I don’t know where to start. So much has happened today; some good, some bad, some horrific.
The day started off ordinarily enough. We got up. Scott did a little paperwork in preparation of going out while I got the kids up, squished the bread starter (day 3), and started breakfast.
Breakfast: I had chosen China as our geographic theme of the day and the only Chinese breakfast recipe I could find was for “Twisted Devils.” Traditional Chinese breakfasts are quite different from what the Western World views as breakfast. The dishes are usually savory rather than sweet and are often eaten quickly rather than enjoyed with a morning paper and coffee. The twists are like crullers in that the sweetness doesn’t come from the dough but from whatever the cruller is dipped in or whatever is sprinkled on top of it. It’s deep fried dough that is easy to mix up quickly but they don’t come out pretty and uniform without a great deal of practice. Mine looked pretty disgusting to be honest and I had a mess of splattered oil to clean up afterwards.
Scott said I earned a “A” for effort but asked that I not make them again. It was pretty embarrassing but hey, you live you learn. That was pretty much the last chuckle I had for a while. My stomach was already in a knot about Scott going out. He’s bruises are still pretty spectacular to look at; real sunrise on a stormy day kind of colors. At least he was moving around a lot easier and it only took Tylenol to knock down the twinges.
Scott hadn’t been gone five minutes when there was a loud knocking on the front door. I looked outside to see who it was and it was the neighbors from yesterday plus a man and woman I didn’t recognize. What troubled me – besides the fact we were being watched since it was too coincidental that they waited for Scott to leave before showing up – was that the man and woman had made the effort to dress up in uniform-ish looking suits. First thing that popped into my head was “uh oh.”
When I tried to fob them off with the “little woman not allowing strangers in the house without her husband home” routine they said that was OK to call him to come home, that they would wait. I was tempted to ignore them and let them roast in the day’s heat until they figured out I wasn’t biting whatever they were selling but I knew I needed more info about what was going on. I bundled the kids back into my bedroom and told them they had to be very, very quiet. I told James and Rose that they were not to let anyone but their dad or I into the house under any circumstances. No matter what and handed James one of the rifles. It got real quiet after I did that. I grabbed my little voice activated recorder and clipped it into my shirt pocket and attached my earplugs to it to make it look like an mp3 player. I think Rose thought I was over reacting at first but she didn’t say anything or try to stop me. I positioned James at the front door and Rose at the back. As soon as I had left by the back door I had them roll down the security doors as quickly as possible and not to stop no matter what they heard.
As soon as I was out the back door and the roll-downs started coming down I could hear all four of my “visitors” start to make a huge fuss. So much for the professional act they were putting on. If I had any doubts they vanished as soon as I turned the corner and saw them trying to prevent the doors from coming down.
I startled the heck out of them when I shouted for them to get their hands off of my personal property and demanded to know why I shouldn’t call the cops right then and there. They quickly “apologized” and tried to regain control of the situation but I already had their number. They may have tried to pull this crap with other people who rolled for them, but they hadn’t run up against any real resistance. I was about to give them a little training on who NOT to try and push around. I can’t stand bullies and I intended to rattle their cage a bit if I could.
After giving the two neighborhood guys a contemptuous look I focused all of my attention on the goon and goonette. Their feeble attempt to look “official” in their dark suits, white shirts, and red ties was even more irritating in person. The chick even wore a masculine red tie and that really spiked my irritation. Women are already powerful; there is no reason to go around pretending like we have to dress like a man to show it. My respect for goonette fell a couple of more notches.
Wondering just how much respect I was going to lose, I asked them for some identification. They gave me a couple of business cards and some blah-blah-blah letter in legalease on some of the worst looking letterhead I’ve ever seen. I could have made up better looking letterhead with an MSWord template and my laser printer. Theirs was probably done on an inkjet ‘cause it was in color and looked like it would run if it got wet. The business cards had those stupid fold-and-tear edges you get on cheap stationary. Dumb and dumber. They were a little shocked when I folded the letter and shoved it and the business cards in my back pocket. When I asked them for a copy of their business license and their federal tax ID number they started struggling to breathe. Honestly, I began to wonder what kind of amateurs I was dealing with?
