At the beginning of my triathlon career, my husband bought me a shiny fancy new road bike. It was yellow and black and we called her ‘Bumblebee”. Being a complete novice cyclist I had no idea if she was a good bike or a bad bike. All I knew was that she didn’t weigh nearly as much as my prehistoric concrete mountain bike, she had thin fancy wheels and clip in pedals. I mean, could you get anything more professional?
Bumblebee saw me through many races, including Half Iron Man, without so much as a puncture. She was super.
It was only later when I learnt more about bicycles that I realised she was by no means the most expensive bike on the block, nor was she the most fancy or sought after. But I loved her and her no-drama attitude.
About a year after we got Bumblebee we were broken in to. It happened one night when we were both fast asleep and we only woke up to the guards at our complex telling us that our front door was wide open. At that stage we lived in a ‘security estate’. They stole a whole bunch of stuff, except Bumbleebee.
The next day we bought a terribly ferocious guard dog by the name of Rupert.
Fast forward to Christmas 2013 and we were broken into yet again. This time they hit the garage and literally cleaned us out. We only noticed a few days later on Boxing Day when I happened to go into the garage to look for the vacuum cleaner (Side note – the reason I never went in to the garage was because I’m married to a triathlete, and every woman married to a triathlete knows that cars sleep outside, and bikes sleep inside).
When I say they literally cleaned us out, I mean they took pretty much every single thing in the garage. Except Bumblebee. There she lay, mounted to the walls, between empty spaces that used to be her much bigger, better and more expensive bike cousins (husbands bikes).
We laughed the robbery off (bitterly) patted ourselves on the back and said the usual “at-least we weren’t home/hurt”, submitted yet another insurance claim and laughed (bitterly) at the irony that we LIVED.IN.A.SECURITY.ESTATE.
A few days later I turned round to my husband and said to him. Fuck this, If we keep getting nailed in a complex, let’s move.
We moved. To our glorious house in the ‘burbs.
At this point, ferocious guard dog 2 – Bella – had entered the mix
(Are you sensing a trend here, dear reader?)
This one happened 3 days after we moved in to our new house in the ‘burbs. They managed to take a lot of stuff before our security company arrived on the scene and/or the alarm scared them off. We were both at work and laughed (bitterly) about our luck, but also reminding ourselves just how lucky we were we weren’t home. Garden beams and CCTV were added to the mix, we claimed from insurance again and kept looking forward.
Bumblebee, if you’re wondering, was safe.
Yesterday as I was packing up to leave the office my phone rang. It was our security company notifying me that a panic had gone off and would I like them to go check it out. Yes please, I would like that very much. I immediately called my husband to find out if he had set it off accidentally, and when I got no reply I popped him a Whatsapp asking if everything was alright.
I jumped in my car and left the office.
5 minutes late I got a phone call that left me cold. My husband had arrived home at 4 pm and let himself into the gate and then garage. 30 seconds after parking he walked back in to the garage to hang up some washing (it was raining). In our garage he was confronted by a man with a gun to his face who made him lie down. There were others too, although at this point not visible to my husband. Luckily, he had his gate remote on him and he activated the panic button. Unluckily the alarm went off (not silently as it should have). The frightened thieves punched him in the face, grabbed his keys and left on 3 bicycles.
Almost 6 months pregnant and stuck in bumper to bumper traffic I was unable to get home and felt utterly helpless. Luckily my best friend and her hubby raced over to be with Barry until I could get home.
When I got home I was met with what felt like hundreds of cars, police, armed response and neighborhood watch. Our house was a hive of activity. My husband was (thanks a million stars) OK and the situation under control.
Fast forward to a day later and I am angry and sad and shocked and tired and so upset that this keeps happening. I’m devastated that there was a weapon involved. I’m apalled at our armed response for taking 20 minutes to arrive and I’m absolutely appalled that they phoned me when they should have gone straight through. I’m tired of hearing about crime riddled areas and how one can arm oneself to the hilt, but if these guys want in, they will get in. I’m relieved my husband is OK and I’m desperately emotional at the though that perhaps the only way to avoid living like this all the time is to leave my country.
I’ve also come to realise that riding expensive bikes is a very dangerous sport. Because all our bikes were stolen, except Bumblebee who still hangs on the wall, now very much alone.
Tonight, I’m convincing my husband to take up golf.
Wow, Kate, sorry to hear! Was a kind of funny read until the part about Barry 🙁 Thanks for sharing tho xo
Thanks Bretta xx
It’s shocking, awful, dreadful and poisoning SA. These thugs are vermin and the sooner African countries clean up their own houses and keep their people actively employed will we be safe in our houses and streets.
