Summer

Jun. 2nd, 2013 11:13 am
So, after a coolness that lingered, to be fair, far longer than I could have expected, until May, summer has most definitely arrived.

Grr.

And we aren't to the worst of it yet. (Hello, upcoming August and September.)

I once loved summer. And even now, I can still see its highlights: cheesy summer action movies. Cheap and abundant fruit. (Rumors that I turn into a watermelon in June and July are not entirely without basis. Also, cherries.) The heavy, pounding rains with the vicious lightning storms. The way everything pulses with growth.

However.

For the last several years, Things Have Gone Badly in June. Very badly. I have reached the point where I can't exactly say I'm bracing for whatever will go wrong in June, just kinda resigned to whatever it will be. And for the last several years, summer means entrapment. Between the rains, the heat, and the dizziness, my ability to ride my beloved trike is greatly limited to early morning hours and the occasional rare late post-rain afternoon, when I'm lucky. The places I can reach on my own, without help, shrink. I generally have a lot more bad days in the summer. Rather than choosing to enjoy a lovely couch and bed and two fuzzy cats and the wonder that is the internet and watching the multiple birds and butterflies that have chosen to visit the yard, I am here.

Fortunately, our little downtown area, which I can still reach in the morning, has greatly expanded since I got here, offering several options. The library still offers many tempting books. I have one of those lovely lawn anti-gravity chairs where I can stretch my legs under a large tree which whispers, rest beneath my shade and dream of living things.

I just made some homemade ice cream, something I do only in the summer. Passion fruits are falling from the vines outside, and they require ice cream. Require it. And I'll be waiting to watch the heavy summer rains.
So today's excitement involved four cops pounding on my door asking for a [name redacted], which was followed by the four cops coming in and searching the house, while calling for backup to search the small house in the back and the back yard.

The whole thing undoubtedly would have gone better for everyone if 1) I had remembered where the hell my state ID was 2) not attempted to replace my ID with a pile of mail one piece of which was addressed to someone else entirely and two pieces of which had the helpful identification of "resident", 3) the Grey One not startled everyone by thumping thump thump to the floor and running away to hide ("What was that?" "Oh, the other cat. Sorry, she's terrified of people." "I think we just have to check.") 4) I could've remembered which of the various keys in the laundry room actually worked for the back house, 5) the Little One not wanted to help, and by "help" he meant, "pick me up and cuddle me" a concept he best gets across by headbutting cops, and 6) Dispatch had not given the cops the entirely wrong address.

Fortunately two of the cops recognized me -- "Still using that electric trike?" -- which was enough to convince them to call Dispatch. Less fortunately the entire thing and trying to find my ID sent me into a pretty bad coughing fit and made me dizzy, which then led to an exciting conversation about calling for an ambulance and the strong suggestion that I should not be driving and I need to be very careful on the trike. After this they took off, to the great distress of the Little One since the cop wasn't petting him anymore. And before people ask, no I have absolutely no idea what all of this was about.

After that it seems kinda an anticlimax to mention that the latest Freddy the Pig post is up at Tor.com, and that I have found a new love in the Olympics, rhythmic gymnastics, mostly because that doesn't look as if anyone is about to IMMEDIATELY DIE and also does not involve running on broken legs, always a plus. Sure, a bit of an anticlimax, but we aim to keep this blog complete. Kinda.
1. MY TRIKE OF AWESOMENESS IS BACK, EVERYONE! AND it has a shiny new motor AND the tires are all properly inflated AND the axle works AND it goes zip zip zip. I AM AWESOME AGAIN.

....of course once I got back I found out that I had, um, kinda left the bike chain and the combination lock in a major puddle AND um, kinda left the tarp in a crumpled state so that it had accumulated a small lake, but I think the shining sun will soon fix that.

2. The popcorn and fudge store agreed that this was a Fudge Worthy Moment.

3. I love Wheelworks, the bike store, but wow, on Saturdays it can be a bit intimidating -- the place caters to the sort of cyclists who casually drop in and say, oh, yes, did 100 miles today, or do sprint cycling (which is apparently different?) or have 12 bicycles AND four recumbent trikes and so on and can list about 300 bike trails without even thinking about it. I know so little about regular cycling that it is rather sad.

