you can make this easy, or you can make this hard

Yes there’s the seat up bullshit.  The fact that he sleeps in the same shorts every night.  The bit where he looks at me funny if I leave my flip-flops anywhere but the closet.  But I gotta say, living with a man is a good thing.  Especially mine, but in this instance, any man will do.  My mother phoned me today with the gasping, "did you hear what happened to Lea?"  I assumed it was something to do with a job.  She lives in Montana and is a very talented make up artist (she’s doing the makeup for my wedding) and jewelry designer.  To die for.  I will include some photos tomorrow… or the next day.  I’m a busy girl lately, but I’m not complaining.  I have no right to, especially after learning what my little sister just went through.

At 4am, she heard the door to her apartment rattle, the way wind sometimes causes things to move at night.  But it became louder.  "What the fuck?" she said aloud while tossing in her bed.  Then she listened again.  The sound was still there.  She shuffled across her apartment, toward her door, worried, for just a minute it might not have been locked.  She checked her door, locked it, then looked out her peephole.  No one was there.  The sound stopped.  She lingered near her door for a while longer, looked out her keyhole, and again saw nothing.  "Maybe the wind kept opening a door down the hall," she said to me explaining what my mother had left out of the story.  Then–I don’t know why–she opened her front door.  There was a large balding man, panting heavily, with a fire extinguisher.  She quickly slammed the door and used her body weight to lean against it as she bolted it. 

"Holy shit motherfucker.  Stephanie, I was so scared.  I mean, I live on the fourth floor of a walk up.  Why’d he pick my place?"  Then the worst bit of the story:  "You can make this easy, or you can make this hard.  Either way, I’m coming in there," the stranger said, now banging on her door, bashing at the doorknob with the red cylinder.  Lea called 911 saying to the woman, "can you hear that?  There’s a man trying to break into my apartment."  She could hardly speak.  The 911 attendant stayed on the phone with her, instructing her to lock herself into another room, her bathroom.  Lea was certain he was now in her apartment. 

The police got the guy.  He never got into her actual apartment, but he did severely damage her door.  Apparently, he’d been given a police warning at 2am for severe intoxication.  They picked him up after her call at 4:30am.  It’s just sick.  This shit happens in Montana at 4am.  I don’t know how you sleep after that, ever again.  Or how you don’t run out and find a big boyfriend.  Or a little dog with a big bark, like the Lineman.  Honestly though, who says that?  "You can make this easy, or you can make it hard."  Dear God.  I’d have nightmares for a long time.  I can’t imagine.  I also don’t know what happens next.  At least they caught the guy.  At least he never touched her.  At least my angel is okay.  It’s hard sometimes to be so far away from the ones we love and hope to keep safe.



  1. Holy hell, that is scary. Your poor sister.

    Of course, the part where she opens the door is the part when you're watching the horror movie going, "Noooo! Anything but open the door!"

  2. OMG Stephanie! I am so glad she's okay! That's horrible! Your sister is lucky to have you and your family to help her through what are certain to be rough nights ahead. Maybe you should send her The Lineman (or a another wannabe Lineman) to help her deal with what happened.

  3. Can we take up a collection for a Linus Dog right now?

    My Linus weighs in at about 20 lbs. but the little bastard barks if a butterfly comes near the door.

    Seriously, my anxiety problems aside, this freaks me out and I might need some pharmaceutical intervention until she gets a dog, several bolts, a steel-reinforced door, and possibly a firearm. If she is so inclined. Most in Montana are.


  4. Oh, Stephanie, thank God your sister is safe and sound. I got the chills as I read your story. Maybe getting a big dog or a big man is a good idea.

  5. Thank goodness your sister is safe and had the presence of mind to get the door shut and locked again so quickly! I don't ever, ever open the door unless I was expecting someone to visit. I have had an attempted breakin (I wasn't home – but the deadbolt worked!) and my convertible top slashed. I am constantly aware of my surroundings. I keep the number for the police on my refigerator because sometimes 911 isn't quick enough. It makes it difficult for my neighbors to just stop by – but they know they have to call me first or I just won't answer the door. I would rather have hurt feelings than be physically hurt or worse by a stranger.

  6. I have glass panel doors in my new house an often worry about how easy it would be to get in. Also worry about my dog with the little to non-existent bark and how predictable our pattern is of going out at the same time every morning and every night. Because of this I've bought a handgun… very powerful but girl friendly. I don't want to be a victim of my fear. But if guns aren't an option for, I've been told the target papers hanging on the walls in my garage are great visual deterrents.

