Saturday, November 13, 2010
Thursday, Jan. 28 – day 2
Its 6:30 a.m. I called Sadie this morning. She was on her way to school with Debbi Ewing-Shol-Hight, the wife of the court appointed custodial keeper, Donny Hight. Donny Hight & wife Debbie has changed Sadie's school yet again, this time it is mid-year. This makes the 6th or 7th exchange of schools that Donny has initiated himself, while Sadie has been in their care for no apparent reason other than the school Sadie is attending wasnt/isnt convenient. Judge Xollie Duncan will not recognize in court the multiple changes of schools as being unstable for the child. I am not, of course notified of these changes, even though it is required within the court orders. I have to find my daughter of my own resources and accord. Yes, this and many other things are in violation of my side of the court order, but falls conveniently upon deaf ears …as the court hearings are never heard, just passed by. Oh yes there are rulings made but the hearings are not heard. I know your wondering…..huh?
I bought Sadie a cell phone and pay for the services. The cell phone has been a wonderful tool for communication not just for me and Sadie but for them/Donny & Debbi, as well. Donny & Debbi utilized it, embrace it for their own use but resist it when it comes to me communicating with my daughter. The Custodial keepers/Donny & Debbi often control mine and Sadie’s conversations, but that doesn't matter to me as long as I can visit somewhat with my daughter. It is important that “I” can communicate to Sadie that “I” love her. Donny nor Debbi can manipulate my side of the conversation, try as they do. Its important for Sadie to hear my voice say “I love you” to her ears. The cell phone also allows Sadie the freedom to call me and tell me that they/the Custodial keepers/Donny & Debbi have made changes so that I don’t worry, when she/Sadie is late or has a change in plan, otherwise, I would not ever be notified as before I would be left worrying and wondering. It also cuts down a massive confusion in regards to their demands as they/Donny & Debbi often use Sadie as a go between to issue me orders. They/Donny & Debbie know I wont say no to Sadie’s requests. Therefore, it is very useful to their last minute requests to pick Sadie up, buy her the things she needs, or change the drop off point at a last minutes notice or to a different place than that that had been pre-arranged. They/Donny & Debbi are to cowardly and immature to address me themselves, as adults or maybe its because they have guilt issues. Eighter way, the phone has been a wonderful device. Sadie loves having it as she can keep up with her friends current and past. It makes me happy to see her enjoy it.
Sadie seemed to be very excited about the new school changes, even though she’d be leaving behind all of her just made friends to start over again. She said she had homework to do before she went to class, which I thought was odd. Sadie says she has to get up at 4:30-5a.m., now that she has changed schools and ride to school with /Debbi. The long drive into town so early in the morning for school, makes it hard for her to do her homework at night because she is so tired. She usually just goes straight to bed. Debbi is a school teacher at Washington Jr. High, at the school that they/Donny & Debbi just changed Sadie to. Sadie says she arrives at school around 6:30a.m., but yet school doesn't actually start until 8:45 a.m.
Sadie had explained all of this to me, when I asked her about her lunch schedule. Part of her explanation was that she didn't want me to eat lunch with her anymore because it would be to embarrassing to have to explain to everyone who “I” am (her real mother) verses who Debbi actually was/is because Debbi is claiming Sadie as her/Debbi’s daughter for this school year. I thought this to be odd, as I have always eaten lunch with Sadie every Tuesday & Friday, without fail, since Sadie had started pre-school. I wondered if my eating lunch with Sadie at Washington Jr. High was to embarrassing for Sadie or for Debbi, since she/Debbi would be caught in a bold faced lie, which is very indicative of this entire situation. In actuality, I can see where my presents would be disturbing to Debbi, as I have always been apart of PTA for years and have had 3 children before Sadie attend that very school. And YES, Debbi was or has been a history teacher for my other 3 children. I definitely can see where my presents would be disturbing and where someone would have to admit to the truths of this scandalous charade. Sadie has to live with these people and succumb to the peer pressure of her situation therefore, I understand completely. I can see it for its face value contra to the unbelievable cover ups. If Sadie doesnt adhere to their constant pressure then they badger her with nasty quips about me and guilt. All of this is NOT a new revaluation to me, as I have personally befriended Debbi in the past as I have known her personally for years before all of this. Sadie's friends already know me as her mother so this doesn’t make any sense at all but then again, Debbi is a known master of parental alienation and manipulation.
(Explanation)Maybe she/Debbi is trying to make up for the loss of ‘face’ of loosing her own children at the school in which taught and still teaches at when she lost custody of her children. At the time of Debbi’s divorce her ex-husband Mark Sole, said that Debbi was being treated for personality disorders and depression. She became so obsessed about alienating her own children’s father that she actually lost custody of her own children because of it, along with other psychotic behaviors, which forced Mark into filing a restraining order against her/Debbi. Mark had stated in his restraining order that he was in fear for his and his children’s safety. Mark raised the children and Debbi is still fighting to re-insert herself with her own children, for the wrongs she has done…so my presents at that school would have been an embarrassment to her/Debbi and not to my child/Sadie. So for the two of them/Donny & Debbi to hang on to something(Sadie) that doesn’t belong to them thru lies and manipulations is sick. But what does that say about the Judge that allows it to continue to happen. OHhhh no, of course this was never brought out in any of my court hearings because my hearings are NEVER heard…I will get into this as the story goes on, but the hearings were NEVER heard because of a well planned diversion tactic by a Judge and a comrade attorney…You may think Im crazy, but I not. I will explain this all… as the story unfolds. Donny too has had his bough’s with psychiatric hospitals, trying to commit suicide, and counselors. And yet these are the people, Judge Xollie Duncan is allowing who’s to raise my daughter. Yet Judge Xollie Duncan, refuses any information to be allowed in to a hearing, to the extent that she/Judge Xollie Duncan refuses to hear the case altogether. And refuses to recuse even though we ALL grew up together. Interesting….isnt it? WHY? I want you to tell me…as that is my question.
My last visitation with Sadie was on Tuesday before my court hearing on Wednesday, morning at 8 a.m. ……. To be continued….
