I Am Not A Murderer, and I'm NOT Harboring Fugitives.

Not on purpose, anyway.

This uncharacteristic twice-in-one-week post is a just a Crime Update on the telenovela going down in Comfytown lately. 

First, a follow up to Monday's wondering whether I murdered my neighbor or not, and then the latest drama in which I inadvertently harbored a wanted criminal from the police. Almost. And also not of my own free will. Swear.

First, the neighbor situation: She is ALIVE. 

I am not a murderer, nor a wedge-driver between families or relationships. Not today, America. Not this day.

My neighbor is alive! 

I saw her, I spoke to her. She is alive and well. Well, she's alive and has no visible signs of 'beating about the face', or anywhere else. Thank you for that hypothesis on her disappearance, Husband.

I saw her and spoke to her at her house, she did not sound hysterical or in any mortal danger. She did seem very stressed out. The adjustment stage with her son is, these are her words, "...worse than she ever imagined." Sad face. 

However, now I can get down to the business of celebrating that I did not cause her death, or push her off the wagon, or any of those other horrible things I pontificated about in Monday's POST. That is a link if you're curious just how much I was freaking out about the situation. 
Spoiler: It was pretty hardcore freakage. 

So anyway, she and the kids and her mother-in-law were outside, with the kids in the kiddie pool. We waived and she waived back. I just started running over there, right THROUGH my next-door neighbor's driveway and yard, more excited than the beginning of The Courtship of Eddie's Father. If you have no idea what that is, picture this.
Except add another kid, and I'm not Bill Bixby.
Nice crotch bulge though, Hulk.
from sitcomsonline.com
I had no idea what I was going to say except I kept internally repeating:
'do not say "YOU'RE ALIVE" do not say that do not say that do not say that do not say that do not say that do not say that.'

When we got there it was an awkward second of me STOPPING running and grinning like a freak, and then immediately trying to appear all casual-like. I did that thing with my chin and asked: 
"So hey, how's it going?"

She looked exasperated. The kids were splashing around the pools, yelling like....like a couple of kids in a kiddie pool. That's just it's own thing, needs no simile or metaphor.

Her adopted son is not adapting or learning English at the rate they anticipated, he's going to some specialists. They see signs of autism, but it's hard to tell right now. 

In the meantime his new sister is trying to beat the crap out of him. Just like a biological sister, but with a twist of professional kickboxer. This girl does NOT like the competition for Mom and Dad's attention. 

Those problems seem insignificant compared to teenager issues, I still couldn't imagine the stress (and ohmygods the NOISE) without being able to have a drink. Of course I didn't say that. Out loud. Hopefully I didn't say it with my eyes, because just like Shakira's hips and occasionally my mouth, they don't lie. Not well anyway.

I did tell her to call me if she needed anything. I mean like HELP, not like a drink. I can be supportive. If I have to. Crap, incidentally how do you help a stressed-out parent without booze? I got nothin.

She did not mention the wine that the husband made me take back, and I'm not about to bring that up. Especially with the MIL there. I'm just so relieved she sounds okay.

Stressed, but physically healthy. I am not a murderer!


You know what this is a good time for? That wine I was told to keep....
That celebration was cut short.

As I was still in my neighbor's back yard, I got a text from my son, Tinny. He wanted to come "visit us." I told the kids and the MIL, because the Mom went inside for something, that in a few minutes we had to go pick up Tinny. 

Get this. The MIL said, like such a typical Mother-in-Law:
"I thought you said he was living with his dad." Really?

Yes, he has been living with his dad, but I couldn't exactly keep him from visiting us (could I?) I couldn't think of a reason, so I picked him up. He did play with his sisters, and about an hour or so later he of course wants to go talk to some friends. Because OF COURSE HE DOES.

Anyway, this is where it gets weird. 

About an hour after that, we're getting ready to go for a walk when a young man jogs past us, through our driveway and yard, not by the street/sidewalk/designated PUBLIC area, but up by the door, right by US. As he is going past he asks if my son is home. He was not. The kid kept jogging and the next thing I know he's gone.


