Rain, Reschedules, Red Hot Tempers & Reality. Tough Choices & Tough Times Can Define Or Empower You…

With deep sadness, Garrett announced that his wife of less than a month took her last breath Monday afternoon today on FB. The joy of seeing him just a few months ago excitedly planning his wedding is a fleeting memory. His smile, his happiness and his love was evident to everyone he encountered.

He told Cindy and I that “he had found the love of his life and was thankful and blessed.” We have known Garrett 20 plus years. It was the happiest we had seen him in all of those years. We were happy for him. Like Garrett, we never in a million years expected his marriage to be short lived.

The fragility of life is something many people don’t take seriously enough. For young people, it’s also something they rarely consider at all unless death has touched them in one way or another. Normally, their grandmother or grandfather are the first people who die in their lives. Rarely, their mother or father, sister or brother.

Traditionally, younger people are sheltered from death and the pain of losing a loved one. In one instance, a teen was hellbent on a selfie with the deceased at one of my funerals. She was so unfamiliar with death and the somber mourners sitting in stunned silence that I was forced to educate this young lady about protocol myself and (not surprisingly) I did. Her mother was allowing this shenanigans while her father sat embarrassed and stunned. I had no option other than to act in order to protect my clients from further disruption so I did. I’m not shy. Anyone aware of what my job and often my all encompassing roles involve might view what I do and who I do it for as glamorous or event occasionally exciting with travels and adventure.

Don’t let my smile fool you. I deal with all sorts of people and all sorts of situations. I’m a juggler. Often rather than shiny balls bouncing, my juggling act is more similar to burning bowling pins sizzling as they fly by my face. My circus has enough clowns but somebody always leaves the tent open. If my life was predictable, there would be far less drama but people aren’t predictable. A room full of people are far from predictable.

I’ve been in plenty of rooms full of people who have been drinking that shouldn’t have been drinking during my career.

Probably too many. But like a juggler, I’ve managed to control most situations with conflict resolution skills, my twin sister and even my team on location. No one thinks you need security at a funeral UNTIL you do.

I certainly didn’t think a memorial would involve a scene but I learned. People at a funeral think they have nothing to lose. At yet another funeral, an uninvited journey nearly knocked my over trying to get past me to open the casket and grab the watch of her deceased lover. The same watch his wife was wearing watching the train wreck of her funeral crashing enemy attempting to run off with an expensive gold watch she had assumed the deceased would be buried in. I could right a book about the sucker punches that come from every direction on location. There have been so many. If Cindy is on site, she’s somewhere laughing at my eternally shocked then offended facial expressions.

Over preparing beats under preparing everyday of the week.

Pouring rain on my windshield leaving Greenwood Cemetery today reminded of my husband. Matthew can’t stand rain. Most developers and home builders can’t. Rain ruins the real estate building and planning business. Contractors used to run off to topless bars to kill time. Thanks to Covid-19, they now leave the job and head home.

There’s a shortage on windows now. All builders are facing price hikes and shortages. Matthew isn’t alone. Last week he left our house at 3AM to go videotape a drainage issue that another developer hasn’t addressed by planting grass or installing the ugly black silt screen every new home buyer hates. The developer at the top of the hill had did neither of these things. My husband knew darn well that our lots would get washed out AND he was right. He sat in his suv getting it all on film. People think what he does is easy. It isn’t. The things he knows are going to happen before they do surprise people. Drainage is an ongoing issue for builders and developers. This wash out issue is getting bumped on the developer who failed to adhere to standards by effectively failing to adhere to TCEQ. Matthew called the other developer in. Don’t get offended. We’ve had developers call in too. Never heard of the TCEQ? The Texas Commission On Environmental Quality is every developer/builders nightmare along with rain and drainage issues of course. Being audited by the TCEQ isn’t fun. But if as a developer and builder you don’t address erosion, you are going to be hearing from the TCEQ. The other developer should have addressed drainage and he didn’t. That’s on him. Developers and builders are so competitive that it’s not uncommon for one builder to attempt to hire other builders contractors WHILE they are on the job working for someone else. This “scenario” actually happens frequently on job sites.

With rising building costs, rain and other builders trying to steal contractors off the job, Matthew is always stressed when it rains. Cindy is always trying to mop up her basement that floods with any heavy rain. I’m dealing with neighbors who argue every trash day in my neighborhood. Each Wednesday the drama starts at the curb around here with someone complaining someone else’s trash can is too close or someone walking their dog leaving their potty bags in everyone’s bin except their own or someone not putting their trash bins up. It’s an ongoing escapade over here that “heats up” every Wednesday. Cindy laughs about “trash talk Wednesday at WorthamWorld.” Thank goodness we don’t have trash pick up twice a week in my neighborhood. Once a week is enough for anyone.

