Category Archives: predatory lending

After effects

For reasons I don’t fully understand, today has been one of those “teary days” that sometimes enter my life. The latter part of the last week has been full of fear, worry, disappointment and, at times, utter panic. As I’ve written previously, my mother died in February, 2012. I’d known for years that she was not mentally competent and known even longer that she had serious mental health issues. She chose not to deal with either affliction. Unfortunately, her affliction became my affliction because I shared a house with her. Day after day, I’d watch her make horrible mistakes and could do nothing. One person in whom I’d confided kept telling me to somehow “make” her do things or “make” her brothers stop protecting her so that she could receive real medical help. My mother was not someone anyone “makes” do anything. The end result was that she lived in a world that didn’t correspond with reality. Nothing I said, did, didn’t say or didn’t do made a difference. I told her in anger once that she would always find a way to screw me over even if she had to go down with me. That’s a pretty harsh thing to say to one’s mother. That didn’t mean it wasn’t true. Two utterly devastating financial decisions she made that I desperately tried to talk her out of or guide her through have come back to bite me in the ass just as I told her they would.

The financial difficulties I’m experiencing actually force me to mourn my mother. I have not had any real time to do so in the last 18 months because I’ve been too busy dealing with two creditors who hold the paper on the house and my minivan–KeyBank National Association and JPMorgan Chase Auto Finance, respectively. To say these august institutions have been “difficult” would probably be the understatement of the year. I have new grey hairs because of them. Fortunately, my attorneys have kept me away from a lot of the upsetting discourse because, honestly, I don’t think I have it in me to remain focused and calm. My mother’s death and the years that preceded it are truly tender spots on my psyche. There is a lot of unfinished business within the family confines that are deeply painful and ugly. There are days when I can barely keep the dam of anger and pain from bursting as though built with shoddy concrete and rusty steel. Inevitably, there will be cracks where the water of my tears will seep through and run down the spillway of my cheeks. Today is one of those days.

I may have written of a favorite great-uncle, Herbert, who was more some combination of grandfather/father than great-uncle. Even though he was only ten years older than my mother, he had a very big hand in raising her. It was a bond that lasted throughout their lives. Uncle Herbert preceded Mom in death by a few months shy of four years. We didn’t have a chance to say a final goodbye, but I think he understood.

Uncle Herbert was always there for me, too. He and his wife, Ethel, were my rocks when I desperately needed them growing up. Lately, as I’ve watched my world turn upside down, I have wished that Uncle Herbert were here because he’d tell me how to fix everything or protect me as best he could from the very harsh realities I may have to face. My lawyers do help me as best they can, but they can only do so much. Aunt Ethel helped me even though I was deeply ashamed for asking. In the end, it is up to me. It is my responsibility to clean up the hot mess my mother made of both our lives because I didn’t do what needed to be done: have her declared mentally incompetent and get myself appointed conservator. Kicking myself is a waste of time, as is blaming her enabling two oldest brothers who interfered when I tried to get her help. I know that I will never have the same relationship with them again. So be it. However, I have to mourn the woman she was before she was crazy and mentally incompetent, then pick myself up, gear up and fight for my life.

I think the thing I do best is fight. My existence has been a constant struggle since the day I was born. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have to fight for something or another. That’s one of the things that would have/will make an excellent litigator. I believe passionately in equanimity and fairness. To me, those are basic human rights. KeyBank made a predatory loan to a woman who had no business conducting any financial transactions at all. I even warned the loan officer that my mother was not competent, but the loan officer saw an easy mark and inserted herself into the relationship with my mother. Anytime a woman “forgets” that her daughter has fibromyalgia and a birth defect that has caused problems in various musculoskeletal areas of her body even though that daughter has been on disability since the early 1990s and several doctors have talked to her about the daughter’s needs, that woman is in serious trouble. Whether Mom really forgot or whether she just didn’t want to face facts is something I’ll never know. What I do know is that I may lose my house due to Key’s greed. I have a feeling that I am not the only person who is in this type of difficulty.

Picking myself up to fight another day is one of the most difficult things I can envision doing right now. I am so damn tired I don’t know what to do. My spirit is tired. What keeps me going is my girls. Without them, I would be locked away in an psychiatric facility undergoing God-knows-what kind of “therapy” to lift the fog of depression. Yes, I am fighting for myself, but I am fighting for them even more. We are a set; a team; a four-some. We are family. I really don’t like this house because it wasn’t built very well. However, it’s got a large backyard with incredible possibilities and I don’t have to worry about my babies making too much noise for the neighbors. I know that I live and do things for them when I can’t do them for myself. This time, I’m fighting for all of us.

