The photo above is of a woman using our debit cards at an Albertson's in Del City, OK. She spent more than $5,900 on my card. Grabbed cash from all the others. More than that she shattered our feeling of security and took stuff that we worked hard for. She's not going to get away with it. If anyone in Oklahoma recognizes this woman, please send an email to: email@example.com ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Oklahoma City police are moving slower than molasses in even making available a police report on the thefts at the Y this week.
"We can't even start investigating until we get a report, and then we'll only investigate if it's a solveable crime," That was the comment I got from one detective.
Let me see, video tapes at the Y, video at the ATMs, videos at the stores where they purchased stuff. Sounds solveable to me.
Three things happened yesterday -- first I talked with a bank investigator (let me just say the banks have been awesome.) -- then I talked to the Y where someone told me that they had tapes, but couldn't offer up that info unless we asked. Well, I had asked. But then I was told I couldn't see the tapes. Then the police -- uninterested in helping.
That made me angrier. So, I tracked down some of the other women (hey, I knew those computer assisted investigative reporter classes would pay off sometime) and we talked. If the Y and the Police weren't going to do something, by golly we were. We decided we're not going to dump the Y, we're going to force them to address the problem. We love our new booming, growing downtown area. It's time to force the issue of safety.
So we set up an email address, will set up a Web site today, and printed out fliers. Then we met at the Y, put the fliers on cars, in the dressing rooms, and went back in and interviewed the staff. Needless to say, within five minutes we had a meeting with a head honcho, and will have another meeting with all the women and the COO of the Y tomorrow.
We plan to be as equally aggressive in pushing the police to do their job. We're even helping.
Don't look. What do you have in your purse? What do you have in your wallet? I've been trying to reconstruct everything that was in my bag.
Glasses, prescription sunglasses, my favorite lipstick, my headphones, my digital recorder, a mic, photos of my grandkids, my cell phone, a multitude of cards - bank, credit, insurance, voter i.d. social security, discount cards to my favorite shopping places -- my life in a bag.
We've been frustratingly dealing with everything this morning. Fortunately most of the banks and credit cards are used to this happening so they have safeguards in place.
But I'm still going around getting cards cancelled, reissued, etc.
After talking to the Y this morning and being treated as IF we had done something wrong and were bothering them, we plan to cancel our membership and go to another facility. Maybe it won't be any safer, but we expect to be taken seriously and treated with respect.
To the police this is just another run of the mill theft. They'll never solve the crime, they don't expect to -- is it any wonder that thieves find it so easy to steal?
But things are getting better today. We found out that we HAD purchased an extended warranty that will cover most of the car repairs. Inconveniences aside, our banks and credit card companies have taken lengths to make sure we get things straightened out today.
First thing this a.m. I went to get a driver's license. Small step. Made me feel better.
This has already been a long week. Monday, I opened an email from someone (I thought) I knew. Bam. My computer at my office on campus was infected with a worm virus. No computer now until next week. On the plus side, I get to work from home. See, I'm looking for the silver lining near this cloud of "mean people" that has been hovering over me.
And, so today I'll quietly count my blessings. This is just a bump, my life is still my life and all will be well. Thanks all of you for your thoughts, comments and calls. I count all of you among my blessings.
We read the statistics in the paper. We read the police blotters. Car broken into. House burglarized. We shake our heads and feel sorry for the people it happened to, and we move on. Until one day it happens to us.
As of 6:45 p.m. this evening, I became one those people in the police blotters. I went to the Downtown Y, a place that I felt safe and relatively secure in. I still put a super duper Brinks lock (can't be cut according to the maker) on my locker.
After my yoga class, I sauntered back into the locker room and headed for the locker. I try to use the same one each time. I can't see my lock anywhere. I look at the row of lockers ahead. I was in a hurry, maybe I put it in the wrong locker. Nothing. I notice there are no locks anywhere on the lockers. Unusual for this busy time of day. I panic, and start opening lockers. I find my gym bag. My clothes are strewn all over the locker. No purse.
They hit five of us. We immediately called 911 and talked to the credit card fraud division. That fast. I was told money had been taken out of my savings account. Money taken out of my checking account. Money even taken out of a closed account with a card that I'd forgotten about.
I had just cashed a bonus check I just got, and though I don't normally carry large amounts of cash I had to drop off my car in the morning to get repaired and wanted to pay cash for the repairs. I toyed with the idea of sticking my purse under the car seat, but we had been warned not to leave valuables in our car. Gone.
