28 February 2013

Heels Over Head

Snow and Klondike

a real-life adventure

Read Part XVIII here.

Now available in ebook format!


My own sense of urgency didn't need any deadlines. As soon as I hung up, I rolled out of my bed and hobbled over to the apartment of a friend who lived in the same apartment complex and asked if I could pay for a tank of gas in exchange for a ride to Castle Rock.

My kids had done pretty well after the accident. It may have helped that they didn't have to get in cars for anything we did. They had nightmares the first few nights, and the once-enchanting thunderstorms and associated lightning-chasing that accompanied nature's light shows now made them nervous and sometimes sleepless. But overall, they were much more resilient than me.

Except for the loss of Raz's blankie. I'd made matching quilts for both kids a Christmas or two before, and now Taz would take turns sharing his with his sister, but both kids were very attached to their quilts, thanks to Klondike and Snow. The twin polar bear cubs had been rejected by their mom and had nearly died, their miracle survival story capturing the hearts of every grade school child in the entire state. My kids heartily identified with every character who lost a parent — longneck dinosaur Littlefoot, killer whale Willy, cuddly white Klondike and Snow... These were their imaginary friends and daily proof Taz and Raz could survive, even though they'd each lost birth parents.

Raz, so named by my brother who enjoyed calling her Carrot Top because of the slight red tint of her thick mop of hair, cried at night when Taz didn't share his quilt. He slept on the floor of my bedroom when Raz got her turn with the remaining blanket. In those pre-eBay days, I called every material shop in Denver's chunky yellow pages in an effort to find more material — all I needed was two yards — but not even six inches could be found. My kids seemingly weren't the only schoolchildren in Denver to adopt proxy polar bear orphans.

Taz, so nicknamed after the Tasmanian Devil for personality traits I won't bother describing, would be starting middle school in the fall. Chances were his security blanket would soon go up for permanent adoption. I had hoped that in time, the issue would work itself out.

Instead, I found myself en route to Castle Rock and engaged in lively chatter with a Yugoslavian neighbor while his wife graciously babysat. Prior to my second car ride since the accident, I hesitated for several minutes before sticking my first foot inside. It took even longer to close the door once I'd managed to stuff my whole body inside. Think hokey pokey...

My chauffeur patiently waited and didn't even start the car until my labored breathing returned to normal. If my neighbor's accent had been any easier to understand, I might not have made the one-way 90-minute trip south. Predrag understood how uncomfortable I was, and he kept me verbally occupied the entire ride.

Laying eyes upon my redesigned car was like stepping into another dimension. It didn't look like my car. It didn't feel like my car. It was a complete stranger to me. A hostile one at that.

The first thing I noticed wasn't the shattered glass or the caved-in driver's side doors. The steering wheel nearly touched the seat. The seat was no longer denim blue but a repulsive, putrid shade of brownish red. The front door looked as if someone had tried to wrap the gearshift with it. The back door was in the trunk, and not because some good Samaritan had dismantled it and placed it inside. The trunk was as good as non-existent. The roof was in better shape than the front, rear and left sides of the car. The right side, where all three of us had exited, showed hardly any damage at all, if you stood at just the right angle.

The adjuster had been true to his word. All my electronic equipment, the quilt and other items had been taken to the office. Had I known that, I might have avoided reliving the accident yet one more time. I don't know that I needed to say goodbye to my car. I was already struggling with nightmares and flashbacks. Viewing the aftermath up close and personal could only make it worse. The only saving grace was finding two GameBoy cartridges and a shiny quarter on the floorboard of the backseat.

That night, both my kids slept, bundled in their polar bear blankets.

I didn't get in a car again after that day until the 4th of July. I cried on the way home on Independence Day. Thankfully, all the kids, mine and my chaperone's, were asleep. And I was in the backseat, in the dark, keeping my out-of-control emotions to myself.

The memories slowly became easier to repress and block out as summer waned into fall. Taz took up violin and joined the school orchestra. RTD could get me to work. School buses took care of my children's weekday transportation needs. But there were no workable options for extracurricular family activities. Unless I bummed a ride with another orchestra parent, I would not be able to attend Taz's concerts.

