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Carine’s Blog

  • Costumes and Christmas Trees

    Posted on Friday, October 24, 2014

    Ghosts, Superheroes and Christmas Trees

    I know this is a subject of debate-but how do you feel about decorating for Christmas before the kids have done their yearly Halloween walk throughout your neighborhood?

    Here in Anthem-the outlet mall, the community center and neighborhoods are all having various Halloween parties and trick-or-treating events, starting on the 25th!

    Personally, when Sarah and Adam were young we started a tradition of going to the local mall and having them "do the walk" there.  After the second trip around, we'd settle at a fast food place in the food court and have the rare kid's meal with friends and neighbors and take home the over-sugared costumed short people and put them to bed.

    They always seemed to find a way to open several of the wrapped goodies before we could confiscate the bag for safety checks!

    Here-the boys love to go to just about every house in the neighborhood.  Since they'll be spending the night this weekend, I'm taking advantage of our community center!  

    First off, the main park is having a grand re-opening and an autumn fest.  The boys are on pins and needles to see exactly what the new equipment and expanded splash pad look like.  There will also be the carnival-complete with rides, games and food trucks.  

    As if this isn't enough-let me remind you of what Anthem, AZ is known for:  We host the tallest Christmas tree in America.  I kid you not!

    One of the main TV stations actually sent up a helicopter (we heard it at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m.) to watch the truck driving it in from somewhere in Los Angeles.  

    Not sure of the exact details, but every year we find ourselves unable to get off the freeway and to our home because of all the visitors who want to take pictures of how the staff decorates this 112+ foot specially raised tree.

    It is really quite amazing.  Any idea how big those ornaments have to be to be seen on a behemoth Fir of this height?????  25,000!  Plus-180 pounds of LED lights.  It's cap is a 3' copper star that represents the state of Arizona.

    So there you have it-while the kids are begging for treats from all of the stores, the staff will be hooked up to harnesses hanging decorative pieces the size of their bodies and dragging "gifts" into place to cover the bottom of the tree.

    If this isn't enough-Santa will arrive and take his position on his chair to hear all the wish lists.  Plus, there's always a petting zoo (complete with reindeer).  Someone from American Idol comes to create even more of a traffic jam.

    I'm not being a curmudgeon, really.  It's just that I'd like each part of the holiday to have its own little celebration-rather than stringing them all together and start the entire season in mid-October.

    The kids love it, of course.  

    One other thing-while the rest of the country is feeling the "nip" of autumn in the air-we've finally seen our temps dip way down into the low 90's.  Just one more reason why it's hard to get into the spirit when you still have no desire to put on anything but shorts and a tank top.
    Just to make it clear:  Happy Hallogivingkahmas

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  • Wild, Wild West

    Posted on Friday, October 17, 2014

    The Wild, Wild West

    I've mentioned before about the various types of wildlife that roams around our digs here in VERY FAR North Phoenix-the rattlers, the ground squirrels, javelinas, bobcats, road runners, burros, coyotes and now, I can add WOLF to the ever growing list!

    It was HUGE too.  I was just about to make the turn that goes onto the road leading to the freeway entrance when something with fur ran right in front of me!  First thought:  whoa, a lone coyote.  Then I took a second glance and realized "Nope, that there is a wolf!"

    We've really been increasing our neighborhood watch since our break-in.  Since I was on my way to PT (Physical Therapy), I texted my husband and had him share the news with our block.

    He hates social media and wouldn't do more than that-won't go on our neighborhood website and let everyone know.  He simply sent word to our "leader" and left the rest to her.

    As I was rounding that same street a couple of hours later-who should run in front of me at the same spot, the wolf!
    Strange, since the weather is at a point where there were a lot of neighbors walking around and enjoying a walk.  Once home I went about the chores of the day and realized that I hadn't had any love notes from either our neighbors via text or signals that they sent out a warning.  

    I hopped onto the city's FB page-sure enough (and so sad) two dogs were attacked right at that corner right in their own backyard.  One died right there and the other was hurt and traumatized.  This is with their "mom" right out there with them too.

    With our temperatures dropping into the mid-80's I wanted to take a walk with Lucky-but thinking about that poor little Pomeranian and her poodle sister, I'm not so sure I want to go.

    What has life become here in the Wild West?  I have sensors on all my windows, alarms on the doors, I have to "hover" my dog so she can go to the bathroom and I have to wonder if when I leave the house that some nut of a driver might decide to run into me.