We (Kate, Bubba, Sadie & myself) were eating at Ci-Ci's Pizza at the time. I was sitting next to Sadie. Kate was directly across from Sadie and Bubba directly across from me. I told her I understood and I did, far more that she realized. Sadie really hadn't said two words to me this entire time other that this explanation. Most of her conversation was directed to her siblings. My heart sank in my chest at her request. But if this was what is necessary, then so be it. It was a request that I would adhere to. A friend from church reminded me of the story in the Bible about King Solomon and the Baby. For those who may not know the story…the readers digest version…
At that moment I realized just how unimportant I am and confused Sadie is. Even though I have been at beacon call to meet her needs and Donny & Debbi’s relentless demands and manipulations of me outside of my court ordered obligations. They/Donny & Debbi, shame me in public and to my children as to being a bad parent if I dont jump every time they/Donny & Debbi holler Toad. Believe me when they say…Toad… I DO jump. I have never shirked my visits or my responsibilities to Sadie or my other children regardless. I have said nothing in order to keep the confusion down. I have done whatever I can within the boundaries of all the restrictions put upon me trying to show this child how much I DO love her and assure her that I am there for her. I want so desperately to be her mother and to raise her. I AM these children’s mother and circumstances has been the culprit and the demise of my/our family not my lack of parental care of her or them. I did NOT give Sadie away, nor did I loose her because of any malice towards her. Sadie was taken from me under a pretense of deliberate preposterous lies conjured by Donny Hight! I'm NOT a bad parent! There are NO records of proof or allegations to support any wrong doings on my part because there ISN'T any. It is just that damned simple! A malicious Judge with a biased attitude and an association with my ex-husband/Donny, which as my story unfolds I will explain in detail. I Challenge anyone to investigate this......please be my guest, I beg you to investigate this and my story.
I kept my telephone conversation light and short with Sadie as our conversation was being monitored and guided by Debbi, as Debbi kept interjecting questions for Sadie to ask me...so I ended the conversation to keep Sadie from being caught in the middle. It was really great to hear my baby girls voice even if it was just a few short minutes. Sadie said she was excited about going by the music room today to pick up her audition music for her new school play. She loves the stage and acting. I'm really excited for her too! I hope to be able to see her play. I miss the kids. And I want to go home. I can tell this mess is beginning to wear on Kate, as well. I try to be very aware of the kids states of mind but to no avail, I am fighting a very steep and up hill battle. I do not know If I will ever be allowed to ‘go home’. I have no idea what my youngest son is doing. I pray that he is safe, warm and feed. I know he has a good head about himself, he always has had, so I rest assured things are somewhat fine. I think he would call me, if it wasn’t.
Kate and I found a laundry mat, car wash and vacuum within a block of each other in the small town of Pooler, just outside of Savannah. The small town reminded me of the place I used to love to call home. Everyone is so nice. The small community of old buildings still functioning in an everyday life style made our day of cleaning very comfortable. While our laundry was washing, we slipped off to the car wash. The funniest thing I have ever seen was a drive up manual car wash with a drive up manual dog wash center attached. I would expect to see something like this maybe in Alabama or even in Tennessee, but it caught me off guard in Georgia. But hey, these folks are serious about their dogs. I took a picture of it. It tickled me. We finished our cleaning and laundry. It really made a major difference in our attitude. Kate and I actually began to feel a little more acceptable to society. A bath in the sink with clean clothes, and a clean truck to live in, talk about NICE! We will think were staying at the Hilton tonight.
Shortly after we pulled in to park at a parking area, we started to bed down for the evening an older lady pulled in next to us. The parking/camping area here is well illuminated. It is also, private from all the public traffic which gives a false sense of security, but we will take it gladly. The old lady made her bed in the front seat of her tiny little car. She went to sleep. Kate and I found the free-wifi that a McDonald's offered on the parking premises. It really helps when I dont have to hunt for free wifi and spend gas trying to find it. I worked some on my internet sites, while Kate talked with her sweetheart. Later, we watched “the Boys” as we refer to the Ghost Hunters crew...Jason & Grant on our computer, then retired to our Hilton under the stars. Its bitter cold, and we dont have enough blankets to stay warm. As I put the extra blanket over my daughter as she slept so that she would not get sick, I also wondered about the older lady parked next to us. I wondered if she too was cold and/or had enough blankets. I hadn’t heard her start her car to heat it at all so far. The weather is damp and the windows condensate over easily. We are not used to this type of moisture. Now I worry about keeping Kate from getting sick. Kate has asthma and I worry about the effects of the dampness as I lay awake wondering what I am going to do tomorrow. Wish us money as we didn't make any today. Our funds are running low, we are hungry, cold and we need blankets!