Because I wholly depended upon public transportation, I didn't know any of the other orchestra parents. I wasn't able to attend after-school activities and meetings, and I couldn't visit my kids' classes during the day.

Unless I expected to walk my kids to the middle school late at night, I was going to have to learn to drive again. I was going to have to buy another vehicle.

Read Part XX here.

Table of Contents

Copyright 2013 by Deborah and Brett Atkinson
All rights reserved. No part of this book - prose, photos or graphics - may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without express prior written permission of the author.

26 February 2013

Wordless Wednesday

stack of gorgeousness

strip bar

square one

fixing unliked fabric

stitchaway

square two

joined

backside

squaring off

waste

used thread

leftovers

nitty gritty

straight

square three

ta da

periwinkle

pear

lilac

lilac it is

lilac edge

unpressed seams

fingerpressing

heat pressing

right side up

bigger than my board

work of love

done for the night

the braiding begins

French braid

French braid press

1 down, 3 to go

Nightmare on $$$ Street

Leave me alone!

Sometimes nightmares happen during the day.

It was a complete fluke that I checked my personal mail as soon as it arrived. Often I don't have time to sort through it until the end of the week. Deep in the pile was an important notice from my bank. I tore the envelope as I multi-tasked, completing a phone call and keeping a plant from tipping when the phone cord pulled on it.

I nearly dropped the phone when I read the contents of the bank's computer printout. A savings account I use only for deposits was seriously overdrawn.

No way could it be overdrawn. The two overdrafts presented, although hefty, weren't anywhere near what the balance had been, and I hadn't used the account to pay for anything. I pulled out my bank statements and my checkbooks and studied everything quickly but carefully to make sure I hadn't purchased something I just didn't remember doing.

The search confirmed my deepest fear. I had not used the account for anything. And yet, all the money I'd saved apparently was gone.

I rushed immediately to the bank. Not knowing any better, I waited in line for a teller, and as luck would have it, I got a new one who wasn't as seasoned in the emotional aspects of potential fraud. She read off one transaction after another that had been logged against my account for the previous 72 hours, all of them originating in Seoul.

I was shaking my head as she read them off. "No! No! No!" I cried with a little more agitation with each ascending amount. "That's not mine! I didn't charge that!"

The teller finally jotted down a phone number she said I'd need to call to contest the charges. As she wrote, another transaction, this one in the amount of $800, posted.

Fortunately, the teller right next to us picked up on all my verbal and visual cues, reached over and tapped her co-worker on the shoulder.

"No," she softly but firmly ordered. "Have her talk to the vice president RIGHT AWAY."

Within seconds, I was at the vice president's desk, watching as he closed out the account in question and checked the status of my other accounts before freezing them. Fingers of darkness seemed to be enclosing upon me, and I struggled to stay in the light. All my savings were gone. Every last penny. What had taken me years to build up had evaporated nearly overnight.

You'd have to live in a cave in Siberia to not know how rampant credit card fraud has become. You've probably seen hundreds of forwarded e-mails about the horror stories and things you can do to prevent it from happening to you.

What if you do everything you can to prevent it, and it happens anyway? What do you do? I mean, besides cry, scream or sit in a stupor trying to figure out what in the heck just hit you.

One of the things I didn't think to do when this happened back in 2007 was pray. With all the experiences I've had in my life, you'd think that would have been my first instinct. But it wasn't. I believe that's the reason my world seemed so black for the first 18 hours or so. I allowed the fingers of darkness to gain a chokehold. If I had prayed first, perhaps I wouldn't have had to battle the debilitating depression and total absence of common sense that so steadfastly fought to roost within my soul.

That savings account initially was set aside to help pay for my son's church mission. He ended up taking his life elsewhere. So I converted my savings to the new goal of making sure I had enough money saved to get me through several months of unemployment, just in case. I still had a long way to go, but I was making progress.

In the blink of a computer screen, everything I'd saved was gone. The account I'd set aside for Just in Case was gone when Just in Case took center stage. Thankfully, two other accounts were just fine. I couldn't help but ponder what life would have been like had it been my checking account that got hit and if I'd had no savings.

When your bank account is compromised, the third thing the bank does (after freezing your account and notifying proper bank authority) is conduct an initial investigation. Yes, INITIAL. First of many. All the while requiring the victim to make a formal complaint to local law enforcement, which also entails THE interview.

