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Monthly Archives: April, 2015

Things that make you proud

Normally, not a lot of things make me cry… well, maybe lately, because of the unreal stress of having thieves steal my house, but generally no. But this week has been different and emotional.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, you’ve heard of the riots in Baltimore this week that resulted in attacks on police and destruction of property, as well as school cancellations. The violence is personal for me, because I lived in Baltimore for several years. I graduated from the Johns Hopkins University. I had a house there. I worked there. I have friends there. For several years, it was my city too, and to watch it turn to chaos was jarring.

But among all the negatives – the looting, the burning, the pillaging and destruction, there were some rays of sunshine.

Baltimore residents cleaning up the CVS that was damaged and looted.

cvs

The Baltimore mom who yanked her errant offspring from the streets around after she saw him among the rioting crowds. Kudos to her, despite the douchey, hanky-wringing, and pants soiling by the “everything is racism” crowd about people applauding the “beating of a black child.” It’s called parents taking responsibility for their children, you idiots. Learn from her!

The folks who helped and supported the police as they worked to control the unrest.

police

All of this fills me with SO much hope!

While this story fills me with tears of joy, because I’m a veteran… because I’m a woman… because…

A patio chair smashed the sandwich shop window.

Glass fell around Midshipman Brad Kadlubowski, seated before a window, at the Subway shop in Baltimore.

Inside, a father steered his wife and two children to the back of the shop on Saturday. His son has asthma; the father worried about tear gas.

Another chair smashed another window.

Everyone to the back, the midshipmen instructed.

There’s this commercial for the Navy on TV nowadays that I see sometimes. It features a bunch of Navy folks in all types of different jobs standing in defense of civilians. It’s beautifully done, and it’s a brilliant campaign. These Midshipmen embody everything in that great ad. They embody everything a character in “A Few Good Men” said about the Marines in that particular case, but it really applies to all of our military. “Because they stand on a wall and say, ‘Nothing’s going to hurt you tonight, not on my watch.‘”

Beautifully said, and beautifully expressed. My special feelings of warmth go to Midshipman Madisen Grinnell. When caught in the protests, these Midshipmen directed families and  to the back of the Subway shop, with women and children furthest back for safety. But not Midshipman Grinnell. “You’re in the military and a midshipmen — you should be in the front,” she insisted.

In the midst of all the drama and tears, Midshipman Grinnell, her male friends, and the folks in Baltimore who stood shoulder to shoulder united for peace, have been bright spots in an otherwise horrid week.

Hope in humanity a bit more restored than it was a few days ago.

Thank you.

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On Theft

When I had my text exchange with Pamela Cooper regarding her and her child rapist husband’s insistence on staying in my house after the lease was terminated, she accused me of being “emotional and delusional,” because I told her I now considered them thieves. “I never lied to you nor have I stolen anything from you. You are very emotional and delusional,” she claimed.

Let’s examine these claims for a moment.

The dictionary definition of “theft” is: the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny.

The primary dictionary definition of “steal” is: to take (the property of another or others) without permission or right,especially secretly or by force.

David and Pamela Cooper’s lease was terminated legally in February. They were given two months to find another place to live.

There is nothing odd about this. Homeowners terminate leases regularly and legally, and they were given plenty of time to find another place to live and leave my property. They did not.

David and Pamela Cooper knew this. When Pamela Cooper called me on March 23rd and begged me for an additional week to vacate, she promised she and her family would be out of my house by April 5. She swore that David Cooper was interviewing for a job in Arizona, and she just needed a few more days to pack due to his absence. She claimed she would move in with their grown daughter and put the rest of their belongings in storage. All of this was a lie.

The Coopers cannot claim ignorance. They knew they had to vacate. They knew what the date was. Their message to my property manager a few days after unsuccessful attempts to get in touch with them supports this assertion. “I understand that your notice gave us until today to be out of the property…”

So, David and Pamela Cooper knew they needed to vacate. They knew the property was not theirs. They knew enough to beg and plead for a few extra days to move. They fully understood what they were doing, even though they claimed it was merely an “inconvenience” and not a catastrophic hit against the finances of the person who owns this property.

But they did not move. As a matter of fact, in the two months they had to pack, they barely did any packing. This can be confirmed by any agent who showed the house during this time.

And even though they claimed to have been packing and making plans to move their stuff into storage, “We are in process of renting a storage unit for a worst case scenario, we will try to be out as soon as possible as we are able,” they not only have done very little to do so, but have basically told us “we will be out when we’re good and ready.”

This is not their house. This is not their property. The homeowner has told them in no uncertain terms that she wants them to vacate and has given them two months to do so. But the Coopers don’t care about who owns the house in which they are currently living without paying, because their perceived NEEDS trump my RIGHTS in their eyes.

I do apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused, but with a family and a child currently in school I simply just cannot move us all out on the street.

Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that they lied and told me they had plans to move in with their daughter. Let’s put aside the fact that they lied and told me they looked, but could not find, another place to live. “…unfortunately, for all parties involved, we have been unable to secure a new rental property.” Could it be because David Cooper is a registered sex offender, or because they simply did not look? I don’t know. All I know is that there are plenty of available homes for rent in Stephens City, and their inability or unwillingness to locate them is not my problem.

But let’s put the lies aside. Fact of the matter is this: David and Pamela Cooper were issued a termination notice nearly three months ago to vacate my property. To date they have refused to do so, and have lied in court in order to be able to stay in my house.

What do you call people who have taken another’s property without permission or right? You call them thieves. And what is it that they have done by forcibly taking my house, refusing to leave, and lying in court to remain there? Per the definition above, it’s called “stealing.”

Let’s get something straight: the Coopers’ alleged “need” is not a claim check to my property. It is not a valid reason to ruin my financial life. It is not valid cause to endanger my career. Just because they claim to “need” it, does not and should not obligate me to provide it – especially not free of charge!

This judge – for reasons I cannot fathom – has allowed them to remain in my home until the trial, which he has set for nearly three months later. He has essentially forcibly taken my property and handed it over to this child molesting thief and his wife until the trial, putting me in a frightening financial bind.

This ruling does not negate the nature of the act itself. Fact is that the Coopers have stolen my house. They have stolen my property by refusing to leave it. And apparently, I can’t do anything about it until court on July 9. And frankly, there is no guarantee that I will even get my property back from these thieves! After all, let’s face it – Cooper lied in court about the amount they paid for their security deposit and about their right to remain in my house. They knew they had to leave, as shown by their communications above. They just refused to. And since I refuse to perjure myself, who knows what the turnout will be?

But in the meantime, while we await the court date, these thieves get to reside in my house without paying rent.

And regardless of the court’s refusal to hand me possession of my own property, the fact of the matter remains that David and Pamela Cooper knew they had to vacate and have refused to do so. They have not paid rent, and they will not, thanks to the court. They have wrongfully taken my property without permission or right.

And that makes them thieves. Period.

Another Friend Picks up the Cause

Another buddy of mine decided to try his hand at blogging, and I’m humbled and honored that his first blog post is about the problems David and Pamela Cooper have caused to my financial (and emotional) well being by essentially stealing my house.

His blog is called Pending Something Witty. In my experience, he always has something witty to say!

So now, Dirtbag Cooper (I will not honor him with a “Mr.”)  and his bottom feeder family have been squatting in Nicki’s house without paying rent and continue to do so without concern for the financial burden that Nicki is being subjected to, and the full support of the State of Virginia.  Nicki is a hard working mother who holds down two jobs to make ends meet, a United States Veteran and a victim of an activist judge that has now allowed the bottom feeders to continue squatting in her property for another 2-3 months.

I will once again say that the outpouring of love and support has been absolutely overwhelming!

While I have resigned myself to the fact that I will probably lose the house I worked so hard for, I at least know that I have a ton of supportive, awesome friends out there, who will not allow me to go down without a fight!

How the Internet Restored my Hope in Humanity

Social media is a funny thing. When I first started using Facebook, it was 2007, and I was deployed to Kosovo with my National Guard unit. 

You get close with the people with whom you deploy. We had units from all over the country, including Massachusetts, Texas, and Puerto Rico. After spending close to a year and a half together, you make and cement friendships, you learn about one another, and you help one another. You become a family. 

That’s why many of us got Facebook accounts – to keep in touch, to share our lives beyond deployment, and to continue nurturing those bonds we developed at Camp Bondsteel. 

I did not know at the time what Facebook would become. The subsequent bonds came in spurts, so to speak. A lot of my old friends from high school joined, and we connected even though we hadn’t seen one another in more than a decade. Then, college friends found one another. Then old buddies from AFN-Europe – both military and civilian. I found old colleagues from former jobs, fellow fighters in the gun rights movement, and even some friends from my elementary school in the former USSR! That one is a joy. 

When friends you have known for a long time recommend you become “friends” with someone in the virtual world, you develop a whole new set of connections. You share your experiences, expertise, and views with a whole new set of people, whom you’ve never met in real life, but into whose lives you all of a sudden have an amazing amount of insight. You become real friends, even though you have never met in real life.  I often shake my head at the amount of personal details folks shoot into cyber space. I was never a fan, because so many predators exist out there, who are looking for their next victim. And yet, here I am – blogging about the very personal, very frightening, very real and traumatic experience of possibly losing my house. Here I am getting emotional and very tangible support from readers who love this blog, and who enjoy reading my sometimes jumbled thoughts. I never asked for financial support, and yet, here you are – hitting the “Donate” button – giving your earnings to a person you’ve never met, so she could get a beer or have a little peace of mind – offering words of encouragement and advice. My gratitude knows no bounds, you guys. I am so humbled by and grateful for your friendship!

