So many things have changed since Kent has returned home and while he was gone. I imagine I will find myself bouncing from subject to subject. We now have three kids left at home. Mads moved out last fall and works for our daughter in law full time. So we have Noah who is a senior this year and the only one of our six kids to attend public school full time past first grade. Sami and Chloe will continue to be home schooled for the remainder of their education as far as we can see at the moment.
A few months ago Kents mom had a serious case of vertigo that gave her and all of us a bit of a scare. She called me and said she needed to go to the doctor because she had moved suddently and felt like she was going to pass out. She asked if Noah could come help her from the bathroom to her chair in the living room as she knew he was across the street getting ready for school. I proceeded to call Noah and tell him he needed to run over and help grandma from the bathroom to her chair. He like any 17 year old boy accessed the situation quickly by letting me know he was only going to help her from the bathroom to the living room if her pants were on. I assured him the old bird was fully clothed and he was able to proceed. (Old Bird, is a nickname of endearment she loves.) I guess you have to know Kents family and their sense of humor to really understand. Mine on the other hand do not get it or care to, I’m so glad I’m part of his family now.
That particular day, was total chaos. Colleen had let me know the night before she may need to go to the doctor due to symptoms she was having. Mads our 18 year old had gone snow boarding with her older brother the night before and had called saying she was in the car waiting for her brother to finish snowboarding. She was in a lot of pain and felt like she was going to vomit from falling her first time attempting snowboarding. I told her she needed Kenters to take her to the hospital immediately. But, the two of them apparently didn’t think it was necessary. So I called Mads that morning and she barely answered the phone. So I went to her tiny and I mean like 125 sq foot studio apartment. That was after tredging up the stairs on the second floor of the old house turned apartment building with my bad knee. I let myself in and my poor girl can barely move. It scared me terribly. I got her to her feet and was going to take her to the hospital, but she said she felt like vomiting so I laid her back down and called an ambulance.
I thought they would be able to put her in my suv and I could just take her myself. When they talked to her they decided she needed to go by ambulance. This tiny little thing was then taped to the stretcher flat on her back so she couldn’t move a muscle. I tend to laugh in awkward moments which didn’t help the situation at all. Thankfully, this particular child of mine has inherited the same trait so she totally understood, but wasn’t any happier with me at the time. I couldn’t call Kent because he was at the Fort. I called the Fort (half way house)and they relayed the message to him that he needed to meet me at the hospital in which he did.
Once at the hospital they ran tests on her and determined she bruised her tailbone maybe broke it. She decided she broke her butt. It was a good story for her to tell. I totally sympathized having done the same thing around the age of fourteen after falling off a horse and as far as I can remember I walked hunched in half for a month after that. Of course, my mom doesn’t remember that, but I sure do.
All this happened with Kent at the Fort. I basically had no help except that I was able to run decisions by him. I was incredibly thankful for that. I think that was one of the hardest thiings about having him gone was I always second guess myself and want to reassure myself by running things by him. Mads also, while Kent was gone needed to purchase a car. Her jeep was on its last leg without some major work and had to be sent to the field to be stored until her dad was home to repair it. Working full time, she needed a reliable car.
Thankfully she did the work of finding the car. All I had to do was test drive it, have it checked out by a friend who knows cars, apply for the loan, sign the papers, pick up the car make sure the car was insured and deliver it to the child. She drove the car for three whole weeks before some moron ran a stop sign in front of her causing her to essentially total the car.
This eventually after three months of fighting the morons insurance company ended up benefiting me in that I bought the car back from the insurance company for 400.00 fixed the car for 500.00 and am hoping my 15 year old will be driving it in the near future. It also brought the hunt for another car and another loan for Mads. So the previous list that went into buying a car happened once again on my own.
I say all that to bring me to the next decision I made. Remember this started with Kents mom, the old bird having vertigo? Well I got some help with her that day. Her daughter was able to take her to the doctor. He just said she needed to take it easy that she would be fine. There were no signs of stroke so she wanted to stay the weekend with us so she wouldn’t be alone. The weekend stretched into the week and I thought that really wasn’t so bad and decided with her that she should move in with us. We let Kent know that was our plan and not wasting much time once Kent was home started making plans for her to move in with us and our three kids.