"Has your purse or wallet been stolen?"

"Do you leave your purse out unattended where others, such as co-workers, may access it?"

"Are you sure this isn't your husband making these charges?"

"Have you allowed anyone else in your family to use your bank card?"

"Have you made purchases via the internet?"

"Have you recently discarded any bank statements, receipts, deposit slips or checks?"

"Are you sure you haven't purchased airline tickets from a travel agency in Seoul?"

I had indeed made many purchases via the internet, all behind a triple layer of protective firewalls and via secure servers. But never with this particular account.

I had indeed disposed of old bank statements, receipts, deposit slips and checks, but all had been shredded.

I had always abided by a lesson my grandmother taught long, long before the technology explosion, long before I was old enough to have a credit card. She had taught all of us to cut checks, statements, invoices, credit cards and any other item containing personal information into teensy, tiny pieces before disposing and distribute the pieces to different locations, different states if possible. (We lived very close to a state border.)

While I was still in high school, a notebook of poems was stolen from my locker. I remember going through trash cans in search of my poetry drafts and multi-color doodles. If I'd come up with anything at all, I'd have worked through the night, many nights if necessary, to reconstruct my poems, at the time, my most treasured possession.

If I'm willing to go to that effort for teeny bopper poems, how much more willing would a potential criminal be to reconstruct bank records that might yield thousands of dollars?

Federally insured bank accounts don't hurt, but how much longer can the FDIC continue to cover this kind of fraud if it keeps growing and spreading like a wind-driven wildfire in a drought-parched forest?

Last month I read in a tech journal I subscribe to that debit cards should never be used to pay for internet purchases. Oops. Credit cards are insured to cover fraudulent use (although I'm sure the investigation process would be just as... vigorous, tedious and thorough), but also, real bank accounts aren't at as high a risk if credit cards are used to pay for purchases instead of debit cards. No worrying about how you will pay next month's rent if your credit card is hacked. One of my bosses adds, "You get points for using your credit card." Whatever...

I have been in "pay off everything" mode for more than ten years now in an attempt to be free of debt, except for our home. I never would have dreamed it could be wiser to use a credit card than a debit card. I am taking that into consideration now, given my most recent experience.

The trade journal also recommended using gift cards for internet purchases. Doing so eliminates impulse spending and can be inconvenient, but if the gift card number is used fraudulently, financial risk is so much lower than an actual account with overdraft availability.

I did eventually get all my savings back in 2007, and I changed banks. My current banks don't notify me via snail mail when something suspicious transpires. They call. They don't wait for an account to be emptied to shut it down.

How do I know this???

It happened again in 2009. And again last year. Then again last three-day weekend.

We were headed up the Grand Mesa to cross country ski after church on Sunday. The phone rang. My first thought was, "We have signal???"

Yep, we had signal, and it was my bank. On a Sunday of a three-day weekend. !!! Some bogus travel agency in a country I've never been to charged less than a dollar to my card. The 24-hour fraud department of my bank watched, waiting. After the charge went through, a shower of escalating charges careened like rocks down a steep canyon wall.

The bank immediately closed my account and called to inform me. My money was safe once again. I'll even get my 64 cents back.

Nevertheless, I had to sit in the car and stew for half an hour, even though five feet of snow tranquilly waited. Everything would be okay, yet my stomach once again was in knots.

Three of my four instances have theoretically been the product of computer programs randomly selecting numbers, then "pinging" to see if a contrived number works. The fourth instance was thanks to the theft of a laptop computer owned by an agency I had to file monthly reports with while fostering abused children. Because just enough personal information about each family ever served by this agency may have been stored on the computer, they believed preventative measures were warranted.

To my knowledge, none of the hits on my bank accounts were caused by any of the transactions I have ever conducted. My first occurrence was the only time fraud against one of my credit cards came with a hefty price tag, even though I got my money back. The money returned to me came from somewhere; it didn't grow on a tree. It cost someone, somewhere.

After writing this post last Tuesday, I learned Wednesday morning many, many, many people have been similar victims of credit card fraud due potentially to a security breach via one of two companies I too have done business with in the past three months. Wednesday afternoon, I learned some of the victims of the fraud had their addresses fraudulently changed, and their new credit cards may be going to fake addresses. Victimized twice in one fell swoop.

