Tag Archives: Disappointment

Where’s the coffee? Where’s the pie?

In 1990, back when I still read newspapers. Back before kids, I read an article about a new television series in the April 30 Washington Post. I trusted Tom Shales, the journalist who wrote the article because he’d never led me wrong when it came to entertainment. Maybe it was because he was born in Elgin, maybe we just had/have the same tastes in television.

I probably would have watched it anyway because it was the brainchild of mastermind David Lynch — a director whose works Dean and I liked. We’d seen a presentation of some of his very early works at a local (now long-gone) art theater, and we saw pretty much anything he’d done that far (except Dune).

Dean and I loved the first season of Twin Peaks. Our next door neighbors also loved it and we’d often watch episodes together, drinking damn fine, and hot, coffee and eating pie. We even had a Twin Peaks dress up party for the final episode. My friend Totty came as the Log Lady. I don’t remember who I dressed up as. Too bad that was before smartphones with cameras because we would have definitely taken photos.

Back then, I don’t think I knew anyone else who liked Twin Peaks. Certainly no one at school. There was no Internet on which to discuss each episode with strangers. (at least not in our house). We just liked it, talked about it among ourselves and when we did run into someone who’d seen the series we’d talk with them about it.

We bought the DVD set when it came out and Clare got into the show, so much that she took it to school, then Olympia (not far from the filming location) and shared it with friends.

On one trip to Olympia, we visited North Bend, Washington where parts of Twin Peaks was filmed and ate pie and drank coffee at the Double R and posed for photos in front of the Great Northern Hotel and it’s nearby iconic waterfall.

Needless to say, we (or rather I) followed with interest the rumors about the revival Twin Peaks series. Totty heard about the series and suggested we get together to watch the first episode. We were not able to watch it the night it aired, so we planned on watching two episodes the week after. Totty brought an apple pie she’d baked and I made some coffee. We settled down to watch the revival of what had been our favorite television series 25 years ago — and possibly still was our favorite.

Well… the owls are not what they seem. If someone had been secretly filming us our expressions would have gone from happy expectation to confusion to bewilderment to disappointment to sadness. As the credits rolled for the second episode, Totty remarked that it sure was not what she was expecting and said, “Where was the coffee? Where was the pie?”

Damn right — where were the coffee and pie? Where was the charm?

Dean and I watched episode 3 a couple nights ago and, after some strangely Eraserheadesque scenes, it got better. I am not giving up on the series, I am just going to go into the rest of the episodes with much less expectation.

Why I love Damart but won’t order it again

UPDATE: Closing the comments for this post because it seems to be getting a lot of traffic and my hosts are getting antsy.

Note to anyone here because of an Internet search for Damart or Thermolactyl (which seems to be a lot of you):

Hi there random Internet Person! Between the time I wrote this post and now, Damart USA has been shipping products much more quickly and I have indeed ordered Damart items several times since writing this. In fact I’m about to order some things for my daughter — so disregard the negativity below and order away. It is really good stuff; just don’t toss it in the dryer.

Are you familiar with Damart? If you live where it gets cold in the winter, you should know about Damart. Damart makes the best thermal underwear I’ve ever used (and I’ve used a lot of thermal underwear).

I first heard about Damart from my husband. I was buying a pair of cotton thermals at REI and my husband said he’d heard about a brand of thermal underwear from England that the Minnesota Vikings wore. That it was a petroleum based material that had remarkable insulation qualities. We, somehow, obtained a catalog and I ordered a set to see if it was as promised.

It was better. I now could keep warm anywhere. I no longer had to decline winter walks and spending time in Wisconsin during the winter was no longer something I could not do. I was finally warm. Life was good.

For years this was the only thermal underwear I’d wear. I had several sets and was careful to not put them in the dryer after a couple of mistakes. See — Thermolactyl — the name Damart has given to its wonder-material shrinks in the dryer. A lot. So much that a woman’s top will fit a toddler if put in the dryer. I did this a couple times, but quickly learned to wash my Damart items separately so I would not mistakenly toss one in the dryer.

If taken care of, Damart thermal underwear lasts a long time but does wear out after a while. Luckily I had the catalog (then website) from which to order. At first they’d even send free gifts with each order — an incentive to order more!