Here we are and mom has been with us for three months. She gave her notice as Kent says a month to early. He kept complaining as he built her suite that if we had just gave him an extra month he would have been able to get the room complete. Ummm, not true because he didn’t have it complete the next month. As of now we have built a 400 sq ft room in our garage which is attached to the house. We have over a 2000 sq ft garage so this really wasn’t a problem at all. The only issue was we had never built something from scratch before, but we belived in ourselves. The room is built, has heat and air, lights, sheetrock, carpet, tile, doors and most importantly to her, cable. We still have to build her kitchenette and bathroom. We’ve been a bit burned out lately and need to get back full force finishing the room. For the time being she’s happy, her dogs happy and so are we. Frankly, she stays in her room. She has mentioned there aren’t locks on the door. We let her know, yes, there are locks, they are on this side. We haven’t acutally locked her in, although I’m not ready to say I wouldn’t do that ….
So much has happened since I last wrote. I am not tech savy at all…. one of the reasons I have always told hubby I keep him around. The other reason is he always makes me laugh. While Kent was gone I had my neighbor help me with some tech stuff and told him about why I keep hubby around. He got a bit nervous. I let him know although I was thankful for his tech savy self I planned on keeping my own hubby! I got a bit confused with all the places to post and save my posts. So I stopped.
On January 11, of this year, I drove to Illinois to pick Kent up. I then had four hours to get him to Fort Des Moines. We had the option of him being transported by the prison, but of course I wanted to spend any time with him that I could. It was an emotional ride that I was not prepared for. I just thought I’d pick him up and pretty much pick up where we left off before his sentencing. This was not the case. He was quite emotional having left people in the prison he had grown close to. This was confusing to me. We also had a national reporter riding along asking questions and a major snow storm coming down on us. The story the reporter has written has not come out yet for those wondering.
I dropped Kent off at the Fort, then the reporter at a restaurant close to the airport and headed home. At this point I had a list of things I needed to get together for Kent and headed home to weather the winter storm. The next few weeks were hard. Very hard. They were hard because of the most incredibly moronic rules of the place Kent was staying enforced. The first thing on our minds was him finding a job. I was running out of cash and desperately needed his financial support. He needed a job and needed one fast as far as I could see and he was feeling the pressure. This was not easy considering the confinments of the half way house. There were certain hours he could leave, no internet in which to search, time restraints on using his phone and was told once he got a job the fort had to visit to check everything out. He had no transportation yet, as getting our vehicle there for him to use was another whole obstacle they put you through that we hadn’t had time to get approved for. He was not allowed to be self employed as he had been for the majority of his life. The one time he tried using public transportation as the majority of the other inmates had to do, took him over an hour to get four miles away. He had to report every move he made. And they even tended to be more linient Kent towards him knowing his circumstances. I can’t imagine how people who have no support can succeed in that environment.
Once I talked Kent into actually getting his resume out there and and was able to convince him that he was worthy of a job other than something menial, he had multiple offers. He had never done his own resume and wasn’t quite sure how to do it, but the internet helps us overcome a lot of circumstances as I found out this past year and so did he.
He was hired despite him not being bilingual, but his knowledge of the business superceeded the language barrier. Kent started the job and less than two weeks later we lost our oldest son to suicide. I can’t at this time talk about his passing. All I can say is it was and is horrific. Someday I will share more about this time in our lives, but can’t as of yet. Right now what I said about his passing is hard to bare. We never imagined something like suicide happening in our family, not even a glimpse. It never occured to any of us and now we and all our children, extended family and people who knew us for years are thinking about it and dealing with the loss.
This past week I heard the weather report that the temperatures sounded perfect for camping. I had been waiting for the opportunity for us to get away for a weekend. I let everyone know we were going. Alhough our camper is weak and not a good investment, we ended up with no money into it thanks to a drunk hitting me and my very inadequate carpenter skills, (past posts explain.) We had a great time. I pulled into one of two last camping spots at Lake Red Rock Friday afternoon. I laid in an ice cold camper listening to hubby and the three of our six kids still at home sitting around a camp fire talking. It was music to my ears. Although the past few years have brought unbearable pain, I am able to see that we do have a future and we do have many happy times ahead of us.
There’s a lot to be said and things to discuss… This is a starting point… It is no where near the ending, but far from the beginning. Life is a journey and I appreciate you being a part of ours.
Kent and I have always opened our house to anyone who needed a place to stay. I think the first one was my sister after her freshman year in college. She was not getting along with either of our parents and asked to come stay with us for the summer before college started again. Kent and I were a young married couple and having her stay with us was a blessing as we worked when the kids were asleep. Having her there was an extra hand to help out with the two kids we had at the time.
