Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Misadventures of Robin

So, today is not a day for an Express Lane blog post. There's no way to convey a day like today in twenty words or less.

I knew today wouldn't be a PLEASANT day because first thing, I had a GYN appointment. I know no one likes those, but I've had some particularly bad experiences that have kept me out of *those* places for a long time. 

So, my GPS on my phone was trying to get me to go past the office and make a u-turn to go back to it. I ignored it and turned in the parking lot and looked for a nonexistent parking spot while the GPS continued to squawk about leaving the parking lot to go a different way. The doctors' building is attached to a hospital that has free valet parking so I thought I'd let someone else park it for me. I stood by the valet podium for a few minutes but never saw a valet. I was going to be late, so I decided to park across the street at another doctors' building and walk over. When I parked, the GPS was still whining, so I was shutting it up, juggling my keys (I'd taken the fob off, intending to hand it to the valet), grabbing my purse, and locking the door so I could hurry across the soggy just-watered grass and across the street. I took the elevator to the 4th floor and checked in. When I sat down in the waiting room, I looked for my phone. I couldn't find it. I dug through my purse, but no luck. I left it in the car. I must have. But a bit of panic set in that grew as the time in the waiting room stretched on. I watched the end of one DIY show and a whole other one. I was getting more agitated as I waited, wondering if my family was trying to call or text me. What did we ever do without cell phones? I was hesitant to even make a follow-up appointment without my "brain" to show me my calendar.

I hurried out to the car and the phone wasn't there. I dumped my purse out in the seat. The anxiety was very real. It wasn't so much the PHONE but the LOSING it that had me nearly in tears. I've always been forgetful but it's gotten so much worse lately. I can't focus. I've been reading and taking self-assessments and I'm sure I have ADD. This was just one more example of how much I struggle and it was humiliating. I went back to the doctor's office and asked the receptionists. They called it for me and dialed my husband so I could ask him to look at our family GPS tracker. He said it was showing that it was still right there. I checked the sofa cushions in the waiting room. There's no central desk in that building that someone might turn it in to, but I stopped in the first office when you come in the door, but they hadn't seen it. Someone suggested asking at the hospital's front desk, so I walked over there and was sent to the ER to check with security. Security was on a call, so I waited, very agitated, for a while. I decided to go check at the other doctor building in the parking lot where I parked, so I walked back over there, checked under my van, then drove to the building's main doors. It was the same setup, with no main desk. There's a pharmacy, though, so I asked in there. They took my name and my husband's number and a description in case it was turned in. I drove back to the ER and met the security guard as he was coming back. He even radioed the pediatric ER to check with their security. He also took my name, number, and description and said they sometimes get turned in at the end of the day. That made sense because no central desk might mean someone would have turned it in to the receptionist at any of the offices they were visiting. I couldn't imagine stopping in every office of two four-story buildings. I was exhausted so I reluctantly went home. Maybe someone had answered when my husband called it and he knew where it was. Only one way to find out.

As I walked in the door, my husband said, "It's gone. Someone stole it." The tracker had showed it moving and he thought maybe I had it so he called. After multiple calls with no answer, the phone was shut off. The last location was going a different way than I was going. I felt awful. My son was upset about his Pokemon Go game but he saw I was upset and tried to comfort me instead. I got on my laptop and started changing passwords on anything I thought could be accessed. My phone has a pass protection home screen but eventually someone could hack that. I remote locked the phone through Google and sent a message to my phone, invoking my autistic son in the plea, in the hopes that the thief had a heart.

My husband and I had therapy 30 minutes away from home in the afternoon, but on the way there, my stomach cramped up and I had to visit the bathroom. While I was in there, my husband found out our therapist had gone home sick and they'd tried to call my cell phone. Touché, phone thief.

We looked at new phones and started to make an insurance claim but that was a joke. We've paid for insurance for two and a half years but to replace it is a $200 deductible. On an old phone. (Who even wanted my phone? There's been two upgrades since mine and the screen is broken. I was in the wealthy area of town--why the heck would anyone want my stupid phone???  Besides ME!) I checked eBay and Amazon and found new phones the same version as mine for $180. That insurance is worthless!

I was about to head out to get dinner and checked my Google tracker and saw the phone was back on and it was showing location near a lake South of us. My husband tried to call it a few more times with no luck. I wanted to go out there. I was fully mad at this point. It didn't take much convincing to get my husband to come. I took my laptop so I could trigger Google to ring the phone so we could hear it. I pictured people hanging around the lake and the phone ringing in someone's pocket and a confrontation ensuing. I grabbed a thick wood stick, just in case. My husband brought a "just in case" too. Only his was a handgun. He was worried the thief would have a weapon.  He said that this is who I am, the kind of person to go charging after someone, but that it was potentially dangerous and he was worried.  He didn't try to talk me out of it though!

