Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dude, Where's My Car?

Ferrari 250 Testarossa (replica), originally uploaded by diahn.

So. Yeah.

You know how Mondays are always a little crazy and hectic and irritating because you have to squeeze your suddenly weekend-expanded life back into the small space that seems to exist for everything on weekdays? My Mondays are particularly hectic, as they involve multiple tennis lessons, piano lessons and up until this week, puppy physical therapy. I spend most of Monday driving my car from one side of town to the other, always frantic to get some place on time.

Yesterday, Dr. SmartyPants had an early meeting, and was out the door at about 7 am, so I sat back down on the couch for a few minutes to drink the remainder of my coffee before waking the boys to get our day started. He walked out the door, and within a minute walked back in.

"Did you put your car in the garage?" he asked.

"No. It wouldn't fit with all the furniture refinishing going on - of course I didn't put it in the garage. Wait. Why?"

"It's not outside."

"Are you kidding?"


I walk to the front door and stare rather stupidly at the space that once boasted a new-to-me Ford. I blinked. I walked back into the house and went to the garage, thinking that perhaps I'd had a bout of sleep-furniture-and-car-moving.

Nope. No car there.

"Did you lock it when you got home from the store?"

"I don't know. I usually do. But I don't know. There's no glass on the driveway. Didn't you drive it to get supper?"

"No. I took my truck."

"Then I guess I didn't lock it. Dang."

"How could they have taken it without a key?"

And that's when it hit me. The spare keys were in the center console. I'd rushed off to the store the day before and couldn't find my regular keys. I grabbed the spare set and when I got to the store, I realized I had my regular keys hooked to my purse. I threw the spare set into the center console, thinking I'd get them out when I got home.

I've never even taken those keys out of the house before Sunday.

We stared at each other for a while. Then the Smarty called the county sheriff's office. We learned something interesting: When you report your car stolen, the police don't come out to your house. They just put your info into the stolen car database.

It made me feel a little neglected.

We called the bank and the insurance companies. We realized that there was a housekey on that set of spare keys, so we figured we would need to change locks. I started calculating the value of the tennis gear in the back. I texted the boys' tennis coach to see if we could borrow racquets.

I felt numb.

Someone stole my car. MY car. my CAR. In 43 years of living, this has never happened to me. I couldn't believe it. We were all stunned. My neighbors were stunned.

We live in a safe neighborhood. I lived in Virginia for two years and left my house here vacant, with my neighbors looking out for it, and never had an issue. It's a tight little cul-de-sac where we are constantly up in each others' business.  How could this happen here?

I found out later that other neighbors' cars had been rifled through, but apparently I was the only idiot who actually left the thieves a gift of keys.

The good news is that the police found the car, not more than three miles away from our house, in another neighborhood. I can only assume that someone walked out of their door to go to work and thought, "Did I sleep-purchase a new car?" Realizing that they hadn't, they called the police to report a found vehicle. We picked it up before lunch time.

The detective in charge of the case called later in the afternoon and told us they believed it was kids, out looking for exactly what they found in our driveway. They drove it around until they had to get home and just left it in another neighborhood. He said we should be thankful the car was not damaged, and that all the tennis gear was still in the back. And we are. We're very thankful.

All we lost was time. Dr. SmartyPants lost a day's work. We lost $150 in new door hardware. We lost $175 in towing charges. We'll lose whatever it costs to get a vehicle re-keyed. I lost a lot of sleep last night, waking at every. single. noise, wondering if my car was still in the garage. We lost a lot of peace and tranquility.

We lost all of that so that some jackass juvenile detention reject could drive a Ford Escape around the burbs.

I'm still pissed.