  7. Holy Shit MotherFucker.

    That scared the living daylights out of me just reading it. Nevermind a man, she needs at 60 pound dog, preferrably named something like, "Killer".

    I wrote on my blog about a violent episode I witnessed this weekend. I was terrified to the point that I could barely dial 911.

    What is the world coming to?

  8. I love Lea and I don't even know her. She must get a dog. At least through your blog she knows that all of the world wishes her safety. Lea, for the love, get a dog.

  9. What do you mean by, "This shit happens in Montana at 4am." ?? Are you so naive as to think it doesn't happen EVERYWHERE!

  10. I'm single, living in Montana and have a concealed weapon permit. Easy to get one. Costs about $50 and you can get one from the county sheriff. Take a shooting course. If she shot someone inside her apartment she'd be entitled by Montana state law to use deadly force because she was afraid for her life. A dog is a comfort, but I've found a 9mm Sig Sauer on my nightstand to be the sleep aid that never fails. God bless America and hollow point ammo.

  11. God love her. I feel for her. I went through a similar thing. I still have dreams about it. The guy came back later. I was gone and he pretty much held my mother and sister hostage inside my home (while the police took two hours to get there). But he was on a mission. It was personal for him.

    My guts are in my throat just reading this…..

    Montana, West Virignia. Women need to be aware no matter where they are. The Gift of Fear. It's a book. By Gavin de Becker. Read it ladies.

    Poor Lea. At least he was drunk. He probably wont remember her in the morning.

  12. I so agree with Mary, although I never thought I would say that at any point in my life (this isn't what changed that perception, obviously, but it does cement my new train of thought). Lea needs not to live in fear. She needs to get herself a gun AND the 100lb. dog. Bless her heart, thankfully she is okay and they caught the guy.

    Much positive mojo coming your way Lea!!!

  13. Oh my gosh, my heart started racing and I felt sick as I read this. What a nightmare. What a f'n nightmare. I 'm so glad that she is okay, but jeesh, that will leave her with some scary memories.

  14. It's hard to believe that he didn't just rush into her apartment when she opened the door and saw him standing there, and how lucky for her to get the door shut and bolted in time.

    Something like this happened to me in college once, and it freaked the hell out of me.

    Is she going to have to do a line-up and stuff to put him in jail?

  15. That's horrible! I`m glad Lea is ok and they caught the guy but how can you go to bed after something like that has happened? Even reading it was scary, I can`t imagine what she felt.
    She needs a dog, rottweiler. I had one when I was growing up and believe me that`s a dog no one wants to mess with.

  16. That made my knees weak. Not in a good way. It makes me want to go buy more locks and call the security company (I have an unused alarm and keep putting the call off).

    Too scary.

  17. Thank god she's okay. That has to be the most frightening thing ever – especially having it happen in your own home. I was mugged – years ago – jumped off campus by 2 guys – i was watching the guy coming toward me and preparing myself with my keys poking out between my fingers when i got jumped from behind by his partner. They beat the crap out of me – but thankfully – nothing worse. For the longest time – i would freak if people came up behind me – and even today i'm extremely aware of my surroundings. You just have to be. Things like this remind you that bad things can happen anywhere – in big cities and in small towns.

    Tell your sister to talk about it as much as possible and it's totally okay for her to sleep with the lights on for as long as she needs. There is no limit in having her create a safe environment for herself – for her to feel safe again in her own home.

    Much love to you both – K

  18. Guns are fine and well – only if you can actually shoot them when it actually comes to aiming it at another human being. Just knowing how to shoot at a paper target is not the same thing as aiming and shooting at a live human being. Because if you have ANY doubt that you won't be able to shoot the other person then don't think that pointing will stop the persom from trying to take the gun from you and shoot you. Target practice is NOT the same thing as aiming at a live human being. And since you can't "practice" shooting at a live human – you better be very confident (in a crisis) that you could shoot the assailant. Dog much better option. Along with getting rid of the "curiosity" to just check things out – let the police do that if you have any inkling that something just isn't quite right.

  19. Stephanie – i have been a reader for a very very long time but havent commented till now. that story truly scared me. i am a little crazy and paranoid that sounds like my worst nightmare.i have even been known to sleep with a light and the TV on when my boyfriend who i live with, is out of town. thank god your sister is OK and i hope she manges to get through this. I dont know your sister but i think therapy is always a good way to talk about the fear. personally i am not sure that keeping a concealed weapon is the way to go

  20. The saddest thing about episodes like these is the way they destroy our faith in others. The fear is so isolating. Anyway, so glad to hear your sister is safe!

