Monday, April 4, 2016

That One Night...

On April 9th it will be one year ago that I learned that; I am a fighter, a screamer, I can say no, I have some compassion, and I can survive.  I have many emotions thinking about this day and I probably will never stop but I don’t live in fear.  I will also keep my humor at every turn which makes for a good story.  I want to re-tell the story, my way, with all my humor and bad grammar.  I feel like I have worked through this trauma with a fantastic counselor and did it in a healthy way.  So I am not in denial of what really happened.  But this is my story, and I can tell it how I want.  Enjoy!

It was a dark and stormy night.  It wasn’t but I think that intro is fantastic.  It was a Thursday, Jay was out of town and my mom was home with my boys (she lives with us in case you didn’t already know that).  There was a get together with some moms who have upcoming 6th graders.  We were talking all about what school will be like, what to expect, how to cope and so forth.   At around 9:30pm, my friend, Kelly and I were driving home talking about how people seem to think that Franklin is void of crime and perhaps paved in gold. Which is ironic given what I am about to tell you.  When I pulled up to Kelly’s house, I noticed that her neighbors were in the process of moving out and then a few minutes later while we were talking, I noticed that a car was parked by my driveway in front of my neighbor’s house.  (figure A)


After dropping Kelly off, I drove to my house and passed by the car not thinking much about it and proceeded to pull into my garage.  I normally shut the garage door as I am entering the house but for some reason I closed it from my car.  As I grabbed my phone, exited my car and started toward the house, the garage door started to come back up as if something got in the way.  I was perplexed.  As I walked out, I noticed that somebody ducked down behind our garbage can.  I thought somebody was trying to be funny.  That was when I noticed a guy come towards me with fabric wrapped around his nose and mouth and had a gun pointed to my face.  And then the other guy behind that garbage can came towards me with a gun pointed at me as well.

I am somebody who enjoys a fake plan for every scenario.  I have to say that I had a carjacking scenario all planned out in my head.  What I would do or say but I did not have a scenario that included two masked guys at my house, pointing a gun to my head.  I guess I should have but, alas, I did not.  It’s amazing to me how many thoughts can run through your brain in a split second; Is this really happening to me?  Are you kidding me?  Can I prophesy to them?  Can I make them go away?  What the hell are they doing at my house?  Is this for real?  Is this a dream?  

Guy on the right will be played by Glob and guy on the left will be played by Blob.

Glob: Gimme your money!
Me: No!  Please leave.

I actually had cash in my car.  I never had cash so I was feeling a little protective over that.  Glob points gun at my head and I slap it down thinking, hmmmm probably shouldn’t have done that.  But seriously, I HATE things in my face.

Glob: Who’s in the house?
Me: My mom and my kids.
Glob: You are going to take us inside the house.
Me: No, I’m not.  Please just leave.

I noticed that Glob and Blob were very jittery.  I am not sure if my “No!” responses caused this or that they were newbies.  Either way, this wasn’t fun.  All this time my phone was in my left hand and I kept trying to unlock it to dial 9-1-1, although now I know there is an emergency button on the lock screen so you don’t have to unlock it before you dial 9-1-1.   

Both of them moved towards me with their guns pointed and grabbed my left hand.  I thought they were going for my phone which made me mad, because I had JUST restored the stupid thing and it was a pain and I didn’t want to get a new phone and have to do it again.  I quickly pulled my hand back and they grabbed it again.  But not to look at the phone, but my ring.  Again I pulled my hand back.  They grabbed my right hand where I have a thumb ring.  I searched high and low for this thumb ring and finally found one that would fit my thumb.  So I was not so eager to give this beauty up.

Glob: Gimme your ring.
Me pulling my hand away:  No!  It’s a $10 ring from Etsy is this what you want??  Please just leave.  Just walk away and leave.

Glob points gun at my head and I, again, slap it down.
Glob:  Close your garage door.

I was getting pretty ticked off at this point.  Emotions are a tricksy bitty. 
Very sarcastically, I said: And where would you like me to do that?  From my car or by the back door?

Blob:  Just shoot her!!

At this time Glob, tried to pull back on the gun to cock it and the clip fell out.  If this situation wasn’t so nuts, I would have laughed out loud.  I have been around guns my whole childhood so seeing one wasn't a big shock.  And I have shot a few too so I know when a clip falls out, that the holder of the gun doesn't quite know what he's doing.  Which isn't a good thing. He proceeded towards me with the gun pointed at me.  He backed me in between my car and my mom’s car and gently pushed me so that I was facing my car.  See picture below.


At this moment, was when I finally asked myself, “Is this how I am going to die?”

Glob pushed my left hand up to the car and studied my wedding ring again.  I could feel the gun pressed into my back, and I would say a little hard because it was starting to hurt.

He then proceeded to grab my ring from my finger.  I LOVE my ring but it’s not a huge diamond that blinds people so I am not sure what they were thinking.  And you would literally have to pry my ring off my dead fingers because this ring is not going anywhere.  I curled my hand into a ball, tucked it into my stomach and bent over all the while he was trying to get it off.   Since I thought I was already going to die, I thought well now is the time to scream.  And that I did.  Somehow I managed to fall to the ground, and that persistent Glob, just kept trying to grab that ring and now jabbed the gun into my belly. 

Unbeknownst to me, a neighbor, Mike, was out walking his dog and heard screaming.  He noticed their car parked in the street and thought perhaps something was going on in the car.  As he walked towards it he saw Blob come out of my garage with a mini dirt bike and pointed the gun at him.  Mike put his hands in the air and backed away, went home and called 9-1-1.