NOTE: I didn't make any money today. Our funds are running extremely low. It doesn't take much money to maintain a somewhat sub-standard lifestyle when living out of your vehicle. Its quite economical actually. All it takes is the money for gas, which can be..in our present economical state...pricey and a dollar menu. Kate & I eat, 1 meal a day which is actual food and I usually buy a cup of coffee in the morning. Some stations offers a $2.00 special..a cup of coffee, a bottle of water and a pastry...I drink the coffee and give Kate the water & pastry, some times we splurge and eat two times off a dollar menu in a day. If we have the extra money. We only order one item each, so it will only cost $2.00 and tax for the most part. Getting cold at night and not having the money to feed the gas hog/truck when we are trying to rest is the biggest down fall. The way I see it, if your going to run the vehicles engine to keep warm, then travel/move about. Its more useful than just sitting or at least it seems that way. But somewhere, some time you do have to stop and sleep. Kate and I usually take turns driving and sleeping, but sometimes its nice just to stop moving for a little while. That's when I try to make some money for us, the kids and pay a few of the bills. So far its not been very productive, and I feel that this choice might have been a mistake as well. Everyone is really struggling with the economy. Im seeing the economy crash first hand and its scary, but mostly it very sad and its affecting everyone.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Wednesday, Jan 27 - day 1
Kate & I arrived in Savannah, Ga. in mid-afternoon. I was so excited because this town has Cricket phone service, so I can/will be able use my cell phone to call Sadie, my baby girl, and talk to her. I haven't “talked” to her for almost two weeks. I'm really looking forward to it. YAY! I email her every day but its not the same as talking to her and hearing her voice. Shes in school right at this moment and Im counting down the minutes until I can get her on the phone. Im so excited. While I'm waiting for her to get out of school, Kate & I are going to drive around this gorgeous old city. Savannah was built in the 1700's. It still has rock paved roads on the water front, huge commons areas are laid out in big squares in the center of town. Huge old trees dripping in moss as the limbs of its canopy stretches over the streets and sidewalks giving the town a cozy warm charm that we associate so much with being in the south. This is the most enchanting place I have ever seen. Paula Deen the cook & entrepreneur you have seen on television is from Savannah, Ga. Paula Deen is the picture of perfection for representation of this beautiful old southern town. Savannah, Ga. is as beautiful, warm & charming as Paula Deen is... I met Paula Deen at a book signing sometime back in Rogers, Ark. Bubba/Brother saw the sign where she would be attending a book signing at our local Wal-mart, so he called to tell me, back when we still had a home. I have several of her cookbooks and watched her on television. Bubba held my place in line for hours so that my two girls (Kate & Sadie)and I could get dressed and make it to see her to get my cookbooks signed. It was so much fun. The kids and I have often stood in lines sometimes for days to get a new item coming out for one family member or the other . This has become a sort of tradition...for example this one particular Christmas Kate & I sat out side in front of a Best Buy in Fayetteville, Ar. waiting for the new PlayStation3 to be released and handed out. Bubba wanted it for Christmas so bad, so we sat in the cold just to give him this gift as a surprise. The store only received 10 and we were #2 on the list in others words 2nd in line! It was a very cold two days. Winters in Arkansas aren't always gentle An abrupt 32 degrees is the norm and often colder minus the wind chill factors. It was cold but yet lots of fun! The anticipation of his reaction upon receiving his gift was worth a thousand days in the cold. At another time, Bubba and Kate stood in line for Metal Gear Solid 4 (Bubba's favorite game of all times) coming out and released at mid-night, at wal-mart. At least this time, it was inside so they at least had warmth. The experience is to expect to stand for hours often a couple of days to be in the right place at the right time. Its not just the item that is/was so extremely important as it was just fun, hanging out together in the hardship of anticipation. We, as a family, even Bubba even thou he squawked about it, stood in line for Sadie to have the tickets to opening night for Twilight! Each time a new Twilight movie came out...so far! Then stood in line again for hours to get the right seats in the theater. What can I say. Some of the many... funnest, best times we have spent together as a family has been waiting in line for something. Yes, we all turn out, if for nothing else but for the experience of supporting each other in the delight of giving a gift to each other that is important to that individual at that moment in time. Kate is our theater nerd so we, as a family, stand in line not only to get tickets and the proper seating but we often ...no we always, suffer thru performance after performance in full support of her talent. When in actuality one performance would do for a sane person. Not because her acting is lacking but it is college theater after all and one can only take so much Shakespeare, personally speaking, of course. Her siblings on the other hand …. LOVED each and every minute. So with that I enjoyed the enjoyment that they bring to each others lives. Its Great!
The locals said to go see Tybee Beach. They are very proud to have Sandra Bullock as part of their community. Everyone loves Ms. Bullock, but then who wouldn't!
Kate & I drove around just a little bit. We don't have that much gas. We don't need to waist it. I have work to do on the computer and Sadie will be out of school soon. I cant hardly wait. We also need to locate a place to sleep before it gets to late. Find a laundry mat and a vacuum/car wash. We have to get in control of this smelly truck and our smelly butts!!!
Talked to Bubba, hes doing fine. YAY! He was over at a girls house, that hes been crazy about for sometime, the girl ,not the house. Which is good. He finally put tags on his jeep today. That was good news and one less worry for me. And one more thing to check off my to do list.
The Bankruptcy attorney's secretary called me, needing information. The bankruptcy I tried to file, still hasn't been filed..its been 2 1/2 months. I'm really not sure why I need to file bankruptcy at this point....as all the debts I have is my child support, the arrears's, a truck payment (payoff is less than 4,000) and a truck repair bill and a few medical bills...I know right? I actually have very little debt. So to continue on at this point is...what? My Child support hearing is over...done, until I turn myself in...I'm will be looking at contempt & jail time for my failure to appear, possible criminal prosecution for non-payment of child support if I don't get the arrears paid off before hand – in Judge Duncans court, that wont even be taken into consideration, which I feel strongly that all of this prosecution could have been avoided, if the attorneys had done their jobs as promised and in a timely fashion. I stressed the urgent state of each of the cases to the attorney's to no avail. Whats done is done at this point so to continue the filling of a bankruptcy now is detrimental, but mostly irrelevant and a waste of every ones time!
I finally to talk to Sadie! YAY! I was so excited. Until I realized that Debbi (Di) wife to the custodial keeper was dictating the conversation. So I kept it short. I would have loved to visited more but Sadie doesn't need to feel squeezed between the adults. The Di & Dy's, as I refer to them (Debbi & Donny) the custodial keepers of MY daughter tell Sadie all kinds of stories about me to destroy my relationship with her, what little that there actually is at this point. I was disappointed as I hoped she would be as excited as I was to talk to her, but she wasn't. Not that I blame her. Ugly stories are more believable when I'm no where around and cant be depended upon. Right? Which has not ever been the case in the past, until now. I truly would not ever ever considered leaving, if I hadn't felt like I had/have had any other choice.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Monday & Tuesday, Jan. 25-26
Kate & I arrived late evening into Jacksonville, Fl. We found an over night area to rest. The over night stations have bathrooms with showers. The showers, however cost ten dollars each. We cant afford that, not for just a shower. Especially when a hotel room for the entire day isnt much more than that if you shop at the not-so-nice mom & pop no-tel motels. Oh, the idea of a room sounds so good, warmth, a place to walk around or lay down stretched out straight at will, pillows, sheets, a shower to take a bath in - maybe two bathes or even three, EACH! a private bathroom without cracks in the door so passerby's cant take a random view at your business. Oh my goodness that sounds so good, but that is an extreme expenditure for us right now and a luxury we cant afford. 10 - 20.00 dollars is a fortune. There are so many better ways for us to spend 10-20.00 dollars. Id send at least half of it home to the kids, buy Kate and I a dollar burger off of the dollar menu at McDonald's for food, and the rest in gas for the truck. I think that would be the best way for us to spend money of that magnitude. I know, 10 bucks is a common amount and a bill that is taken for granted. For most people carry 10 bucks in their pockets for petty cash just to spend at Starbucks on a fru-fru flavored cup of coffee but not for us, at least, not at this time.
