04 November 2011


Several months ago something awful happened here at the cottage. I'm not big on writing about awful because I have so much to be thankful for that I'd much rather devote these pages to that.  Before I go on to tell my story, I want to say that I know there are much, much worse situations going on in the lives of people everywhere.  My life here at the cottage seems idealistic, and in many ways it is. I understand the difference between your home being vandalized and losing a child, or having a loved one fall ill or die.  I realize that some people live in deplorable conditions every single day.  I was a Foster Mom for many years, and I've worked within a system where the visibility and fate of others less fortunate was crystal clear to me.  This post is about something that happened personally to my family and in the context I'm putting it I hope you will realize that for us it was a very bad thing.  But in the big scheme of things, it's just an unfortunate circumstance.  It doesn't even count amongst all the more serious situations out there.  I just wanted to chronicle it and let you know, that even in idyllic situations, bad things happen.  It's the context of what we do with it afterwards that counts.

I usually don't write anything but optimistic posts around here so I hesitated penning this one.  This is where I come to share the good and the beautiful in my life, and hopefully that is why you visit me here.  I promise I will end this post on an up note and with some beautiful photos because, hopefully that's the way I will always end up.  On my feet, with a smile on my face!  I truly believe there is a blessing in everything if you look hard enough and I'm determined through any and all things dark, to see the light.  More importantly is the fact that no bodily injury incurred to anyone at the cottage, and everything that this treacherous person tried to destroy has now been restored.

Someone, maliciously vandalized our home and property last spring.  In our little neighborhood and even in our town, which is small by San Diego standards, at just under a population of 13,000 people, we are very lucky because crimes like this seldom take place here.  Many of our neighbors have lived here for over 20 years and have never seen this happen. The crime was so obviously and maliciously intended to be personal, we have no doubt.  On our front drive here, what you see is some kind of acid which was thrown over the front driveway, walkway up the side of the house, the front gate and the walkway to our front door.

It has taken us months of hard work and as they say, blood, sweat and tears (more than a few tears) to come to grips with the vandalization that occurred to our property last summer.  Besides Creedence Clearwater Revival, I'm not sure whom else uses the term "Blood, Sweat and Tears" but, those words ring true in this instance.

Part of what we've been dealing with is the mundane, such as insurance company policies, robots on the phone instead of real people, coverage or no coverage?  That, as anyone whom has done it knows, is mind numbing in and of itself.  We've addressed the clean up, and back breaking work of the complete reconstruction to the front of our property.  We spent over a year while we were remodeling, living with the noise, mess and distress which typifies construction and, in one fell swoop, having barely had time to enjoy the fruits of our labor, we were plunged back into it again.

Our family has had to address the emotions of vulnerability and betrayal that come with having your personal space and your privacy invaded.  There are fears which surface at a time like this that you have face and come to terms with.  Fear for the personal safety of your family is right at the top of the list.

The substance you see on our front cobbles, is some kind of acid which when you try to soak it up, incinerates the rags.  Literally, burns them up.  It is very scary and disturbing when one thinks of what more might have happened.  Our guardian angels were looking after our personal safety on this sad, dark night.  Only our  property was destroyed which is a blessing unto itself.  To be frank, there is nothing of material value to me, nothing that can't be replaced, except for my family and my peace of mind inside my home.

The intruder not only destroyed the driveway and sidewalk in front of our home, by throwing the destructive substance all over our front gate.  You might remember this post  " Ode To A Cottage Gate" where I explained all the details about how our gate got built and which I recently re-posted.

These were the stains that remained after we did our best to clean up.

The vandal was criminal enough to open the gate and throw the substance down our front walkway, all the way to our front door.  On the way out he tore into my husbands' car, bashing out every window and both mirrors, and denting the sides in as well.  All of this occurred at 10:00 pm when we were all at home.




So we rolled up our sleeves and went in to recognizance mode.  You can't let the bad guys get you down. First we took out all the front cobbles, turned them over and set them back down in sand.  Therefore we didn't even have to buy any new material! 