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Ready, set . . .

I am sitting in my bed trying to wrap my mind around what I’m going to do in the next few hours. Little by little, I’ve been preparing my bedroom to serve as a set for the disabled erotic modeling I will do. It’s taken a lot because my bedroom has been a real mess for years because I’ve been so physically limited for so long. In addition, psychologically, part of me has learned to be wary. I am normally a very sexual person in appropriate circumstances. Indeed, I revel in my sexuality! I’ve even envisioned photographs taken of me and one of my “types” of lovers as we lay in bed semi-nude. It would be gorgeous and I’d be very proud to be a part of it. The thing that concerns me here is that, once I deliver the product, I have no control over what happens. I know what’s supposed to happen and I know that the site will do all that it can to protect me and the art if for no other reason than they lose both money and the trust of their models when photos end up where they were not intended. Be that as it may, all it takes is one person to buy the set and then put the photos on one of the many bulletin boards that cater to different fetishes. I know what happened to a couple of short stories I wrote ten to 15 years ago. They went what we’d now call “viral.” I’m still finding them and sending cease and desist letters! A friend asked if he could publish one of them on his website and I agreed. That was a very long time ago, the story is still there and I have no idea how to reach my friend.

The other issue that gives me pause is that I am about to launch a brand new business. In one sense, the photos could help publicize the new business. In another sense, the business could, at some point, not only publicize the photos, but spin off a site specifically for women of a particular type. I’ve always been a believer in the aphorism that less is more. In this case, the less skin shown, the more the viewers’ imagination can fill in the blanks. In this way, no one is in any way put in a position where they must engage in more explicit activity to receive higher payment. The site where I will put my photos does not pressure models to engage in explicit activity as I understand it. Until I experience otherwise, I’ll take the owner’s word for it. However, I do know that the more explicit material does sell better than less explicit. I can understand that and I do believe the models deserve more for their material.

I wonder, however, how many women are like me. I am doing this not because I seek to create art for art’s sake. I am doing this because I have no where else to turn financially. I am doing what women have done since time began: I am trying to save my family. My family consists of me and my three four-legged “daughters.” The primary issue is keeping a roof over our heads, especially since I need surgery and am in no way strong enough to undertake a major move, particularly since that move would involve packing my belongings, probably leaving many here, and leaving the state. Right now, I’m facing a citation from the city because my lawn needs to be mowed and the weeds our former lawn person brought in when he dumped infected fill dirt in our beautiful back yard (without permission, I might add) absolutely must be eliminated. I also owe my attorneys thousands of dollars and will have to break a promise I made to myself to never, ever give the bank that made a very predatory loan to my mother, KeyBank National, a dime. In short, my back is against the wall. I would be so proud to create true art with semi-nudes or even full nudes. My skin color lends itself well to black and white photography. I would not be ashamed or hesitant to engage in a photo shoot like that. Hell, I’ve done it before and was very pleased with the results. But I hate this. I hate this because I cannot be my full, wonderful, sensual, sexy self. I will do my best, but I don’t know if I can make it seem as though I’m not doing this under duress. The duress is that I absolutely must have the money that will come from these photos. Even a little bit every week would be immensely helpful.

There is so much to say and no time to fully explore the ramifications at this moment. I have to dust, make my bed, hang lights and get myself ready. I still don’t know exactly what outfit I’m going to wear. Oy! I’m also going to put on my smile, hold my head high and represent the very real sexuality of black, disabled, Rubenesque women. We ROCK!

Of mourning and brokenness

I am listening to The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. I wanted it sung at my mother’s memorial service, but her brother, who isn’t paying for a goddamn thing, inserted a vocalist from his church along with his church’s minister without my consent. I am so angry with him I could throw him through a window and not give a good damn. He is a fucking hypocrite. He stood in front of a church full of people and broke down in tears to the point where I went up to comfort him even though I had an internal shield of numbness holding back the deepest pit of grief. He and Mom were as tight as two people can be. In a dispute, she’d take his side over mine any day. For that matter, she’d take any of her brothers’ side over mine any day. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be, but that’s the way it was. So now, this tearful brother is going around telling anyone who will listen that I got a large insurance payment when Mom died and, therefore, he doesn’t feel he ought to chip in the remaining $250 owed to the church that graciously agreed to host Mom’s memorial service even though it had been many decades since we/she attended. She would have been there if we’d known the congregation was still in existence. We didn’t. We thought that the local presbytery had closed the church’s doors. Instead, it simply moved to a newer building out in the suburbs. At any rate, I am now stuck with a $250 bill that the minister “forgave,” but that I feel has to be paid because it’s just bad karma not to do so.