Unbelievable but true...Just a few very short months ago the children and I had a beautiful two story, 4 bedroom, three bath home, large fenced yard, with a swimming pool, trampoline, basketball goal at the end of our driveway in a fantastic neighborhood located next to the college, where two of my children attended, also located close to my youngest daughter school and activities. My two middle children, Kate in college on scholarships for academics and leadership, Bubba in college for the Army, Sadie in Jr. High. Vehicles of our choosing in the driveway - paid for. I owned and operated 2 businesses from home so I could be close to the house and the kids. One day it was fine, our futures were bright with purpose and direction the next it was gone due to the falling economy, a lousy attorney, and a biased Judge. I think I could have pulled thru but it hit me all at the same time...like an atomic bomb. I have pulled thru situations just as destructive, not untarnished or unscathed or undevastated but I DID pull thru to rebuild just to have it snatched from me again....Then and now, It boils down to what was/AM I willing to do to get my family back and keep it. I will explain as we go along... In the meantime, I will figure out another way to take a bath. Its the simplest things in life that are the most difficult and perplexing at this moment. If only I had 10-20 bucks to spare. There are so many damned if you do's and damned if you dont's, for me that its hard to keep a perspective when there is so much riding and needing to be attended. There just isnt enough to go around as I have a hundred hands sticking out for the claim. So I wouldn't have 10 bucks to spare anyway. Even though it is a nice thought.
Washing our hair is the hardest of all. Its frowned upon in rest areas to completely clean up, washing your hair is one of the major frowns. Why I dont know! Ohhh yeah...you have to pay for it because nothing is for free. Thats why its frowned upon. Silly me! If your timing is good and a little preparation you can take a sponge bath that my mother would refer to as a HoBo bath or I have heard it referred to as just a Ho bath, whatever that means...right? Anyways, Nevermind! Not the most effective in the long run but it would keep the nasty's off of you for a few more days in a pinch. Kate and I take papers towels that are provided in the washing area of the bathrooms, wet the towels, into the bathroom stalls to freshening up certain areas, followed by lotion, power and deodorant which ever is applicable. When the worst got worse we would take turns actually taking a real sponge bath. I would stand guard in front of the crack of the bathroom door to allow her some privacy while she washed each limb and area with a soaped up wash cloth. I would refresh it for her at the sink so she could continue until she felt she was somewhat presentable. Then we would switch care duties. Not the best as a real shower would have been ideal, but it does make a person feel a little less like a forgotten animal. A sponge bath also seem to make it easier for us to tolerate not only ourselves but each other a few more days in the confinement of the truck.
The overnight parking rest areas are fairly safe with a lot of traffic/ car travelers, truckers and often security officers. Kate and I often spend the night at these types of stops. Ok, almost every night. Yes, we sleep in the truck. Yes, it can be dangerous. NO, I do not encourage this EVER! But we need to rest so we spend the night just the same. This is the lesser of the evils when living on the street.
The street has rules as well. If your not astute to the street vibes, you can become a victim very easily and never be seen or heard from again. Mind you manners and mind your own business is the advise I would give. Stay to yourself. Don't visit or go out of your way to be noisy. If your offended, move on, let it go. Be mad somewhere else, remove yourself from harms way, seen or unforeseen. If someone approaches you from out of the blue, retaliate. Get back into your vehicle, leave your items outside the vehicle ... you can pick it up later.. lock the doors. Pick up your cell phone, pretend to call 911, hold it in open view. Ask what do they want? decline anything they have or ask for. Then ask for them to leave. If they dont, dont get out, drive off, leave your stuff if you have to. It can be replaced. If you dont want to be put into that type of decision making, then dont take anything out of your vehicle that your not willing to leave behind except of course your spouse and children. Keep distance between you & them. They can speak loud enough for you to hear them from a longer distance than that of arms length...say 1/2 a block away. God made it so we can yell... so it can apply to something other than HELP! Try to always look ahead of a situation dont wait for it to come knocking. Understand? Please I caution you use all caution in and around you, your family, the events surrounding you and them. Be aware of your environment at all times especially when your out of your normal routine. I just cant stress be safe, be smart, be watchful enough.
Tonight Kate and I are just outside of Jacksonville, Fl. Early the next morning, Kate & I will drive into the town down to the beach area. That always seems to be a fairly safe place to get my barrings of the city, work a little on the computer, and see what else is available to me. Its a catch 22 and its always a gamble. A gamble that I must take. I dont think about any of that except mine and the kids survival. Someone asked me how desperate is desperate? My answer was..you will know when you get there and I hope you never know the true meaning of that word.
Kate & I drove down to the beach but didn't actually go down to the beach. Its windy out and cold. So we parked between some apartments and a hotel on 1st street. We watched the cruise ships, the fishing/shrimping boats and small bail boats off in the distance. The Atlantic isn't as pretty as the Gulf but just as mesmerizing or at least in my opinion. The oceans and traveling hasnt been something I have seen a lot of in my life time. Ive spent all my life in Bentonville, Arkansas. Ive always been content with my life there, raise my family, be apart of the community...until recently.
Its been 24 hours and no work yet. Everyone is real guarded, hard to sell or even to communicate with. Nothing like the don't worry, be happy attitude found in Key West. Welcome back to reality!
I talked to brother (my youngest son) I'm always excited to talk with the kids. Bubba/brother (we call him several different nick names...he was donned the name of Bubba or Brother because his younger sister (Sadie) couldn't say his actual name so she made up her own names for him and the name Bubba stuck) was helping cousin Scott and Jesse move a house hold as a job. He (Bubba/brother) mashed his left middle finger pretty bad. It didn't slow him down any but it looked really bad in the picture he took and sent to me. I cant tell if he needs medical attention and he wont tell me if he does.I will be glad to move on from this town tomorrow. Its a lot colder here than in the Keys, of course. Kate & I have only a few warm clothes, but they/we are smelly & dirty. When traveling, broke, you don't change or wash clothes as often as you would as if you are at home so you wear them until you cant stand yourself and hope that the plastic bag that you put your dirty smelly clothes in will contain the offensiveness. You stay down wind from people as well because when they turn to look at you...you know! ok you know that there is only one word on their mind and that is pheeeew! Yeah, well its not so funny when its your own behind that is no longer behind you...well enough of that projected picture.
