Posted in My life in pictures

053/365 Flashback Friday: Gunslinger Gonzo and Pokahoochie

I’ve been to some over the top Halloween parties but last year’s had to be the all time greatest for fun, creativity and just plain effort.

Julia and Kirsten, thanks so much for the good times, great company and crazy memories last year. We can’t wait to see you ladies tomorrow night to create some more of those incredible memories.

Here are some of my favorite shots from last year. If you are interested in seeing the whole album, it’s on Facebook and I welcome you to come check it out. I think you’ll see why this was one of the best parties ever for creativity. These people take this costume thing pretty seriously.

Gil, aka Gunslinger Gonzo, and Me, aka Pokahoochie
Gil with awesome party hostess, Julia, aka….Julia
Cowboy, co-hostess Kirsten, aka Cher, and Gil
Lee and Diana, aka Queen of Hearts
Damn, my cowboy is fine!
Lee, Julia, and Gil
Lee and Kirsten
Gil and Steve, aka the Hulk

Posted in Crafts, My life in pictures

049/365 I Hope Permanent Doesn’t Really Mean Permanent

Our big Halloween event is next Saturday so it’s time to get serious about our costumes. My first project is to dye the nylon jacket we purchased from the Salvation Army a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, I seem to have only dyed my hands and fingernails. The jacket is still lime green, but my nails are a lovely shade of black.

Crafting tip for my readers: Wear gloves when working with permanent fabric dye.

But, you all probably knew that already. Right?

Oh, and make sure you plug the drain with a stopper that actually fits said drain in the large utility sink you are using to dye your fabric. This step is actually quite crucial for successfully dying your fabric.

Crafting #fail

Posted in My life in pictures

048/365 Accidental Day Off But Keeping Count Make Up Post

It kinda sucks but Sunday came and went without so much as a hint of a thought about posting a picture. We had a little bit of family drama but it looks like everything’s going to be okay. My uncle was rushed to the hospital with a suspected heart attack. Soon after he got to the ER and was examined, we were notified it wasn’t a heart attack but inflammation around his heart and that he would be treated with antibiotics and sent home in a day or two. As soon as we all took a breath and started to relax with this good news, we got another call that he had been taken for a heart cath. They found that he did have a heart attack and they performed angioplasty and placed two stints. The scary thing is he just had a triple bypass a few months ago. I’m writing this not as an excuse for failing to post but to ask for your prayers. The prognosis is good. He was moved to a room from intensive care and he’s doing very well. However, he could still use some good vibes.

Posted in Random Writers

My Mom’s Second Chance

Random Writers Week 6 Topic: Who would you give a second chance to?

When we selected our random topics and this one was chosen, it was quite serendipitous that it fell on this week. Once I saw the week and the anniversary that also falls during on this week, I asked Gil if he would swap days with me. I knew I would want to write and post my blog on Monday, the six year anniversary of my mom’s second chance. I also knew that I was going to deviate from the topic slightly by talking about a second chance that has already taken place, and not a hypothetical future second chance.

On October 24, 2005, my mom’s house was raided by the police. I was more than 350 miles away when I got the call from my sister that police were at my mom’s, an ambulance had just rolled up and they wouldn’t let my sister near the place. She told me that some deputy told her that my mom had a seizure shortly after the surprise invasion and that she was fine, but the rescue squad had been called as a precaution. My body’s physical reaction to all of this was almost more than I could stand. And I can’t begin to describe the sense of helplessness I felt in those first few hours.

It was no surprise to my sister or me as to why the police chose her house for this late night raid. After my father’s death, my mom had become involved with some less than upstanding characters and drugs became a big part of her life. So big in fact that many times over the years I felt that my mom often chose drugs over me, my sister and my nephew.

Throughout that night there were several more calls with my sister as she learned bits and pieces of what was happening. The hardest part for me to deal with was the mental image of my handcuffed mother being put in the backseat of a police car. I spent the rest of the night planning my early morning trip back to Alabama. That six hour drive was filled with question after question to God about how this could happen to her and to us and what I was supposed to do next.

I drove straight to the county jail and requested to see my mom. They brought her in and sat her on the other side of that thick plate of glass where we were only able to communicate via a telephone handset hanging on the wall. At first she was happy to see me, but that mood didn’t linger for very long. She started making demands that I refused to honor. I asked questions she refused to answer or at least provided answers that were completely opposite of what I needed to hear at the time. The conversation turned really nasty and hateful, and I can assure you there was no love or compassion flowing through that pretend telephone line by the time I hung up that handset. I left her there and went to talk to the sheriff and an attorney. And that’s how the next couple of days went; sheriff, attorney, family, banker, attorney, sheriff, back and forth while we negotiated the release of my mom. She was brought into one of the meetings, complete with an orange jumpsuit and wrist and ankle cuffs. I can assure you this is not a vision I had ever in my wildest imagination expected to see. I’m even more sure it’s not one that my mom expected to find herself in either.

After a few days, an agreement was reached. I went to the jail with some documents that my mom would need to sign. Basically, land she owned would be sold in order to make bail. She would have to sign a power of attorney to me so that I could take care of everything for her. When this was presented to her, she at first refused. To say she was defiant is a massive understatement. More nasty words were spoken but in the end, she signed the documents. I returned with the bail money and she was released to me. Part of the terms of her release was that I would get her out of state. This was not a safety issue but one of concern. Everyone in her life knew that if she stayed in Alabama she may not make the right choices and revert to her illegal and destructive lifestyle. The sheriff, my family, and I all agreed that we had to get her as far away as possible and that’s exactly what I did. During the night, we packed anything that she might need in the coming weeks and left first thing the next morning. My plan was to get her back to Tampa and find a treatment facility so she could get the help she needed. I was so very fortunate to not only find a decent place, but it was also one that accepted her insurance so there was no financial burden on either of us. This place was not only going to treat any addictions she may struggle with, but they had a staff of psychologists who would be working with her on the root causes of the addictions. THIS was the most important thing to me.

Over the next few months, mom worked on herself while I worked on the legal issues we had. My mom had never been the target of that raid and the charges against her were mostly because drugs were found in her home. I spent hours and hours communicating with her attorney and the sheriff’s office, and in the end, one felony charge was dismissed while she was able to complete a pre-trial diversion to have the remaining charges removed from her record. Her criminal record only reflects an arrest but no convictions. We were able to use the remaining money from the land sale to pay her fines and fees and after two years, it was over and completely behind us.

There were so many times I wanted to walk away from her, just like I felt she had done to me for several years. For so long I prayed for her to come back to us and to leave that life behind. There were screaming matches and long periods of silence. People say that someone has to hit rock bottom before they can see what’s happening to them. Well, I can tell you that my mom did just that. She was left homeless and penniless and could have easily found herself in a different set of circumstances.

My mom was blessed with a second chance from the legal system by being allowed to complete a series of steps to have the charges wiped out. The mental health system gave her a second chance by helping her to work through some childhood issues and events that were an underlying source of years of pain. Our family came together to help support my mom with love and prayer or financially when it was desperately needed. We could have easily shut her out and turned our backs on her, and Lord knows she certainly gave us plenty of reasons in the years following my father’s death.

During those years that my mom was spiritually far away from us, I often played out the scenario of walking away from her and never looking back. I thought about all of the hateful and loveless things I would say as I kicked her out of my life. I was so angry and filled with resentment. However, when push came to shove, the easiest choice I have ever made was to give my mom a second chance.  Looking back at the past six years, I haven’t  regretted it for a minute.