On the other hand these are the sorts of people (customers and staff) who can tell me, in detail, about composite materials (for an ultralight weight trike) and balance and wheel issues and work with enough disabled people that they can immediately recommend the right sort of gloves depending on needs.

4. I am making homemade vanilla ice cream.

5. Did I mention the sun is shining and life is pretty awesome?

(Sad, how dependent my mood is on this trike. And, well, ice cream. I know.)
(Yes, I'm obsessed with the trike. This isn't new.)

After much discussion at the bike store today, here is what we are doing:

1) Current trike of awesomeness is getting repaired for free and should be available next Friday (not this week, next week). Just having a timeline for this has soothed my nerves somewhat, but I still hate being without it. Just hate it.

2) Since, as some of you have noted, this is not exactly the first problem I have had with the trike of awesomeness or its manufacturer, I am going to be upgrading to a new level of a trike of awesomeness: different battery/engine system (which should also make it easier for me to charge the battery/replace the battery); different trike style (I have things to choose from and then I can pick some elements); and a few other things. We have a lot of options -- more than I thought -- so I'll be spending the next couple of months thinking about said options.

I realized, not for the first time, that it's not exactly my trike of awesomeness that I love, but just the whole electric trike thing itself. I love riding it; I love going places on it. The wheelchair, the mobility scooter, the cane -- all of those are a constant reminder that things have changed, a constant sense of difference. On the trike, though -- I'm normal, I'm together, I'm awesome, I'm me. Whole. Complete. Real. Me.

So getting an even better trike of awesomeness -- and moreover, one that doesn't rattle as much and where we can adjust the handlebars to hopefully reduce the hand swelling a bit (we think) and maybe even one that I can actually pedal without assistance and get some muscle tone back into my legs which would make my doctors happier (maybe; the store is a bit worried about my ability to balance and wants something stable for me, which usually means heavy)....yeah.

Having said that, however, barring an unexpected financial windfall, this means no WorldCon or DragonCon this year, though so far, World Fantasy is still on.

#

Cell phone note: I'm actually quite happy with my current plan, which is a pay per month deal, no contract, which lets you select from a number of different phones from decent to excessively cheap. For purely financial reasons, I just went with the excessively cheap phone, and definitely got what I paid for. So I kept thinking, hmm, next time, get a better phone....and, today, when checking online to see what would be available, found that my cell phone plan will be allowing me to have a lovely iPhone 4S --

"Soon."

Not, like, now.

Oh well. Another excessively cheap cell phone it is, then!

Furious

Apr. 9th, 2012 09:54 am
Ok, so those of you who follow my Twitter feed may remember that a couple of weeks back I had to order a new battery for my trike, and this....did not go well. I was already infuriated, because this was the third battery I've had to order from these guys in one year -- on the old trike, the batteries lasted a full year. On this one, no. So I was not happy.

I was even LESS happy when the simple act of ORDERING A TRIKE BATTERY grew into an hour ordeal, partly because their website was broken, mostly because the woman on the other side of the phone REFUSED TO BELIEVE ME when I said yes, yes, I needed this battery, and after telling me that she would be processing my order, left me on hold for twenty minutes WHILE SHE CALLED MY LOCAL RETAILER, who informed her that YES, I AM IN FACT DISABLED and CANNOT WALK FROM THEIR STORE TO MY HOUSE.

I was pissed off and humiliated. But the trike battery was on its way, which was the most important thing.

It arrived last week. I charged it up over the weekend and went out to use my lovely, lovely trike again --

Only to find that I CAN'T PLUG IT IN.

Why?

Because the outlet for the battery is UPSIDE DOWN from its location on the old battery, and there isn't enough loose cord to twist the plug in thing around so that it will fit.

The old battery is pretty much out of juice. Which means that, in one of our last cool weeks of the year, I can't go anywhere -- or run some very critical errands (most importantly I need to pay my taxes - although I may be able to do that online. I hope. I can't afford tax penalties right now.) Fortunately my brother is home for the next two weeks so the situation isn't AS dire, but it's still pretty dire.

Meanwhile, I can't call them for another two hours - they're in California. And I am FREAKING, because if this is the new standard battery, and I think it is, then I need to replace the trike -- and much though I love this particular trike, it won't be with this company. And that means another couple of weeks without transportation.

