“A RICH person CAN be POOR in MORAL’S and CHARACTER. Don’t be IMPRESSED by MONEY.”
While sitting at a federal unit waiting on a client and fielding a series of DM’s and emails while texting my husband what I need him to pull or pick up for me to get through the next 6 days of being on the road at 11AM this Sunday afternoon, I had a journalist call me. Argh. “Hi I’m so and so and I heard about you from The NY Times article. Can you tell me more about your business?” How about you find out more BY researching my sites and social media?
For over a week now, I’ve been getting calls and emails from media wanting me to tell them about me. What the? Isn’t a journalist supposed to research? Wow. I said “I’m on location and only answered because the number was unknown. All Detention Facilities numbers are unknown. I’m sorry but it’s Sunday and I don’t have the time or the patience to tell you more about my business. I do have an idea for you to though, why don’t you do some research and call me Monday while I’m driving 5 hours to Ramsey Unit AND more importantly, AVAILABLE?”
My husband is a rock when it comes to helping me because I’m always traveling. My husband also hates traveling. Lol. So does Cindy’s husband. Steve is an over the road truck driver so he travels plenty every week. In fact, Steve and I often compare our miles traveled.
This past week was a flurry of three states and about 2k miles driven. Monday I had my Sahara towed to the dealership then went to another dealership to buy a new Santa Fe. I then drove to Tarrant County Jail in my new suv and married my clients then went to the clerks office to file licenses.
I don’t like driving the Grand Cherokee and it was easier for me to just go buy another vehicle than to try to find a rental or drive the Cherokee.
One of my “friends” sends me a text that read “I’m jealous of you.” This was shocking so I responded “why?” She sent back “because you can just run out and go write a check for a brand new car that’s why.” Today’s blog title is based on the rampantly stupid text messages of jealousy as well as envy from SOMEONE who has no idea that Cindy and I came from nothing. We have started over with nothing. We KNEW work, dedication and PERSEVERANCE were OUR salvation at 16 years old. We had no support system. We DID have each other. I work 7 days a week. I don’t apologize for being wealthy. I have worked for everything I have and don’t have to work. Frankly, I could have easily retired in 2012. I work BECAUSE I enjoy working AND because I have amazing clients, fun AND adventure. I work because I’m good at it. I’m experienced, educated and in demand. So no I won’t apologize to someone who is jealous. Instead I sent a text back that read “I could be jealous of you. You’re young. I’m old. You have a mother and a father. You have a family. I have my clients, my husband, my brother and sisters, my son and a grandson as well as my nieces and grandnieces. Everyone can be jealous of something but a lazy dog gets fleas. If you want something be willing to work for it and don’t complain about the stings that come from wanting the honey from the hive.”
Tuesday I was at Parker County Jail then on to Green Bay Unit.
Wednesday I was scheduled at TDCJ Wallace but Stephanie couldn’t get from Bryan to Colorado City in her vehicle and was having difficulty renting a car because she didn’t have a credit card. The rental agency wanted an additional $300 for her to lease a car using her debit card. I went on my social media sites to ask if any of my other clients could give Stephanie a ride to Colorado City and 3 clients offered but it was easier for her to borrow a friends car so we rescheduled at Wallace Unit for Friday.
Thursday I was scheduled at TDCJ Huntsville AKA Walls Unit. This nickname is due to the brick walls surrounding the Unit. I was early. I’m always early. I sent a text to Pamela to find out where she was. Pamela was running 30-45 minutes late due to an accident on 45. Shit! Now I would need to dance around stalling. I decided to go on in and prescreen to advise the Unit my client was en route. Walls Unit is a huge facility with several buildings and a convoluted parking situation. Luckily, I found a spot directly across from the main entrance. The volunteer Chaplain and I met in prescreening and I explained my client was delayed due to a traffic accident. We both tested in and waited. I asked the Chaplain whether “this would be a contact or non contact ceremony?”
I nervously checked my Corum watch wondering if Huntsville Unit would cancel Pamela? TDCJ Wardens can and do cancel if a client is 20 minutes late. We are required to be on site an hour early to test in although the results only take 20-30 minutes. I went back to my suv and called Pamela again. Good Lord. She still wasn’t on site.
I went back across the street to the main building and ran into the Warden. Time to tap dance around why my client wasn’t WITH ME. Argh.
I introduced myself advised the Warden that my client had encountered an accident on 45 and was running a few minutes behind. The duty CO asked “if the Warden would be attending the ceremony?”
The Warden was unaware that he could but there’s nothing in the policy preventing him (or her) from doing so. I advised the CO and Warden that I would go back to my suv and call my client again for an ETA.
Pamela was on the grounds so I told her to go to the building with the giant clock that didn’t work. Pamela couldn’t find the building with the big clock. I don’t know how you could miss it. That building and the clock are HARD to MISS.
I went back into the main building again. All of this running around and worrying we would get cancelled was wearing on me. The Warden advised me that this would be a contact ceremony. He also was in the process of leading me along with a CO walking from the main building to the visitation area when I “spotted” a woman looking confused in the parking area and yelled “Pamela!” This might have surprised the Warden but my anxiety about where she was got the better of me.
I literally ran across the street to lead Pamela to the pre screening building. Abandoning the Warden and CO, I FINALLY had Pamela on site and could relax about being cancelled. We waited for her to clear and accompanied a CO back to the main building for shakedown before our escort led us to visitation where the Warden and 2 other CO’s as well as her fiancée were waiting.
I asked her fiancée to “stand up and give your bride a hug. Watch your hands. No inappropriate contact. You can hold hands, hug once and kiss once but DO not open your mouth OR this wedding will be cancelled and your bride will lose her visitation. Do as I say. I’m saying it to protect you.”
