The caulk gun stuck in my mailbox should have been a clue. I figured my ex-girlfriend had dropped it off. She knows i'm working on my house. But I started to get really suspicious when I saw the back door open.

My cats are in. Good. Breathed another sigh of relief when I spotted my guitar, safe on its stand. But where is the right speaker?

I'd been robbed. Stereo gone, right down to the big custom speaker wires. Amp, Pre-Amp DVD Audio player, laserdisc, VCR, Cassette, Tuner and the left speaker. All gone. About six thousand dollars worth of stuff. I headed to the office. No more Powerbook, though my partly disassembled 8500 had been left.. But they took my 35mm cameras, both of them. Second time I’ve lost a camera to thieves. I just stood stunned, for a moment.

It has been a bad couple of weeks. Two weeks ago my girlfriend left me for someone else. The next day someone broke into the toolbox on the back of my truck, which left me tool less come Monday morning. Now this.

When you're robbed, you feel violated. This was my home, my space in the world, my castle. Home is your inner sanctum, the place you retreat to when the world around you gets crazy. And my world was crazy. Getting dumped right when I was starting to think serious would set anyone back. And I'd just had my truck robbed. Now my home had been invaded! I was spaced for a time, and the cop who came had to calm me and slow me down. I mean the guy stopped to eat peanut butter in my kitchen. Peanut butter!

Yet, it could have been much worse. And not just because they'd left my TV, power tools and guitars behind, the cases strewn across my bed. These are just things, replaceable things. I have a decent job. I have insurance. It will be a pain in the ass, but every thing will get replaced in time. Upgraded perhaps. As an audiophile, I'll probably enjoy shopping for a new stereo. I’d planned to sell this house anyway, and get a better one. One with fewer boommobiles passing by. My cats are safe, and happy to see me.

At the end, the thing that hurt the most was the girlfriend. Partly because I know I contributed to the breakup. I kept my shields up to high, too long. Maybe if I’d let down my guard earlier . . . You can't predict such things, but can't get escape the feeling that I failed.

She’s a good person, and we’ll stay friends. But from now on she belongs to someone else. We’ll say hi now and then, but the sharing and intimacy are done.

But in the end, I can replace every single thing that was stolen. I can’t replace her. Lovers come and go. Perhaps the next one will be for a lifetime. Probably not. Each person in your life brings something unique and special. I’ll miss my stereo only until I set up the new one.

I think I’ll miss this woman always.

The policeman told me the peanut butter bit was typical. He told me that he'd seen burglars who had cooked entire meals and taken a shower during the course of a burglary. Crime is strange.