Even when you take precautions and try to be safe, you can still be the unwitting victim of crime. Or crimes.

Sometimes, not even a beautiful blanket of fresh, sparkly snow can take away all the sting.

shattered

25 February 2013

Snowflake Monday


Wrangler Loop photography by The Lizard, music "Rose of Cimarron" by Poco

The Wrangler Flake

Hi folks, Snowcatcher asked me to comment on some desert-themed snowflakes, manflakes if you will. Most of my comments pertain to an area I've spent time in during all seasons for the past 30-plus years. I never tire of it.

In 2008, the Wrangler Trail became the latest addition to the Kokopelli Trail system, which is an isolated 142-mile mountain bike route between Fruita, Colorado and Moab, Utah. The trail reached Moab in 1989, and numerous spur rides sprang forth after completion, Wrangler being one of them.

along the trail
Wild & Wooley!

Wrangler sits above the Colorado River on a colorful, somewhat terraced, fractured rock landscape. About 65 million years of geologic history (give or take a few million) comprise the sediments below and above the Wrangler Trail. The late Triassic, Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous formations also are rich in dinosaur fossils and several local dinosaur digs take advantage of this.

Aptly named, the area encompassing the Wrangler Trail has seen a few real wranglers in its day. The area has been used for winter grazing and calving since the turn of the 20th century. To the south, ancient Ute Indian trails descend from the highlands of Piñon Mesa. Many of these trails eventually were used by wranglers to drive cattle between summer and winter pasture. Grass, cacti and a sparse pinyon-juniper forest provide the ecosystem forage. Moreover, the Colorado River is the only reliable water source, depending on season. Winters are cold with some snow. Summers are brutally hot and mostly waterless; you can have the place to yourself during these months.

Kokopelli Lichen
Lichen

As for mountain biking, Wrangler provides solitude on single-track and old deteriorated jeep track. The views aren't half bad either. As for snowflakes, when they're not dodging mountain bikes, they're running from coyotes, mountain lions and raptors. It's a tough place. Only a rugged flake will survive here.

Enjoy this high desert snowflake.

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Wrangler Snowflake

Finished Size: 4.25 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Wrangler Snowflake Instructions

Make a wide magic ring. (I made mine around my thumb instead of finger for this snowflake.)

Round 1: Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), * 1 dc in ring, 1 hdc in ring, 1 sc in ring, 1 hdc in ring, 1 dc in ring, 1 tr in ring, ch 8, sl st in top of tr just made, 1 tr in ring; repeat from * around 4 times, 1 dc in ring, 1 hdc in ring, 1 sc in ring, 1 hdc in ring, 1 dc in ring, 1 tr in ring, sl st in 4th ch of starting ch 4; ch 3, 1 dtr in 4th ch of starting ch 4 to form last ch 8 sp. Do not pull magic ring too tight.

Round 2: 1 sc in loop just made, * 1 hdc in same loop, 1 dc in same loop, 1 tr in same loop, ch 12, sl st in 9th ch from hook, ch 3, 1 tr in next ch 8 loop, 1 dc in same loop, 1 hdc in same loop, 1 sc in same loop; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 3: 1 sc in same st, * ch 3, 3 tr in next ch 8 loop, 3 dc in same loop, 1 hdc in same loop, 1 sc in same loop, 1 hdc in same loop, 3 dc in same loop, 3 tr in same loop, ch 3, 1 sc in next sc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc; bind off; weave in ends.

To make this into a feminine snowflake, do not bind off. Work 4th Round instead:

Optional Round 4: Ch 9 (counts as1 tr and ch 5), * sk next 3 tr, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, sk next 2 dc, sk next hdc, 1 sc in next sc, ch 5, 1 sc in same sc, ch 5, sk next hdc, sk next 2 dc, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, sk next 3 tr, 1 tr in next sc, ch 5; repeat from *around 5 times, omitting last tr and ch 5 of final repeat; sl st in 4th ch of starting ch 9; bind off; weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

Wrangler Snowflake Rock

Wrangler Snowflake Rock

Wrangler Snowflake Rock

Wrangler Snowflake Rock

Warmer Days

24 February 2013

Lilac Dreams

1 braid down

Thank you to everyone who voted in yesterday's lilac vs. periwinkle dilemma. As you can see, I didn't go with the periwinkle, even though I think it won in the voting.

