••• Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pissmas in July 

Sunday afternoon, Cabana, Cakers and I headed out to the local movie theatre to see Wall-E. After the movie, we returned to our vehicle to find the passenger side window smashed and my purse was gone.

I know. I shouldn't leave my purse locked in the car. In view.

Well, I didn't think it was in view. My husband's vehicle is a big, fat hate-inducing SUV. With tinted windows. It was broad daylight. In a busy parking lot. I left it in the car because I had recently read about people having their purses stolen in movie theatres, slipped away from their rightful owners from behind. Under cover of darkness and popcorn munching.

Anyhoo. The purse was gone. Along with my new BFF, my Hewlett Packard camera. And my credit cards. And my only tubes of perfect pitch lipstick. And my only blusher. And my driver's license. And insurance card. And all my good earrings which were in a pouch, left in there from the 4th of July travels. All the good ones. And a cut-out heart my Cakers gave me last summer, decorated with multi-colored stripes, then sealed with a kiss. She asked me to take it every where I go. So I did. And whenever I rifled through that part of my wallet, I'd touch it briefly and smile.

The police were called and we waited impatiently for over an hour for them to show up. After a review of the security tape, it was determined that the heretofore unidentified assailants were looking for a target such as we, in that just minutes after we left the vehicle, a car pulled in next to ours and left 20 minutes later. Obviously they had waited there for the perfect moment to strike. The quality of the video was so poor that they could only determine the car was neon green.

The police officer was nice enough, and of course it is his job to remind us that that a purse is never safe in a car, unless locked in a trunk.

"But in the light of day...I thought it would be safe." I said.
"Crime is a 24 hour job, ma'am."

Yeah. Yeah.
Public Service TV, much? I says to self.

By the time we got home and called the credit card companies, there had been four charges made on each card, with one card being used three times at the same gas station. And one charge at Wendy's for 7 bucks.

I really was doing okay with it all until our insurance man called. This guy is a longtime friend of my husband. He's a quick-witted, scathing smartass. The kind of person with whom any conversation feels like an ego smash a la Comet the Insult Dog. As soon as I answered the phone, he started giving me shit about leaving my purse in the car. It's just not done. Blah, blah blah.

Obviously I now know this. About the purse. In the car. Then, quite lamely, I attempt to joke myself around the almost immediate urge to cry in response to this unexpected scathe. Of course with a personality like his, my lame remarks end up as further Insult Dog Fodder.

In retrospect, I find it interesting that at the time of this "playful" conversation, neither one of us thought to cast any blame toward the fuckers who took a screwdriver to the safety-glass window of our car, while we enjoyed a movie together, as a family. And it's not like I left my purse on the hood of our car, or in the back seat of an open convertible.

After I passed the phone to my husband, I quietly lost my religion. First I started beating myself with the blame chain, for bringing my family into the public spotlight of shame and nearly driving us to ruin.

My next punishment came in the form of an intrusive visual of me playing myself in one of those identity theft commercials. In said commercial I am sitting in a rocking chair, lip-syncing the voice of the 49-year-old menopausal woman who steals my identity and maxes out my good name by charging herself a dee-luxe hysterectomy and tummytuck at the local women's health center. Next, she buys enough Cashmerino and Playtex Pearl Supersuck tampons (Apparently, she wasn't the longest tampon string in the box) to fill a U-Haul semi-trailer, and heads off to Las Vegas to find herself a new boytoy. But because she is a little brighter than initially believed, she eventually realizes that said boytoy should have custody of a post-pubescent daughter who has issues of heavy flow.

From there I moved on to mental eavesdropping on a totally imaginary phone conversation between my husband and Insult the Insurance Man, which included a few yucks at my brainless expense. ::My husband has yet to blame me for leaving my purse in the car, or for any of the other related crap that has since ensued. Uh yeah. You might wanna scroll down a second, just to see that we are no where near the end of the tale.::

After being washed over by a second tsumani of guilt and responsibility and stupidity, it finally dawned on me that My Purse Was Gone. Forever. And I missed her. And this missing was not at all about function. But about emotional attachment. And loss. And worry.

I started to wonder where she was.
And how is she being treated?
Did she end up in a garbage heap or passed on to a lucky girlfriend?
Did she miss me?
Was she scared?
And worst of all: Did she blame me?

I get into my purse every day, even on days I don't leave the house. In fact, I only now realize that a daily rummage into her dark leathery goodness, around the perfect balance of pads and tampons, through prescription bottles and old receipts, until my fingernails graze the loose sunflower seeds and raisins resting at the bottom had been an integral part of my daily existence.

For, like my mother and grandmother before me, I am a purse rummager.
Like hamsters. With better stuff.

Monday: Fail
My husband's car was not drivable and needed to be taken to the body shop for repairs. So Monday, during husband's lunchhour, I'm going to follow him to the shop to give him a ride home.

But since my purse was stolen, along with my driver's license and the remote entry keys to my car, I was feeling kind of vulnerable. Like, they know where we live and have a key to my car and maybe they want some more of my shit,'cause that first sample was soooo so good.

We seldom lock our doors during the day, but with my heightened sense of vulnerability, I decided that this was going to change. I gave my husband one house key, then found the extra one. Because we hadn't used that one in awhile, I wanted to be sure it worked on the deadbolt. With the door open, I stuck the key in and turned. Sure enough, the deadbolt popped out with the speed and velocity of a 7th grade bulge in health class.

