This morning while watering my plants, I ran into my neighbor Cris who happened to ask about my dad. Since my dad has been involuntarily committed for six days now, my answer about how dad was doing surprised my neighbor. 

Actually, the situation continues to surprise not only me but also my twin sister, Cindy. We no longer have predictably going for us anymore. 

I’m a 10PM to sleep and 6AM to rise person who schedules everything including my sleep. Answering emails right up to 10PM, my TDCJ Bridgeport Bride had a question regarding Absentee Affidavits since “The Prison told me they don’t have any.” Bridgeport is a privately owned facility and, no they aren’t thrilled about having wedding ceremonies. 

Months ago, I instructed the Warden of Bridgeport to contact the Courts in Huntsville after she advised me that they are privately owned and not under ” Texas Department Of Criminal Justice State Administrative Directives.” 

I called the Courts in Huntsville to discuss this issue with Bridgeport. Although privately owned, Bridgeport Unit falls under TDCJ. 

Getting that Bridgeport wedding approved by took weeks as the process “dragged along.” There have been many Units over the years that hadn’t actually had a wedding and therefore, had no idea of the process. 

At one unit, the Chaplain told the bride she could bring a wedding ring to the ceremony. The Administrative Directive strictly prohibits ring exchanges. 

I advised the Warden and Chaplain of this to prevent further confusion at following wedding ceremonies. Yes. I know all of the Rules and, I follow them at Texas Prison Weddings and other Inmate Weddings in other states. 

Occasionally, my “job” involves far more than simply showing up to Officiate or Coordinate at weddings, baptisms, birthday parties, funerals or other events. 

Quite frequently, my “job” is to “enlighten” others as to where they can find a piñata, rent chairs, or even get information regarding the process of a Texas Prison Wedding. 

I spent weeks talking to my “more than a little upset about the process” Bridgeport Bride trying to get that wedding scheduled. Bridgeport Unit asked how to verify my credentials to Officiate inside a Texas Prison. 

I also instructed Bridgeport on how to verify my TDCJ Credentials, got the date and time and carried on. The Bride was married but had no photos. “As a private unit, we do not offer photos.” Photos at Units are not a “given.” 

If the Warden or Unit prohibits photos, you will not have photos. Explaining this to my Bridgeport Bride wasn’t an easy conversation but, necessary. 

I answer a lot of questions regarding officiating Texas Prison or Jail Wedding Planning. Because of this, I’ve created a new site here’s the link– TDCJ Weddings With Wendy Wortham.

If you are unaware of whether a Unit is state owned or privately owned, TDCJ Clients can easily research this information online. 

Many private Units do not allow photos for purchase. I can’t control that. You can’t control that. 

Certain privately owned Units like Estes have since decided to allow photos for weddings and visitation but, every Unit is different. 

This latest development regarding an Absentee Affidavit “not being available in the Law Library” isn’t a problem either. 

Most Units do provide Absentee Affidavits as a courtesy but, in the event the Law Library doesn’t have this document on hand, it’s easily found on the internet. 

Prior to the Administrative Directive giving permission to Prisoners to marry, the Absentee Affidavit document was used solely for Military Members. 

Marrying a couple whether they are in a Prison or anywhere else, is a legal process. I know how to handle filing an Amended Marriage Petition or a Duplicate License while other “Officiants” have no idea how to. Why? Because I’m articulate. I know every aspect of my “job” because when I do something, I do it right. I don’t make mistakes. I’m never late. 

I’m honest and reliable in a world where loyalty and transparency are becoming harder and harder to find.

I’m also reasonably and fairly priced on services. I have never advertised for Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners, Texas Twins Treasures or Texas Prison Weddings With Wendy Wortham. Why? Because my clients are loyal to me and refer their friends and families that’s why. My clients are friends and I treat them as such. 

For years now, even before I started officiating prison weddings, I’ve had “emergency Officiant requests.” What are they? Well, they are calls from people who hired SOMEONE other than me who didn’t show up. These calls continue to shock and amaze me because as a consumer you have rights. 

