was just having a bad dream.

<--- (Was this in our backyard? Consider it an unsolved mystery.)

But she did manage to draw our attention to a flaw in our fortress, and we only paid for it with a few hours of sleep. Nothing a large cup of coffee can't fix, so I walked to the nearest convenient store and indulged myself. (Ha...I bet you were anticipating another welcome kit rant. Not this time.)


  1. I laughed out loud at the we (me) stuff. Glad you guys are safe, though!

  2. I am making a mental note to check all the locks as soon as we get to Malawi next week, do not want to find out the panic room won't lock in the middle of the night. Glad whatever upset Tiffy eventually went away.

  3. Good guard dog!! I hope it was only a critter out there lurking around.

  4. You made it to the State Blog Roundup. If you don't want to be on it, then please let me know! Follow this link to reach the roundup:


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