On Sunday, the last day of our BTNK last weekend, I realized a couple of hours before we had to leave that I couldn't find my phone.
Michael and I looked everywhere. Then everyone else helped us look everywhere again.
I had brought my phone out to the beach with us the evening before so I could take some group pictures of my own with my phone. I remember putting it in my beach bag as we were packing up, and even shoving it a little further down in there in case it fell out while I was bending over to collect other things to bring upstairs.
Fell out it did, though, apparently.
With an hour to go on Sunday morning before we absolutely had to get on the road, Michael took charge and called AT&T to see if they could find my phone for me with some kind of GPS tracking. What they did was install an app on Michael's phone that could track my phone for us. Within 30 minutes the app was downloaded and we located my phone, blinking cheerfully on the little map on Michael's screen. My phone was apparently about two miles away...and it was moving.
It suddenly became clear that my phone must have fallen out of my bag on the beach and had been stolen the night before or that morning...by somebody driving away with it at that moment.
Michael jumped into action, getting everything for us and our friends Steven and Mauree loaded into the Swagger Wagon within about 10 minutes. We then pealed out of the condo parking garage and set out on an adventure.
The GPS app showed that my phone finally stopped just a few miles away in an older neighborhood. The tracking location kept saying, "Within 17 yards of 1234 ABC Street," and we used the map to drive to that exact address.
Which was a sketchy address.
The neighborhood was a little run down, in that state in life where some older residents still keep up their property admirably, but Poor and Neglectful Folk have moved into the area in a sad way. The house where they said the phone was was a big, old wooden beach house on stilts. The land around the house was overgrown with weeds and brush. The house itself looked like it was falling down. The best part is that every spare corner and porch area around the house was filled with beach gear: inner tubes, rafts and beach toys. It was obvious the people in the house were collectors of some sort--perhaps of the sort to go at night or early in the morning to "collect" items they find on the beach in front of all the condos and hotels on the strip. Of course, I'm no Sherlock...just sayin'.
The GPS app had sent text messages to my phone that we were looking for it, and we had also been calling my phone constantly, so we figured that perhaps the perpetrators had hidden it in the wilderness area around their house. There were two old, dingy cars in the driveway, but no one seemed to be home except for a yappy dog. Michael and Steven searched dutifully through the brush area, getting eaten up with no-see-ums in the process, poor guys, while Mauree and I parked across the street from the house and prayed to St. Anthony and generally felt a little unsafe.
A couple of neighbors came out to see what was going on, and Michael and Steven filled both of them in. Apparently the owners of the house had only moved in recently and were shady folks. The cops had already been called to the house twice.
And the plot thickened.
One of the neighbors who came out to talk to Michael was obviously quite affected by something, mumbling some crazy story about using the bathroom in the river and having some kids try to steal his bike and running after them half-naked. (I kid you not.) Although the man walked toward the brush to presumably help look for the phone, he wandered off aimlessly, kind of talking to himself, after a few minutes.
The other neighbor was a very nice woman who volunteered to walk with Michael and Steven up to the house's front door. I don't think the guys would have felt confident enough at that point to go knock on the door if it weren't for her finally suggesting it and wanting to go with them. So they did walk up and knock on the door, me praying that they wouldn't get shot, in all seriousness.
No one answered after a few knocks, so they started walking back down. I knew it was all over then.
Suddenly, Michael, Steven and the neighbor all perked up. The neighbor ran over to one of the old cars, whose window was down. Mauree and I were still calling and calling my phone from where we were in the van. The neighbor pointed excitedly into the car, and Michael bounded over there while Steven called my number again...it was my phone! The ring tone had been turned down as low as possible, but the neighbor had still heard it from its place on the front seat of the car.
Unbelievable. Michael looked as fierce and proud as any warrior, striding back to the car with my phone in hand. I was speechless, especially after I turned on my phone, seeing the familiar image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on my home screen. I looked quickly to see, also, that the phone only had 2% battery life left! Just a couple of minutes later, the phone would have died and we probably would never have found it.
We said a quick goodbye and thank you to the kind neighbor, then high-tailed it out of there. I couldn't believe it.
Michael was so intent on finding my phone, and I was trying to respect his initiative and desire to do everything in his power to recover it. Inside, though, I prayed a half-hearted prayer to St. Anthony to recover my phone, mostly so my husband would not be so upset. He has always wanted me to have a good phone--it's just a sweet quirk of his character and an expression of his love and provision for me. I understand that. I do love my smart phone, although I would truly be happy with a basic phone as well. Actually, early on I had resigned myself to begging an old flip phone from the back of the junk drawer of some family member or friend. I would miss my smart phone, but felt I deserved my punishment for being irresponsible with such a nice phone.
So there you have it: my latest adventure in my never-boring marriage! Well, almost the latest adventure. You'll have to wait until I can find the energy to do some more catch-up blogging for some other jewels of late. :)
I am grateful to St. Anthony and to the Blessed Mother for helping us recover my phone! What a blessing and gift--thank you!