Reality Checks Aren’t Written With Insufficient Funds…

My beautiful bride had called me crying. “Miss Wendy this might be the shortest marriage you’ve ever had but I need to get a divorce.”

I recalled talking to a journalist who was sincerely surprised about the many things my clients contact me about long AFTER marrying. She had expected that I went through the planning stages then the ceremony and that was it.

Nope. The wedding and planning create the beginning of my client relationship but there is no ending. From help with a divorce to a parole packet to how to file an appeal to what the codes used by TDCJ mean to baptizing their babies or conducting funerals for their family members, or helping someone moving from another state to Texas find a job or apartment, my clients (regardless of how many years ago I married them) contact me frequently.

Apparently the couple I married a few months ago aren’t working out and after hearing the details from Starlite the issues are irreparable.

The dramatic details continued to unravel as Starlite went on to explain that her father was quite ill and she was returning to Texas from Mississippi to get a divorce. “He’s got a girlfriend. He disrespects me. I worked hard for everything I have. I provided for him while he was locked up. I don’t want to be married to him. I’ve given up too much already. What can we do?”

I sent her a downloadable link for a divorce with no children. She didn’t know where she would go to go to file it. I asked where she was living? Tarrant County. I’m filing several marriage licenses in Tarrant County tomorrow and she had met me at the clerks office before so I told her to meet me there again at 10AM.

I will file my licenses then drive her from the clerks office to the Family Court Building to file the divorce. It won’t be the first time for me to do this either. This pandemic has created a rash of divorce calls. My clients always call me to tell me why they can’t make it work. I usually suggest counseling. But it depends on the reasons. If it’s domestic violence, we skip the counseling conversation and move directly to the divorce conversation. Most of my clients have never been married and I’m everyone’s mother. You could say it’s always been my calling. My siblings and I have never had a mother. I’m a problem solver, task taker and I like to help people. Ask any of my clients and you will find that I am FAR more than simply a planner and officiant.

I’m a lifelong friend and advocate for all of clients choosing to marry an inmate. “How to you write a letter of support Miss Wendy?” Or “What should I add to this parole packet?” Or “He caught a charge. Is there a process I need to give him information about?” Or “How do I apply for a hardship transfer?” Loving an inmate is confusing and for a number of clients also very lonely.

My clients consider me family. The wise mother with all of the answers or the kindly grandma when someone just needs me to listen. My roles are many.

My husband is often listening as I take another late night phone call from a client and has reservations about me sending my well read library of murder mysteries to clients. “Isn’t there a self help book that would benefit your clients? I understand that you are sending your books for entertainment but you need to add another book for them. Trust me. I think they will enjoy your books. I know they do but I just think we should give them something else to read that isn’t entertaining but is enlightening. I will go buy 50 of them.” My husband loves self help books.

I now send the clients contacting me because they feel lonely or isolated needing to occupy their time and their minds care packages of books from my home library along with self help books chosen by my husband and bath salts. A hot bath and a good book are often what many of my clients need and treasure.

This week I mailed out a Pearl necklace I had bartered through the Pawning Planners to my Darrington Unit client along with another load of book packages.

I’ve been mailing books for over a year now. Yearly lockdowns mean no phone calls. My clients are now swapping my books with each other. Who knew books from my library would be making the rounds from Texas to Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and even NY and CA? I certainly didn’t but I love to read and suspense is my favorite type of reading material.

It’s been a week of chaos as usual in the midst of wedding season and to top it off I broke my back molar and had dental surgery last Thursday. My anxiety about the dentist has been debilitating since I was a child and encountered an emergency dentist after breaking several teeth roller skating. I was obviously upset and in shock and he was obviously not “kid friendly.” After being told to stop crying over and over, he slapped me which resulted in the sharp instrument in my mouth going through my cheek.

Mentally I’ve never really recovered from my dental panic episodes although I have the best cosmetic dentist in Fort Worth, Dr Cheng. He’s so patient with me that I’ve flown back to Fort Worth from wherever I was when having a dental issues for twenty years now.

I knew something was wrong last Monday when I bit into a piece of chicken and felt pain in my upper jaw but made an appointment with my PCP thinking it was a sinus infection from seasonal allergies or possibly an ear infection. My PCP advised me to see my dentist as my face was swelling a bit on the right. My stomach immediately dropped. A dental issue? I would rather fight my way out of a bear cave wearing a picnic basket for a bow tie.