Shortly after September 2001, Damart announced they would no longer ship to the United States. I was devastated. I’d just introduced my mother-in-law to the brand and she wanted more sets of thermals — but I couldn’t buy them anymore. They suggested another company, Wickers, but their product was no match for Damart.

Damart Factory
The Damart Factory (Dave Berkeley) / CC BY-SA 2.0

In 2002 we visited England for a family vacation and I made my husband stop at the Damart factory so I could stock up on thermals in their factory store. How many other people make a long underwear factory a stop on a vacation? (The factory is 5 minutes drive from Cottingley where the young cousins saw fairies in the bottom of their garden, so we did at least two tourist stops in one day).

A few years ago Damart began shipping to the States again and I began ordering from them again. Last November I realized I’d pretty much run out of tops and turned to the website to order more. I ordered two items and was glad I’d have them for our trip to Illinois at Christmas. In mid-December, when I’d not received my order I wrote to the company and received an email saying they were sorry and the order was then processed. I still had not received my order in mid-January and wrote to the company again. This time they said there was no news about my order and if I wanted to they’d cancel the order. I said no, don’t cancel it.

My package finally arrived about a week ago. I immediately wore one of the tops. It was wonderful and warm and perfect. I remembered why I loved Damart so and forgave them for the slowness in getting me their product.

Yesterday I threw some clothes in the wash. Then tossed them in the dryer. This morning I had a bad feeling. Yep. I now have a very warm shirt that will fit a 4 year old.

So with the slowness of the order and the shrinking of the shirt, I think I’m finished with Damart. Sorry guys — I did love you so and you are only partly to blame. I do recommend you to others though — especially ones who are not in a hurry and who are more careful about their laundry.

Ms P. and the Rats of NIH(M)

I’m a birder. A lazy birder, but a birder nonetheless. It is part of who I am and has  been for more than half of my life.

One huge aspect of birding for me is feeding the birds. I have many bird feeders — two Droll Yankee tube-like feeders: one serves up tiny nyger seed that the finches love and one doles out larger seed such as sunflower, cracked corn or safflower. I also have decorative bird feeders — one looks like a birch log, but is ceramic. Another looks like a church, with a roof and clear plastic sides which hold in the seed — which I am surprised has not been chewed apart by squirrels yet. Then there are the suet cages and nyger seed socks.

I don’t have all of these feeders up at the same time. That would be unwise in Bethesda. I’d be the crazy bird lady. Recently I had one Droll Yankee feeder filled with sunflower seed and one nyger sock in back by the bird bath and one nyger sock outside the attic window.

One day I noticed that the nyger sock in the backyard had a huge hole in it. I wondered what animal had made this hole. I suspected it was a squirrel, but knowing that squirrels don’t particularly care for nyger seed, I was more than a little worried we had another rodent problem.

A few days later I looked out the window and saw the culprit. A large brown Norway rat. It was just after dinner and this rat was helping him or herself to the nyger seed. It was actually kind of cute — if you forget all the bad rat stories. But I was dismayed. I thought we were done with these things.

Years ago we had rats in the ductwork of our addition. Dean and I both noticed a funky smell coming from the heating vents in the sun room — it reminded me of the elephant house. When we discovered that it was a nest of rats, I was horrified and would never ever have admitted our discovery to anyone. I was embarrassed and ashamed and it lowered my self-esteem for a while. Dean, being the son of a dairy farmer, took care of it and we hoped we were done with rats.

The following January, however, we came home from our annual Christmas in the Midwest trip to find a rat had gotten into our house and was trapped in a mousetrap behind our stove. Dean took care of it, too. I was ready to hire an exterminator, but Dean felt that he knew what to do as well as any exterminator, so I believed him.

The next year was the year of cicadas in our area and when the cicadas died out the entire neighborhood had a rat problem. It seemed that the rats were displaced from NIH because of construction there. They didn’t care where they lived because they had a bounty of cicadas for several weeks, but after the cicadas were done with their (very cool) life cycle in our area, the rats had nothing to eat, so became a nuisance. I finally lost the embarrassment I was feeling about the rat problem we’d had — especially since other neighbors were admitting to having had rats in previous years as well.

Everyone dealt with the rats in their own ways, some hired exterminators while others, like Dean, took care of it themselves. The worst part of the rat problem for me, however, was having to give up feeding the birds. I had a slight meltdown when I realized I’d have to do this, but Dean said that maybe it would not be permanent. I held on to that hope.

