Hello, friends and readers. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Almost a month now. And I wanted to share the reason why I’ve been gone.
I was on vacation last month in the Pacific Northwest, buying loads of vinyl and having an amazing time, when I got a call from home that my house had been broken into while we were away. My parents discovered the break-in and called the police, and we jumped on the first possible flight home from Seattle. The first thing I cared about was my cats and their safety. But then I started to imagine the house empty, all my belongings gone. All my records, all my guitars, all my jewelry and precious items. In the end, the intruders didn’t take my records, or my guitars. They stole rings I had from my grandmothers who had passed, some other jewelry, and some cash. And they destroyed my house. The place was ransacked. And not only was it ransacked, but they cut themselves climbing in the windows they smashed, and bled all over the house. Furniture had to be thrown out, hazmat cleaners had to be called in. It’s been an absolute nightmare.
The only piece of vinyl they touched was unfortunately a prized possession: my colored vinyl Sleater-Kinney box set. They didn’t steal it, but they handled it with their bloody hands, threw it down so that the corner of the box was smashed, and in the process of trying to clean up their blood, doused it with all kinds of liquids. It’s horrifying, especially because I paid $300 for that box set, and not very long ago. It had taken me a while to find one in mint condition, and that’s a good chunk of change to drop all at once. And here’s the thing — it won’t fit into a standard sleeve, so I had kept it in my bedroom so that it would be safe until I could make a custom sleeve to protect it. If it had been with my other records, it would have been safe, but the intruders trashed the room it was in the most.
This whole ordeal has been a wake-up call. We live on a main street in our small city, and even though the area has had an increase in drug- and gang-related crime, we still felt we were safe from it. Who would be brazen enough to break into a house on a major road, with constant traffic? And we live fairly close to our neighbors, and know them. We didn’t have a fancy security system, but you can bet we do now — interior and exterior. I’m truly heartbroken over the stolen jewelry, because my maternal grandmother just passed away last year, and we were extremely close. Having her ring stolen was a kick in the gut. And my paternal grandmother died when I was six years old. Her wedding rings and an ornate ceramic clock are the two things I had from her. I’m furious that these precious items were stolen from me. I don’t care as much about the gold rings from past boyfriends and whatnot, but family jewelry is different.
And here’s the thing: in the process of this, we’ve been asked for all kinds of things from our homeowner’s insurance company. Things like photographs, receipts, estimated value, etc. And I think to myself, wow, what would I give them if my entire record collection had been stolen? Would I be able to remember every record? And the condition? Would I be able to provide receipts for those purchases? Record collecting is an expensive hobby. Not only do you drop cash on these items — some of which can be very pricey depending on how rare they are — but you invest a huge amount of time into it as well. And now that I’ve been up close and personal with the idea of losing everything and having to try and recoup, I realize the importance of documenting. Having an inventory. As soon as my life calms down a bit, I plan to photograph every album I have, scan every receipt I might still have in my possession, and make an inventory of what I have so that if I’m ever faced with this again, I’ll have protected my collection as best I could.
I wanted to share this insight with everyone because it’s something I hadn’t truly thought about before, and maybe it could be of use to some of you. Maybe some of you collectors already do this, but for those who don’t, consider making some kind of inventory for your insurance company. It’s useful not only for recouping the monetary loss, but it could help the police track down the perp if they’re stupid enough to try and sell your records on eBay or Craigslist.
The break-in could have been a lot worse. We could have been home at the time, or one of our cats could have been injured. They could have taken everything instead of just jewelry. But it sucked nonetheless. And it caused us to cut our vacation short, so we had to miss out on seeing Wimps in Portland, and Quasi in New Jersey. Thankfully we have incredible friends who were thoughtful enough to send us Quasi goods to help ease the pain.
I have a lot of excellent vinyl finds to share with everyone once my life calms down a little. I came back from vacation with an overstuffed DJ bag full of music. I’ll be posting those finds soon, and am looking forward to catching up with everyone in the VC again.
Ugh. So sorry you are having the deal with this. I recommend taking a look at Discogs for cataloging your collection. It took me a year to do mine bit I’m glad I did. And it gives you a min/med/max value of your collection based on what your records have sold for on their marketplace.
Thank you! I have about half of my records cataloged on Discogs. I think I’ll probably use that to catalog everything since it allows you to enter condition and some notes. And then I’ll keep a folder in a drive somewhere with receipts and whatnot, should I ever need them for insurance again.