Meanwhile heavy rain at Cindy’s house is annoying her neighbor. Cindy’s home is multi level. The top floors never flood but the basement always does. Her neighbors down the hill catch the flooding as much as the basement at Cindy’s house does.

This morning while dropping my niece, Stephaney off, I was forced to listen to her complain about her sister, Leigh Ann. Two hours later, I had to listen to Leigh Ann complain about Stephaney. Three hours later, I listened to my son complain about Leigh Ann and Stephaney. The constant bickering of Cindy’s daughters and my son as well as his wife gives Cindy and I both headaches. I’m seriously contemplating skipping Christmas. I’m already anxious about yet another catastrophe at a holiday event in my home that I’ve all but given up on a perfect holiday get together. My husband and I are ready to throw in the towel on trying to force our family to be in one place at the same time while getting alone with each other during this time together. Yelling “get along” is getting old. I can’t force my own family to get along but can somehow manage to make strangers get along on location. My own family is the most challenging group of chili stirring shit starters I’ve ever met. Someone is always upset at someone else. ALWAYS. My husband recently asked “do you want to have a Vow Renewal?” I said “not just no but Hell no. We can’t make these people get along opening gifts or dining on food we’ve spent hours preparing at our house. What makes you think this group would get along at a wedding? Are you crazy? I’m married. It’s good enough for me and it’s good enough for you. Do you remember our wedding? Robbie and Leigh Ann were fighting. Makenna had an allergic reaction. Cindy took off her shoe and slapped the preacher with her sneaker because she saw a bee and thought I might get stung and die from shock since no one brought an Epiphen. What a disaster. I’m surprised we made it through 45 minutes on site at the wedding. Aren’t you?”

My husband “wow I forgot about Robbie and Leigh Ann yelling at each other and Makenna being allergic to her bouquet but I do sorta remember Cindy taking her shoe off and slapping at the preacher. You’re right. We don’t need a do over. It might turn out worse this time.”

He’s right off course. Now Leigh Ann, Robert and Stephaney who wasn’t at my wedding would clash with the twins who are 16 and who knows how that would turn out. Judging from holiday events at my home, my guess is another train wreck while Cindy and I dance around and try to force everyone to be civil. Hard pass.

Stephaney is adjusting time her new job and the home she shares with 6 other women but they don’t all get along either. Living with others isn’t easy.

Stephaney “I need a car.” Me “we’ve bought you several cars. This time you are going to buy your own and be a responsible adult.”

Trying to force my niece into recognizing that at 34, it’s time for her to stop expecting Cindy or I to be the bank is a difficult conversation. But, Steph is the only adult child who hasn’t married. If she could get it together, we hope one day she does settle down and start a life with someone who isn’t abusive. Not once has my niece been in a decent relationship. Not once. I hope one day she meets someone. Cindy has given up hope but I refuse to.

If Stephaney can prove to our family she’s stable, they might welcome her but it’s far too soon. The longest my niece has been stable is 3.5 years. She was on paper. The minute she was off, she was back off the rails. Anyone who loves an addict will understand what I’m saying. You pray. You scream. You cry. But unless an addict chooses to change they won’t. Loving an addict is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s the hardest thing Cindy has done in her life too. We don’t know if Steph will continue to fly right. Our fear consumes us. If we call and she doesn’t answer, we assume the worst. It’s hell having this constant fear follow you around like an angry poltergeist but it’s our life. For two weeks now there have been no disappearances. No crazy phone calls. No screaming. For two weeks Steph has been working and living in the group home. She doesn’t like it but Cindy’s home must have peace. All this fighting and arguing between the twins and their mom had to stop. They are angry. They had three years after those 3.5 years of watching Wendy and Cindy run off to try and “Save Stephaney.” My son, my daughter in law, my other niece and even my grandnieces couldn’t understand why we were so determined to help my niece. They may never understand why we refused to give up. Frankly, even I don’t but we aren’t quitters.

While I hope that one day I can stop worrying, I don’t know when that day will come. The rain is upsetting to my husband but it’s life. The sun will shine soon. Hopefully, the changes my niece is making will teach her that trust once broken isn’t easily replaced and learn to accept responsibility for her actions by earning the trust of our family…