awareness, challenges

Jail Time Revisited

Recently I had the opportunity to experience a county jail with an added twist. I’ve written about visiting the jail before as a contractor recounting an inside view. I visited the exterior as part of a jail run a few years back that included running the officer obstacle training course (so much fun) and the campus which bordered the barbed wire fences and guard towers. Both experiences were memorable and offered different views of the same place.

Over the past week I had yet another view. An unexpected view. I needed to try to visit an inmate. What started out as a simple endeavor ended up extremely complex. So many things I didn’t know, didn’t expect or just couldn’t wrap my arms around.
The first big blow is no in-person visitors which is the exact opposite of the county website, which states visitation Mon-Fri and Sat/Sun for under 18. I guess they are still under COVID protocols even though most other places are not. This was funny in itself as you don’t  need a mask to enter the jail but you can’t visit. The next option is a fee-based video visit, but figuring this option out almost requires an IT degree and a lot of patience.

That’s right. Get the app. Download the app. Set up a user ID. Add funds. Upload identification documents to prove who you are. Now wait. Wait until somebody in an office somewhere approves you. This took three days in my case. Once you have access, you can schedule a call. I almost forgot you need to deposit more money for the call and pay more service fees. Just when you think you are at the finish line you have to be patient again. It seems the schedule is not the same day. That means you wait longer and the person inside has no idea how hard you are trying to make contact. Big sigh.

What’s the other option? Send a letter. I was told happy mail is very uplifting. Okay, what’s the address? Well the address you mail to is far away. It has to be sorted to make sure there is no contraband. Well over the holiday, mail delays, etc. would lead me to believe this would be another dead end.

How about a phone call? Can the person make a call? Only if they have money they tell me. How do they get money? Glad you asked. There is a jail ATM. Never seen one of those before. You have to upload your picture, your social security number, address and so much more. Then you can pay money and exorbitant fees. Again, it’s not instant. It takes a day to process and the funds need to be deposited by 8am. That means if you put money in the ATM on Sunday at 4pm the inmate won’t see it until Tuesday after 8am. Delays galore.

Four days it takes to get any form of contact. This provides so much insight into what folks deal with when they are immersed in the jail system. I can’t even imagine if my parent was in jail, how a young adult could handle all the chaos associated with saying hi to somebody who probably needs some extra support during their incarceration.
This experience has taught me I for sure don’t ever want to spend time in jail. I also don’t want to have to visit anyone I know in jail. I like my freedom too much. I like to choose what I do and when I do it. I thought visiting somebody in an assisted living facility was hard in the heart of the pandemic however I would definitely say visiting a jail is 1000x harder current day. 

With mental health issues challenging society today, it is bothersome to me that inmates lose not only their freedom but their ability to get compassionate care. I define compassion to include communication with willing visitors vs. starving them of hope and friendly faces.

in summary, I’d always tell somebody think carefully about actions or inactions that can land one in jail. It’s not a place I’d recommend at all.

celebrations, hustle

The List of 49

In 2022 I will hit the big 5-0 birthday. Will I be successful at 49 and blah at 50? It could happen or it could be my perception. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this coming of age in many ways over the past few years. The now is finally here. I’m in the 60-day approach window. A panic time of sorts.

Did I accomplish enough by the time I’m 50? Did I cram too much in as I near 50?  Will the lingering pandemic ruin my big 50 bash? So many questions in my mind. There is obviously no guidebook for hitting 50 or maybe there is and I didn’t read it! In lieu of a fancy book, I’m going for the condensed blog version. Snippets of my fabulous life. The list of 49 idea is in motion or technically has been in motion for years.

As some of you readers may know, each year I write a New Year’s list of sorts. It’s normally in January and dedicated to that month in time. I love re-reading these lists (just 31 days) in upcoming years. This year is special to me thus I opted for a list twist.
This year the list will expand to a recap with a few highlights from the vault to round out my 49 list. It’s dedicated to some things I celebrate or remember over those 49 years or maybe it’s just random facts for those who don’t know me well. The list may seem odd to some but intriguing to others. Without further ado, below you will find my list of 49. In no particular order and each has a longer story but of course you just get the highlights.

