Monday, June 05, 2006

The fat lady is warming up...

I've never pretended to be a good person. I try really hard to do the right thing when situations arise that require the right thing to be done, but I often stumble and fall flat on my ass.

The past week has been full of....of....of....well, crap. And my mind keeps going to the thought "I can't wait until my father is sentenced, maybe then things will calm down."

On Monday, as we returned from our camping trip (recap of that in a separate post), we stopped in Corning at the Budget Inn and began the huge task of claiming my father's personal possessions from his room. I paid the week that he owed, and found the proprietors of the establishment to be friendly, cooperative, and helpful folks. I'm deeply grateful for that.

We had to almost completely unload our camping gear from my RAV4 in order to get my father's stuff stowed and have room for everything. We ended up putting the tent roll on top of the RAV4 on the luggage rack, along with my father's dufflebag style suitcase and our sling chairs (Big Boys -- good sized). It's amazing how much shit one person can accumulate in just a couple of months, especially a pack rat like my father.

It took us the better part of 3 hours to go through his stuff, box it or pack it up, and stow it in my vehicle. Of course, it was hotter than Haedes and you could cut the air with a knife with the high levels of humidity.

We left there around 3:00 and arrived in Bath around 3:30. We headed over to my oldest daughter's house, where I left Lisa so that I could be at the Steuben County Jail by 4:00 so that I could get in to see my father at 5:00 (there's a long screening process, done on a "first come, first served" basis, and only 18 people are allowed in for visitation at any given time).

He looked extremely old and frail, and very thin. He denied violating the protective order and begged me to bail him out of jail ($2,000 cash or $4,000 surety). I told him that I simply don't have that kind of money. I'm also positive that, had I bailed him out, he would have run. This is a man who knows how to find people, having repossessed cars for a living his entire life. And if he knows how to find people, chances are he knows how to disappear and not be found, or at least how to stay off the radar.

I stayed for the full hour, part of me knowing that it would be the last private conversation I'd have with him for a long time, possibly forever. All I could do was assure him that I was handling things for him as best I could, and that was all I could do. I promised him I'd stay in contact with him while he's incarcerated, gave him a hug, and left. There wasn't much more I could do.

From the jail, I went to the Bath P.D. to see if they could let me into my father's vehicle (which we located behind the county buildings in the county parking lot) as he'd told me that his wallet was in the vehicle and it contained a large sum of money. He had the keys in his possession when he was arrested and it would take a few days for me to get them from the property office. The P.D. was very helpful with opening the vehicle (since I had the power of attorney in my hands), and I recovered the wallet along with a set of keys to the vehicle. The wallet contained $1,113 in cash, with $1,000 of it being in $100 bills. We also recovered the key to his hotel room that we'd just cleared.

I went back to Michelle's house and picked up Lisa, and we drove to my Aunt Wanda's house and visited with them for a little while. We didn't get home from our camping trip until about 10:00 Monday night. We just unloaded most of the stuff into the garage, promising ourselves we'd organize it and put it away later.

Tuesday I went to work, put a few things to bed there, and made an appointment to talk to the HR director about the whole situation. I didn't really know what was going to happen with my father's sentencing, whether the DA was going to take the offer off the table and go with new charges or what and, if so, would my father renege on his part of the deal and ask for a trial by jury. I also have to sell his vehicle, pay his bills, put his stuff in storage, and conduct other personal affairs for him. I knew it would affect my attendance and didn't want to have to tell everyone in the "chain of command" what was going on. The HR director agreed that she would notify my superiors of some pressing family issues and ask them to be as flexible as possible with me regarding unscheduled time off. I have provided them with dates that I know I'll be absent, but I know there will be things I have to do that aren't planned, as of yet.

I'm also concerned about my father's health, since he recently had a stroke and hasn't been taking care of himself at all. His incarceration could well be his death, depending on how strong he wants to be.

So, I got things buttoned up at work on Tuesday and went home. Wednesday morning I went to the chiropractor, then headed off for Bob and Wanda's (75 miles to the south). We visited for a short time, then left for Bath (15 miles further south) for the arraignment on the new charges.

I met with his attorney before the arraignment, and she informed me that she doesn't know what the DA is going to do about his recent arrest, but that she didn't think it would move the sentencing date at all, since it was a family court matter and the sentencing is a county court matter, which takes precedent.

She also informed me that there were going to be a lot of fines, court fees and surcharges that my father would incur -- likely into the thousands of dollars. She and I will meet later on how I can best set up payments for these things out of my father's income.

They brought my father in, handcuffed to a leather belt at the waist, hospital greens on, and that "old man shuffle" he's developed since his stroke. My Aunt Wanda fought back the tears, but not very well. He pled not guilty, was remanded on the same bail conditions ($2,000 cash, $4,000 surety). After the arraignment, she met briefly with my father, who continued to deny the violation. I dropped Wanda off at her home, and drove the 90 miles back to Rochester.

Thursday, June 1 was supposed to be our case argued in court, for our lawsuit for recognition of our Canadian marriage. It was adjourned to July 13th -- I found that out the morning of June 1st. So I made a bunch of phone calls on behalf of my father, which pretty much took up most of the morning. Lisa was to take the afternoon off for the court case and decided to take it off anyway so that we could drive back down to Bath and get my father's vehicle before it got towed away.

So, back in the car we got, drove the 90 miles south again, picked up the Bravada, and drove it the 90 miles back to Rochester. I re-listed it on eBay Friday morning.

I have Fridays off between Memorial Day and mid-August, and this was my first Friday off. I vowed that I would do nothing I didn't want to after re-listing the shitbox on eBay, and I stayed true to that vow. I had a ton of recorded programming on the DVR that we'd not had a chance to review, so I sat on the couch, put the recliner out, Tigga at my side, knitted ,and watched my recorded knitting programs from DIYNetwork. I'm 82 rows behind schedule on my new grandson's blanket (he's due in September), 17 rows behind on my Aunt Wanda's afghan for Christmas, and 22 rows behind on my oldest grandson's flag blanket.

Lisa called me at lunch time and asked me if I wanted to "go out" that evening. HELL YES! I said. So, after she got home, we went to a new tool store that she wanted to check out, Joann Etc., PetCo, over to BJ's for a new (larger) tent (for $60 less than Coleman's "buy it from us" price), and then to dinner at Mel's Diner. Mel's has excellent food, very good prices, and fantastic service. It was good to get out and not have to think about much of anything. I do love that woman of mine -- she always seems to know what I need.

Saturday we went to The Garden Factory (where Joe works), armed with $225 worth of gift cards. We picked up several colors of Yubi Portulaca to make hanging pots out of, a Sum and Substance Hosta, some red New Guinea Impatiens, Morning Glory Cardinalis, and a Bloodleaf. We also picked up a couple of plants for indoors. After we got home, we just sort of petered out, and sort of vegetated the rest of the day away. The rain seemed to mirror our moods.

Sunday we mowed the lawns, cleaned all the winter debris off the patio and set it up, took our new chimnea out and set it up, potted some of the stuff we got Saturday, and just basically spent the day putzing around outside. The sun felt good on my face -- it always seems to improve my mood dramatically. And, it wasn't all that hot out, just comfortable, so that helped a lot.

I'm at work today, but will make the 90 mile drive again tomorrow for my father's sentencing. According to his lawyer, it doesn't appear that the violation will affect tomorrow's sentencing other than the possibility that he may get more than the originally agreed-upon 2 years. I'll meet with her afterward to get as much information as possible about the fees and fines.

And hopefully, when the judge bangs his gavel tomorrow afternoon, the fat lady will begin her aria on this particular chapter of events in our lives.

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