That’s when the goon started gobbling at me to the effect that I obviously had no idea who they were and that they had approached me in the spirit of cooperation but since I didn’t seem inclined to “cooperate” they would have to report me to their superiors. OK, I’ll admit that I went from irritated to PO’d at that point. Giving the goon the smile that usually has most people who know me taking two giant steps backwards to avoid the blast zone, I proceeded to “explain” to him that I was trying to check the veracity of his claims, that thus far I had not seen any legal documentary proof that they were who they said they were, that I would immediately be reporting this incident with their names (along with the names of my darling neighbors who brought them to my property) to the State of Florida’s board of professional regulations, the local police, the Keel National Guard Outpost, and anyone else who sprang to mind. I would also be reporting them to the NRSC hotline just in case they happened to be falsifying claims of affiliation with the Feds. That last one turned the goon’s face pale, but I had made an error in judgment in ignoring the two neighborhood men.
One of ‘em grabbed me by my upper arm and started with this idiotically menacing voice of, “You are making a mistake …” right before I turned around and kneed him in the groin. Goonette musta been saving it up because she came at me with nails bared and got an elbow somewhere between her nose and mouth for her troubles. I don’t like to fight, certainly not physically. And I avoid confrontations probably way more than I should by making excuses to myself that its better to avoid trouble. But after everything that had been happening recently, including Scott getting injured, I was just in a foul mood and was ready to let my inner country girl come out and play a while. No one threatens my family and I had just plain had all I was taking.
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending how you look at it, just like with most bullies they quickly lost their group cohesiveness when they found out they might actually have to pay some consequences for poking at the wrong person. I told goon and goonette that I would definitely be remembering them and that they’d best not come around this street any more at all. Goon helped the bloody goonette who still had her hands clapped to her face back to their car. I suggested that she should go see a doctor for that and that I'm sure they would be happy to take her samples at the same time. Of course they would have to make an explanation of what had happened but that I just knew that they could prove their official capacity to the local NRSC representative. They just ignored me but I hope they felt the digs I was trying to get in. They weren't big digs, but they were all I could come up with at the time.
The two neighbor guys tried to bluff their way out by way of saying that this had gotten out of hand and that I had over reacted to their overtures of friendliness. I told them once upon a time I might have believed that but given that I knew that at least one of them had been in on the trouble that code enforcement had tried to give us on some of the work we had done to our home I now take everything they say with a grain of salt. Not only that, I suggested that they had better look to their own families' business before they started messing in other people’s. If they didn’t get their kids under control they were going to have to start visiting them in a quarantine facility as I know for a fact that one of them had a juvie criminal record and that all of them had participated in some of the nastier pranks that been going on in the neighborhood over the last couple of years.
I certainly didn’t make things better when I told them that I had recorded the incident that just took place and that I would be turning a copy of it over to several local authorities; and that if anything started happening at our place like theft or vandalism or anything else we would know exactly who to send them to. If these guys weren’t enemies before, they certainly felt like enemies now.
It only took a matter of minutes for this all to go down. It certainly didn't happen like I had expected. Certainly not the physical confrontation. That I hadn't really expected. I'm more mouth than fists.
In hindsight I know I could have handled it different. I could have waited for Scott to come home. I could have ignored them. I could have handled it in any number of different ways. But I didn’t. After what has happened tonight I’m glad I didn’t … but sad at the same time. I hate feeling that I’ve somehow let myself down and sunk below a certain expectation of how I should act. And to have the kids witness it made it worse.
After I got back in, calmed the kids down – especially James who borders on hating the son of one of the neighborhood guys and who I probably shouldn't have handed a gun – and got myself calmed down I only had the energy to think about what I was going to say to Scott and what, if anything, I could do to make things better. I knew Scott was going to roast my tail feathers for putting myself in such a potentially bad situation. And he did, nice and crispy too. But I also now needed to think about revenge. Not me, they aren't worth it and I wasn't really hurt, just shook up. But what could they do to us? First thing I thought about was my garden. I had James help me to move all of my outdoor containers into the pool cage. That wouldn’t be any protection so I’ve been thinking of how we can bring the plants in at night and take them out during the day.
