When Life Hands you Lemons…

…sometimes you can’t make lemonade.  Sometimes the lemons are so damn bitter that all you can do is screw up your face and wait until the sour taste goes away.

DISCLAIMER:  This is a long and, at times, rambly and self indulgent post.  Its been a hard month. 

5 weeks ago our car was stolen right under our noses.  What followed has been 5 of the hardest weeks of my life so far.  So I wrote this letter to the person who stole it;

Dear lowlife,

When you opened my front door to take the keys did you hear my 1 year old daughter crying because you woke her from her peaceful slumber?

As you started up the car and looked in the rear mirror to reverse out of our driveway did you see the two car seats in the back?

When you arrived at your destination to peruse through the contents of your prize did you enjoy the buggy and changing bag you found in the boot?

Did the hand crocheted blanket keep you warm as you dug around looking for something of value?

Did you, at any stage, stop to consider the impact of your actions?  Let me tell you, let me enlighten you and allow me to hope beyond hope that karma is indeed a bitch and you get what’s coming to you.

We live in the country, a beautiful old house in a gorgeous little village.  We were niaive, I see that now, naive to think that our remoteness meant we were safe from scumbags like you.  You’ve seen to that.  I didn’t sleep for a week.  I keep hearing noises.  I’m afraid to go downstairs on my own at night.  When I hear a cry on the baby monitor in the dead of night I open my bedroom door to go through and administer soothing cuddles with a hint of dread that you will be standing in my hallway having woken her again.

We have nowhere within walking distance, that car was our link to the outside world and you took it.  You rendered us housebound.  You deprived my girls of trips to see their friends, to visit their cousins and grandparents.  We thank our lucky stars that we have such amazing friends and family who were all ready and willing to help wherever they could; trips to the shops, a loan of a car, a lift to wherever, babysitting, bringing in bread and milk, bringing in sanity from the outside world as cabin fever began to set in.

1 week on I received a phone call to say the car had been recovered.  I breathed a sigh of relief, the end is in sight. Except it’s not because you locked the car when you left it.  How kind of you to secure what remains of the contents.  The police were unable to get into the car to do any kind of investigations for over a week while they wrangled with our insurers over who would pay for the locksmith.

It’s been a week and a half.  I get up with the girls as we do every Tuesday except this Tuesday we won’t be making the journey over to the nursery to play, we’ll be in the house on our own for another week.  I fill the kettle to make a bottle for the girls and pop back to the living room to open the curtains while it boils.  I hear no kettle boiling, I curse myself for being a div and head back through to the kitchen to find that the kettle is, in fact, on… it’s getting warm… but it’s not making a sound.  I look out into the hallway and see the lights are dim so I call G and by the time I come off the phone the power is gone.  The power company promise to have an engineer out to us by 12:30.  They ask for a mobile number so they can contact me if we decide to go out.  I laugh, somewhat maniacally.  We have no choice but to stay where we are, we’re stuck in the house with no heating, no means of hot food and no means of communication with the outside world (the mobile signal went down too).  I start to resent our remoteness.  I resent you again.  You’re responsible for this.  At 12:14 a text message came through to say the power was back on, the mobile signal disappeared again as quickly as it came and I still had no power.  I called and was told it would be 2pm.  That’s not too bad, I tell myself, we can cope until then.  I put another couple of layers on H&C and curl up under a blanket on the floor beside them.  It’s naptime soon, I tuck the girls into their cots with yet more layers and, with nothing else to do, head to bed myself.  At 4pm I wake, I can hear H&C chatting to one another in the other room.  I sleepily realise that there is still no electricity and still no mobile phone signal.  I know we have an old analogue phone somewhere, thankfully the past owners of our house had left it when they emigrated.  I end up in the loft, digging through cables as the girls become increasingly impatient at being left to entertain themselves in their cots.  I come up trumps.  We all head downstairs, I plug the old dusty phone in and call the electricity company.  It will be 6pm now before we have power.  I cry and call G to get his mum to come and rescue us, we’ll stay with her tonight.  The power eventually returned at 3am.

C is ill.  She’s just not managing to keep her food down.  She’s still her cheeky cheerful self though so I try not to worry. This goes on for a few days.

