Just another night in the suburbs…and some pages

So where have I been? Around. Just not doing much. This time of year is always a downer – the CROWDS, the relentless Christmas music… as I was driving back from my chiropractic appointment yesterday I had the local commercial radio station playing in the car.  They played Weezer’s version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” – immediately followed by Bloodhound Gang’s “you and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals so let’s do it like they do on the Discovery channel.”

Uh – right. Am I the only one to notice that’s a bit of a WTF moment?

Last night (well, early this morning, since this all started at about 1:30 am with a cascade of barking dogs as the youths in question ambled down the street) we heard breaking glass, lots of thumps… Mr Beloved reported the suspicious behaviour of the three kids, turns out so did a neighbour, also alerted by the dogs… and this is something of a miracle in itself, since usually the neighbourhood dogs bark unheeded for hours…

Young thieves, stolen Christmas presents including a block of very big new knives, and break and enter of commercial premises.  Yikes.  4 police cars at one stage. Policeman with very powerful flashlights.

And next to no sleep.

Here’s Mr Beloved’s (much better and more coherent) version:

The dogs tell me first. The right sequence of barks, from Scruffy at the top of the street, down through Hamlet the Dane, Gillis the Dobermann, Psycho Bitch, Ugly Dog, Fat Staffy, Old Black Lab, and now my poodle… I can almost plot the intruders coming down the street.

Forewarned is forearmed. I was almost asleep when Scruffy started barking, a few hundred metres away. That was not just a bark: it was a serious let-me-at-’em, and Scruffy’s not normally a gung-ho kind of dog.

We’d gotten to bed late anyway. My partner’s reading light was turned aside to let me doze off. I wave my hand sideways with a cut-off motion, and now it’s dark.

I move as quietly as I can, given the old, creaky, wood floor I’m trying to cross . Damn it, I’m getting a bit old and creaky myself. Still, the instinct and reflexes haven’t let me down: I’m in time to see three kids go by, crouched forward and moving like Guilt itself was after them.

Two are about fifteen by appearance, not tall. One carries a box that looks like a carton of canned beer. Another has a light-coloured, almost cube-like carton: I make the assumption that is is a six-pack of premixed bourbon and cola.

The third kid is smaller, perhaps twelve, or a girl who doesn’t curve a lot. There’s a bundle in his/her hands. Moonlight makes spotting detail at even twenty feet a difficult job, but it looks like one of those eco-friendly shopping bags.

They’re headed for the park at the end of the street.

So, a spot of underage drinking is nothing to worry about? I dismiss the idea of letting it go: if they’re going to spew, make loud noises and leave broken glass, I’d rather it was somewhere else.

A quick phone call to Plod, and I wander down to the backyard. Across the fences, I can see a small white light in the bushes by the creek.

I relax. Even if the kids have night vision as good as mine, the LCD of that mobile means I’m as good as invisible, and I have them pinpointed.

Back to the house, and a follow-up call to the police operator. When that crew arrives, they now have an exact spot to shine those blinding lights. That will be demoralising for the kids in the bushes, provided a crew gets there on time.

Time is always crucial.

I’m ready when the first car arrives, about five minutes later. Plod doesn’t have the home advantage, so I shine a large torch into the area where the kids were.

Past tense is the thing. Even as the second patrol car arrives, thuds and breaking glass can be heard from a business across the road.

One of the police and I talk briefly, I give him some details of how many, approximate appearance, what they were carrying. Attention shifts to the source of the noises.

There are four cars, each with a couple of officers. From the look of the torch beams, they are inside the business premises, which means that the private security guys are on-site.

They’re taking this very seriously: individual cops are patrolling on foot in a number of areas on two blocks. I stay out of the way for over an hour and let them get on with their work.

My partner has stayed well out of the way. The dog knows her job: she’s looking after her Mum, staying quiet and looking for any hand signals to bark, search or whatever.

Eventually I leave the house and speak with the constables who are re-examining the area where I saw the kids hiding. I direct them to the exact point, and one cop exclaims, “Look! There’s a bit of gear here.”

There is. It’s most of a chef’s knife kit, new, in an aluminium-finish case. So there’s my assumption about a pack of bourbon tinnies shot down. Or stabbed.

Oh joy, there are some knives missing.

By now, it’s about 3:30 AM. I’m so heavily into hypervigilant mode, I can hear individual birds moving about restlessly as the humans invade their dark scrubland.

I give my name and details to one of the police and go back inside. As the police leave, I wait. So often the departure of Plod is the beginning of “Give it ten minutes and we’ll leave.”

This time the kids have all departed. It starts raining. I wait as dawn breaks, and have a walk around the block. There is a window broken at one end of the warehouse, but from my outside-the-fence viewpoint, I can’t tell if it was pushed in or out. That thumping and glass-breaking may have been the eastern side, and invisible from the road.

It may have been indoors. Forensic police spent a considerable time at the business premises later in the morning.

With the benefit of full sunlight and two hours’ sleep, I went back to the scrub at the end of the park. There were a few items further down the slope, missed in last night’s search.

The kids must have done a quick raid on somebody’s outgoing Xmas presents. There are tags “from Grandma”, a few cheap stocking-stuffer toys (discarded by the little thieves, who are obviously too sophisticated for anything less exciting than a long knife), hand-crocheted doilies, an address book with the crabbed writing of an older person.

I bundle the dew-soaked finds up, for handover to police.

I love the special feelings this time of year brings out in people.

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So today: migraine.  Yuk. And a heightened feeling of unease and danger.  Doors and gates double checked.  Triple checked.  Rattled as I go past just to check again.  I try to sleep away the migraine but mostly I’m restless and over-tired.  Another day of feeling like I haven’t been able to achieve anything.

I did make a few (physical) scrapbook pages last week.

connie baby page

[clicky for biggy; paper is hand painted by me (inspired by some I can’t get!); mask on photo from Paislee Press; background on photo is paper from Thao Cosgrove’s digital kit “Beautiful Life” from scrapgirls.com]

happiness heart home page

[clicky for biggy; cardstock is Bazzill; paper by Teresa Collins; chipboard by Maya Road; Glimmermist by Tattered Angels.]

Quite enjoying that. Please excuse quick and dirty photos with parallax error.   Oh, and did you know you can buy COLOURED staples? Who knew?! Now I just have to find a stapler (it’s somewhere in the house…)

This time of year makes me want to clean out the house. I got rid of an armful (heavy!) of magazine scraps today, ones that I’d already mutilated in my search for faces and alphabet pieces for my art journal.  I’m planning to get into the sewing room SOON and move a lot of things OUT -as in, to the op shops etc – they are eating my physical and spiritual space.  There’s little point in trying to flog small pieces of quilting fabric on ebay – the only people who make money from that are Australia Post.

Speaking of the art journal, here’s a quick pic: It’s actually too bulky to work in now, after painting  and border-collaging the pages.

journal closed

Most of the pages don’t have their main image or journalling yet but I am quite overwhelmed by the COLOUR and might have to start a new, more spontaneous journal.  I haven’t been able to do anything in this one for at least 10 days and I hate feeling this STUCK.

journal open

Also, I think I need to go back to a smaller format, that fits in my bag. This A4 size is fun, but cumbersome.

Think it might be another bed day tomorrow.

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