Move Over Grand Theft Auto, Pondering A Real-life Armed Robbery In Our Neighborhood

Because sometimes odd unexpected things happen…

Last week I learned that there was an armed robbery in this subdivision.  We’ve lived here over 20 years and this is a first.  I learned about it formally from the HOA [Homeowner Association] + informally from the neighborhood grapevine.

The robbery took place in the early evening and involved two men with guns stealing a new Volvo from a neighbor’s open garage.  It’s my understanding that the house security system with alarms and cameras wasn’t on at the time.

The neighbor heard noise in the garage, went to investigate, and found the robbery in process.  He was not hurt physically, although I cannot say how it affected him emotionally.  I don’t know him personally to ask him.

The police haven’t found his car and the men who stole it.  As of today this remains an open case.  My guess is it’ll never be solved, but will become part of the folklore of this large subdivision of 800+ homes.

• • •

A place to ponder. Drinking a mug of coffee while sitting on the deck on a foggy autumn morning.

• • •

It’s easy, and perhaps natural, to start thinking about why this robbery took place, to make up stories that might explain it.  I’m motivated by my need to make sense of this, to try to understand it.

It could be as straightforward as it seems.  The robbers who were driving a Volvo [and isn’t that interesting?] saw an opportunity to steal another one and took it.  It was a crime of opportunity, no advance planning.

This would be my preferred scenario.

Or it could be that the neighbor was working in league with the robbers, intending on splitting the insurance money.  After all, no one except the neighbor saw these two men, allegedly with guns, and because the security system cameras weren’t on at the time there’s no way to corroborate his story.

Or it could be that the neighbor owes money to someone, a bookie perhaps, and that someone arranged for payment in the form of his car.  Things like that happen in this world.  I watch police procedural TV shows;  I know things.

• • •

A view while pondering. Looking out from the deck into the backyard on a foggy autumn morning.

• • •

I’ve been trying to decide what I think about this robbery, discern how it makes me feel.  I’m not stressed by it.  I’m not worried about being safe. Instead I’m indifferent to it.

Is that peculiar?  Shouldn’t I be more panicked?

Of course, as Zen-Den pointed out, we always keep our garage doors closed plus no one wants to steal my 18 year old Honda.  Or his 5 year old one.  A fast risk-benefit analysis confirms his logic.  

Ain’t gonna happen.

Plus this robbery isn’t going to stop me from going for walks around this neighborhood.  If nothing else we might be safer now that more sheriffs are driving through here on a more regular basis.

From their point of view, we’re the place to be.

So that’s where I find myself this morning, hoping this is a one-off, an aberration and not the beginning of a trend.  I’m amazed that I’m writing about something so out of the ordinary that it doesn’t seem feasible, yet it happened.

And that’s all there is to it.

Comments, anyone? How would this make you feel?

Notes + Photos From The Backyard: No Bad Stuff, Only The Good Stuff

SITTING OUTSIDE ON OUR DECK late in the afternoon I heard the neighbor girl + her friends playing on the neighbor’s deck.  The girls were all around age 5 and they were chanting:

“No bad stuff… No Bad Stuff… NO. BAD. STUFF.”

They were loud. They were serious. They were coloring.

I started laughing to myself because they reminded me of a boss I worked for years ago.  This boss, a woman, would breeze into my office and say: “tell me the good stuff, only the good stuff.”

Let’s say she was singleminded in her pursuit of demanding creating a positive workplace.  For her idealism I admired her.  HOWEVER one does have to occasionally face reality and deal with complex, not-so-happy issues which, it’ll come as no surprise to you, this boss had difficulty doing.

Can you imagine? 🙄

THE FOREGOING IS MY STREAM-OF-CONSCIOUSNESS way of getting to what I think you, my little pudding cups, might find of interest.

Last April I decided to take a monthly photo late in the month of the same scene.  It shows part of our backyard [+ a little of the neighbor’s backyard].  I’ve no story to go with the photos, no particular reason why I started taking the photos.

I just did.

And now, as an homage to the determined little girls and my positivity-crazed former boss, I’ll end this post with four months of photos of our backyard in which you can see that things change, but remain the same.

From my point of view there’s no bad stuff in these photos, only good stuff.  I say this  because nature does what nature does. N’est-ce pas?  And it’s up to us to take note, then do our best to adapt to what is.

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

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A Photo Story: The Tale We Have Here Is Something Quite Dear

After writing in my previous post about the ridiculous absurd time-wasting hassle of buying bags of stones, I thought I’d take a few photos of our backyard showing you, my gentle readers and curious lurkers, where the aforementioned hard-won stone is. I took the photos while standing on the deck above the yard and they show the stones + something unexpected.

This photo shows how the stones edge the planting bed creating a clear dividing line between mulch and grass. Not too exciting perhaps, but there is more, and unless you’re a Hard-hearted Hannah [the vamp of Savanah], you’re going to like it.

This photo gives you a better idea of the length and width of the stone edge dividing line. It also shows you something unexpected. Look closely in the middle of the photo, kids.

Do you see who’s lounging under a bush?

Yes, it’s a sweet little fawn whose mother has left it there, knowing it’d be safe and hidden from view from most predators. I could only see it because I was above on the deck looking down onto it [and Zen-Den pointed it out to me]. Now isn’t that dear?

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Happy Tuesday, everyone. May something dear, or deer, happen to you today!

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Shopping At Lowe’s On A Saturday Morning, The Struggle Was Absurdly Real

As we drove away I turned to Z-D and said, “some blog posts just write themselves.”

HE NODDED IN AGREEMENT.

Granted we could have refused to buy what we came for, but after hauling about 500 lbs of stepping stones + bagged mulch + bagged pebbles onto a flatbed cart then pushing it from the back of the Garden Center to the checkout register by the gated entry at the front of the Garden Center, we were committed to the project.