Keeping clean is the hardest part of being homeless. A simple thing like a shower is the hardest to obtain. Sooo many things of everyday life we take for granted.
The truck is dirty It too is in need of vacuuming, and refreshing, you can imagine what Im talking about, closed environment! Ohhh boy, not so good. Well ok, I guess its not just the truck that needs freshening!
NOTE: Its a hard market here. The market here is of the mind set they deserved something for nothing, of course thats my opinion.. They (the Market as Im going to call it) was business people off all types and ugly to deal with. I have found that most of Florida Atlantic coastal towns & cities to be of this mind set. Maybe its the economy. Maybe its just the personalities of the cities. Its funny how birds of a feather collect. Each city has its own collection of collectable personalities.Its kind of Scary for those cities with high crime rates. Maybe theres a theory in that...hmmmm!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010 8:35 am Key West time – (7:36 home time)
Its Sunday morning. Kate and I are sitting on the light brown sandy beach in Key West. Well actually Im sitting on the beach and Kate's asleep in the back seat of our (maybe by now...considered stolen) 01 Ford Expedition.
I crashed/sacked out in the front seat of the truck around 9p.m. Saturday night, somewhere just outside of Key Largo, leaving Kate to drive the slow & long few miles from key to key, into Key West. When I woke early Sunday morning, Kate & I were sitting outside of a 24 hour McDonald's just inside the island of Key West, where she finally pulled over, crawled into the back seat, and went to sleep herself, exhausted.
I woke to the sound of several roosters (yes...I said roosters!) crowing the morning in at around 5:30 a.m. I was a bit disorientated at first trying to figure out where we were at with out waking and asking Kate, personally. With the sound of a Rooster sounding off every few minutes, I was completely at a loss as to where we were at. The noise from the stupid bird set my nerves on end. As I looked around I realized there were several Roosters prancing about. It was a non-stop cocka-doodle-do repatuare from one bird or another. They are everywhere . This is not exactly what I expected from a tropical like island. The chickens are considered a rarity here and to be respected. I was told by the young man at the McDonald's drive thru. Which I thought was rather odd since we weren't apart from the Main land , per say. WEIRD but ok, you do as the Romans do when in Rome, right? I personally wanted to “cook” the damned birds, not out of hunger at this moment in time but out of frustration. Well, if it wasn't for the nice young island man that took my order for coffee , one of those chickens might have ended up as dinner...well, enough of that.
I decided to drive on into the island and explore . The island town is beautiful. The shops have a weathered look to them from the salt air. Lots of shops, restaurants hotels, museums. Ernest Hemingway has a home (museum) here, which I did not realize. Ernest Hemingway is one of my favorite authors. So it will have to be a must to drive by when Kate wakes up to see his place. As I drove about the island town , I discovered that the island has very little public beach availability, as most of the beaches are private and controlled strictly by hotels or commercial profits. Which is understandable, due to the high end expectations of this island and its reliability upon the tourist to maintain its life status/support.
I did, however, find one beach on the Atlantic side. Its called “Clarence S. Higg's Memorial Beach”. The Parking for this beach was in a line against the beach area itself which was just feet from the waterline. The very shallow beach area made it a delight to sit and enjoy. I pulled in and parked to finish watching the sun rise, drink my coffee and allow Kate to sleep a little more. The breeze off of the ocean was nice at a 75 degree temperature at 6:30 in the morning. I cant imagine what its going to be like by noon. Who can be depressed with such a beautiful blue sky, aqua green ocean, light tanned beach sand, and the smell of fresh coffee...I smell fresh coffee...hmmm, must be the cup of joe I just bought from McDonald's.....nope I smell breakfast too! .Eggs? NO! its beacon! MMMM!
Two spaces from where I parked was an old battered but still very useful van was also parked. Useful in a since that the van was loaded down with living materials such as, items of clothing, bags, food sacks of groceries and dishes, as if someone was/is living /camping out of the van . Useful as it the van also still ran, even though you would think by looking at it...it wouldn't. The van strongly resembled my own trucks appearance as in having a lived in look to it. An older gentle man was already sitting at a public picnic table that was located on the beach area a few feet behind where the parked van was backed up in a parking spot. The older gentleman was/is drinking a cup of coffee, looking out over the sea, also enjoying the morning breeze and sun rise. We were the first to arrive at the beach parking area. Or at least I thought we were until I looked around to see others sleeping on benches, under bushes, and on the sand. A couple more camper looking type vans pulled in and park between me and the battered van within minutes of each others arrival. Out of each van climbed a older gentleman, that was unshaven, adorned with wrinkled clothes, and sandal footed. Each one joined the other older gentleman at the table for conversation and coffee. They lined up on one side of the table over looking the ocean watching the sun rise. I cant make out the conversation between the men but I can hear the rise and fall of their voices and laughter. Then all of a sudden the voices wasn't there, but the vans were. Needing to take care of the call of nature myself, I decided to get out and walk the beach a little , looking for the public bathroom, if any were available, feeling completely non-threatened by my environment believe it or not. I got out of my truck, locked the doors with Kate inside. I left her the actual set of truck keys. I took the spare set to the door. I don't like the idea of leaving her stranded or not knowing where Ive gone. If I feel shes to sleepy to comprehend what I'm saying then I leave a note in the ash tray. She knows where to find it, due to our pre-discussed conversation regarding such situations.We often take turns driving. So we are not always awake at the same time. As I started down the beach on the sidewalk, I noticed a large cluster of folks gathered around a particular public picnic table, seemly waiting in line. As I approached I realized that the union of people was receiving food from hot kettles. The three men that had been sitting at the picnic table next to where I parked was in line. The make shift food line was serving grits, scrambled eggs, BEACON, biscuits, coffee and water. There were about 50 people, men, women & a couple of dogs.....no children – but then no one in their right mind would expose their children to the public as being homeless...right?...due to the fact that the community would automatically separate and take the children, right? So, I thought to myself, where are the children? There are children! There is always children ! As the assumed homeless people of the beach were standing in line or had already received a portion of food I stood, watched and wondered. .