The second guest was kind of strange to all who knew us. We had moved to Oklahoma. Nine -Eleven happened while we were in Iowa visiting and scared us to death. We had four children at the time. One was a new born. We didn’t know the future of our country, but decided we wanted to be back in Iowa close to family. While we were here visiting, Kent had let a guy that worked for his company stay in our home in Oklahoma. He was an immigrant from Mexico.We had decided to move back to Iowa, Kent brought Daniel back with us.
Although I found the situation odd, it was nice to have an extra hand around the house. Even though Daniel was several years older than us I thought of him as our child. He didn’t speak much English. He was a great help around the house and was a wonderful cook. He lived in the basement and was just happy to have a family here in the states. Having grown up in a Mexican family myself I had a major problem having an immigrant live with us, let alone work for the company Kent was working for. After quite some time we talked our guest into going home to his family in Mexico. We bought him a bus ticket and returned him to his anxious family, down south.
Shortly after Daniel left, our nephew moved into the basement. He had graduated from high school and like so many young people was wanting to get out on his own. He didn’t stay long, but we were happy to have been able to help him out. One time I was sitting in the living room nursing our youngest son. The kids and I were watching tv when in walked an elderly man. I thought who in the world is this man? Who has Kent invited over now? He had just walked in and sat down on the couch. I figured Kent had invited him over and forgot to tell me. The kids and I were quite dumbfounded and I was a little scared, feeling vulnerable as I was nursing a baby. Our older son ran upstairs and told his dad what was going on. Kent came downstairs with a baseball bat trying to be prepared as he didn’t seem to know who the guy was either. Kent came to the living room, realized the man was not a threat and started asking him where he lived. The man said, “here and asked Kent where he lived?” Kent said, “here.” We quickly realized the man did not know where he was. We called the police department and they came to take the man back to the vets home on the other end of Salem street.
The home front has been fairly guest free until Kent left. Shortly before Kent left, our oldest child and our youngest grandson moved home. We had no room for them, but have made things work with a little rearranging.
So at the moment, we have a four bedroom home. I have three minor children here. They each have their own rooms and then there is the master bedroom which I typically sleep in. We also have a very small room off the living room that had once been a school room, turned kids hangout room turned bedroom for my oldest. The baby sleeps in a room that had once been our office. We took the desk out of the room and put the baby bed up. It’s a good size room, just oddly shaped. It makes a decent place for a two year old to call his room.
Then a friend of one of the kids noticed we had an empty field that he apparently thought needed filled. He had a bus he had redone and his parents were wanting said bus to not fill their driveway any longer. He asked if he could “rent” the field and live on the hill in his bus. With Kent being gone I have welcomed an extra young man who was able to provide a bit of income and help for the homestead. We weren’t using the field anyway so it has worked out nicely.
Then I got the “call” it was from my dad and step mom. They had decided now would be a good time to join us here in Iowa. My dad is from Iowa and has convinced his wife of 41 years that they should move on up here from Kansas City to get to know the grand kids better. They arrived a few weeks ago staying only a few days in order to find their new home. After a week of searching they found a nice condo in which they moved into Sunday morning. I called them Saturday evening to see when they would be getting here on Sunday morning. I got a “surprise” they would be arriving at my house within the hour.
While this was all a surprise, I was able to quickly adjust a few things to make room for our guests. The girls had a friend staying the night and so did Noah. Makala’s beautiful best friend stopped by with her and as always calls me mom. I love for her to call me that endearing name, I often remind her I am not old enough to be her mother. I had my first born very young and she happens to be a few years older than my first born. After getting step-mom and dad settled in my room, I laid down in one of the girls bedrooms. Not long after jumping into bed I had a child climb in with me. She was laughing, she said, “our house is kind of like full house.” And proceeded to laugh about what our house has become since dad left.
The girls are having a slumber party in the camper. We have made arrangements for everyone else here. The house is a mess, not the way I like things. My car has been borrowed from Noah and his friend, not really my preference. Noah doesn’t have his license yet and my car is the only one with full coverage so I thought it best it be the one driven since his friends car was broke down. While I am having an issue with the adorable 2 year old grandson destroying full rolls of toilet paper, by pushing them into my tub and turning it on. Our yard needs mowed and we have a lot to accomplish before the weather gets cold, we have a full house. A happy house. And I am thankful all my family is nearby. And glad that we are all able to find humor in the crazy dysfunction that we call life.
