May 30, 2013

Third time's the charm?

Rochester: Car next to the house while we were sleeping. Cops showed up within a few hours. Car found within a week.

Baltimore: Wedding ring, engagement ring, jade ring, laptop. Through the back door during the day while we were at work. No cop ever came. I had to request a crime scene investigator. Then waited until 1 AM for him to have time between murder scenes to swing by and fingerprint. Nothing ever found. No follow up.

Dallas: Bike, Bike pump, 8-foot aluminum step ladder, toolbox (old tools). Contractor's tools, 6-foot ladder and paint supplies. From the open garage, through the open gate while we were doing things on the far side of the fence.

We weren't going to call the cops about this burglary. None of the stolen items added up to our deductible, so it didn't seem worth it. However, after a Facebook post about the burglary, a friend asked about recent neighborhood break-ins, "Do you think this is the same guy?" In the most recent incident, he'd kicked in a garage door.

I called the detective on those cases to see if he thought it was worth reporting. He asked me what they'd taken. I listed the stuff above, then added, "The ballsiest thing they did was go through some thrift store donation bags I had in the garage, strew the clothes all over, then take one of the three bags to carry what they took."

He got excited, "Ma'am, what were the bags made of?"

"One was plastic."

"Could you please call it in and ask for fingerprinting? All I've got for evidence are a couple of photos that could be anyone and a bad video. None of the other victims asked for prints."

So, in the midst of a day full of deadlines, I called 9-1-1. Within 30 minutes, an officer knocked on the back door (the gate was open since our contractor was working in the alley). Muttola went CRAZY. No one comes to the back door first.

"Good girl. That's your job."

I praised her as I held her back and opened the door. The cop asked for details, and we toured the garage. Then we headed to the alley to chat with the contractor about what he was missing and when he noticed it. While we were talking with him, as a collarless Muttola sniffed the grass at my feet, two cops rode into the alley. I held the dog back so she wouldn't attack the horses. (We're definitely in Texas, y'all! Horses!!) The officer told them the crime had happened sometime in the last few days so there wasn't a need for them to do street patrol.

[pause. Now visualize being a thief running down the street as you're being chased by a horse...]

An hour after the officer left, the doorbell rang. I assumed it would be the fingerprint team, but NOOOOoooo. Alarm chasers. They must listen to the police scanner and then show up to the house to sell an alarm. Half an hour after they left, it was my neighbor. They'd knocked on her door, too!

THEN it was the fingerprint officer. I loved the irony that the woman responding to the actual crime was a petite, though tough looking, woman. The guy doing the post-crime analysis was over six feet tall and obviously lifted weights on a regular basis.

The good news is he found three viable prints. Now we just hope that one of them belongs to the thieves.

May 22, 2013

You know you live in Texas when... get an estimate from a guy named J1mbo. Turns out he went to high school here in the Cliff. Great guy. Warm Texan accent.

He's been a mason his whole working life and prides himself on doing his work well. As we looked a project we need to finish in the back yard, he examined my cousin's work on our circular patio.

He couldn't believe that JR was able to do eyeball cuts with a tile saw.

"Them's some tight joints! I like to see quality work. He's a real mason. That's just beautiful."

I agreed, "Yeah, he's definitely an artist."

After business was finished, we launched into the story swap. We'd both seen (and cried) watching the video of the woman in Moore whose dog shows up while she's getting interviewed:

Then he tells me about a tornado that went through Wichita Falls 35 years ago. They'd dropped off his 7-month old son to visit the grandparents. The next day a half-mile wide tornado went down the town's main street. He and his wife drove up that night, black cloud still looming on the horizon.

When they got to the house, it was cut in half with a car up against the side of it. They found the family dog in a locked bathroom, but not his family. As they were panicking a neighbor came over and told them the family was safe down the street at the church. Phew! His father-in-law had held the closet doors shut by sheer force of will less the twister suck them all out the door.

"Them twisters is freaky! We found a loaf of bread, still closed in its wrapper, but packed full of dirt so's you couldn't eat it. There was gas tanks, still closed with rags hanging out the pipe. It sets up some crazy vacuum. Straws was stickin' out of walls. I hope I never see the like again."

Me, too, sir. Me, too.

May 21, 2013


I heard an interview this morning with the Congressman from Moore, OK. He said that the tornado in '99 was three blocks from his house one way and the one yesterday was a few blocks away in the other direction. As he reflected about that, he said, "We've been blessed twice."

That phrase really bugs me. After disasters like this, people talk about God protecting them, watching over them, blessing them. The implication is TERRIBLE. That means that all the kids that died were cursed and outside of God's eye? God didn't listen to their prayers for safety?! The truth is in the middle, we are neither blessed nor cursed in that way.

I respect that Jesus addressed it head on:
"Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
The answer isn't emotionally satisfactory because it doesn't sound kind at first. The point is that it's not your circumstances that show if God likes you or "you're in", it's what's happening inside your spirit that matters. We all will die. We all will suffer. Bad things WILL happen. What happens to us inside in the midst of those circumstances? How do we let circumstances draw us towards God or give us a  reason to push away?

I am SO freaked out and sad when I look at the pictures of Moore, but I'm grateful that the path of the storm is not a direct 'finger of God's judgement' either. 

It also bugs me that anyone is still questioning Global Warming. They told us decades ago that storms would get worse as the temperature rises... Now that I live in a very warm state that's in the southern edge of tornado alley, that's a terrifying, sobering thought. 