2 weeks on and finally the car is released from police custody, the contents (what is left of them) are available for us to go and collect from the secure compound.  As my brother in law races through town to make it in time for the 12pm closing I call and tell the man at the compound that we will be there but, thanks to roadworks, we might be a couple of minutes late.  He tells me to turn back.  I tell him we’ve come an awful long way and we will only be a couple of minutes late.  He tells me tough.  We try anyway.  With minutes to spare we park up and go hunting for someone to speak to as reception is abandoned.  We’re at the wrong entrance, we need to be on the other side of the fence.  We can see where we need to be; we’re meters from it but we must get back in the car and drive round the long way.  When we finally arrive at the correct entrance the gates are all locked up.  There is no give, there is no understanding, no sympathy; only coldhearted stubbornness for the rules.  We weren’t in the right place at the right time.  Tough.  We get back in the car to make our return journey empty handed.  I cry again.  It’s just all too much, surely we’re due a break?!

The car has been moved from the vehicle compound to the garage who will be carrying out the repairs.  I rejoice, this means a courtesy car is coming our way.  Except it doesn’t.  The garage will only release a courtesy car once the insurers have given them full permission to carry out the repairs, they’ve only asked for an estimate at this stage.  I call the insurers, they confirm.  I plead with them to do something to speed things up, nothing is forthcoming.  I cry again.  My little ray of light has been snuffed out.  The tunnel just got longer.

It’s Monday night, it’s 11:30 and H has woken.  We give her a bottle.  She doesn’t settle.  She cries and cries and cries. It’s unusual.  I take her downstairs and let her play for a while.  She cuddles in eventually and I put her back to bed.  10 minutes later she’s crying again, I go through to discover that she has been sick in her cot.  On Tuesday she had 8 different outfits on, I had 3.  None of us got much sleep until things started to improve on Friday.

3 weeks on.  H is rebelling against settling back into her normal routine.  Well, as normal a routine as we can muster without a car.  G’s sister kindly offers us her car until we get a courtesy car, they travel through on the Sunday for a visit and leave Eric with us.  Eric is the car, I named him after Bananaman when I bought him all those years ago before The Peas arrived and we needed something MUCH bigger.  The insurance company, however, decided that it wasn’t the best idea for me to be driving Eric again and wanted £700 to add me to the policy.  Needless to say that didn’t happen but thankfully around the same time we heard that the insurance company had authorised the repairs and the garage would now release a courtesy car.  Finally!  Though not in time for us to get to nursery on the Tuesday so we had another couple of days of cabin fever but this time with a very definite light at the end of the tunnel.

The courtesy car arrives on Tuesday afternoon.  It’s a 107.  I laugh because Eric is also a 107 and I LOVE driving him.  The delivery driver laughs at the fact that we have twins and they gave us a 107.  I’m less jovial about that fact.  But we have wheels and, at this stage, I could have kissed the bloke for bringing me them.  We can make it to the soft play tomorrow as planned.  The lock set for the car should be ordered now, all things going well we should have our car back by Wednesday of next week.

Wednesday rolls round and I’m excited to get out and about with friends except it’s now been so long since I’ve been anywhere with The Peas on my own that I forget most of what I need to organise / do / take with us and end up stressed.  We arrive at the soft play and I realise I’ve forgotten my wallet.  Typical.  Thankfully I have awesome mummy friends.  The car is so small that in order to bring the buggy I had to strap it into the front seat, which would have been fine had I not needed that front seat to bring G home with us that evening.  I’m now feeling like a train wreck, I can’t even make it out the house without something going wrong.  Big sisters rock in times like this.  She took the buggy and put it in her car to bring to us on Saturday.

We’re not allowed pets in the courtesy car so Granny still has to make the journey over to us to babysit.  Our routine is so out of whack that despite the fact that we’ve already been shopping twice this week there is no bread or milk for her.  We end up shopping twice more this week and still had to ask big sis to bring across SMA for us on Saturday.

We spend our Sunday decorating the flat to try and get new tenants in while The Peas spend some time with Aunty C.  We do what we can but we couldn’t fit the ladder in the car so we’ll have to go back later.

I take the girls to Clarks on Monday to get fitted for new shoes, the girl can’t decide what size they should be and in the end recommends that H should get a size 3G… the same size she’s already wearing.  Erm… no.  It’s a nice afternoon but I still feel disorganised, plagued with indecision and constantly doubting myself.

