Monday, March 31, 2008

I Fought The Law And . . . *** *** Won - Conclusion

The 6 jurors were sworn in and we all took our places. The burden of proof would be on the prosecution. The prosecutor started her opening statement. She did a great job. She really chummed up to the jury. She asked them if they had gotten tickets before and told them that she had. She said, "What do you do when you get a ticket? You just pay for it don't you. " She looked at me with a smirk on her face. She was obviously miffed that she was having to go through the civil process that all citizens deserve. (I'm glad I wasn't charged with murder).

After 15 minutes, it was my attorney's turn. I thought she did a great job. She decided to argue the legal placement of the signs. The attorney's spent hours arguing about the Texas code versus the city code and who was responsible for the correct placement of the signs.

The intersection of the crime was under construction. It has been under construction for many months and was deemed a dangerous intersection. So dangerous that the city was given grant money to help prevent accidents. How about using the money to clearly mark the intersection?

Since Tina was one of the witnesses, she was not allowed in the courtroom, so she decided to make this a scrapbooking moment and stood outside and took pictures. This is a picture of Robin, the attorney that testified on my behalf about the poorly marked intersection, and a random police officer.

The prosecution just happened to have pictures of the intersection that were supposedly taken around the end of July 2007 (the date of the crime). Isn't that convenient. I wonder how they got those when they weren't even expecting a trial? They were not dated, but they testified that is when they were taken. That's believable!

The police officer testified. Although he has been working full time with hundreds of traffic stops since July 2007, he testified about my incident just like it happened that morning. I am so sure that he remembered everything. He was so sure that the map he drew was backwards. I did feel sorry for him because he had worked the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift and then came straight to court. He had been awake for over 24 hours. I bet he'll think twice before showing up for a quick stop at the courthouse.

Tina got her chance to testify. We didn't talk about the incident before, so she had forgotten what the ticket was for. Her answers were pretty funny. When they asked her if we were talking in the car, her answer was, "Well we just left a birthday party with 5 women in the car, so I am sure someone was talking."

When it came to the closing arguments, the prosecutor smirked at me and brought it to the jury's attention that "How in the world could I possibly be paying attention with I was driving after "partying" with a big group of people?" She spoke a little more and hinted that my "partying" included drinking. That made me mad since I don't drink anything stronger than Dr. Pepper.

By the time the jury got their charge, the picture they had in their mind was:

* Woman who does not want to just pay her ticket and go on with her life.
* Woman who has wasted their day.
* Woman who was partying with a group of women and not paying attention to anything.
* Very annoyed that they just spent about 3 hours hearing testimony about legal garbage about sign placement.

Unfortunately for the judge, his clerk left at 4:30 and he had to go upstairs and prepare the documents himself. He was not the least bit happy about that.

The jury was sent on their way to deliberate. It didn't take long at all. They were ready to go home. They were back within 5 minutes.

I FOUGHT THE LAW AND THE LAW WON! Fine $75 + court cost. Including attorney fees, a little cheaper than the original ticket. Biggest loss - time. I arrived around 8:00 a.m. and got in my car to go home at 6:30 p.m. Satisfaction level - High, because I believe I was wrongly ticketed and I got my day in court to tell my side of the story. I didn't care if I was found guilty or not because I got a chance to defend myself. Cost - Priceless.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sad/Fun/Chaotic/Busy Week

The title sums it all up for me. While this past week was fun, chaotic and busy, it was also sad. I felt so sad for my friend Pat, and her loss was in the back of my mind the entire week. It didn't seem right to be having fun while she was feeling such sadness.

Pops and I went to one of my favorite cities on Wednesday, San Diego. We had a great and relaxing time. While he worked, I spent my days at La Jolla beach. It is the most peaceful, relaxing place. Saturday, Pops and I went back and just sat on a cliff watching the waves for a couple of hours before we came back home.

We went to church on Sunday morning, which is very rare for us. Going to church is not rare, just on Sunday. We have been a part of Fellowship Church for the past eight years and we have only missed about 6 weekend services. Not because we feel obligated or feel like we have to, it is because we want to. We arrange our travel schedule around it. We always go on Saturday night, but if we can't make it, we will go on Sunday.

I spent the afternoon cooking and getting ready for our family Easter dinner at my Mother's. That is where the chaos comes in. I have a great family and we have fun, but when we all get together it is total chaos. Between the egg hunt and my great niece Hayden's birthday, it was out of control. We had about 50 people and 10+ were kids under 5.