Friday I got up with intentions of doing school with the girls and getting the house cleaned up so I wouldn’t come home after a long weekend and have to clean. I also needed to pack for the weekend. My sister-in-law had reserved a room for two nights over in Eldridge a suburb of Davenport. I was going over Friday when I got things done, the rest of the family was to meet me Saturday afternoon.
As I started getting around I found that I was to anxious to actually get anything done except pack my things and hit the road. As soon as I firmed up plans for the kids evening I got on my way. I asked the girls to finish up the housework and work on their science project before their sister came to pick them up later in the day.
The trip didn’t take as long as usual because I wasn’t going as far as I typically do when I stay over to see Kent. I got to the hotel about 30 minutes before the 3:00 check in. The lady at the counter informed me that she only had a room on the first floor non-smoking with a king bed. I told her I had reserved a non-smoking room with two queen beds on the first floor and had called to insure I would get the room we needed. She said there weren’t any rooms available on the first floor except for the first one mentioned. I said I guess I have no other choice but to take a third floor with two queen beds. The one bed was not going to work when the kids came over the next day. She assured me I could move to the first floor on Saturday.
The floor made no difference to me. But, my elderly mother-in-law wanted a first floor so it would be easy to take her dog out. And it was just the principal of the matter, I had specifically reserved a non-smoking, two queen beds on the first floor. We were paying full rates we hadn’t gone through any discount companies and I thought we should get what we requested since we had been told that’s what we would get. Had I known it would be an issue I would have gone elsewhere.
After all that I went to my room, showered and took a nap. Once I woke up I checked to make sure all kids were where they were supposed to be and started getting ready to go visit Kent when he called. He told me I should enjoy the evening and skip the visit with him that night in order to have a little time to myself. While this seemed difficult to be only 45 minutes away from my hubby and not go see him it sounded relaxing to have an evening away from any expectations or questions for the evening. Anyone with children knows what I’m talking about when it comes to questions…this morning my nearly 14 year old was asking me knowing it was going to be 89 degrees if she could wear a sweat shirt for the drive home. I informed her she did not need my permission to look like an idiot.
Although it did pull on my heart to not spend the evening with hubby, I had a relaxing evening alone reading in my hotel room. Thankfully, I got a little sleep during my earlier nap because I hardly slept Friday night. I set my alarm for 6:45 am. I wanted to leave by 7:50. I hit the snooze until 7:15 and decided I must get up and get ready to go. Once I was ready to go I made a quick cup of coffee and headed out the door for the 45 minute drive to pick up my hubby.
I intended on arriving 15 minutes early, but that absolutely never happens in my life. I am rarely early and frequently late. Fortunately, I was not late. I was there at 8:58. I waited a few seconds and Kent came out the door. Kind of like a drive through and pick up your prisoner.
I had hubby for the next twelve hours. Kent had applied for a furlough a couple months ago. Apparently, this is the only Federal Prison that grants furloughs. It just seems bizarre to me that our prisons or a prison would allow someone who has been deemed to be a person that shouldn’t be in society would be allowed to be out for a period of time. I guess that’s another blog post (why do we have people in prison that aren’t a threat to society?) I haven’t asked if there are longer furlough times. I am only aware of the twelve hours Kent was grated. I am incredibly thankful that I was able to drive my car right up to the prison and take my hubby away for awhile though.
Nine a.m. hubby walked out in a gray tee shirt, gray sweat pants and black tennis shoes. Not his usual clothes that inmates make their visits in. They are to wear their green shirts and pants during their visits. I had told Kent when he asked me to bring him clothes to wear that I preferred he wear his prison uniform because he had told me before that it brings out the blue in my eyes. I did although bring him a change of clothes.
Hubby changed into the shorts and tee shirt I brought him, and I drove us back to the hotel 45 minutes away. Once walking into the lobby we noticed a nice breakfast being offered so we grabbed our plates and filled them up before the food was put away. Stomachs and hearts full we went to our room and…. then waited for the rest of the family to arrive.
The kids, Kent’s mom and sister all arrived. We sat around and visited. We went through the pictures on my phone and told all the stories of what’s been going on the past few months. Time flew by. We all went out to dinner and back to our room. We sat around once again sharing more stories and resting in my husbands strong arms that I have longed to have around me. I had let Kent know we needed to leave the room at 7:50. It was a 45 minute drive, but I needed to make sure we weren’t late. Seven fifty arrived way to soon. Kent said his good byes as the kids took turns taking pictures with their dad. We hopped in the car and headed back. As usual my attempt to be early got me nowhere. We arrived on the prison grounds at 8:55. Kent had changed his clothes on the way back. We kissed good bye and I sadly watched him return to the prison.
