When an Ashtray Hits Your Window…

There are good days and bad days.  And then there are days when an ashtray hits your window.  WTF…

No Judgement on my dirty windows sills – it’s been storming and I’ve been out of town!

While at the library today (new plan of action is working!!) I received a completely unexpected email…

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Seriously?  The first thing I could think of is why?  I don’t even smoke!!  The second is how much is this going to cost…?  August already set me back some major bucks with the death of Muffy.  Who is responsible for this quite obvious window snafu and what will it cost my September bottom line?

Ugh…  Let’s face it, the timing for such a thing is never ideal.  Obviously – this is one of those things you could never plan for.  I am set to leave tomorrow for a 6-day long work trip.  And not just any work trip – a time and a half paid work trip.  To not go is not an option.  I had to deal with this ASAP.

I immediately left the library and headed back to the city to check out the situation.  I left Bubs at my BF’s in the burbs – one less thing to worry about.  Only halfway through the drive home did I realize she is my only source of protection in the rare event this was all a ploy to get me home for a crazy murdering maniac.

I checked out the windows from the outside first.  Yep – broken…

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I climbed the 3 flights up to my place and listened at the door for robbers and boogeymen.  Nothing.  I balled up my fist and banged a few times on the door – I like to call that a cop knock.  It says “I’m armed and I mean business” as opposed to a light tap that says “I am here for a spot of tea”.  Still nothing.  I figured at this point the murder ploy was all in my head and I could enter without fear…


Hrmph.  Well – despite the broken glass, the good news is that the objects (including the aforementioned ashtray) only went through one pane of glass.  Sweet!  I did a quick survey of the rest of the place to make sure no one had come searching for their ashtray.  Nope.  The coast was clear and no other damage had occurred.

My lovely witnessing neighbor had left a note under my door…

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Thanks, Yuri!

I called the police to file a report.  I called the management company to tell them to confirm the report and sent pictures to them.  I also wanted to know who would have to pay for this senseless act – they were still working out the details and said they would get back to me.  Next, I text Yuri and left a message.  I wanted to hear his account of the events before confronting anyone.  After all was said and done,  I closed my blinds and headed back to the burbs.  Not much else to do for now…or so I thought…

Once I was home I thought to text my neighbor, Brad, to let him know what was happening.  He’s a doll for looking after the place and grabbing my mail when I’m on the road…which is always.  I then text another neighbor, also named Brad, who lives in the tier across the way.  I asked him if he knew who lived in the unit across from me so I could contact them myself.  And – because nothing is easy – he launched into a story about the cops having been there the night prior looking for a known drug dealer.  I then explained the situation and we began to unravel the whole story.

I have met the man who lives across from me on a few occasions.  Always in the hallway.  Always in passing.  We’ve said no words to each other – just the casual “what’s up” head nod as we stroll through the lobby to our perspective destinations.  I don’t know his name – but I do now.  His name is H.

This is what I have gathered in the past few hours.  H is a veteran.  This was concluded after the Brads went to H’s unit to confront him about the windows…something I had explicitly asked them NOT to do.  Regardless, when they got to his landing they realized something was definitely off.  The door to the vacant unit across the hall to him had been vandalized.  Writing and symbols in red paint accompanied a wood sign leaning against the door with the names of VA hospitals and gibberish sloppily written in chalk.  The same paint could be seen on H’s door and door handle.  It wasn’t hard to conclude that the red paint was also the same red paint that was also dripped on the ashtray now sitting in my window.

The Brads tried to knock on H’s door.  Despite hearing the TV on they could not get him to come to the door.  At this point, the Brads headed to the lobby to check the name on the mailbox.  It was at this point they realize that H’s box was overflowing.  From the mail lodged in the door, they found a mailer from a VA hospital.  Putting two and two together they realized H might be in trouble and called the police for a wellness check.

I wish I could say that the police arrived and were able to help H.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.  H refused to open the door.  He insisted he was calling his lawyers.  Because there was no proof of a breakdown (minus the cops being called the night before, the weird crap on the door of the vacant unit across the hall, the matching paint on his door, and the ashtray through my window), the cops wrote a report and left.

It is so unfortunate.  I’ll be the first to say that I get wrapped up in my day to day.  In my work and my plans and my own family and friends.  All the while, H, is a veteran who has served our country, is living in a condo his parents own (confirmed by management), is clearly in the middle of a psychological break, is possibly dealing drugs (though not confirmed), and there is no help we can provide at this time.  Sure puts things in perspective.

If you made it this far, I thank you for reading.  I would like to take a chance to shine a spotlight on the men and women who serve our country each and every day to provide us the freedom we are so accustomed to that something so small as an ashtray through my window could shake my trust in the people around me.  I may not believe in the things we are fighting for, but I believe in our country and I believe in our service men and woman.  These people deal with things much bigger than the small things that interrupt our day.

I hope H will find his way.  I hope he can get the help that he needs.  I hope this incident (many people in the building are aware of what happened) does not cause a witch hunt aiming to get him kicked out of the building.  If so, I will stand up for him every step of the way.  I hope, instead, we can build a community of support around him.  In the meantime, I’ve made peace with the possible cost of these windows.  This is what savings are for – the unforeseen incidents that happen in the strangest of ways.

9.7 UPDATE #1 – H approached Brad in the hallway pushing and threatening him for calling the cops.  Brad pushed back and told him we were just worried about him.  H apologized and went on his way.  Also, the building association paid for the windows and are in the process of gathering enough evidence to make H be responsible for the cost.

9.21 UPDATE #2 – H was seen waving a machete around on the street out front yesterday.  He then approached a neighbor in the building with the same machete and started yelling at him asking if he was undercover in the CIA.  The building contacted me for my police report number and are trying to build a case to get him evicted.  I’m not sure the likelihood as his parents own the unit but, regardless, he needs help...

Thanks for reading and, again, thank you to all those who protect our everyday lives past and present.

Until next time…

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