  21. Stephanie – This kind of personal violation will definately stay with your sister for a very long time. Even though nothing happened, it is psychologically damaging. Someone got into my car, WHILE I WAS IN IT, a few months ago. It was a homeless woman, and nothing happened……but I felt like I was in the middle of a David Lynch movie. She had this horrible skin condition….ugh, I don't even want to think about it. Anyway, I have now become so incredibly agressive towards homeless people who are pan-handling and beyond that, just agressive towards anyone who approaches me. It's really not like me to be so hateful, but I feel like I can't control it. I'm sure my feelings will diminish over time, but not anytime soon. I hope everything turns out ok with you sis, stephanie. Good Luck.

  22. She did not know him. He apparently was in from out of town, staying with someone (NOT in her building). We don't know how he got in. He stole the fire extinguisher from the bottom floor, then made his way up to her apartment. He didn't try any other apartments (as far as I know).

  23. I used to be so scared the nights I was alone in my apartment in the city. Every noise would terrify me and i can't imagine having those fears validated. So glad she's ok!

  24. Goodness Stephanie, that's really frightening. I go through the same thing with my little sister. If only i could wrangle her and keep her with me at all times …I can't imagine how frightening it is to be a parent when we feel this way about our siblings

  25. My stomach was in my throat after reading this. Thank god she had her head on her shoulders. This is pretty much every woman's worst fear. I hope Lea is okay.

  26. Jesus Christ… I hate that as a woman I am never safe, anywhere – regardless of how many self-defense classes I take or what size gun I carry with me or how many locks are on my door. Here in Phoenix right now we have two extremely violent criminals running around. One is the Serial Shooter – targets both people and animals, has wounded people severely but hasn't killed anyone yet. The other is the Baseline Killer, a serial killer who is targeting women in the city, raping them then shooting them in the face. I grew up in NY; my father was FDNY and actually helped catch a serial killer and I was never scared there. Here I triple check all the locks on my doors and windows 5 times before I go to bed and am still jumpy when the wind blows. Of course, I don't have a Linus, but I do have a Mr. Riley Face Pussycat Head III, Esq.

  27. Holy shit, that's awful… I'm so sorry Lea, if you're reading this. I'm glad you listened to your instincts to get that door closed again as fast as you did.

    We recently installed an alarm system. I won't allow firearms in my house with children, so we installed a high-tech alarm system. The sound of glass breaking will set it off, too.

    I also heard the following advice from a dog trainer: even if you have a dog that is trained to not bark, his instincts will take over when you are really in danger. She says you must believe this is true- it is hard to override instinct! I have 2 dogs to back up that alarm system.

    Buffy, that is a great book. I also recommend "Protecting the Gift" by Gavin de Becker about proteceting your kids.

    Take good care, Stephanie and Lea!

  28. I'm a long time reader, but this is the first time I commented. Just wanted to say that I'm glad your sister is okay – that her story scared the shit out of me just reading it, and I wanted to second the suggestion about getting a Rottweiler if your sister is at all interested in having a dog. I've had two rotties (sadly, I lost one to cancer last year) – both of them were rescues (there are lots and lots of rottweilers that need homes – and when you rescue one you can find out a lot about its temperament and needs ahead of time – ensuring that you get a dog that is well matched to your situation). My girls were both fantastic, funny, loving pets who coexisted beautifully with my young son and three cats – but the bonus was that I knew that if I, or anyone in my family, was ever physically threatened, those dogs would take down the aggressor in seconds. I sleep very well at night, even with my doors unlocked, because I have two big dogs sleeping next to my bed. Just my two cents.

    I hope your sister feels better soon. What an awful thing to go through!

  29. That's beyond scary. I'm glad she wasn't hurt physically. Once that sense of safety and security is lost, it's so difficult to regain.

  30. Jeezus. Extremely scary. Thank god Lea's OK physically. I hope she can mentally recover. My thoughts are with you both.

  31. Poor thing! That's a nightmare come to life! I worry about that happening to me too.. it sucks to feel defenseless, especially if you're a small girl (I'm 1m60). I do have a steel-enforced door with 5 locks, and a large (almost 2m) live-in boyfriend. Unfortunatly, he has taken up a job abroad, so he's away for 6 weeks. We're currently having a heat-wave in Belgium, but I sleep with all my windows locked tigth, even though I don't have airconditioning :(.
    Best of luck to your sister, hope she gets over this horrible experience soon.

