Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Tale in Seven Parts

Last week was one of busiest weeks in recent memory. Some events I could never have predicted.

©2011 Cristina Kollet
Monday my cat was diagnosed with Lymphoma. This was actually the better of possible diagnoses, as Lymphoma in cats can be treated with chemotherapy and there is hope that she may go into remission. (Fingers crossed.)

One of the things we need to watch her for is dehydration, which was a problem last week. To treat it, the vet taught me how to give her subcutaneous fluids and I performed that procedure at home Monday with Paul’s help.  It takes both of us and there was a false start, but we were ultimately successful.

©2011 Cristina Kollet

On Tuesday, I was the target of an under cover sting operation by police.

Yes, you read that right.

You see, a couple of weeks earlier, I had performed a wedding. It was an evening ceremony; things ran late and were a bit chaotic. Amidst all the activity, I had failed to remove my fee, which the couple had tucked into the envelope with their marriage license. NJ marriage licenses are square forms, roughly 7x7. They can’t be folded because of several layers of carbons and so they come in deep square envelopes—easy to lose a folded bill or check in. 

Those envelopes also have the added inconvenience of requiring extra postage because they are square. I generally take them to the post office to be mailed—not trusting myself to remember how much postage a 7x7 envelop requires in any given week. On this occasion, I was running a little late in my mailing, so I sealed the 7X7 marriage license in its envelop and then put that in an express mail envelope to assure next day delivery.  I had performed my usuall check to make sure that all the required forms were completed and inserted but it didn’t occur to me to check the envelop for extra things—i.e., my fee—before finally inserting my business card (in case the clerk could not read my handwriting) and sending it off.

The next day, I was getting ready to run to the store and realized my wedding money was nowhere to be found. I flashed on the wedding night, seeing the bill folded in the bottom of the envelope and realized what I had done.

Now, even worse than the humiliation of how stupid it is to essentially throw untraceable cash out the window when one has lost her 9-5 job, was the horrible realization that my faux pas could be misconstrued when the clerk found the money in with the license.

Swallowing my pride, I called the clerk’s office immediately. I gave my name, number, the exact amount that had been accidentally mailed to them. I explained the circumstance, said it would arrive in an express mail envelope—I even gave the names on the license. There could be no mistaking it.—Except that the person who took my message, and (for reasons I didn’t quite understand) said that it would be passed to the mail room, did not also think to pass the message on to the Clerk.

©2011 Cristina Kollet
Fast forward to last Tuesday. By that point, enough time had passed that I had written off my money as lost.  I was running errands and had decided to treat myself to some comfort food. I was on my way to Rutt’s Hutt—a Jersey landmark of sorts and a place reminiscent for me of less complicated times—when my phone rang.

The caller said he was from the clerk’s office and that he had my envelope. At first, I had no idea what he was talking about, but then it hit me. I asked, “was this the envelop with the money in it?”

He answered, “yes, what would you like me to do?”

Now, at this point, I found myself trying to tone down the level of sarcasm that wanted so badly to leak out as I said, “Um, put it in an envelope and mail it back to me?” I mean really—I had called, explained the situation, and given explicit instructions weeks earlier. On top of that, now I’m starting to wonder why it’s taken this long to process my couple’s license.

Well my answer seemed to catch the caller off guard. He fumbled for my address—clearly written, I thought, on the marriage license with which he found my money.  I confirmed the address, apologized for the trouble, explained--again—the stupidity that had led to the situation, and that was that.

I called Paul to let him know that the money was being returned and headed in for my deep fried hotdogs and side of sour kraut. (It has to be on the side. The folks at Rutts, won’t sully a dog themselves by putting anything in contact with it other than a bun.)

©2011 Cristina Kollet

Thirty minutes of deep-fried happiness later, I was back sitting in the car—trying to get a shot of the Rutt’s Hutt sign so I could blog about my meal—when the phone rang again.

This time, the caller identified himself as a police officer. My first thought—someone had broken in to my house. But instead of confirming my fears, he laid a new one on me. “That guy you spoke to earlier was not from the clerk’s office.”

Now, I was completely confused. Did the marriage license get mis-delivered? Who was it that now had my money and address and the license? And how did the police find out about it so quickly?

The officer continued on to tell me that the first caller, the not-a-clerk, was actually an undercover detective. He had been calling me to determine if the money I had sent was intended as some kind of bribe. 

I thought, seriously? A bribe?! With no instructions and not directed to anyone specifically.

Anyway I explained—AGAIN—how it happened, how I had called to report my mistake, how foolish I felt—and I added apologies that now not one, but two officers of the law had had to waste time on the matter.

After the call, I called Paul to laugh it off and then waited for “not-a-clerk” now identified as Detective D. to call me back. When he did, I apologized for the trouble again. And made arrangements to pick up the money.

Wednesday I picked up the money. This involved many prayers that the Mighty Jeepster, which as of late had been suffering from slow drain issues with its battery, would start both for the journey down and for the journey back. Thankfully it did.

I went to the station, was escorted into its back offices by Detective D. There I signed a form that identified my money as “the evidence” and after my money was removed from an actual evidence bag and returned, I headed back home.

At that point, I confess, the stress of the week got to me. I curled up in a ball on the couch, pulled a blanket over my head and did not come out for several hours.  Some days require a power nap.

Thursday is my teaching night. I look forward to it every week, no matter what else is going on. Listening to my students share their ideas recharges my Life-Cycle Celebrant® batteries.  This week was no different.

©2011 Cristina Kollet
Friday we took Frankie for her first Chemo treatment. We dropped her off in the morning and waited several long hours for word that we could pick her up. She did great. She came home a little stoned, but actually more energetic than we expected.  The vet said she might seem a little off over the weekend, but really I think she’s feeling better. I’m allowing myself to feel optimistic.

Saturday was fun.  I went to meet a client at Sayen House and Gardens in Hamilton, NJ.  We were there to hash out the details of the upcoming baby blessing ceremony for her daughter.
©2011 Cristina Kollet

The park is beautiful. I was encouraged to see that Spring had begun to take more than a foothold. After, I went back to my car and found myself in the middle of the staging ground for the local St. Patrick’s Day parade.

I stuck around and took over 600 pictures before it was over, alternating between two cameras as my batteries ran out and then switching to my phone for about 200 more pictures. I love being able to shoot as many pictures as I like.

This is one of the best shots. It’s the National Guard 63rd Army Band and the Aqua String Band. I love the juxtaposition of their uniforms.

©2011 Cristina Kollet

String bands are new to me. They are walking riots of color and the parade had what seemed to be close to a dozen of them.

After the parade was done, I headed home feeling recharged. I realized that it had been quite some time since I had gotten out into the sun and walked around and also a long time since I had some time out by myself. The recharge was well needed because my week wasn’t over yet.

Sunday started at 6:20 AM with a phone call.  He said he had a medical emergency. He and his fiancée needed to get married right away. I was on my feet immediately. By 7:30 I had written a ceremony for them. By 8:30, Paul and I were on out way to their apartment, and by 9:30, they were married.

I call Celebrancy my super power, on Sunday, it really felt like one.

After the wedding, I dropped Paul off and went to my last pottery class of this session. I glazed my last six pieces including two huge mugs for Paul and I. I can’t wait to see how they come out. 
©2011 Cristina Kollet

After class, I headed home to Paul, the cats, my bed, and a long nap. We finished the weekend at midnight, in a diner, having breakfast. The drama of the week was over and hopes for a calmer week lay ahead.

Life goes on.

1 comment:

  1. What a great story, Cris! And thanks for including photos of Rutt's and the hot dogs. I hope your cat continues to do well.



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