Where did he go?

I walk around the house, maybe he was going to knock on my son's window or something? A kid did that once when Tinny didn't answer his phone. As I'm walking around the house, I see a police car. 
A-ha. The officer asks me out the window:
"Did you see a kid run past here?"

Indeed I did. I just did. I tell him I think he went that way, and point down the street. We're one house from a corner, maybe he turned down the street and I missed it ?

In the meantime I get a hunch. I read and watch a lot of crime fiction. I go to our backyard. Nothing there. However, we have a shed that no longer locks, and my son and his friends used to sneak smokes in there back when I still had the energy to give a shit about him smoking before they turned 18. 

I run up to the shed, not sure why, open the door and THERE IS A PERSON IN THERE. I didn't even think. This is MY HOUSE and I will protect my family. 
How, exactly? I didn't have time for details like that. I mean, this was a kid, right?

In my most lioness voice, I said:
"WHO are you and what are you doing in my shed?!" Just like I knew what I was doing. 

He looked skerred. Not of me, just scared.
"I'm Vic's brother, remember me?"

I did not.

Relevant background info:
Vic is the friend of my son who lived with us for awhile. His parents are homeless, his mother is.....I don't even know. Determined to remain homeless is the only thing I know she is for sure. Not all there mentally is another. The minute Vic turned 18 she had no use for him. They kept moving around Chicago, and not always telling him where they were. He was still in high school, in the suburbs, but he was 18 so his mother wasn't getting assistance money for him, so he was on his own. In high school.

I mean, I did remember Vic having an older and a younger brother, the younger one was over a few times but it was years ago. He would have been 11 or 12, he's about 16 now. 

The younger one wasn't like Vic. He was trouble and would never talk to me or let me help him. When trouble went down, and it went down, he was the first to run off by himself. This is what he learned from his parents. Leave. Run. Look out for yourself. Survive. 

Now he's in my shed.

"And what are you doing in here?" I pretended to demand.

"Hiding." He said honestly. 

It took some back and forth of clever dialogue like this to ascertain that he had "got into it" (a fight) with some dudes and the cops came, and he ran. Why? A reasonable person might ask. After awhile, he said he was on probation and didn't want to get in more trouble. 

He kept asking to go inside the house. I wanted to get the story. Why are you so afraid to talk to police about a fight? I wasn't just going to hide this kid. Yes, he's a kid and I knew this kid vaguely from the past, and that's why I wanted the information. I didn't know why he was running, other than because he's a dumb kid. 

I told him he needed to straighten out the situation. The police weren't going to just stop looking for him. I explained the concept of Harboring Fugitives and how it's ILLEGAL and whatnot. I know. I'm such a Judgey McMomJeans like that. As I've stated in the past, being Mom tends to suck the adventure right out of your soul in matters like this.

He wanted me to call his brother, Vic. Okay, I could do that. 

He wanted to wait for him inside the house. I could NOT do that. 

I have been around this sort of drama my whole life. (Can I be done now, btw Life?) One thing I've learned is when in doubt, go with your gut. I could not hide this kid from the police in my house.

Especially not without the whole story. He wasn't having that, so he started looking around nervously. While I was leaving a message for his brother, he took off running again. My husband came around to the backyard, finally. Way to protect, btw brah. Kidding. 
Mostly. He did stay with the kids and I can take care of myself, so he lives.

After I left Vic a message, I caught him up and we caught a glimpse of the kid running through the neighbor's yard, flipping fences and panicking. I noticed a back-door neighbor on her 2nd level deck, holding a phone like she was filming the whole incident with a camera phone. 

That is what my neighbors are good for, taking pictures and not freaking helping. NEVER HELPING. Jerkoffs. 

I know, I know, if you're not used to this shit, it's scary.

Eventually the police caught the kid because we live in the suburbs and there are only so many places to go. I called my son, who seemed genuinely surprised at the situation and now he wanted the full story. Oh sure, just as soon your friend's brother writes me a long love letter explaining it because we're BFF now. I don't HAVE the whole story, that's why I'm calling you! I told him what I know.