  32. It sounds like he was maybe a little drunk to be as effective as he had intended. That is a blessing. But jeepers my heart is still racing just thinking about it. I am so glad she is ok!
    And so glad that I do have a man of the house .. especially with soo many girls in the house.

  33. I agree with Jody – having a weapon and being prepared to use it to take a life are two entirely different things. I used to be a police officer and we would advise women that if they wanted a weapon to get a shotgun. No aiming is really required – just point in the general direction of the assailant. Also, if any children ever visit the home where the shotgun is kept, the ammunition and gun can be kept very far apart. A shotgun is very easy to load when one is distressed, and most assailants know the sound of a pump action shotgun very well. Often the sound alone is enough to scare the assailant away. We had way too many police calls where people had a handgun, thought they were prepared to use it, only to have the assailant take it away from them…you can figure out the rest of that scenario.

  34. Being a victim of crime changes *everything*. My mum has been held up twice and two weeks ago my brother was randomly king hit as he was walking home from a pub and his head hit the gutter. A fractured skull and bleeding on the brain later and he will be ok… in the end.

    One thing I hate is hearing noises in the night, so I don't know how Lea is coping with the dark and trying to get to sleep.

    I am not one for weapons – we can't 'bear arms' here anyway and just seeing a gun when I see a policeman freaks me out but there is nothing worse that being scared/feeling violated in your home. If you have been burgled, you know the feeling. :(

    One good thing is, at least they got the guy. The group that hit my brother ran and for some wierd reason I just want to see what they look like, how they speak and if they have any comprehension how one hit nearly killed him.

    Sad thing is, they probably don't even remember it.

  35. So sorry to hear this happened to your sister. A few positive things from it are that she was not physically injured and the outpouring of genuine thoughtfulness here.

    This is what a blog is all about. Thank you Stephanie.

  36. I first heard about the blog in The Times piece but I hadn't visited again until the other day. Out of nowhere, I was like, I wonder what's going on with that blog but then I couldn't remember the name of the. I searched "stephanie and blog" on and found the original article. So here I am.

    I've had nightmares about the very ordeal that your sister went through. Unbelievable!

  37. A lot of good ideas in here. Without thinking about the order too much, I'd pick an alarm, deadlocks (windows too), a Murphy lock, a dog, a shotgun.

    Two things not mentioned, just in case your sister has an issue with lethal force, is mace or a taser.

  38. This story chilled my spine. Thank god for boyfriends and small dogs with a big bark!
    Lea- I'm not even religious and I said a small prayer for you today. Stay Strong!

  39. It's definitely events like this that make you re-evaluate just how you go about doing things. A few years ago, we had a really high profile kidnapping of a beautiful little girl right out of her bedroom. Needless to say, within a couple of weeks, I had an alarm system put into place, dead bolts on all doors, new windows and cell phones for my darlings. One tragedy stimulates the economy in many strange ways. Thankfully, the girl was recovered more or less safely and life moves on.

    Give my best to your sister – I'm sending courage and strength from here.

  40. I’m glad your sister is OK. I’m really close with my sister and I would die if anything happened to her.

    Buffy, I totally agree with you, “The Gift of Fear” is an amazing book. A friend of mine recommended it after I heard someone being attacked in my back alley. I called the police and they were there in seconds. However, I was terrified to be in my apartment. This could happen anywhere. Reading the book helped me so much and I highly recommend it.

  41. Your sister was lucky. I had someone try my back door many years ago when I lived in an apartment in town. He/she was lucky that the door didn't open – I was waiting with a loaded .357 Magnum that I kept in the drawer in my night table (I had dialed the operator to send the police, it was long before 911, but he/she left before they arrived.) I now live alone in a rural area – the nearest neighbor is 1/2 mile away and I keep a loaded 12 gauge next to the bed. Others are correct, however. Before anyones decides to have a gun, they should train their mind to where the gun will be used if threatened. One needs to think through some mental intruder scenario exercises and practice a lot.

  42. Deep breath – Lea thank god your okay. One would hope that this sort of thing happens to you once in a life-time and that your all square now. Be strong.

  43. That is terrifying! I live alone and I have to say that that has to me my worst nightmare. Poor thing.

  44. Holy shit! How terrifying for your sister. I can't imagine sleeping along again for a long, long time.

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