My adrenaline was pumping as we headed to the lake. I could hear badass theme music playing in my mind. Mama bear was ready to charge.  Maybe the mamas will get this--we were watching Bolt last night and I felt like Rhino (he's my favorite!). We got near where the signal showed and it was behind a building in the woods. I hopped out and grabbed my stick (it was more like a pole). I charged into the woods, but about halfway in, my adrenaline failed me. The brush was thick and thigh high. I was stepping on top of the brush and below it, I could feel branches and it was very unsteady. I came to a small stream which my son could have easily jumped, but I'm 40 and have a ruptured disk. In the middle of the stream, there was a pipe, so I steadied myself with the pole, put one foot on the pipe, grabbed a branch on the other side, and stepped over. It was so muddy because of all the rain we've had and there were lots of thorns catching me. I was praying that there were no snakes, spiders, or poison ivy. I heard a noise and saw movement up ahead so I stopped to watch and listen but I decided it was probably a deer. I fell at one point and was glad I brought the stick or I might not have had the strength to get back up. The brush became so thick, it was impassable and I couldn't see a break. I moved laterally, hoping to find an opening, but there was no way. I decided I had to turn back. But, the path back from where I ended up crossed TWO small creeks and had so many thorns! I hadn't dressed for a hike. I had on my slip on shoes (athletic type, not flip flops) and capris pants. I was muddy and my ankles and legs were getting scraped up. I was picking barbed thorns out of my hands and laying my stick across thick thorns to try to walk over them instead of through. When I finally got back to the road, I was panting. I haven't exerted myself this much in a long time. My lungs still burn. I came around some trees and my husband and the van were gone. I walked back to the driveway by the little building and waited and pretty soon he pulled up.

He had heard the commotion in the woods and then the tracker started to move.  He thought I had flushed someone out.  There was a little gated road down the way a bit that was locked or we'd have gone in that way.  He thought  they were coming out there, according to the tracker, so he headed after them.  He couldn't see anyone though, so he came back to get me.  We picked up the signal in the middle of a field, but we couldn't see anything.  Then it jumped to the next field over so we kept going.  We drove down a twisty driveway and disturbed deer, but saw no people.  The signal jumped again and showed the phone was north of us, so we headed through this nice neighborhood.  I got out again and walked down a trail that should have given me a clear view of whoever had the phone, but I saw nothing.  We went at it a different direction but we still saw nothing.  We stopped and talked to a park ranger who was interested and seemed to think the whole thing was pretty cool.  I was not amused.  Give us a hand, Barney Fife! The signal had stayed stationary so we wondered if it had been ditched.  Then it jumped around again and ended  up back at the same place we started!  Ugh!  We had driven around for about two hours.  We had originally suspected it might be some kids, so I tried sending messages to the phone that we were tracking them and that we didn't have to get the police involved--we just wanted the phone back.  I even said they could leave it somewhere and just let us know where they left it.  No response. The battery was at 11%, so I finally made the decision to remotely wipe it and send it back to factory settings.  Then we headed to get Kimberly's birthday dinner and home.

We had thought that whoever had it must be on bikes or dirt bikes, moving through the fields and trees like that.  But, my husband now thinks it might have been a boat.  Even though the pin was in the woods, the radius was large, so it's possible they could have been on the lake.

I came home and cleaned up my scratches.  Then I found a tick on my knee!  I forgot to add ticks to my "no critter prayer."  Then I felt one crawling down my arm.  I took a long hot bath and then we found another one on my back! I've got itchy bites and my skin is just irritated but more than 24 hours later, we found 3 more ticks on the back of my thigh. Where did they come from? I hope there are no more! I am so sore and tired. Remind me that I'm 40 and shouldn't do crap like that! Wait, nevermind. My kids kept reminding me that I'm too old and I am not all big and bad. Then Arrena refused to go to the basement because there's a mouse down there. Mmmmhmmmm. But we won't talk about that. 

It was an adventure for sure, but we upgraded to new cell phones. I have a new high - tech brain! I definitely didn't want to have to pay more and I hate changing phones because I get used to the way I have things, but at least I don't have a cracked screen anymore so the jerk thieves can keep the broken, factory reset, decommissioned phone. 

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