Monday, September 16, 2019

hell of a truckin' month.

Hello!!

Going into 2019 "Just Keep Breathin'" by Ariana Grande became my theme song.. and I swear that for my Nov birthday.. I'm getting this tattoo'd on my forearm. I never knew how much I'd be needing this song to reel me back into sanity perimeters.  This is going to be a loooooooong post.

Ok.. so why so dramatic? because..
I have never once felt unsafe in my home. I have never once felt the need for security cameras or gates. I've never once felt the need to lock my front or back door. Hell 90% of the time my front door was unlocked and the back door open for the dogs while we ran errands.. bible. I have never questioned my neighborhood - even if it is on the 'ghetto' side to some. I started leaving the keys to my van in my middle console shortly after we got it in Feb 2018. It was just easy to just 'push to start' after loading 2 or 3 kids for therapy or errands. I'd just push and go.. never had to search for keys. I also want to add that I have multiple diaper bags depending on the kids.. So if I had all 3 it would be the blue one.. if it was just the two little's I carried a little unicorn bag. I don't think I even own a purse anymore.. esp after having little dude. Anyway....


On August 15th I went to get my wallet out of the van when I realized that someone had ransacked the  van. They didn't take a thing except my keys. The moment I realized my keys were gone I froze in place. I knew. I knew it was a matter of time before they'd come back. I called the cops and filed a police report. They informed me that the 'perp' would be back for the van. We set up an appointment to have the whole system re-keyed - but they had to order the keys so it would take a week or two.

Aug 22nd: The bus for little man couldn't get down our street so the bus barn had asked if I could pick him up at the corner. They knew I had to load two other little kiddo's and they patiently waited. I ended up taking the kids to McDonald's for a happy meal and got myself a Trenta Pink drink (currently my fav Starbucks drink - yummo!) When I pulled in the drive way I noticed a sloth like figure on the screen of my kitchen window. My blood went cold. I swear.. it literally made me motionless. I got out.. checked on the dogs.. walked the house and went back for the kiddo's. I got them out, put them in their booster seats, got their food laid out and went back to take a picture. Because it's creeeeepy isn't it?? Can you not see a figure of a person?? it's so creepy..
My Mommy senses started tingling .. those little warning bells went off in high fashion. I emptied out the van of the kids favorite items. I kept some things.. like dolls. I always keep a full spare set of clothing and a toy in my van for each child. So I left that. I remember semi cleaning out the vehicle b/c my gut told me they were coming but I largely dismissed it. That evening this little voice had told me to take the car seats out of the van. I kept dismissing it. It kept getting more and more persistent. I told my husband and he laughed it off; as I had done. We agreed to take the seats out that coming weekend and clean them. After we watched Big Brother 21 that night... I asked him again. I told him my gutt was yelling at me to remove those seats. He rolled his eyes and went to bed and I shortly followed..

Aug 23rd - 4:30am.
My husband woke me up to let me know that my van was gone. The next day we were taking it for a re-key. The van was stolen with my babies car seats, spare clothing and toys in the vehicle. A $400 'sand' wagon was in the back, my daughters FAV pair of shoes I had forgotten earlier that day were gone... this list just goes on and on. The amazing part was the huge annoyance of ignoring that little voice and the personal violation I felt. I have never felt so scared, alone, confused.
Who would do this? Who wanted a HONDA ODYSSEY for heaven sakes?! My husbands drives a new Dodge Dart and they wanted a goldfish incrusted minivan?!
The headache of police reports .. ins claims.. on-star searches engulfed my day. It literally took up my whole weekend. 


We got the kids new carseats, phone chargers, a rental (pictured above), and we waited. Waited for the police to find my minivan that brought my daughter home. The van that we took our first family trip to Texas in, The van that we drove up to Washington, the van that held my daughters first year of her life. The van that i utterly hated with a passion. The van that I drove with disdain and disgust b/c I never wanted a 'minivan' but suddenly ached for.

Over the weekend my husband left for a short 'underway' and on Monday August 26th - at 1 in the morning my house phone started going off. The police department had found the van, with a driver in it, and demanded that I come pick it up. Of course I wasn't going to wake 3 sleeping babies up to go get a van. 1. It was only me. 2. how was i gonna drive 2 vehicles? So we had it impounded. BIGGEST blessing EVER! We weren't able to get the vehicle until the 27th from impound and a lady through our ins advised us to have a tow truck meet us at the impound lot. When we called to set that up they wouldn't send a tow truck b/c the van was deemed driveable.

