And I won’t back down

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So some of you might have heard that last night I was the victim of a home invasion. For those of you who were not aware I am writing about it here because it’s gonna take me the next year to get to everyone telling the story individually.

Last night a man came to our door while I was cooking dinner. I answered and as soon as I did he said “Oh hey, Man it’s so cold outside, can I come in and get warm for just a little while?” As I was about to tell him no he began pushing into our door. This man was around six foot and I’d venture 200 lbs. He immediately pushed his shoes off, said he was going to lay on the “Patch of carpet” on our kitchen floor, and proceeded to lay on my rug. I began assessing the situation while keeping him talking. He began talking about being pelted with fruit, how he walked from Kansas City, Kansas, something about Bill Clinton, and sexual abuse against children. He kept going on about random things, and then unfortunately was able to ascertain that I had a child as my son stirred in the other room. In this he was also able to figure out that no one else was in the house with me because of the layout of my home. I told him that my boyfriend would be home any minute now and that he had just gone out to get ranch dressing as we had run out.

That’s when I saw the knife.

I was trying to get him to leave on his own, hoping that this strange babbling man who was either on meth or mentally unstable would just leave my home so I could call the police. I’ve always been given the training to call the police when you can get safe if possible. Could I have resorted to being violent? Sure but why would I do that. I had him calm, I wanted to keep it that way. I continued talking to him, asking him where he was from, what he did for a living, if he was thirsty, even gave him kool-aid and french fries to keep him from getting upset. I then excused myself to go to the “bathroom” I threw on a sweatshirt and strapped Sasha to my side.

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This is Sasha. She is a Cobra FS .380 and she is my home defense weapon. If you don’t have one please, get one, use it responsibly, and arm yourselves America, you have no idea what kind of insane people will push into your home at 8pm on a Tuesday night. I live in a nice neighborhood too in a fairly expensive house.

He kept calling me McKensie and saying he knew my parents which I told him he did not because my parents weren’t from here. I asked him if there was anyone I could call for him and he told me Jeff, he began to give me numbers but quickly started talking about tissues. I asked him again. My plan was if he didn’t give me a number I was going to tell him that I knew someone and use it as an excuse to call 911. Funny thing is he said to me “Just call 911, they’ll give me a ride home” I don’t think he knew what he was saying but I took the opportunity and did it anyhow. Then the dumbest dispatcher on the planet answered. I will be complaining to the police department about her.

I tell her the following

“I have a man who has found his way in my home, he’s cold, and he’s walked a long way, and he would like to have a ride somewhere, and he would like you to help with that but he’s got a knife.”

“Well I don’t know that we can really help him”

“Uh…I don’t know if you can help him, but again, he’s in my house, and he has a knife…so could you send someone please?”

“I’ll see if we can get a patrol car out to you”

She didn’t send them code so it took around 15 minutes of me trying to keep this guy calm for the police department to show up.

When they finally did they asked if I knew the guy which I told them I did not, they asked if I let him in and at that point I pulled one of the officers to the porch, warned him that I was armed, and told him that the man pushed his way into the house, and that he had a knife. The officer had spotted the knife and was aware, thanked me for not being trigger happy, and for being cool headed about the situation, and proceeded back inside. They questioned him, and asked if he had any other weapons. He kept going to reach into his pocket which caused them to almost draw their weapons. He finally stopped and told them he had more weapons, which included two pocket knives, one regular, and one switch blade. His information came back and he had an outstanding warrant for something they wouldn’t call out over the radio. He was arrested in my kitchen and taken to the car.

Apparently at the car he asked one of the officers if they were going to call the police to which he replied “Who do you think we are?” and he said “Oh no, you are the police!”

The officers couldn’t have been nicer and thanked me, asked me how I stayed so calm to which I explained I used to be a correctional officer. They were so appreciative that I handled it without violence and kept the situation at a calm level instead of escalating it. They took my information and promised to patrol the area. In the meantime I will no longer answer my door after 6pm unless you call or text first, and I’ll likely start wearing my firearm around the house after dark, I have an excuse to order a holster to wear.

Please please, everyone out there learn to properly protect yourself and be level headed in a situation like this, it makes a difference in the lives of many. This could have gone a lot differently and I’m glad I’m here and that he’s in jail instead of something worse. I sincerely hope he cleans up his act and gets whatever help he might need.

 

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There’s Beauty In The Breakdown

side mirror reflects roadway from inside car

I’ve gone through so much this past year, and today marked a day of reflection for me. Perception is key, hindsight is clear. My own ability to give of myself to others in hopes of making a change is lofty. I’ve pushed and pushed and bent and twisted looking for a much wanted return only to find the field I’ve been tending barren.