FREAKING.
So, to take my mind off some annoying real life stuff, let's...chat about some annoying real life stuff.

This is the State Road 50/Colonial Drive construction many of you are sick of hearing me talk about it. But, with a different viewpoint! See, most of you have been hearing me complain that thanks to the construction, the sidewalks and, more importantly for me, the corners of the intersections that I use to cross the road, have been removed, replaced by, at various times, holes, pits, gravel, big cones, live electric wires, trucks, more pits, and signs cheerfully informing me that the sidewalks are closed. The article just focuses on the impact on drivers and businesses, who sound almost as unhappy as I am about this.

Admittedly, it adds excitement to my life. From our old place it would take me twenty to twenty-five minutes to reach the road, not knowing if I could actually cross it or not. From this place, it takes me about ten minutes to reach one crossing (the one where many of you have said, "Huh. I see why you were hit by a truck here") and about fifteen to twenty minutes to reach the other, safer crossing (where many of you have said, "can you be SEEN by drivers turning in there?" and I have answered, "no, not at all!") before getting to find out if I could cross. Or if, having made the crossing, I'll be able to get back. (A fellow wheelchair user told me glumly this morning, as we stared at the intersection and finally realized that yes, once again we were going to have to flag down a cop for assistance, that he never does this without beer.)

It's not, for the record, that I actually want to be on State Road 50. That picture actually makes State Road 50 look more attractive than it actually is, and I'd rather stay as far off it as possible. It's just that, like a chicken, I would like to get to the other side, which has exciting things like Walgreens, my pharmacy; Publix, my grocery store; my bank; and so on.

But to end this on a more positive note, the article claims – claims – that we will be done with this in October. October. Which means I might – might – just be able to head to San Diego and immerse myself in fantasy, only to return to my real fantasy: to be able to go to the grocery store and bank on a real sidewalk the whole way. I never hesitate to dream big.
HUZZAH!

The bike store called and had it ready and charged. It's sand color with some snazzy parallelograms, a new charging system (explaining the problem with replacing the electrical system in the old one - the handle is all different). It's....shiny.

I just went and picked it up and rode it home. I do need to make some adjustments to the seat - everybody in the bike shop keeps forgetting that I am a short person with little legs. I wanted to ride and ride and ride, but alas, it is hot and hot and hot, so I had to come home before I got too dizzy.

But. I have my trike again. It's summer, so my riding will be a bit restricted, but...tomorrow, I can go out all on my own. I can't tell you how much better I feel.

(Although I'm sure most of you are feeling relieved that you no longer have to read my complaints about going trikeless....Chrome, that's a word. I'm a writer, and I can make up words when they are important, and that word was.)
1) Barnes and Noble will, oddly enough, put A Dance With Dragons in a huge display area in the front of the store but not have any copies in the science fiction/fantasy section, which will get slightly interesting if you entered through the video/music section of the store and headed to the science fiction/fantasy section first and then got severely sidetracked.

2) Various people in Hollywood actually thought that a remake of Footloose would be a good idea, instead of a sign of the inevitable destruction of human civilization.

3) You can sit through nine - count them nine - movie trailers, every. single. one. of. which. will turn out to be a remake or Final Destination sequel which is actually a remake of the first few Final Destination movies.

4) Any attempts after this to tell you that Hollywood is capable of original thought will not go well.

5) This will be brightened by remembering that thanks to a rather implausible sequence of server mistakes, you actually got a free steak for lunch. This is a cheery thought.

6) You have friends capable - yes, capable - of thinking that adding airships to a Three Musketeers adaptation is actually a pretty awesome idea.

7) Horrible Bosses will turn out to be an amusing movie.

8) Despite telling yourself to read A Dance With Dragons slowly, you won't. (I'm going to give people more time to read the book before I discuss it here, since there's a couple of major spoilers that I'd like to chat about from a storytelling/world building point of view.)

**********

So, yes, I finally got out of the house, and read A Dance With Dragons, which did not disappoint (although at least one bit is going to annoy the hell out of [profile] anaisis, so I have to brace myself for her rant on it.) And I laughed and sang and felt better....