    Don't get me wrong-there are some great things about living here in the middle of the Sonoran desert:  the beauty, the quiet, seeing the stars at night and so much more, but it's also living up to its description-and not always in such a good way.

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  • Kick in the Pants

    Posted on Friday, October 10, 2014

    A Kick in the Pants

    I'm writing that sarcastically, of course.  

    I haven't actually been kicked in the southern region, but close.

    This burglary thing has taken over our lives-not in a pleasant way.  Steve is still trying to protect us by using several security measures all at the same time.  

    Scared the heck out of us the other night.  One of the motion sensor/alarms broke loose during a windstorm-it was in the middle of the night.  It started screeching immediately.  Scared Pepper from my armpit straight into his cat post hole.  Lucky started barking from under the blankets between my calves.  I swear my heart first stopped, then began to beat so hard that it took about an hour to get down to a level where I could fall back asleep.

    I say could-because Lucky was so upset she made herself sick.
    Yep, feel a lot more safe knowing I won't die of a heart attack should it screech during the night again.

    Then there's the one at the front door.  Steve decided to put it at "eye" level so it could be put in neutral should I need to leave the house or answer the door. There's a slight problem with that-Steve is 5'9".  I am 5'1/2".  Guess whose eye level that screech unit is at?

    In order to get out of the house I have to set up a step stool to see where I'm sliding it too.  One of those times, I had no idea I put it to "chime" (because "high pitched shriek" wouldn't fit on the unit), went out for my daily walk with Lucky and came home to be welcomed by the alarm system going off.

    No idea how I accomplished it-but then I've always been a "technodweeb".

    I e-mailed my new BFF, Detective Monroe, and asked her if the DNA swab taken the week before had been entered.  She replied with this sad news:  Yes Carine, we entered it that same afternoon.  However, this is the hardest part of my job-when I tell the victim (WHAT?!  I'M NOW A VICTIM?????) that due to the city manager and others in the city offices getting a huge raise, the Police Dept. took both a cut in officers and in funds to put through both DNA and finger prints on priority testing.  

    It takes 12-18 months for finger prints to be processed.  For your DNA-we're literally looking at 3-4 YEARS.

    Seriously?  I wrote back and checked to see if she realized she did YEARS not MONTHS.  Nope.  She meant years!  She called it a tragedy, I called it a travesty.  By the time they find out who did this they will probably have violated hundreds of other families and then moved out of the state.

    Steve's got it right, sadly enough, we'll never get closure.

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  • Excuses are for the Weak

    Posted on Friday, October 3, 2014


    I'm so tired of excuses.  Excuses on why the phones don't work.  Excuses on why my internet is sporadic. Excuses as to why our insurance people have inadvertently "dropped the ball on our case" and last, excuses on why things that should have been done-weren't.

    The last being the most frustrating.  

    Of course this is all circling back to our break-in a couple of weeks ago.  I'm trying to be understanding, but I guess my love of all things criminal on TV has me feeling as if a hair should be found and by the end of the hour my "stuff" returned just before it was "gone forever".

    Not turning out that way-AT ALL!

    During the initial police contact the officers looked at the broken window and said, "Not like TV, there are no prints to take."  Fine.  However 8 days later, during his nightly security check, Steve found blood on the sill where a window used to reside.

    We called and were told the team who boarded it up did not cut themselves.  So we insisted the officers come back and swab for DNA.  I had been e-mailing with a detective who is the lead on a different serial burglar and she said she didn't care if it was old-tell them "I said to swab".

    After 5 hours, they came, they belly-ached and last, they swabbed.

    I think one of Steve's co-workers said it best.  When he moved to Phoenix a couple of years ago, he came with only a truck, his wife and all they could stuff into the vehicle.  Of course, despite being told where in the hotel parking lot to park for the most safety-it was stolen.

    The police that came out were more concerned with flirting with the hotel desk clerk than talking to him.  After 2 weeks of sitting in the police lobby and being a "squeaky" wheel-he blew up and told them, "I'm not asking you to put Columbo on the case-I'll settle for Barney Fife."

    Pretty much sums it up.  

    I know these officers are short staffed (believe me, all 4 who have been here have told us so numerous times while surveying our home), that they put their lives in danger every day and that they don't get the respect they deserve-but on the flip of this:


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  • Being Robbed is Exhausting

    Posted on Friday, September 26, 2014

    I've Got a Headache

    This whole robbery/snake thing is a horrible thing.  We haven't slept well since it happened.  The animals are included in that statement.  Both are still jockeying for position on holding my head on my pillow.  It's not comfortable.
    It's also not comfortable leaving the house and then wondering what I'm going to find when I drive up.  Steve has put some "steps" in place for security-but let's face it-a piece of plywood doesn't help your feeling of security.

