View Full Version : Home Defense Plan: Couples working different Shifts

January 20, 2012, 12:32 PM
Greetings all. Long time un-registered reader of the forums, but finally joined up the other day & looking forward to contributing. Here goes nothin'!

Some background:
Live-in girlfriend works a 9a-5p desk gig, and I'm in the hospitality biz working 5p-1a. Although in a great, gated neighborhood in a nicer area of town, I made the effort to reasonably secure all entry points (nice lock&alarm on front & garage door, sliding glass doors and windows alarmed etc.), and am installing motion-activated flood lights around the exterior. All of this sounds great and reassuring on paper, but trouble can find anyone, anywhere, anytime.

The girlfriend is comfortable & competent shooting my HD handgun & shotgun, and has made the personal decision in advance to 'shoot to kill' if placed in a life-threatening situation. She's a rockstar. In other words, (and thanks to this forum), we have a pretty good plan in place thus far should 'It hit the fan.

My dilemma:
I typically arrive home around 1:15am many nights of the week. As part of our current routine, I do not announce my arrival home by text/phone call. She's a bit of a heavy sleeper (hence the alarm system), but my concern is that I'd like her to be able to react to a "bump in the night"/activity downstairs around 12:15am without just rolling over, dismissing it as my early arrival home. On the other hand, I'd also greatly prefer to avoid any friendly-fire =). I think it may be time for me to be sending her a text when I'm 10 minutes from the house so she can be at ease, however I feel a bit lousy waking her up at such an hour right in the middle of her REM/quality sleep cycle.

Perhaps I seem overly-paranoid, however my hope is that there are couples out there with a similar work-schedule variance or arrangement with their live-in that may be able to provide advice or their experience. Any tip or feedback is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

January 20, 2012, 01:08 PM
I think the question here is how do you avoide freindly fire.

When I was stationed at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville Al, in the early 70s my wife and I were confronted with this problem. We lived in a fair but transient neighborhod. My duties often required that I work late. My wife was home alone. Someone was watching and attempted to break in while I was at work.

Not knowing of the incident I was met with a scared female and a 30-30 Marlin when I quitely entered the house. I did so in an attempt not to disturb her as she had not been sleeping well.

We developed a system.

Knock loudly, Call M--- I'm home and then I unlocked the door, opened the door and once again Identified myself before entering. Once I was in the apt. I turned on the light and greeted my Large Lab.

I never tried to sneak into the apt and suprise her. Most friendly shoots occure when one of the parties trys to get cute and suprise to other either as a joke or some other reason.

Onward Allusion
January 20, 2012, 02:15 PM
Invest in a couple of Wi-Fi Cameras for the home and have a monitor in the bedroom, keep the bedroom door locked (real lock, not one of those interior locks that can be opened with a nail or something similar), and have a laptop in the bedroom monitoring the cameras. This is an assumption, but you probably have a computer, laptop, or even a tablet?

You come home in the wee hours of the AM and your GF wakes, she will know instantly whether it's friend or foe in the house. By having the bedroom door locked, it'll give those extra few seconds needed to shake off the sleep and grab a gun in the event of a BG in the house.

You can do this for about $250 total, including the lock, assuming you already have a laptop/computer/tablet.

January 20, 2012, 02:31 PM
For ~10, 15 bucks @ Radio Shack set up a little green light where she can see it from bed. You simply hit the switch when you come in the door. If she wakes up: Green light ok, no light, she arms up.

January 21, 2012, 07:27 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone.
I like the suggestions to utilize some reasonably priced technology to allow her to gauge the potential for threat and act from there. I'll keep ya'll posted

January 22, 2012, 02:03 AM
We have a code word he calls on his arrival home.


January 22, 2012, 11:59 AM
I did shift work most of my working life. (cops have a habit of that).

We didn't have text's and such back then. Heck cell phones didn't really start to become popular until the end of my career.

Couples living together get to where they know when their spouses are coming home. Much like a dog can tell if its your car or someone else's car pulling into the drive way. She knows your footsteps and your habits as you approach your house.

Heck my wife could tell if I had a good or bad night before she even was fully awake.

Timing helps, even asleep my wife knew if it was your time or not. If I come home early, she would wake up, if I came home on time she wouldn't.

Often cops don't come home on time. Later but seldom early. Late wouldn't bother her, its part of being a cops wife. Too late and she'll wake up on her own and start to worry, that's when a courteous phone call on your part makes for a happy wife.

I came in more at night then the day time. I never worried about getting shot by my wife via "friendly fire".

But still, wifey could always tell when it was me coming home. We always had dogs, you can read an animal and pretty much tell who's walking up the steps. Wives get that way too.

One thing you never want to do is try to sneak in without disturbing the wife. Come in normal, in time you can do that without disturbing her. Sneaking in would cause problems, never did me, because I knew better.

Pond, James Pond
January 22, 2012, 12:20 PM
I have a suggestion. You may feel it could work with you.

I am going to assume that your wife has a mobile phone. When she goes to bed, she sets it to silent, but with illuminations activated. The phone won't make a sound with in incoming call, but will be lighting up, flashing, what have you.

When you get home and put your key in the lock to open the door, you call the phone.

This means that you don't wake your other half unnecessarily every time you come home.

However, if the sound of you entering the property does wake her, she need only look at her phone to see if it is lighting up with your incoming call.
If you have already hung up, she can see a missed call from you in the few minutes preceding what has woken her up and therefore knows that you are already in the house anyway.

If she wakes from a sound, and there is no call from you, then she knows she may have trouble on her hands and act accordingly.

If, OTOH, she wakes to your curses and shouts, then perhaps you yourself have surprised an intruder, or you have stubbed you toe really badly. She can then leap out of bed with a gun in one hand and ice-spray in the other.

Everybody's a winner, except a would be intruder!


January 23, 2012, 01:59 AM
We have our 'married couple' code. I try to keep quiet but if she wakes she will yell "Ricky, is that you?" and the answer is "Lucy, I'm home" in a thick accent or some other answer that will keep a running joke running further. We know our code, and no answer or wrong answer is barricade, shotgun or 9mm and 911. The path to the bedroom will tell on the quietest intruder before breaching the barriers. Every couple will have similar codes that only they know. Use them to your advantage.

January 23, 2012, 09:58 AM
A dog would be a great addition and the perfect solution to your situation. If it's a good watchdog (loud barking alert dog) it would quickly get used to your schedule and anticipate your return, but alert if anything unusual happens, such as anyone but you returning home. You have a HUGE variety of breeds that make a good "Watch" dog so don't think you need a "Guard" dog.

I love an Australian Shephard for a watch dog, they are very suspicious of changes in environment and almost invariably will bark vigorously at a stranger near their "castle".

January 23, 2012, 01:08 PM
I'd love to get a dog at some point- however it's simply not feasible at this time.

She & I are sitting down tonight to come up with a combination of 'code-speak' as well as deciding upon a use of technology to get this plan in action.

Thanks again for the feedback, folks.