Plus we’d intentionally parked our car near the Garden Center gate so that we’d make it easier on ourselves when it came time to load our items into our car, but the joke was on us about that, too.

Here’s what happened.

• ~ 🌼~ •

On a sunny spring Saturday morning around 9:00 a.m. Zen-Den and I went to Lowe’s to buy gardening materials and some plants. Like many other shoppers we wanted to get going on our gardening projects while the weather was with us.

The Garden Center was busy with about 20 people shopping, everyone grabbing items, putting them in a basket cart or on a flatbed cart. Then going to stand in line by the registers, waiting for an employee to ring us out. But there were no cashiers to be seen by the registers.

After waiting about 5 minutes, pleasantly chatting with other shoppers, I decided to walk through the large store to go tell Customer Service that… stick with me here… there were customers who required some service. That is, a cashier to ring us out.

Instead of being received in a positive way*, the woman in charge of Customer Service told me I was wrong, stating that at there were no customers waiting to be checked out in the Garden Center.

YES, SHE SAID I, THE PERSON STATING A VERIFIABLE FACT, WAS WRONG.

• ~ 🌼~ •

I said “yes” there were customers in the Garden Center with basket carts and flatbed carts filled with items to purchase. At least 10 when I left the area to come and politely tell her we needed some… stick with me here… customer service.

But she said “no” that can’t be. She knew she was right because the Garden Center wasn’t open. It opened at 10:00 a.m. and it was only 9:20 a.m.

Repeating myself I told her “no” it was open, that the gates were unlocked, and that about 10 people were waiting to buy stuff.

THEN SHE ASKED ME IF I’D BROKEN THE LOCK TO GET INTO THE GARDEN CENTER.

I assured her that I hadn’t broken in and that it was open when we drove up. And most importantly… stick with me here… we needed someone to ring us out. Like one of the three cashiers I could see standing at three customer-free registers in the main part of the store.

Again this woman told me I was wrong because the Garden Center wasn’t open. It was kind of a theme with her to not believe me, the teller of truth.

At which point I walked away from her heading back to the Garden Center, shouting over my shoulder, “IT’S OPEN.”

• ~ 🌼~ •

Welp, what happened next is absurd, a case study in poor retail store management. By the time I walked back to the Garden Center the customer service woman had sent an employee to… stick with me here… lock the gates. Yep, she didn’t send one of the three cashiers who was doing nothing to ring us out.

INSTEAD OF ACCOMMODATING THE CUSTOMERS SHE MADE HER VERSION OF REALITY COME TRUE BY CLOSING THE GARDEN CENTER.

But of course the story doesn’t end here. That’d be too easy.

Nope, then we the customers were directed to traipse through the store pushing are loaded carts to where the three cashiers were standing by registers ready to ring us out.

Except they weren’t really ready to ring us out.

This is because many of the garden supplies and plants didn’t have UPC codes on them so without the official Garden Center information notebook the inside cashiers had no way to know what to charge us for the items that are sold exclusively in the Garden Center.

• ~ 🌼~ •

So we waited… stick with me here… while someone from Customer Service went back into the closed Garden Center to get the information notebooks about the UPC codes for the items we wanted to buy.

Eventually our pleasant, but frazzled, cashier got the information she needed and was able to ring up our purchases. We paid. Then we pushed the flatbed cart across the large parking lot to where we’d parked our car conveniently adjacent to the Garden Center gates.

That’d be the Garden Center that was open when we arrived, but now was locked up tight on a beautiful spring Saturday morning in the suburbs.

BECAUSE CUSTOMER SERVICE MADE IT SO.

The end.

*Good Customer Service would have said something to the effect of: “Thank you for telling me what’s going on in the Garden Center. It’s not meant to be open until 10:00 a.m. I don’t have any cashiers to run those registers now BUT I’LL SEND SOME EMPLOYEES TO HELP YOU PUSH YOUR CARTS TO THIS PART OF THE STORE where we have registers open. I apologize for the inconvenience.” And that would have been the end of it. No story to tell.

Miscellaneous: The Good, The Weird, The Charming

[I’m using the Block Editor for this post attempting to learn its features. Today I am putting images in the middle of my copy. *fingers crossed*]

THE GOOD: our absentee ballots came in the mail last week and we immediately voted. At home. With no lines or cranky poll workers to harsh my mellow. It was wonderful and calm.

Then we put double the required postage on the envelopes holding our ballots, drove to the post office and mailed them– like the good, moral, and conscientious American citizens that we are.

HAVE YOU VOTED YET?

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THE WEIRD: a well dressed woman without a mask on came to our front door and rang the doorbell. I didn’t know her from Adam Eve, so I shouted to her through the door sidelights to back up and I’d open the door. She would not do so instead continuing to ring the bell, then using the knocker, and finally pounding with her fist on our front door.

I yelled “NO” to her, at which point she used the phone function on her Apple watch to call to someone named Ellen. I could hear the conversation through the door. She accused Ellen of not answering her door; eventually Ellen convinced this wacko woman that she was at the wrong house. The woman looked in at me and laughed, offered no apology, then went on her way.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

~ ~ • ~ ~

THE CHARMING: out for a walk in our neighborhood I walked by a house where Little Sister, age 5, was playing by herself in the front yard. Her two older brothers, ages 7 & 9, were playing together in the driveway, loudly, competitively, locked in a battle for a ball.

Little Sister skipped over to see me as I walked by. I said “Hi! to which she replied, “I’m playing. I love me.” Then she skipped back up toward the house, about as happy and self-assured as a person could be.

NOW ISN’T THAT DELIGHTFUL?

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