    Poor Pepper, he was playing with a ball and somehow closed himself in a bedroom.  I was calling all over for him when it was his dinner time-I could hear him crying but it took a while to find where it was coming from!

    Lucky, who is a fixture on my lap as a rule, holds on as if she's on by means of Velcro.

    Plus, if I have to leave she reverts to the "give up" position and cries.  

    Steve's determined to have us live in Fort Knox.  I agree with the security system, I don't care about his spray painting the roll-up garage door windows black and I'm on the fence about putting custom blinds on the 3 small windows that are nearly 7' in the air.  But I don't like the idea of putting security grills on the patio doors.

    I'm claustrophobic.  But now I'm also terribly upset about this unsettling event.
    We talked it over and we're going with security doors.
    As I said, I'm exhausted from no sleep and I haven't slept because of what happened.  Some co-workers of Steve asked how we could stay in the house.  Where else would we stay?  Right now I'm not feeling all that sure about how and why we were hit, but it's still our home.  We just need to find a way to put it behind us and move on.

    Sounds easier than it will be to attain.  But we'll get there, all four of us.  It will just take a bit of time.  One woman we talked to (getting new cards and paperwork) said that the same had happened to her and her husband.  She assured me that it does, in fact, get easier.

    I asked her how long it has taken them-seems that the police found the guy who broke into their home and her husband and mother-in-law were summoned into court just the week before-once they got him convicted they felt much better.
    Something to look forward too.

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  • We've Been Robbed

    Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2014

    We Were Robbed

    This was some week.  It all started on Monday.
    I left for physical therapy.   Steve left an hour later.  Feeling really hopeful and GREAT-decided to stop and get the pets some needed food-all by myself.

    Got home and I was just about to open the garage door and did a double take:  it was opened.
    My first thought was, "LOL, Steve's always asking me if I closed the door and look who did it!"
    I pulled in, closed the door and went to go let myself in. The door was closed, but the lock was NOT.
    Now I wondered what would Steve was doing that made him forget to do both? Then the light was on in the laundry room and the doors were opened, cleaning products all over the ground!  Pepper and Lucky ran to me.

    That wasn't anything unusual.  I put my stuff down on the washer and then wondered why the hall lights were on?  Looked left-why were the office lights on?  Looked straight ahead-(still not getting it) linen closets were opened and towels on the floor.

    Turned right, walked to the living area and LIGHTS FINALLY WENT OFF IN MY HEAD!
    Our big TV was gone!  I went to the office: TV gone, Steve's laptop and tablet gone!  Went to the storage room-everything was all over the floor.  Looked in the boys room-oh good, TV still on the wall.  Went to our bedroom-ransacked!

    TV, all of my jewelry, Steve's watches and they stole the safe that was bolted into the wall!
    I FREAKED!  Okay, that was a pretty tame definition of how I reacted.  Called 911 on one phone, Steve on the other.  Screamed, cried and shook.  They went through our clothes!

    You can only imagine the rest of the day!

    Oh wait, you can't-BECAUSE THERE'S MORE!  Once I stopped hyperventilating I let Lucky out-she went to a spot in the yard and stared and barked.  Went over and OH GOOD, BECAUSE THE DAY HAD BEEN SO DARN GREAT UP UNTIL THIS POINT-A RATTLESNAKE!

    Our friends came over and he along with Alex killed the huge thing-my girlfriend and I could hear the rattle from inside!

    Police arrived.  Everyone left.  We went straight to the bank, the insurance company and started calling all the appropriate agencies.  The safe had our passports, emergency cash, emergency credit cards and both of our birthstone custom rings.  I hate to say-they also got anything nice we had jewelry-wise.  Some very, very sentimental pieces.

    They didn't want my 7 year old computer.  But they took my Minolta camera and the 3 lenses that went with it.

    Steve found the point of entry was the boys' bedroom window.  Totaled not only the window but the frame.  They also damaged our new dining room table and the front door.  Obviously the wall in the closet that they left holes in when they sawed out the safe.

    We were on the phones until 11 at night and took up the calls at 7 a.m. the next day.

    Needless to say-we didn't sleep.  Pepper held my head all night, Lucky couldn't get close enough to me.  

    This is all I have to say on this entire debacle.

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