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Archive for October 12th, 2018

The Rest of the Story

Those who periodically look at my Amazon wishlist may have wondered why I have a number of power tools on there.  I mean, it should be fairly obvious that they’re for Grace, and that she’s in need of them for the work in bringing the house and other facilities at Sunset up to snuff, not to mention improving them.  But those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while know that Grace and I have lived together since early 1998, and that she did a lot of work building things for me at Avalon, my ranch in Oklahoma.  So you may have wondered why in the world she needs such basic things as a cordless drill, a belt sander and an air-tool kit; I mean, obviously I should’ve bought her all of that years ago, right?  So why didn’t I?  Well, the answer is, I did…and then something happened during the move.  Last August, Diary #374 described it this way:

While I was enjoying the eclipse with Lorelei last Monday, Grace was encountering problems in Oklahoma.  I’d rather not go into the nature of those problems, except to say that they were human-caused, completely unnecessary and painfully expensive.  I don’t mean car-repair expensive, either; I mean cost-of-a-moderate-new-car expensive, and bad enough that poor Grace (who had to deal with it firsthand) was quite depressed all week.  On top of everything else, her departure was delayed from Monday until Friday, and the rest of the moving schedule is now kind of uncertain…It’s a damned good thing I have no more debt, because this move was expensive even before an asshole I won’t name elected to at least triple the cost of it by being entitled, evil scum…

I didn’t want to elaborate at the time because I wanted to leave things open for possible legal action, but since it’s been over a year and it doesn’t look like there’s anything that can be done, I’ve decided it’s time to tell the whole infuriating tale.

When I first bought my land in Oklahoma back in 2002, one of our neighbors was a rancher with quite a bit of land; he is a decent fellow who helped us out more than once, but unfortunately he’s burdened with two ne’er-do-well sons.  When we arrived one of those sons, who was 22 at the time if memory serves, was serving a sentence for methamphetamine distribution; judging by some of the debris we discovered while building our place, he had at some point had a lab there which burned down (the previous owner, whom I had bought the property from, lived in town and rarely visited it).  Naturally, since I’m not a hypocrite, I didn’t judge him for having a criminalized business, and after he was released he got a job in the oilfield out of state and was gone for years.  His brother was a well-known hothead who, during the years we lived in the area, was arrested for assault on numerous occasions, and in fact during the incident I’m about to relate he was preparing to go to prison for several years as part of a plea bargain for several such charges, the most serious of which resulted from his literally ramming another man’s car with his pickup truck because the man had gone on a date with a woman the hothead had dated a few times but was not married or otherwise formally committed to.

Anyhow, a few years ago the rancher (the one with the sons) had expressed an interest in buying part of my property, so that I could use the money to finish my house.  In the autumn of 2016 I started thinking about that again, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had put down roots in Seattle and just couldn’t go back to Oklahoma to stay.  I asked Grace what she thought about the idea of selling the whole property to the neighbor and buying a place in Washington, and without hesitation she answered, “I want to be with you.”  So I called him and asked if he was still interested, and he replied that he would help his son (the former meth dealer) to buy it so he could put cattle on it and thereby make a living without having to rely on jobs (which he apparently had not had a good track record with in the years after prison).  The young man (I reckon about 37 by that point) called me, we agreed on a price pretty quickly, and he agreed to give Grace until October 1st to finish the move.

If things had gone as planned, I wouldn’t be writing this; however, they did not.  The first leg of the move took longer than expected, and the buyer lost his job in the meantime; since the deal had already been completed thanks to a loan from his father, the sale was unaffected.  But as I quickly discovered, he suffers from that species of sociopathy characterized by the conviction that the world owes him a living, and therefore it was somehow my responsibility to complete the move instantly (over six weeks ahead of schedule) so he could move into the house and therefore not have to pay rent at his current place.  I told him that was impossible, and he began badgering both Grace and I; worse still, he started removing things from the property that were not part of the deal and insisting that they were.  Finally, the night before Grace arrived for the second load, some mysterious person supposedly cut the lock off of our gate, drove a truck and trailer up to our shop, smashed the locked door in with sledgehammers and stole most of Grace’s tools…roughly $20,000 worth, which I had bought for her over the whole time we’d been together.  Grace was utterly devastated; building things is for her a profession, a hobby, a means of demonstrating love and her mode of self-expression.  As she said at the time, “I feel like my whole life has been taken away.”  It was obvious who the culprit was; the sheriff told Grace that the new owner of my ranch and two friends of his were suspected of several other very similar robberies over the past few years, but they must’ve had a good fence because nothing could ever be proven and the stolen property could never be found.  Needless to say, the next two trips were very tense; we think he may have even killed a couple of our dogs and I wouldn’t be surprised if the sudden, mysterious death of our llama Colleen might not have been due to some kind of poison he put into her food.  On the very last trip, Chekhov told me he was stalking around with a gun on his hip, obviously an implied threat.

There’s not much left to tell.  The move was finally finished, and I’ve been working on replacing the various tools as Grace needs them.  There were actually a few at Sunset when we bought it, and the thieves had missed some large and expensive things at the back of the shop; one of my gentlemen (who is a talented fabricator himself) very generously replaced nearly all of her hand tools with top-of-the-line sets last Christmas, and Grace found an excellent deal on a new combination welder (MIG, TIG and stick in one unit) at Harbor Freight, which I bought for her earlier this year.  But we still have quite a way to go before most of the lost items are replaced, so I hope y’all will understand if I devote some space on my wishlist to share the generosity of my readers with my dearest and most beloved friend.

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