Here is Karsyn, just before the hunt. She had so much fun.

Landrie wanted to play in the sand, but she finally got into hunting the eggs.

Aunt Nelly helped Karsyn.

I wanted to get a picture of all the cousins, but some wouldn't cooperate. Here are a few of them and a friend of Hayden's that was there for her birthday.
Landrie and Tris were left alone for a few minutes and got a little out of control with the eggs. This picture is after several minutes of clean up. They had a great time.
After our dinner, we went to the Jarnagin's and sat around and listened to stories from Jim's family and friends in preparation for his services. They had 40+ family members come from out of town. Most of them were from Florida, Georgia and Alabama. There are 5 kids in Jim's family and 7 in Pat's.

Monday night there was a visitation and prayer vigil. Pops put together all of the stories from the family and friends and gave the Eulogy. Yesterday was Jim's funeral. What a roller coaster week!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Can Only Imagine Video

"I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me Video

Monday, March 17, 2008

I Can Only Imagine

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk by your side
I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face is before me
I can only imagine
Surrounded by your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for your Jesus, or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself, standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you
I can only imagine

I love this song, "I Can Only Imagine". It is so real to me. I do not cry easily, but this song always brings tears to my eyes when I think of the true meaning. When I stand in front of my Heavenly Father, I can't imagine what my reaction will be. Will I dance, will I fall to my knees, will I sing Hallelujah or will I be speechless? I truly can't imagine.

As I write this, I am thinking about Jim. Just a couple of hours ago, he met Jesus in person. Is he dancing and singing or is he speechless? While there is a party in Heaven, there is great sadness and loss on earth for his family and friends.

Tonight as he was getting prepped for surgery for his second liver transplant, his heart gave out. Please keep Pat and Chris, and his family in your prayers.

Lord, I pray that you will comfort them, and give them peace that passes all understanding. I pray that you will fill the hole in their hearts like nothing else can do.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Jim Needs A Miracle

Jim had his liver transplant on Friday. He seemed to be progressing as expected. He was communicating by squeezing hands and writing notes. This morning Pat drove by and told Jordan, "Tell your Mom Jim is doing good."

When she got to the hospital, she learned that he had taken a turn for the worse. His new liver has quit working. His kidneys have started to shut down and he has been placed on dialysis. He is on the transplant list once again, but this time he needs it much more than he did on Friday. It is very critical.

My analogy is that he is in a football game with the score of 18 - 20 with 2 minutes left. He needs a field goal quickly to win the game. He is in need of a miracle. My Heavenly Father is in the business of miracles. I am praying that Jim will get the miracle of a new liver that he needs. Please pray for God's peace that passes all understanding for Pat, Chris, and their family as they go through this tough time.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Please Pray For Jim

Some friends of ours, Pat and Jim have been going through a rough time this year. Jim fell off a ladder and just for precautions, had some scans done to make sure everything was okay. At that time, they saw a spot on his liver. They watched it for a little bit and he was diagnosed with cancer.

He had some rough chemo and seemed to be doing better. Unfortunately, several weeks later, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. The good news is that he had a section of his colon removed and has been doing great. Other than the liver cancer, he is the perfect picture of health and you never know that anything was wrong.

Because he is so healthy other than his liver, he was placed on the transplant list. This week, they informed him that he was at the top.

Pat called this morning and said they got a call from the hospital at 9:00 saying that there was a liver available and that he and another patient were both candidates to receive it. They called back at 3:00 a.m. and said it would be his and come to the hospital.

The transplant was supposed to start at 10:00 and take about 4 hours. Please pray for Pat, Jim and their son. Please pray that Jim will have a great recovery and please pray that Chris and Pat will be at peace and feel God's comfort as they wait for the surgery to be completed.

Also, please pray for the family who so generously chose to give life in the midst of their circumstances.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Kitchen Construction Is Done!!!

After 2 1/2 months, we are almost done! I am so happy to wake up this morning and not have any workers in my house. For the past 3 weeks, we have had people here and I feel like I have to be dressed early and just sit around and do nothing all day but wait for them to get finished and leave.