He called Vic, maybe he would answer his phone if he saw it was my son calling, or maybe he was working. I didn't hear anything else until later that night when Vic called me. He said he was sorry (he breaks my heart) because he's polite, and he explained some things. 

His brother Mike was in trouble, he was on probation but because his parents are still homeless and keep moving from place to place, Mike keeps missing court dates and whatnot. Some genius somewhere decided to put him on House Arrest, but this doesn't work well for nomadic people, as you may imagine if you have half a brain. 

Mike, under the excellent parental example he's given, decided to CUT his House Arrest ankle bracelet off. THIS is why he's been running from the police. Because he's a kid, and he has no one to tell him what a stupid idea that is. 

My heart is broken. I don't know how to help. I want to help Vic, who at least has a good heart and a good head on his shoulders. He feels way too responsible for this. Vic is only 19 and has been on his own for over a year. He has been trying to help Mike, who will not listen to him, but he also has his own stuff he has to do. Like work alladamntime. He had 3 jobs not long ago when I spoke to him, because none of the places could give him the hours he needed. 

Mike is doing his own thing, like any teen in this situation would, and not listening to anyone. I as an adult have never known how to help this kid, how could he know? Vic, I can help. Though Vic is taking care of himself rocking being an adult. He's in a program, he's working. He tried to take classes at a community college, but it was too much right now. He's doing what he's supposed to. He has a place to live, and people he's listening to, getting his life on track. Mike? I don't even know. I'm not equipped for that situation. Clearly.

I feel a lot of guilt about not being able to help him. This particular situation? Not a lot I could do. In the past though? I don't even know what I could have done. I can't help thinking that maybe if I helped this kid in some way, he wouldn't be in this place.

Maybe I just didn't want to help this kid because I always suspected he was one of the kids that stole my husband's car when we were out of town. That's a whole other story, but No, we never knew that for sure. So why do I feel sooo guilty? Maybe I just feel bad and I am assuming it's guilt. Long story.

If he wanted my help, if he would work with me like Vic did, I would be happy to help him. I felt guilty that Vic lived with us and Mike didn't. I wanted to help him, too, but he was younger, he was with his parents. His parents weren't abandoning Mike. I wasn't trying to be a kidnapper or anything. The school never would give me the whole story. I understand, I didn't need it. I did what I could. Now I don't even know what I could possibly do. I'm over my limit on drama right now. I'm Jar Jar Binks: "My give up."

Anyway, this post is long enough. This is what happened. 

Just wanted everyone to know that:
1. I am not a murderer.
2. I did not harbor a fugitive in my shed. Not willingly. And not for long.

I have no idea what will happen now. Vic doesn't either, but he's kind of relieved this stressful 'running' part is over. Hopefully Mike will learn a lesson to deal with things instead of running. He had been trying to tell Mike to go straighten out the situation. 

It got to the point where Mike would see a police car and just start running and hiding. He lives in the city with his parents, where they don't have time to chase kids on probation. 

Chicago is a horror show right now. Last weekend alone we had forty shootings. Not four. FOUR-O-as in OMFG. I am not equipped to deal with that either. Nor is the mayor apparently. I don't know the whole story so I won't get into it, but something needs to be done. This is not right. 

I know the heat and humidity drives people crazy, but this is no excuse. This is a heavy place to leave it, so please PLEASE watch this video from the good ole 80's for "Goin Crazy From The Heat."

At least the intro, it's hilarious. They talk about Honor Students, "Yes your Honor, no your Honor..."


  1. Girl, you have had a time haven't you?!? First the wine, then taking it back, then the neighboring being all alive and you running through the yard and now Vic and the shed and oh Lord....I'm pooped.

    Please don't be wearing an orange prison suit or let me hear you were put in SHU, ok?


