Keeping your Valuables Safe

True Tales from our Vault 

By John LaMorte

On a crazy Monday morning a few weeks ago, our day started off spiraling into a tailspin. It doesn’t have to be much to get the ball rolling. It can be as simple as tripping over one of Chester’s chew toys that he likes to leave by my side of the bed.

Sometimes it can be as simple as forgetting to gas up the cars on Sunday so we don’t wait with the crowds to fill up on Monday, or it can be one of the boys informing us at 8 a.m. that we’re in charge of supplying cupcakes for the class party later in the day. This time it was our oldest son telling both my wife and I, in the waning hours of our sleep. “Mom, I need canned goods for the school food drive.” She was preparing to rise, but to keep him from repeating himself she countered, “Why are you telling me now?” Trying to be the hero, with my eyes still closed I made an executive decision, one that I was told later, was above my pay grade in our house, “Just take what you need from the pantry. Leave me a list, and I’ll replace them.” “Thanks Dad!” I opened my eyes and finished with, “And don’t let this happen again, next time tell us at least 24 hours before.” “Yes sir, I gotta go.” The crisis was averted, Dad was the hero.

Travis was out the door, I was making coffee, and Kathy was in the shower. I came back to brush my teeth when her voice came out of the steam that grew behind the shower curtain, “Wait, what cans did he take?” I rebutted “Probably some soup cans, hopefully the spinach,” on top of being a hero, I was now shooting for witty. It no sooner came out of my mouth, when she shot out of the shower, grabbed a towel, and made a B-line for the kitchen. She took the turns with relative ease, and the agility of a Gazelle alluding its predator. I, on the other hand slipped on the first wet footprint she left behind. Eventually I made it to the kitchen, where Kathy was draped in a towel, soap still clinging to her hair. She let out a slew of curse words reminiscent of a short changed sailor on the first night in port.

What had happened was Travis inadvertently took the family jewels to school with him. Kathy had purchased a soup can safe that blends into your pantry. Easily found online for a few bucks, (you get what you pay for). This is designed to trick a determined thief from finding your valuables and mementos. Proof in the authenticity of the device lay in the hands of my 17 year old who grabbed the can/safe from its perch in the pantry. His intended purpose of doing well for people in need was close to destroying his parents emotional state of being, by tossing some of our families precious collectibles into a large cardboard bin outside the front door of the high school.

The ring Kathy’s Grandmother brought over from Europe when she first arrived at Ellis Island, my Grandfathers Bronze star from WWII, along with several other valuable pieces we hid for protection was now gone. We became victims of our own ingenuity. Something had to change going forward.

We couldn’t store our things in Fort Knox, and we could no longer put them in what amounted to a stash and grab faux can. We had to look into something that would stay put like my gun safe.

Standing right at five feet tall, and weighing well more than an offensive lineman, a burglar is more likely to be thwarted by the alarm company and the police than trying to get in or move this thing. The Hollon CS-12E crescent shield series gun safeis affordable and adds the safety aspect we demand with our kids in the house.

Because we store ammunition in the CS-12E something fireproof was necessary. This safe is fire rated for 75 minutes with an expanding intumescent fire seal that grows 7 times its original size. Designed to keep the heat out and the smoke away, this unit is priced at just over $1,000. Ideal for our budget at the time. But now our needs were growing like our family. As we have done with our investments, it was time to diversify our protective devices to accommodate our effects.


Kathy liked that Hollon offers similar protection for our family’s trinkets and keepsakes. The FB-685E burglary safeis a bit more substantial than the fake 10 ounce soup can. This unit stays hidden in the closet in our room, and anchors down into the foundation. It weighs in at over 350 pounds. Combining these two attributes means that it won’t be picked up and tossed into the back seat or our son’s car. A two hour fire test, rated at 1700 degrees means that our precious metals stand a chance if our home is devastated with fire. With adjustable shelves and 3 massive 1.5” bolts, and shelves that are designed with versatility in mind and engineered to protect. We can even house our valuables on adjustable shelves to accommodate larger items.

The last piece we considered for our collection was the Phoenix combination dual control hidden safe. This fits comfortably beneath the desk in my office, bolted to the floor. This holds financial records and legal documents. The security level is increased by necessitating both a combination and a key to gain entry. Fireproof rated at 1700 degrees, drop tested at 30 feet into concrete, and then reignited, shows that this company put thought into a real time situation the device might endure when you fill it. Priced well under $500, we added this to our online cart to make sure our needs were complete.

We’re not a rich family by any means, but what we do have we value immensely, so we questioned how we could afford all of this at once.Armadillo safesoffer great financing. No interest for six months, and cash back options that puts money back into our pockets, (or our safes!). The Armadillo Collections,offer safes that serve a multitude of scenarios.

We live in a digital world that offers everyone many fast options to resolve situations. We were able to call Travis quickly, and met him at a grocery store before he could make it to school. We showed him the soup can and what it contained. He found humor in the situation where we hadn’t. We secured our treasures in the trunk while we shopped for considerate can goods for the canned food drive. Everyone was a little late for school and work that day, but our crisis was averted, and we all became a bit more enlightened. Now with a safer and preventative way of securing our personal items, we hope to make Mondays a better experience even if just a little.