Home Invasion: How Would You Really React?

Do you know how you would respond if you woke up and found someone in your house? This weekend we had the opportunity to find out. Here is our story, and what we learned from it.

Saturday morning I woke up to the sound of my dogs barking. It was early, not quite 7 am. I assumed  someone was walking a dog, but the barking didn’t stop.  Then it got more intense. I remember thinking, there must be someone at the door for them to be barking like that. Todd was stirring in bed next to me, but he wasn’t awake, so I got up to see who was knocking so early.

When I  opened my bedroom door, I saw a dark shadowy figure standing in my hallway,  right in front of me. My heart stopped. It took only a second for it to register that this person did not belong in my house. I screamed, slammed my bedroom door shut while yelling THERE IS SOMEONE THERE! This got Todd to his feet in a split second looking for his phone and running to the door.

Lesson #1 – Know where your phone is and make sure it is charged

He looked at me for only a moment and then jumped into action. He opened the door, ready to attack, when a voice from the other side squeaked, “Mrs. Nickels?” Todd stopped in his tracks. It was a woman’s voice. “Mrs. Nickels?”  she said again.

We stood there, face to face in our hallway with a short woman wearing scrubs. Todd unclenched his fist and said to her, “You’re in the wrong house!”.  “I’m looking for Mrs. Nickels, she is suppose to be in bed.” At this moment, Todd knew what had happened.

You see, in our neighborhood, there are two streets with the same name. The only difference is ours is Trail and the other is Place. Another problem is that there is a house on that street with the same house number as ours. We are constantly getting each other’s mail and packages. This was the first time, however, we had gotten one of their guests!

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So, how did this nurse get in? That was our next question! She told us she had knocked, and when no one answered she walked around and found the garage door open. (grrrrr!!) We are constantly yelling at the kids to shut the garage door. Even when we think we have closed it for the night, they might go put out the trash, or bring in a scooter. She was able to walk right in!

Lesson #2 – Make sure all doors and windows are SHUT and locked

We found out from our son Wes that she had peeked in on him in his room. In his grogginess, he thought it was me. He saw her look in his brother’s room too before heading down the hall. She must have gone room to room looking for this Mrs. Nickels. If my dogs hadn’t woken me, I would have woken up to her in my bedroom! That could have been bad.

Actually, this whole thing could have gone very differently, and in a bad way. As we sat around as a family and discussed what happened, and what could have happened had this actually been a real intruder, we talked about what we should and shouldn’t do in a real home invasion situation. I don’t think that is something  people do until after they have gone through something like this. When do most people buy a security system? After they have been robbed!

Lesson #3 – Make an action plan with your family. What would we do if….

Lesson #4 – Have a security system in place, before you need it. Don’t wait until you get robbed.


We talked about what would have happened if we had owned a weapon. When Todd heard me scream, THERE IS SOMEONE THERE, he was ready to protect his family. What if he had reacted too quickly? What if he had hurt that woman? Thankfully he is a level headed, quick thinker, and he was able to stop and assess.

The one person that woman needed to worry about slept through the entire situation. My youngest son, Owen. He is a ninja. Most kids collect things like baseball cards and model cars. Owen collects weapons. Swords, knives, anything lethal he can get past me without me saying “absolutely not”.  He has been overheard saying, “I can’t wait for someone to break into our house.” Here was his chance, and he missed it. Thank God. You should have seen the look of disappointment on his face when we told him what happened, and that she was right outside his bedroom door!

Lesson #5 – Set clear rules for any child with weapons. How/when can they use them.

He then took it upon himself to make sure that our home, and the people in it, were properly secured. Everyone’s bedroom is now IMG_1144equipped with a baseball bat. Todd and I also have wasp spray, which is said to be a great defense because of it’s long range accuracy and toxic sting. He was also generous enough to store his bb gun next to our bed, locked and loaded. It seems that we need to take these measures since our first line of defense….aka, our “watchdogs”, didn’t stop this person from coming into our house.

Lesson #6 – Have some way to protect yourself in your room, but keep a level head

Although this wasn’t a true home invasion, we did wake up with a stranger in our home, and the feelings of panic  in that moment were real. How you respond is critical. We learned a lot about ourselves, and what is even better…it opened up a conversation that needed to be had. I hope our experience will help you start that conversation as well.

(names have been changed to protect the innocent)