    1. Oh honey this isn't even ALL the drama in my life, this is just the stuff I thought other people might find interesting. Though this is the worst of it, the rest is mostly kid stuff. And being an adult stuff. BORING.
      I am pooped, too, and tell you the truth? A jolt in a jumpsuit, and even in the SHU, sounds pretty RELAXING right now. I probably need to stop thinking about that....

  2. Oh wow!!! I had to come and finish this story. I felt so drawn in with these people. You know, ...The neighbor thing, I generally steer very clear from getting to know them because it never really works out. The problem is that if something goes wrong and you have a falling out with your neighbor, .you both still have to live next to each other and that is when it gets hard. Especially if you have to look at them every time you go outside of your house. I keep it to a wave and that is it!! My neighbors probably think I am a super bitch and they wouldn't be wrong in thinking that! But I would much rather keep it that way than deal with the drama ya know.

    You are an amazing person. You have a very big heart. I don't think you should feel guilty about anything but I do get it. I think it has more to do with your teenager than anything. As mom's we tend to have that thing where we see our own kids going through things, and want to help in anyway we can. So when another kid is having a tough time, it's like we relate that somehow and can envision if it was out own kid. Your desire to want to help him is so awesome. And there really is only so much you can do. Just like with our own kids. Once they get to a certain age and place in their life, ...it;s out of our hands. They have to start figuring out how to make good decisions on their own, ...but like with anything, .sometimes you have to go trough all of the bad decisions to get to a place of starting to make good ones.

    1. The neighbor thing was curious. I still don't know the whole deal, but I'm glad she's alive. And between me and you (and the internet) she came over today and I could swear her McDonald's cup smelled like beer. But I shouldn't be tellin stories outta school. Especially b/c I DID have a beer today already, and it was BEFORE 5:00. I'll tell ya that.
      As far as YOUR neighbors? You're doing it right. For awhile we used to talk to our next-door neighbors a little, just letting the kids play, and it didn't go great, and ever since then? The next door lady just gives me dirty-ish looks and barely says 'hi' now. OH wells.
      I also think you nailed it about the kids. I mean, we go from thinking teenagers are GREAT and fun, until someone else's teenager gets in trouble, then they're super annoying. Then OUR kids our teenagers and we totally GET it.
      (They're still annoying though.) You're right though, they do need to pick their own paths. I just wish they would do it a little more quickly! And quietly?? :)

  3. Now I understand why you thought season 1 of Orange is the New Black was dull.

    1. hahahahaha this might be THEE GREATEST comment I've ever read on my blog. Ever.

  4. So glad you are NOT a murderer! Whew! *wipes brow* As for the fugitive kid, I feel ya on the wantin' to help save them all! I am like that too...(drives my husband nuts btw) But the reality is, if they don't WANT help, then your help won't make a difference anyway. Sad. I know. Just keep your big heart open and help the ones you can :)
    P.S. Chicago scares me. I live in SW Michigan...so not THAT far away, but thankfully, far enough!

    1. Thanks!
      You're so right about teens. I told Vic today, I can barely keep my own kid in line so I can't really give anyone advice about that topic :)
      There are lots of NICE, friendly non-shooting people in Chicago. Promise!

  5. Oh wow! I had to go back and read Monday's post. It was like one of those films told in flashback, with a voice-over explaining what was happening. Seriously, I was gripped.

    Also, you're a very brave woman to confront a virtual stranger. It's amazing what a mother will do to protect her brood.
    Anyway, I'm glad you're not a murderer, or a harborer (not even sure that's an actual word) of fugitives.

    1. It was a crazy thing. Like that movie "The Burbs" but with less murder.
      I actually just leaped before I looked. If I stopped to think, I probably would have been scared out of my mind thinking about guns, with all the shootings on the news. As usual I just barrel through life like a big, dumb bull.
      Thanks for reading.

  6. I know I should be focused on the freakiness of it all, but all I heard was Judgey McMomJeans. Judgey McMomJeans is the best name ever. I'm so calling everyone I meet Judgey McMomJeans for the rest of my life now. Booyah.

