Leona was "boosted" somewhere between Monday night, Nov. 2, and Tuesday morning, Nov. 3. What followed were three days of extreme mental and emotional anguish. And I emphasize the word extreme: extreme sadness, extreme anger, extreme confusion, extreme hurt. It was awful. Everyday I was on the phone for at least four hours, talking with the police, the insurance, my landlords, my parents. After an invigorating session at the gun range on Friday, Nov. 6, I went over to Mel's house to see how the patient was recovering from her bout with the Swine Flu. While there, I received the phone call that I honestly thought would never come. It was an Austin PD detective calling to inform me that they had found my stolen vehicle. I was amazed. I thought for sure the scoundrels who had stolen my truck would have headed for the border, stripped it for parts, or at the very least been a little more inconspicuous so as to not be caught with a stolen vehicle. Anyways. Turns out they (the Austin PD officers) were executing a search warrant on another case at a residential address and found my truck plus two other stolen vehicles. Incredible. I was given information about where they would be towing my truck. When I called the impound lot (a shady and questionable establishment by the name of Southside Wreckers), all they could tell me was that, yes, they had my vehicle, but no, they didn't have any information about its condition.
The very next day, Saturday, Nov. 7, I drove to Southside Wreckers to take a look at my Leona. Again, the place was shay-ay-dee. They led me to the back and after a golf cart ride around the lot-o-impounded-vehicles, we found my truck. She was a sad, sad sight to behold. For reasons unknown the thieves replaced my silver rims with black rims, making her look very evil. They removed my license plates and registration, and all of the identifying decals (BYU alumni license plate cover, Longhorn and plumeria sticker). A couple of scratches, some mud and dirt, but on the outside she was in drivable condition. And then I opened the car door. I was greeted with a strong wave of the smell of cigarette smoke. While holding back tears, I discovered that just about everything I had left in the car had been removed (a GPS unit, actual CDs, a ton of burned CDs, towels). And then I opened the middle console, where I found a pack of cigarettes, accompanied by a lighter. *breathe in, breathe out* I finished taking inventory of the damage, documented with photos, and then made my way back to the front, where Mel was waiting for me in the rental car. And that's when I lost it. For some reason seeing that pack of cigarettes sitting in my car sent me over the edge. After a good cry, I wiped away my tears and Mel and I drove to San Antonio, where we met Ivy and Jeff for a fun night out.
And for the next four and half weeks, I had a constant headache, dealing with the insurance people, then dealing with the Toyota body shop people about repairs. In a word, it was a NIGHTMARE. When I finally, at long last, was able to pick up my truck from the dealership, it had been 5 weeks and 1 day since she was stolen. As I was driving out of the dealership parking lot, I lost it. Again. I drove home, entered my apartment, locked the door and lost it some more. Huge, gut-wrenching sobs.
I understand that there are worse things that can happen to a person, but I have never felt more violated in my entire life. So hurt and so angry that there are actually people out there that steal cars, resulting in not just a stolen vehicle, but also mental, emotional and financial burdens that are necessarily associated with such a crime. (My particular nightmare cost me almost $1000 out-of-pocket, insurance covered the rest.) It was an experience that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (not that I have any enemies!), and one I hope to never have to repeat ever, ever again.
All I can say is that the whole ordeal was a fitting end to what turned out to be an absolutely hellish semester. Most of the (school) stresses and (personal) issues I encountered were from my own doing, but having my truck stolen was the final nail in the proverbial coffin. Plain and simple, I fell apart. Emotionally, mentally, physically. I fell apart and it took a whole lot of soul-searching and re-organizing and re-prioritizing in order to put myself back together. Hence the month-long hiatus from the blog and Facebook. What helped most of all was a glorious almost six week-long break from school, and spending that time at home in Dallas. I love being home. I love having time to decompress and then recharge. Which is exactly what I was able to do during my nice long break.
And now I'm back in Austin, just finished my first day of Spring Semester and feeling oh, so good. I'm optimistic that this will be a great semester and a great year.
*A Texas-sized THANK YOU to family and friends who have helped me so much in recent months: Y'all have kept me from going completely crazy and I am eternally grateful for your love and support!*