This morning, I was thinking about this experience, and I realized through all this that I take responsibility for what happened. Some people have this experience and blame the other guy. I blame myself. It's something I've done all my life. Maybe it's because when I was a kid, my parents put me in charge. If there was a group of kids, and someone got hurt, my name was the one called. I had to answer for it. So, once again, I view this as "what did I do wrong?" Remember when I saw the front door open - what was my first thought? "Don't tell me I left the front door open . . ."
I made so many mistakes during my remodel . . . I was an open book about the work, I put photos of my house - flat-screen TV and all - online (which I've pulled), I let strangers (who aren't licensed and bonded) help with the work, including loading and unloading the PODS, I let my workers take photos of my house (how can you stop it when everyone has a phone that takes photos?), I didn't set my alarm, and my front door is obscured by the new landscaping.
Take it for what it's worth, but the guys who broke in didn't go through the library books, the kitchen, or the bathrooms. Every closet door and drawer was open or ajar. What they took, a 40-inch flat screen TV, laptop, Chrome book tablet, electronic scale (how can I begin my day without it?), jewelry, a Cabbage Patch doll and a small teddy bear, could easily have been carried in one load to a waiting car. Their entry and exit were obscured by a mature Crepe Myrtle and 3' high boxwood hedge. I can't see the front door of my neighbor across the street, which means they can't see mine. The thieves did not go through the garage or the back door. I feel they would have left them open if they had because they left the front door wide open.
I have had thumb-screw locks on my windows since the day my ex moved out. We removed them because we had the windows wide open for much of the remodel because of dust, paint fumes, etc. Now I don't know where most of them are. I will definitely get replacements for those that are missing. They would not have helped this time, but they may help next time. An alarm would have definitely helped. I maybe would have only lost the TV if the alarm was set.
Woulda, shoulda, coulda. I have to move on. Actually, the only thing I've lost besides the stuff, which is only stuff, is my sense of security. It will be a while before I stop wondering if someone is watching for when I replace what was taken. I'll probably just rearrange the TVs I have for now and next summer or next Christmas replace the flat-screen. I'm not into the electronic gadgets like some folks. As long as I can see Hallmark and NCIS, I'm happy. It doesn't have to be life size or high def.
Thank you so much for your suggestions. If my experience helps you become more careful, then I'll be happy.