Hunting the Hummingbird - by David C Hoffman

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Stolen

Yesterday afternoon we learned our storage unit had been broken into.

Our TVs, washer and dryer, lamps, and other electronics are all gone.

The rest of our stuff is trashed.

They punched holes in some boxes to see if anything inside was worth stealing. 
Other boxes they just dumped over.

They stomped muddy boot prints on our practically brand new couch, and on our children's mattresses.

They stood on top of my night stand and smashed it while doing so.

They somehow got our rocking chair wet??? And it's moldy now.

It felt like a punch in the gut.



Yesterday morning we went and picked up a car we'd purchased ( a 2007 Prius...hooray!) and that had felt like a big victory. Not only had we crossed something sizable off our list (sort out one of two cars) but we'd finally managed to jump the hurdles of several hours and phone calls arranging car insurance. 
Apparently, if you have a lapse in coverage, you're difficult to insure again.
Like, crazy difficult. 
To speak to the agents at different companies we (and by "we" I mean "David") spoke with yesterday, you'd think we were the only people on the entire planet to leave the United States for two years and then return and want to drive vehicles legally.
But whatever, we finally got that sorted, and drove away with our new-to-us car. 

The kids and I took Natalie's car to Target to get car seats and a few other things, and David drove out to the storage unit to grab some of our things.

After we got back from Target, I put the kids in front of a movie and tried to take a nice afternoon nap.

When I woke up, David was standing over our bed, and looking at me really seriously. 
"We've been robbed."
I just stared at him, blinking.
Robbed? Where? We don't have a home? Did someone steal our car?
"The storage unit." He replied, reading my questioning stare.
"But HOW?!? It had a lock on it? It was behind a locked gate? The facility has 24 hour guards??" I just could not compute any of this new information.

Turns out we really only know a few things...at some point, likely shortly after we left, someone cut our lock, lifted our door, stole some of our belongings and trashed the majority of the others, then closed the door back down, and put a new lock on the door, so as to not draw attention to the door.
Maybe it was the people who rented the units next to us, when they realized we weren't frequently checking ours.
Maybe it was the previous landlord guy (the current worker has only been there about  a year) before he quit.
Maybe it was random.
I suppose it doesn't really matter.

I'm thankful it's just stuff.
My people are all okay.
Stuff is replaceable.

But it still sucks.

Dave spent a good chunk of time this morning looking through the pictures he took as he loaded up the storage unit to try and be able to decipher what all is missing, and he's out there now sorting through it all and cleaning.

We spent $9 a month for the last 22 months on insurance, and so we have $2000 coverage to replace stolen goods, but that won't begin to cover all that is gone.

It feels especially displacing as we don't have a place of our own to unpack it all anyways. We are VERY lucky to have tons of space at my sister's house, but it's not like we can unload our entire home here.
Two steps forward, one step back, I suppose. 
This just feels like a GIANT step back.



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Paris

We're home!

We arrived last night, and are enjoying settling in at my sister and brother in law's house. 

I'm currently watching my twins overstimulate entertain my adorable baby niece, and feeling the fresh Oregon air breeze in through the open windows...it's a lovely setting to be in as we attempt to re-orient ourselves =).

Two days ago (I think?? Wait, what day is it again? We gained a day somehow/where in there...) I was in an outdoor hot tub in Keflavik, Iceland. 
Now I'm in a living room in Portland.
My life is weird.

Because we were in Iceland in June, and then flew over Antarctica, etc in order to get back to Portland, we had only sunlight for like 36 hours straight. It was trippy.


I've declared it a "pajama only day", and after eating a tasty brunch (that included bacon, because YUM) and drinking a very sizable mug of hot coffee, it feels like a good time to look through some Paris pictures and write a bit about our Europe travels.


I'm gonna warn you in advance;

So many of the pictures you are about to see look like this:


It may seem boring. I get it. But I Dave and I just kept snapping the camera on the streets of Paris. We couldn't help ourselves. I don't know if it was all the green trees or the beautiful buildings or simply trying to capture the order and lack of general chaos. 


Our friends were fantastic tour guides. They really helped us maximize our days there and showed us so much of Paris.
And David was pretty stoked to be with his buddy again...




David and I both noted all the different religions addressed here in this little shop...




















These two girls were fast friends...











I can't remember the name of this area they took us to first, but it was really beautiful.
We were blessed with FANTASTIC weather as well!




The twins each wanted a hat from one of the street vendors...
























Apparently, playing with sticks found along the walking path is an international thing for six/seven year olds...






After a lunch break, we hopped another train to our next destination.



Okay. 
I know this is a total cliche, but I've got zero other ways to say it; the Eiffel Tower is really stunning.
I knew I'd likely be impressed, but something about seeing it person really surprised me and I actually gasped when we rounded the corner and it appeared in view.










Our little cuties feeling pretty proud to be at the Eiffel Tower...










The kids became more entertained by running and sliding around the area...



...so we snuck in a little more PDA time...


We still feel so lucky we were able to see the Eiffel Tower in person like that, and on such a gorgeous day as well!


We finished up our time at the Eiffel Tower, bought a few souvenirs, and then hopped another train for our next adventure.




At some point we popped into a grocery store, and our family marveled at all the pork products...


...and alcohol...



...and green trees!


...seriously, LOOK AT ALL THE TREES! 
(says the woman who spent just shy of two years in the dessert)




Every once in awhile we'd be walking somewhere and turn around to see the Eiffel Tower in view again, and we thought it was cool every. single. time. =)











The Statue of Liberty in Paris...









Next, our friends led us to yet another beautiful park...





This particular park had a splash pad, where kids and dads alike had a blast cooling off and playing...


David holding The Boy upside down in the spray...












After, we enjoyed a picnic in the grass...



And this beauty found a four-leaf-clover!



It was a really great day!