  1. I was born of course and had a wonderful childhood. I lived in one family home with married parents and siblings. This in itself can be an oddity based on current day.
  2. I went to public school.
  3. I was a tomboy.
  4. I ziplined.
  5. I traveled internationally. More than once.
  6. I’ve traveled to many states but I haven’t been to Washington state, Hawaii, Oregon, North or South Dakota, Michigan, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.
  7. I’ve built businesses from scratch.
  8. I’ve sold or dismantled businesses.
  9. I’ve operated a franchise/multi-units.
  10. I’ve been snow skiing and water skiing.
  11. I’ve wakeboarded, knee-boarded and wake surfed. I prefer water sports.
  12. I’ve ridden a horse in many states and abroad.
  13. I bought a tiny home.
  14. I went snowmobiling and it was fun.
  15. I built a glamping site.
  16. I have many great friends and love meeting new people.
  17. I’ve driven a mini van but I’m more of an SUV girl.
  18. I like vintage cars, muscle cars and basically any ride on wheels with flair.
  19. I’ve ridden on a motorcycle but can’t drive one.
  20. I like and use recreational vehicles such as a jet ski, four wheeler, boat, camper, and dirt bike.
  21. I like soft blankets.
  22. I’m an author.
  23. I’ve played whirly ball, kickball, wiffle ball, and tennis which also has a ball.
  24. I played hockey and like to skate in boy’s skates. The black hockey-style skates.
  25. I enjoy CrossFit.
  26. I have a shoe collection, car fetish, and I am a hair fanatic.
  27. I’m a loyal Starbucks customer.
  28. I like pizza. I like it a lot. Not sauce so much.
  29. I have tattoos and will get more.
  30. I grew up in the north but love living in the south.
  31. I’m looking forward to 2022 and all the year has to offer.
  32. I think gas is expensive.
  33. I have learned a lot about who I am and keep toxic people at bay. This is a requirement for life balance.
  34. I like outdoor activities.
  35. I like temperatures in the 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit over cold.
  36. I am looking to do 50 new things in 2022. Never done by me that is.
  37. I’ve lived in four states.
  38. I’ve lived through a pandemic. Something I never planned for and somehow it keeps resurfacing!
  39. Betty White just died just shy of 100. A true golden girl. Gonna miss that icon.
  40. I’ve held true to my mantra of looking for sunshine in the shittiest of situations.
  41. I played Topgolf and really suck at it.
  42. I’m due for some fresh ink to celebrate 50.
  43. I’ve hit the height as a woman-owned business that many dream of but never achieve. 
  44. I bought a farm and grow things which was never on my bucket list per se.
  45. I focus on learning each day, week, month without question.
  46. I like freshly baked homemade cookies.
  47. I can’t cure stupid no matter how much I try and I may give up after trying for so long.
  48. I don’t like wearing masks. Thanks Covid for an experience I never wished for.
  49. I like blue raspberry slush puppies.

Well there you have my random list of 49. A new list about me to help ring in my upcoming birthday. I’m sure some will giggle when they read this but it’s a true recollection of me at random points in my years lived. Not all-encompassing but tidbits for those who want to get to know me. My life on the web, unveiled. Wink to the one who inspired my thoughts herein.

perspective

The Rumor Mill

Recently, my name was put through the wringer. I was the subject of the rumor mill. Three different conversations on the same day and they all got back to me.

#1: came in an email “…a group of us were talking about this and…”

It was an unpopular decision I had made. A decision people had known about for weeks that came along with a deadline. Finally, on deadline day, someone decides to let me know that they didn’t like or understand the decision. And, they were speaking on behalf of some unknown group of people as well. Great timing, long after anything can be done about it.

#2 came a couple of hours later…same decision, different group chat, more complaints. Again, I hear about confusion, “I don’t wannas” and so on. Of course, it is all just second hand, so really there’s nothing I can do about it. After the initial complaint, other people in the group chat piled on with things that actually weren’t true. I did go to the adults involved and got an update so I knew what was said. But if a friend hadn’t clued me in in the first place I’d never have known.

Finally, #3… yet another decision I made ruffled some people’s feathers. Feelings got hurt. Actions got misinterpreted. People made assumptions that were wholly untrue. My name kinda got dragged through the mud on this one.

All of these on one day eventually brought me to tears. Most days I can ignore what people think of me. If I find out and it’s negative, I just blow it off it for the most part. I can’t do anything about it.

This day was different. All of these were decisions I made with reasons. I made them with doing the right thing in mind. I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone or take advantage.

I am glad I have friends who look out for me. Who keep an ear open for how my name is being used or misused. And who take the time to tell me if it is important.

I’m also thankful for person number one, even if they did speak on behalf of a bunch of people who did not share her courage. I was able to explain myself and my reasons, which then helped her understand. We happened to run into each other later that night, and she thanked me for taking the time to explain. Overall, a win.