We then researched our options for replacing the front walkway.  I wasn't fond of the idea of painting over the cement.  I've done it before and usually it becomes a high maintenance project because it doesn't last very long.  A friend of ours suggested an outdoor Brazilian Walnut deck.

The idea of a deck appealed to us.  It flowed right along with the aesthetic of the cottage.  Very simple, easy to maintain and beachy.  Sand just falls through the cracks!  This wood was no more expensive than re doing the concrete and took about the same amount of time.  A bit of back breaking, knee cracking work but hey, worth it in the end.

Ipe is three times stronger than teak.  It's scratch resistant has a knot free surface and a one hundred year life span.  I think that will be plenty long enough for us.

Once it was installed we simply oiled it and even after a soft rain, it looks this beautiful and rich.  I LOVE the look, the feel, even the smell, of wood.

We transplanted some grasses from the side yard which had grown too large for their space there, around the Magnolia tree in the front yard.  When they get over the shock they'll green up and be the perfect addition of height around the deck.
I replanted the acid-burned moss around the front gate cobbles and it's happily thriving and growing back in now.

You may notice on the right pillar we now have a security system.  This was the hardest thing of all for our family to get used to.  We were the family whom in 35 years have never even locked a door!  When we sold our last house and the new owners asked for the keys we just looked at each other with blank expressions on our faces.

We've always had an open door policy.  

It's raining today, just an Irish mist really. I like to think it is God helping me to clean all the way up to the tree tops, as we are in full wedding mode around here, getting all the last minute details ready to celebrate our daughters marriage sacrament next week.  Many family members and friends will be flying in from around the country.  There will be parties before the wedding and parties after, and I am forgoing my beloved flip flops for high heels.  If I don't fall them off them and break something important, I'll be back in the blog world full swing. Thanks for sticking with me my friends, you are so special to me.  I'll share plenty of pictures of all our shenanigans when the celebrations are complete and the happy couple is off on their honeymoon.   

We have been blessed with so many good people in our lives.  The bad guys are certainly out there and can make things miserable for a time but the adversity they create can only get you down if you let it.  Thank God, and I do every day, that my family is safe. Although we now have the inconvenience of having to use a code to get into our own home, don't let that stop you from coming by.  One ring and we'll buzz you in and make you feel just as welcome as before.  The dirty dogs of the world will never win in the end because it's all about attitude.

Blessings to all and remember,

I love ya more than all the bad karma the bad guys will reap, and more than all the love God has sewn back into my heart.



danneromero said...

awful, awful, awful... i work at an elementary school... just this week someone managed to walk into 3 different classrooms and take three different purses... then immediately went on a shopping spree.... i don't get it.. what are people thinking, and what's the point...

the makeover looks awesome... love the wood - i wonder if that'd work in a garage (where we don't park the car, just use the space for various reasons)...

have a great happy feeling wedding celebrations...

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Tia! That's alot of work/reno to do right before a wedding, what with everything else you have to do. I am so sorry for the defilement you suffered at the hands of someone too lame to mention. You have come thru in blazing colours of courage and faith. Good on you (as the Auzies say).

Blondie's Journal said...

Tia...my heart goes out to you. This was really sick...did they ever catch the person{s} that did this? Despite the hard work, your new gate and walkway look beautiful, as well as all of the pretty greenery.

I wish you all the best. You know, in Blogland you can share just about anything. And you have maintained a positive attitude which is inspiring to all of us.

I wish your daughter all the best on her big day!


NanaDiana said...

How horrible! I can't imagine the anger that someone must have felt to wreak this type of havoc. It is unbelievable that there are cowards out there that throw ACID rather than say what they think to your face. I am sooo sorry for you and your family. The pain, the anxiety you feel must be overwhelming at times...and scary...it is just plain scary that there are people around that are capable of something like this. Jealousy is the first thing that comes to my mind.

I love the wood though, and you are right, things are just that-things and can be replaced.

God bless you..and I can't wait to see wedding pictures~ xo Diana

christy zima said...