We filled out the police report and I watched as the other four women came running to the front desk, tears and the same shocked look on their face that I'm sure was on mine. The fraud division said money was being transferred in and out of our accounts, between our accounts at a fast pace. One woman had taken her wedding ring off and put it in her purse. All trusting of a place that we go to every day and trusting of a $24 lock. We live in Oklahoma City -- this isn't supposed to happen here -- not in our safe little worlds.
I was lucky that I had handed my car keys to my husband. I don't know why I did that, but I'm glad I did. Other women weren't so lucky.
I've been worried about the money. Money that I needed to get through the month. Then it hit me on the way home. I have no driver's license. My military i.d. is gone. My social security card -- don't start my husband's already given me the lecture about not having that in there. My cell phone is gone. Everything. Gone.
I have no identity. But what I do have after crying nonstop for four hours is anger. Anger at the Y for not taking measures to ensure that we are safe. No cameras at the locker room doors. Angry for them for my having to force the issue of them calling the police. I'm angry at the assholes who took my purse. For shattering my security. For turning my life upside down. Angry at a world that includes people who do this and so much worse. I will refuse to let it change my life. And we'll get the car fixed somehow, and we'll survive. But I'm going to do my damn best to see that we find out who did this. Yeah, I'm pissed.
Many many years ago, our family vacations revolved around running, back when running was part of our lifestyle. We went to Hawaii and ran the Great Aloha Run. We went to Ie Island for Memorial Day (that's the island where the famed journalist Ernie Pyle died during WWII) and we ran. We went to San Francisco, and we entered a run.
But as I mentioned that was many many years ago. Our physical fitness routine was a casualty of this year's vacation. We've slowly transitioned to going to the gym and have made it there three times this week.
I decided I needed a new classs -- something to draw me back into the exercise routine. I've been stressed lately so decided Yoga was the key -- not too hard, but still exercise.
So I donned my "yoga" clothes and bought one of those cute mats that you sling over your shoulder with a strap. I scan the class schedule and until I see -- int. yoga. Perfect. An introductory class. I walk in and stop. The room is dark. Barefoot people appear to be praying (the mountain pose). Undaunted, I lay out my mat near the back of the room and assume the position.
After about 15 minutes of changing positions that stretch muscles I didn't remember having, sweat starts to trickle down my back, off my head and into my eyes. The room must be hot. I keep moving.
By the middle of the class, I breathing hard, and soaked in sweat. I look around. Everyone else is doing the same, they just make breathing look like part of the workout. Who knew breathing could be this hard?
Near the end of the class, the instructor directs us to a position that includes lying on your shoulders and swinging your legs over your head. My legs won't go that far, my butt, stomach and fear of breaking my neck won't let them. I keep trying.
Now this is not your usual cardio class with the loud rock or hip-hop music. The music in the background sounds like the sound track to the Lion King, and it's playing softly.
I pull my legs toward me, aiming to swing them up and over. Pffft. The sound resonates through the room. It's an unmistable intrustion into the dark, Lion King atmosphere. I look over at my fellow posers. If they heard, they don't react.
Finally the instructor takes us down to another pose. And the class is over. I'm completely covered in sweat and look like I've run 5 miles -- at least. My husband looks at me questionly as we rush out the gym door to make it to the polls in time to vote.
"Yoga's not for sissies," I say.
Wednesday, I can't move. Every inch of me hurts. Thursday, I take the Yoga basics class, having discovered that int. yoga means INTERMEDIATE yoga. I'm better.
I mean to blog every day, really I do. Here's what's happening or on my mind this week:
I'm sitting in the midst of a chaotic mixture of office space and "monkey room" right now. The monkey room was a guest bedroom set up specifically for the grandchildren, even though they usually only visit once a year. And M thought of it as his room. But it now officially has to become my office.
My daughter, who's returning to school and whose husband is off doing the military thing, has moved back in. So she gets the other room. So I'm reluctantly taking down the jungle posters and the mirrow with the giraffe.
It's being transformed into my office (our office, in case hubby is reading:) today. My sports photos and baseball pennants will go up, so it should meet with some approval from M when he comes to visit and has to sleep on the Futon that's replacing his bed. I'm debating keeping the monkey light switch, but that will probably go too. I won't throw it all away. I'll put it all in a box with hopes that our next house will have enough extra rooms for a monkey room. ------- Fleas -- keep infesting my cat. We've discovered some are now in the house. We suspect the stray cats that dang lady next door feeds are the culprit. The stupid stray cats hang out in our yard, and our yard now has fleas. So we're off to Lowe's -- did I mention there's a new Lowe's within two blocks of our house? My husband is in heaven. I'm buying stock. -- to buy some flea killing bad for the environment chemicals. And the bug man will be back at my house next week. We now consider ourselves investors in his small company.