.....but I woke up, and I'd finished reading the book yesterday, and I still don't have my new trike. So I'm all down again. Less depressed than I would have been without the escapes from the house Friday and yesterday, because, yes, laughter helps. It helps a lot. But I'm back to feeling itchy and trapped and down, and rather wishing I had a dragon.

My current emotional fragility is scaring me; usually the bubble of escape lasts longer than this, although I am less depressed today than I was before I headed out; I'd hate to think where I'd be without yesterday. (That made sense in my head.) Going to try to focus on finishing up some writing stuff and seeing if that helps, or at least gives the false sense of accomplishment.
1. Trike update: attempts to fix the trike have failed. The new trike is on its way, but by all reports will not get delivered to the bike shop until next week (it's coming on a very very slow truck from California. Well, maybe the truck isn't actually that slow; it just feels slow.) Then it has to be assembled, which takes time.

Not having the trike has left me very cranky and depressed. I've hit the stage where someone can say, "Oooh, pandas are cute!" AND I WILL HATE THAT PERSON AND PANDAS. Unreasonable, it is me.

2. Meanwhile, my post on The Grey King just went up on Tor.com. It's going to get completely overshadowed by the joy and excitement about Jo Walton's spoiler-free A DANCE WITH DRAGONS review - moderate spoiler: SHE LIKED IT! YAY! (This is a relief. I need to hear from happy obsessed fans.) And she said the book had dragons, which -- ok, I guessed that, but still I am all happy. Dragons!

3. So, yes, hoping that by sometime next week, I shall have a trike again, I shall have dragons, and I shall have these two short stories that just do not seem to want to work at all finished. Making me just SLIGHTLY less cranky and irritable and prone to sudden tears. Hope.

I cannot believe how emotionally dependent I've become on this trike. Let me go hug my cat.
My electric trike -- my dual transportation/wheelchair -- broke down on Tuesday, putting what I assumed to be the final cap on an already negative day. I forgot I still had the rest of the week to go.

I managed to get it to the bike shop this morning, where after some painful analysis and telephone calls, I got the bad news: the electrical system is broken, and the manufacturer doesn't have the replacement parts in stock, precisely because they have upgraded the system to one less likely to break down. We are searching for any used spare parts (and please keep your fingers crossed for this; that's the considerably cheaper option), but it's looking as if I may have to replace the trike. Which, given that it's never exactly worked quite right since the truck incident may be as well. May.

Which is about when I got the second piece of bad news: it seems that the manufacturers are out of stock on new trikes, precisely because they've become remarkably popular. So I'm not sure when I'll get either my old trike back or a new one.

**********

I really don't have the words to explain what that trike is to me. It's not just that I love riding it - it's awesome - but on that trike I'm me again. I don't feel disabled. And I'm riding something awesome and cool that people tell me is awesome and cool, and I can go to at least some places by myself.

I am telling myself that this is only temporary, and I have my scooter and my wheelchair. And that the summer heat had already arrived, more or less trapping me here anyway except in the early morning hours, or, if the timing was just right, after an afternoon rain. I'm going to get the trike - or, at least, a trike back.

Still.

**********

To add to this I severely overdid things this morning and yesterday so I'm feeling physically out of it.

***********

To try to end this on a less depressing note, here are some Game of Thrones muppets.
I was riding along happily enough on my trike when something hit me in the face.

Something small - so small that I hadn't seen it approach. A tiny insect, I thought, or a small clod of dirt -

And then a second later, as a stinging sensation swept across the left side of my face, I changed my original thought to bee.

Which kinda ended today's trike trip and errands. A couple hours later, the left side of my face is approximately 100 million times the size of the right side and my eye is kinda hurting (the sting was below the eye, but the swelling is pushing up into it.) Experience tells me that this will start to go down in a few more hours and be entirely gone by tomorrow, but in the meantime you will all excuse me if I go take a bit of revenge by having a lot of foods with honey - a peanut butter and honey sandwich and some roobios tea with honey, to start with.
Oz blogging continues with The Shaggy Man of Oz. A bit of a comedown, this one, after the previous, very good Oz book.

I can't believe I'm almost through with all forty books. It's been a project.