We went a few years with no apparent rat problems — I even was able to feed the birds again until this year when I saw the rat eating the nyger seed.

So now I’ve had to store my bird feeders for good. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to feed birds in the backyard again — certainly not at this house. I think I can still feed them at the attic windows — but it’s not really the same. I’ll not be seeing any more Rose Breasted Grosbeaks feeding on sunflower seed outside the window in the back yard.  I can still provide water for the birds and I have started looking more at planting more bird friendly plants in the yard. But I feel as if a part of my personality has been lost for good.

Earthquake!

Gaithersburg Earthquake
The Gaithersburg Earthquake of twenty-ten

I awoke to the news that our region had a 3.6 magnitude earthquake at 5:04 this morning. I slept through it, as did another local blogger. Dean was awake and said he felt the house shake and walked outside to see if an airplane was flying overhead.

This is the second time I’ve been in an earthquake and have not felt it. The first time I was not asleep. It took place on a Saturday — I want to say it was in the morning, but it may have been later. Anyway the reason I didn’t feel it was because I was in a BLOODY BOWLING ALLEY! Of all the places not to be if you want to experience a rare Illinois earthquake is in a bowling alley.

Although I’ve never been in an earthquake I do have an earthquake story:

I was teaching students with learning disabilities in a small self-contained classrroom (10 students or so) in  a public school in Northern Virginia. It was near the end of the day and I was reading to the students when I felt the floor shake. The students also felt the shaking. I stopped reading and went to the doorway and looked out into the hall to see if anyone else felt the shaking. No one was in the hall and I heard normal teaching sounds coming from the classroom across from mine.  Still the rumbling continued, so I told the kids to get under their desks while I checked on the situation with the senior teacher next door. I was about to knock on her door when I noticed that her entire class of 30 students were running in place. Then they stopped. So did the shaking.

I went back to the class and told the students that the earthquake was over and they could get out from under their desks.

Groningse Mustard Soup

Jar of Groninger MosterdBack in December one of my Facebook and Twitter friends — a birdwatcher from The Netherlands — posted that she was going to have Mustard Soup for lunch. After a bit of discussion where I expressed disbelief, then awe, she posted a recipe and when I wondered where to find Groninger Mustard she offered to send me a jar and I accepted (and offered to send her a local spice in exchange — she chose Old Bay seasoning).

Before too long I received not one, but two jars of Groninger Mustard and set them aside until after wrestling season when we could enjoy the fat and calories with Andrew.

One day, a couple of weeks ago I purchased the ingredients for the soup and followed a recipe I found online (I’d lost the link that my friend sent, but assumed all recipes would be similar).

I was sure that I was going to love this soup, it sounded so delicious (mustard, bacon, cream — what’s not to love?) and even took a series of photos while preparing it à la The Pioneer Woman.

I know enough about cooking to become concerned when I saw how much flour in relationship to how much fat was in the recipe — of course I didn’t throughly read the recipe before I was well into making the soup (that would have been the prudent thing to do) — but plowed ahead anyway. I also knew, as I was pouring in the cream that I had not cooked the roux enough and that the soup would taste floury.

Finished soupWhile the soup was lovely to look at, especially sprinkled with newly sprouted chives from our herb garden, it tasted more like it should have been the base for biscuits and gravy (a dish I dislike) instead of the delicate cream soup I’d envisioned.

I’m going to assume I used the wrong recipe and undercooked the roux and maybe try again sometime. We still have a jar and a half of Groninger Mustard left. I sent a FB message to my Dutch friend, asking her if it was supposed to be so thick, but she didn’t respond. She may have overlooked the message; she has a lot of friends. Either that or I insulted her by not liking the soup. Nah — Not Gwen.

Worst Evening Ever

First some background:

I earned a BS in Education and Special Education, specializing in what was then called Mild Mental Retardation (MMR). I took no classes in Learning Disabilities (LD) nor did I take any classes in Emotional Disabilities (ED). My first teaching job was at a special needs school for students with various learning difficulties including MMR and LD. When I was  hired for my second teaching  job, the administration didn’t consider so much at my degree, but at my “experience” and hired me to work with LD and ED students. The administration at my third job did the same and I worked with LD students. My fourth and final teaching position was to work with LD students. Except for the first teaching job, I awoke nearly every morning with the fear that that was the day I would be exposed for the fake that I was. I was sure I was going to be told I had no business teaching children with learning disabilities, having had no official training in that field.

