Arrested Part 3: Barb

To read Part 1, click here.

To read Part 2, click here.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Czech Wikipedia for th week, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Note: Due to the colorful language of Barb and the family-oriented nature of my blog, some words have been edited in the following story. One word, the “s” word, which Barb used extensively, has been changed to “kiwi.” I don’t think I’ve ever used “kiwi” in a blog post before and I just like how it sounds. “Kiwi.” It’s a good word.

After snoozing quite uncomfortably for about an hour on my stone bench, I stood up to give the old saddlebag a rest. I leaned against the wall and looked out the window, hoping to see a police officer with a key. Miraculously, one appeared. I backed up, lest the officer feared me tackling him and making a break for it, and pure joy filled my heart. I was getting out! Then I saw Barb.

I leaned back against the wall with a sigh. The officer stood aside and let Barb pass, closed the door, and locked it.

“Kiwi. Kiwi. Kiiiiiwiiiiii,” muttered Barb, as she took a seat on the stone bench. She ran her hands through her cropped hair. “Kiwi, it’s hot in here.” She looked me up and down. “Why didn’t they make you dress out?”

“I don’t know,” I said, feeling privileged and extremely vulnerable at the same time. I was clearly “fresh meat.”

She rolled up the legs of her prison-issue jumpsuit. “Kiwi, these things are hot.”  She looked at me again. “I guess it’s because you’re wearing a pretty dress.”

I nodded and willed my face to remain neutral. I was wearing a beach cover-up.  It had a hood on it. I guess one person’s beach cover-up is another’s pretty dress.

“Kiwi, I need my phone call. My a-hole son got me locked up. Can you believe that? He called the police on me. Kiwi.”

“That’s terrible.”

“Kiwi, yeah, it is. Trying to say I hit him. Then that white-a$$ cop showed up and arrested me for trespassing. Same white-a$$ cop that arrested me before, too. You ever been arrested before?”

“No, this is my first time.”

“Kiwi, that’s good. Real good. I only been arrested four times. I ain’t a bad person, but that same old white-a$$ cop has it out for me. Yeah, I was on probation for a year and wasn’t allowed on that property, but my year is up. Kiwi, that restraining order wasn’t permanent. I’m a good person. Only arrested four times.” She shook here head and went to look out the window. “Kiwi, I need my phone call.”

I sat back down on the bench.  She took my spot on the wall. “I’m done with my son. Calling the cops on me. You got somebody trying to get you out?”

“Yes, my husband.”

“That’s good. How long you been here?”

“About three hours.”

“Kiwi, I’ll be in here forever. That white-a$$ cop said he got me for probation violation. Uh-uh, I’m off probation. That restraining order ain’t permanent. He the same white-a$$ cop that got me last time. Found me when I hid behind the church. Then complained about getting bit by some dumb-a$$ mosquitos. Kiwi, this is Georgia! There mosquitos everywhere! Not just behind that church where I was hiding. That white-a$$ cop has it out for me.”

At this point, Barb realized that I was white.

“Now, I ain’t racist or nothing. But you know how it is. Some of these white…cops… decide they don’t like a person and they on them all the time. When the cops pulled up and I seen who it was, I knew my a$$ was going to jail. Kiwi.  White-a$$ cop.”

I nodded sympathetically. I didn’t know what to say, but it didn’t matter. Barb did all the talking. She talked nonstop, saying the same things over and over. Her son was going to pay. She wanted her phone call. The white-a$$ cop. Trespassing was non-permanent. When the silence lasted longer than 10 seconds, she went back and forth to the window. Kiwi, kiwi, kiwi, kiiiiwiiii.

Finally, a cop came to the door. “Finally, I get my phone call.”

No, he was there for me.

“Kiwi, at least you getting out. I’ll be in here forever. When I gonna get my phone call? Kiwi, I been waiting forever.”

The door closed on Barb and I had to get in line behind four very tall men. I’m a very short woman, in a beach cover-up. I felt like a child. We were processed out. Everyone else had to change out of their jumpsuits and claim their belongings while I sat on a bench and waited. I jumped every time the lock released on the metal doors. It sounded like a gun shot.

prison doorI cringed every time a person in a suit walked by and glanced at me on their way out the door. That was the only time during the whole ordeal that I felt like crying. Up until that point, I was with other prisoners or cops. These were “real” people. It was embarrassing.

At last the doors opened and it was my turn to walk through them. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough, although I had no idea if anyone was waiting for me. When I turned the corner, I saw my extremely angry husband sitting in a chair. Nobody else would know that he was angry, but I knew. His eyes were hard. I walked fast, hoping his rage wouldn’t bubble to the surface and cause him to do something we’d both regret. Somehow, I think assaulting a police officer carries much stiffer penalties than driving with a suspended license.