********

In other news, mere days after the pain in my ring finger entirely vanished, I managed to drop a large, heavy object right on my toe (no, not a cat). I don't think it's broken - it's barely showing a bruise - and the pain is already fading, but my various digits and I are eyeing one another warily at the moment.

In cheerier news, I have made my trike EVEN COOLER, partly by finally getting around to replacing the trike tires today. (Yes, yes, I was going to do that in November, but that's not the point now, is it?) They rolled out, big, bouncing, beautiful, and were put on, with a little less big, bouncing, beautiful groaning (that trike is a tank, and is not particularly lightweight.)

ZOOM!

And mostly by putting on little red lights that pop on and off when I pedal. (This is to replace the reflecting things on the fenders since the rear fenders never really recovered from the whole truck experience and besides didn't fit with the considerably improved, larger, smoother tires.) I liked them so much that I just spun them merrily. Then, a life-changing moment:

"They have them in purple."

SO THEY ARE ON THEIR WAY.

Bless you, oh people that make LED thingies. Flashing purple lights. Also, ZOOM! If I'd known what a difference the tires would make (these are not the same type that originally came with the trike) I would have gotten them in November. ZOOM.
When I woke, the sun was not quite gleaming through the clouds, and my email was quite beeping with the reminder that I had things that must be returned to the library. So, I trundled the items into the back of the trike, spread on the sunscreen (even on cloudy days in Florida, you never know when you'll need the sunscreen) hopped on the trike --

-- to find my path to the library blocked by the Winter Garden "4th of July" "parade."

I put this in quotes partly because, as you might note, it's not actually the 4th yet, and mostly because this only partly fits my definition of "parade" which includes, not at random, floats and bands and balloons. To be fair, this particular event does include a lot of balloons, but what it mostly is, and I say this in the kindest possible fashion, is an excuse for a lot of small children to run or bike madly down the main downtown section of Winter Garden shrieking at the top of their lungs while dragging balloons.

Initially, everyone was under the impression that I and a group of very intense cyclists (the bike trail always has groups of very intense cyclists, especially on Saturdays, who take this whole DO NOT BLOCK OUR SPEED ON THE BIKE TRAIL LIKE EVER very seriously) were there to join the parade, with the slight sticking points that the cyclists just wanted to run over the small kids (this is what very intense cycling does to you) and my trike is purple, not blue or red, and was tragically and distinctly lacking in balloons. The kids thought this was very sad. ("Why doesn't SHE have a ballooooooonnnnnn!") and after some discussion with the intense cyclists we attempted to get off the bike trail (which alas also, as it turned out, meant missing the cupcake stand further along the trail waiting to sell cupcakes to balloon laden kids, intense cyclists and trike riders tragically deprived of ballooons) only to find that we actually couldn't, thanks to various road blocks meant to protect small distracted children from approaching cars. So, instead, we wove our way around already overheated parents and grandparents setting up chairs to watch the "parade" ("this is so much nicer at Halloween and Christmas," was the common consensus) and various little wagons and tricycles and bicycles and balloons.

(I must say that even balloonless, my trike remained the envy of many.)

I did eventually make it out and over to the library. By the time I returned (which was not much later) the "parade," which hadn't actually officially started when I left, was already over, which gives you an idea of just how not large this parade is (the library is not far from the historical downtown area, even by trike, and I didn't linger). Wagons and tricycles and small children still abounded, sadly doing most of their abounding right in front of the ice cream shop which had been another tentative destination of mine. (They make excellent ice cream sodas, which are a medical necessity in Florida summers.)

This all explains why I just invested in raw local honey. Ok, it doesn't really, but let's pretend it does.
So, yeah, it's the last day of the year. The day when all Good Bloggers try to sum up the year while contemplating the later food and champagne. In this case, amplified by the apparent need to sum up an entire decade.

Er, the year first.

The year, not surprisingly, started with me yelling at Cigna (my "health insurance" company), and even less surprisingly, ended with me yelling at Cigna ("Cigna! Raising the blood pressure of our clients, one member at a time!"). One of my chief goals for 2010 is "to spend less time arguing with Cigna," a resolution which will be made easier by the fact that I am not going to be covered by them anymore. (Such a statement, of course, implies that they were, indeed, COVERING ME in the first place.)

