Humor by Mark Bazer

We got broken into.

The worst part? It happened on my day off.

I had a couple of vacation days to use up at the end of 2011, because, with two little kids, we never go anywhere. Our idea of an exotic trip is an overnight stay at the Mayan Adventure Waterpark.

Anyhow, they were just about the worst vacation days you could ask for short of something actually horrible happening.

It started with having to buy presents. It was the first night of Hanukkah and we were still several gifts short of the amount necessary to convince my 6-year-old his parents could roll with Santa Claus.

I dropped my son off for school that morning and said what I do every morning of the holiday season. "Son, remember, there is no Santa Claus. But also remember, if you tell any of your Christian friends, there won't be any Hanukkah, either. Have a great day!"

Then I headed off to make sure we had eight presents, just so the eight days of Hanukkah were no different for my son than every other day of the year.

My first stop was the nearest office-supply store in search of the year's main gift, one sure to send my son into ecstasy. That's right: an electric pencil sharpener.

And they say Hanukkah can't compete with Christmas.

Staples sold me that electric pencil sharpener ... and then tried to sell me a warranty plan for it, all the while seeming vaguely embarrassed that they actually sell "Easy" buttons.

Next I swung by Toys R Us to wander around for an hour in search of that old game Mastermind -- and then another hour looking for an employee to tell me they didn't have it.

I later downloaded the game for free on my phone. Which fit nicely with the way we celebrated the holiday since -- and this is pathetic -- we lost our menorah and settled for using a virtual menorah app.

Exhausted from shopping, I headed home.

Let me just say, I love my home. I feel fortunate to have it. And I love being there when my entire family is around.

But I won't lie to you: Those four hours a year I get when I'm the only one home? Those are divine. To just have everything be ... still. To be able to stare at the ceiling. And to then wander around, saying to myself, "I wish everybody would just get home already."

I wandered up to our office room. A CD carrying case was suspiciously on the floor in the middle of the room.

I wandered into my closet. A shoebox full of 15-year-old love letters my wife and I wrote to each other was on the floor.

And then I wandered downstairs to the kitchen. The backdoor window was broken, leaving a million pieces of glass all over the place.

I called my wife. "Honey, did you take our love letters out and bash in the back-door window?"

I won't go into too much detail about the burglary. Stuff was taken. It could have been worse. It could have been better (like if they had only stolen socks).

Of course, the worst part isn't the stuff you lose, it's the way you feel. Somebody you didn't want in your home was in it. I know that's a common feeling for many people entertaining family over the holidays. But at least you opened the door for them.

The rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning up.

That's when I robbed myself. I called a board-up company. It took them 90 minutes to arrive, five minutes to nail a piece of wood to the door and five more minutes to collect their three-digit fee.

I guess I'd thought there was more to board-up technology in the digital age than just a piece of plywood and a nail. Turns out no.

At least, though, Hanukkah could go on as planned.

The electric pencil sharpener was a huge hit. It even left our baby transfixed. We sharpened and we laughed and we laughed and we sharpened.

Until the thing broke. Ten sharpened pencils in.

The next day I hit two office-supply stores. First, Office Depot to get the new sharpener. And then to Staples to return the old one.

Of course, I'd lost the receipt.

"Hi, I'd like to return this pencil sharpener I bought yesterday," I told the Staples employee. "Unfortunately, I don't have ... "

"No problem!" the employee said. "Just give me the card you bought it on."

Of course, fearing the burglar stole our banking info, I'd just changed my account and ATM card.

Gesturing wildly, I couldn't have looked crazier as I launched into my story: "Oh, well, I don't have that card, because, you see, my home got broken into yesterday --while I was buying the sharpener, actually, and, well, I cancelled the card and ...

The employee eyed me suspiciously and called her manager.

The manager looked at me lovingly and gave me a gift card.

I bought toilet paper with all of it. They tried to sell me a warranty on it.

The good news is: The new sharpener works wonderfully. So does the toilet paper.

Plus, it had been years since my wife and I had read those old love letters we'd written.

Humor & Satire

Humor & Funny Stories - A Vacation Day -- and More -- Stolen | Humor - Mark Bazer

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