on temporary abdication (or: is it possible to fire a month? also, OH GOD, I’m freaking out in public)

This month is a rough one.

First, someone broke into our back hut, but we didn’t think much of it. There wasn’t anything to steal. Well, some Wollmeise, a screenprinting machine, some beautiful silk roving, that sort of thing- but the thieves didn’t know well enough, so they left it all alone. We popped the screen back in the window and chalked it up to living in the city.

Then we went to court to testify against the man who assaulted his girlfriend in the street this September, then assaulted both of us when we tried to stop him. There we learned that his girlfriend wasn’t dropping the charges, exactly, but was definitely downplaying the violence. That was disheartening. Also, he had been in prison previously for burglary, trespassing, and assault. We learned that he had been in our neighborhood because his parents lived two doors up from us. Did I mention that when we interrupted the assault, we started by leaving our porch? He knows where we live, because this happened right in front of where we live.


He asked for a jury trial, because he was looking at a hypothetical 30 years in jail, which translates into a probable 8- 12 years in the real world. We testify against him on Monday. We were granted a protective order, but I’ve done enough work in victims’ services to know that doesn’t mean much. It’s a nice gesture, though. Like a love letter from the city of Baltimore: it’s actually very difficult to get a protective order in many cities, so I did appreciate just having been handed one like this.

Several days later, the window to our car was smashed out while it was parked in our driveway. Someone tried to take the stereo, but  couldn’t manage it, so they just tore out most of the dash and console, then partially destroyed the stereo itself.

Here’s something funny: we’d just had our stereo replaced, because it had been on the fritz. It was under warranty but it was also weirdly hard to find the part, so the replacement had taken a frustratingly long seven weeks. We had the new, functional stereo roughly 27 hours before we noticed the smashed- out window. The stereo wasn’t anything fancy, by the way. It was just the stereo that came with the car.

We have good insurance. We are driving an ugly but highly functional, comfortable rental which is covered by our insurance. The people currently working on our car  can’t seem to find a new stereo, either. We are suspended between bemused and wall- punching. I’m aiming to lean towards bemused but really, I’m swinging towards wall- punching today.

Then there was the fire. I don’t want to talk about the fire right now, because Sam just came back from meeting with some of the fire people at the house and the news wasn’t great, but it also wasn’t definitive, so I’ve really nothing to say except VAGUE AND MEANINGLESS PANICKING which will get me nowhere except more upset. I am upset today.

And then last night someone broke into the hut. Again. They didn’t take anything. There was nothing for thieves to take, really: craft supplies, a mini- fridge without even any beer in it, because we emptied it the last time we had a poker night. Still, someone took a screwdriver and their boot to our door and helped themselves to our space. To MY space, my space which is all messed up and awful but by the way, that’s the only clean space I have right now. It is separate from the house so completely unburnt, un- soot-ified,  but someone has broken in twice this week. Nothing is safe or clean. I have nothing of my own.

With a yard that is too big to properly fence, an empty house to one side of us, an alley behind us and neighbors to the other side with a large yard, we’re an easy target- especially now that we aren’t living there. Not, I suppose, that anyone would want anything in our actual home right now. I’d like them not to take anything, as we’ll need it to be there so we can make our insurance claims, but if they took it, it wouldn’t do them much good.

I want to move. That’s probably impossible, with “FIRE DAMAGE” on our house’s record now, right? Even though after all this is finished our house should hypothetically be cleaner than it’s ever been, with a brand new coat of paint on every damn room? “FIRE DAMAGE” on our house’s record probably means we are destined to DIE IN THIS HOUSE, with neighbors who hate us and have a criminal son who will probably NOT go to prison again but likes to hit us and hey, maybe breaks into our house a lot now, but who can prove it? NOT US.

I want my damn dogs, some spiked hot cocoa and my Twilight Zone DVD box set. I am over November today. I am over Right Now. November is fired, everyone, and as a matter of fact, I would like to resign from 2011, and get directly to Whenever The Hell This Is Over.

Shit, 2012 is ON NOTICE as of RIGHT NOW, because if things don’t turn around soon, I am going to do SOMETHING. I have no idea what it is right now, but I can feel it building inside me, and IT. IS NOT. GOOD.

I know there’s a stronger version of me that is much more capable of dealing with this in a rational way, but at this moment, I’m having a hard time finding her. She’s in here somewhere, right? I’d better start finding her, soon. I know I can do better than this.

  One thought on “on temporary abdication (or: is it possible to fire a month? also, OH GOD, I’m freaking out in public)

  1. November 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    That really sucks. I probably would have gone on sabbatical from life that this point.

    • December 4, 2011 at 9:41 pm

      Shaylin, I’ve considered it, but hey, where do you go? In the meantime, I’m going back to my old kung fu lessons and so much yoga.

  2. November 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    The biggest, smushiest hugs I can muster are now zipping thru space from Hyattsville to your house …

    • December 4, 2011 at 9:42 pm

      Thank you, Victoria. It’s already gotten so much better, but damn, that was a bad week.

  3. November 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Oh Sarah! I’m sending you a big vitural hug!!

    • November 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm

      I can’t spell either. Virtual HUG!!

    • December 4, 2011 at 9:42 pm

      Thank you, Lilie. I’m thinking of you and yours tonight.

  4. Beth & Kasey
    November 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Just ((Hugs)) 2012 will be better; we just have to believe.

    • December 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      Thank you, Beth. Of course 2012 will be better! I’ve always preferred even numbers, anyway.

  5. November 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Oh hell, Sarah! A Fire?! Many hugs from me and the 7 animals in my house right now (one is borrowed, for the weekend, but she would be happy to sit in your lap and lick your face. For hours.) Thinking of you. Anything i can do? Anything.

    • December 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      I love you, Kate. Just keep being your lovely, awesome Kate self.

  6. November 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    We don’t know each other but I’ve spent many hours reading your blog. I went back through the archives last year or maybe two years ago and read all of your entries on living in Afghanistan. Also, by a very strange coincidence my mother-in-law sent to you those wooden turkish claw things. Anyways, my point today is that when I read your blog I feel empowered and you seem very strong. I admire you and think that you have had a pretty amazing life. Right now it sucks. No doubt about it and I definitely don’t envy these trials of late but I do admire your courage. Everybody has meltdown days and everyone deserves to have them no matter how many starving whatevers there may be in the world. (I actually made the mistake of telling my mother to send my uneaten meal to the starving children, did not go over very well.)

    I just want to thank you.

    • December 4, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      ❤ Donnell, thank you. You're incredibly kind, and you're right, of course. There isn't any comparing suffering. I laughed out loud imagining you asking your mother to send your meals to starving children; thank you for that. 🙂

  7. November 25, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Hang in there please. It will get better. It will.

    (you don’t know me, but hello!)

    • December 4, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      Hello, Jessica, and thank you. ❤

  8. Susan
    November 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    I think you are responding absolutely appropriately today. Tomorrow is tomorrow and has a better chance at rationality if you’ve been able to yell at the things that are today.

  9. Michelle Lisenbee
    November 26, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Thinking of you Sarah…and if a massage would make things better, I am happy to supply one – on the house. Let me know….

    • December 4, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      Michelle, thank you, thank you, thank you. I would LOVE to take you up on this- I’ll be in touch!

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