On Tuesday we FINALLY make it back to nursery.  It’s so amazing to see everyone again and finally be out of the house and relaxed.  We’re having so much fun that the 3 of us take off to the garden centre for lunch together.  We look at the fish and play on the swings before heading to a friend’s house for coffee and a catch up.  I feel more positive today than I have in a long time but my energy levels are still non existent, life just exhausts me at the moment.  Even the good days.

We get more bad news on Wednesday.  Due to the “newness” of our vehicle the garage were unable to fit the lock set themselves and would have to book the car in to Vauxhaul to have it done.  This wouldn’t be until next Monday and we would therefore need to squish ourselves into Old Man Eric (he’s silver…) for another week.  The Granny’s make their journey’s to us again.  Just another setback, I’m not even surprised now.

And so here we are, 5 weeks later and still without our car despite the fact it was recovered less than a week after it was stolen.  I’m worn out by life.  I’ve descended to a dark place where even the most mundane of daily tasks is a challenge and I’m frantically clawing my way back out.  We still don’t even know what contents were left in the car as we’ve not been able to get back to the compound.  I could go on my own but, you know, twins + portacabin + stuff + jobs worth staff just don’t really add up to a good afternoon out.  I know what I need to do to get back to normal, I need to stop comfort eating, I need to exercise, I need fresh air and stress relief but I just can’t muster up the energy yet.  I feel defeated and I hate it… which just starts the cycle again.  Fingers crossed we get our car back next week, maybe then I will start to feel that I can relax again, that things will finally be returning to normal and this feeling of limbo will start to disappear.

So, lowlife scumbag, now you know.  It’s not just about the car, it’s not even about the contents.  The knock on effect of your mindless actions will probably stay with me for longer than the memory of the theft itself.  If you feel even half as crappy about this whole situation as I do then maybe, just maybe, you’ll think twice next time.

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7 thoughts on “When Life Hands you Lemons…

  1. mysparethoughts says:

    I want to punch someone on your behalf and wish, wish, wish I could have helped. I don’t think we’re that far away so please shout if I can ever lend a hand.

  2. Steff I can’t believe all this has happened!! What an absolute shitfest, I’m so sorry. It’s awful when you get beaten down so low you’re just waiting for the next thing to come along and kick you in the arse. I really hope the car gets sorted soon. It can’t be much longer….can it???

    Sending so much love.

    Px

  3. Sorry to read this, sending big hugs. I HATE people that do things like this, with a passion. Let’s hope karma catches up with them, absolute scum!

  4. I don’t think any burglar or thief realises truly what the consequences are of what they do. We were burgled a few years back (we were in the flat when they came in, around NYE) and it wasn’t the stupid grab-everything-and-we’ll-work-out-later-if-we-can-flog-it attitude that got to me, it was how unsettled I felt, and that lasted for so, so long. Awful. So sorry for you.

  5. Oh, I have just read this post, and am in tears for the stress and upheaval that this has caused you. I really do wish the scum that thieve from people could stop and think about their actions, but I guess it is just not in their nature or they wouldn’t do what they do in the first place.
    I can sympathise in part with you – when I was in my first trimester of pregnancy and suffering with HG, I came home from work one day to find my husband pale-faced in our close. We had been burgled – they took most of my jewellery. Most of which was my late Mum’s – including her wedding and engagement ring, and a beautiful emerald & diamond ring which meant the world to her and me (and my wee Dad). I always wore a combination of these rings on my right hand, but hadn’t been this day as I was suffering big time with HG, I couldn’t even bare jewellery on my skin. I regret that so much!
    Sadly we never got anything back! It was insured, but the jewellery that was gone couldn’t be replaced.
    Now 18 months on I still feel so sad to have lost these items and I can’t pass them on to my baby girl!
    Makes me so angry that people just don;t think of the consequences of their actions, and there is so little we can do about it.
    Sorry for the ramblings there, but just wanted to say thinking of you and hope life returns to “normality” soon!
    Ali xxx

    • steff says:

      Oh Ali, that’s horrendous. I’m so, so sorry to hear that. Shitbags, absolute shitbags. I’m astounded on a daily basis that we’re supposed to be the intelligent race on this planet but we’re continually acting like animals just trying to get one up on each other. Huge love to you xx

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