And being safe in our own houses is a basic human right. Something needs to be done.
Wow Kate so sorry to hear that, it’s not fair! They’ll get what’s coming to them. Thank goodness Barry was okay.
Thanks T – much appreciated x
Bloody arseholes. I hate too that I am thinking of leaving my country. But I Can’t. Even. and when you have kids none of this is ever okay again.
It’s the last thing I want to do, but I’m so tired of swimming against the tide every single day.
How disheartening. I sincerely hope this is the last of your robberies. Urgh! I am so happy Barry is safe.
Thank you Tish x
Shame Kate that is awful!! Glad Barry is ok! Very stressful and traumatising. I don’t know why armed response companies phone before dispatching someone to the house and why they take so bloody long!! That’s not what we pay them for – despicable!
I agree. It is something we have brought up and will fight for as well – our situation ended well but for many, the difference between a silent vs not silent panic alarm and the armed response time definitely means life or death x
Even though you told me all of this on skype before, I went cold reading this. Keep up the good sense of humour xoxo
It’s the one thing I can cling to I guess. Thanks Sheens x
WOW Kate.. I am so sorry..not only that it happened but that it keeps happening. As you say, you can thank a million stars that Barry was unharmed, although I am sure, very shaken up. Sending you BIG hugs X
Thank you Jen, really appreciate it! x
Oh my gosh Kate this is horrible – so sorry this has happened to you guys so many times
Like you’ve said again and again, glad you’re all ok!
Gives me shivers reading what’s happened to you, and sending you all loads of positive (safe) energy and vibes Kearney.
Thank you Denielle! Means alot! See why I don’t want to leave SA? Too many awesome peeps like you xx
Probably the most frustrating thing about our country in all it’s beauty we have this rotten core, and on one side I hate and despise these thieves who continually steal from us, and doing it with such violence (I was once shot at from burglars breaking into my house). but on the other I wonder if it’s not the fault of our leaders not providing promises of jobs, would we be in a similar situation?
As cliche as it is, I am glad to hear that you are all safe. Something needs to be done soon. This story is a chilling reminder of how vigilant we have to be every day.
Thanks Devon – and I 100% agree. We are effectively stacking raw eggs in an already full basket. Government cannot be so lenient about letting anyone in UNTIL the job issue has been sorted – on top of that minimum wage needs to increase and public servant jobs need to be come higher paid – I’m talking teachers, police and nurses. Until then, everything will continue to be extremely skewed.
I’m truly sorry to hear about these experiences Kate, and so glad Barry is OK! It was only when I left there that I realized how much crime has created a completely different lifestyle in SA, and opened my eyes to how our lives should be lived. I love SA with all my heart and wish I could come back, I’ll deal with all the other sh!t, just not this. So sad how it spoils such an amazing country. Take care and best wishes for the rest of your pregnancy. Brian.
PS Long live Bumblebee!! 😉
I think it takes leaving to finally be able to sleep properly at night and feel a weight lift off your shoulders. I haven’t got to breaking point yet, but each time this happens its just another nail in the coffin. Are you still in Dubai? So awesome hearing from you and Viva Bumblebee, viva 🙂
Yip still in Dubai, more than 7 years now – crazy how quick it goes. It’ll never be home but we’re happy here and have lots of amazing friends. Move here, but bring everyone with you (and Bumblebee) so it’ll be just like home 🙂 Vasbyte
Dubai is slowly becoming SA V2 and funnily enough, a country I would consider over many others. So glad it’s worked out well for you guys!
None of this is okay. These scumbags need to vamoose back to their own countries and our so called rulers should be leaders and stop the rot from the top.
Shit. This is just scary and SHIT! I’m so glad Barry is OK (OK-ish) and you weren’t home either! Karolina’s husband Filip was attacked on New Years Day, out on his bike. 20 stitches in his face, later and bike gone. Karolina and 4 month old Gabriel waiting for him at home. It could be have been so much worse. Last year, my dearest friend Ismini lost her husband Dean to a shooting at home and today she mourns him and my heart breaks for her as nothing will bring him back! This country is so beautiful and so terrifying and I don’t know what to say or do.
Thanks Bails – I read about Karolina and was appalled (and sadly not surprised). I am so sorry about your friend Ismini. I have no words anymore – except to say we really were so lucky and Barry has bounced back – amazing what a few nights of good sleep can do! No one is immune to this crime, and I just wonder – when is enough really enough?
Oh Kate and Barry this is despicable … shocking!
Reading this made me cry A LOT! My heart breaks for all my family living in SA and I pray for you all everyday. Please come and live with us in NZ. Love you cuz xoxo
Thank you cuz. Don’t be sad – we are all fine and getting through this xxx