Monday, December 11, 2017

Cruel World Blues

Sunday morning I went out at the crack of dawn to feed the horses when I noticed a fancy, brightly painted pick up truck sneaking up quietly toward my backyard.  It's headlights were off with just parking lights on.  I watched as the driver got out and started to walk toward my backyard.  I got ready to holler at him for trespassing when he stopped and whipped out a camera and started either taking pictures of me or filming me.  I stared back in disbelief.  This wasn't the first time someone stood on that hill and filmed me doing my barn chores, but something told me he was not just some city dweller vacationing in the area thinking that seeing someone feeding horses was a novelty worthy of recording.  He was being sneaky.  I continued to stare at him, so that he knew I was very aware of his presence.  When he finished, he quietly and slowly drove off, as if trying to avoid waking anyone in the neighborhood.

What bothered me about it was that he came to my backyard as if it were his planned destination.  It wasn't like he was driving by, saw me, and thought, "That'll make a good picture at 7:00 in the morning."

Rock has the most painful hoof abscess I've ever seen him have, and none of my usual treatments have been doing anything to ease his pain.  I finally gave up trying to give him relief through soaking and packing his hoof, and I started giving him massive doses of Bute, which make him lie on his side and sleep all day.  I was annoyed that this unwanted visitor put my horses on alert while I was trying to medicate Rock.  It made my job that much harder.

A short time after that I looked up to see him cruising very slowly past the front of my house.  He was a young man with dark, wavy hair and he was sticking his head out the window staring at me as I walked up my driveway.  That's when it hit me that this was the same truck I saw loitering around my neighborhood last spring when my garage got burglarized.  I can't believe the shithead has returned to the scene of his crime to rob us again.  He was clearly doing surveillance as he looked over his shoulder to see if any of my garage bays were open.  Normally, the number two bay would be open because I drive my Mule to the barn, but on this morning I walked from the back door, so all the bays were closed.

I went into the house to alert my husband to the burglar's presence, but he was in the bathroom.  I made myself some breakfast when my phone rang.  I was like, "Who the heck calls someone at 7:30 in the morning on a Sunday?  I'm picking up just so I can chew him out."

Then I saw the city the call was originating from was where my brother lives.  I've been anxiously awaiting his call for the past two and a half months.  The last time he called me, I couldn't talk because I had a refrigerator repairman in my house waiting to be paid.  My brother dropped the bomb that he had to go into the hospital for tests because three different doctors thought he had stomach cancer and possibly diabetes.  I told him to call me back and let me know the results of the tests.  I couldn't call him, because he didn't have a phone.  He relied on the kindness of others to lend him their phones.

I picked up, but it wasn't my brother's voice on the other end of the line.  It was his friend.  He said, "Are you sitting down?"

I said yes.  He said, "I have some very bad news."

I thought to myself, "What is it this time?  He's probably in jail and needs to be bailed out."

He said, "Your brother passed away this morning."

I was bowled over backwards.  Of course, I immediately wanted to know what happened.  He said he was having problems with his feet swelling up, and then he got an infection in one foot, and then he died.  It sounded like he did have diabetes after all.  I asked if he had been seeing a doctor about it, and his friend said that my brother never told him anything.  Everyone was in the dark, I guess, including me.

Shortly after that a police officer called me and wanted to know how I already received the news.  Apparently, he had just arrived at the scene.  I asked him all the same questions I asked the friend, and got a little more information.  A few minutes later the police chaplain called, and I asked him all the same questions, and got even more information.  I found out that my brother had been really sick based upon his medical history and all the pill bottles he carried around with him.  He never said anything to me until that last phone call, and even then he said it was just a possibility that he might be ill.  Nothing was definite.

The chaplain was kind enough to read some of my brother's medical history to me, and one of the items listed was liver cirrhosis.  I looked up the symptoms, and that too can cause edema and make it difficult to fight off infections.  Most people don't live past 15 more years once they are diagnosed with it.  Quite honestly, the list of his health problems was so long and all of them were so serious that it's a miracle that he lived to be 55 years old.  My brother was really bad about not letting family know when he was sick or injured and in the hospital, which is frustrating for me because so many of my family members have died without me being able to say goodbye.  Just think how we would behave differently if we knew how long each of us were going to live.  I would have told the refrigerator repairman to wait had I known that was the last time I'd get to speak to my brother.