So it was important to me that, when I embarked on a new career after grad school where I got a masters degree in educational technology, I did something I was trained to do. Unfortunately, because I lacked the experience I was not hired at the many places I applied to be an educational technologist. The one company that offered me a job did so, believe it or not, because I’d been a special education teacher. They wanted me to quickly learn all about a new law (Section 508) that was shortly coming into effect mandating, among other things, that all electronic media offered by the government was able to be accessed by the handicapped.

I did everything I could to learn everything there was to know about this law. I never again wanted to be afraid that I’d be found out to be a fraud. I also educated others. I brought back what I learned at meetings and gave presentations to people in my office, college classes and conferences. While I never loved giving presentations, and was always nervous before giving them, I didn’t hate it too much. The audiences were usually appreciative and well-mannered.

A couple of years ago I was asked to take a look at how to make PDF files accessible. I’d worked with them years ago, and declared them to be inaccessible and suggested that HTML be used instead or along with PDF files at all times. The government agency I was working with was insistent and wanted all PDFs to be made accessible. I needed the work and was up for a challenge so I scoured the Internet, asked authority figures, read books, posted questions on email lists and bulletin boards, and picked apart various PDF files to figure out what made them work and how to make them accessible. After a number of months I felt that I knew what I was doing. I was asked to show other folks how to do this so they could help me with the huge task ahead of us — remediating existing PDFs to make them accessible for a large government website.

I talked a few people through the process, but because the work came and went and because the people working with me were assigned more important work, I kept on having to train more people, only to lose them after a month or so. I decided to write down the process so I wouldn’t have to repeat myself. I did so in blog form.

About 6 months ago someone found my blog and asked if I’d help her learn more about this, and perhaps co-present at a meeting she was setting up for an organization she was in. I’d not given a presentation for over 5 years, but was so comfortable with the process agreed to do the presentation which went over pretty well. I felt exhilarated afterward, and glad I’d found a small area of expertise.

The same woman and I arranged to give the same presentation at an accessibility group in DC this past Tuesday evening. I was nervous, but felt more prepared than I’d felt at the earlier presentation. I felt like I knew my stuff. I also knew that there were people out there who knew more than I did in the field. There are always going to be people with more knowledge on a subject — I knew that, but figured that if someone was already well-versed in the subject they wouldn’t feel the need to go.  (Although, truth be told, I did expect to see one person there who I knew was an expert in this field, but judging from his online persona, was not too worried that he’d act superior or anything. He seemed like a likable fellow.*).

The night of the meeting I arrived a couple of minutes later than I expected to and found a rapidly filling room. My co-presenter had mentioned she’d be late arriving, so I set up my laptop, but because my part of the presentation came at the end, I didn’t begin talking, except to a few people around me.

Much of the audience was blind. or had low-vision. I’d discovered this a day or so earlier and was worried about how I’d explain the steps as I demoed them on screen, but figured I’d do okay. Other people in the audience were college students, government workers and a couple of people who’d been remediating and creating accessible PDFs for some time.

My co-presenter’s talk was a little different from the one she gave in January. I was happy to see she left out the 508 stuff, since the room was full of people who already knew what 508 was all about. Since she’d begun late, I was a little concerned that my presentation was going to be cut short. As her talk went on, I mentally cut out bits from my talk in order to fit it into the time we had left. Her slides kept coming, and then I was dismayed to see she was giving the first part of my presentation. As she got into the discussion of PDFs a couple of people questioned or corrected her on what she’d said. I figured that I’d touch on those topics when I gave my talk, and clarify some things. One woman in particular seemed bent on correcting what was being said, and my co-presenter was gracious and said she was glad that woman was there.

Oh, yeah. Then the guide dog started to fart.

Finally it was my turn. I was not sure where I was going to start, but showed my slides quickly — and mentioned that my co-presenter had already discussed this or that. I got into the meat of my talk (with about 20 minutes of time left — and announcements over the loud speaker that the library was closing) and the woman in back had things to say. She said I was completely mistaken in one thing I said — even though I demoed that I did it correctly, was not sure it was necessary. Someone had a valid question about something else and the woman in back said something like, “learn to use role maps”. The next time I looked she was standing up having a conversation with another PDF expert in the room.