The food smelled so good. I was hungry too. I would not eat without Kate, nor could I bring my pride to stand in that line, just yet. I have some crackers and the morning dollar cup of coffee , that was getting cold back in the truck. Ill find Kate a McDonald's dollar menu when she wakes up. We are not completely broke but I'm feeling it close at hand.
I worry about Bubba. We left him in Arkansas per his request. I didn't and still don't like the idea of leaving him to fend for himself. I send him money as I make it. Which has been slim to none for the most part. But his and my baby girls needs come before anything else. I know his hardship is much like mine and Kate's. Hes wondering from friend/family catching a place to sleep and shower when & where he can. He says he wont/cant leave Arkansas due to his Army obligations. Which is understandable. At least if he is there (Arkansas) he can make it to Drill, where if he was with Kate & I, I cant guarantee where we will be from day to day or if I would be able to get him home in time for Drill. He cant go AWOL! His Army career is so very important to him. He has always wanted to be a soldier. I cant take that from him. My situation is bad enough without condemning him as well. Hes a tough kid. Hes been thru so much already in his young life. I love and admire him so very much.
Kate is along for the ride. Its an adventure to her. We go on adventures, so to speak all the time. We like to go to Eureka, Kansas City, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, places close to home but still an adventure. The kids don't know about the legal stuff brewing at home regarding myself. They know I went to Court. They know Erwin, my attorney didn't show up, if he did it was after I left, leaving me to sweat out the morning hearings without representation. They know I was on the phone with him off and on. They know that the court hearing is over. Something my children have become very accustomed to unfortunately. So to question me or the out come of the hearing isnt important to them as long as Im not in jail.Which is often the result of any hearing in Judge Duncans court. She is well known for her abuse of power.
I forgot about the bathroom and walked back to my truck with the full reality of where I'm at, not necessarily physically but in my life's day to day journey. As I stand in front of my truck looking out at one of the most lucrative, exotic, richly proclaimed, dreamed about places in the United States ...I can see the beautiful cruise ships - docked just off shore, gorgeous hotels with custom designed pools - empty of guests, fenced private beaches, keeping only those who can afford it in and those who cant or choose not to....out, BMW convertible sports cars, cell phone using business men, bicyclist, tourist on scooters...all costing money, and showing that it could be or once upon a time was bountiful. The economy has crashed around every ones feet. Kate and I have seen so much poverty, homelessness, pandering, begging, needing...its frighting! I actually thought I was alone in this plight. So Kate and I set out to find the better parts of the United States, where money flowed. Even here in this bountiful place, there are people standing in soup lines to eat. Homeless people sleeping on the sandy beach. At first sight, the common person would not think twice about these peoples situation or mine as far as that goes. There's a song that Phil Collins sings , it is called “Another day in Paradise”...WOW! Talk about bitter - sweet.
So, at this moment, I decided to write this Journal for my son & my baby girl, so they would know and understand why I left so abruptly. The turn of events that has caused this devastation in our lives ...the loss of my business, loss of property thru a divorce, bad economy, loss of custody of my youngest son and daughter, high child support payments that cant be made, a lousy attorney who didn't/hasn't/wont file the proper paper work for each of the court cases which fell, back to back, by the attorney not taking the situation seriously... within weeks of each other and/or doesn't show up for my scheduled hearings until the very last minute or not at all, a judge that doesn't “hear” the case but instead “judges” the case before the hearing using her biased small town “associations,” as a base for her decisions … I am now facing criminal prosecution for non-payment of child support which could have been avoided, along with the title of being labeled DEAD BEAT... homeless, lost, desperate, ostracized from the love of my children.... just to name a few.
Back home, I filed bankruptcy, in hopes to capture some of the bills and stall the child support hearing momentarily, hopefully buying me time long enough for me to regain employment, a home, and a stable life again, only to have the main holidays, a severe winter/bad weather, staffing illness at the bankruptcy attorneys office to takes its tole on the short amount of time I desperately needed to possibly head off this outrageous infliction. All of this delayed the process and a prompt filling. forcing the bankruptcy into a non-importance state, as the damage has been done due to the lengthy stall. The Child support hearing has came and gone & so have I! The bankruptcy should have/ would have captured the arrears' of my child support and put the payments on a more feasible payment plan that I could work with. I could actually regain my foot hold and re-establish my home life and stability. Time and action on the attorneys part wasn't in my favor. I'm on my own. The sad part is, is I have very few outstanding debts. If I could have caught the arrears's of my child support in the bankruptcy and slowed down the prosecution process until I regain myself and possible (hopefully) paid a good percentage of it off, but that did not happen for one reason or another.....then it too is rendered useless. Im sick. Not physically but emotionally. Everything Ive tried to do this last year has crumbled between my fingers as I trying desperately to hold on. I just dont know what to do. I've ran away. Not because Im scared, but because I feel I have no options left. I need time and distance to figure this mess out. I absolutely can not do that in Benton County. There is just to much detrimental judgment. I cant survive there.
