But I can't just leave you all hanging, since I've mentioned it — and hey, you lovely blog readers deserve to know about the trials and tribulations of my life just as much as, or maybe even more than, the people on Facebook and Yahoogroups ... I mean, you come here and actively seek out my blather! ;) So let me say what I can.
Basically, when we went on vacation over Labor Day weekend, the person who was watching the house decided to "clean" for us. Which of course means much worse than that.
Imagine coming home from a vacation to find your inside cat wandering around outside, no food in the cat food dish, your garden torn up selectively, and large chunks of your possessions missing — but not just the high resale value stuff; yes, your vintage furniture is gone, and your original artwork, but what's left of your furniture has been rearranged inexplicably and while most of your linens were thrown out, some of them were replaced with "more appropriate" ones, and the not-particularly-valuable-to-anyone-else missing items include your curtains(??), your financial and personal records, most of the decorative/kitschy items you bought to make your house into a home, your mementos, silly cute gifts from friends and family, years' worth of greeting cards, nearly the entire contents of your bathroom and a lot of what was in the fridge, a large chunk of clothing, a box of costumes you made yourself (including some you made ten years ago with your mom before you even knew how to use a sewing machine), and your sketchbooks and notebooks, containing years' worth of ideas and inspiration.
Oh, and the person who removed your belongings left you a morally righteous note that basically says you should be thankful that so much of your life has been thrown in the trash (and it was — in the sealed trash compactor 20 yards from your front door), because it was for your own good, to help you see that you're a horrible, unethical, valueless person — an alcoholic, a drug addict, and a devil worshipper — who clearly has no taste and whose time and financial investments have clearly all been a waste. Oh, and everything missing from your house was a manifestation of Evil and moral backwardness. (My purple vase, my sage plant, that package of white card stock and the first mate's smiling Buddha were so eeeeeeevil! :P)
That's basically what happened to me and the first mate, except that there was no note. We were told those things to our faces by the person who was supposed to be feeding the cats and watering the plants, when we confronted said person about where the heck our stuff had gone.
So ... that's the story so far. Nice, huh?
But it's not over yet. (Why make it quick if it can't be painless? :P) On Friday, we get to cross our fingers that the trash people let us dig through the contents of the trash compactor when they dump it out at the landfill, even though Friday is a busy day for them — and then cross our fingers some more that some of our stuff is somehow salvageable. If you'd like to cross your fingers with us, your added positive vibes are very, very welcome.
I've been pretty stressed out about the possible outcome of Friday. I mean, last week I spent a huge amount of time calling around, trying to figure out who picks up the trash and if they would even let us dig through it, then I was literally one step away from having everything settled so that I could dig through the trash last Friday — an entire week early, which would be one less week of trash piled up on our belongings in the trash compactor — and the property manager at the condo management company said they couldn't give the trash company permission to pick up the compactor early because it would somehow be a liability. Most of the people I've talked to about it, including the person at the waste management company (who would probably know if people were prone to suing each other as a result of being allowed to dig through trash for their lost stuff), one lawyer and one soon-to-be-lawyer, are pretty sure that the company just doesn't want to pay the early pickup fee, which is a massively lame excuse for a hugely uncompassionate act — I offered to pay the fees.
Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me in time to call their bluff and offer to sign a waiver of liability so they can't hide behind that excuse any more; by the time I'd thought of it on Friday, their office had closed. (Stupid me, I had other things on my mind, like inventorying the gigantic amount of stuff I lost...) And our personal schedules would have prevented us from going to dig through the trash until today at earliest this week. That's if the waiver of liability offer worked, and we could get the paperwork done quickly (ha!). So we just decided to wait until the normal scheduled pickup this Friday. Sigh. Which is the day we're supposed to leave for the Florida Fiber-In. Sigh again.
(Side note to the property manager: I honestly think hiding behind a supposed liability is despicable behavior. Every single other person of the many I talked to last week went out of their way to help us get our stuff back as soon as possible. You, on the other hand, appear to have been hiding behind your assistant and overhyping an irrational fear of extremely unlikely legal action rather than choosing to be a human being and to help two fellow human beings in pain and need. I wish this were The Mummy, where "nasty little fellows such as yourself always get their comeuppance." Rest assured that if your happiness or success ever rest in my hands, I will very clearly remember your irrational lack of compassion in what has been the most emotionally trying time in my adult life so far.)
Before everyone starts asking about legal action and involving the authorities, let me say: The person who did this to us is ... a family member of sorts. So ... another closely-related family member — let's say "the Responsible One" — will be replacing as much of our stuff as is replaceable. And since we're reasonably sure the person who did all this to us — let's say "the Righteous One" — isn't exactly ... mentally and emotionally stable ... it wouldn't really help much to drag the Righteous One into court; meaning it wouldn't necessarily prevent future bad behavior. So we're leaving it to the Responsible One to figure out how to set right the Righteous One's emotional and mental stability, if you know what I mean.
...and that was a lot more than I thought I would say about that.
I know this is my craft blog, but oh my heck does this fall right into the "safe space is necessary for creativity" theme I've been harping on for a few months. I mean, my craft stuff was miraculously mostly still here — the Righteous One did this on purpose, claiming the "business stuff" was important, but the effectiveness of this statement is diminished by the failure to remember that handmade costumes and business records are also business stuff — but a lot of it was rearranged, so that I wasn't sure where much of it was. (We did also find some relocated non-craft-related stuff that we originally thought was missing, but a great deal of the missing things are large enough that they would still be visible if they had been moved elsewhere in the house.) And, er, having someone come into my personal space and literally treat my treasures like trash is a huge drain on my emotional energy.
On the other hand, I do have a new source of inspiration: I can now make sure every replacement item I buy is something the Righteous One would hate but that I love. Yes. I can make my house even "worse" than it was before. I could even make sure my new craft projects and knitting designs are as "offensive" as I can make them (that is, creative, nonstandard and interesting — you know, evil!). I'd love to make my home so "morally wrong" (like it might have colors in it, and candleholders, vintage furniture, souvenirs of trips, handmade objects, and gifts from my friends and family) that the Righteous One can't stand to come through the door. Not that that will ever happen again anyway, if I can possibly stop it.
So there it is. You know the story, and I hope you can empathize, or at least not judge me harshly for being angry and hurt and honest (and long-winded ;)). Though my plans for post-Dragon*Con crafting are totally shot, I can't let this defeat me. I have to rebuild, and keep crafting, and put even more of my heart and soul into the business and into creating new treasures and mementos. And I'll start keeping new records, sketchbooks and notebooks. (EVIL!) That's the only way I can heal the gigantic hole in my life.
Which brings me back to that wildflower walk that's in the title of this post. Today while I was walking back from the post office, I made myself take a moment to look at everything that's blooming right now. It's kind of like spring here in Florida in late summer — and our growing season is, after all, backwards from the growing season in many places. (Our organic farm CSA runs from November through May, for example.) Almost everything is in bloom, and I've actually never noticed before today how many different colors of flowers we have just among the (probably) native species. Some highlights are below — I hope you enjoy, and that the sharing of my "roadside nature walk" photos balances out the negative thoughts I shared with you earlier.
More nature pics, including some more from today, in my Florida set on Flickr.
And thanks, as always, for reading along. :D