And much like said bulge, it would not go down, erm, back in.
After much twisting and pounding, followed by gentle shaking and sweet talk cajoling, it still wouldn't go down. It was stuck. Out. So not only could we not lock the door, we couldn't even shut it.

Cabana was already in a hurry, so quickly dismantled the deadbolt, with the hopes of finding a switch or a groove to get the protusion back into its rightful pants.

No go. It was broke.

With no time to go to hardware store for a new lock, we had to make do. With duct tape. Please meet our new security system: Deadhole.

The news at the shop was not good, in that they don't have any windows on hand for our particular model of car. ::Ahem. We're at the dealership...:: We are warned that it could be as late as Thursday before the car can be fixed.

Tuesday Cabana takes my car to work and we are stuck at home. While I have the option of driving my husband to work to have the car for the day or the afternoon, in my current emotionally beaten down state, it sounds like too much work. Besides, I have no where to go, what with no credit cards or picture i.d. to back up a written check. But, stuck at home is not so bad, I knit and get laundry going.

Wednesday is the day my emotional mettle gets tested. Every potential playmate on the block is either gone on vacation or at Vacation Bible School. Cakers' makes several phone calls for playdates. With the understanding we can provide no transportation. Every call is a dead end and every call seems to further drive her increasingly frenzied need to have contact with anyone else except her visually and olfactorily unkempt, emotionally edgy mother. And it's about 90 degrees, and humid.
And she starts to cry. I want so hard to do the right thing and be empathic. She had already declined all my "as-is" offers to do something together. Once she sensed my sympathy, she tried to milk it.

Then I started thinking about wishing we could go to the cottage. With Cabana's new job, the frequency and duration of our cottage excursions have been significantly curbed. I have experienced some sorrow with this necessary development, but have so far handled it while wearing my big girl pants. Wednesday , the pants came off and the pity party began.

Earlier in the summer we agreed that when the weather turned hot, and especially if the in-laws were up there, I would gather the Cakers and head up there, as needed. To be joined on the next weekend by Cabana. This is exactly what I wanted to do right now. But had no car.

And just as Cakers was overfocusing on the unfairness of having no playmates, so I began the brood on my currently denied entitlement to cool northwesterlies on the beach and evening swims. And it was all my fault.

By the time my husband got home, I was a fully baked and frosted box of bitchcakes. Poor guy. He had no idea what he was coming home to. Then the dealership called to announce they couldn't find a window for his violated, so we had no idea when it was going to be done.

Cakers needed pajamas, so after dinner we went on a family excursion to Target, with the plans of hitting a nicer place to replace my purse. After Target, however, storm clouds were brewing, so we headed home, to find the power out.

It is rare when our power goes out, so in that, we are lucky.
Yesterday the timing could not have been worse, for this unlucky strike.

I did get some alone time before bed, knitting cables by candlelight, while watching Jay Leno on my b/w, battery operated T.V. Cakers had never heard of B/W T.V. and was kind of intrigued, until she found out it didn't have cable. Come February, my little buddy will be worthless as tits on a bore. But I digress.

The power came on around midnight, just in time for me to find my jammies in the drawer and go to bed.

And Along Came Thursday
Cabana gets up this morning to go to work. The power is on. He is up on time. Life is good.

I hear him messing around in the kitchen, then leaving the house. I hear my car start up and apparently I fall back to sleep. Likely moments later, I am awakened by the sound of my name being called from the garage, and a gentle rapping on the door.

He must be locked out, I think.
He must have forgotten his key to the deadhole.
Had I not heard the car start before I dozed back to sleep, I would have been sure that the thieves had finally come for my car. A fear that I have been expressing and Cabana Poo-Poohing, since Sunday.

But no. The car has not been thieved.
It's been thusly this-sed:

Actually, the above flat tire was the spare replacement from an earlier flat, which has not yet been fixed.

So the plan is for Cabana to call in to work to say he'll be late, then call Insult the Insurance Man to get temporary insurance coverage on the Cobra, pull the tire off, put it in the Cobra and drive it to the Discount tire for repair.

Except the lugnuts are too tight. And two of them don't fit the lug-nutter thangy.
And the Cobra won't start.

So he calls a wrecker.
Who gets lost.
And shows up 2 hours later.

The wrecker guy plumps the tire and follows Cabana to the tire store, where the tire is fixed.

I just now drove to the store to mail a package that should have went out yesterday. And I was so stricken with fear that something else was going to happen, that I could hardly pay attention to street signs and oncoming traffic and even forgot where I was going and turned down the wrong street.

Once we get our car situation back to normal, I'll get my license renewed and buy a new purse to put it in. I wasn't all that enthused about buying a new purse initially, seeing as how I still wasn't over the cruel loss of my last one. And until purchasing a lipstick and emery board last night, I had not a thing to put in a new purse anyway.

But my new insurance cards showed up today already, which gave me an odd sense of hope. Between the insurance cards and a tube of perfect pitch lipstick, I am feeling almost encouraged that the worst of the shitstorm is behind us.

The Good News
One day last week, Cakers yells to me from the other room: "Mom! I have good news!"

"What!?" I yell back, with rapt enthusiasm.

"I just found out that when you're done wearing a Poncho for a Poncho, you can wear it as a skirt!"

And wear it she did. All day.
There is still goodness out there.


Oh man. There is no way you should have to endure Insult the Insurance Man after that. It's Not His Business how your car got broken into.

I've never had that much crucial stuff stolen nor in such an inconvenient way. You must be so pissed. I don't know how you can write so humourously but whatever you have that lets you do that, thank-you for it!
Deadhole. ahaha! You are an exceptionally talented writer.
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