A “New Normal?” Self Quarantine, Drive Through Weddings & Social Distancing…

For a week now my life both personal and professional has been a series of surprises. I’m not alone. From others going “quarantine crazy” to many who have been laid off or lost their jobs, adapting to something that has never occurred before in my lifetime is a necessity rather than an option.

My husbands office is now on rotation. Each employee is going into the office alone on a rotation or working remotely from home.

People everywhere are learning to cook. With limited food supplies, the odd mix of ingredients could easily qualify them for an episode of “Chopped.”

Humor is at an all time low in America. From revising clients events to elopements or drive throughs to advising mourning clients to plan a memorial at a later date to keeping my clients planning to marry an inmate updated on changes at Units, I am trying to keep a degree of structure to my home, my life and my businesses.

It’s been an anxiety filled ride for not only me but also my clients. They don’t know what to expect anymore and neither do I. My niece, Leigh Ann is a hypochondriac and convinced she’s been exposed. Holding her hand and advising her to stay in place has been an ongoing conversation with not only me but also her mother. Leigh Ann wants to be tested. Leigh Ann is recovering from sinus surgery that involved balloons. She is post op and having discomfort due to the surgery but convincing her of this is an ongoing argument of sorts. My niece won’t listen to reason. My niece is an alarmist.

I’ve had a rash of requests for an officiant or celebrant from couples who had hired someone else only to have their vendor “drop them like a hot potato.” The majority of these people are unaware of restrictions and social distancing. Sadly, my schedule is often booked out up to two years out and I’m already catering and customizing my current clients events to smaller gatherings or rescheduling them altogether.

I also have over 19 people who had confirmed events that are a priority and will be scheduled first when this quarantine is over. I cannot take on new clients at this time.

Rescheduling a month of clients in the height of wedding season is going to cause a “domino effect” to my existing schedule. I’m on staff at Belltower and other venues that are being forced to cancel existing bookings due to group limits and social distancing. Stay calm. It’s difficult but realize that staying home is staying safe.

I call, text and FaceTime my family several times a day and my twin sister at least every two hours. We are rarely separated and rarely have been. We are now. Cindy is self quarantined with her twin granddaughters in Weatherford.

I’m self quarantined in Fort Worth about twenty minutes away.

Saturday I had a conversation with someone I had married at Smith Unit just a few months ago who had heard rumors that his husband was cheating on him. This isn’t a time to lose trust in your partner. I advised him to communicate with his husband rather than believe chatter. There are a number of rumors going around right now regarding inmates. TDCJ has no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus.

TDCJ is regularly updating regarding this virus. TDCJ is NOT releasing inmates.

There are a number of county jails across the country releasing inmates. There are judges cancelling court cases. There are county clerks closing their offices. There are changes happening daily, hourly and removing predictability.

Self quarantine is a choice for many cities right now but if people continue to go outside and attempt to live their lives in public, they will continue to endanger others. I continue to advise my niece to stay home as does her mother. But, Leigh Ann has spent her entire life requiring reassurance from her doctors that she is well. Leigh Ann has apparently convinced herself that she’s sick and is now coughing which wasn’t occurring two days ago. She hasn’t left her home on the base and her husband and daughter aren’t sick so I’m consistently reminding her that she just had surgery on her sinuses and the recovery can take 1-4 weeks.

As we all continue to alter the life we took for granted weeks or months ago, many people are putting up Christmas trees and Christmas lights in a show of solidarity. I never took my tree down. Not because I’m a hillbilly but because I was working 7 days a week and didn’t have time. I’m now glad I left it up.

There are a number of ways to occupy your time while you are home bound ya all. Cook, clean, read, pray and for parents, grandparents and guardians, your homeschooling is probably going to be keeping you busy during the week and exhausted by the weekend. Make chore lists an activities for kids and mask your own anxiety. Treat this isolation as a time of reflection and rest. Reach out to elderly neighbors and if you are dropping off items to others, leave them on the porch and ring the bell.

Over the past ten days, I’ve delivered food and groceries to seniors and nursing homes by either dropping off items and ringing the bell or mailing them to nursing homes in need. We are all in this together. Remember that.

For anyone worried or concerned about your contract expiring with Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners or TDCJ Officiant, our contracts have NO shelf life. Once you are a booked client, you are a booked client and your credit is on file. I recently married someone who had booked five years ago. Your booking deposit is permanent. Your payment is on file and will remain there until we get your rescheduled.

I look forward to finally meeting all of my clients in person when it becomes safe to do so.

For anyone who has a marriage license expire during this window of isolation already on our client file, I will split the cost of a new license with you. If you were confirmed at a Unit the past two weeks and were cancelled due to the visitation revocation, I will pay for your new marriage license in full should it expire waiting to reschedule.

Stay safe. Stay isolated and stay healthy…