I exist thanks to minimal Social Security Disability payments that I just barely had enough working quarters to get; a small stipend from my mother’s retirement fund; Medicare; Medicaid, and, in all probability; food stamps when I get over my embarrassment and get real. Yet, I am the one who bore the FULL cost of my mother’s cremation and memorial service. I will make the payments in honor of my mother and make sure that it says that I am the one who contributed in her memory. That hypocritical, ass of a brother and his social-climbing witch of a wife will get no credit.

I do not agree with the minister’s take on Christianity at all. Through means of which I am totally unaware, this Presbyterian minister is a fundamentalist. She actually believes that the Bible should be taken literally. That isn’t the Presbyterian way that I am used to. What’s important is that she would not allow Mom’s BFF, an ordained minister, to give the eulogy because she wasn’t “Christian enough.” What the FUCK?!?! That’s another thing that happened behind my back. The BFF and I were really ticked as hell about that. When I casually mentioned that I don’t take the Bible literally and neither did my mother, the minister and the social climbing twit wife of my mother’s brother laughed at me AND my mother’s beliefs. I think that was a little inappropriate given that we’d just held a memorial service for her. That made no difference, it would seem. These are “good Christians.” Yeah, they are about as good Christians as I am an observant orthodox Jew. In fact, hell, under two different branches of Judaism, I was BORN Jewish because my father converted before I was even conceived. So, theoretically, all I’d need is a bat mitzvah and I’d be considered a full-fledged member of the tribe. I guess that makes me more Jewish than these women ever were Christians. No wonder they act as if they have no judgement as human beings or as supposed benevolent, almighty Christian zealots. The social-climbing witch was no surprise. She affects a pious air, but has been seen for what she is by the larger family. She is what she is. However, the minister is quite another story. She was just wrong. There are no two ways about it. I shook my head when it happened and turned to talk to the other people at my table. Pa-the-tic.

In case it isn’t apparent, I am angry. I have reason to be angry, but I am also tired of it. I know that part of my anger is from the mourning process. My mother shouldn’t be dead. I strongly suspect malpractice, but it will cost hundreds of dollars I don’t have simply to get my hands on her medical records. So, the cardiologist who supposedly said that there was no need to do anything about my mother’s aortic aneurysm will get off scott free. A vital, if confused, woman is sitting in my china cabinet on a shelf instead of walking around. I could also look at it another way. My mother had some form of dementia. If she were forced to face that fact, she would be devastated. Perhaps her relatively early death–and 86 years old is young for a death in our family–was a secret blessing. I don’t look at it that way, but someone else could.

I find myself wishing for days of old when my great-uncles, Mom’s uncles, were alive and were active heads of this branch of the clan. So much shit wouldn’t happen. For one thing, I wouldn’t be forced to leave town because I get absolutely no respect from the second generation of the clan here even though there would be no family reunions without all of the work and money that I put into them. I could plan one practically in my sleep with only six months lead time. There are certain things at which I am extremely good and there are some things I know very little about. I know my limitations. That’s why it is rare that I fall flat on my face. I admit what I don’t know and I either learn that skill on my own or ask someone to teach me. However, more often than not, I ask someone who knows what they are doing to help. My momma didn’t raise no fool. I wish I could say the same of everyone in the clan. My blood relatives are all incredibly smart and talented. The step-children we inherited due to the hypocritical brother’s marriage to the social-climbing witch are . . . well, let’s just say that they leave a lot to be desired intellectually. For that matter, if I really think about it, even his natural children have their issues. They are still smart and talented, but they get themselves into screwed up situations. I’m hardly the one to pass judgement on them, though. I’ve been in one fucked up situation after another. At least that’s the way it seems.

