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Column: I should have locked the car

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about how I was getting nervous about finding a new home and the process of moving. After a few weeks of searching, we found a place and have already started packing things to be ready to move by the end of the month.

Because we are moving somewhere smaller, we’ve already had to get rid of many things and spend a little time each day piling the things we will keep in various places around the house. As I navigated the mess that had become my closet the other day, I thought about a move years ago.

I was living in Oregon, and while I learned a great deal at my job, I was not too fond of the office’s atmosphere or where I lived. It was not a very welcoming community, and one day, I had enough and called my old employer in Wyoming and asked if I could get my old job back. I was thrilled when they said they would love to have me back, and I could start whenever I wanted.

As soon as I heard this news, I began packing the few things I had taken to the Pacific Northwest and was ready to go. Within a few days, I headed out for a long drive to Wyoming with my belongings packed into the same 4-Runner I can see out my window as I write this column.

I was excited to be back around family and friends and in a work environment where I felt like part of the team, not as some weird outsider from another state.

I was also thrilled I’d be making a bit more money because the salary was awful, and we were only paid monthly. Things would get so tight at the end of the month. I ate so many ramen noodles that I still cannot stand them.

On the day of the move, I woke up around 2 a.m. and could not get back to sleep, so I decided to get on the road. I was excited to see everyone, have a few days off, and find a place to live.

As soon as I got into town, I looked down at my phone, and I had missed a lot of phone calls and texts from people wanting to check in and one friend wanted to see me that evening. I was so tired that I didn’t want to go bar hopping with him, but it was Halloween, and I figured it would be an excellent way to celebrate being home.

And celebrate we did.

It was a fantastic night, and I did not return to my mom’s house until early morning. I had taken a cab home, so I had my friend come and get me the next afternoon so I could get my vehicle.

I was quite surprised when I got to my car. I previously lived in a rural area and never locked my vehicle. Going back home, I should have known better, but I left my vehicle unlocked when I was out for dinner and drinks.

When I got into the 4-Runner, I noticed that papers were all over the place and investigated the trunk, and a lot of stuff was missing. I had moved a few big things, like my television and some of my clothes, into my mom’s house the night before but had left my golf clubs, dishes, and other items in the back.

I could not believe I was so stupid. I should have never left the stuff in the car to begin with and should have locked it.

I was upset for a few hours, especially about the golf clubs, a gift from my dad, who had recently passed away. I checked pawn shops for those for a few months but could never recover them.

As far as the rest of the stuff, I didn’t care about it too much. It could all be replaced and would be a fresh start after moving back home. Everyone at work teased me quite a bit about leaving my car unlocked in the “sketchy” part of town, and I had to take it.

It was quite a whirlwind start to moving back home. I’m hoping the move in the next week will be a little less eventful. At least I’ve learned my lesson about locking the car, and the drive will only be 15 minutes, not 15 hours.