I began adding to my “to do” list while making lunch.
Lunch: I made Basic Fried Rice to which I added canned bean sprouts and a can of mixed Chinese vegetables. Nothing fancy but not bad. I wasn’t particularly hungry but the kids all ate with gusto. Seems that seeing their mom willing to kick some backside and come out the winner somehow made them feel safer. I want them to feel safe but I’m sure there is supposed to be a lesson on the consequences of un-necessary violence in there someplace. I just didn’t know how to verbalize it without sticking my foot in my mouth. Scott yelling at me tonight might have made them think twice, but with James and even Rose coming to my defense several times I’m not totally sure.
After lunch I had Sarah start on a Coconut pudding for tonight’s dessert that was made from canned evaporated milk, coconut extract, and powdered egg whites.
I was still on tenterhooks about what Scott was going to say. I decided to turn on the news to calm my nerves. I’m glad I did, but it did everything but calm my nerves. Los Angeles blew up. I mean it literally blew up. As in bang, bang, kablam, kablooey. No one is sure what happened but between the fires and who knows what all, some serious explosions rocked the entire LA basin from one side to the other. Some people said it was an earthquake, some are saying that with the fires out of control they reached main power stations that caused a backfeed felt across the city and thus had a domino effect of some type. That sounded like spin to me. There were a few whispers that it may have been government intervention to try and take care of an escalating out of control NRS-infected population. All I know is that the military isn’t letting anyone in or out of the area and that they’ve widened the quarantine zone around the city.
Alcatraz Island has become … I don’t even know how to write this. Apparently either an infected worker or child slipped through the checkpoints. All the children … They are saying that it was a blood bath. I’m not thinking about that any more. James is the one who heard it first on his laptop. He has some kind of news agrigator scrolling on his screen at all times these days. I sent the younger three to play at the other end of the house so I could turn the TV on and try and catch what happened. Rose saw the pictures and had to run to the bathroom to puke. I heard James telling her later that “that’s not going to happen to us, Mom and Dad won’t let it, I won’t let it, but you have to pitch in and help … “ I know they send young men off to war, but I never thought about my son that way. I always thought he was too young. But I guess maybe he isn’t. But that still doesn’t change the fact that I’m determined to give them as much of a childhood as I can. And I'm just not thinking any more about that right now.
They added San Francisco and Oakland to the full quarantine zones as well. There has been a huge migration of people trying to head out of the state of California in general but they are running into roadblocks all along the state border. Unless you have relatives in another state that have signed an affidavit that they are willing to take you in and be legally responsible for you forget it. College students are caught on both sides trying to get home to their parents. Air traffic into and out of California is now confined to military only. All other aircraft will be considered dangerous and they will either force them to set down inside the California borders or they will be shot down inside the California borders. The New England quarantine zone also now has this rule.
I expected to see Miami on the list of quarantine zones but apparently not yet. I guess that is a blessing. It also means that maybe vigilante groups are going to be the way to go. James said, “don’t call them vigilantes mom, call them militia men.” I told him until they could prove themselves to not be self-serving thugs I’d call them whatever came to mind. But I did it with a wink so I didn’t hurt his feelings. I don’t want him to start thinking that being a vigilante is anything to be proud of. My little example this morning didn’t help and I’ll probably be paying the price for that little show for some time to come.
Dinner: I was totally out of it mentally when it came time to start dinner and all I could think to make was Chinese Jambalaya. While not truly traditional Chinese cuisine, it certainly mimiced some of the spicier rice dishes in Chinese cooking. I used canned Asian vegetables to replace the fresh ones called for in the original recipe and for the tomatoes I used well-drained canned petite diced tomatoes. This got mixed in with a commercially packaged box of Jambalaya mix, cooked per directions, and “bam” it was finished. And just in time for Scott to get home.
