Bring on the Bling

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker!!

Almost 2 weeks ago, my purse was stolen from under my desk at work. No, it wasn't locked up and I know that's on me. The purse was deep in the corner under my desk, and you couldn't see it unless you actually looked under my desk. My coworkers and I were at a birthday lunch for a few others and myself. We were at lunch for just over an hour, and it was swiped during lunch, oddly enough. To make matters worse, that was the day that I decided to bring all of my important documents to scan so I had digital copies while in Europe. I had my birth certificate, passport, social security card, car registration, tons of birthday gift cards, credit cards, a little bit of cash, my keys, iPad mini, my favorite sunglasses and headphones. Ugh. AND it was my Tinkerbell purse! I seriously hope the person who swiped it really needed it.

I realized my purse was gone when I reached for my iPad, intending to stream the afternoon World Cup game. I thought (hoped?) it was a joke at first, since a few coworkers and I have a reputation for punking each other. When the ugly reality started to settle in, I wouldn't allow myself to panic. I called security and then campus police. They came and filled out a police report, but my immediate concern was that the thief had my car keys and registration...perfect for stealing my car (although looking back, it might have been easier to catch them if they HAD taken my car). The cop went and sat by my car until I could get over to it with security to pop it open...I had a spare in the glove box. 

That night, I got home (having called Kasia and asked her to leave the spare house key under the mat) and made a list of everything I could remember being in my bag, right down to the new pack of gum and purple pens. I quickly canceled my 2 big credit cards that were swiped, paying little attention to my small debit card (my least-used with little money). New cards were on the way and thankfully no unwanted activity was on either card. The thief spent the $70 I apparently had on my debit card at a gas station down the street from the U, and then tried to spend $100 at Whole Foods. At least it’s a healthy thief…? By that time, I had reported the fraud and filed a claim. I worked with the campus police, hoping that they would be able to follow up on the video surveillance from Whole Foods, but never held my breath.

After I got this situation figured out, I drove the city civic building to talk to the passport people. There was so much information on the Internet about getting a rush passport, that I was getting SO CONFUSED! The last thing I read said that I would have to go to Colorado to get my passport. That wasn’t going to happen in this life. When I arrived, the lady at first told me there was nothing she could do but refer me to the website that said Colorado. Up to this point, I HAD NOT CRIED. I didn’t allow myself to, but at this point I started to tear up. I thanked the lady and was about to leave when she told me to wait. She gave me the phone number to a “super secret” passport place that would be able to work with me quickly to get the passport. I called them and figured out what I needed to get together. I had everything, but still needed a certified copy of my birth certificate. Stupid California.

I went online again and found the LA County Clerk office that held the vital records. I called them and was on hold for over 30 minutes. I got step-by-step instructions on how to get a same-day birth certificate. Up til now, I hadn’t talked to my parents yet. I wanted to, but needed to be able to do it in hindsight. I’m an adult and want to be able to handle my affairs on my own. However, I needed to ask dad to get my birth certificate. When I called him, I started bawling like a baby, no joke. Between sobs, I was able to splurt out, “I’m okay.” I told him what had happened and what I was asking him to do. Fortunately, he was able to get the certificate and overnight it to me. Whew! That day, I called my sister and cried to her and asked if I could see the little girlies. I just needed some lovin from my adorable nieces. Fortunately, they were fairly close and we went to lunch. The best part? The oldest asked me in her sweet little 5-year-old voice, “Aunt Shelly, did someone take your purse?” I said yes, and she replied with, “That’s not very nice.” I just giggled because she’s just too much! 

The next few days were crazy. I went to the passport place on Friday to submit for my crazy rush passport. I was told I’d receive it after 3 business days, the following Thursday morning. I was told I’d get a call. Well, that didn’t happen. And I was a wreck. To say the least. I wasn’t telling a lot of people about it: my coworkers knew because it was at work, I told Kasia, my sister, and my parents knew. Soon, people were randomly coming up to me, telling me how horrible of a situation I was in, and asking me what I’m going to do, and the like. I had to constantly remind myself that most of them were coming from a good place in their hearts. Some of them are the type of people who just like to “be in the know.” Anyway, the day I was at the passport place, my coworkers gave me my going-away gift, even though I was coming in to work the following week. They were so generous and helpful, I just burst into tears. I don’t do that normally, so I’m sure it threw some of them off (and made some of them cry too). I was speechless, which never happens. It was such an amazing feeling to know that I am loved and supported at work. And to top it off, a few friends from my ward gave me a little something as well. It was all so overwhelming. I think that any time a horrible thing happens, like REALLY horrible, all of the small acts of kindness that occur immediately after, are magnified so much. 

Fast forward to this last Friday, the day after I was told to expect my passport. I was going crazy, to put it lightly. I couldn’t focus. Nothing had been going right lately with Europe and I just had that sickening feeling in my stomach. Well, apparently there was a problem with the courier, so my passport was still in LA as of Friday afternoon. I freaked out. I spent so much time/money/energy into this study abroad and couldn’t just throw it away because someone didn’t do their job. I got the number for a contact down in LA and talked her through the situation. What ended up happening was this: this “Rachel” (yeah, didn’t know her last name or company name) was going to take the passport to her house over the weekend and text me her address in Beverly Hills. This way, I could go pick it up whenever mom and I arrived in the area. While I hated adding an extra 3 hours to our trip to SoCal, mom was game and we went and FINALLY got my passport. Unfortunately, I have to renew it after only 1 year. The good news? I’m writing this in Prague.

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