While I was talking with the chaplain, who was in a fit of tears crying harder than I was when he called me (and as a result I was trying to hold it together for him), the burglar in the pick up truck cruised slowly past my window trying really hard to see inside my house through the tinted glass.  I was thinking, "Are you kidding me?  I just got horrible news and this a-hole is still buzzing around my house?"

This time he was close enough to me that I could read the writing on the side of his truck.  When I got off the phone, I googled it, and saw that the truck belonged to a business that is in a city that is about half an hour down the freeway from where I live.  So, I have a good description of the truck, the driver, and where he works... unless he stole the truck.  I was on the phone most of the morning being interviewed and interviewing others to unravel the mystery of my brother's death, as well as making funeral arrangements, and I had to keep one eye out the window the whole time because of the burglar.  I figured there was no point in calling the local police since he hadn't committed a crime yet, but if he shows up again, I think I will call so that the police can at least stop him and question him.  I just didn't want to tie up my phone line with the local police about the burglar when I needed to be on the phone talking to people about my brother.  I can only tackle so many problems at once.  Honestly, a part of me wanted to say to the police chaplain, "Could you please hold on a moment?" and then go outside, pull the guy out of his truck, and beat the crap out of him.  Then return to the phone and say, "Where were we?"

It had been a rough day to say the least.  In the late afternoon I did my barn chores and decided to do something relaxing to de-stress while waiting for the water troughs to fill.  I strolled around the property looking for smooth rocks to paint, and decided to visit my recently departed Scrappy's grave to pay my respects, but when I got there, I discovered that it had been dug up!

I had heard something walking along our stone wall outside my bedroom window the other night and Stewie growled, but I didn't get up and turn on the lights to investigate.  Now I realize it wasn't walking on the stone wall, it was digging up the stones in the grave.  We've also been hearing coyotes late at night again.  I saw that they did reach the towel that Scrappy was wrapped in, but I don't know if they got his body or not.  It doesn't make sense that they'd dig that deep and then give up.  I limped back to the house to ask my husband to re-bury the grave.  The back door was locked, so I peered through the tinted glass to see if he was around to open it for me.  That's when I saw my husband laying on the floor.

I nearly had a heart attack.  He had been up on a ladder repairing holes in the walls and ceiling that the previous a-holes, I mean homeowners, left behind when they ripped all the speakers out.  My husband is going to install a new surround sound speaker system over the locations of the old speakers as an anniversary gift to us, because we're sick of living in a house with wires hanging out of the walls.  We also can't hear the TV when someone turns on water or the microwave in the kitchen, or gets ice out of the ice maker, so that's another incentive to get surround sound speakers.  It's a bummer when you watch a two-hour movie or the season finale of a show, and you miss the verbal conclusion due to an untimely sound effect over your shoulder.

Anyway, I thought he fell off the ladder, so I knocked on the locked door to see if I could get a response, and he got right up and opened the door for me.  It turned out that he was laying on the floor assembling a wall shelf for the control unit.  So, I suppose the day could have been worse with my best horse being lame and in pain, some creepy guy stalking me, my brother dying, and my dead dog being dug up from his grave.  At least my husband didn't break his neck.  Still, I'm growing weary in this world.  It seems the cruelty is never-ending.  There must be something more to life than being in emergency mode all the time.

My own health has been failing me because I haven't slept much this past week due to leg pain, and I have leg pain because I've been too busy to stretch and exercise.  I'm relapsing back to the way things were before my steroid shots.  The more pain and stiffness I have, the less I can exercise.  It's a vicious cycle.  Every time there's one more disaster in my life, I keep thinking, "This is the last one.  After this I'll get to rest and enjoy my horses and take care of myself."

But it's never the last one. 

The good news is that I think there is more to life than that.  Being a bit sensitive, I have recognized visits from the spirit world from time to time.  I was waiting to hear from my brother, but was getting nothing.  Then I fired up my computer and the screen saver had changed to a picture that my brother had given to my mother as a gift, and she kept it hanging in his old bedroom all those years until she passed away.  It wasn't a photo that I had on my computer being pulled from my files.  It was just a random image imported onto my screen by Microsoft, but the timing was too perfect to ignore.


TeresaA said...

I am so very sorry for the loss of your brother. What a difficult time for you.