GUYS.... this van was anything but driveable! 
First off... the van was littered with weed and other drugs.. littered. The smell was so bad it gave you a instant headache. The blue and purple you see are weed containers. The middle console was filled with them & while it may be legal to smoke weed in Cali.. it's not for a active service member. The van was littered with food & clothing. My babies car seats were gone & the only remainder were the anchors. That broke me. Shattered me. Impacted me so hard.. it still makes me emotional. 


The bumper and the fender were just handing on. The axle protruded the wheel house (as pictured), the tired had metal wires hanging from them, the back hatch was dented in & they didn't think we could even open it.
We didn't turn the van on - the impound lot drove it over to us and parked it. The impound lot owner knew it wasn't driveable but the police dept said it was.
((So.. our ins co told us that police departments will always tell you it's driveable even if it's split in half to remove any liability on their behalf. So always be prepared to have a tow truck on standby in this type of matter )) I do NOT in ANY WAY blame the police department for any damages. It's not their job to do a diagnostic and I am incredibly thankful that they assisted in finding the van.

So the ins co became intolerable after this point. They were super up to this 'very' point. They refused to send a tow truck to remove the van off impounds lot, they refused to take it to the dealership for it's diagnostic. They absolutely refused to reimburse us for the impound fee's & even said we should have found a way to keep it from even getting impounded. The van was completely undriveable. The wheels wobbled when moving. That van was so covered in drugs... I can't ...
So the impound lot graciously took the van to the collision team through our Honda dealership & the collision team was a absolute delight! The impound lot even brought the van to our home so that we can survey and take pictures of damages before the collision team received it. The tow truck driver showed me things, had me take pictures of the undercarriage, and even offered to lower the van to retrieve personal items. They were awesome. 

The collision team gave me daily updates, sent me pictures to describe damages and ask questions. He color coded areas and explained their issues. The collision co told us that the van would be totaled on August 30th. They told us that "fentanyl" had been found in the van & all personnel wore hazmat suits to enter the vehicle. The clean up charge for the drugs alone was $5,000. They said the driver(s) drove the van at a very high speed and then slammed it into park. The van drove while in park and parked while in drive. The vehicle was very confused and the whole electrical system was glitchy. They said that it seemed as though the driver(s) attempted to jump either a tree stump or a man made ramp and the axle broke upon a landing. The under carriage compartments had been compromised. The fuel systems were burned or drained.
The INS co, however, refused to return our phone calls. SO with the 'good faith' of the collision dept we started vehicle shopping over the Labor Day holiday. The ins co refused to give us information on the vehicle at all until Sept 3rd - which they provided via email~ !!  I called these people every. single. day and they responded to us via email.  We refused to purchase a vehicle until we heard from the ins co directly that the van was being totaled. 

On Sept 3rd I purchased my dream vehicle. Since we had already been shopping I already had a dealership I wanted to work with & a basic understanding of what I wanted. I was very torn between two completely different MAKES but narrowed it down to one that I have been dreaming about I got my Drivers License. I didn't get the color that I originally thought I wanted but God works in funny ways. We walked onto the Chevy lot for the 3rd time to hear that the truck I wanted had been sold. I had to start my search all over and since a lot of the inventory had been sold over the weekend it was 'slim pickings'. My husband set with the kids and let look at all the beautiful trucks. I looked at the 'customs', I looked at the LT's and I looked at the LTZ's. I did NOT want a white truck, I did want a extended crew cab & I wanted a five seater not a 6. 



I bought a 2019 Chevy LT. She is metallic brown & I absolutely am in love with the color. I didn't get leather seats this round but they are heated. I did end up with 6 seats. I have already done a couple of "upgrades" and I'm going to be doing a couple more things to her here soon but nothing really major. The room in this truck is amazing!


So in closing this past month.. exactly has been insane. I don't wish this experience on anyone !! BUT if you ever go through this please make sure to have a tow truck meet you when you pick up your stolen vehicle. Also make sure that you chose a collision center that works for YOU not your ins co. We were blessed that this didn't end up worse or prolonged. I am sad of the Honda's fate.. she deserved better. It's really sad how someone can just ruin someone else's property. I am a starting to feel less vulnerable though. I do check out my windows more then I did before, we did upgrade the locks and back doors on the house. We did upgrade to a keyless entry a while back and stared locking our doors. I, also, will never leave my keys in a vehicle again!! ever!! lesson learned.

 

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