As I contemplated the situation at that moment in time standing outside of the Court room awaiting the arrival of my no-show attorney and my condemnation hearing..I panicked. Not knowing what I should do, but knowing what is going to happen within the next few minutes of this next hearing, I made a very irrational choice which is not at all like myself. Im a stand up and fight kind of person. I believe in fighting for what you believe in regardless of the consequences. I have been fighting a very unjust Judge for quite sometime. Not knowing why fate has chosen me. All Ive every wanted was to raise my children in the small town Ive love all my life. Quietly and simply. I want to go to their ball games, PTA, plays etc. All Ive ever want was to be a mother to my children. Im a good mother. I maybe a lot of other things right or wrong but IM A GOOD MOTHER! I dare anyone to prove that different, contra to inflected opinions of a Judge that has had a quarrel with me since we were kids. I want to see my children become wonderful people and enjoy the results of my labor as they enjoy their lives into adulthood. Stable, comfortable, and as normal as possible. Sheltered from harms way. But Judge Duncan thrives on destruction, not just with my family but any one who enters her sanction and isnt part of her "who ya know" spectrum of personal advancement. Shes a disgrace and a humiliation to our small town. Punishment will be inflicted upon your regardless of the rights or wrongs of your situation. Fate has brought light into the why's of my predicament... as I walked out of my court hearing moments before my name was called. I decided to leave. I had been living out of my truck for a couple of months already. Hungry, broke, cold and going nowhere fast. Unemployment is on the rise everywhere. When it effects our home town main life support (Wal-Mart) we are in big trouble. Wal-mart was/is laying off right and left. Many places have job freezes in effect not just here in Arkansas but across the nation. I decided that ...I can run the gas out of my truck , trying to keep warm as I am homeless, in the bitter cold of this winter and try to figure these things out, all the while waiting to go to jail for a hopeless situation that wont fix itself because the (legal) people involved just don't give a shit, the economy falling at an unbelievable rate .....or I can take charge, run the gas out of my truck … running from prosecution in hopes to buy myself some time to try to find the niche that it will take to reclaim my life. I will have to go to jail eventually. But wouldn't it be nice if I go to jail with my children back in their home, safe, comfortable, taken care of and the bills paid...to stop at least the criminal prosecution of the non-payment of child support. I wont be able to stop the civil as failure to appear is failure to appear. NO judge likes to have their time wasted and walking out is considered rude and an insult to a judge, any judge, especially a full of shit judge like Judge Duncan who is only using her judgeship for selfish gains and egotistical glorification.. That means jail time regardless. Walking out of a Court hearing , in which my attorney didn't show up for, if he did it was at the very last minute, I wasn't there to see it, and that is the ultimate insult ever to any Judge.Not my intent I can assure you. I actually, waited until the Court reporter called my name. I asked to step outside to call my attorney one last time. I call my attorney to learn that he was (still)in transit, but that is what I had been told all day. The prosecutor had managed to push my time down to the very last person on the docket. Not to any surprise exactly, as that had been procedure in the past several hearings. My case would be set for last. I would set outside the courtroom door all day to sweat it out and run my attorneys fees up and off the chart. My attorney knew this. He was scheduled for a hearing in Little Rock, 250 miles away on the same morning as my hearing. My attorney was in transit with out a doubt! The question was, will he get to my hearing in time. I would not have been to concerned, if a conversation hadn't taken place a few days earlier when I was in Mr Davis' (my attorney) office .. as I was leaving he had another couple sitting on his couch waiting to be seen, Mr Davis commented about my 01 Ford Expedition., that he would love to have a truck like that. I agreed that it was a nice family truck. Mr. Davis turned to the couple in waiting and said... I quote “Maybe she will get into enough trouble she will just sign the title of that truck over to me for legal fees.” I was shocked! The couple shot me a look of surprise and astonishment, which compelled me to explain . I directed my response back to Mr. Davis, as I said “Well Erwin! This is just a child support hearing. This should be fairly simple, right? Or are you telling me something I dont know yet and need to be aware of?” Mr. Davis laughed and motioned for the couple to get up and join him in his office as he waved good-bye to me. I stood completely dumbfounded without a response for clarification from him.. I walked out of his office with a new set of concerns, wondering what he meant by that. I still owed money on my truck to Car-Mart. I couldnt sign over my truck. And why should I? Whats is going on? Why would he say such a thing? All of this is running thru my head as Im now standing and pacing outside the courtroom door as the prosecutor approaches me frustrated that he too is tired of waiting on my attorney. I was next and still NO attorney! The court was insisting on proceeding. Sick to my stomach to have a hearing with no representation in a courtroom in front of a very biased lazy Judge who doesn't listen to anyone except her own self talk, facing possible criminal charges. to boot and nothing to offer as a resolve to the horrible situation Im in. Its a known joke about the town and a fact that Judge Xollie Duncan is a crappy one sided “who ya know – favoritism” Judge especially when it comes to me and/or my cases. Its always brutal. Its often joked about between the bailiffs as to who gets to take me to jail today! The jailers at the County jail lay bets as to how long I will get to stay at their fine accommodations. Judge Duncan has no clue to the mockery she has made of herself and the court, thinking it is humiliating me. Well, shes right, it does humiliate me, but not in an effect like she is wanting. I maybe the butt of a joke, per say, but so is she. She, Judge Duncan is a person of authority, one to be respected for her judgment and fair play has stooped to childish endeavors by making me a public spectacle and parading me thru town during rush hour traffic by having the transport officer park several block from the court house so that I'm on public display in my chains, striped uniform , no make up on or my hair combed. Which is a Benton County Jail trait – no creature comforts for hygiene outside of toothpaste and a bar of soap. So,I left. I left the Court House. I left Benton County. I have two options.....I figured, I cant see or help my children if I'm sitting in jail waiting to go to prison. And that is exactly where I was headed. And my attorney soaking up all of my assets. The conversation in my attorneys office regarding my truck and me being in more trouble rings very clear, and his non-/delayed appearance for my hearing makes a lot of since, now. So, “IF” I'm going to forfeit seeing my children, then I'm going to at least give myself a fighting chance to pull out of my situation. I walked out to my Ford Expedition truck, opened the truck door and sit down, paused a moment to rethink what I was fixing to do...started the engine of my truck and left. My hands & knees shaking violently. I had to pull over twice within a two block area to throw up. I left anyway knowing full well what the consequences of this action held for me..eventually. Right or wrong, I feel I have been left with no choice....
