It’s unusual for me to call Kevin at Agency to drive me to Shreveport but, it’s been an emotional and exhausting week. Normally, the “draw” of slot machines and bloody Mary’s would keep me in the casino “falling in love with a machine (as usual) and trying to hit a lick.” I can’t help myself. I love the lights, the music, the aptmosphere of a casino. I always have.
This trip is different though for a number of reasons and my orchestrated agenda has been changed to accommodate my niece, Stephaney who for two years has consistently been an unexpected carnival of chaos to my twin sister AND her twin daughters.
For nineteen months now, my niece Stephaney has been not only back on meth but also involuntarily committed 16 times. I’ve aged more than anyone realizes as has my twin sister throughout this window while continuing to address our clients and putting on our happy faces for Stephaney’s twin daughters. It has been horrible. It has been painful and convincing Stephaney to get help on her own only occurred this past week. Finally, I thought it was over. Finally I had hoped that the normality of our lives would return but, an incident at the Greyhound Terminal while Stephaney waited to board the bus to Georgia would be yet another setback for the Texas Twins.
Last Tuesday, my niece was beaten at Dallas Greyhound Bus Terminal and subsequently arrested due to a felony warrant in Cotton County, Oklahoma due to a probation revocation.
Why? Five years ago, my niece was on yet another meth fueled disappearance from Fort Worth with a bum she met along the way and also a passenger in a stolen semi truck. As usual, at the time five years ago, I was also working a large event with two hundred plus guests at 3 different locations with 3 sets of vendors at each location DURING WEDDING SEASON.
I also needed and more importantly, the client had also BOOKED a bilingual translator, my niece. I don’t speak Spanish. Stephaney does.
Nothing infuriates or upsets my schedule during the year than a “problem” DURING WEDDING SEASON.
But, try telling my niece Stephaney that you are working with people who hired you over a year ago. I do not have emergencies in my life other than my niece, Stephaney.
I’m normally booked out with “traditional clients” one year and frequently up to two years out. I also regularly turn down new bookings or requests for services if the person contacting me “only wants me.” I have a Team. The reason I have a Team is solely because I cannot be everywhere all of the time.
If I’m not available, I bump you to another member of my staff. Cindy and I work together as a Team. We are inseparable unless of course, Stephaney screws up my schedule as usual. For years this has been a frequent, infuriating and regular occurrence. Read on.
In order to get Stephaney “off the streets” five years ago after Cindy kicked Stephaney out of the house yet again for getting back on meth, Cindy and I rented her an apartment in an effort to stop looking for her and attempt to get her stable. This expensive endeavor didn’t work. In fact, Stephaney moved in a bum unbeknownst to Cindy or I. While we paid the bills and dropped off groceries every week begging Stephaney to go to work, this bum was hiding out in the apartment we were paying for while eating the food we were buying.
Because we couldn’t find Stephaney over and over again although we paid for and provided cell phone after cell phone to her, it was decided that we would rent Stephaney and apartment and furnish it in the hopes that my niece would seek and obtain a job. She never did.
The apartment for Stephaney was about ten miles from my home AKA WorthamWorld. The apartment was about 20 minutes from Cindy in Weatherford.
On the weekend long event in question, I had also just seen my niece, Stephaney the night before, a Friday right my weekend long booking the day prior. I also had bought clothes (again as usual since she consistently loses or gives away everything her mother or I have continued to buy) for Stephaney to wear over the weekend on location with me at the event and taken her back to the apartment before driving with Cindy & Anne to the rehearsal for my big event that “kicked off” at Rahr Brewery.
My usual discussion fell on deaf ears. I had firmly instructed my niece to “stay home. Don’t go anywhere. I will pick you up at precisely 9AM Saturday. We must be parked and on location at the Water Gardens by 10AM.”
The following morning, I drove to Stephaney’s apartment and found she was not at home. I called the cell phone her mother has always paid for since we always lose Stephaney when she’s on meth and it “rolled to voice mail.”
Alarmed, I went to FB AND LinkedIn to locate a bilingual translator in less than an hour to meet me at the Fort Worth Water Garden.
Pissed off that as usual, Stephaney had once again disrupted my carefully orchestrated life. Deeply saddened, I also was forced to call my twin sister. Another crushing blow to my twin. We’ve had so many because of Stephaney. I wish it was different but, it hasn’t been in years and years.