From the moment I began this quilt (which, by the way, I think I will name "Welcome to the Jungle"), I intended to use the periwinkle for a narrow border, and then a French braid using up all the rest of small fabric leftovers from my green batik dress. After I finished the last of the main six squares Thursday night, I placed the quilt top first on my periwinkle, then my lilac, my pear and my sprout Kona solids to see first hand which one would work best.

I really love the periwinkle and I love how strong it contrasts against the greens, but to me, when I used the periwinkle around the edges, my eyes went right to the periwinkle and did not go to the greens. That shocked me. On the other hand, the lilac seemed to make my eyes travel around the quilt, back and forth. That's why I asked for second opinions. A few people saw the same thing I did, so I took a chance and used the lilac. (Oh, by the way, that was The Lizard's choice, too.)

Oh, the pear and sprout blended in too well, almost invisibly, so they didn't even get a second chance.

The quilt top now is too heavy to hang on my wall with stick pins, so I can't hang it for photos until I get the sandwich completed and the sleeve on the back. But I'll try to get shots of my progress as I go because I'm still having fun with this, even though I've seen nothing but green batiks and a dash of lilac for five whole weeks now!

I have only until March 18 to make it look finished in photos that must be submitted to the Denver National Quilt Festival. If I miss that deadline, I still have enough time to try to get it in this year's Quilts at the Capitol.

3 more braids to go

23 February 2013

Second Opinions

I think I've already decided what I want to do, but I'm looking for second opinions. Validation, I guess! Please forgive the crudely Photoshopped mock-ups, but which border do you like better?

The lilac?

lilac

Or the periwinkle?

periwinkle

Have a wonderful weekend, and thanks for your input!

22 February 2013

Friday Fun

Remember last week's Friday Fun? Well, this one may be even better...

21 February 2013

Heels Over Head

owie

a real-life adventure

Read Part XVII here.

Now available in ebook format!


During the next six weeks, I learned not only how to roll in and out of bed, stifle sneezes, wait for doors to be opened for me, delegate grocery shopping and sit without doing anything at all, I also mastered the metro mass transportation maze. I learned how to get just about anywhere in Denver via RTD. My kids argued RTD doesn't stand for Regional Transportation District, but Ride Through Denver.

Of course, even buses were a challenge. Three steps up, three steps down. Uncomfortable seats, when seats were available. Railroad tracks. Oh, the railroad tracks! Pain rumbled through my back and ribcage like lingering canyon thunder every time a bus jerked to a stop or traversed a bump. Railroad tracks were downright demoralizing, like a super-sized, premium, obstacle course extreme. Waves of pain yearning to roll.

Railroad tracks aboard a bus were better than driving, nonetheless. I was convinced my kids would not survive another automobile ride with me. I could not be trusted with their lives.

Insurance negotiations ached on the other end. Ours would be a precedent-setting case that would tie up courts for seven years before all the dust settled. My insurance company, Louis' insurance company, the truck driver's insurance company and the insurance company covering his load duked it out in an effort to push the majority of responsibility on each other. Louis often got caught on the short end of the insurance stick, sometimes going without necessary services because the individual insurance providers didn't want to take the brunt of responsibility for his medical expenses. To validate 50% of one claim would in essence be admitting they were half-responsible for all of his claims, which were extensive. Here he was, the hero, and none of the four big-name companies wanted to carry their share of the burden. It didn't seem fair.

In a follow-up conversation with the investigating police officer, I learned the truck driver had been fired. That bit into my guilty conscience, too.

My kids' adoption and bonding therapist kept trying to convince me this was an accident; it wasn't a crime I'd intentionally thought out and carried out with exactness. I may have had difficulty swallowing my own innocence, but I had no problem whatsoever knowing with all my heart the truck driver was involved in an accident. Just the fact he left the road three times before hitting me demonstrated he was doing everything within his power to try to control his rig. What about his family? What about his future? How could he be cut off and shut out just like that, no mercy? I experienced recurring nightmares detailing my mind's impression of how that driver, whom I never got a chance to meet, must feel about Louis' predicament. How do you ever get past squishing a human being who was trying to help a damsel in distress?