As a consumer, you purchased (in good faith) a service. Over the past nearly 3 years of inmate weddings, I’ve helped 21 people AFTER they had paid someone else. The “someone else” took their money and they never heard from them again. These clients found me and I made their Dream Event a reality. 

I’ve been the second and even third TDCJ Officiant that actually got the job done for clients after the other idiots left THEIR client high and dry. I saved these people who trusted the wrong people and yes, I’m vocal and honest about the situation because I’m angry about it. 

I’m angry for my clients who should never have been duped by anyone that breached their trust. I don’t have emergencies. I’m never late. I don’t have   excuses. I never will. Trust and loyalty are earned. You can trust me to be there for you. 

While picking up my dads medication and wondering why Wellbridge doesn’t provide it, an event owner called me because she had decided to start Officiating ceremonies. As usual, there’s a “back story” regarding this event owner. 

She has a habit of tagging me in her ads to promote her venue but, never shares or promotes Texas Twins Events or The Pawning Planners Services. Out of the blue, she calls me to “walk her through the responsibilities of Officiating a wedding?” 

Phone calls and emails that start with  “I need this or can you help me do that” give you a better handle on how much I enjoy someone contacting me to do their job for them. 

I don’t mind promoting my connections because they promote our services too but, I do mind someone promoting themselves at my expense and then expecting me to do their job for them or instruct them on how to do it themselves.

Officiants new to conducting a Marriage email and call me constantly to ask if “they have to file the license, where to take it” and other pertinent information that they should understand

If “your friend” makes a mistake on your Marriage License, “your friend” will have to file an Amended Petition. They had better he familiar with Legal Process to do this or you have a real problem. Everybody thinks officiating a wedding is fun. It’s a huge responsibility to the person officiating. 

Nobody thinks about the fact that they are signing a LEGAL document when “asking a friend to Officiate their wedding.” When there’s a problem of question, guess who gets that phone call? Yep. 

If “your friend” forgets to file your Marriage License, you aren’t legally married. If you are one of the Officiants calling me to tell you how to do your job, you shouldn’t be doing the job. 

I’m a paid consultant for Gershman Leighman and I can promise you that if you’d like me to tell you how to do your job, I can but, it isn’t free. I’m a “paid by the hour” consultant. 

Whether you needed ten minutes of advice or sixty, I bill by the hour. Call someone else in season and ask them to “walk you through the process” or, educate yourself to every aspect of Officiating a ceremony. Period.

People spend tens of thousands of dollars on their weddings and, if you don’t know what you are doing as an Officiant, don’t put yourself in a position of not knowing what to do, what’s expected of you or how to perform a ceremony. 

If I had a nickel for every Officiant who told me “I’ve never done this before and know you’ve done it for years so I need your help” I would be rich by now. Figure it out on your own and stop expecting everyone else to drop everything and do the work you are getting paid for. 

For those of my Texas Prison Weddings With Wendy Wortham Clients unaware of how to find an Absentee Affidavit, I’m adding the link– Absentee Applicant Affidavit Texas. 

If you have additional questions regarding the process to obtain your Marriage License, call or text me.

In order to get the Absentee Affidavit form notarized at a TDCJ Unit, the Prisoner must visit the Law Library and use his TDCJ ID to get it notarized. You need BOTH the Absentee Affidavit AND the notarized ID to purchase a marriage license.

The Prisoner will then mail  both documents to the Bride or Groom “on the outside” who will take the document to the Clerks Office and use it to obtain the Marriage License.

Since I was already awake past 10PM, I called Cindy to update her on the next few weeks scheduled events. I’m juggling my schedule to accommodate my surgery July 18 for complications of Ovarian Remnant Syndrome. A rare disease that causes incredible pain similar to a kidney stone and often, misdiagnosed. 

In order to accommodate my existing clients and “stack” Prison Weddings at various Units, I “bumped my surgery.” 

Three weeks ago, I had no idea while juggling my Clients from Texas Twins Events, Texas Prison Weddings and The Pawning Planners that my father would be committed to a Psych Ward. Who would? 