Cindy and I adopted Stephaney’s twin daughters at birth. Why? Because Stephaney is a meth addict. Our mother was a heroin addict and we were both determined to prevent Stephaney’s twin daughters from the violent and abusive childhood that we endured as children of a heroin addict. Thank God we did.
I literally “paid through the nose” for a “last minute translator” at that event. I worked all weekend and, I didn’t bother trying to find Stephaney because I was working and also because I was madder than Hell about my niece once again screwing up my life, my sisters life and affecting my business.
What if I didn’t have hundreds of other vendor friends to call during a crisis? What if I hadn’t found a back up translator ON THE DAY OF AN EVENT?! Now you are catching on. No one else on my entire team speaks Spanish.
On Monday after that weekend long event, I (as usual) filed a missing persons report on my niece. By Wednesday when meeting a client with unusual circumstances, a call from Oklahoma was directed to voice mail by me.
Laurie was explaining that she had bone cancer and had contacted me solely because she didn’t want to die without seeing her son married first. Laurie was a two time cancer survivor. Laurie wanted a big party.
The party? Her son’s wedding. Laurie not only had a great party but is also and miraculously still alive. Laurie is (and always will be) a lifelong friend because we helped her when no one else would. Laurie had been working at Walmart.
My client meeting with her was at the Subway inside Walmart. Not all of my Texas Twins Events bookings are with “rich folks.”
In my opinion, whoever was calling from Oklahoma during a client meeting could go F Off.
Leaving Laurie, I checked my voice mail. My niece had been arrested and was awaiting a bond hearing in Cotton County Jail for a felony charge. Be me. If I sound angry, rest assured that I’m entitled.
On the following day, Thursday, I was with Cindy crying all the way while driving to Cotton County, Oklahoma. My niece, Leigh Ann was caring for my twin grandnieces, Maryssa and Makenna in Weatherford, Texas.
Driving six hours to get to the hearing with my devastated sister beside me, I was also confused. Stephaney didn’t know how to drive a semi. Although Cindy’s husband has been a truck driver for 45 plus years, Stephandy had no idea how to operate that type of a vehicle. My brother in law can drive anything with wheels. My husband will tell you that getting his pilots license was the hardest thing he has ever done and he did it for fun.
To me-Stephaney attempting to drive a semi or a plane wouldn’t ever be even a remote consideration. What was my niece doing in a stolen semi in Oklahoma? Stealing a semi is similar a stealing a plane. Criminally speaking that is.
Arriving at Cotton County, I had to help my sister out of my SUV. I was still confused but knew that hiring an attorney would be in Cotton County. There’s a reason. Hiring an attorney outside a country town is a mistake. Why? They have no relationship with the locals. If you unaware of this “hurdle,” the reason that I’m aware is because of my niece, Stephaney who has consistently for nearly 17 years been arrested over and over and over again.
By the time I located the DA and fully understood the ramifications of the charges, the bond amount would cause me to grab a chair to keep from fainting. The DA looked right at me and said “the bond for your niece is $200k and the bond for her accomplice is $200k as well. She’s also advised me that you are rich and can therefore, bond both parties.”
I looked right at the DA and said “I’m not doing shit. We are raising her twin daughters and she can rot here with whoever that dumb ass accomplice is.” I meant it. Stunned, shocked and devastated, I have no idea how I made it out of the building without falling down the stairs back to the courtroom for Cindy.
Walking into the courtroom dazed and confused, I went to get my sister from the chair she was holding with both hands while Stephaney laughed to her accomplice in an orange jumpsuit and chains saying “I told you they would come” and left the building.
My confused sister wouldn’t ask why until I hit the highway to begin my six hour drive to Fort Worth. When I did tell Cindy what was going on, she fully understood. We also realized that getting Stephaney that apartment had been a mistake and now we would be forced to get rid of all of the furnishings and pay off the last six months of rent too.
More responsibility and expense because of Stephaney. Wasn’t taking on the responsibility of raising her twin daughters ENOUGH? No. Stephandy will tell you we stole her children. The truth is that we effectively, saved them.
It would take months for me to decide to “Save Stephaney” as she sat in Cotton County Jail. Months. I finally did and after considering that we had my niece back for the 3 1/2 years probation that “she was on paper,” it was worth it to me. The twins finally established a relationship with Stephaney.