So I am still wrestling with Glob, screaming out for Jesus to save me, when I think…Balls!!  Hit him in the balls?  So I reached out to what I thought was his jewels and tried to grab.  As I was grabbing and screaming, several things came to mind; I don’t want to hurt him (more on that later) and sooooooooo grosssssssss!!!  I released said balls.

It would seem that my screaming was annoying him so he put his hand over my mouth and I shook that away so what’s the next best thing?  Put his hand in my mouth.  Perfect, I can bite him!  So I tried to bite and then thought I don’t want blood in my mouth, so I stopped the biting. 

That’s when I heard our recycling bottles make a noise and heard my mom yell my name.  I can’t imagine what she thought when she innocently opened the door to see why I wasn’t coming in.  She told me that when she saw the horror on my face, she knew something wasn’t right.  Everything happened so quickly.  I got up and ran towards the door and kept yelling at my mom to call the cops.  I don’t know where Glob went.  All I know is that I wanted my mom and I inside the house and away from these guys. 

As I went inside the house, I completely collapsed while my mom called 9-1-1.  Asher must have heard the commotion because he came downstairs and sat next to me.  He rubbed my arm and kept saying that everything was going to be okay and that God was here with me.  Seriously, don’t I have an amazing kid??

The cops must have been on their way when my neighbor called them because they arrived pretty quick.  Everything was such a whirlwind.  Police officers coming in and asking questions, my neighbor trying to find out what the heck was going on. 

My mom had called Jay and Jay called some good friends that came over immediately.  The officers were asking if anything was stolen so we looked around the garage and counted the bikes, Jay’s dirt bike and motorcycle were there.  And then finally figured out it was Asher’s little dirt bike, that had a flat tire and was too small for Asher.  With all of Jay’s tools they could have grabbed…they stole an old, small dirt bike.  Enjoy that one boys!

I’ll let Jay fill in his side of the story……
I had just landed in Houston and it was after 9pm. I got my rental car and was headed on the interstate over to my hotel near Houston Independent school district. I was thinking how tired I was but I should probably eat dinner or something. While driving I got a call from Judy which I thought was strange that she would be calling me. But Susie was out with her friends so I thought maybe something was wrong with the boys. She didn't say hello or anything but just said Susie had been beaten up by two men with guns. I couldn't make out what she was saying and asked her what happened. She said two men attacked her in the garage trying to rob her. 

My heart stopped. I honestly don't remember what happened next. I think I talked to Susie but she was sobbing. But I don't remember. The next thing I remember is I needed to get home. I couldn't breathe. I didn't know what to do next as my mind was racing and I was driving on the intestate. I knew getting a flight out would be tough so I pulled off the road and started trying to make phone calls and figure out what airport to go back to in order to get out. All I knew is I needed to be at home. 

I drove at over 100 to Bush International and pulled up only to find the airport closed. No flights. I couldn't leave. I called back and I think I talked to Judy and Susie. I don't remember. I knew she was alive and wasn't hurt too bad though. But she was hurting and it killed me I couldn't get home. I got the first flight out the next morning and went to the hotel near the airport. I didn't sleep much. I think I got two hours of sleep knowing it would be a rough day. And I'd need to be strong for Susie.

I talked to Susie but I honestly don't remember that night except for staring at that hotel bed so mad I wasn't at home. Helpless. I felt helpless and like I'd let her down. I was so mad so angry at those kids that they took advantage of my wife. She had told me more about it by that point so I knew she had held here own. I had updated Facebook for our neighborhood as it was a buzz at this point. Unreal. 

I do remember calling our good friend to be at the house and watch over it so Susie could sleep while I was gone.

Life is so crazy and so many crazy things can happen.  And lucky me, I am apart of one such crazy event.  I still can’t believe this happened.  It seems like a dream or some movie I watched.  And I was very surprised how I responded.  I knew I had some fight in me but I would never have thought that I would fight back with my words whilst a gun was    pointed at me.  I also never knew I could actually have compassion for people that I don’t know and who want to cause me harm.  I don’t know why I didn’t fight back more, or why I didn’t try to hurt them.  I am extremely happy that I have compassion and didn’t go all violent.  Who knows if that would have made the situation worse? 

A lot of people have asked me why I didn’t just give them what they want?  Where would it have stopped?  I give them cash, then they want something else, and then they want to come inside the house.  So no, I am glad I did not give in.  It’s my money (and Jay’s) not somebody who thinks they have a right to it because they feel more powerful with a gun.  I have a job, so It’s my money, my car, my things and I am not parting with it.

It definitely took some time to work through all the emotions but things are going well.  And there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about what happened; most of the time, I think….oh wow, I was robbed by gunpoint, how strange.  And some days, I’ll think to myself how happy that I didn’t think about the robbery all day and then bam, I just did. 

I am amazed looking back and seeing that God protected me, the boys and my mom.  This situation could have ended up badly and lives could have easily been lost.  No, I do not think that this was God's will or any of that religious poop.  I think there are people who make bad choices which happens to bleed into every day life.  I am thankful for His protection.
I don’t wish anything but better opportunities for these boys.  I felt this way right after it happened and I still feel the same.  I am saddened that they felt like robbing people was an okay option in life.  And I wish they would get caught so I could prophesy the Jesus right in them.  

I am thankful, blessed and full of umph.  Watch out!