Obviously, I couldn’t schedule this involuntary commitment for my dad into my well planned and perfectly orchestrated agenda while hoping my niece would go back to JPS for psychological treatment. 

I’m OCD. I have a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and even a Plan D. I over prepare for everything in my life. 

No one can prepare for a Psych Ward Commitment of a loved one. Try bouncing from one Psych Ward to the next with not one family Jenner but, two. Dad and Steph? Yep. 

While watering my plants, I told my neighbor Cris that the situation with dad was causing me great anxiety and that my brother and sister in law continue to call with advice or ideas from North Carolina. Cindy and I visit dad from 4PM to 5PM daily at Wellbridge. 

Buying “Psych Friendly” clothing and raccoon traps for the infestation that drove him to shoot up the ceiling of his rambling multi level home has been not only expensive but also, emotionally draining. I can’t fix my dad. Cindy can’t either. 

Cris told me that her friend moved her mother from Louisiana in with her and that the mother must be “Satans Wife.” I laughed at this and asked what she meant? 

Apparently, the mother is quite mean and has made her daughters life a living Hell. Friends are afraid to visit and even her grandkids are told they are ugly and she hates them. Shocked, I suggested putting the mother in a nursing home.

On yesterday’s call after leaving Wellbridge, my sister in law in North Carolina who continues to offer “helpful advice” from the comfort of her home far from the daily visits with dad while handling his house and needs decided to tell my sister and I that dad can live with his kids when he gets out. Hmm, which kids are those? 

I’m using the photo of my twin sister and twin grandnieces for this blog because the “if you don’t have anything good to say” fingers over our mouths works nicely to get my point across. If you’re a relative with “more friendly advice” from the comfort of your home, shhh it.

There are so many people who have only bad things to say regarding my niece, Stephaney off her meds again or my father’s current situation that forcing myself from saying anything derogatory to them is becoming an actual struggle. Seriously. 

Bad advice is the last thing we need to hear when we are crawling thru glass trying to get my dad released while trying to get my niece help.

My relationship with my father up to this point has been distant. My twin sister is also not in a position to “take dad in.” Cindy has all three of her granddaughters living with her as well as her adult daughter, Leigh Ann and her husband. 

My husband wouldn’t move his dad into our home so, the odds of moving my dad in are zero.

If my sister in law, Michelle is suggesting moving dad into their house, wouldn’t she have said “pop can come live with us?” 

The consistent suggestions that we aren’t doing enough here in Texas have put my patience at an all time low. 

For all of the adult children dealing with aging parents while fielding calls from siblings living in other states far from the daily stess and expense involved facing the same issues, I’ve got some great advice, hang up. 

I know you are overwhelmed and I know that your siblings who have the luxury of living their life without having to “work in” caring or paying for care of their mother, father or both are as sick and tired of hearing advice as my sister and I are.

After all, my brother isn’t getting late night calls or trying to visit dad driving in rush hour traffic to walk into a room with a few patients trying to escape while others are trying to hug him and ask for cigarettes, we are. 

Apparently, Wellbridge gives everyone Olanzapine across the board. This drug is an antipsychotic. My dad isn’t and never has been Bipolar or Schizophrenic. 

Mental Wards and Psychiatric Institutions are money makers. If you weren’t aware of this, you should be.  

My niece was billed up to $1500 a day for her 3 stays in a Mental Wards. Fourteen days twice at JPS and nineteen days in Wichita Falls for a person without insurance effectively “ran up” over 82k in medical treatment, medication and overnight fees. Wichita Falls is actually higher per day than JPS. 

For sixteen years, Cindy and I have taken turns “footing the bill” for Drug Rehab Stints for my niece Stephaney. The truth is that these “Rehab Hospitals” are also huge money making machines too. Why? Addicts have to want to change and family members (normally parents) want treatment so badly for their child that they are more than willing to pay any amount to get their kid back! My twin sister and I have both spent tens of thousands of dollars to “Save Stephaney.” 

At our age with husbands eyeballing retirement because they are both fifteen years older than us, throwing more money at saving Stephaney while shouldering the continuing financial responsibilities of raising Stephaney’s twin daughters effectively makes Saving Stephaney financially impossible. Both Cindy’s husband, Steve and my husband, Matthew have “put the breaks” on more Drug Rehab for Stephaney.