I don’t want to leave town at all. I keep telling myself that even if I change location, I can’t run from myself. The thing is, I’m not running from myself as much as I’m running from people who disrespect me at every turn. I can’t stand it anymore. I am not valued as a human being, much less as part of the clan. For example, I asked the only cousin I could if I could have/borrow $3,000 to pay lawyers to keep fighting foreclosure on the house for a few months while my credit improves. He left me dangling and waiting. I’m sure he knew that he was putting me through hell because that’s his specialty. He loves it when I squirm or hurt thanks to something he’s done. He’s tried to destroy me for over a decade. I didn’t want to ask him for the money, but I was desperate. In some way I have yet to discern, I was told by another cousin that I’d alienated the one I’d asked for money. She said it was something I said on Facebook. I’ve looked through all of my posts and I can’t find anything. I did make a distinction between “family” and “relatives.” I did say in a letter that I thought I wrote after I’d withdrawn my request that he was a relative but that I’d wanted him to be family. He knows what he did to me. How else am I supposed to feel about him? I forgave him some time ago. But I will never forget. I can’t. What he did to me over a decade ago easily falls within the Top 5 most influential events of my life. The first thing is being born. The second is dying (which we all eventually do). That leaves three open spots and I can fill one of those three, thereby really leaving two. That’s fairly profound.

Why stay in a place where there aren’t people who see me as intelligent, capable, imaginative, talented, etc.? All the cousin from whom I’d asked the money said was that my plan to pay him back would fall through and that I’d better have a “Plan B.” Since I didn’t give him the specifics of my plan at all, he has no basis on which to make that judgement. He also assumed that I didn’t have another way of getting my business off the ground. Is it me or is it men? They seem to feel they have all the answers to questions that haven’t even been asked. In their eyes, I couldn’t possibly know what I’m doing. That’s not to say I don’t take advice because I do. It’s just that the advice has to be from a credible source and the criticism be constructive and valid. As I painstakingly said above, I know my limitations.

What does this have to do with mourning? Well, as I said, I’ve been really angry lately. There are days when I feel as though I will boil over with rage. I have less patience for people, but definitely have patience with my girls. Even when the oldest of my resident master thieves, my middle child, stole a steak I’d delicately prepared for over two hours until it was finally broiled just the way I like it, I yelled at her and put her in a time out in her crate. I didn’t hit her at all. She has since gone on to steal my cereal by quickly standing on her hind legs and copping a couple of licks out of the bowl or knocking the bowl out of my hands from underneath. She’s getting more and more daring and I honestly don’t know what to do to stop her. I think she’s doing this as her way of saying that she needs more intellectual stimulation. We need to get back outside on our favorite trails, just the two of us. I don’t know how to fit the other two in, though, and I feel guilty leaving them here.

I don’t want to leave my home. My mother, in her dementia, put me in this position. Truthfully, I’m not sure this house will last another six months it’s in such bad shape. She took out a predatory home equity loan for half of the appraised value. Well, the appraisal was inflated by at least $20,000. She refused to see that. She also said that she wouldn’t die and leave me holding the bag. I was so furious with her when she did that. I tried to stop her using reason, pointing out that the loan officer was not her friend but was working for the bank, had a hissy fit and said that the bank would not see one dime from me. They won’t. I don’t want this house, but I need a place to live while I fix the good credit that was ruined trying to keep the house running on my measly SSD check. My bills didn’t get paid. I could barely feed the girls and me. Then, to have her brother spread the malicious lie that I got a lot of insurance money when Mom died? That puts a period at the end of my desire to have anything to do with 90% of the clan. I want out and away from their toxicity. I will end up sad, bitter and broken-hearted if I stay here. I’m sad, bitter and broken-hearted now. I don’t want to feel this way for the rest of my life.

In an earlier post, I asked for help making a decision about using this blog to promote my “character” when I begin shooting and submitting photos of myself to devotees of amputees. I’ve decided that I will keep this blog as is. Few know it’s here and I want to keep it that way. I can easily start another one specifically for the character I’ve named “Velvet Mocha.” I thank all of you who’ve at least read the blog entry even if your only comment was to say that you “Liked” it. I finally have all of the equipment and costumes/underwear/nightgowns I need for the first set of photos. However, I have to clean my bedroom from top to bottom so that I can use it as a set. I have to vacuum another room that has very fine sawdust on the floor that will get on the fabric I intend to buy as a backdrop that’s going to cost about $100. Needless to say, if I’m going to spend that kind of money, I don’t want to ruin it the first time it’s used.