By this time, I knew I’d lost my audience. They were tired and the woman in back had completely undermined any semblance of expertise I had. I said, Ok. I guess I’m done. Any questions? People popped up like jack-in-the box clowns. While I put my laptop away a few people crowded around my co-presenter. No one wanted to talk to me. Why should they? I was outed as a fraud.

I did go out to dinner with a group of people from the meeting, and did what any self-respecting adult child of an alcoholic would do. I ordered and drank two glasses of wine in quick succession.

*This person did come to the presentation but was not there for my part. He is a very nice person. I am sure he thinks I have no sense of humor because I was not getting the jokes he was telling — but I was basically a nervous wreck and my sense of humor is often the first to go when I’m feeling nervous.

These boots have souls

The Boots in London
The Boots in London

In 2000 or 2001 I bought a pair of Stonefly boots at The Sea Captain’s Lady in Geneva, Illinois. These boots changed my life as I knew it. They were the most comfortable shoe I’d ever put on my feet. Slipping my feet into these boots was like getting a foot massage. Walking was deliriously comfortable. They hugged my feet like lovers meeting after a long absence.

I wore these boots for nearly everything, except the most dress-up occasions. When we took a trip to England and Scotland in 2002 I wore these boots and walking was a breeze. My feet never got tired and never ached when I wore these boots.

In hindsight, I should have purchased several pairs of these boots when I could, because when I began to worry about the day that these boots would wear out, I was too late. Stonefly had quit selling these exact boots. Of course I turned to the Internet to find my Stonefly Gortex ankle boots. I found and purchased a couple of pairs on Ebay, but none were exactly the same — they were all too narrow near the toes and wearing them hurt my feet.

The boots
The boots

A few years ago I noticed that my boots were splitting at the seams and took them to a cobbler to have them fixed. He sewed them and polished them and they served me well a few more years. Now the seams are splitting again, but the soles have worn so thin I can feel even small pebbles when I walk outside in them. Unfortunately they are not the sort of boot that have the soles sewn on, but are attached some other way (glue? heat?). I could try a cobbler again — I hear there is a shoe miracle worker in Washington DC — but I’m not sure they’d be the same with new soles.

These boots have taken me to a new job, England & Scotland, Seattle, California, Wisconsin, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, kids performances, girl scout meetings, wrestling tournaments, and many other places I’ve forgotten. I think it is time they took it easy. I’ve found other shoes that are somewhat comfortable. I’m satisfied with a newer pair of Gortex Stonefly ankle boots — brown this time, but not nearly as comfortable — which took me to Ireland a couple of years ago. I’ve also purchased a fairly comfortable pair of Merrell clogs that I use everyday.

I doubt I’ll ever find another pair of boots or shoes quite as wonderful as my old black Gortex Stonefly Ankle boots. Even Stonefly can’t seem to get it right again. But I’ll keep looking.

Secret Room, Secret Dreams

As mentioned before, I like dreams about unexplored areas of houses. I’ve dreamed about new houses with labyrinth-like layouts and about finding secret places in our current house. So, when we discovered that we might have a secret room under our screened-in porch, I was intrigued.

Our house was built shortly after World War II in an area of Bethesda called Huntington Terrace. The street on which the house was built hosts several other homes that look similar to ours — a typical brick center hall colonial common in this area. What is unique about the homes is that the home directly opposite is exactly the same — a reverse mirror-image, but no two other homes are the exact same. Another unique quality of several of the homes was an excavated “secret” room under the screened in porch. At least two neighbors broke through the cinder block in the basement to find an extra 1000+ cubic feet of space. At least two others broke through from the outside and created outside storage.

When we first heard about the room under the porch we joked about opening it up and making a root / wine cellar out of it. We also joked (as did several of our friends) that we may find a body in the room. I didn’t really think seriously about it until we looked at the across the street neighbor’s extra room when the house was on the market. Dean went back at least once to look at the room and not long after that we called the man who refinished our attic (my current office) and asked if he could do the job of breaking through the wall and making a door to our room that we now were sure existed. He wasn’t so sure, but gave us a reasonable estimate price and said he’d call when he had time. Months went by, but he eventually called and said he could start work on a Monday in August.