It all started with the floor on December 26th. The dust from jackhammering up the old floor was unbelievable. I still have it inside my cabinets. The floor came in more colorful than the sample, so that threw everything else I had picked out off. After 10 trips to the granite warehouse, I finally made a decision. The sink was back ordered and it took several weeks to get it put in. In the meantime, I had my "bad painters" remove the popcorn from the ceiling, texture the walls and ceiling, paint the base coat and refinish the cabinets. They were very nice and I was pretty much okay with everything except they were very messy.

They came back after the sink and granite were in and "faux" painted. It was just terrible. My Vietnamese remodeler said that it look like my grandchildren had painted it. On top of that, they rinsed the cream paint from their paint brushes in my new black sink repeatedly. I had to get a toothpick to clean it out of the cracks. They must have also had some serious stomach issues because they spent about 1/2 of their days in my bathroom. I would be sitting in my bedroom chair and they would go camp out in the bathroom. I got to where I was so embarrassed for them that when they went in, I would go upstairs or hide out in my bathroom. It happened at least 10 times a day. (Since I am so bathroom phobic, I did not use that bathroom until after my cleaning ladies had come.)

They finished on Monday and it was so bad that I started calling other painters immediately and started repainting the base coat myself. I couldn't stand to look at it. I had lined up a 2nd painter to do just the base coat, and he did not show up. I waited all day Friday and he came around 4:30 and said he would be back on Saturday at 9:00. Pops waited all day for him and he never showed. Finally he came around 10:00 on Monday and at that point, I had finished,

My new painter started on Tuesday and finally finished yesterday, after 7 days. I am very pleased with the faux finish and about 70% pleased with the accent painting. I showed him a picture of what I wanted and color swatches and he didn't do it the same. It needs some tweaking and I will like it. I was not happy with it when he was packed up to leave and luckily Jennifer came by and we both told him changes that needed to be made, like "this side needs something yellow", "more leaves", "this needs to be darker", etc. It improved, but I still see things that would make it look better.

He was not as messy as the first painters, but I had to get mineral spirits, steel wool and re-stain a few areas and chip paint out of my sink. He left the air vents white so I had to go get paint and paint and replace them. All I have to do now is find some switch plates that match. I still need shutters, black refrigerator and my table, which will take about 3 more months, but I can be patient and wait. My physical work is done and I am happy of that. I am tired, but I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to do this.

Best of all, here are my little girls that help with the whole process. We had many picnics in the bathtub and spent lots of time upstairs locked up in the game room.

They both are so good and SO sweet. I love them to pieces.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Fought The Law And . . . *** *** Won - Part III

I did not want to leave the courthouse and eat lunch. I was not familiar with the area and was afraid I might be late. I couldn't be late for my trial, and besides, I had a parking place close by in the lot across the street, and I definitely did not want to lose that.

I sat in the hallway outside the courtroom and ate my bag of peanuts. I got a Dr. Pepper and thank goodness I was smart enough to take only a couple of sips because as the day would go on, there was not an opportunity to go to the bathroom. I probably would not have gone anyway because I don't think they would be up to my standard. The courthouse didn't look like it had been updated in about 50 years. It probably had not been cleaned in about 25 years.

My fellow jurors started gathering in the hallway. I am sure they were wondering what kind of interesting trial they were getting ready to enter into. My attorneys returned from lunch and we entered the courtroom. It was kind of crazy to think that all of these people were here for a traffic ticket.

First, we have the bailiff. He was a little miffed, because he is used to his afternoon nap, and this trial was going to cut into that time. He did manage to get a little wink in here and there. The judge was miffed because this messed up his docket and he is used to not having to do anything other than put his signature on a few documents and be out the door by 4:30.

The cute little red headed prosecutor was miffed because "she was not expecting this at all." She got her friend Nick to help her. At my table were my attorney Kendall and her attorney friend that would be helping her. (I was thinking to myself at this point, I am doing pretty well because I have 3 attorneys for a trial and it only cost me $50 - lets just say that is way cheap in the legal world.)

Next starts the jury selection. We rose as all 15 unhappy people took their place. It was just a little obvious that they were not too thrilled to be here. Most people who have jury duty are hoping they will get dismissed early and be back home and get a free day off of work. Unfortunately for these citizens of Dallas, they were going to be here all day long and get paid $3. I did feel sorry for them. I would not have been too happy if I was in their shoes.

As the jury selection was going on, Tina entered the courtroom. We have known each other for a long time and we both knew that we could not make eye contact with each other. We both have a problem with inappropriate laughter and we knew this was definitely an inappropriate time.

