Monday, December 31, 2007

13 days before the wedding...

A glimpse into our lives! Could it really be true? This turned out to be one of those events that "made us stronger," but in the midst of all that was going on, a BURGLARY at Tim's house just 13 days before the wedding was not really what we had been hoping for!
Yes, it's true... the story goes like this: We had been celebrating a birthday with our nephew, Tristen, and I decided to return to Tim's house to help him load some bricks into his car to take to his brother (Doug, a general contractor) the next day. It was late... about 11 o'clock at night.
When we first arrived, we noticed that the gate (which Tim and his family had just installed months prior when off street parking was added to the property) had a broken latch. At first we thought some neighborhood boys might have been messing around and kicked in the gate door, but as we approached the house, things seemed more odd by the minute.
We entered through the back door and noticed there were gloves on the floor (in July?!?). As we walked further into the house, it was clear that someone had been inside, having left items that they couldn't carry, or got too scared to come back for - such as the TV in the middle of the living room floor. Tim heard water running and ran into the basement. He said "don't move!" Just as soon as I was able to blink my eyes, he was back upstairs and dropping his pants in front of me. I had no idea what was going on, but didn't think things were right, since my ever-so-modest husband-to-be was now in his unders in front of me! He told me to call the police, tell them that someone had broken in, and to stay put where I was. I did as requested and could all the while hear Timothy schlopping around in knee-deep water in the basement. I wasn't sure if I thought he'd get jungle-rot or electrocuted first, but both possibilities came to my mind. 911 was activated and the police arrived very promptly. The summoned the fire company, who spent the next several hours pumping gallons and gallons of water out of the basement!
Turns out some thieves had entered to steal copper pipes. They cut out all of the pipes in the basement and managed to break the main water line in the process. The next 48 hours were a total whirlwind - we contacted our parents, followed by the prayer chain at church, the insurance company, a restoration company, plumbers, carpenters, etc. Multiple family members and friends converged on the house the next day to begin the clean up process. After it was all said and done, and we added up the stolen items (MANY power tools, Tim's laptop, stereo, other odd items and his PASSPORT - yes, 13 days before our honeymoon to Central America!) and damage done, it seems like about $10,000 in expenses were accrued. We're thankful for homeowner's insurance, but our hearts were heavy, not only for our own misfortune, but also for the lost souls who had committed such a terrible act.
Hours on end were spent "cleaning up" after the event, and Tim's passport was replaced after standing on Chestnut Street in Philly for 8 hours on a hot, summer day (just 4 days before the wedding), but the devastation and discouragement lingered on.
We found out months later that the thieves actually entered into 14! houses and performed similar, horrible acts of destruction... all for about $3/lb in scrap metal for copper pipes!
Tim has spent several days missing work to take care of details related to the robbery and going to court, etc., and even though we've now sold this house, he still may be called back to court to testify.
In the midst of the dirt and damp boxes, we were able to muster up a smile, rejoicing in the fact that no one had been home at the time of the robbery, no one was hurt, we had each other, and we had a large group of family & friends joining with us to get the work done, bring us meals, pray for us and love & support us. The photo here was taken the day after the robbery, when we were in the thick of the clean up!

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