Between these Cigna moments were many other things that sparked up what I had assumed would be a rather dull year into an unexpectedly dramatic one. I survived getting hit by a large truck. The trike was then stolen, leading to an exciting cop chase during which trained cops estimated that I am in my early 20s, followed by a considerably less exciting day in juvenile court during which trained attorneys estimated my age more correctly and more legal wrangling, resulting in his incarceration until 2014, not so much because of the trike but because of a long string of other charges. My kinder side (yes, I have one; I just don't use it that much) is hoping that he gets the therapy and help he needs.

And many of you, at the beginning of this year, assured me that riding a trike would be dull.

The year had more to it than this, of course. It had shuttle launches; the occasional concert/outing; some rather good movies (Up, Star Trek, and to my genuine surprise, Inglorious Basterds, the only Quentin Tarentino movie I have enjoyed); some utterly dreadful movies (GI Joe, Ninja Assassin); bonding with friends; silliness; zebras; unexpected ostriches and peacocks; Leverage, Lost; not putting stickers on the cane; books, more books; various publications but not enough actual writing, which deserves but probably won't get its own post since focusing on my own failures (and this is a bad one – I did not make any of my not particularly ambitious writing goals) is pretty painful; far too much information about the sex lives of famous athletes; far more music; sudden moments of dazzling insight; accepting the damn wheelchair; feeling the planet shift and move; fatigue; doctors; fuzzy blankets; excellent conversations; painful conversations; and some of those moments that you hold deep in your soul, to ponder over, to treasure in the dark hours of the night, or the worst hours of the day, when you remember to remember them.

***********

All this said, since August, my life has been held in an odd limbo, where various things that were supposed to happen, were planned to happen, in the fall, could not happen.

And I'm still there, waiting.

That waiting makes it intensely difficult to summarize this year as good or bad; it's a year of holding. And I'm simply not used to holding. I've certainly had worse years (one reason I'm not jumping on the summarize the decade bandwagon is that would require revisiting 2006, a year that seriously needs to be forgotten). I've certainly had better years. But rarely has it been so difficult to say where I was in the beginning, and where I am now, although if the past five years have taught me anything, it is that life – at least, my life – is not going to be travelling a predictable, planned path, perhaps interspersed by these holding moments.

So I'm not going to make any predictions for 2010. Except to say that I suspect chocolate will be involved somewhere. Because isn't it always?

***********

All of which is to say that my best summary of the year is still probably this, which in the end, was also my favorite publication of the year. I easily could have just posted that again, and left all of this out. But then we couldn't have revisited the cop chase. Hmm.

Yay!

Dec. 9th, 2009 07:27 pm
Some of you may have noticed that I've been a might...what is the word? Twitchy? Testy? Triste and glum? No, this is not because of the overwhelming Tiger Woods coverage (although that hasn't helped, and while I'm ranting, media, this story may well be titillating [or, more specifically, could have been until you went into media overload] but a wealthy athlete sleeping around is not shocking, surprising, or anything of that nature, so, shut up) but something more fundamental:

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, the battery for my trike died. Completely.

Bye for now, only source of independent transportation!

I took it calmly, I thought, immediately heading to purchase a replacement, which turned out to be trickier than I thought, since almost everyone was sold out. Sunday was ok, since I was fairly sick anyway. Monday my mother and I headed out, so that was ok. Tuesday I was sick, so, again, ok. Wednesday and Thursday and Friday it rained and rained and rained, which if not exactly ok, at least brought me some splendid rains (I like rains) and comforted me since I couldn't have used the trike anyway. By Sunday I had not left the house since Monday and was...

twitchy.

Finally, on Tuesday, the replacement battery appeared.

It had, I kid you not, a hole in it.

Not from FedEx ground – the box was intact. No, someone had, for reasons that remain unclear, used a metal cutter to cut a square hole in the battery. Initially I was under the hopeful impression that this was a Deliberate Sort of Hole, but a quick comparison to the old battery showed that something was wrong, and the general consensus was that it would not be wise to get the hole wet. Very unhappy calls were made. A second battery – precharged – was shipped out overnight. (Which just goes to tell you that no, you should not put holes in batteries, because I gotta tell you, the FedEx rates for overnight air shipping of a 50 pound package? Not cheap. And no, not paid by me, either.)