Although Cindy and I had hoped to finally Save Stephaney a few months ago and believed we finally did, her relapse was the last straw. Stephaney will be thirty one years old this month and we must focus on college for the twins and their future. 

Stephaney and her demons have cost us enough money since she was fifteen and pregnant with the twins to have bought a custom home for not only Cindy and Steve but also, me and my husband too. We no longer wonder why so many people give up and understand that it’s essential to “save yourself first.” 

For Cindy and I along with our husbands, Saving the twins has always been our main priority. We’ve bought Stephaney more cars than we could count “trying to help her get on her feet or have a place to sleep” over the years and when you couple the Rehab Expenses with the expense of raising twins without child support, you have a clearer example of how much we’ve sacrificed as a family “circling the wagons” while putting our own needs and our futures last.

My dad is now so overmedicated that’s it’s nearly impossible for him to stay awake during our daily visits. 

Overmedicating patients at Wellbridge is apparently “standard procedure.” Cindy asked everyone else visiting today if their loved ones are on the same medication. 

Everyone at Wellbridge is on this medication and we are now forced to get a Medical Power of Attorney for a list of other medications my dad is being spoon fed at Wellbridge. There is no way in his current condition that he would be coherent enough for a Mental Hearing after being at Wellbridge less than four days.

How can anyone pass a Mental Evaluation when they are overmedicated? Wellbridge doesn’t want to release patients because they’d lose a lucrative patient. 

My dad is on Medicare and when that runs out, I’m fairly certain he will be discharged but, who knows? The only other patient we’ve met who doesn’t “act crazy” told us her insurance approved another five days after her initial fourteen day stay and “they do t let you leave here until they’ve completely exhausted your insurance.” 

I was alarmed to hear this example of bilking the insurance company and unlike dad on this medication, Lisa appeared lucid. How she was acting normal when every patient at Wellbridge is taking Olanzapine and wandering around in a daze or trying to escape I have no idea.

Olanzapine has turned my dad into a zombie. For a guy who could tell you a story from his childhood and remember the date, my dad now has no idea what day it is or even which month. Olanzapine causes memory loss.

I stopped by the three home abandoned estate my niece is now squatting at the past month to take her food and drinks for the weekend. Stephaney is still unmotivated to enter treatment or the hospital. 

We beg and we plead but, she absolutely refuses. She has a stockpile of her Bipolar One medication but, she isn’t taking it. How much longer she can continue to claim she’s sick without allowing us to take her to a hospital I have no idea. 

If the owner of that three property estate had any idea that my niece decided to “move in,” he would’ve called the police weeks ago. Squatting in properties has become a real problem in Texas. 

At midnight last night, Stephaney finally called Cindy. She was at a park and ready to go back to JPS and get back on her medication. It’s a development that we have prayed for. 

If we can convince my niece to get stable and get another job, she can support herself and maybe the twins would speak to her again. They are upset that their mother went off the rails and at nearly fourteen, aware of when she’s not taking her medication and acting paranoid. 

It’s difficult for Cindy or I to even talk to Stephaney when she’s in this condition and how or why she suddenly decided to call 911 and ask to be transported to the Tenth Floor can only be attributed to her finally wanting help as opposed to us demanding that she get help. 

With dad locked down at Wellbridge and Stephaney unemployed and off her meds, having a health issue couldn’t have come at a worse time but, I have a good team and hopefully won’t miss more than 2-3 days of work which is why I literally “loaded” my schedule from June 1 to July 17. 

Stephaney relapsed the same day I learned that a large cyst and my ovary were causing issues of pain. Choosing the worst time in the world to go off her meds, get fired, lose her roommate and “flip out” again, my niece never considers anyone else or what they are dealing with. 

I’m guessing dad didn’t expect involuntary commitment either but, shooting up your house will (apparently) get you a vacation that you didn’t plan on. 

