partially solving a mystery

Today at work, my cell phone rang and it was Dave. Not normally a big thing, right? Spouses call each other at the office. It happens. But the ensuing conversation was not at all what I expected.

Dave: So, a policeman is here at the house. They found your purse and your mom’s purse.

Me: WHAT?!?!!

Dave: Yeah. Uh, here, I’ll let him tell you.

So, the police officer gets on the phone, and explains that the best he can figure, whoever stole the purses tossed them down a storm drain, because a maintenance worker found them in a retention pond in the next subdivision over from ours. Which is where they’ve been for a month. He warned me that there wasn’t really anything salvageable there, but they did find my passport, which is how they knew the purses were ours. (My passport, btw, has already been canceled, so recovering it was not exactly a big “yay!” moment.) (And yes, it’s very stupid to have one’s passport in their purse. I had just had to do an I-9 form at work a couple of weeks before and I had forgotten to put it back in the drawer with all of our other important ID information.)

Want to know what purses look like after they spend a month in a stagnant retention pond?


This photo doesn’t even begin to do it justice. Seriously, y’all, I just… I cannot even begin to describe the smell to you. It may never leave my nose. It might be worse than the time our septic tank exploded back when we lived in the boonies. This smell is burned into my brain.

Dave had already deemed the purses as ruined and trashed them before I got home, but I don’t know, I just needed to see it for myself. So I pulled them out and took a picture. (As Dave pointed out when he found out I retrieved them from the trash, it was probably not very smart for me to be breathing in God-knows-what when I’m pregnant, which, yeah I guess he has a point.)

When I told my mom, she wanted me to save her purse so she could try to root through it the next time she’s up here. I called her back and told her that no way is that foul-smelling thing staying in my house. OMG. Nevermind that the purses are basically empty anyway. We found some nail clippers, a tube of Carmex lip balm, and my mom’s epi-pen (which was filled with nasty drainage pond water). I think that anything else the thieves didn’t take is probably still floating in that pond somewhere. The only reason my passport didn’t float away is because it was in a zippered side pocket.

So, I guess that’s the end of the story. Not exactly the satisfying, “Lock up those thugs and throw away the key!” form of justice that I’d been hoping for. Instead, it’s just two empty black purses covered in mildew and pond muck. Lovely.

little ears

It seems like lately, I’ve gotten in the habit of recounting the house break-in so many times, I don’t even think about it anymore.

**Minor inconvenience happens, something that requires a driver’s license or whatever other item that I no longer possess.**
– Sorry, my purse was stolen.
– No, I didn’t leave it somewhere. Somebody broke into my house & took it.
– Yeah, we were home. We were asleep upstairs at the time.
– I know, it IS very scary.

I’m not looking for sympathy, it’s more of an explanation, and I hate recounting it because it makes me feel like such an idiot when I have to admit that actually, I accidentally left the door unlocked, so it was more of a house walk-in than a break-in.

Yesterday, after I picked Catie up from daycare, my eye doctor’s office called to say my glasses were ready. I’m so sick of squinting at the screen all day while I’m working, and they were open until 6:00, so we hopped back in the car and headed over there.

The guy, who brought out my glasses and adjusted them for me, remembered me from when I got my first pair of glasses there. He asked if I’d lost them. And I did the whole, “No, actually, my purse was stolen and my glasses were in them at the time, so… yeah,” thing. I didn’t even think about the fact that Catie was sitting in my lap at the time that we had this conversation.

In the car afterward, we had this conversation:
Catie: Mommy, was it monsters?
Me: Was what monsters, baby?
Catie: Was it monsters who came into the house and took your purse?
Me: [having sort of an “oh shit” moment in my head] No, sweetie, there’s no such thing as monsters, remember? It was just… bad guys.
[Trying to focus on driving and not banging my head into the steering wheel. Bad guys? Really? Like that’s any better?? Good GOD, self. Way to traumatize the poor kid.]
Catie: Why were they bad?
Me: Because they wanted Mommy’s money and Mimi’s money, and that’s why they took our purses. And it’s very bad to take things that don’t belong to you, right?
Catie: [worried voice] What if the bad guys come back and they take my toys?
Me: No, sweetie, nobody’s going to take your toys. We got all new locks on the doors, remember? So your toys are totally safe now. Nobody’s going to touch them, OK?

She seemed content with that answer, but I felt horrible. I mean, I’m relieved that her main fear is that the “bad guys” would take her stuff, not that they’d do anything to harm her. But, man, I seem to constantly forget that she’s not a baby anymore and that she picks up on everything. You’d think that I would have figured that out by now.


On the other hand, she erased last week’s sad face from her Magna Doodle and drew this in its place.

Today gets a smiley face. My cup runneth over.

So I’m guessing we’re gonna be just fine.