Thankfully, we can see the end. January 11th, my birthday, I will once again be picking up my husband, although that won’t be the day he rejoins the family at home, he will be two hundred miles closer and just a phone call away. I will be taking him to the next phase of this crazy story, Fort Des Moines, a halfway house. I am counting down the days as I am sure my incredibly strong hubby is even more so.
I don’t remember what I was doing September 8th, 1989 twenty-eight years ago. I remember hearing about what Kent was doing that night twenty-eight years ago though. His friends were having a bachelor party for him. I heard the stories of that night. Probably shouldn’t be repeated, because I would get the “facts” all wrong anyway.
It was crazy what we were about to do. I’d like to believe it was the naivety of my age that I just jumped in without worrying about any consequences, but I have to admit that’s how I made decisions for a very long time.
Kent called me two weeks prior to this date 1989, He said, “are you ready for school? I’m coming to pick you up.” I said, “no, I’m not going.” He replied, “why?” I said, “because we are getting married.” He said, “ok.”
We went to our parents and told them our plans. Neither of our parents were happy, but we told them we were pregnant and had to get married. We at the time were to young to get married on our own, so we had to go in front of a judge for permission. Although we had lied to our parents about being pregnant we knew better than to lie to a judge. The judge asked if we were pregnant. Kent said, “no, but if you don’t allow us to marry she will be.” The judge made us promise we would wait two years before having children and quickly signed the license.
I lived with my mom and step dad. My mom, hadn’t told my dad about Kent and I’s plans. My dad found out from a friend who read that we had applied for a marriage license in the paper and asked him about it. I had a very uncommon maiden name. My dad then tried his best to talk us out of this crazy scheme of ours.
Despite everyone’s warnings, pleas and threats we went on with our plan. Now, being a mother of six I can only imagine what my parents and those around us were thinking. My mother did her best to give us a nice wedding, despite her intimate knowledge of failed marriages. She was on her third at the time and was only 34. I remember walking down the isle after my best friend and two younger sisters who were only ten and twelve at the time, with my dad and step dad. My dad tried furiously to get me to run minutes before I said,” I do.” He kept saying,” its not to late, you don’t have to do this.”
Being the child of parents who were divorced and the grandchild on all sides, of divorce, I stood at the alter thinking…I just need to do this. I can get a divorce whenever I want out. This is not forever. I was just looking for a way to get away from the madness I lived with at home.
At the time I was not pregnant. I was so naive in so many areas and knew to much in other areas. Two months later I did become pregnant, despite my step dad taking me to make sure I was on birth control. He was always responsible and caring and tried thinking ahead. He was and has truly been a lifeline to me even when my own parents have abandoned me over and over. Abortion had never crossed my mind. And although I made decisions as a teenage girl, the second I found out that I was pregnant I turned from my childish ways and became determined to be a mom and family with my child’s dad. My hubby took a bit longer to come to that realization.
I vowed my child would not come from a broken home. Despite that vow I had no idea how to do that. I had never seen a couple stay married and be committed to each other. Not one single person I knew had stayed married. I just prayed and stayed the course.
Today, I can’t tell you how we made it this far. All I know is I am so incredibly thankful that I was to damned stubborn to let anything tear us apart. We have literally endured about any problem a married couple could endure. Even after nearly thirty years of marriage mentally unstable family have tried tearing us apart just this year. Despite the ploys of those closest to us and the ploys of this world we have endured. We have become closer than ever before. And I am so blessed that we will be starting our twenty ninth year together. We didn’t give up; and we never will.
I’m desperately trying to figure out what normal is to me. So are my kids. Shortly before Kent left our oldest daughter moved back home with her newly adopted son. We quickly made room in the house for them, but the walls seem to be closing in on this mama who likes order and a place for everything. A toddler has no place for anything, which means messes. This in itself has been an adjustment.
Then Kent leaving was a shock to say the least. We had been assured he would receive probation and even the prosecutor fought for him to not have prison time more than our own attorney did. We were not prepared for what we were hearing that day. So figuring out what I should do each day in the midst of heart break and chaos has not been easy. Kent is three and a half hours away, it seems he’s just a jump in the car away. I quickly realize the jump in the car is tiring and costly. So I have had to cut down on my visits. Which is hard as I know my being there helps pass some of the time for him.