She did look a little ruffled. She had just gone through the security checkpoint and they took way to long checking out her new Dooney and Burke. She was wondering if she would ever see it again. She had her camera in her purse, because she has learned from our children that every moment in life is a scrapbook moment. She got some good pictures as you can see, but she forgot to get one of herself with the security guard. She was not sure if it was a male or female, she just noted that she had more gold in her teeth than I do in my wedding ring.

After much questioning of the prospective jurors, they finally picked the 6 that would be deciding my fate. It was now 2:30 and the trial was about to begin.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Jordan!

Today, Jordan is 24. My children are growing up! Twenty four years ago, I didn't think she was EVER going to be born. I went to the Dr. when I was 14 days late and he said, you are never going to have this baby. That was on a Thursday and he scheduled me to be induced on Monday. I was not a happy camper. I tried everything I knew possible to go into labor and it was just not happening. One thing in particular I remember doing was going to the zoo and walking around for hours. I thought for sure that would work, but no, it didn't.

We even had Jennifer's birthday party early because I was so afraid I would be in the hospital and didn't want to mess her birthday up.

On a side note, it is funny how people talk about your size when you are pregnant. They will say, oh, you are so much smaller than you were last time, or I don't think you look that big. The day before Jordan was born, I looked sideways in the mirror for the first time and just about died. My rear end was HUGE. That is the first time I realized what people were talking about when they say you carry the baby in your rear. She was definitely there.

At 2:00 a.m. on March 9th, I finally went into labor. (This was my third time to go into labor at 2:00 a.m.) I knew I was in for a long day. I finally called the Dr. around noon and they told me to go to the office. They checked me and said I was in labor and sent me on to the hospital.

I can still to this day remember how hard I worked to push her out. I was exhausting. The hardest work I have ever done, but she finally arrived around 3:45 p.m. weighing in at 10 lbs. 9 1/2 ozs. It felt so good to "get rid of that load". I felt great after I had her. I quickly made it to my room, rolled my hair and retouched up my makeup. Back in the day, the hospital had "visiting" hours from 6 - 8 and I could not wait to show her off. She was adorable and looked like she was 3 months old.

Jordan has always wanted to "save the world". Since college, she has worked for non profit organizations, helping children. She currently works for a large non profit company in Ft. Worth as the Administrator of Group Services.

She is so sweet, fun, loud and the most appreciative person that I know. We love you Jordy and hope you have a wonderful day!

Friday, March 7, 2008

I Fought The Law And . . . *** *** Won - Part II

After sitting in the court room for an hour and staring at the walls, the Judge entered the room for the police officer docket call. As the names were called, more than half were dismissed because the officer was not present. They called the names in alphabetical order. Mine was one of the last called and when it was called, they announced, officer here, state read.

At this time, they recessed again. This is where they are hoping you and your attorney will accept their guilty plea bargain and you sign off and their job is done.

After about another hour, my attorney called me in for a consultation. At this point I had been at court for 3 hours. She presented me with the plea bargain from the court, which was to plead guilty, pay $160 and be on probation. The fact is, I did not feel like I was guilty. This was not an issue of the money, but about my innocence. Remember, we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

I told my attorney the story about how I got my ticket. She had two co-worker attorneys with her. One of them (Robin) spoke up, and she knew exactly the intersection I was talking about. She said she had so many tickets from that location from her clients, that she had driven the route just to see what the signage was and find out why there were so many tickets from there.

My attorney Kendall said she thought I had a good case and she would love to try it if I wanted to. She said she does not get many opportunities to try cases because most people plea bargain. Robin said she would testify about the intersection because she was very familiar with it.

So Kendall said lets have a trial. She told the prosecutor they we were requesting a trial and the prosecutor was lets just say "a little miffed". The court is not used to this. It would mean a lot of work own their part.

They had a docket call for the afternoon that would have to be moved to another court with another judge.

My attorney asked if any of the witnesses would be willing to come testify. I told her "no" they were busy and would have a 45 minute drive just to get here on such a short notice. She said that if I could get someone it would really help my case.

The Judge said for everyone to return to the court at 1:00. I was still in a little disbelief because I could not believe that so much time was going to be spent defending a traffic ticket.

As I went in the hallway, I checked my messages and I had one from Tina. She asked what was going on and said if you need me to come as a witness I will. We joked back and forth and she said I am serious, I am coming over. So, the fun was about to begin.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Jennifer!

