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Carine’s Blog

  • 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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  • Sick as a dog

    Posted on Friday, September 12, 2014

    A Mother Always Knows

    Honestly, it doesn't matter if you're a mom of a human or 4-footed child-a mom knows when their child isn't well.

    This week is was on puppy Lucky.  Poor dear, her eyes looked a bit bleary, she would ask to go out and then just stare at us.

    Uh oh, I thought to myself.  Usually when we go for our morning walk, she can hardly wait to leave her "mark" on the entrance to the pocket park and then several more times as we round out to the beginning of our walk.  This time she picked up the hind legs (yes, she does it 2-legged) but nothing happened.  And this went on the whole walk.
    Except for the last half mile where she asked me to carry her.

    Something was not good here.  Then we had another storm and she went 13 hours before "going".  How could a 6 pound dog not go for 13 hours????

    Tuesday-she seemed more than spooked.  So I called and made her an appointment with our wonderful vet, Dr. Kristin Young.  (I tell everyone her name because this is the most fantastic vet I've ever encountered!)  We went in the next afternoon.  

    While Steve wasn't even going to say "let's just watch her", he wasn't thrilled about another bill.  But we both think of Pepper and Lucky as our babies and there was no question that we were going.

    Dr. Young said she wasn't worried about it being anything catastrophic (bladder cancer, etc.) she said she could have a bladder stone.  At the very least, an infection.  So with that she pried her off of me and out of my shirt and took her to the back to take her temperature and an x-ray.

    Thank goodness-she didn't have the bladder stone, but she was running a fever (hence the bleary eyes and being too tired to complete our walk on her own) and it was decided she had a doggie version of a UTI.

    This I expected-but what I didn't expect was the rest of the diagnosis!  Even though we hadn't given Lucky any more food and the two of us had been able to walk in the early morning again, she looked a tad "puffy".  

    What was that "puff" you ask?  No-we had her neutered and the only male dog she's around also has been "fixed".  No, our little Chihuahua was horribly constipated!

    That may be way TMI for you all, but it's something all of you pet parents out there should consider!  The "cure"?  I'm to put in ¼ teaspoon of either psyillium or Metamucil in with her wet food in the evening.  

    I don't know if you care or want to know the "outcome" of this, but outside of my starting VERY intensive physical therapy (read that 6 hours with the therapist plus over 1-1/2 hours of exercising on my own) on my frozen and damaged shoulder that has been my week.

    And that is all on why Mothers Always Know.

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  • Saving the Power

    Posted on Friday, September 5, 2014

    Saving the Power  

    Our neighbors put in solar panels.  It's a big thing here in our area.  My sister was part of a trial program in Orange County, CA. Therefore, they didn't pay for any of it!  She's loving being off the grid.  Both my sister and our neighbors have large 2-story homes.    

    Adam and Sam also have a large 2-story and it's costing a fortune to keep cool. All of our family are those annoying people who actually get the a/c units checked and serviced once a year to make sure nothing's broken.  It's expensive enough without finding out something's wrong with our units that's having us use even more electricity!

    Recently, Steve and I even took advantage of having a company come out and do and energy evaluation of our home.  We had decided we weren't spending the $10 grand to put the solar panels on our roof, but we didn't want to be paying through the nose to sweat either.

    Remember, Steve is always claiming I can enjoy the fans but the thermostat has to stay at 82 during the day and then he drops it down to 78 at night "for my sleeping comfort".  There's an oxymoron if ever I heard one.

    For some reason, while I ranted about this ad nauseum in the great OC-it doesn't bother me as much here.  I'm pretty sure that the reason is due to the 110+ outside.  Hey, suddenly after letting Lucky out to do her business and then I walk back in-82 is practically chilly!

    Back to the audit-the outcome was that while we had done a lot on our own to "plug up" the escaping air-we had a long way to go.  It seems that all those canned lights in most of the rooms and the fancy-schmancy surround sound equipment were using a lot of energy!  We also had the microwave/fan, the dryer vents (which they cleaned for us), the water heater itself and the various air ducts/returns and bathroom fans all letting our a/c dollars float across the desert sky!

    Then there was the insulation.  The total estimate of getting everything "sealed" up:  $4,000.

    We could be half-way to those solar panels!  About $500 would be covered with rebates from our local electric company.  And they also paid the first $200 of $299 for the audit.

    When all was said and done, we only did ½ the work.  Couldn't afford the rest.  But even with that the estimated savings would be ¼ ton.  Turned out they did such a good job that the "after" test showed they got it to ½ ton of air savings.

    I'm not a technical person-but I'm thinking that this is a good thing.  Our clothes are getting dryer faster.  The a/c unit isn't going on as frequently and it's nice to know that we're hopefully not going to have to dust as much.

    I hate dusting.  

    On a completely different note-this past week had my parents celebrating their 58th anniversary.  We couldn't be there and I know they won't see this, but it's wonderful to know that longevity runs in the family.

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