No Pictures, Please

My alarm went off this morning and I barely pulled together the energy to hit the snooze. Twice. I finally drag my butt out of bed and head for The Kid’s room. If I have to get up and go to work, she sure as hell has to go to school. As I cross the hall, I look out the front window and spot a gold SUV sitting in front of my house. It’s not MY SUV and I certainly don’t recall any house-calls scheduled for this early on a Wednesday morning. I stand and watch as the vehicle doesn’t move. I take a few steps closer to the window so I’m more obvious. (I’ve always been more of a fan of letting people know I don’t approve than to hide and hope they go away.) Within about a minute, the SUV slowly makes its way through the circle and down the street out of view.

“Odd.” I think to myself and then proceed with my morning.

I spend the next hour getting myself ready and periodically prodding The Kid to keep things moving. As we’re finishing gathering all our stuff together to leave, something outside the front window catches my eye. For a second, I think I see a car in the circle and the thought “wouldn’t that be wired if it was the same car as earlier” crosses my mind. I go to the front window to check it out and lo-and-behold, it’s a gold SUV. I can see only the driver who has the passenger window rolled down. Still not sure what’s going on, I watch as this complete stranger whom I’ve never seen before today takes pictures of the front of my house.

I HATE HAVING MY PICTURE TAKEN! I’m no celebrity so paparazzi is not my specialty. (If I was, I certainly wouldn’t be living in a PUD.) Sadly, my moral dilemma now is whether or not to hide to avoid being in the picture while also being really creeped out by some stranger photographing my house.

My instincts and adrenaline kick in and I decide to get as much info as I can. Oprah says I should write everything down so memory doesn’t get creative on you later, so I have The Kid transcribe as I read off the license plate. I then go back to the kitchen and fill in some other details that might be important later, although I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the info.

This is when the adrenaline really starts pumping and thoughts are flying through my head faster than I can register them. After instructing The Kid to stay in the kitchen, I head back to the front door, throw it open, and shout “Is there something I can help you with?” (Damn was it cold outside – maybe I should have grabbed a coat first?) To which he responds something like “I’m taking pictures of the model and the colors – I’m repainting my house soon.”

Confused, I close the door. Then it hits me – My house is 98% siding. I have no paint aside from the white trim and some faux-brick on the side and back (absolutely NOT visible from his angle). I contemplated calling the police, but decided against it for a number of reasons. I don’t know the non-emergency number (that will be remedied when I get home), this isn’t emergency enough in my book to call 911, and I’m now running late and Wednesday traffic is *the* worst for me, etc. etc.

He takes a few more pictures and, about a minute or so after our “interaction,” he drives around the circle and leaves. I take this opportunity to stuff The Kid into the car and leave to drop her at school followed by a frantic call to DH to explain what happened. Neither of us is sure what to think or do about it. I contemplated working from home, but then decided that if someone wants to ransack the house (and felt the need to take “before” pictures), it was probably best no one be there when he returned. I’m not opposed to hurting someone who’s out to hurt me, but I’m not going to actively seek danger (I also don’t jump out of perfectly good airplanes or tie rubber bands to my ankle so I can jump off bridges not actively on fire).

After thinking through it some more (the commute was even worse than anticipated leaving ample time to contemplate the events of the morning), I opted to call the police. I found the non-emergency number and explained the whole thing to the officer who answered. She was generally very nice and thorough, though I did get chastised for not calling when it happened. I explained to her that I didn’t have the number handy and my thoughts on using 911 to which she responded that it was a suspicious person acting suspiciously in my neighborhood. Calling 911 would have been acceptable. Who knew?!

Sadly, I have nothing new to report as the police haven’t called back. Either they are addressing some hostage situation at the house and can’t break away to contact me or nothing came of their drive-by. (The ferrets will NOT be impressed if someone makes them stay in the cage while stealing the TV and I can’t see the cats being AT ALL happy about someone disrupting their morning sunbathing.)

Let me just suggest to anyone out there who might want to use someone else’s house as a swatch for remodeling your own, don’t do early morning drive-bys followed by photo shoots from your car unless you know the person. It’s just creepy. Try a normal hour of the day, get out of your car, take obvious QUICK photos, and be really REALLY courteous if the homeowner comes out the front door doing an impression of Mama Bear. Some people just don’t like having their pictures taken before the morning cup of coffee!

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