This time, 28 years ago, I was in labor with my first baby, Jennifer. I was 2 day past my due date and woke up at 2:00 a.m. with pains. I worked in Medical Records at the hospital (not the hospital I was delivering at). I went to work at 5:00 a.m., so I decided to go ahead and go to work. I didn't just want to sit at home all day and wait. I figured if I stayed busy, the day would go faster.

Every morning, I would call Pops up at 7:00 to wake him up. When I called him, I told him I was in labor. His response was, "Should I stay home from work?" I told him since I was at work, I was sure he could go to work also.

I left at noon, my usual time and went home to try to take a nap and watch my afternoon TV shows. By 5:00 the pains were getting pretty strong. When a contraction would start, I would walk around in a circle in the living room. Finally at 6:00, I called the Dr. and his response was, "Well, if you think your in labor then go to the hospital."

One the way, we stopped at Jackson's (7-11 type store) to cash a check do we would have money for the pay phone to call everyone. Pops was scared and I was really scared about how bad the pain would be because on the tour of the delivery room, people were screaming. I vowed at that time to bite a whole in my lip before I would scream like that.

When they came in and said it was time to go to the delivery room, I said, "You're kidding, I thought it was going to be much worse than that." She was face up instead of face down, so they used forceps to pull her out. That made me a little nervous.

Our first bundle of joy was born at 11:45 p.m. weighing 8 lbs 14 ozs and she was absolutely adorable. They handed her to Pops and I was scared for him because that was the first baby he had ever held.

I was on such a high, I didn't sleep all night long. I was so excited. The hospital was so crowded that I stayed in a labor room for the next day because there were not any regular beds and they had babies in disposable cardboard box cribs. Pops thought he was an expert by that time because he would walk back through the labor area and now understood what all the notes on the labor boards meant.

We are every bit as proud of her today as the minute she was born. She is a great wife, teacher and mother.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Faux Hell

This kitchen remodeling is about to do me in. We started on December 26th and I thought we would be through last week, but the worst of it just started last week.

I have learned many new things through this whole project. Number one, is that anytime you are dealing with natural stone, what you get is usually going to be different from the sample. The floor was my firt shock when it came in way more colorful than the sample. It has grown on me, but I had to adjust the granite after the floor was put in.

After several trips to the granite store, I was stumped. I took my friend Sandra who is a professional decorator. We picked out a beautiful piece, that unfortunately turned out to be the most expensive grade in the whole place. Several more trips and I picked the final one.

The granite was ready, but we had to wait for the sink that was backordered. It took about 7 weeks. The marble backsplash came in and it was way lighter than the sample. Last Sunday, I sat on the back porch and hand stained each tile before they were put in.

Everything was starting to come together until Monday. My painters (2 guys that I have used before that are supposedly faux professionals) came to paint my cabinets and walls. They had a sample board made to show me how it would look. The final walls did not look ANYTHING like the sample. Not even the color.

After 11 hours, this is what I ended up with.

I checked on them all afternoon, and I thought they were adding something else, but this was the end result. Horrible. And to top it off, they rinsed their brushes out in my new black sink and I had to get a toothpick and scrape the paint out of the drains.

I started calling new painters on Tuesday. Knowing that it was going to have to be repainted cream again before anyone could faux, I started painting myself since I could not stand to be in the same room and look at the walls. I spent about 7 hours painting the breakfast area and still had more to go.

Juan, who works for my remodeler, came over Wednesday and said he would paint the rest of the cream and start Friday morning. I was so relieved. I waited at home all day Friday, and Juan showed up at 4:30 and said he would be back at 9:00 on Saturday to paint.

I was relieved again. Since I didn't have to finish, I went to Canton. Much to my surprise, when I walked in the door Saturday afternoon after a fun day, Pops informed me that Juan did not show up. I was so mad, but I sucked it up and painted the rest on Sunday. It only took 6 more hours. I had to get it done, because I had new faux painters coming on Monday.

Guess who showed up at my house this morning at 9:30? You guessed it, Juan. He said he had to go out of town and didn't have my phone number.

I am hoping that the third time is a charm. My new painters will be here in the morning. I am ready to get this finished!

I am such a sucker. I had paid the first painters all but $100 before they came on Monday. They were here from 9:00 a. m. to 7:30 p.m. Even though I hated the walls, I gave them $100 extra because they had worked so long and were so nice. What is wrong with me?