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Personal Security and Security Cameras

Personal Security and Security Cameras

Security cameras have never been high on my list of priorities for our home. I simply never saw the need for them. We live in a low-crime area, there is someone at our home a vast majority of the time and security cameras are expensive. They are a pain. They are unnecessary.

Right?

Well, now we have them. And I can’t see myself going back to not having them any time soon.

The decision to get cameras was mine and mine alone. I have been traveling a lot of late and my children are spending more time with sitters. Not more time than what they spend with me or their father but more time in general. I am uncomfortable being away from my children and not being able to see or hear them or even know if something is happening to them.

I’ve also watched way too many videos of people finding out their pets or children are being abused via security camera to dismiss the idea that people can seem perfectly reasonable and trustworthy until they think you aren’t watching them.

I have trust issues.

So, I bought and installed security cameras in our home primarily for the purpose of being able to check in on my children and home at any time, day or night, when I’m not there.

When I started looking for cameras I was both unsurprised but amazed at how far the technology has come. Of course, like anything else, I could have gone super cheap and limited such as limited, low-quality video only to super expensive and sophisticated with pan and zoom, HD video with sound and recording capabilities. For less than $100 I got two cameras that have the capability of taking video and sound, day or night (via IR) that transmits via our wireless network in our home.

I got the cameras on a Friday and had them set up in a few hours. I also learned these puppies have some cool features I wasn’t expecting such as motion and sound detection that can be set by sensitivity and location. I also learned that with an app on my cell phone I could get notifications of movement and sound anywhere I had a cell signal.

Figuring out where to put the cameras was an interesting chore.

My poor husband had exceptional patience with me as I took each camera, connected to an extra-long extension cord and had him follow me around the house with my laptop so I could see at what angles I had the most coverage of the most lived rooms in the house.

We got them set and I started fiddling with the features.

Since we have pets, motion detection, I thought, was going to be a drag. Until I learned that I could narrow the scope of the area to report motion detection to select areas of the camera’s view including up, off the floor. I narrowed in the motion to areas of entrance to our house so that I wouldn’t get notifications for my cat jumping on the couch or the kids watching tv. For the most part it works very well.

I do get false motion detection notifications from time to time but not on such a regular basis that it keeps me from checking them.

For sound detection, I was able to set the decibel level to be alerted to for each camera but I eventually turned that off because, with kids, the decibels are all over the place. I can remotely turn it on and off if we are out of the house or schedule it for certain hours.

Which leads me to the moment I realized that these camera things have a lot more potential for home and personal security than just checking in on my kids and home while I’m away.

It all started while I was at swimming lessons with my kids. My phone alerted me that one of the cameras had detected movement. I touched the notification while sitting beside the pool and was immediately shown live video feed of my home where I saw the figure of a man entering my house. I looked at the time and noticed it was early to be my husband but within moments the man came into view and I saw that it was, indeed, my husband.

“How cool!” I thought. I sent my husband a text message, “Welcome home!” to which he responded by telling me how creepy it was to know I was watching him.

Knowing that I would be alerted to anyone being in my home before they could even get through my door was a pretty cool feeling which led me to my next big personal security revelation.

A few days later, after parking in the garage, I picked up my phone and did a quick remote scan of the house before deciding to go in. While there are certainly blind spots that the cameras don’t see I liked the idea of being able to visually check where I was going before I went there, a luxury we rarely get.

When the time came to leave our children with a sitter, with the help of the sound and motion alerts I was able to check in from time to time and see them being played with, fed and kindly cared for in my absence. Everything a concerned parent wants.

I admit to being a total feed-viewing junkie for the first few days which lead to my husband’s sigh and a hopeful, “When the novelty wears off, I hope you stop going all NSA on us.”

My remote viewing has certainly died down quite a bit, but I still enjoy watching him scurry around the house to clean when I message him to tell him I’m on my way home (not that it’s required of him, but that he does that out of love for me) or even getting short bursts of play that I’m missing while at a class or an event.

I go back and forth between feeling paranoid and relieved and even though my husband doesn’t particularly like the cameras he’s been happy with my reports of feeling positive for buying them.

“$100 is a small price to pay for peace of mind,” he tells me and he’s right. There is a certain amount of peace-of-mind that comes with them where a big question mark was before.

