April 13th, 2008 § 0

It’s been a hard weekend.

My beloved iPhone and wallet were stolen today. With a little help from my own carelessness at forgetting my purse for a few minutes in the Kohl’s girls’ changing room during an unsuccessful quest for a new pair of Jeans for the ever-growing Alli.

We spent the better part of the afternoon trying to do damage control (getting little to no assistance from Kohl’s, who has effectively no security camera system that I can tell, filing a police report, canceling credit cards, changing passwords, disabling the phone service, etc.). I will spend another few hours this week probably tracking down things that are scheduled to automatically bill to my debit card, which had to be canceled. I am without any access to funds for probably 7-10 days until my new debit card arrives. The financial impact tally to date is about $700. Of course, our insurance deductible is $1000.

And the person who helped him or herself also was so kind as to rip open the packaging of a $50 box of printer ink that I had intended to return to Target. Make that tally $750.

About 2 months ago Andrew’s debit card number was stolen (not the card, but the number, likely off a purchase record from somewhere), and our checking account was depleted after several thousand dollars of fraudulent airline ticket purchases. We were fortunate to have that cleared up and the funds back within about 2 weeks, but the scab from that wound feels a bit raw right now.

2 weeks ago, during our spring break travels, we received an as-yet-unknown fine for a “ticket” from the Indiana State Police as part of their “Move Over Law” crackdown. A piggybacking group of police vehicles were pulled over on the right side of the road for the sole purpose of catching folks who didn’t move over to pass them. We were on the verge of getting off at a right-hand exit, only probably a few hundred yards away — making a full move to the left lane not the world’s most appealing choice. Admittedly neither of us know about the law requiring a complete lane change “if traffic permits”, but Andrew is one of the most safety-conscious highway drivers I know. He saw the police vehicle on the right side of the road, moved about halfway out of the lane to give space, assuming this was more than safe given that there were no people outside of any vehicle at the time. He figured, as I would have, that he’d probably be a greater traffic risk if he had to quickly get back in the right lane to get off of the exit. According to the officer who pulled us over, she saw him move but because he didn’t officially cross the lane line fully, it wasn’t “enough”. She fully acknowledged her mission, to ticket as many drivers as possible. The “ticket”, by the way, is just a printout saying that the real ticket and fine will be arriving within 4-6 weeks. Because they were just far too busy catching criminals like us every 3 minutes to have their time wasted issuing REAL tickets. I contacted the county who issued the ticket, and they were unwilling to provide any information about the ticket or the fine, other than to say that there would definitely be an over $100 fee for “court costs” (regardless of whether we go to court or not) on TOP of the actual fine. We have no idea what the damage is going to be, although we both sense big $$, or whether we have a leg to stand on in court protest.

In the scheme of life, all of this is a drop in the bucket. I know that many people are so much less fortunate than we are, and that many people suffer far more extensive violence and violation than this. And as I told Alli, who was pretty affected by the stolen phone and wallet debacle, “things” are just that, and the fact that we are all safe and together is what is important. But the anger and sadness over both is proving difficult for me to shed. I’m angry about the ticket situation, not because I don’t fully support the law and its intent, but because I feel unfairly targeted, and I believe in my heart that we (Andrew in particular) are always respectful of others’ safety on the road and in particular that Andrew did not violate the intent of the law here. I’m also angry because this, along with several significant financial hits that we’ve taken recently, is likely to completely topple an already-way-over-budget life situation. I’m angry in general, at this and at the theft, and just really, really sad. Sad that so many people in this world just seem to be lacking fundamental human compassion for others. And of course I’m furious with myself for not learning my lesson the many, MANY other times I’ve forgotten something of value somewhere out of distraction or carelessness. Still, I remind myself, drop in the bucket. Far worse things happen every day to so many others. Do I even have a right to complain?

What doesn’t so much feel like a drop in the bucket is that Ziggy (our eldest cat, the cat Andrew and I adopted together as our wedding gift to each other 18 years ago) is dying. Neither one of us really wants to say it that way, but it’s the reality. After several days of noticing significant decline, a vet visit yielded the diagnosis of severe dehydration and likely kidney failure. Neither of us (nor our vet) were ready to throw in the towel just yet, not yet convinced that he couldn’t be made more comfortable and be given a bit more time without suffering, so he has spent the weekend at the vet on IV fluids. We are to pick him up tomorrow and learn how to give him fluids at home, await a second round of blood test results, and take it day by day from there. Probably going to be another major financial hit in the long run (we’re already probably $800 in on this round thus far), although the money seems impossible to factor into decisions involving life and quality of life for a soul that is small and furry, but a real and very dear part of our family. We’re all sad. I’ve had several gentle but honest conversations with Alli about Ziggy’s age and health, and prepared her for an understanding of euthanasia, something which may be in the cards at some point. They are difficult conversations to have, not just for Andrew and I but for Alli, who is so bonded with her pets and who has seen more than her fair share of loss in the last year or two.

It’s been a hard weekend.

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