I’ve spent my entire adult life as a stay at home mom and home school mom. Even though I was very young when we started having kids I had a conviction that my kids shouldn’t be in public school. I think a lot of that had to do with listening to conservative talk radio ALL the time. My oldest daughter can’t believe we actually listen to music in the car, because that was not at all what I had on the entire time she was growing up. Now listening to the types of things I once enjoyed make me sick to my stomach. It’s not that I think they are bad, they just bring emotions and thoughts I don’t want to deal with right now.
So my time has always been spent doing things that the kids are involved with whether it be sports, school, chores and jobs and all that comes with being a mom in charge of the home has slowed down some. I no longer have six kids at home, but still have three almost four teenagers. The last four were born within five years so when they were young order was a must. That’s where I’m having a difficult time now and for the past four months. There’s no order to my life. And when there’s no order I don’t function very well. We spent the past four years trying to survive with Kent being told when and where to be that we didn’t find much order in our home.
With him gone and having been so incredibly busy being a wife and mom and just surviving I feel lost. Everything I did was done with my hubby. I always got him involved in something. He didn’t mind, but now he’s gone for a time and I have to figure out what I should do. What do I enjoy? And will I make myself do it alone? It’s a new feeling for me to realize my kids are old enough that I can go to the grocery store by myself. I can go anywhere by myself. I spent so many years toting around kids it was just natural for them to go with me and I didn’t mind.
I know the kids can’t be left alone at this time without supervision for long periods of time. I have to have constant tabs on them all. They will seek to do things their own way any chance they get. They to are experiencing so many changes. Maddie is figuring out how to be more independent. Noah wants some independence, but isn’t quite ready. The two youngest are thinking about braces and driving permits and new experiences.
I have been thinking of possibly making YouTube Videos. I think it may be something I would enjoy and eventually be able to help contribute financially to our family. Ive always liked getting decorating and home projects from videos or Pinterest. For the past several years these have been projects with things just being rearranged or repurposed with stuff I already own.
I also enjoy watching videos to motivate myself to clean. There would have been a time that I would have been awesome at making those types of videos. Now, not so much. I pretty much watch them to pass the time, which is something I don’t want to be spending so much time doing. If I were to make videos it would be to motivate myself to keep going. I need motivation to keep up with my home, to keep up with these babies I have been entrusted with and to just be motivated to get up and do something, or anything. I may just need to talk about that. I do think there may be a market for just surviving life while going through the difficult circumstances we are enduring in this season. Most of the time my life is just downright comical.
For instance last week Noah and I had intentions of going kayaking after an appointment we had. He likes to scour “free ads” on facebook. He had come across a couch and loveseat he wanted for his room. They were free and on someones curb just a few miles away. We drove to the residence where I inspected and smelled the furniture to see if I would allow it in our house. They passed inspection and I helped him load them up. Fortunately, we had the truck which has an 8 foot bed. Unfortunately, we had the kayaks back there. We quickly unloaded the kayaks, loaded the coach put the loveseat upside down on the couch, loaded the kayaks on top of the furniture, loaded all the extra crap that was in the truck bed into the backseat of the truck and quickly drove away. Everything was tied down securely, but we were quite a site.
And just yesterday, I was enjoying the morning on the back deck. My oldest brought me a bag of sweet corn she’d purchased at the Farmer’s Market the day before. I quickly started shucking it. Noah insisted we should grill it like dad always does, but that would have been way to much effort for me on that hot morning. Sami asked, “what was for lunch?” I desperately needed to go to the grocery store. I let her know we were having hot corn for lunch. Chloe said,”what’s for supper?” I said, “cold corn.” We actually ended up going and getting some chicken. I didn’t make the kids just eat corn, but the thought did occur to me.
A few years ago we were asked to do a reality tv show from some British Production Company, but were advised by our attorney that nothing was going to make us look nice at the time. I thought to myself we sure seem to be helping KCCI with their ratings as they just would not leave us alone. I think that is part of the reason I enjoy writing and sharing is because there were so many times we were being blasted in the media and I couldn’t say a thing due to the impending court cases Kent had to testify in. I also enjoy writing because I can have my opinion and not worry anymore. The only thing I have to worry about is am I sharing for the glory of God to further his kingdom. I have to learn if God wants to bring justification for us he will. I can’t and don’t want to force or make something happen that is not in His timing and I have to make sure its from a humble heart.
