It's time for an exciting round of....Meet! Our! Squatter!!! AKA: more crap that only happens to me.
We've been in our house for 8 years, and during that time it's been pretty obvious that we have the occasional "guest" in our backyard woods. We've found discarded shirts, and pants - yikes, as well as leftovers from meals and empty beer cans. Many, many empty beer cans. Also the occasional condom or hypodermic needle, but those are rare. In addition to an unsmoked joint once, which I disposed of in a manner I felt was most appropriate. Consider it a finder's fee.
However, it's very rare to catch sight of our elusive guests. The closest I came was a couple of years ago when I was walking the dogs one morning and I heard a digital watch alarm go off deep in the woods and then the sounds of someone rousing for the day. And even then I never saw the actual person.
Until last month. Last month we met Denise. I know her last name and I have pictures of her, but I figure she has enough problems without me piling on.
Denise took up residency in the pathway between our house and the trails that we use to walk the dogs every day. I came across her sleeping there one Saturday morning. When I saw her, I dragged the dogs to the side and walked around her. She never woke up, which is pretty amazing since my pack & I don't exactly walk in stealth mode.
I decided I'd just leave her alone. She didn't seem to be a threat and calling the cops wasn't going to do anyone any good. SIDE NOTE: If it had been a man sleeping back there, I probably would have called the cops in a skinny minute. Apparently I'm a survivalist sexist. Fear the penis.
Denise camped a few days and Jeff and I left her alone. About mid-week we noticed that her possessions were still back there, but no sign of Denise. I know it's irrational, but I was worried. I was so worried that I made Jeff go back there and see what he could find in her stuff. "Made" him do it might be an overstatement. I bugged the crap out of him until he agreed to do it just to get me off his back.
Jeff went out and looked in her backpack (which is how we found her name on an appointment card for a mental health facility), but he didn't find anything to indicate what may have happened to her. After another couple of days with no sightings, I got really worried. What if something happened to her and no one but me gave a damn? Looking out for your squatters is a big responsibility. Jeff decided to bag up her personal items and take them to the local police substation so I would shut up about it.
The police station was closed due to the stupid economy, but when he was leaving an officer happened to pull up. Jeff started to explain the situation to him, but before he finished the officer said "Oh, you mean Denise? I know her. She's harmless, but when she's drunk she'll swear a blue streak at you" Why does that sound so familiar?
The officer took the bag of her possessions and said he'd return them to her family. He assured us that she'd turn up eventually.
The police officer knew her so well that it piqued our interest, so we did some research. Call it "meet the squatter", if you will. Turns out she gets arrested about once a month for one or many of the following charges: Criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, urban camping, outside consumption, public indecency and fighting words. By coincidence, I'm also a big fan of each of these activities, except urban camping. I'm a city girl. And if "fighting words" is a crime, I may need to rethink the way I'm behaving in my marriage.
She's never been arrested for drugs or prostitution, which makes her OK in my book. Welcome to the family, Denise. Hope to see you soon!