Last week Stephaney told Cindy she needed her to pay her car insurance and surcharges. We were already dealing with dads weird texts and phone calls, so Cindy who is usually humorous and light hearted shocked her daughter by replying “isn’t it enough that we are raising your kids and have been all of these years? Wendy and I can’t keep covering your expenses anymore. We’ve had sixteen years of this shit with you. You’re an adult and you chose to blow your future at a lucrative job and I’m done paying your car insurance. Wendy’s done paying your surcharges too. We are both done with you and your bills. When we were sixteen years old we had an apartment and cars and paid our own bills. We didn’t have anyone to call for help ever. We had only each other. I don’t know why I’ve tried and tried to fix you and when I couldn’t afford to, Wendy did for me. Get up and get a job but stop expecting us to pay your fees, your probation, your surcharges, your insurance, buy your gas, buy your food and buy your clothes or get your nails done. If you want something, go work for it!” 

I’ve been thinking the same thing for years but, Cindy pretty much “covered” everything for me. We still pay Stephaney’s cell phone because without it, we can’t ever find her. Stephaney “wants to talk to the twins” but, they don’t want to talk to her. 

All of the years Stephaney has spent in jail or rehab or even a Psych Ward, the twins hoped they could get their mom back but, this last time did it for both of them. They don’t want to see her or talk to her and Stephaney did this to herself. 

Throughout the twins lives, of Stephaney was stable, we allowed her to see them and even encouraged visits but, we never allowed her to take the twins with her and leave. 

The reason for this was (of course) Stephaney’s “friends.” We wouldn’t allow Stephaney’s friends to be alone with the twins. There were a lot of arguments over this but, Cindy and I held firm and protected the twins from being around the unstable boyfriends and other unfortunate folks that Stephaney hung out with. We couldn’t choose Stephaney’s friends but, we certainly controlled who was around the twins.

Dad and Stephaney have nothing in common with their mirrored situations being committed to a Psych Ward. While Stephaney actually is unpredictable and crazy off her medication, up until a month ago, my dad had never acted crazy or unstable. 

My dad actually laughed when he called us leaving a visit with Stephaney at JPS when he asked “what are the other people like?” Visits to a patient at a Psych Ward are so wild and unexpected that nothing and I mean nothing can prepare you for one. 

Stephaney will finally get help at JPS and maybe just maybe, we can get her back on track and keep her there this time. All of her other rehab stints and medical warrants weren’t voluntary. 

By “turning herself” in to JPS, I’m hoping my niece has finally found a turning point to straighten up. We are fearful of a relapse but, for once in her life, my niece is finally doing something herself and I pray it’s because she wants to make a change! 

While my dad found humor in our description of what was going on at tables around us while Stephaney complained, the literal craziness was so bad in there that four armed guards were on hand to protect the unwitting visitors “from the outside world” from getting hit, punched, kicked or bumped with a chair being tossed across the room.

Dads stay at Wellbridge is far less chaotic. All of the patients are over fifty. The “older crowd” isn’t as volatile. They are far more focused on escape attempts and bumming cigarettes or hugging you. 

Patients without visitors join us at dads table and are more than friendly with hugs and close contact. Dad doesn’t mind the additional patients at a table with Cindy and I. 

It’s odd but dad even knows many of the patients names from group meetings and dining together. “Oh, that’s Lisa she’s always trying to escape. Dan drank my coffee today. Ed ate my cereal.” 

With three meals a day and snacks every two hours, my dad has already gained weight. “They are making me fat here. I noticed three more pills in my cup. What are they? Ask someone. I feel dizzy and confused. These extra pills are making me feel tired and drunk. Can you ask them why they are giving me these? You told me to stay calm and I am but they are giving me all of these pills and I only take my heart pills and I’m really concerned about this. Are they telling my PCP about all of this additional medicine? Find out for me.” 

Asking questions about medication will have the “usual attendants at visitation” disappear. No one wants to tell you what meds they are giving your family member. “It’s best you don’t even know. We know what we are doing and the medication keeps everyone calm here.” 

Hmm, calm like Valley Of The Dolls? Zombies shuffling around trying to find the exit? Are these people here for shooting up their ceiling trying to kill raccoons too or something darker? It’s hard to tell. REALLY HARD. 