I hadn't really expected it, especially since it didn't arrive until late afternoon, but I squeaked. I was dizzy. I knew better. It didn't matter. I got a neighbor to put the battery into the trike, and slightly dizzy, took off just for the sake of taking off…

…to find myself almost careening into a peacock.

(Admit it. You were expecting a squirrel to leap in here, weren't you? I did see quite a few, all attempting – attempting – to look as if they were merely collecting acorns in the most innocent of ways. But we all know better, don't we?)

Life is much improved. Still dizzy, but much improved. Which isn't to say I won't be ranting soon about something.

Resolution!

Oct. 7th, 2009 06:03 pm
Just got a letter from the Florida State Attorney's office informing me that the kid who now no longer allegedly stole my trike has pled no contest to the charges. His sentence is time served and court costs. However, partly because of this case, he was sentenced to a high risk juvenile facility until August 15, 2014 for the other case - the theft of the truck and the exceedingly expensive laptop computer.

In what I can only consider the ultimate comment on this, the letter arrived in the same mail as an exceedingly annoying letter from an insurance company - and a copy of the Arkham Horror board game.
So today I had to head to juvenile court for the trial of W, one of the two kids arrested for stealing my trike. (The other kid has already plea bargained.) S called me at 7:05 am, right after I broke the coffeemaker.

"I just got off the freeway."

"I broke the coffeemaker!"

This might have daunted most other individuals, but he showed up anyway, although matters were a bit delayed as we stopped at a 7-11 for emergency coffee supplies. Then it was off to the juvenile court.

Orange County has created a large and spacious and oddly chilling juvenile detention center that desperately needs more pictures. (Right now it has a couple of sad posters explaining how easy it is to get into trouble and why you shouldn't panic if you're pregnant or leave a baby in a dumpster.) It is a detention center that is, not incidentally, nowhere near Winter Garden. Our attempt to beat rush hour traffic was so successful that we arrived phenomenally early, so we retreated to a Panera Bread for more liquid refreshments, then returned.

Actually getting into the place proved a bit exciting, for the expected reasons of needing to confirm my Tramadol/Ultram prescription (apparently this is a hot item in juvenile) and getting patted down since I was in a wheelchair, and the completely less expected reason that S had brought along a very suspicious item: gaming dice. You can never tell what a gamer will be doing with dice…

As it turns out, Orange County has developed a simple method for scheduling juvenile cases: all of them, without exception, are scheduled for 8:30 am, and then the various judges pick and choose which case they will try next.

Yep. We thought the exact same thing.

So, not surprisingly, the courtroom was too full for us to get into, so we milled around for a bit until the public defender for the case came up and chatted with me. Then the victim's advocate person came up and chatted with me and told me that the public defender wasn't supposed to be chatting with me. Oh well. So to halt all the chatter she sent us to a little uncomfortable lobby nowhere near the bathrooms, where we met up with the cop who had found my trike and another woman, B, who was there as a witness for W's second trial of the day. About three months ago, W, a former friend of B's kids, had allegedly broken into B's house and stolen a $4000 work computer, dashed off with it, only to find that the computer was thoroughly password protected and he couldn't get on it. In a moment of computer frustration many of us can understand, he then punched right through the screen, and then realized that he'd also taken something else: the keys to a truck.

"I couldn't imagine that anybody would be dumb enough to return to the same house where he'd just taken a computer and steal a truck –"

But indeed, W allegedly had, driving the truck over to Lake County, which then caused some procedural issues which I'll skip for now.

(This is separate from the cop car incident and a few other matters.)

As you can imagine, this led to some cheery conversations, but, juvenile crime, as a topic, only lasts so long, so eventually, between wondering if a kid's pants were about to drop off (as B noted, the pants were held up solely as an act of defiance against gravity) S and I ended up playing Sudoku and waiting and waiting and then taking the long trip to the bathroom and returning to find the DA explaining that the truck/computer theft trial was on continuance but we were still on. So, we entered the courtroom, and waited and waited and then waited. I couldn't help but notice that Law and Order leaves all of the waiting part out which does certainly help to keep things more interesting.