We left. I got home, ate something, and thanked my husband for resisting the temptation to post my mug shot to Facebook. My kids were happy to see me and wanted to know when we could go to the beach, “if you don’t get arrested again” they added.

My hip hurt for a week, I got my license reinstated, and have a court date for the suspended license charge on my 14th wedding anniversary. I’m hoping the judge has mercy on me. Personally, I think spending five hours in jail is punishment enough. Somehow, I doubt the judge will care. Instead of going out for dinner and a movie, I’ll have to pay a hefty fine.

Happy Anniversary to me.

Arrested Part Two: Inside The Joint

(Continued from an earlier post:  Arrested)

The police cruiser entered a parking lot under construction. I tilted my head back to study the scene through my glasses, which by this time were hanging precariously from the end of my nose. We stopped in front of what looked like a giant garage door inside a high fence, coils of barbed wire perched menacingly on top.  Officer Hollingsworth punched some buttons, inserted a CD of some sort into a drop-down disc drive from his police scanner thingy, and the door slid open. The car drove the short distance to the prison and stopped outside a metal door. The officer exited the vehicle and opened my door.  I politely asked him to push my glasses up so they wouldn’t fall off.  He obliged.  (Isn’t he a sweetheart?)

It’s a great color but does not go with brown prison slides AT ALL.
Photo via

He led me in the door and took the cuffs off me.  I did the obligatory wrist rubbing routine like you see the perps doing in Law and Order.  There were marks there that wouldn’t go away for hours. I had to take my hair down (the greasy hair that had been in a bun all day. They really want mug shots to look as bad as possible, it seems.) I had to take my flip-flops off and find a pair of brown rubber slides they keep in Rubbermaid containers in the corner. I could only find two mismatched shoes in my size and one of them had a tear. At least my toenails were painted a lovely shade called Calypso. I would be removing it and scrubbing my feet with bleach as soon as I got home. Gag.

Then I got “frisked.” As the lady officer was feeling me up (she only checked my boobs.  Weird, right?) I noticed a chart on the wall. There were three questions they were supposed to ask, one of which was if I endured any form of brutality. I thought about the country music and wondered if that counted, but it didn’t matter because they didn’t ask me ANY of those questions.  Odd, huh?  I also learned that my officer was transferring somewhere in a week.  Apparently to a division that pays for its officers’ gas. That’s an important perk, I guess.  I only wish he’d transferred sooner.

I was waiting for them to hand me one of those blue jumpsuits I saw everyone wearing inside. For whatever reason, they left me in my bathing suit and cover-up.  Apparently the regulations only call for prison issue shoes. Great. Now I wasn’t going to fit in.

When we entered the booking area, I felt even more out of place.  I was the only one in the whole joint that didn’t have a neck tattoo.  I’m getting one next week, in case I find myself in the clink again. I suggest you do the same. You never know when you’ll be arrested and you’ll want to spare yourself the embarrassment.

I had to answer a bunch of questions, the most amusing one being, “What is your occupation?” I doubt they get very many elementary school lunch ladies in there.. Then, they took my mug shot, which was every bit as awesome as I thought it’d be. I could show you, but let’s just say that Nick Nolte’s mug shot was like a Glamour Shot compared to mine.

Nick Nolte ain’t got nothing on me.

I made my phone call to my husband, who was already in contact with a bondsman. I thought I’d be out in no time. Riiiight.  Then they led me to a holding cell. For whatever reason, they kept me in a cell to myself. Even later, when they temporarily had to put a female inmate in my cell, they removed me to the “Female Disorderly” cell. I can only assume it was for her protection as I am wicked intimidating–neck tattoo or not.

The cell was amazing. All concrete blocks like the walls in schools, with a bench made of the same material jutting out of the wall. When you sat on it, you faced the stainless steel toilet/sink combo. I felt a twinge in my bladder. When I look at a toilet ( or even think of a toilet or hear the word, “toilet”), I have to go to the bathroom. I’ve had five kids.  I lost control of my bladder after kid number two. I wasn’t about to go on that toilet, in view of everyone who happened to pass my window.  I Kegel-ed like there was no tomorrow. Some people lift weights in prison. I strengthened my pelvic floor.

What kind of swanky prison is this? This one is clean and has privacy.