I have some misgivings about taking advantage of a fluke of biochemistry. It’s not so much that as it is that I don’t want to get too explicit in the photos. I am all for erotica that celebrates the sexuality of disabled people. I do not want to be a porn star. I am deeply concerned that I’ll end up having to get more and more explicit in order to make the money I need to move. But, it’s always been women who do what we must for the good of our families. I’ll just have to suck it up and be as explicit as I need to be to sell photos and site memberships. I don’t want to look back one day and say to myself, “What have I done?” That is, I must admit, putting the cart before the horse. For now, I plan to make the experience fun, sensual and sexy. I can do that and not feel badly about myself at all. In fact, I would like to tap into my suppressed sexuality and allow it freedom once again. I can be proud of that even if this entire situation is one that should not be.

My, Oh My, Oh My!

As I sit here in the silent dark with no music playing and the light from my television that isn’t broadcasting anything but an annoyingly blue screen, all I can say is, “This was the scariest, most emotionally gut-wrenching day I’ve had since I don’t even know when.” Yes, I’ve had scary days, and; yes, I’ve had gut-wrenching days. Having both at the same time has worn me the fuck OUT. It’s not the “good” kind of worn out where you can’t walk straight without looking a bit off and hoarse from all those vocalized “prayers.” This is the really bad kind of worn out where someone or someones you love is in imminent danger of death, is finally retrieved, but only after absolute panic and lots and lots of prayers to God. Now, take that and multiply by two and you’ll have the first reason I’m worn out.

I had to start up iTunes and take a swig of bourbon and Coke to tell this story. Mind you, if you’d told me a month ago that I’d be drinking bourbon, I would have laughed at you. However, this seems to be a time of dramatic change in my life. Why not change my drinking habits, too? So the Absolut is sitting in a bottle as I’ve almost gone through a sampler pack of Jim Beam. Whatever the drink and the music (Gipsy Kings), it is entirely possible this post will be floating in a sea of swearing. Sensitive eyes should leave while they have a chance. I’ll wait.

. . . 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . 5 . . . Long enough. Here’s what happened.

By now, anyone who’s been reading for a while knows that my mother died recently. She and I shared a home–when she wasn’t trying to throw me out because I’d rather not talk to her when I’m furious for fear I’ll tell the truth that should not be told to someone who you’re not really sure is all there, or; when she’s just generally pissed off and accused me of disrespecting her for any of a zillion reasons I can’t even think about now. Don’t get me wrong, I truly deeply loved my mother, but I don’t kiss anyone’s ass, including hers. It’s just not who I am. I’d rather say nothing than something that’s going to lead to God-only-knows-what. Mom didn’t work that way, although she should have gotten a clue or dozen even before I was born because, although I didn’t know it, my father did the same thing, I’m sure to keep from wringing her neck. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the bastard that was her second husband/predatory pedophile did the same thing. This will become important toward the end. I just had to get it out now.

Due to my mother’s death, I have been left to try to keep the house running without the electricity, water, cable, Internet, phone lines, etc. being shut off. I have purchased exactly one indulgence: the aforementioned Absolut and the Jim Beam sampler. I guess that’s two, but right now, $5 for the sampler is chicken feed compared to what I need. I suggested that my cousin’s boyfriend, Chad, move in. I’ve got the room and he was in real need. Besides, I knew my cousin, nicknamed “Mickey,” the child I wish I’d had, would more or less live here too. I honestly didn’t know how much I needed another person, especially a male person, in this house. It’s as though there’s life here now and it feels good to come in knowing that I’m not going to get thrown out and that there are people here who miss me when I’m gone. Chad cooks, which is beyond cool. Mickey kind of tries, but she’s messy as hell! I just about lost my mind the first time I saw the kitchen after she’d made brownies. Let’s just say that I left notes where they could not be missed. It was eventually worked out, but the more I learn about Chad, the more I know he and I needed not only each other, but Mickey, too. He has definitely been fucked over by his mother, a woman who should be rounded up and sterilized if she’s still in her childbearing years. His sister who, I am very sure, is reacting, and has reacted all her life, to being emotionally abused at least as much as Chad, isn’t much better. The situation became intolerable. I’d met him when Mickey brought him over a few weeks ago, therefore, I was comfortable with him. The girls love him to pieces. They can see he’s really a great kid in need of gentle encouragement and people who believe in him. I think he’s been here two weeks, (but it could be slightly less) and I consider him family. I am one very fierce C.A.B. when it comes to my family.

