Posted on the eve of our departure abroad:
The short version: Don’t bother. You’ve taken everything of value on your previous break-in.
The longer version:
Well, if you insist… if you’ve already gone to all the trouble and risked being observed by curious neighbors, let me give you a few pointers:
1. Don’t assume the house is empty just because you heard we’re abroad, or because the car is dirty and hasn’t been moved in days. Re car – it’s nearly always dirty; and it doesn’t get moved in days because, as old-age pensioners, the bus is so much cheaper. Re empty – we’ve hired the services of an out-of-work Russian mafia thug to check in from time to time. He needed a place to lay his weary head. But he’s not so weary that he won’t wake up when you break in. He’s pretty nasty but he owes us a favor. You really don’t want to meet him. Oh, and when he’s not around, our son or daughter or cleaning lady or her sister might be using the apartment. And the next-door neighbor is also permitted to let herself in when she needs a cup of sugar for baking or if her toilet is clogged up and the plumber is late.
2. Say you’ve overcome all these hurdles, you’re in, and you’ve started snooping around:
i. I told you: you, or one of your ilk, has already taken my good jewellery last time, and I didn’t replace any of it, even though I got a few shekels from the insurance. How could I possibly replace the braided, 3-colored gold necklace that used to belong to my dead sister? Or the one-of-kind silver pendant, designed by an unknown artist, that my husband bought me over 30 years ago? For shame! I hope you are deeply ashamed of yourself.
ii. Anything with pearls is fake.
iii. I’ve taken my (new) laptop with me, as well as my iPhone, Kindle and camera. So there are no nifty electronic devices to steal. My PC monitor is okay, I guess, but a bit clumsy to carry.
iv. The Degas (pl.) hanging on the walls of my study and bedroom are cheap reproductions. Like, really cheap; probably torn out of a magazine before being framed locally. As for the real, signed lithograph over the sofa, the one of the running bulls – be my guest, take it; I’m tired of it anyway.
v. The silver is clunky, and you’ll have trouble selling it: no one wants that kind of stuff anymore; they’d rather buy kitchenware at Ikea.
vi. Oh, and if you want to show your girlfriend how thoughtful you are, look in the left-hand door of the bathroom cabinet under the sink and take the unopened bottle of Jean Naté after bath splash – it doesn’t agree with me.
vii. One last warning: In one of our more appealing objects d’art there’s an implanted microchip. If you happen to nick that one item, you’re done for. You will be tracked and arrested in no time. Oh, you don’t believe me? Never mind, it was worth a try :-)