As for the others, since I technically didn’t know about either of these conversations I didn’t have the chance to respond. It makes me sort of sad, but what can I do?

Back to not being bothered by what people think or say.

anonymous letters

If then statements

Caution: irrational rant ahead.

People make me wonder sometimes.

Actually people make me wonder a lot of the time. Lately, I’ve noticed my mental script is doing more and more of these: a question version of the if / then statements I had to write for proofs in college logic class.

If you cannot pay your rent, then why are you eating out all the time?

If you cannot pay your medical bills, then how do you buy a car (and, with gas prices as they are, drive it anywhere?)

If you cannot afford to pay for your basic memberships, then why do you have a nicer camera than me? Better shoes? The latest fashion?

If you cannot make it to class, then why were you out partying last night (according to your instagram posts)?

I know, I know. Maybe the camera and shoes were gifts. Maybe they’ve made arrangements. Maybe they are down on their luck. Maybe I don’t know the whole story.

Well, surely I don’t know the whole story. I make judgments. Assumptions. Plenty of which are incomplete or even wrong.

Still, it’s frustrating when I see case after case of people falling short in their basic commitments but seeming to spend money on things that, in my world, are “extras.” Is it fun to pay the water bill? The mortgage? Health insurance? Dues payments for commitments I have voluntarily made? No! Is it fun to have to get up and go to class or work the day after a party, a holiday, a late night big game? No! Of course I’d rather sleep in, ignore my bills, take the day off, go on vacation, not spend hours meal prepping on the weekend and just go out to eat instead. Who wouldn’t?

It’s hard to quiet those murmuring voices in my head. It’s hard to keep my mouth shut when I know too much. It’s hard to be sympathetic when I feel like I am being mostly responsible with my time, my resources, my finances. I try to make sure the “have tos” are covered before the “want tos” make it in the mix. I feel like more and more people have those things reversed. They feel they deserve some “want tos” when the “have tos” haven’t even been dealt with. What makes some people feel that is ok while others buckle down and make sure things are taken care of? And in my world, that leads to the shit spewing that I mentioned in recent posts….

I know it’s more complicated than all that but still, it’s frustrating. Maybe one of our readers can share their wisdom.

Until then, just another rant from my side of the keyboard.

family

Small Town USA

On an extended road trip, I had the pleasure of staying in one of my family’s heritage hometowns, Bemus Point, New York. Perched on Lake Chatauqua in western New York state, Bemus Point has a population of about 350 people. This population swells a bit in the summer and drops in the harsh northern winter, I’d suspect. Far removed from my densely populated life in suburban Atlanta.

Small towns are fascinating, so very different from my suburban life. I immediately noticed the banners on every light pole with photos of all the graduates from the local high school. Each student had their own banner, their own celebration. There were maybe 50-60 banners. My daughter’s graduating class is almost 1,000 in number. It was impossible to imagine how many miles of light poles her class would cover! Above each was an American flag.

Little woodchucks scampered everywhere on my morning runs. Numerous deer leaped for cover as I approached. Many of them were just out by the roadway nibbling when I startled them. So many creatures without that many people stirring at all hours. I smiled driving through the country side seeing all the different “heads up” signs for drivers. I’m used to seeing signs to watch for deer, but we also saw signs for tractors, bears, moose or elk (maybe?) and snowmobiles. We were way out in the northern sticks, sharing the road with many other creatures, not just cushy suburban SUVs.

Speaking of sticks, there were so many roadside pickups for firewood just out in people’s front yards. Hand painted signs…$5.00, $4.00, pay what you can. The honor system in full effect. (I also wondered if there was a price war between neighbors!)

My mother once lived in this town, and her parents spent decades living here. My family road tripped here many summers in my youth. Several downtown shops I visited as a child were still there. A local grocery store. A general store turned souvenir shop. The wing place near the dock. Each had a rocky road through the years but made it.

When we went out for dinner, many other parties that came in dropped by to say hello. Everyone knows everyone’s business. Driving around town with my aunt and uncle was a parade of small town dramas. Stories would tumble out as we passed houses of friends and family. Where someone had worked for the summer. Which person had sold their house for too much or too little. Who broke rules that brought them in front of the town council. Who didn’t keep their property up well or planted trees to block someone else’s view of the lake on purpose. Small town charm as well as small-minded petty. Little room to forget when the stories are so narrow and intertwined. Grudges and alliances last across generations.

Small town life has its ups and downs. A pleasant place to visit and remember.