Sitting in the parking lot of the PCP, I called Dr Cheng’s office. Argh.

Monday I was sitting in the chair that bothers me more than the chair at my 30 years and counting gynecologist, Dr Herd’s office. He’s operated on me numerous times for numerous issues. I trust him but like every other woman I know, the exam table is my least favorite aspect of well woman visits.

The hygienist looked at the TV where yet another house flipping show was playing out in front of me and said “your back molar is cracked. You are going to need a crown.”

Just the thought of drilling and numbing shots had me hyperventilating in seconds flat. I asked for laughing gas and my purse to get a Xanax.

Dental surgery? I wanted to cry. With my schedule? The possibility of the temporary falling off? The hour or so of drilling? The shots? Argh.

My cracked tooth had apparently infected my gum which attributed to my swollen jaw. Antibiotics before they would schedule the root canal and temporary cap. Tuesday and Wednesday I stopped even trying to eat solid food. I was too terrified to have that temporary cap come off with a full schedule of clients.

Dr Cheng’s office had called in a prescription for 3 tranquilizer pills. I was told to take one Wednesday night then the 2nd one at 2PM before my 3PM appointment and to have a driver. Cindy was busy picking up the twins in Weatherford at 3:30 so there was no way she could drive me.

My husband drove me. At 2:55PM sitting in the office it felt like a building was sitting on my chest. I still had the other pill they told me to bring with me. Walking back to the room I was hyperventilating again. The sights. The sounds. The smells. I felt faint with anxiety. My blood pressure was taken and sky high. They brought in the laughing gas and asked me for the other pill then smashed it and placed it under my tongue.

Good Lord how I even manage to make myself go to cleanings every 6 months for the past 35 years I have no idea. I’m always terrified “they will find a problem.” I was sitting in that chair knowing THAT I have a problem. Anxiety.

It took 20 minutes of sucking that laughing gas like a dying man gasping for air before I calmed down enough for the procedure.

Nearly two hours later I wander up to pay my copay. Mentally I think “wow, I’m still alive and this puts my mouth at around $37k.” The amount of money I’ve spent on my teeth throughout my adult life continues to shock me.

I’ve been cautious as heck since Thursday because these temporary caps always come off and the pain is unbearable. I’ve also lost 6lbs because I refuse to eat solid foods and risk popping off the temporary caps on a weekend with weddings.

Friday headed to Chateau At Forest Park I glance at the black eye I had tried to cover with makeup from the swelling in my cheek and jaw. My face looked lopsided.

How was I going to speak at my weddings Friday, Saturday or Sunday? Hunger pains gnawed at me. The Amoxiclav antibiotics were making me nauseous. This was going to be a very long weekend.

I was leaving a wedding yesterday with Cindy on my BlueTooth as a text came through to her reading “I want to hire you and your twin to marry my wife and I to our girlfriend.” I asked her to read it again as we were both confused. I then told her to send James my phone number as I was driving to my next wedding so I could grasp what exactly he was asking.

My assumption as well as my sisters were on point. James wanted a certain type of Unity Ceremony that involves 3 people rather than 2.

James had seen an article in the Offbeat Bride regarding “How To Have A Polyamorous Triad Wedding” and sent me a link to the article. James is a FB friend that knows we not only perform prison weddings and barter but also perform LBGT weddings and Wiccan weddings as well as non traditional ceremonies. We are open minded. Diversified. Non judgmental. “When he decided to plan this type of event, WE were the only people he even considered booking for services.”

I sent James a text back and went over a few other details with him. This type of ceremony or living arrangement may not be for everyone added that it won’t be my first ceremony of this sort.

Admittedly, I’m not the type of person who could tolerate my husband having more than one wife and wouldn’t. Most people wouldn’t but to each his own.

I had a wonderful conversation with the mother of my bride at Weston Gardens. She was so excited and thrilled her son was marrying after a number of failed relationships. They met at work and we had emailed back and forth for a few months going over the ceremony details. Thankfully the rain stopped prior to the wedding. The wedding was intimate and beautiful.

I’m back at Federal, ICE and County Units this week as well as Appraisal Appointments with Cindy and venues. It’s going to be a very busy year due to reschedules and hopefully my permanent caps will be ready this week. I’m looking forward to a steak when I can finally chew solid food again…