Also, take photos of the creep stalking the house.

ellie k said...

I am so sorry to hear about your brother and all the other things that seem to follow you around. Keep an eye open for the creepy guy and a gun loaded. You need to call the company on the truck and asks if they are doing work in your area and then tell them the events that have been going on with one of their trucks.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

And now, the icing on the cake, I was so busy running around and handling communications regarding funeral arrangements, that I forgot to turn off the sprinklers. They ran all night long and now our well is bone dry. No water today, which means no toilets, no shower, no nothing involving water for at least 12 hours. This is getting to be my life story. I'm at a point where I'm thinking of buying an inexpensive trailer or mobile home and hook it up to city water somewhere nearby just so I have somewhere to go when the well runs dry or the well motor breaks here. This pattern of running out of water has been happening just about every other month, so it may be worth it to invest in a little more real estate, or at least move into a home with less challenges, but I don't think I have it in me to move again. I just need everything to cooperate for once.

Crystal said...

So sorry to hear of your brother.
And again everything at once for you. Hoping it all turns around. And ya I'm with TeresaA take pics of the creep and call the company

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The company is probably a one-man company, so if I call I'll probably be talking to the guy who was driving the truck. Cameras are good if they are within reach when he shows up and I'm not in the middle of something I can't put down. It may be time to install security cameras on each side of the house, though. Yesterday I heard someone pull into my driveway, and by the time I was able to get out of the garage and around the corner, they were gone. I think someone was just using my driveway to turn around even though there's a public turnout right across the street. If I've been sitting a while when he shows up, I can't just leap up and grab a camera because my leg locks up and I have to do a series of movements to unlock it, then I have to limp around slowly until the stiffness and pain dissipate. Even though he was only driving about 5 mph, my arthritis makes it difficult for me to catch him in time.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Sorry to hear about your brother. May he rest in peace.

As for the creepy guy- *67 I think blocks your number and then call the company and ask for their fleet manager. That will tell you if they have more than one truck or not. If they do, give them the major crossroads only, date/time of the stalking and they should be able to narrow down who the driver is. If you do end up speaking to the owner and it is him driving around stalking- tell him you have no tolerance for this crap and will take it up with the authorities.

I called the Arizona Water Company several times about one of their drivers speeding thru our neighborhood. He had no business even driving thru there. Several calls later and he finally stopped cutting thru

ellie k said...

Maybe you will need to put a gate in that has a solar panel to operate opening and closing. That way you and hubby could have remotes to open it or a code to put in is walking out of the drive. You could probably look up the company name that is on this truck and the computer would give you any info that might be out there on it.

Grey Horse Matters said...

So sorry to hear about your brother. Hope you get pics of the creepy stalker and report him.

Mrs Shoes said...

Oh Nuz... ((cyber hugs)) So, so sorry. I lost my only brother 4 years ago Nov 4th in similar circumstances. Life sucks so damn hard sometimes.

Linda said...

I don't know how I missed seeing this post. My heart is breaking. Your brother was so young. I so wish he'd told you that he was that sick so you could have seen him and said goodbye! Did he live up here in my area?

I'm sorry that the world is cruel. It is. I want nothing more than to go home and never leave.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mrs. Shoes - My condolences on your brother.

Linda - Yes, he was the one who lived in your city. I spent a lot of time traveling the area with Google Map Street View and planned to visit him someday when my leg would let me. I hadn't seen him in person in 26 years, but talked with him on the phone every few weeks. The people up there sure are thoughtful and nice. So far, each person in the process has offered to handle the communications for me. So much better than California, where not a single person offered their condolences when I was attempting to arrange my mother's funeral and settle her estate. Even worse, they purposefully would not close her accounts after saying they would, because she had them set up on auto pay, and they wanted to keep getting that money. So many hassles in CA. But so far, everyone in WA has been treating me really well.

Linda said...

Well, that's good to hear. What area of the city did he live in? Where will he be buried?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Linda - He lived downtown between the freeway and river. He has a plot in CA. They are arranging transport, and will be shipping his belongings to me.

Linda said...

I can only imagine that would be a lot of stress on you to make all the arrangements on top of mourning such a great loss. I'm happy to hear you're getting help. Is there anything I can do?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Linda - You're so sweet. I don't think there is anything, but thank you.

How Sam Sees It said...

I'm so sorry to hear all this. :(