Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dusted - not Busted

So today I was robbed.

The day started out great. I had my Christmas cards ready to mail (before New Years), have my shopping well in hand, if not finished, and generally felt like I was overcoming some of my annual winter Bah Humbug.

Elliot and I set our for errands and shopping around 1:30. We ran around quite a bit, hit Taco Bell for a bit of a snack, and got home around 4:30.

I had my hands full as I walked in, and I hate to admit my house is currently enough of a disaster that I couldn't tell we'd been robbed. As I put my shopping bags down on the couch (already covered with packages and presents) I noticed a drawer was open on the buffet, and a sleeping bag was awkwardly spread out on the dining room floor.

At the same moment, somebody knocked on the door. I yelled "Who's there??" and it was my neighbor Phyllis. I grabbed Elliot and stepped out the door, closing it behind me.

Two years ago I gave Phyllis an ornament, and she's been bugging me to sign it. She had a pen, and I took it from her and tried to remember my name. What was going on in the house? Could the cat have dragged the sleeping bag out? He's a big cat...

"I'm a little freaked out right now..." I wrote my name and asked what year I'd made it. She told me, and looked worried.

"Um, somebody's been in the house. I think. Maybe my parents were over for something?" I called my mom. Yes, I know. When you suspect somebody's broken into your house, you should call the police. But I am the master of denial. I really am.

I told mom about the drawer and the sleeping bag. "Hold on," she said, "we'll be over in a minute. Just hang outside and David will go in and check things out."

Elliot, Phyllis, and I decorated our front bushes with red and gold ornaments while we waited, a project I'd been meaning to get to but it's been too cold. The box of decorations was sitting on the porch, so we dug in as the robbers most likely fled out the back.

After about 5 minutes, the cavalry arrived, and David went around back, confirming that the basement door had been broken in. Denial shattered. Reality's a bitch.

911, details of address, name, etc, and the cops were on their way. I tried my best to play it cool and not project stress at Elliot. How to keep him safe while keeping him totally unaware of danger... a fine line. The police arrived about seven minutes later, looking stern, and entered through the broken door.

We saw flashlights flash through the house, bottom to top, and I held my breath till they finally came out with the all clear.

And here's the really embarrassing part...

"Man," said one of the officers, "Messiest burglars I've ever seen!"

At which point I shrank a few inches and meekly admitted we were likely the cause of the majority of the mess. This was confirmed when we got inside. They had knocked over some piles and tossed a few things around, but most of the chaos preceded them.

I'm still trying to access my mental log of possessions to figure out what they took. I know what they left - the cord to my computer. The tv, my guitar, and a bag of chocolate and booze, all of which they left by the garage door (guess they couldn't get it over the fence...) My DSLR, which was buried on the table, my jewelry, still in it's travel pouch in the bathroom, incognito.

They got my computer, my(Elliot's) ipod, and our wii. My little point and shoot also seems to be missing, along with Elliot's birth year Mint Proof set from his godmother. I'm sure there are other missing things, but it will take me a while to (not) find them.

In the mean time, I refuse to be that put out by all this. I guess I just don't have a victim mentality - it was stuff, and all of it replaceable. We're safe and sound, and the alarm will be getting more use from now on. Other than having a lot of sticky black powder about the place from the finger print dusting, things are actually quite a bit tidier than before the robbery, so I've got that going for me... which is nice.

I'm not holding my breath that they'll catch the guys, but Christmas is coming, and I refuse to be a humbug. A small technical adjustment has allowed me to deadbolt the offending door, and life goes on.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Movie Night

Sometimes I get really worked up about movies. I get too emotionally involved and too agitated - too attached to the characters. For days I'm upside down emotionally over their fates...

I watched The Namesake last night. A friend had recommended it a while back. I can't remember if it was before or after Karl's death - the movie was released in 2007, but who knows when my friend saw it and thought I'd like it. The title had bounced around in my head for a few years, anyway.

It's one of those movies that sweeps through time, encompassing multiple generations as they grow and mature. There's only time to show snapshots - small moments that are formative to the characters as they learn who they are.

It's also a movie filled with themes that resonate with me, but most poignant was Ashima's last conversation with her husband, because it so closely mirrored my own. It was eerie and a little disconcerting to witness the shock and grief of another woman, fictional tho she may have been, living the same nightmare I had lived.

Oddly, tho, I had no trouble sleeping last night. I liked the film and believed the characters - they were charmingly human in their imperfections. I cried for their suffering as I watched, but it just didn't seem to carry into my dreams, which were no worse or better than they have been of late.

Of course, that's not saying anything, really, because they have been a little overwhelming. Last week a particularly painful dream, one where Karl and I were sitting in bed together, excited about the baby girl growing in my belly, watching Elliot play, all of us so happy... and all the while I knew he was gone, knew it was a dream, kept telling my dream self that I would have to wake up. And he would not be there, and my belly would hold nothing but the remains of last night's burritos, and perhaps a little too much gas.

I'd worried about opening myself up to this story, but I enjoyed the movie, which had a generally optimistic message. We survive broken hearts, just as we sometimes survive broken bodies... right up until the moment we no longer can. And every one of those moments is, in fact, a gift.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Drifting, Floating, Flying

Sometimes it's hard to be honest.

I like to record the best parts of my life here, and recently there's been a lot of good fodder for that. I haven't taken the time since getting home to write about all the great moments that added up to our amazing trip. The cruise was wonderful. My first dive couldn't have been much better without actually spotting mythical creatures. Elliot thoroughly enjoyed every* aspect of the boat. In short, it really was a dream vacation for me.

But vacations end, and tonight there's a lingering feeling of unrest. I can't bend it and twist it into poetry or submerge it beneath the greater joys.

It's partly the cold - we've hit the time of year when the hot water just can't make it through the cold pipes, so my usual hot bath is only tepid at best; my feet won't stop aching with the chill, even in 3 layers of socks. I hunch forward in the car, sitting on one hand, driving with the other, switching as feeling returns to the left, and leaves the right. I don't handle winter well.

More than just the weather, tho, is the season. Karl loved Christmas. I'm trying to love it but it's never been easy for me: the forced togetherness can cause undue stress for we social anxiety sufferers, and the family and media pressure for it to be a happy time - the Best Of Times - it wears me out.

It isn't that I'm not happy. I have so much happiness in my life, and I'm so grateful... The problem is, at the same time, I'm so deeply sad I don't know how express it. To say I miss him, to say I'm lonely, it's such an understatement. But here I am trying to put feelings into words - knowing there's really nothing to be said.

It's just one of those nights that I can't sleep, and I can't clear my head. One of those nights I'm not scared of the dark, but it does take away my balance. Tomorrow will be brighter, and I'll tell you stories about floating.

For now, dark and drifting, I'm keeping the details to myself.

*He's not so good at being served. Independent? Stubborn? Oh, yes. Stories to come.