May 16, 2013

Cue the Wizard of Oz music

Dangling in our sky chair on the front porch, the mutt trembling beside me, I watched lightning claw the sky and listened to the crack and rumble of thunder. Every so often the wind shifted enough to send a bracing spray of rain in our direction. I love storms. It's one of the things I missed most living in California. Earthquakes are dramatic, but there's no anticipation, no enjoyment while it's happening. They occur, you don't trust your senses until it's almost over, and then either you're fine or you're not. A good thunderstorm is so much more satisfying!

As we sat there, I heard sirens. At first I thought someone's home had been hit by lightning, then I realized they were the tornado sirens. Crap!

I ran inside with a velcro mutt hugging my leg. Jrex and I checked our phones for alerts. Sure enough, the thunderstorm was prime for a tornado and was heading our way.

"Should we wake up Brex and hide in the bathroom?" I wanted to just shrug it off and keep sitting outside.

"I think we should," wise husband decided.

Sigh. I threw a bunch of pillows around in the downstairs powder room then went up to get Brex up from bed. I rarely see him sleep since he usually pops awake and starts talking if the door opens. We don't get to do the fond gaze at the sleeping child bit. As a result, I love it when I get to be around him when he's sleepy. He snuggled into my shoulder as we went downstairs. We left the light off in the bathroom (there's a night light) and got him settled on the pillows.

The sirens kept sounding every fifteen minutes, and we'd check one or the other of our phones. Each time, it woke up Brex. At first he settled back to restless sleep, but finally, he woke up, crawled past my legs and tottered into the corner. He looked up at the light, "OOOOhh. LITE"

"Yes, light."


"Yes, mutt."


"Yes, Appa"

Then, "E.I.O.?"

I launched into Old MacDonald and added verses about the mutt, Appa, Mom.

As I sang, he bounced in place doing his only big dance move, the toddler bop. At the end of the verse, he clapped and said, "Yea!" Sadly, it's the only time anyone has ever clapped after one of my solos!

After 45-minutes total, we were able to go back upstairs. He ran around the room in a manic state. I finally scooped him up with a book and sat down to read to him. After doing his book/prayer/song routine, he settled back to sleep.

The weird truth is that I'm actually happy to be able to pass along the Tornado Huddle tradition. I loved it when we gathered as a family in the basement. It was exciting, a little dangerous, but lots of fun to see everyone in the middle of the night. Of course, the only reason it's a fond memory is that nothing bad ever happened. Let's hope that's true for Brex, too!

May 9, 2013

Two posts in one day!

I've never done a two-for-one deal here, but this just happened. My company does a semi-monthly "All C0" meeting which includes a time for employee recognition. I won this month and this is what my coworker said about me:

I would like to recognize OTRgirl. I have the pleasure of working with OTRgirl on our New Business Development efforts as well as various office projects. Not only is she extremely Creative and talented in her craft, but she contributes to our Strategy and the overall experience we want to communicate to our potential clients. Her hardwork, attention to detail and tireless efforts are so appreciated and should not go unrecognized.

Most RFP responses have a very short timeline. Design layouts & edits often end up in the race to the finish line. She has worked many weekends, pulled all-nighters, and recently on the [client] pitch made 2 trips back & forth to the office from Texas in one week, BUT always with no complaints, a smile and a great attitude to get 'er done no matter what. She truly epotimizes the Company Way and puts her heart into every project. I would like to say, "Thank You" to OTRgirl for being ah-mazing!
I know I whine a lot about my job, but stuff like this helps make it feel worthwhile.

One of the fun projects I did this week involved dropping cartoon characters into our capabilities presentation. That deck helped us win the business for helping a TV studio sell it's 500 episodes of [prime time carto0n] to cable companies. We'll help create a fantastic immersion experience of the cartoon world to help the potential buyers realize that they aren't just buying the right to show the cartoon, but the right to own the whole show's world. Good times!

Mother's Day and Heroes

I just read this Anne Lamott article about Mother's Day. When we were struggling with infertility, it was an excruciating day. Part of me hated all the mother's and all their stupid children. I skipped church. I couldn't deal with whatever the church was going to do to honor Mother's. Some churches gave flowers to every woman, which is a nice gesture, but barely touches the core pain when you want a kid but can't have one.

Anne takes it one step further and talks about the need to honor all those who played mothering roles, including gay men. She says that she intentionally didn't raise her son to celebrate mother's day.

Now that I have a kid, am I on the Mother's Day bandwagon? Meh. As she states in her article, my feelings are similar to what I think of Valentine's Day. It's a holiday that is unnecessary if you have a sweetheart/child, but makes you feel horrible if you don't. I don't enjoy situations that make others feel left out or hurt, so I'd be OK if both holidays disappeared. Frankly, every morning I wake up to a little voice next to the bed saying, "Mom?" is mother's day. I'm intensely grateful for our funny, stubborn, opinionated, intense little guy. I guess a gift certificate for a 90-minute massage and guilt free permission to go enjoy it sounds nice, but why wait for a Hallmark moment for that to happen?


The other thing rolling around in my head is the situation around Charles Ramsey. He stepped in to help free three kidnapped women and now is being rolled in the giant American media mixer and getting thrashed. He seems like a level-headed guy with a great sense of humor, so I hope he's not getting messed up by our weird need for heroes to be larger than life and perfect in every respect.

Stay real, Mr. Ramsey.