We’ve even decided to add a few more and to enable recording to eliminate the few blind spots we have.

So far, all we’ve caught is a lot of play, love, some jumping on the couches and cat baths. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Thank You, John Lauer

Thank You, John Lauer

John Lauer is my husband.

If I made enough money to put someone on payroll, he would be my first employee. Not in the “I’m your boss” sense of the word either, more like, “You’re a valuable asset that deserves payment for your services.”

Point of fact, I could not do what I do without John.

I would not be who I am without John.

He started this whole thing with asking me two of the most important questions of my life:
1. “What do you think of getting your concealed carry permit”
2. “Are you ready to kill another human being to save your own life?”

He’s asked me some other really important questions (like, “Will you marry me?” and “Have you ever seen ‘Big Trouble In Little China?'”) but we’ll keep this relevant to self defense.

John doesn’t like attention.

He’s a quiet man who, when pressed to take a more open role in how instrumental he is to this operation, responds with, “That’s your thing.” But its not just my thing. It’s our thing and he needs to be recognized for his part.

Like when I’m in the middle of writing an article and almost inaudibly say, “Hmm, who’s the guy who makes those holsters that we bought for my 1911 like 5 years ago?” and before I can even begin to research to that end he puts a tablet on my desk next to me with the website open and model of holster selected and while I’m reading up he goes and digs it out of the holster bin and puts it on the other side of my desk or reminds me that we sold it to that one guy we met four years ago.

I can say, “I want to take a class on room clearing,” and in the morning I will have a list of four instructors who do room clearing work, why they are worth considering and their schedules and his schedule so I can cross reference and decide when I want to go.

Every. Single. Day. Without fail, he is there, supporting me. ALWAYS two steps ahead of me and anticipating what he can do to help me.

Even though we have a very honest and communicative relationship and he’s well versed in the complexities of my past, he still has to read about them from time to time as I share them and as uncomfortable as it is for outsiders to read about some of the sordid details of my past, I know it’s harder for him. He never tells me to stop and he never tries to sensor what I write. He’s also been there in the darkest times, supporting me, loving me and helping me through sorting out how to heal, forgive and love as a survivor.

John’s knowledge about firearms, in general, astounds me.

He has a memory for all things firearms that I could only dream of and he is my first resource when I have a question or I’m confused about a make or model of anything with a trigger. He’s just as good with knives, training classes or anything else self defense related as well.

He’s pretty much the guy I hope I can one-day be… except I don’t really want to be a guy. You know what I mean.

John loves guns and training just as much as I do yet these days you won’t often see him at the same training events I’m attending. This isn’t because he doesn’t want to be there, it’s because he’s at home, taking care of our children so that I can attend. His sacrifices to take off work and stay home with the kids so that I can go and do something he would love to do always moves me and moves me deeply.

john4No sentiment on any card or any gift can ever show him how much I appreciate him for that. I could also go on about what a great Dad he is but that’s getting too personal. It should be said though because my comfort in leaving my children to train and instruct is only founded in a deep trust and confidence in who is caring for them. He has the hearts and respect of his children and wife and that says so much about the character of a man.

Most of all, the key to magic of our marriage is his patience with me. I’m erratic and a little too adventurous at times. I get ideas and want to act on them immediately and he neither hampers my creativity or lets me run too wild.

He understands passion but also restraint and he’s really good at gently helping me find balance between the two. He’s really good at grounding me or welcoming me home when I’ve been somewhere on cloud nine a little too long. He’s also really good at letting me go with a smile when I want another adventure, hobby or skill. He’s never judged me for who I am, what I want, how I feel or where I want to go.

Our honesty policy is unlike any relationship I’ve never experienced and that has made for a unique personal and working relationship. He’s never been afraid to tell me the hard things. He stands up for himself and never lets me make him feel bad for his honesty, even though I sometimes fight him on his opinions.

I think of myself as very independent. Sometimes, I want to believe a partnership was not for me at all. My honesty makes me admit, however, that I’d be a wreck without him because I desperately want a man like him in my life. And it’s the people you want in your life that you also seem to need the most.

For every gun under the Christmas tree; for every holster, knife, bag, or random piece of gear that showed up unexpected with my name on it; for every, “You need to register for this class,” “I’ll get off work so you can go,” and “Tell me how I can help you,” … Thank you, John.

I love you.

Melody Lauer

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