So my current normal is spending time in the word each day whether it’s listening to sermons and following along or digging in myself and explaining my take on what I read to my kids. Something I am trying to pound into them is “love” is above all. That we love one another. And with teens that can be tricky. The study I have been doing with my girls gives the example of a tea bag in hot water. It asks what comes out when the tea bag is placed in hot water? I ask the girls, how do you react when you are feeling “hot water?” Being placed in hot water is the problems of life. How do we react when the pressure is on? That’s what I am trying to show them and practice myself. How do they act when they are in hot water, when they aren’t getting their own way. Does it draw them to our Savior? I had not been the example to my kids that I needed to be so much of the time these past several years. This is a new day and tomorrow is another new day in which I will strive to be the example that God has called on me to be.
I admit I am slow. I like how my daughter’s best friend puts it about my daughter, “she’s on a five minute delay.” I’m afraid the delay comes from me, poor girl. I can come up with a come back, but it takes me awhile, most times a looooong while.
I do have a lot to say. I have a lot to say about a lot of things. I tend to be quiet or send my husband out to do my bidding for me. He’s much quicker witted than I am. I think that’s why we make a good team. He keeps me balanced and quiet when I just want to run my mouth.
Usually, I send Kent in to do my talking or work for me. Twenty years ago I had my oldest two kids in soccer. It was my son’s first year and probably my daughters. Kent Jr. was four so Makala would have been seven. I kept being told how the soccer tribe needed volunteers. I tried to volunteer and was told the position I was willing to help with was for seasoned volunteers and I should just volunteer for equipment manager.
I just wanted to help, and thought it would be fun so I did become the equipment manager. A week or two into the season, Kent’s coach had me in a circle with a group of other players parents. She said, she was not able to continue to coach, as it was going to involve more time than she had planned. She asked if one of us parents would take her place. I quickly volunteered my husband. He was apprehensive at first as he hated soccer and didn’t know anything about it.
He got some loving encouragement from his wife and went on to be an awesome coach. He ended up coaching both our kids and becoming the President of the Soccer Tribe. I laughed about that for quite some time after being told I didn’t have the experience to volunteer. A year later, we were running the entire thing. Hubby went to training conferences and learned all he could. He even led one of his teams years later to a championship.
The next bandwagon I got hubby on didn’t turn out so well. I got him to caucus for the first time in 2008. After caucusing, we thought it would be a great learning opportunity for our oldest daughter to go to convention. Kent and our daughter, Makala were going to go. The precinct captain came to collect our money for them to go. He mentioned that the person holding the representative office was going unchallenged. He said, “we need some one who knows a lot of people and has a lot of money. ” I laughed and said, “we know a lot of people.” Referring to an earlier conversation I’d had with my dad about him being in Kansas City and saw a company truck with Iowa Warren County plates. He had wondered if Kent knew them as he seemed to know everyone. I had told him, “yes, he knows them.” He said, “man, he knows everyone.” The rest of that story is history, although I refuse to believe its over.
Kent and I have always joked that I was Moses and he was my Aaron. Not that we have or ever had that influence, but that he was my mouthpiece. That was the only context in which we thought of ourselves, and I want to make that clear.
I have come to find that the correctional officers and a few spouses of other prisoners are reading my blog. This on first hand is a bit disturbing, as I have not been sending Kent my blog posts because I know everything I write is being read. So when I was told that they are still reading it I’m feeling a bit spied on. Its kinda creepy in a way because I’m not in prison, so what business is my blog of theirs? I realize its a public blog, but for them to let my hubby know they read it is weird. Got that guys and gals….its weird.
On the other hand the spouses reading it is intimidating as I know there are many people there that are much better educated than I am. I can say whats on my mind. I can correct my husbands and children’s grammar. I can even correct their papers and home school them to the best of my ability. But, there is always someone better. Someone smarter, someone quicker and someone more polished. I don’t know why, but I have to point out when I see something wrong. When I see an injustice, I have to say it. I happen to be a black and white person despite trying to be gray at times.