My personality completely changed. Before the accident, I could never be found at home on a weekend. I'd shuttle the kids up to Rocky Mountain National Park or Mount Evans for sunrise every Saturday morning, or we'd take bike rides in new places throughout the metro area. Long weekends would find us in Moab or Salt Lake City. Lake Powell or in a tent somewhere along the West Slope. Garden of the Gods or Horsetooth Reservoir. New Mexico or Washington State. We were not stay-home potatoes.

Now we took bike rides, once I could ride again, but we stayed on the South Platte bike path. I didn't have to drive us to the trailhead. It was easily accessible from our home.

Weekends were spent at home sewing, writing, walking to the local park or taking a bus to Water World. We walked to church on Sundays. We walked to the grocery store. If we wanted to go out to eat, we walked to Taco Bell, McDonald's or Wendy's because they were all close.

We didn't take any trips that summer, with the exception of fireworks in Estes Park on the fourth of July weekend. Someone in the singles group at church just happened to be going and asked if we'd like to ride along.

People kept asking me when I was going to buy another car. I couldn't bear the thought. Taz sometimes would hint that he would be in driver education in a couple of years, but I still couldn't picture myself behind the wheel of a car.

The day the adjuster contracted by my insurance company called to interview me, he was at the Corolla graveyard and attempting to locate my vehicle amongst a sea of 20 something vehicles that expired the same day as mine. Plain white four-door Corolla, blue cloth interior, probably smashed on at least three sides, smashed on the top, broken windshield, green and white Colorado plates DHH something something something.

"Oh, here it is," he finally said. Then there was a formidable pause.

"Oh... my... gosh!" I heard him gasp. "I can't believe you're alive! How did you survive this? You were in the front seat? There isn't room in the front seat for a human being! There isn't room in the front seat for a small child! You are incredibly lucky!"

This guy surveyed compacted vehicles for a living, and my car shocked him. His reaction was incomprehensible to me. How did I survive? How in the world did I not wind up part of the metal and glass?

Any vehicular appeal I may have felt immediately disintegrated as he described my car to me. At that point, I still needed to hitch a ride out to Castle Rock with someone who'd be willing to tolerate my blubbering so I could retrieve any personal items that might still be in the car. But after that particular conversation, I had no interest in seeing my dream car ever again. The romance was over. I could replace anything that still remained in the car. I no longer wanted to retrieve the case of CDs, the GameBoys, the first aid kit, the emergency blankets, the roadside emergency kit with jumper cables, the tripod, even the important papers in the dash. Getting in a car again seemed deadly enough. Getting in a car to see my car... that was just plain suicide. Besides, it might rain. Rain and roads no longer mixed for me. I was destined to become a wart on the doorstep of Denver, never to travel again.

But then the adjuster said something that triggered a change of heart.

"Looks like somebody left their pillow in what's left of the back seat," he said as he rifled through debris. I could hear the muffled sound of him rustling paper while he probably clutched his cell phone between his ear and shoulder. "Oh, no, I'm sorry, it’s not a pillow. It's a little quilt. Do you have a baby? Or was this a gift you planned to give to someone?"

"Quilt? My daughter's quilt is still in the car???" I breathlessly asked.

"Blue with white polar bears. Yep, it was neatly folded and wrapped in a plastic bag."

"Someone tried to put it on me while I was waiting for the ambulance, then it disappeared into thin air," I said in utter astonishment.

"Looks like they tried to protect it for you. They wrapped it up pretty darned good. I'll put it back in the bag and leave it at the front counter of the office so it will be safe. You're awfully lucky it's still in there. Looks like a box of CDs in here, too. Oh, and here are a couple of electronic games. Those must belong to your kids. If I were you, I'd get out here as soon as you can. Your vehicle is going to be crushed and shipped out by the end of the week."


Read Part XIX here.

Table of Contents

Copyright 2013 by Deborah and Brett Atkinson
All rights reserved. No part of this book - prose, photos or graphics - may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without express prior written permission of the author.
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