One patient was cursing at his wife and acting angry. I moved away from him. My dad said “he’s a nice guy and loaned me cigarettes. I forgot to ask you to bring me cigarettes the last three days because I couldn’t remember to ask you. He’s a great guy. Smokes Camels I think. I told him I haven’t smoked cigarettes in ten or fifteen years but, I got nothing to lose and it gives me an opportunity to go outside and see the sun. If you don’t smoke, you can’t go outside. Don’t be afraid of him, he’s just jumpy and easy to get angry. You need to be afraid of the old guy over there tapping his foot to music that isn’t playing!” 

As I looked over at “what appeared” to be a calm seventyish old man wearing pajamas in the visitation room and thought he looked milder than anyone else in there, he started throwing papers around and screaming “get me the Hell out of this place!” Yep. I had him all wrong. He looked calm because he was saving his strength up to jump on the table screaming. WOW. 

Nothing prepares you for these visits. Nothing. You walk out of Psych Ward visits dazed and confused. You walk in with nothing. No car keys, no purse, nothing. You are screened and go through metal detectors as if you were visiting a Prisoner.

Being surrounded by crazy people with dad in his current state of being overwhelmed, confused and wondering if he will ever get out is enough on its own to deal with. Throwing in the mental patients trying to touch us and/or sit with us in yet another episode of One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest at the Psych Ward is draining on it’s own.

I explained to my sister in law yesterday that neither Cindy, I or even dad can expedite the process for an Inpatient Psychiatric Stay. Her phone calls and “helpful advice” are infuriating my sister and I to the point that we no longer take calls. “Why haven’t you been to visit? I just talked to him and he wants to know where you are!” 

Well, visitation at Wellbridge is at 4PM. Obviously, being confrontational about why we weren’t visiting EVERYDAY when we were the ONLY people visiting dad wouldn’t occur at 1PM when visitation was at 4PM. Now you know why I skip these “friendly check in” phone calls. 

While on the phone with my sister in law leaving Wellbridge, my Groom from Linda Woodman State Jail for July 26 was trying to call me. I quickly ended the call with Michelle who thinks she knows everything about a parent being committed but has never actually even been to a Psych Unit for a visit and spared her my temper.

The truth is that if Cindy and I hadn’t been forced to deal with her daughter, Stephaney and her Bipolar One Schizophrenia we would have no idea of the process of having a relative in a Psych Ward. Steph had trained my father’s daughters to Psych Ward Protocol. 

We’ve learned about “Psych Friendly” clothing because we’ve had to bring Stephaney clothes and shoes at three different incarcerations. 

We’ve learned about Patient Codes because without one at a Mental Institute, you can’t visit you can’t call and you can’t leave clothing, toiletries or cigarettes for the patient. 

Yes, we’ve “learned” the hard way how to deal with a loved one in a Mental Ward. One thing we learned from my niece, Stephaney was what to expect, what to bring and whatever happens– get that freaking patient code! 

My Hondo Unit Bride sent me a text about bringing a guest early this morning while someone else needed help finding a particular piñata. The piñata lady has called before but, apparently forgot and called again. I sent her to voice mail and continued to talk to my Hondo Unit Bride because CLIENTS COME FIRST. 

If I was paid for phone calls, texts and emails from people who could find this information for a piñata or the cheapest venue or where to find chocolate roses from people who HAVEN’T HIRED US, I really would be rich by now. 

The number of times I’ve had to give direction or insight to someone who isn’t a Client would surprise you. It surprises the shit out of my husband. “They aren’t a Client and want you to do what? You have a full schedule 7 days a week. Tell them to hire a coordinator. You aren’t getting paid to research solutions to THEIR PROBLEMS.” I turn my phone off at 6PM every night and keep it off from Friday-Monday because I’m not on the clock. Stop being a softie.” 

How people don’t  understand using the internet for the same information they are asking me to find is amazing. Frankly though, these constant interruptions actually occupy my mind as I wonder if dad will be released? My husband may be annoyed but, being busy is good for me. He’s very different than I am about trying to be helpful. But, he’s older too. 

