*This and a few following posts, the exact number unknown at this time, are a retelling as accurate as I can give of the several recent dramatic events of my life which have been full of some of the most traumatic experiences that I have ever made it through, but which also lead to some of the most profound and startling realizations and epiphanies of my life. While these entries are not directly about animals themselves, the animals in my own life were impacted greatly by the events that occurred, as well as many of these events causing me to examine the predicaments of the various animals that come into “shelters” and animal control centers everywhere. I have chosen to be brutally honest, and realize while some may judge me, others will appreciate my honesty and hopefully a few will maybe learn something from my experiences. The specifics of which ALL will come to be revealed in the the telling of my story.*
while glenda worked at getting her concerns taken care of by the guards, i continued to monitor the clock and make calls when i could. i had been out of the cell for some time again talking with people, when one of the guards, mindy, let me know that she needed me to get back to my cell.
she used my name that i go by, and i wondered if she remembered me.
“of course i remember you!” she said. “stella called me concerned about you and your pets. i’m an animal lover too, so i can understand the worry.”
way back in the day, over 20 years, mindy, stella, and i had all worked at larger retailer together. i hadn’t stayed in touch with her over the years, but our mutual friend stella had. stella was one of my closest and dearest friends, and she had apparently contacted mindy; concerned about my predicament.
“sometimes it’s an ackward situation when people we know wind up in here, so we don’t say anything or necessarily acknowledge, ” she said. “i’m rootin’ for ya tho!”
it felt good to have someone who was in what i considered the “enemy’s camp”, on my side!
by now it was after one, and i was trying like crazy to find out if they were going to have me appear, by phone, in court tomorrow or if, god forbid, they were going to make me wait until wednesday of the following week to deal with my situation. i had managed to get one of the guards look up when court was usually held in rifle, and it turned out it was the first and third wednesdays of the month. i was walking on pins and needles, anxiously waiting to find out what my fate was going to be.
meanwhile, glenda had determined which members of the detention staff were NOT being helpful to her, and were razzing them from inside the cell; banging on the door, and talking loud enuff for them to hear her remarks.
i’m sure my anxious state did nothing to help her, but i could understand her frustration. her kid was soon going to be getting out of school and there wasn’t going to be anyone to pick him, much less provide him care, etc. if it were my kid, i’d be feeling and acting the same way.
Two o’clock came with a deputy opening our cell door and providing glenda with the answer she was looking for. the child’s father had been contacted, and when school got out, he would be picking up the boy and taking him back home to where he lived until things got straightened out and glenda got out. the relief was visible on her face.
meanwhile, i was pacing and anxious. what about my pets? i had talked to someone earlier, can’t remember exactly who, that had told me that they had managed to catch 4 of my kitties and along with them, had taken my dogs to the shelter for care. meanwhile, live traps had been placed in the trailer for catching the rest.
i kept track of the activities going on outside the cell in booking, and that’s when i saw one of the guards get off the phone and state that i would be appearing by phone before the judge at 3pm today. TODAY??!! were they serious? had i made a mistake in what i’d heard them say??
i began making a racket on the cell door. a guard stepped to the front of the door and i inquired if they were speaking of me. yes! they were! and i would be appearing by phone before the judge at 3pm which was just half an hour away!!!
i was absolutely elated! this meant the very real chance of getting out of there today! of being able to go home to my family today!!! TODAY!! of course, i had no money, no car, and not even my cell phone to call someone to come get me, but i could easily figure that out as soon as i was out of there!
TODAY!!! what a beautiful word it was to my ears! those 30 minutes, from 2:30pm to 3, were some of the longest minutes of my life! at 2:58, i made sure that the guards remembered my appointment. i had to wait for the court to contact the booking room tho. i wasn’t to call in. i DID get them to let me out of the cell at three tho, and sure enuff, shortly after the phone rang.
it was handed to me, and my heart was racing in my chest, emotions came rushing at me and welled up in my throat; tears starting in my eyes.
the judge went thru his official stick that takes place at every official court hearing, and then he asked if i would like to speak to the attorney before an official ruling was made. i said yes most definitely. i was so angry and was determined to get my point across!
the female city attorney simply could not get it thru her head why i hadn’t followed thru with the payment arrangement: why i wouldn’t just take her word that the inclusion of the fines and fees in my bankruptcy were going to be thrown out.
i argued that they had unfairly imprisoned me; someone who was completely destitute, had just started a new job, and had not a dollar to her name, and now they had put me in jail and were jeopardizing my ability to get back on my feet.
why hadn’t i made payment? because i had told the judge that the issue was going to be included in my bankruptcy filing and that i would take my chances with the federal court concerning the matter; that the judge had given me additional time for this specifically. she doubted that, and if that were the case, why had i signed the payment arrangement? because the judge had not given me a choice. it was either sign the agreement or go to jail. so what was i to do?
oh but she knew better! she was an attorney who knew the law and because of that, i should just take her word that it would be thrown out and figure out a way to make payments!
i argued how dare she have the audacity to question the process of the federal courts, and that just she was an attorney, of some backwoods little town i might add, didn’t mean she knew squat about what the federal courts would do and if they had been so concerned, why hadn’t they filed a relief from stay?
it was then that she asked me what my attorney had advised me and i said that i didn’t have an attorney and had used a bankruptcy filing service.