The ceremony was touching in that the groom had memorized his vows and the fact that the Warden was watching didn’t bother me. He was a nice guy and I was thrilled he didn’t cancel due to my clients tardiness. I was thankful.
Following the ceremony, I told Pamela to jump in my suv. I planned to take her to lunch but Chili’s wasn’t open yet. Chili’s is my “go to” restaurant in Huntsville. I decided to go find a spot for bridal photos before it got to hot while waiting on chili’s to open.
Pamela and I had a great time and the relief of my clients once the wedding is over is always visible. All of my clients are nervous walking into a Unit to marry. Why? They’ve never done this before that’s why. I’m everyone’s mother when it comes to my clients.
I ordered the salmon for me and a steak for Pamela and asked how she wanted it cooked and then ordered us both a cocktail.
Friday morning I headed to Colorado City in the Santa Fe. I love this suv. Air conditioned seats, heated steering wheel, smart driver assistance. The works! I’ve owned about every car there is and this IS my favorite. Buying this suv rather than trying to rent was the smartest decision I made last week. Hell I might just buy another one for a backup.
I rolled into Wallace Unit and sent a text to my bride. She was leaving the hotel and headed to the Unit. I answered emails because amazingly my AT&T had a signal. My cell phone is hit and miss at State & Federal Units.
She pulled into the lot and parked in front of me. I told her “get on in here and open your wedding gifts.”
All of my clients marrying an inmate are given a wedding ring if they don’t have one or a tennis bracelet if they do and a wedding gift of designer perfume for women and designer cologne for men as well as something fun my twin grandnieces bought with my credit card. I don’t have time to shop for wedding gifts so the twins buy them for me. I then grabbed a bag of designer face masks and asked her to “pick one.” I want all of my clients to have a wedding gift and beautiful new face mask on wedding day.
Weddings are life events REGARDLESS of where the wedding takes place.
We walked in together and told the CO in the tower that we were on site for a wedding. He advised us that “a CO will come out to prescreen.”
After waiting nearly 30 minutes on a CO and my bride feeling panicky because she had a 2PM visitation scheduled, I hit the buzzer again to check the status on the prescreen CO.
Finally a CO came to the shakedown shack to prescreen us in. The wedding was non contact. I always shed a tear about non contact because my clients have been through months and after this lockdown, even years waiting on their wedding day.
Leaving the Unit, I told my newly married bride to “hop in. I will bring you back to the Unit for your visit. Let’s go grab lunch and find a great spot for your bridal photo’s.”
I search nearby restaurants since I have a signal and find one. FYI- there are NOT a lot of options in Colorado City. Federal Clients at Big Springs, there aren’t a lot of choices there either.
I drive to a field following Navigation Lady. We both look at each other. Maybe the restaurant went out of business or burned down? There’s nothing there. I drive back to “town” to search for something else and I’m using the “town term” loosely when I spot cars on a dirt driveway. I put the suv in reverse.
We both order a margarita and split fajitas in a house turned restaurant. The prices are fairly impressive for a restaurant so hard to find and out of the way. Lunch for 2 is $59. Admittedly we did have one cocktail each.
Heading back to “town” again, we see a gazebo and I make my own parking place to start unloading my inventory. I tell my bride “go get out of the sun under the gazebo.” I then nearly jump out of my own shoes when a horse hollers so loud it scares me.
Headed back to the Unit there’s now a CO at entry that wasn’t there before. The problem? My bride left her DL in her car in the lot. Only I have an ID. I explain why my passenger isn’t able to identify herself and we are cleared in.
I stop for gas after leaving and am yet again impressed at my new suv. Heck I was averaging 16mph on a good day in the Sahara!
Flying out of Parker County Airport hours later, my niece Stephaney calls me from Trina’s phone while I’m locking the Santa Fe. I consider whether or not to answer. I decide NOT to answer.
Cindy turned off the service to the cell phone we HAD just bought and sent to Illinois for Stephaney’s birthday in July. Why? Harassing phone calls that’s why. Steph now calls ME from Trina’s phone. Cindy blocked Trina’s phone. After her heart surgery, Cindy doesn’t need lunatic phone calls from Stephaney or “guilt trips” because she says “we stole the twins.” We SAVED the twins from the childhood we SURVIVED because our own mother was an addict.
I’ve got a jam packed next 3 months and decide to hit decline. I can’t I’m too tired and overwhelmed.
Due to my own burdened schedule, I’ve added my son and his wife to State, Federal as well as ICE and County as well as my niece. Cindy is traveling with me when she isn’t running the twins to gigs or handling County, State or Federal Clients. Yes, my entire family performs prison weddings. Our business shifted years ago. I only take on traditional clients by referral and have zero availability the next year and a half for a traditional booking.
My focus is getting all of my clients who were cancelled in 2020 finally married. My waiting list continues to grow for inmate weddings outside of TX, LA, OK & AR but I can’t be everywhere.
One reader asked “how do you use a laptop in parking lots to write your blogs?” I don’t. All of my blogs are written on my iPhone. I start and stop blogs frequently based on my time. If a client shows up while I’m in the midst of a blog, I save it as a draft. My blogs are a diary really. I never know what I’m going to write about and neither do my dedicated readers.
I’m now in Shreveport, Louisianna today then headed home to Fort Worth tonight to leave for TDCJ Ramsey Monday then TDCJ Beto Tuesday. Wednesday I’m at TDCJ Ellis back in Huntsville again then Walker County Jail. Thursday I’m at TDCJ Boyd. Friday’s Federal Unit is unconfirmed then I’m back out of Texas and back in again for the weekend…