My dad is concerned about losing his gun license. I’m concerned about his stay being extended and more importantly whether or not he will be allowed to return home to live on his own as he has all of his life. 

At seventy five years old, taking care of my father was a burden that neither I or my sister ever expected. It’s emotionally and economically taxing.

I thought about our sister, Tammy. Living next door to our mentally impaired mother for all of those years. A mother who was never a mother because she was a heroin addict. 

Our mothers mother adopted Tammy. After Grandma Tinney died, Tammy became the caretaker of our mother. Although she has health care and aids to help our mother, Tammy has had over twenty years of dealing with our mother. I found myself wondering how the heck she stayed calm caring for someone who had never cared for her? Life isn’t fair. 

To say my dad has “warmed up to us” more would be a literal understatement. Why? We are the only visitors he has and the only ties to the outside world in his life right now aside from phone calls from my sister in law in North Carolina. My dad keeps asking why our brother isn’t calling more often? 

Visits are the highlight of my dads day. Wednesday Cindy had to visit without me as I was tied up with clients and also struggling with the pain my ORS often puts me in. I believe the pain is more significant when I’m under stress to be honest with you. 

It’s a chronic stabbing pain that I refuse to take pain medication to treat as my mother and my niece are both addicts and the fear of becoming addicted to anything is primarily why Cindy and I both “suck it up and skip pain meds.” 

My dog, Foxy hurt himself over a week ago and doesn’t like taking his medicine either. Between trying to nurse him back to health and sneak meds into treats and his food while meeting clients, taking calls, visiting dad, checking raccoon traps at his house, taking my homeless niece whose squatting in an abandoned home nearby food and trying to be a good wife and aunt to my three grandnieces, I’m as exhausted as my twin sister. The chronic pain of having a cyst on my ovary doesn’t help matters.

Today I’m off to Estes Unit then picking up a trade from a TDCJ Client Bartering her Prison Wedding Officiant Ceremony and heading to Hurricane Harbor for a few hours before heading back to Wellbridge to visit my dad AGAIN. We visit 7 days a week. It’s depressing. 

I’m hoping the trade is in as good condition as the photo sent but, we never know until we walk the trade in person. Since everyone asks what we do when a trade won’t work, we look for other items of value while on location and if all else fails, redirect clients to Texas Twins Events.

I thought about my husband while visiting my dad yesterday. Years ago, gophers had infested our backyard. My husband hired exterminators and tried every avenue to rid our home of the holes that pocketed not only the backyard but also the front yard. 

One morning while getting ready to leave and meet a client, I heard a gunshot and found my husband near our sparkling pool shooting the gopher hole. 

The gophers had driven my husband crazy enough to resort to incredible lengths. The calmest person in the world “losing it” over gophers? Yep. I’ve seen it happen. 

My husband developed the Estates Of Lakeside and spent over two years killing poison ivy and fighting off mice to create a beautiful yard. 

Within months, our beautiful yard became a jungle gym of holes that everyone tripped and fell into walking across the yard. My plants and landscaping were ruined from tunnels that crisscrossed here, there and everywhere. I accepted the gopher problem but, my husband couldn’t.

Although Matthew is normally the most easy going and quiet person that I’ve ever met, he just couldn’t take it anymore. Quiet people are the most volatile. They wait to blow up and lose it.

Luckily, unlike my dad or even his dad, Matthew didn’t encounter the police regarding using his 44 to try and kill these pesky intruders. 

Matthew’s father was forced to go into a nursing home after shooting up his ranch and my father was forced to go into a Psych Ward after shooting at his ceiling. 

Had the police been called regarding my husband shooting the ground, I am now fearful that my husband would’ve been hauled off to the Psych Ward for shooting gophers. 

Living in the country spared my husband the fate that his father and my father were forced to live out. 

My Huntsville Bride told me that her fiancée is incarcerated because he tried to commit suicide with a gun that jammed after losing his grandmother to old age. The problem? The Prisoner was on parole and not allowed to posses a firearm.