The Internet makes you feel like you’re not alone. Sharing those personal details – both on Facebook, here, and on This Ain’t Hell, where the wonderful Jonn Lilyea shared my story with the community of vets and supporters there whom I have grown to know and love, and the majority of whom I’ve never met in person, made me feel like they we’re in it with me. 

Two friends and partners in the gun rights battle emailed me and told me they were giving me a loan. One percent interest. Pay us back when you can. I protested, because I could not possibly know when I would be able to repay them, and because borrowing money from friends… They insisted. They love me, they said. They wanted to offer me some peace of mind, they said. When I finally do meet them in real life, I’m not sure there will be a hug big enough, strong enough, or long enough to express my gratitude for their love, friendship, and generosity! My plan is to put that money in savings and not touch it unless it really hits the fan, and I wind up homeless or the Redhead has nothing to eat. And once the fiasco with the thieving child molester and his lying, hypocritical wife is over, I will return the lump sum plus interest and more. Because I love them for the reassurance and peace of mind they have given me. 

A friend of a friend, whom I’ve never met, contacted me the night before last – when I was at the height of my despair – when I was weeping every few minutes, because a twisted pair consisting of a child rapist and a lying, sociopathic shrew, David and Pamela Cooper, stole my house with the help of a judge, who is supposed to uphold justice, but instead enabled theft – made me lose hope. She asked if I would mind if she started a fundraiser for me. I balked at first. Even though the thought of losing the house I worked for, and possibly my job, was terrifying, the thought of good, kind, people giving me money so I could pay for this child raping scum to live in my house free of charge was and is morally abhorrent. But the legal bills in this fight would no doubt mount, and while I’ve heard great things about the attorney who was helping us with the filings and giving us some legal advice on this matter, I would never expect him to work for free. So we compromised. Amanda – a beautiful, intelligent, kind woman I met on Facebook through a mutual friend, and whom I have never met in real life, set up a fundraiser on GoFundMe, and specified that this money would only be used for legal expenses – and not to keep a “man” convicted of carnal knowledge of a minor and his sociopath wife living rent-free on my property. 

I have to tell you, I’m overwhelmed by the response. Not only friends and acquaintances, but complete strangers, anonymous individuals, poured money into this effort! To date Amanda has raised more than $2200 – more than enough to put an attorney on retainer – in one day. In. One. Day.  To some, it may not seem like a lot, but to me, it is the world, folks. I’m a writer. It’s what I do for a living. And, yet, I cannot properly express my gratitude to each and every person who contributed to this effort. Frankly, it’s the last thing I expected, because I lost faith in anything and everything that was just and good in this world. But here you are – some of you complete strangers, while others I only know from the online world of political discussions and cat memes, coming to my aid and giving me hope. 

It’s hard to breathe through this much emotion!

This isn’t the first time people whose hand I’ve never had the pleasure of shaking gave me a hand up. When Mac got sick last year, friends and family came to her rescue and helped me pay for her medical care. When she died, I sent the remainder of your generous gifts to a homeless pets charity. When unexpected expenses for the best of me, beautiful individuals stepped in and handed me support. Just like that. With no strings attached and no demands. Because they could. I don’t forget that kind of friendship, and I pay it forward when I can – and sometimes when I can’t – because that’s how you are supposed to act. That’s what you’re supposed to do. 

When I was terrified of spending yet another $300+ on H&R Block at tax season, my friend, former Marine, fellow veteran Dave Hardin convinced me (he’s hard to say no to – he’s about as stubborn as I am) to use his CPA firm. The Accounting Firm (simple, elegant name) and the amazing Karen Hardin did my taxes via phone in just a few minutes. Taxes were filed. Refund was due. Through some kind of strike of horrid luck or bureaucratic insanity, refund didn’t happen. Karen spent hours on true phone with the IRS, filed additional paperwork, and continues to hammer them to return my money. No one charged me a dime. I had a large print made of a photo of a dogwood flower I took. I sent it to Karen as a token of my gratitude. Dave will get booze and a dance when we finally meet in person. 

But this… This is overwhelming, you guys. You didn’t just offer words of love and support. You didn’t just give me money. You didn’t just give me hope, although it’s a big thing. You have given me the will to fight this injustice! I may not ever get my house back. I may have to face foreclosure, but I’m not going down without a fight. And it’s all thanks to you. 

You, the Internet, have restored hope, and that’s priceless. 

Because what kind of world would it be if child molesters, liars, and thieves were allowed to win?

Heartache

Heartache is watching everything you have worked for stolen by unscrupulous, morally offensive, thieving, self serving jerks.

Heartache is having your son come to you and say, “Mom, I know you would have never accepted my money, but I was going to put money in your wallet from my every pay check to help you and just leave a little for myself.”

Heartache is watching the justice system in which you had so much faith screw you.

That is heartache.

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