Today I sat thinking on this and the realization set in. My foot should have been put down long ago. I am worth more, I am meritorious by nature even if I refuse to admit this fact most of the time. I refuse to let people take me to the mat for their gain any longer simply in the hopes that they will step up. I shall instead allow them to step away.

The mirror above depicts just what I see the direction of my life in the coming months to be. Moving on, moving forward, and hopefully, leaving little I wish to look back to in the mirror. I won’t continue to dwell on my mistakes. I won’t punish myself for my misgivings, and I won’t continue my errors. Life is too short, too precious, and too important to bother with small people and small minds.

 

Our new family member and her genie

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This is Zena, our precocious Maine Coon kitten. She joined our family shortly before Christmas from a rescue called DivaPets. Zena is adorable and hilarious, often getting herself into craziness around the house. She’s been quite a joy to have so far.

As most of you know I have lupus as well as other conditions that make my immune system a bad match up for any kind of illness. The common cold can knock me out for weeks, sometimes up to a month. I have to be extra cautious in everything I do when it comes to sickness. I also have good days and bad days. On good days I operate at anywhere between 50-100% of my normal self. On bad days…a lot less than that. As a result, the litter box was something that I just wasn’t a big fan of having to deal with. No one wants to deal with a littler box anyhow but with the few illness you can catch from litter handling (which is why pregnant women who are immune compromised are discouraged from handling it) and the work that goes along with it I wasn’t sure I was up to the task. I really wanted a furbaby to add to our family. Since my boyfriend is gone a lot of the time and I deal with so much stress as well as having to care for my almost two year old on a daily basis with all of these issues, having a companion to cuddle up with at night time and to keep me company when I was feeling upset and lonely felt like a good idea and my boyfriend agreed.

So I did some research. Enter CatGenie. A WASHABLE litterbox. Yeah you read that right. It’s a thing. It’s a litterbox that automatically washes it’s self. Now let me tell you. I looked at the litter maid systems and such. The stuff that goes along with them is expensive and while they have come a long way, they got nothin’ on this thing.

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“HAAAAYYY, This thing is super fancy.”

So how does it work? Well first of all you can hook it up to either a toliet, utility sink, or laundry exit/water system in your home. Our system we chose a toliet. The water that cleans the system shares the same water that fills the tank of our toliet. Then there is a waste hose (which is the tan hose you see in the right side of the picture next to the toliet) that goes under the lip of the toliet lid. Once your kitty does their business the Cat Genie grinds everything up with a special solution turning it to a liquid and pushes it down your toliet. Fresh water is used with the solution to clean and rinse your washable granules, then the system gives it all a nice blow dry with warm air. It smells like rose hips btw and makes our bathroom smell super awesome. You can chose different settings on how the system cleans, you can either push the button yourself, have it automatically clean a certain amount of times a day, as well as some other options. Or my personal favorite.

You can set it to “Cat mode”

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“C-c-c-cat mode??! It’s not gonna hurt me is it…?”

No Zena, I promise lol the litter box will not hurt you! Cat mode activation means that once your cat does what they do in litter boxes…it will activate at a set time. Which can be set to your preference, between 10 and 30 minutes after the sensors  are triggered. Once the time interval has passed the arm comes down and does it’s thing dropping everything into the “hopper” abyss. I never have to deal with dirty litter or mess of any kind. Any liquids fall through holes in the bowl and are dealt with in a similar manner as solids. Now I’m sure you’re thinking that this is all too good to be true and probably insanely too much for a cat. Trust me it’s totally worth it. I wouldn’t trade this thing for the world. Zena loves it and Zane, Alex and I couldn’t be happier with it. The answer is clear to me honestly and without a doubt. If you’ve got a cat you need this in your life. I don’t ever have to scoop or deal with any of the dust from regular litter and it’s so much nicer. The only regret I have so far is not getting a litter mat for it which I’ll be fixing fairly quickly.

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In my experience so far we did have an issue with the CatGenie. I spoke with customer support because our unit was beeping at random for seemingly no reason. After Zane and I tore it apart to make sure it was clean and clear of clogs and that the error light was not to be taken seriously I finally gave them a ring. They told me that the only possible cause was a very rare error. Me, experience a rare error? Who could have seen this coming?! >.< The customer service department was expert and extremely friendly, they asked me questions and had me do some diagnosis on it. She also gave me some advice about adjusting Zena to a new household which was extremely nice of her! She told me to call back if the beeping continued and asked me to keep tabs on which lights came on. I did just that and unfortunately they did continue. When I called back I got to talk to the exact same representative, she took care of everything and sent me out a new processing unit, it was here in days, it seems to be functioning just fine, no beeps to speak of. It came programmed already in cat activation mode even! All I had to do was confirm it! I am so impressed with this company. We got our unit on a deep sale at Christmas time for 180.00. I would say it was WELL worth what we put into it, given that the litter is washable, and you don’t have to replace the granules all the time, the sani-solution lasts 3-4 months, and it keeps us from having to deal with the sanitary issues of a regular litter box? I’m a big fan.