Although we live in Texas and most everyone has a gun or in some cases, more than one, guns cause legal issues on an everyday basis. I don’t like guns. Cindy doesn’t like guns. Neither of us are comfortable around guns. But, our husbands and our father and their fathers had guns at a young age.

When my son was young, he played with dolls and other “girl toys.” Although my husband was angry about this, my son was raised with my twin sisters daughters, Leigh Ann and Stephaney. 

My son is the only male in two generations of children and grandchildren. Playing with dolls instead of guns “didn’t make my son feminine.” 

When you live in a home full of loaded guns and rifles, the last thing you want is for your young son to believe that playing with guns is okay. If that upset other family members- they could get over it. 

My son has no guns in his home although his father gifted him a rifle. My son like me is uncomfortable around firearms. 

Every parent uses a different style raising their children and I’m not pointing any fingers but, when we had a pool, we practiced extreme pool safety. Everyone took swimming lessons and everyone followed my Rules. There weren’t any accidents.

My husband and Cindy’s husband thought my twin grandnieces should take gun lessons for their sixteenth birthdays “so they know how to protect themselves in college.” Cindy and I never needed a gun to protect ourselves.

Growing up in California, we never walked into a restaurant or shopping center with people wearing guns unless they were police. Things have changed in Texas since then. 

A few people claim to feel safer with armed citizens wandering around but, think about road rage and short tempers and then consider that most people have gun licenses and you will see where I’m going with this.

Leaving Walmart with our “Psych Friendly” clothing and slippers to take to dad in a Mental Hospital because he was shooting raccoons in the attic. I was honked at in the parking lot although I had the right of way.

Cindy looked at me and said “if that idiot knew what we were dealing with between dad and Stephaney, he wouldn’t be honking. Maybe we should put a sign on the SUV saying hey we are dealing with enough crazy already. Hold your horns.” 

Honking can incite anger. I never use my horn after an incident that occurred when going to visit my dad years ago. Cindy was with me (as usual). I had sat through two green lights due to the car in front of me. 

Cindy got out to ask if they needed help or had a car problem? Both drivers pointed loads guns at my sister and told her to get her ass back into the car. We have never forgotten nearly being killed because we had no idea that the drivers ahead of us were loading guns.

A few years later, getting gas in Haltom City, Cindy was laughing and watching YouTube videos while I was inside paying for gas. My sister heard rifles being loaded. Looking beside her, the man in the truck had so many guns and rifles that bullets were falling out of the door. Shocked, she tried to motion me inside and warn me thinking he was planning to rob the store with me in it.

Unable to call the police with this lunatic watching her, my sister attempted to walk on wobbly legs into the store and warn me while expecting to be shot at any moment since the lunatic knew Cindy had seen his arsenal.

Falling in to the glass doors, Cindy tried to scream “gun!” I looked at her and knew there was a problem. Running out of the line towards her I asked what’s going on? She pointed at the truck next to my SUV and said “he’s loading guns lots of them.”

I told the clerk to call 911 and got on the floor with my sister. The clerk just continued checking people out. I again told her that an armed man was in the parking lot and to call the police! 

Another employee went out to the truck and had a rifle pointed in his face. Running back into the store, he screamed “call the police!” The idiotic clerk finally called 911 but, because she waited to do so, the armed lunatic left the station and got away.

Perhaps because of these two occurrences, I’m afraid to honk at anyone and if I’m running into a store yelling “gun,” you can bet that anyone with me is going to hit the floor. Cindy and I were lucky neither of us was hurt at the red light or the gas station but, when I tell you that there really are crazy people out there who are armed and dangerous the part you need to realize is that those people aren’t being held against their will in a Psych Unit. 

There are really unstable people and they are wandering around with loaded weapons. Hold your horns and hold your temper because it might just save your life.

It’s a busy weekend of clients, Psych Ward Visits and I’m certain more calls from my sister in law but, unlike her Cindy and I can’t close to tent because our circus has enough clowns

We are trying to keep our sense of humor while going through a process with dad AND my niece, Stephaney is something that we never expected to be a part of…