Today did not start out well. Not at all. The Spousal Equivalent headed out the door at 7:00 a.m., then came back in and up the stairs.
"You're not playing some kind of trick on me, are you?"
"The car's gone."
I'm not sure what my reply was, probably on the order of what the f**k, but grabbed PJs and looked out the window. No shit, it's gone. After a bout of trying to remember the license number (hey, give me a break; I've moved from Oregon to Washington and back again, so the thing's had three license plates), found the insurance information and called the police. Turns out they can bring up the plate number from the VIN number, so that's good. And they sent someone out right away to take a report, which is not always expected in this town.
I've been sick to my stomach all day, as I'm sure she's headed to a chop shop or over the border. I know it's an old car, not worth much according to Kelly Blue book, but the First Husband and I drove that puppy off the showroom floor the day before my birthday in 1992. Honda Accord EX, fully loaded, green, my dream car at the time. Still handles well and is totally straight except for a cracked windshield. It's had some mechanical difficulties in recent years and I've tucked quite a bit of money under the hood, but (until now) I've known exactly where that car's been and who's driven it. For the $3000 or so that they say it's worth now I could only replace it with some piece of shit used car from post-Katrina Louisiana.
This morning at 2:00 a.m. the phone rings. It's the Lane County Sheriff's Dept. They've found the car, it looks driveable, do we want to come get it or have it towed? Having some dim knowledge of the outrageous impound fees that are possible, I say we'll be there in 20 minutes.
There she sits, in the blinding light of the deputy's spotlight. At the intersection of two lonely country roads there's a large section of flat ground with some gravel, at the edge of a field. The cop says it's evidently a popular spot to dump stolen cars. They got a call from a neighbor saying that it had been sitting there for about 24 hours, which means they must have taken it from our house, driven to this spot about ten miles away, and that's it. The windows are all steamed up, I'm almost afraid to look inside. The kid's booster seat is gone, as are some carved wood panels that the SE had made on his CNC machine. The radar detector is still there, along with several softball bats and a glove (removed from their bag and tossed in the trunk, go figure), most of the tapes that were in the glove compartment, all sorts of stuff. Hell, they even left a two-way radio that was THEIRS.
So I just don't get it. While practically giddy with relief at the car's safe return, I'm stumped as to the purpose of this crime. The damned softball glove is worth far more that the booster seat and bloody well more portable as well. Not complaining, mind you, just mystified.
Nothing is harmed except the ignition, which still works but has something stuck in the far end. A coworker of mine who used to be a locksmith says we can probably just hook that out ourselves, and even brought me her lock-picking set. Don't tell anyone.
P.S. The SE just emailed me the following:
"I just ran up to Burger King for lunch and while sitting in line I found some insurance papers. They were folded up and stuffed between the seats. Check this! they weren't ours!!!!! I can't remember the name but the address is off of Prairie Rd, Junction City. (that's where they found the car - N) I think the dude who stole the car was a big f'n IDIOT. He left his name and address at the scene of the crime."