Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Exhausted and Discouraged in Chula Vista

It's been an age since I posted here. Now I find myself in California again. How many trips has it been? I've lost count.

After a sleepless night, I flew from Detroit. This morning I feel like an elephant sat on me. Last night I unlocked the door to Mom's old house at nine 0'clock San Diego time. Yet again, the state of the house assaulted me. I had forgotten how many boxes were left when we were here in August. Worse yet, on a cursory walk through, I discovered some more stuff we missed last trip. Some mementos from Mom and Dad's wedding and anniversaries and two big boxes that brim with what looks like correspondence. I scrubbed a scum ring from the unused toilet and cleaned the daddy long legs and cobwebs from the bathroom. And then there's the garage. I don't even want to ponder that. It's overwhelming.

One small miracle, the mercury started after one groan and sigh. I was too exhausted to go out and get food. I scrounged some ramen noodles, from our foray in March, and a small can of V8, from Mom's meals-on-wheels stash. The neighbor's dog barked and barked. I didn't remember that last trip.

I sighed.

After my snack, I dressed in my PJs. Bed and sleep was all I wanted. As I was brushing my teeth, I thought I heard the doorbell ring.

Naw, I thought. Who would be visiting at half past ten? I continued with my ablutions.

Knock.. knock, heavy and loud, unmistakable.

Could it be Frank? Not likely, he goes to bed early.

I turned on the porch light and peered through the peephole. Nothing was clear. I had locked the security door so I figured it would be safe to open the inner door a crack.

"Police!" A gruff voice said.

Two tall burly men dressed in dark police uniforms stood on the porch. I don't remember them showing me badges. In retrospect, I should have asked for them. What if they had been robbers impersonating police.

Duh! I was so tired that I didn't think to ask.

"We received a report that there was a robbery in progress," One of the men said. "A neighbor said they heard breaking glass. Something about a husband being away... "

This is all I need, I thought. A image of me being handcuffed and hauled off to the police station flashed through my mind.

"I'm the daughter." I said, from behind the inner door.

"May we come in? We need to check the report out."

I asked them to wait while I put something on. From the back bedroom I grabbed my U of M ECMO sweat shirt and put it on. It didn't occur to me until later that they might think I was getting a weapon.

Tired and flustered I unlocked the door. As the two six-plus, linebacker types walked into the living room an even taller man emerged from the night.

"Three of you! You sent out the army." I said. One of them could take me down with one arm tied behind his back, I thought. A soft nervous chuckle escaped my lips.

"We need to be prepared. The report was of a robbery in progress." Sitting here in Starbucks this morning, I can't stop wondering what possessed me to let them in now.

"What would you like to see?" I noted the guns and billy clubs on their belts. "The other time a policemen came out they didn't ask to come in. What's different this time?"

"They weren't doing their job then." One of the men said. "We need to check the report out."

His companions surveyed the room. The thought occurred to me that the boxes strewn around the room might look suspicious.

"If I show you the Power of Attorney papers would that be enough?"

"Yes, that will do."

I gave them my copies of the PoA and then my driver's license.

They seemed satisfied.

As they were leaving, I thanked them and wished them a good night.

"I hope that I'm the worst encounter you have tonight."

"Yeah. Me, too." One called as he walked away.

I had trouble falling asleep, despite my exhaustion. My back hurt. All the events of the day and all the things I need to do swirled in my mind. I'm glad the neighbors are keeping an eye on the house. Still, three policemen. Wow!

After some tossing and turning, I managed to twist the sheet into a knot. I gave up on straightening it out. As I drifted off to sleep amidst the remaining clutter, dust, and lurking spiders, the neighbors dog barked and barked.

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