I lost my iPhone and am in a quiet panic over that because it has more than enough info to ruin my life, including some song lyrics I haven’t filed with the Copyright Office, passwords and all sorts of shit. Now, you’d think that I, being a reasonably intelligent woman, would have purchased AppleCare or some sort of package through either Apple or AT&T that would allow me to at least find out where the damn thing is. Uh uh. Nope. Trying to remember my movements when I went to bed quite happily and deservedly stoned off my gourd was fairly impossible after spending hours and hours on the phone with various creditors who haven’t been paid since Mom died because she was way under-insured and what there is is coming at a snail’s pace, not to mention I just haven’t had the time or emotional wherewithal to fill out forms. In addition, I’ve been so focused on the house I really did forget a few creditors or thought they’d been held at bay. Nope! The bank is threatening foreclosure although I told those sons-of-snakes that she’d died and that I really needed to see her accounts to find a policy I’m fairly sure she had that would help a little. I brought the documents I was told, only to have some damn bank manager say they weren’t the right documents all without once losing his smile or ever offering a word of condolence. I had to leave the bank because I was planning on punching his smiling face, which, of course, wouldn’t do anything except make me very happy. Be that as it may, it is clear that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing at Key Bank National Association.

I forgot to mention that Chase Bank is trying to repossess the mini van that holds my electric wheelchair and a portable ramp giving me just enough of a grade to get said wheelchair in the back of the mini van. It won’t fit in a sedan or an SUV. Without a van, I am pretty much housebound with no life and often no way to even get to my doctors’ appointments, of which I have many. Yes, there is a paratransit service, but they need 24 hours’ notice, which is often impossible.

I have but one question: When am I allowed to stand still without the weight of my world on my shoulders long enough to just be a grieving daughter? No one gives a rat’s ass about that.

I spent Monday through Wednesday nearly non-stop on the phone. I actually lost my voice Wednesday trying to cajole someone–ANYONE–to give me a break. I made headway in a couple of places and went to see my shrink and FedEx Office (aka Kinko’s) with a briefcase filled with papers and notes on my iPhone about who needed what. Thankfully, I still had the damn phone at the time. Anyway, I stood and copied my little debit card out, trying to match each document with a recipient. Then, I got a call from another cousin checking on me. We’re all becoming a family of orphans and it’s breaking our hearts. This branch was always a bit snooty, but between one of my two great aunts’ death and my mom’s death two weeks later after being 86 years old a whole five days, we’re coming together like I’ve never seen. I called a truce between the smaller group I was fighting with and had been for years and let everyone know that I expected them to do the same or I’d call them out in public and kick some ass–verbally, of course. 🙂 The only miscreant is someone I mentioned in another post and is most assuredly a waste of my time and valuable air.

I remember having the phone when I got in the van after Kinko’s because I decided I wanted to hear one of my playlists instead of the country station I’d listened to on satellite. I remember driving out of the Kinko’s lot and going to McDonald’s because dinner wouldn’t be ready soon. That’s all I remember other than coming home. I didn’t realize that my phone was missing until I’d eaten my MickeyD’s and gone upstairs, shortly followed by my cousin with some really great dessert. As I noticed making less and less sense, I threw them out, closed my eyes and didn’t open them again until Friday morning. It was then that I got that, “OMFG!!!” feeling about my iPhone. I searched the bed linen, because I am forever losing that damn phone with a dark blue cover in my dark blue sheets. No joy. I tried to remember what I had on with only partial success. I remembered what pants I wore, but not what shirt, whether the shirt had a pocket and whether I was wearing a jacket, which I kind of doubt, but can’t say for sure. Panic was setting in big time, but I swallowed it and went into the garage, searched the floor, went to the van, searched the driver’s side because I couldn’t get over to the passenger’s side, but I know I’ve lost all sorts of things over there.

Acknowledged, but not watched in my search, the girls followed Chad and I into the garage. In the process of searching as much as I could of the passenger seat, some parts of my anatomy that are usually trussed up within an inch of their lives apparently landed on the garage door opener. Out went both Micki (the bitch) and Snippet. Berry walked out, but was not in any way interested in leaving her happy home, thank you God. In the meantime, I heard tires squealing, didn’t see either of the two reprobates and took a small sigh of relief. I closed the garage door and ran into the house to see if Micki had allowed herself to be caught, which, thankfully (Thank You, God!) she did.