Oh yeah. Did I ever get nailed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Scott this mad. Not only that but both James and I jumped on him and he still managed to drag us down to the neighbor’s house intent on beating the living crap out of the guy for touching me. What we found though was totally unexpected. The guy was in tears. I mean big tears, heaving cries, and a snotty nose ... the whole nine yards. Seems I’d been a little prophetic when I said that his kid was going to find himself locked up if he didn’t change his ways fast. The guy kept shouting until I could finally get him to understand that I hadn’t actually called anyone, that I had just said that to make them leave us alone. Or, at least I hadn’t actually gotten around to calling anyone yet because I wanted to talk it over with Scott first, but I kept that bit to myself. Of course by that time we had a neighborhood full of witnesses. I didn’t know whether to be scared or mortified.
About that time a woman I vaguely recognized from living around the corner stepped out of the crowd and said that a couple of them had called the cops because they saw four “guys” try and attack me. The cops never showed up because the fight broke up and we all walked away, but they did make a report by phone. I didn’t know if that made me feel any better or not. People watching what was happening but not willing to take a stand; but I guess they had called the cops so that was something. I said that couldn’t have resulted in the kid being picked up because he had nothing to do with it. The guy asked me if I was willing to make a statement to that effect. I don’t like the kid, but I didn’t want him to be falsely imprisoned. My son could be next. What a mess. Scott was still blistering, told the guy that if he ever came near us again there would be hell to pay … and when Scott said hell they guy must have been impressed because he stumbled backwards after getting a good look at Scott’s face.
Dinner was very tense but gradually Scott calmed down. I had to promise not to do something like that ever again and yada, yada, yada expose myself to unnecessary danger and blah, blah, blah because he would be very angry and hurt etc., etc., etc. I know I shouldn’t be so flippant about this. If I want Scott to take my feelings seriously I have to take his feelings seriously. But I … argh! … He loves me sooo much, easily as much as I love him. I just can’t stand being wrapped in cotton while he takes all the chances. So, OK, maybe this isn’t a “chance” that I should have taken and I’m beating myself up a little bit over it already. But having Scott upset about it makes it worse. The house already feels like a gilded cage, I don’t need any more imagery in that direction.
I was digging around for a way to broach the subject of garden security when Scott himself brought up. We’re going to clear out his office and start bringing in all my containers every night. It will be a tight squeeze and a load of work twice a day but Scott says some of the tenants have already complained about having stuff stolen. It looks like this will have been something coming with or without the ruckus this morning. That only makes me feel slightly less stupid.
He also brought home a bunch of stuff that we need to unload from the van first thing in the morning. Some of it was from my list and some of it was just stuff he picked up because he could. Guess Sugar Daddy's cash is coming in handy. We had another tenant skip on us but the neighbors had family from Miami show up unexpectedly that are eager to rent the place. The place was empty, if not clean, and the new renters said they would take care of the cleaning for a discount on their security deposit. One less problem.
When I asked him how David worked out today he said that while he doesn’t have as much experience as Carlo did, and doesn’t know how to do as much, he gets what he can do done faster and without a bad attitude. He’ll keep employing him as long as things continue to work as well as they did today. What worried me though was that Scott said David looked like he wasn’t eating regular. Scott split his lunch with him. That isn’t going to cut it. I guess I’ll need to pack more tomorrow, I’m not having Scott go hungry and I know he won't like the kid go hungry no matter if it means sacrificing his own lunch. When I stocked up on food I hadn't expected to have to feed another full-grown male.
I really didn’t want to talk about what had been on the news but for once Scott was in a mood to talk. My mind keeps shying away from thinking about Alcatraz. I just … I’m not going there even in this journal. There are some things that are just too dark.
I made some Chinese Milk Tea to settle my nerves and everyone wanted a bit. Scott’s was more tea than milk and Johnnie’s was all milk with just a splash of tea. Everyone else had theirs somewhere in between. The kids piled around the sofa and read or did something else while Scott and I talked. After Scott was talked out we got down to some snuggling and making up. The kids gave us the “ewwww” look and said they were going to bed.
Scott just finished the last of his account entries and his notes so I’ll stop here so we can double check the locks one more time. I hope tomorrow is a little less “adventuresome.” I’m still a bit jittery.