Babies -- this is a baby year it seems. Our daughter-in-law, R, is having a baby in December (No. 3 - another girl); my sister is having her first baby at age 36 in September; and now our friends have learned that they will get a baby in September. The shower is today, and they leave Monday for another state to await the baby's birth. Law requires them to be there for a week after also. I was a little saddened when I learned the birth mother was a married woman with a husband and other children. They decided they couldn't afford another baby. That was sad. But then I look at the joy of our friends at having this baby, and I realize that this is a tremendously wonderful unselfish thing the birth parents are doing. This baby will be sheltered with love from them and all members of a family who are eagerly ready to welcome her home.
Job -- There was an article on Yahoo news this week that was a checklist -- five questions to help you decide whether to stay at or leave your current job. I knew the answer already. So I'm job hunting still, and I'm feeling guilty. My boss gave me an unexpected bonus this week.
Working out -- Man, it's hard to get back in the groove after vacation. Our diet has been hit or miss this week, and we've only worked out twice. Hopefully, we'll be back into our routine next week.
Clubs -- I take (actively) part in two organizations. One, that I've been a member of for four years, I'd like to be more active in, but can't seem to get appointed to any of the jobs (offices) I tell people I'm interested in. The second has dumped so much on me in a short time that I'm having to tell them I actually do have a paying job that I have to do during the day. We'll see how long I stay in that one.
One week ago tonight, I was sitting in Shakespeares Pizza in Columbia, Mo. I love the place. It never changes, or at least hasn't since the first time I ate my first artichoke covered pizza there 12 years ago. Has it been that long?
The same chairs, the same old Indian motorcycle on top of the sturdy cabinet holding the silverware and thin ragged red towels that serve as napkins. Even some of the waiters and pizza makers look the same -- students that come in when others just like them left for higher paying jobs. I like Shakespeares because the Columbia we knew so many years ago is becoming a shadow of itself. Gone is the safe college town atmosphere. It's been replaced by a city bursting at its seams. Shopping centers, chain restaurants and large department stores that we only dreamed about are now a part of the landscape. Students hungry for some late night shopping no longer have to trek 35 miles to Jefferson City to find a 24-hour Wal-Mart. They are plentiful in Columbia now.
While in Columbia, we took our grandson to the doctor for his school physical while our oldest daughter, now a student there herself, was at work. It was the same office where we had taken our youngest daughter 12 years ago. She was 10 at the time she broke her finger at the pool. She's 22 now. It felt familiar, not old.
So we laughed when our grandson said his doctor was going to be old. "At least 15," he said. A medical resident at the College of Medicine, she didn't look much older than that.
When we left, we asked our grandson how old she was. "She was really old, I think 22," he declared.
"M, do you think we're old?" We asked, expecting a definite yes.
"No. You're not old. You're comfortable." he told us, with a hug.
And, maybe that's why we like places like Shakespeare's Pizza with it's ragged towels and pony-tailed pizza makers. It's comfortable.
Legs dangling over a large tire tube, head leaned back, eyes closed -- the motion of the slow river current almost made me fall asleep. I was lured back when one of our companions exclaimed over a family of Loons -- the state bird of Minnesota - she told those of us who just weren't educated enough to know that. She likes Loons. The birds floated down the river beside us for awhile, almost within arm's reach. They knew we were there and they looked over at us occasionally, probably wondering what exactly they were looking at.
The relaxing afternoon floating leisurely -- more than four hours -- down the Otter Tail River in Minnesota ended all too quickly. We had forgotten to bring a camera, but know now that it was probably best. Taking photos would have taken away from the whole experience. We came away from the adventure a little more relaxed. After quick showers, we shuttled the three blocks from E's house to the local pub. Another bar and restaurant down the street was packed by "lake people" and "tourists." The Old Brick Inn in Battle Lake was the destination of locals. We sidled up to the bar, and since we had memorized the short menu of both beer and food the night before, ordered quickly. Fried, pub food. Yum. The local Summit beer was a cool respite from the afternoon heat. We ate, drank and talked. Our karoke experience the night before had acquainted us with the waitresses and the bar keep. We were "The Oklahomans" -- not a title we would normally embrace, but it was ok here. We talked sports, took some ribbing about the Twins' quick demise of the Royals that afternoon (and three games before that) and talked about the weather, family and politics.
Battle Lake is not a big town -- population 700 or so. But it has a big heart. We felt as if we belonged there somehow amid the locals and the lake people. We walked in and out of shops, met the owners, learned their life stories and promised to return. We will.