Oh sweet family!! SOooooo sorry to hear this happened - do not apologize for telling the story! your blog friends are here for you for good and bad and ordinary days! There are some down right nasty nasty person/s who are out there to destroy such sweetness. God bless you all always! ENJOY the wedding and festivities and hopefully the bad memory of this vandalism will fade fast. Love from our home to yours! oxox

Julie Harward said...

That is scary to me...but I have to say, I admire your bravery and the fact that you truly did turn lemons inyo lemonade! You won..way to go. :D

kerrie of sea cottage said...

This is very scary indeed. But the new wood looks even better than the concrete! I can't believe you never had to lock things up! Thats how I grew up but that was over 25 yrs ago. We always have to lock up everything because there are break ins all around us. We've never had security systems...can't afford everything. I'm glad you invested in it...I feel better knowing you are safe. ox

PAPS said...

Some people are really sick and they just dont respect or have feeling for others. It is scary as you never know whether someone did it off hatred or just for a joke. Whatever it is they are really sick. I know the feeling about being secure in your own place. I cherish my home like everyone else and if something like this happens I would be hysterical because I would be so scared for my kids and their lives. But you def. have a great attitude about the thing. Your new deck looks so great. All the best with your daughters wedding.

Christine said...

It's the sense of violation that is hard, and realsing that someone anonymous is soooo envious they will attack and destroy something that has taken years to build and develop. I like what you have done to rectify it.

Heaven's Walk said...

Oh, Tia - I am so glad that at least you and your family were safe that night. Unfortunately, I believe that this is a sign of the times. There are people out there feeling frustrated with their own lives and jealous of others, and this is their way of dealing with it. You created a thing of beauty out an ugly situation. Great job, sweetie! :)

xoxo laurie

Kellie Collis said...

I'm sorry to hear this. What matters most is that no one was hurt in your family. Take care always, Kellie xx

Connie ❀ said...

Hi Tia - That is really a cruel and sick act. I have lived long enough to realize that something like this is done out of jealousy as the Heaven's Walk above stated.
I do believe you came out the winner and the horrible memories will fade in time.
I think today we all have to be extremely careful and feel sad that it has to be this way.
Take care of yourself and you have a great attitude !!

Alexandra Rose said...

This is SO appaling! I cannot believe you were targeted in such a violent (and terrifying) way! There really some nasty, shameless people in this world. I'm so sad to hear you now have to use a code to get into your house after living so many years with an open door policy. But the most important thing, as you said, is that you're all safe, and you managed to right everything. Don't waste your tears on these horrible people, leave karma to do its job. Glad you're all safe and happy. Can't wait to hear about your daughters marriage sacrament!

Connie ❀ said...

Thans, Tia, for stopping by. As a fairly new blogger I keep thinking I am doing something wrong as no one comments. I should be more outgoing, I guess.
It does mean a lot to us, doesn't it ?

Feel free to hit the Folllow button next time you stop by. You have been very thoughtful to do this and I appreciate it.

Brianna Storch said...

It is so unfortunate that your beautiful home was vandalized. I don't understand people sometimes, why they would get a kick out of something like that. I do love the new deck/walkway though, it looks gorgeous!

By the way, I have been looking FOREVER for the types of grasses you have in the photo around the tree. Please tell me you know what it is! Please? I'll bake you a cookie!

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I'm sorry you had to go through all this scary crap. The feeling violated would actually bother me more than my stuff. I am glad you are all okay.

The real ying and the yang in life with this incident and the wonderful wedding huh?

I have to confess.....I actually like the wood better than the pavement/concrete walk way. So something good came out of it don'tcha think?
Seriously gorgeous wood!!

Amy said...

Wow! How awful that someone would do this. I was in shock as I read. And for what??? Senseless.

As usual, you put a positive and faith-driven spin on each and every post. Your attitude is infectious and reminds me to keep mine in check. I think the new wood walkway is beautiful. All my best to you and your family during this special time of your daughter's marriage celebration. Glad to know you all are safe and not letting this ugliness get you down.

Take care!