  7. I think you're just *that* compassionate, and you know that SOMEONE should do something to help the kid. Poor lad. I hope he finds someone sensible to listen to. I think you did the right thing, though. Good for you. And I'm glad your neighbour is okay :)


    (eyes like Shakira's hips? Genius line :D )

    1. Thanks Lizzi. It is partly because my family and to some extent my son have been given so many 2nd chances. I really hope Mike gets his and doesn't squander it.
      Shakira was the first thing that popped into my head when I thought of lies and lying. Weird :) glad you got a chuckle!

  8. I have the sadz for all the kids out there without a good role model, support and guidance. You know, by helping Vic, you helped Mike...there's just so much you can do...try not to beat yourself up too much. And stay safe out there...I keep seeing the news reports and that shiz is scary!

    1. It is scary. Every summer I think about heading to the city to see the sights etc. Then I see the traffic and the shootings and the lines at the Taste of Chicago and we stay our lazy butts in the suburbs.

  9. WOW, it is exciting in your neighborhood! Not to sound all mushy gushy, but I'll say some prayers for him. :(

    1. Thanks Shay. Watch it or you'll ruin your Trashy rep ;)

  10. Drama, drama, drama. I didn't have a kid run through my yard, but I did have a 75 year old guy stomp over to the office in his slippers all pissed off that there was a man-lift on "his property". He's a pretty feisty ol' dude.

    Not sure what I'd do with a kid my shed, though. Freak the hell out and run in the other direction. Pretty sure about that.

    1. I would DEFINITELY rather have a fiesty old dude than a teenager. Any day! That sounds like a good story. I love old men!

  11. Oh, my God that was so effing funny (aside from the serious parts). So many great lines. Here, now, are a few of my favorites: "yelling like....like a couple of kids in a kiddie pool. That's just it's own thing, needs no simile or metaphor," and "In the meantime his new sister is trying to beat the crap out of him. Just like a biological sister, but with a twist of professional kickboxer," and "back when I still had the energy to give a shit about him smoking." Love the guy jogging right passed your front door while asking if your kid is home.
    I'm sorry you're dealing w/ all that & feeling bad about not being able to help the kid, but there really is no helping some people as sad as that sounds, and in order to help someone they have to be willing. Some people just aren't. You're doing the right thing.

    1. I'm glad you got a laugh. I mean, sometimes that's all you CAN do, right? That pool thing, I was trying to think of something that would be as loud as they were, and I just seriously couldn't. That is it's very own level of noise.
      I'm trying to do the right thing. Really, I am.

  12. Did I already know you live in Chicago? I must have... hmm... anyways... yeah. Your story reminds me of a few I've been through. When I lived in Glendale Heights for a while my roommates older son was about 9, until we moved out when he was about 12... and it was sort of an un-funny joke that all of his friends kept getting taken by DCFS! I mean my roommates weren't stellar parents themselves, but at least they weren't actively neglecting their kids! One kid stayed with us for a few days because he was scared to go home because some drug dealers had come over with guns and forced the kid's mom's boyfriend to go with them and the kid thought they might come back. I illegally harbored a few young kids overnight once while I tried to get someone from DCFS to help because I didn't feel comfortable dropping them back off with their dad, who was wicked drunk, but I also knew that keeping people under the age of 10 at your house without their parents' permission (drunk or not) is highly illegal. And 3 kids stayed at our house for almost the whole school year, because their mom also followed the "being homeless works fine for me" theory and the kids didn't want to stay at whatever random place she was staying at the time. So yeah... the problem is you can do everything you can, but sometimes it just isn't enough, especially if there are adults involved who don't really want help. It sucks. But all you can do is what you CAN do, and hope that it makes some kind of difference!

  13. Glendale Heights is very close to here. Sounds like a similar situation there. And you are totally correct, all you can do is what you CAN do. Short of adopting the children, which would never happen b/c their parents would never sign them over, there isn't much else except try to help them through each day as best you can. It's just so unfair, so many people I know would love to have children and can't, and some people have children and act like they don't even want them. Sad.