It’s 2AM, my alarm is set for 4:15AM to get up and on the highway headed to Connally Unit in a few hours. Cindy will be rolling into my driveway at 4:30AM to roll out at 4:45AM. My husband will be sleeping in and has learned that being me can be exhausting. I don’t have days off and neither does my twin. Our phones never stop ringing whether it’s family or clients. Cindy and I are a Twin Team. 

My husband has been on vacation this week. It was an unplanned vacation which is why my schedule was at full capacity. My husband hasn’t taken a vacation in years. But, he needed one and it’s been spent going to client meetings with me as well as rehearsal lunches and Prisons and a Pawning Planners Appraisal Appointment. 

After a week of being my “running buddy,” my husband now fully grasps what I do while he’s developing land and building custom homes. I’m in the “people business.” My twin sister, Cindy is my partner. Cindy and I are almost always together. We are far more than twin sisters. We are best friends, business partners and problem solvers for our clients. 

Cindy’s adult daughters and my son as well as my twin grandnieces work together to make Dream Events a Reality one family or barter at a time from Fort Worth, Texas. 

Yesterday’s proposed trade was at a hoarder home. My husband is not accustomed to going into occupied houses after spending fifty years building them. But, he’s been along for the ride this week with me and he’s met affluent clients, clients marrying an inmate and now clients wishing to barter their event service. I.E. he’s seen it all ya all and although it’s been an eye opening experience, he’s learned that finding creative ways to help people is my calling. 

I was particularly interested in finding flipworthy clocks at this home for a few reasons.  1. I love clocks and have collected them for thirty years now and 2. I regularly incorporate funky items into table settings as centerpieces. 

I have two large weddings and a retirement party coming up this month so I’m always interested in finding items to incorporate into my inventory that are odd or even unique and surprising and work well for centerpieces. I’ve used records, books, and all sorts of things for a number of years now. We also have a retirement party coming up in Fort Worth that I thought clocks would work well at. 

The client had sent me a few photos and I was as surprised as Matthew to be walking into a hoarder home but, I rolled with it. No one contacting me for an appraisal appointment tells me “by the way, I’m a hoarder.” This is something you won’t have a clue about until you arrive on site. 

I have no idea why but most hoarders also have an unusual amount of cats in their homes. I would need an allergy pill after this visit as would my husband. Cat dander makes my eyes water and the smell of cat urine also makes me nauseous. I was trying to cut this meeting short due to my own discomfort. Matthew was wide eyed. He had never been inside a hoarder home and was a bit taken back. Cindy and I wing it. We never know what we are walking into at appraisal appointments but we are mentally prepared for damn near anything after years of bartering. 

None of the clocks worked which didn’t bother me. My idea and trade didn’t “hinge on mechanically working clocks” so I boxed several up and bid farewell to my new client who will be marrying at TDCJ Polunsky Unit. Yes, it’s also known as Death Row. Some of you might be thinking “why is your client marrying an inmate?” Its best that you ask them. My answer is unconditional love. 

Loving and marrying an inmate require far more commitment than marrying someone one the outside. My clients do it all and they do it all alone on one income. I’m frequently asked “what percentage of men marry women in prison?” The margin is significantly lower. Ninety percent of my clients marrying an inmate are female. Five percent are male. Five percent are LBGT.  

Back at the appraisal appointment, we’ve struck a deal. This “deal” will most likely be a “break even event” which happens more than anyone realizes. I can afford to take a hit and I frequently do with a Pawning Planners client based on their story. 

Leaving my new friend and new clients  house, Matthew and I headed to meet my bride for a rehearsal lunch at B&B in the Shops At Clearfork. 

We decided to swing by my home office first and “freshen up” as the smell from our appointment had joined my husband and I which tends to happen with homes that are overrun by cats. I carry Febreeze but feral cats and their scent are tough to overcome. 

By the way, cameras make cool centerpieces too. I’m constantly collecting hats, suitcases, and other oddities to “work into” our events.  Maddy has only been gone a week but our latest Little Pawner left a hole back in Texas. For three years, little Maddy was jumping into client photos and traveling everywhere with us just as the twins did when they were young. It’s odd not to see her in my rear view mirror dancing to my 70’s cds. I miss it. I will always miss having Maddy in my SUV as will Cindy. But, Leigh Ann, Alex and Maddy are together again as they should be even though losing Maddy isn’t easy for my twin and I, we are back in California frequently and already planning a trip. 

Of course, at least two days will be spent on the Queen Mary in our port side state room (as usual). We love the Queen Mary! Maddy does too and thankfully our destination bookings in California give us a great reason to go back and forth from Texas and see Maddy. I’ve had a lot of questions about the groom toss. It’s a tradition and after that little hiccup, we now check for lights or other things that might get in the way before throwing the groom into the air. Cindy and I are still laughing about the two headed, 3 eyed, footed fox we took in trade through a Huntsville client that wasn’t an easy flip but just as excited as she is to be planning her wedding. A few of our flips are flops ya all but bartering is a gamble. You won’t always find a buyer. Because of this, when I went into the bartering business by merging Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create The Pawning Planners, Cindy and I were experienced appraisers. Also, I was financially set and could afford to take a loss. If you can’t or don’t have experience flipping items, don’t do it. You need to know the market and you need to often invest in a flip before successfully selling it. 

I didn’t plan on bartering prison weddings but, I’m open minded. I don’t create walls on any of our services and I never have. I’m really looking forward to seeing Maddy again in a few weeks. Her first trip to Chateau Marmont was memorable since she wasn’t exactly low key in the lobby lol. 

Maddy loves ice cream too so yet another trip to Ben & Jerrys will have to be crammed into our jam packed agenda for California this trip. 

I’m considering flipping out of my SUV but on the fence. Cindy and I are headed five hours one way today to meet clients and celebrate their Love After Lock Up.

For those who don’t know this already… creating a People over Profit based business was the greatest idea for fun I’ve ever come up with. Spending time with my family is an asset that is truly priceless. Helping others enjoy a Dream Event is the fringe benefit as well. We love what we do and we love who we do it for. We miss Maddy terribly but, the Texas Twins are staying busy and looking forward to seeing her soon in Sunny California. 

Leigh Ann can’t wait either. She calls and facetimes us several times a day…