I write this journal to my youngest son and daughters. As, I drive away, and leave behind my 19 year old son to the mercy of his friends. As he chose to stay behind due to his loyal commitment he has made to our government as a civilian soldier not to leave the state that he is committed to. And my baby girl who is 14 years old, whom Ive lost custody of, to man (Donny G. Hight) who is not her father, but under the same Judges biased “association “.of childhood friends hips and school chums this man is allowed to continue the fraud he (Donny Hight) has committed upon the court regarding paternity Even when paternity has been proven not to be his. This man (Donny Hight)is a baby thief supported by a long time childhood friend/classmate Judge Xollie Duncan. (Xollie Buffer, as known in the Gravette school system) Ostracizing, humiliating, discrediting me in the public's eye as a cover up to keep her bad rulings and conspiracies disclosed . After all who are you going to believe. Hmmm? This same judge who is roasting me on a spicket over an open fire for public display to make an example of me. As I represent everything she wishes she could have been and isnt as rivals in the world outside of the courtroom which dates back to our childhood days as well. The same Judge who has allowed my baby girls real father (Rick Hensley) off the hook completely. Violating not only his (Ricks) but our baby girls constitutional rights. Rick is restricted to no responsibility what so ever to the child he helped bring into the world while Im left to face criminal charges for non-payment of Child Support and civil contempt at Judge Duncans discretion.. Rick gets off scott free. While the so called custodial keeper(Donny Hight)continue to gain monetary value from the use of my daughter. That may make me sound like a dead beat, but Im not. Judge Xollie Duncan sees that Im sent to jail on civil contempt for any numerous of reasons. Im left in jail long enough to loose everything that Ive worked to gain and or regain ... Loss of my job, housing, vehicles for non-payments, furniture for abandonment , custody of my children and left long enough to allow my child support to pile up in arrears so that it can be charged as a criminal offense, all the while Im also paying for over half of my daughters lunches, I purchase a huge if not all of her school clothes & supplies, activities, doctor bills, cell phone, transportation to and from where ever the custodial keepers(Donny Hight) demands and whatever else my daughter may need or want outside of the child support of nearly a thousand ($850.00) a month. The child support should have been adjusted to meet my income availability a couple of years ago, but has been neglected by the same attorney (Mr. Erwin Davis), with the promise of a custody hearing in the near future, which has never happened. As I struggle now to meet the demands the court has financially set upon me. Each hearing to come, fosters promises of false hope that is promised by my attorney, Mr. Erwin Davis...if we can get through this one hearing one more time, your daughter is getting old enough, we will get her returned to you properly. But in turn , it only gets me another attorneys payment/fee only to produce the same result that has absolutely NO chance in hell, of ever becoming a reality.
The economy is devastated. Jobs are non-existent. I barely have a dollar to eat on. I often skip my one meal a day to allow my oldest daughter a little extra. Ive been known to eat out of the trash cans, peoples untouched throw aways. I am ok with that right now. I call my son and baby girl to check on them a couple times a day. I worry. Is this nightmare going to ever end? What did I do that so wrong? Unemployment is considered a criminal offense? The economic crises is now a criminal offense as well? Did I make the right decision by leaving? I still feel like I did. I make a very small amount of money here and there. I manage to keep the cell phones turned on, gas in the truck, and I send a little home to my son and daughter. I will survive, off of the street, the old fashion way. It can be done. Street life is hard and horrible but right now that is the only option I have available.
My oldest son has turned his back on me due to the embarrassment I have brought upon him, which I don't understand but accept.
My oldest daughter, who has refused to allow me to go thru this alone has given up her own education (momentarily) & life style to help see me thru this horrible situation & experience....in full support, that we will persevere through this hardship as just another step on the ladder we (she & I ) have climbed so may times before...together, side by side!
I (WE) are currently traveling the United States, town to town, homeless, wondering, lost....barely surviving . So I write this journal to the two wonderful young children, whom I have left behind...and whom I love so very much.
So here I sit on the island of Key West, just feet from the waters edge, wondering what am I going to do today to make some money or is this just another bust ? I look around at so many people that probably would be considered bums and wondering how they got to this point in their life, even though I'm right here with them. Everyone has a story, right? But we dont talk about that.
Kate & I toured the town on foot for the most part, conserving what little money and gas we have. We drove by Hemingway's place and the little light house across the street from his house. We found a little piece of beach on the Gulf side and sat to try to get our barrings and ideas as to what we could do to make some money. Its off season for the tourists, unseasonably cold even for Key West. Everywhere as far as that goes. The economic plunge has taken a huge toll on everyone which we are finding everywhere. Its scary to see so many people with out work and homeless.
Kate & I decided we should leave the Keys the next morning .
A small rain shower soaked the beach the morning we decided to leave. Kate & I sat with the rest of the beach bums - gang, drinking coffee, and watched the sun climb into the sky. Once the rain had stopped we left and drove back into Florida. As I visited with these so-thought of beach-bums, I realized that they are not what I would consider homeless or labeled as homeless. There is nothing desperate about their attitude or their lifestyle. The “don't worry, be happy “ rule applies to everyone on this island. The so-called beach bum has a chosen this way of life, not a life that was chosen for them. Big difference....from the generals of the cities homeless. I would say “and me” but Im not sure where I stand. I did choose to leave, so the life style was/is of my own choosing, but the many factors involved in the choice I made makes me feel as though its been forced upon me.
But this island and a gentleman so-called island beach bum, by the name of Berney, gave me hope today, as I watched him sell a few watercolor paintings framed with a recycled lobster trap he found, broke apart and rearranged to make a clever frame for his pictures to sell to the tourist passing by. He also consigns out his drawings and paintings at a couple of the local stores....he says he doesn't need much, a little gas & a few groceries. Ten dollars gets him by for the most part. He was fantastically jolly and a delight to visit casually with. I forgot for a moment that life was so hateful... but I need money and there are no jobs here, so Kate & I are moving on....Berney did leave me with a lot of inspiration.
Thank you Key West. Thank you Berney for giving me hope and a new way of thinking. (Im in Marketing for heavens sake. I help people everyday achieve their goals, never once have I applied these principles to myself. Why? Why, indeed Berney, why indeed!)Key West is a beautiful place to find your soul, but don't look for it commercially...it wont be there. You will be surprised where you will find it....maybe siting on the beach with a bum that makes a great cup of instant coffee from his cigarette lighter converter and coffee maker.
Key West isnt the beginning of my journey, it is just the beginning of my journal. I feel good today. Something that I havent felt in a very long time
NOTE: I did not make any money here. The towns people are actually very poor due to the fallen economy and make their living off of tourist. The tourist usually spend their money on entertainment purposes, from chartered boats, tours, bars, of all types.None of that was prevalent at this point in time. I do not beg for money, yet. I actually work and earn what little bit of money I do make. As most of the people here on the island do. They are not bums. A way of life here can be very simple if you so choose it to be. A true example of “dont worry, be happy”...but with that also means no responsibilities which I have plenty of, so it cant apply to me. I cant walk away from my life at hand, although my visit in the Keys was inspiring for the moment. What I did find was.... my way!