When we moved out of the house in Belfair, we left a few things in the carport(which is located behind the house, at the end of a 80 foot driveway. The plan was we would have to go back for closing, and depending on the length of the time to sell, a few other times also, so there would be time to get the things left behind, without crowding my storage unit with large, dirty, smelly outside type items. Also left outside in our back yard was a plastic play-scape...ladder, small rock wall, and a slide...the footprint of this item is about 8' X 12'.
So, yesterday we had an appointment made to get out septic tank pumped, required prior to closing on sale of the house. They said that they could do it without anyone there, but by scheduling it for Friday, it gave my wife an excuse to drive make to Belfair and visit with friends, and spend a day or two of the weekend visiting my mom with the girls. The only real loser here was me, who would come home to NO hugs and kisses after work Thursday and Friday.
About 11:30 on Friday, I get a call from my wife, and she tells me that she had noticed something was different, and after thinking about it for a minute, she had realized that the play-scape was missing from the yard. We discussed things for a minute, and I asked if she had had a chance to go down to the carport and look at things. She did so while talking to me, and said it looked like several things were missing, including my lawn-mower, a couple of tools(shovels and pitchforks) and that my generator was no where to be seen.
When she had told me about the play-scape, my reaction had almost been to tell her I was at work and didn't have time to worry about a missing play-scape. The fact was, she had advertised it as being free to friends on facebook, and on several other online forums she visited. There had been no one who really expressed interest, but that didn't mean one of them might have had a change of heart. Telling me about the lawn-mower and generator caught my attention.
The lawn-mower was fairly new. Due to the relatively small size of the grassed area of my yard, I had bought a Kenmore Electric Mower...plug in and everything, because I care about the environment(and it was on sale, making it cheaper than any of the gas models). I had planned on taking it with me eventually, but was one of the things I didn't want to have to put in storage for 6 months if I could help it. The generator was a 3500W Chinese knock-off, the kind you see on sale at auto-parts stores for about $300. Loud as hell, but it had proven itself will to run through everything, and when used at hunting camp was big enough to power several trailers without needing to coordinate using the microwave and the coffee pot.
Now enters the time for self-recrimination. I took no special action to protect my investments. No etching of names on them, I didn't chain them to the foundation...I figured that having them located in my carport, up and 80 foot driveway, was protection enough. I would never go up the driveway of a house for sale and help myself to stuff left in the carport.
A few minutes later, my wife called back. She had located the play-scape in the backyard of the house across the street. Upon closer inspection, she thought she saw our lawn-mower too.
I am not the type to try to make judgments based on stereotypes, but it didn't surprise me from the neighbors. They are renters, and depending on how many friends they have crashing at the time, there are usually between 5 and 8 of them living in a 900SF house. But...the main lady is a single mom, and it seemed like she was TRYING. She worked, and had a daughter about the age of my oldest. This lady came over about every two weeks to either borrow a roll of toilet paper from us, or to use our phone because hers was dead. We never once told her no, and she repays us by taking the (offered as free) play-scape, and my (most certainly not free) lawn-mower. My wife said she couldn't see the generator, but I'm sure that's the kind of thing you lock up inside a garage, shed or carport.
As she was looking around, the neighbor lady came out and told my wife she had heard from another neighbor that the the play-scape was free. Fine. Don't care. She also said a few days ago, our lawn-mower had 'ended up on the curb in front of the house' and she thought we were getting rid of it.
My wife is from Connecticut, and when she gets upset, she has a very convincing aura of 'New England Bitch' about her. Rather than raging mad, she gets icy cold and uber-polite. She explained to the woman that she was welcome to keep the play-scape, but out shovels, rakes and lawn-mowers were to be back across the street in less than 24-hours. She did not mention the generator, because I had to check on something else first.
I had offered the generator for sale to a friend of mine, rather than moving it across the state just to store it for a few months. He had not told me he had picked it up yet, but, since that potential was out there, I didn't want my wife casting accusations about. When I got a chance to talk to my friend later in the day, he said he had swung by the house 3 days after the movers packed us up, and the generator was already gone. He didn't mention it too me, because he figured I had just changed my mind and packed it up.
3 Days. I know the world is rough, and the economy is bad, and people are stealing brass plaques off of grave stones....but really, 3 days!?!?!?!?! How long where they casing out what I had in my carport!?!?!? I'm just surprised they didn't back up a truck and take the chest freezer that is still plugged in and running in the carport.
Meanwhile...lacking a receipt anymore from the generator, and reading everyday about overworked, understaffed police agencies, I am not sure I have much of a chance of legal justice. Talking things over with my wife last night, I think we are just going to let karma do work he sweet justice.
If that doesn't work, we can always dust off and nuke the site from orbit...it's the only way to be sure.