In anticipation I snapped a few shots:

Basement where the door would go
Basement where the door would go
From the outside
From the outside
Porch
Shot of the porch

On Monday at 9:00 am sharp, Peter and his assistant, Eric, arrived to start work. They quickly set up and while Peter brought things in from the truck, Eric started chipping away at the cinder block of the laundry room wall. Checking out the wall The first chip Making the hole

It didn’t take long for Eric to chip through both sides of the cinder block. He asked for a flashlight and we took our first look into the room
DSC_0318.JPG DSC_0320.JPG

Instead of 61 year old air we saw dry dirt. Peter and Eric both tried to push a crowbar into the dirt, hoping it was not packed into the space, but it wouldn’t give. I called Dean and told him the news. We didn’t have an excavated secret room. Instead we had a room full of dirt that hadn’t seen the light of day in over 60 years.

Peter and Eric did find air instead of dirt directly under the porch, but the porch is only about 4 feet above ground.

Dean did some musing for about a day and a half about how he and Andrew could excavate the dirt through the laundry room and out the basement door but calculations came to far too may work hours to make it a reality.

As you can imagine we were all disappointed. I thought I’d get a wine / root cellar. Dean hoped for some extra space so he could set up his workbench inside instead of having to store it outside under the addition. We’re over it now, but it sure would have been nice.

We wondered why some of the houses on our street had excavated rooms and others did not. I recently found an old Washington Post advertisement about our street and it seems that the homes on the opposite side of the street were finished first. I think that by the time the builder got to our house he figured that there was no need to remove the earth from the area under the porch. Little did he know that his decision would make some future owners kind of sad.

In hindsight I wonder if not knowing would have been best. It was always kind of cool to think that there was a room on the other side of the laundry room wall,  just waiting to be uncovered. Now that we know it is just a space filled with dry old soil, it’s taken away a small, but delicious, mystery.

Life is not like in the commercials

I don’t watch that much television — and rarely watch commercial television these days — but when I do watch broadcast TV, I don’t ignore the commercials. My husband switches channels when a commercial comes on or, if we’ve recorded the program, fast forwards through them, but I sort of like the bit of modern-day “culture” I see in TV ads.

There are three commercials that I remember preceding milestones in my life. The first was a diaper commercial. It featured a young family at the zoo looking at the animals. At the end of the commercial the baby (toddler, I think) is picked up by her father and nods her head — possibly in response to an animal nodding its head. This commercial caused my hormones to scream “WANT BABY NOW!”. So we had a baby, and as wonderful as that baby was — she never nodded to the animals at the zoo. And we didn’t use disposable diapers, so that ad was wasted on us as far as the advertising industry was concerned.

The next commercial that I remember using as a benchmark for my role as a mother was for a brand of beverage that I never planned on serving my kids, but liked the whole idea of my kids friends hanging out at our house. I wanted to be like the mother in this commercial:

For several reasons, some unknown to me, but others known, kids never wanted to hang out here. Maybe I should have bought Sunny Delight after all.

The last television advertisement that I felt an emotional response to was one I just saw the other day. This one, though, I suspected would not be true to life since the past year didn’t live up to my expectations. It did make me cry though:

After taking Clare to college, it turns out that this was the most true to life of the three commercials. We did have a feeling of dismay when we first saw the dorm room but after making the bed and after her roommate’s parents set up some things they’d bought (not at Walmart) it did look a little more cozy than at first glance.

One thing I’ve learned (the hard way) in the past 18 years of being a parent (and a human being, for that matter) is to avoid having set expectations about life events. Life turns out the way it is going to turn out — one cannot know exactly how scenes are going to be played out and one should not expect that everything is going to be exactly like one has planned. Sometimes (usually) it is worse. No set expectations improves the odds that it will be better.

Not one of my successes

About a year and a half ago I wrote the following about a former student of mine:

Tom Cruise look-alike, smooth-talking, thirteen-year-old Diran even had the older nuns under his spell. He was nearly expelled from Catholic school for smoking in the boys’ room, but given a warning instead. He finally was kicked out when he brought a knife to the school. Not one of my successes.

Today I learned that middle school was only the beginning. A little over two months ago he was involved in a high-speed two-state police chase.  Four years before that he was snatching purses from middle aged women.

He really wasn’t a bad kid. I expected him to grow out of his “bad-boy” phase and go on to college and end up successful. He certainly had the personality for it.  I expected, someday, to read about him in the paper — but not like this.

I wonder what happened. Why he risked his life and the lives of others by racing through the countryside high on medications.