The judge entered and told a nice joke about tribbles.

And then, after more waiting –

Continuance.

Which means I get to do this ALL OVER AGAIN in another month or so. But hopefully, this time with a working coffeemaker.
And another round of thanks to the Winter Garden Police Department!

If ever complain about the noise my trike's little motor makes again, please feel free to hit me, hard. Because that noise is why I got the trike back.

I'd just gotten out of the shower and was about to start catching up on some emails when I heard a familiar sound. Wait, I thought. That sounds like my trike - and made it to the balcony just in time to see my trike, with me not on it, riding off. For one horrified moment of disbelief I thought that maybe, just maybe, one of the neighbors had decided to buy a trike just like mine, so I grabbed my cane and went downstairs to verify that yes, my trike was missing, burst into unhelpful tears and called 911. The maintenance guy saw me and told me sharply to sit down. I told him my trike had been stolen and he too started making calls.

By an incredible, amazing stroke of good luck, just as I was calling 911 (who aside from being unclear as to what county Winter Garden is actually in, did a pretty good job), a detective in an unmarked vehicle just happened to be sitting beside the middle school just outside our complex, and saw the thief riding past on my trike. My trike, with me on or not on it, is kinda distinctive - it's large, purple blue and, well, it's a motorized trike. It gets looks, and it got a look from the cop. So when the call went out from 911, he immediately recognized it, and called two cops who just happened to be refueling at the spot just behind the middle school, and everyone went tearing off and caught the kid on the West Orange Trail - less than half a mile off.

Meanwhile, I posted my first infuriated entry just before another cop arrived at my place. We headed downstairs again and looked at where the trike had been taken - to find the damaged bike lock - the thief had picked the lock but not well. The cop said he thought the trike had been located. We went back up the stairs to get my ID and my house keys. Then back down the stairs, where I climbed into the back of the police car. The cop let everyone know that he had a small, blonde female in her early 20s non suspect(yay!) in the back of the car (the vastly underestimated age guess was the best part of this) and then we drove to the trike, which by that time was surrounded by two cop cars, several kids and a few curious cyclists.

Incidentally, the back of a cop car? Not the most comfortable place.

To be honest, I wasn't able to recognize the thief - I'd been so focused on the trike that I'd absolutely failed to do the useful thing of paying attention to who had been taking it, but luckily, the cops, less emotionally involved, had been paying more attention, and were able to identify the main kid and his chief accomplice - and took the names of the other kids as well.

And yes, I said kid. The thief in question is a 15 year old middle schooler. I was asked not to name him, so I won't, but I will say that just a couple of months ago he was caught and convicted of stealing a cop car and joy riding it all the way to Groveland (I'm so glad my trike doesn't go that quickly.)

For one moment, I was so relieved to have the trike back I thought that I should be nice and forgiving - I mean, he's just a kid - and then I thought, yes, but what if I hadn't been lucky? I would have been completely stuck for at least two weeks (the trike has to be shipped from California and then assembled by people who know what they're doing), not to mention having to pay for a new trike, which right now would be a severe financial hit for me. And, well, he's not seven. (And I could tell that the cops wanted me to press charges.)

Eventually, I was allowed to rescue my trike, although by this time I was having an attack of completely appropriate tachycardia so I was a bit dizzy. When I reached the trike, I realized that it had gained several items that weren't mine - DVDs, Wii games, an umbrella and a bag that both the cops and I are fairly sure did not belong to this kid. (It had a distinct older female tinge to it.) The cops removed that stuff. By that time, it had started to rain. The trike and I don't deal well in the rain, and it seemed to take forever to get back.

Once back, we locked up the trike again, then headed upstairs to fill out my statement. Alas, the Little One kept headbutting the cop while I was trying to fill out my statement, which was not helpful.

C and D showed up shortly after the cops left and took me out for much needed bookstore comforting, and then we celebrated C's birthday with more friends, cake and some Arkham Horror, which is actually a damn fine way to finish a day that included a ride with a cop car.

So all's well. The cop doesn't think I'll have to show up in court - he says that generally these things get plea bargained out, and I have my trike back.

Off to get a new lock and also deal with the other irritation of yesterday, Cigna, and then, Oasis.

December 2014

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