Each one can accommodate up to 3 cats or so I am told and I would recommend it to any cat owner. Zena loves it and has no issues with the cleaning cycle now that she’s used to it. That took about three to four days for her to be completely aloof to the whole thing. Now she could care less about it, some days she finds it interesting but other than that it’s just a thing that happens during the day.

CatGenie Site

There’s where you can pick up the one we bought. We got ours on Amazon but it turns out that does not automatically activate your coverage on the system, and doesn’t give you rewards, nor does it cover shipping, but if you want to get it on Amazon here’s the link for that.

CatGenie on Amazon

 

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Until next time, hug your furbabies! Also buy a CatGenie, and no I’m not being paid or given anything, I just love this product that much, honestly!

Flash the stars across the sky, for the new year comes.

The fireworks explode as the Waterford crystal ball is raised at the beginning of Times Square New Year's celebration, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“Tomorrow brings the first blank page of a 365 page book, write a good one”

2015 is about to hit it’s expiration date.

Tonight we welcome 2016. Personally I will welcome it with an open mind and open heart.

2015 brought a world of changes, new hope, upheaval, turmoil and pain, but also glorious happiness I never knew I could feel.  2015 marked Alexandr’s first new year on this earth. The first half of the year brought on a lot of thinking and inner conflict in me. I made a lot of changes as a result and while they were difficult ones to make, man has my life taken such a turn.

To borrow from the best person in my life, and the one who keeps me going. There are always speed bumps on the road, and you’ll get through them. You just have to take them as they come. I’ve had plenty of those. This year brought the onset of illnesses and chronic pain. Frustration with those around me and pain from some I cared a lot about. It also brought new love, joy, and care I’ve never known. It brought realization about myself. I learned how much of me I wasn’t listening to, how little I was valuing myself, and how much that was hurting me.

In the coming year I will make no “resolutions” instead I will make a pact with myself. To love myself and those around me with no reservations, no restrictions, and as much as possible. To drink in every kiss, hug, and smile that I get from my son, and my boyfriend, and to relish in every beautiful moment I get to have with them, even the frustrating times. I’m going to make a pact with myself to slow down more, sing louder, dance more often, be sillier. I’m going to laugh, god dammit I’ll laugh as much as I want to. I only get one life, I don’t know how long I’ll have mine. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, I overstayed in situations for way longer than I should have, I lost myself. Today I can honestly say I know who I am, I am Shari and I am the Shari that I was as a little girl, a teenager even as much as I hid it from some, and the one that got muddled along the way from that point forward. I’m a much better, happier, and more centered version of that girl though. I will try never to lose myself again.

To a few of those important to me in particular:

Alexandr, though you are not yet old enough to read any of this. I want you to know that I love you. You are very much testing my patience the last few days, but you are about to be two my son, and as I watch you play with your Tonka Semi Truck with the biggest smile on your face I can’t help but melt. I know you will not be this way forever child and will do my best to remind myself of this in the time to come.

Zane, my wonderful sweet Zane. You are my rock dear and my best friend. What can I say to you other than thank you? Thank you for making my world what it is. I know my baggage is heavy but you make it lighter than air. Thank you for all the two in the mornings. For all the times you let me call you and wake you up, not batting an eye, and being there with an open ear and heart to listen. For holding a mirror up to me and showing me just how wonderful I really am, and showing me what your love could do to me. Most of all, thank you for hanging in there through that tough time this year, and still being around on the other side when I knew what was in my own heart and mind. This year I will do my best to continue being as good a girlfriend as I possibly can, and to do even better going forward.

Crystal, my awesome sister. We haven’t always seen eye to eye, and sometimes we’ve seen back to back. We have both worked for years to improve our relationship with each other and it’s done a world of good for us both. Without your kind words, support, and help over the last few years I shudder to think where I would be. You and I don’t have much overall as far as family is concerned but three girls always tried to stick together somewhat. You and I have become very close, and I can at least say that our relationship is strong. I will do my best this year to work even harder to spend more time face to face with you, over coffee and wine, with more hugs, tears, smiles, and possible pants peeing.

So welcome 2016. I am ready for you and all you bring. I have a feeling you’ll be one of the most amazing years of my life.

Shari

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