For the first time in years, Cindy and I were no longer afraid to answer our phones for yet another collect call or go looking for Stephaney yet again but, we could have never guessed in a million years that when the mandatory drug testing terms of Stephaney’s probation stopped that we would lose Stephaney to meth again but, we did. I cannot even put into words how devastating this choice was to our entire family. Even today, Cindy and I are absolutely furious about Stephaney “back tracking.”
Throwing a rock in the pond causes ripples. Stephaney was the rock. As her devastated twin daughters watched her pack while Cindy supervised Stephaney’s eviction from her home, the somber silence was similar to death. How so? My sister and Stephaney’s daughters were grieving her loss although she wasn’t yet dead. Wearily, all of us recognized that one day drugs would kill my niece. Why she chose to give up free room and board with the opportunity to be a part of her children’s lives after years of choosing the wrong path before winding up in Oklahoma I have no idea. Stephaney loved meth more than her family. My mother loved heroin more than her family. I hate addiction. HATE IT.
You will often hear me say “people step I shit and expect me to clean their shoes.” Don’t be offended it’s the damn truth.
Last Tuesday while my son and I were headed to Tennessee Colony, Cindy was headed to pick up Stephaney from “yet another Psych Ward stint.”
Wednesday morning after staying up all night to keep an eye on her daughter, Cindy took Stephaney to Greyhound Fort Worth to put her on a bus to Voldasta, Georgia. This was our last hope to “fix Stephaney.” We cannot leave Stephaney alone at any time because we fear she will run off and find meth and drag us through more sheer, raw Hell again.
Cindy literally watched Stephaney get on that bus because we cannot trust her. Not after the past 19 months of Wild and erratic behavior. Hours later, Stephaney was physically attacked at the Greyhound Station in Dallas during a 3 hour layover from Fort Worth. The Cotton County probation? Revoked. I couldn’t believe any of this happened but, it did. Cotton County had issued a warrant and not “just any warrant” either. A felony warrant was issued.
After I paid off the felony bond and had Cotton County rescind the warrant at midnight Wednesday evening with Cindy by my side, we picked up Stephaney from the North Tower.
I then drove Stephaney to Harris Hospital. She had numerous bruises to her head and her knees were battered and bruised from being pushed forward while struggling with two suitcases.
Yesterday morning, Stephaney was released from Harris Hospital. Tomorrow morning, Stephaney is flying to Valdosta. Cindy and I haven’t slept in days now.
Last night, my twin sister who hasn’t been home since Monday, checked into another hotel to stay up 24/7 and keep an eye on Stephaney in order to prevent her from disappearing before we can get her on that plane.
I’m exhausted. Cindy is exhausted. Cindy is fragile. I’m the strong one and even I can’t imagine how I will get through today and tomorrow.
This is why I chose to hire a car to get to Louisiana. Emotionally and physically I needed to hire a driver. I’m a realist. Rescheduling a booked event isn’t even a consideration for me. It never has been.
I can’t sleep. I can’t even gamble. I have more ahead of me with no reason to believe it will “flow smoothly” with Stephaney than anyone realizes. I must protect my sister, Cindy but, I’m on location and working.
I have a Baptism, Vow Renewal and Wedding today in that order. Tonight a car will take me back to Fort Worth to help Cindy by relieving her overnight and watching or keeping an eye on Stephaney myself.
Tomorrow, we will be at DFW to watch Stephaney enter the airport. Then we are driving straight to Eastland, Texas to interview one of my TDCJ Brides, Amanda to show the world that their perception of “people who marry inmates” is as far from the reality as you can imagine. Amanda is a girl next door.
Leaving Amanda’s, we are headed to Stephenville for a wedding then on to Willow Lake Event Center off Mineral Wells HWY. This week we are back on the road to 5 Texas Prisons and then next weekend, on location again with “traditional clients.” There is no rest for the weary.
Tomorrow, God willing, the last nearly two years of Stephaney and her choices will finally and hopefully end with a new beginning. A fresh start. A chance at being part of our family again. I pray. I cry. I wail about the years we’ve lost and I hold hope that my niece will realize the mistakes she has made one day and begin to repair her relationship with the twins, her mother and I. I’ve tried everything else over the years and now need Stephaney to try on her own and PUT in the work. But, will she?