I am for sure not politically correct. I grew up in the mid west on a mid west farm singing to the bulls every night as I fed them. I only sang to the bulls, because I was alone and no one could hear me. I would be outspoken in a quiet sense, if one could be quietly outspoken…
I went for a visit a few weeks ago with Kent. The two youngest girls, Noah and I made the trip over. We grabbed the camper and found a spot, despite it being a holiday weekend. We were able to stay a couple nights pretty stress free. Friday evening I was able to surprise Kent and see him for an hour. He was totally surprised as I had told him I wouldn’t be there until Saturday afternoon. I left the three kids (Noah is almost 16) to set up camp and rushed to see him.
Kent was so happy to see me that he seemed to forget his circumstances for a time. The next day his “prison self” emerged. This person is not one I enjoy. He tells me about all the problems going on. Coming from the position he was in, I believe, makes him more aware of the injustices that are happening on the “inside.” He tells me of the different things the inmates are in for. The majority of them are on the downside of their time. They have been on the “inside” for years. They have a few years left relative to their sentence so they have been made eligible to be in a camp. There are not many that were sentenced to such short sentences as Kent was.
They have a lot of people on the downside of their sentences that are in for drugs. There are quite a few who are in for things such as identity theft or fraud and just a couple or maybe even two that are in for offenses while holding public office. Anyway, I see first hand how the government works.
You find yourself in a situation in which you’re being threatened and coerced. If you don’t cooperate with these threats the coercion may come true. So you make a deal. Then you go in front of a judge and they ask you when you plead, have you been bribed, coerced or threatened? You are bribed, coerced or threatened to give you answer, so you act in good minion behavior and say “no.”
This is literally the scenario that we found ourselves in. My husband was pleading guilty in a court of law, because they threatened that his wife, “me” would be charged if he didn’t cooperate. Our attorney advised us that the threats would be unfounded, but did he want his wife to go through the legal process? And we didn’t have the cash to defend both of us. So the story goes…
I sit with Kent for hours upon hours for our visits. I long to be with my husband, but in this setting its torture for an introvert such as myself. I sit and constantly pick at whatever needs picked at or I bite the cuticles of my nails. I fidget, despite my add medication, not knowing what to do with myself or knowing how to handle his mood changes. Not knowing how to handle the observations of the prison workers and wondering which ones are “spying” on me.
I’m told that the Super Max Prison is set to start getting prisoners in the next couple of weeks. This should be good as there are over two hundred guards for 120 inmates that are pretty self sufficient. The guard to inmate ratio is a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money at this point. And while I’m pointing out wasting money its a total waste of money having these hundreds of inmates in camps such as these. If they are reliable enough to be in a facility that they can at anytime walk off the premises they should be able to be trusted to be under house arrest. And that would save millions of dollars.
Then there are inmates that have been there for so long and really want to improve their lives. One inmate from Honduras that is in with Kent, was so excited to learn English as his second language in prison. Then he found out the reality. Our government doesn’t want to teach him English, the prison just wants the extra money they receive to act like they are teaching English. He goes to a class once every three weeks. And they teach from a Walking Dead Comic strip. I’ve been told that cartoons are an excellent way to teach English, but it can’t be every few weeks. It has to be on a regular basis. So I am sending some home schooling curriculum for Kent to work on with him.
Another inmate is from the inner city of Chicago. He’s in for being a drug dealer. He sits and reads the dictionary all day long. He told my husband he wishes he had his vocabulary. I had to laugh out loud when Kent shared that with me, because my husband was raised by parents from the farm in the back woods. Sorry all you relatives of Kents still living down there in Missouri, but proper English was not a strong suite. A strong suite they do have though is caring about other people and that is way more important than they way they speak. My point is, Kent told this man you need to move your family out of Chicago, but this is all this man knows.
One more thing and I will be done with my rant. Ministry…there are no ministries coming into this prison. How many prisons are there no ministries. No one comes to visit these men on a regular basis to teach them anything. They truly are forgotten and it breaks my heart. I realize that this is why God told me Prison was in my future. He told me this at least twenty years ago, I only shared that in the past with two people. I know people hate when people say, “God told me.” It was not an audible voice, it was just a “knowing.” And I have to believe sometimes God does just let us “know.” Had I grown and tried to mature in that “knowing,” I may have been able to avoid my husband actually going to prison and been able to make a difference some other way. But God knew and I know I am in his hands.
As I write all of this, I hope that I am not being conceited in that I hope God will bring good out of the tragedy that has happened in my life. I am holding on to his promise that he will complete the work he began in my life. And that all will turn out according to his purpose. Glory be to Our Father in Heaven. Amen!!