A small diversion, but this is still fairly well amazing to me. I have tried to pick the adult-sized Micki up many times. She weighs between 50 and 55 lbs., especially since I’m giving her the amount of food she should have been getting all along and taking her treats into consideration as well. But when Chad picks her up and carries her with his arm around her chest and the rest of her facing front, she looks completely nonchalant. In truth, she looks like she likes it! I just shook my head, happy that at least one of the two hoodlums was safe and rolled out of my driveway in search of Snippet.

All of the streets south of mine on do weird curvy thingies. There isn’t a straight street that will reliably take you where you want to go if you don’t know the neighborhood. As it happens, as long as I’ve lived in here, I haven’t really explored more than a couple of side streets south of my house. I can go on the street directly behind mine, which is what I needed in my search, and pretty much tell where I am in reference to my own street. I called and called, but didn’t see Snippet. I wanted to cry so badly, but realized that wouldn’t help her since I had to accept she really was lost. She hasn’t lived here long enough to know much of anything about this street. I live on a main boulevard where it’s nothing to see cars going 45 or even 50 MPH. Hell, I have been known to put the peddle to the metal here. A young kid was about to walk in back of the van as I was pulling out of my driveway for the second time. I asked him if he’d seen a little white dog and he had. When he told me where, believe me, the pedal damn near went through the floorboard. I didn’t see her where I thought and I had to choose whether to go straight or turn right, left or make a U-turn. Something told me to make that U-turn and I am so glad I did! There she was, running back to my street after running, very lost, from one of the side streets just where the kid said she was. I would have missed her if not for pure luck.

I threw my car into PARK with the hazard lights on and got out of the car, across traffic that didn’t want to stop. I didn’t care. I had to get my baby. There was nothing more important at that moment, even my own life and health. I called to her without watching the traffic on her side of the street. She almost didn’t make it, but she came to me on the boulevard strip. I caught her by the collar, but she struggled and I was afraid she’d get away, so I pounced on her regardless of what that meant we landed in. (Boulevard strip, other dogs/owners, daily constitutionals, get it?) I held on to her tightly and closely. I couldn’t get up without at least one hand and they were both making sure she didn’t take off again. A lady passed in her car, saw that I was down and holding a small dog and asked if I was OK. In a rare bit of humility, I told her that I’d just found my lost dog, but I couldn’t get up while I was holding her. Two teens got out of her car and took Snippet so I could get up. The adrenaline was pumping so hard and my heart beating so fast and loud that I almost lost it as the girls carried Snippet to the car and I got all of the windows rolled up. Would you believe that I forgot how to roll my own windows up from the driver’s side? I’ve had the van since ’08!

I still don’t have my iPhone, though I had AT&T lock it in case anyone tries to use it. I need to find my phone, but there is no way in hell it’s worth a hangnail on any of my furbabies. It is only because of them, in various configurations, that I have life. Every time I think about truly ending my life, especially since I now know what will and won’t be enough to do the deed for real instead of ending up in the ER with Narcan in my stomach and then up to ICU, I think of my girls. At most, I have someone who’ll take Micki. There are several who’d take Snippet, but Berry would be left out in the cold. I can’t have that. She, alone, has kept me alive so many times I can’t count them. She’ll be 12 around Thanksgiving and she is most definitely someone for whom I give thanks. She always knows when I need her. Mom and I used to share her. Mind you, Berry could do whatever the hell she wanted whenever she wanted. However, if I expressed to her that I missed her the night before, she’d sleep with me that night and Mom the next night. She’d keep this up until she sensed that I didn’t mind if she slept with Mom for a while. Now, I have her full-time. Snippet is with Chad and Mickey tonight/this morning while Berry, Micki and I sleep in my bedroom.

I’m going to leave you with something of a musical discovery and recommendation. Jason Aldean’s CD My Kinda Party was released in late 2010, but I’m new to country and am, therefore, just discovering him. I’ve got a couple of tracks and will probably end up using Complete My Album on iTunes to get the rest. I particularly love Fly Over States and Dirt Road Anthem [remix] (featuring Ludacris). I’m certainly going to do so with Lady Antebellum’s Own The Night released September 2011. I’ve put Dancin’ Away With My Heart in heavy rotation on my now-lost iPhone.

And with that, I’m going to try to sleep. The sun is up and I haven’t even finish writing about everything that happened. Yes, there is more. It’s been one freaky damn Friday!

P.S.: I’m experimenting with adding the ability to comment.