i said that they, meaning the city, were acting the roll of a big bully, picking on someone who was literally destitute over civil fines, and that all of this was jeopardizing my new job and the chance to get back on my own feet. i have no idea why, but she agreed to wait on the federal courts; to release me on a self recognizance $1000 bond with the understanding that i would follow up on the matter at a later court date of june 19 , 2013. i made it very clear that i have never failed to show up for court, and that i hadn’t been trying to “flee” anything, and that yes i would make sure to be present.
the judge came back on the line, and went thru the technicalities of court procedures. he said that the paperwork for my release would be completed shortly and then i would be free to go, but to make sure that i appeared in court come june.
free to go!! i was free to go!! i would be home that evening with my furbabies!! i got off the phone and cried with relief!
mindy was on the ball with getting my paperwork processed and ready to go. i had taken a shower earlier and so it was just a matter of getting everything together, letting me change, signing some documents and then i was out the door.
by 4:30, i was back in the clothes i had arrived at the jail in, the previous friday. i looked at the clock, it was 73 hours from the time that i had arrived at the garfield county jail that friday afternoon. papers signed, what personal items and medication i had there given back to me, i was escorted to a door. more doors, and yes, i went thru three of them before being let out the final door out and into the cool late monday afternoon.
the door closed behind me, and with it all that had previously unfolded. except for the reality of where i was standing, it was almost hard to believe all that i had previously endured. i began walking, and tried to figure out a place i could go and use the phone. i knew that if i contacted one of my close friends, stella or hilary, that they would come get me, most likely even feed me, and take me home. but what phone could i use?
i began walking, and then began crying and hyperventilating; the trauma of the past 73 hours overtaking me. for all i knew, i coulda been in shock. it wasn’t everyday that someone like me was taken to jail and held for three days. it was a huge shock, and most definitely was triggering my PTSD.
the company that i had started the new job with, had a local office. i knew i could use their phones, and decided that the very first thing i would do is call my boss and find out if i still had a job-i was pretty sure i did-as well as to let them know i was ok and able to come back to work.
i continued to hyperventilate and cry while walking towards the office. it wasn’t far, and i stepped into the front reception area, looking like i mess i’m sure. between breaths, i explained that i was a new staff member at the corporate office and asked if i could use the phone to call my boss. it turned out she was in this same office working that day! i asked to speak with her.
my boss was surprised to see. it was blatantly obvious i was upset, and she took me to a more private area to talk. as it turned out, family had called and left a message that there had been a death in the family. my boss had no idea as to what truly had transpired. i told her the story, and that i literally had just gotten out and had walked over here to call her and use the phone as i had no money, no transportation. not even my cell phone.
she thanked me for being so honest and expressed sympathy for what i had just been thru. she then let me use the phone so i could call a friend to come get me. i was relieved. she also said i could come back to work that wednesday, giving me one day to get caught up on things that had been left hanging due to my “misadventure”.
while on the phone, i also attempted to contact eagle county animal shelter to speak with the gentleman who had taken my dogs and some of the cats into the shelter’s care. it was too late tho, after 5pm, and the matter would have to wait until tomorrow.
i reached my friend hilary, who was going to be leaving work in about 15 minutes and would head my way to meet me and get me back home.
i took my time walking to our agreed upon rendezvous point. i arrived first, with her showing up a few minutes later; me sitting on a bench waiting. i didn’t mind the wait. freedom. i was free and had all the patience in the world to wait for her arrival. the airy was cool,, but not chilly. it was about 5:30pm when she arrived.
our rendezvous point was the parking lot of the local village inn. she asked me if i was hungry. i told her i didn’t care where we ate as anything was going to be an improvement over what i’d been given in jail. we quickly settled on village inn.
i ordered a chocolate shake. heaven!! and over the course of the meal, i filled her in on alot of the details surrounding my experiences of the last 3 days. we discussed my pets, and she took up the issues that my oldest sister had brought up and agreed with her actions: that things were far to strained for me to be trying to care for so many pets; that my trailer was in bad shape because of them; and that i needed to get rid of the majority of them. i heartily disagreed, and suggested that for the sake of everything that we agree to disagree considering everything that i had just been through and what was yet to come, considering i had no idea.
she drove me back to the trailer park. i was to stop at the trailer park manager’s home to pick up the keys. it was almost dark by the time we arrived, and it turned out the park manager needed to speak with me, so i told hillary to go ahead and head back: that i could walk to my trailer. it wasn’t the far, and once again, the freedom of being able to walk anywhere i chose was perfectly fine by me.
the park manager told me that the animal control officer had contacted the owner of my trailer and had spilled everything. the number of my pets, the condition of my trailer, everything. great! she said that the owner was debating whether or not to evict me and that the back lot rent and trailer payments i owed…well and with this on top of it, the situation wasn’t good. as a matter of fact, when i arrived she was on the phone with him, but got off in order to speak with me. she said she would have to let me know tomorrow what the decision was. great. i definitely wouldn’t be getting much sleep that night. she eventually conceded to calling him back, and 10 minutes later gave me two conditions i had to meet within the next 24-28 hours or eviction would be emanate. the requirements weren’t impossible to fulfill, and i knew that my employer would help by giving me a letter stating the terms of my employment.
i walked home somewhat relieved. i knew that i was still walking a bit of a fine line where the future of my housing was concerned, but after everything i had just been thru, i felt that all was not lost and being able to get everything back on track would not be impossible, but that it would just take some time.
about that time, i had arrived at my trailer. unlocking the door, walking in and turning on the lights, i was instantly aghast at what was before me.