Between the kegeling and the comfy seat of concrete I sat on for 4 hours or so, I can barely walk. Turns out, those lovely fat deposits on my butt/hip area they call “saddlebags” are nothing like a saddle. They weren’t meant to sit on for long periods of time and as I spent a majority of my time leaning to one side as I slept against the concrete wall, I now walk with a limp.

I was bored out of my mind. I slept. I paced. I was starving. I refused lunch because I seriously doubted there were many low-carb options. I wasn’t about to add “cheating on my diet” to my long list of regrets for the day. The noise was unbearable.  Always the sound of keys, jingling on belts. Chains rattling as they moved prisoners. The sound of clanging doors. As much as I complain about them, I’d take my kids arguing and “mom, mom, mom, moooooom” over that any day.

When I was about to go crazy from the boredom, loneliness, and noise, I got some relief in the form of a colorful cell mate. Her name was Barb.

…to be continued

Arrested Part One: Cuffed

I spent the morning yelling at kids, gathering towels, looking for sand toys, and yelling at the kids some more. It was a Beach Day. The plan was to meet the kids’ grandmother at the beach at 10:00 AM, before it got crowded and parking was impossible. We were, as usual,  running late. We backed out of the drive-way 15 minutes after the scheduled departure.  It was a costly 15 minutes.

police lightsI got maybe a mile down the road when I saw the blue lights in the rear view mirror.  “Which one of you brats isn’t wearing a seat belt?” I roared to the back seat. (“Brats” is a term of endearment.  Ahem.) The kids cried out in protest. I scanned the back seat and, sure enough,  all 5 were restrained.  I did a mental checklist.  My tags were up-to-date. I was wearing my seat belt. I hadn’t used my car in an armed robbery. I didn’t steal the car. I was flummoxed.

The police officer approached the car and asked for my license. Before he even looked at it, he asked me if I was Ms. Quinney.  That’s not a good sign.  “Yes, sir.”  He asked me step out of the car. Again, “yes, sir.”  (I am a very polite Southern girl.  Especially to police officers who know my name.)

“You are driving with a suspended license. How many kids are in your car? Do you have someone who can come and get them and your car?”

Wait.  What?

“Because I can’t allow you to drive this car anywhere and I’m going to have to arrest you.”

Wait.  What?

“Ma’am, do you understand?”

“Yes, sir?” It was a question because I most certainly did not understand. My husband was pulled over twice with a suspended license (don’t ask why, it wasn’t anything serious) and both times the officer impounded his truck and had somebody come get him. He wasn’t arrested.

“Somebody has to come get the car.  Normally, I’d impound the vehicle, but since you have the kids with you…” Oh.  Super cop was being generous.  “Can you call someone?”  I nodded and headed back to my car. “Miss, you don’t want to call anyone who might cause a scene.”

Well, that certainly left my husband out. I know that man of mine and he wasn’t going to let his wife be hauled off in handcuffs.  Again. (Yes, I’ve been in handcuffs before.  Read about that here.) I called my mother-in-law, who was convinced he was staking me out.  Why else would he run my plates?

stick family stickers

Highly suspect…

Turns out, Corporal James R. Hollingsworth (yes, that’s his real name and isn’t it fantastic?) ran everybody’s plates because what with the murders and America’s Most Wanted capturing escaped criminals all over this little town (true story), it’s an excellent use of his time. When he comes across a land yacht with 7 of those adorably cheesy family stick figures on the window, backing out of the driveway, he runs the plates, and sees suspended license for a “failure to appear in court” over a lame-o “no proof of insurance” ticket–which is absurd since in the state of Georgia, every cop can see if a person has insurance simply by running their plates–and there are five kids in the back, obviously equipped to go to the beach, and a hardened criminal frightened woman who obviously had no idea her license was suspended, he decided that, yes, she should be arrested and taken to jail immediately, with no regard for the overcrowded prison cells and the colossal waste of time it is since she won’t be held and they won’t even be able to collect bond for her crimes.  Or maybe he just didn’t like people who write in run-on sentences.

I called my friend to tell her the hilarious story. It wasn’t until I was talking to her that I remembered I was dressed for the beach. I would be taken to jail in my bathing suit, cover-up, and flip-flops with my greasy hair in a bun and no make-up on my face. My mug shot would be awesome.

The kids realized we weren’t going to the beach and the whining started.  “I’m going to jail and I would appreciate it if you didn’t cry because you can’t go to the beach!  How about a little perspective here?” That shut them up.

Billy (the 6yo) offered some advice. “Forget about the police. Just drive away.” When I didn’t start driving, he made a suggestion.  “Can’t you just punch the policeman in the face?”  I worry about that kid’s future.

Not what he used, but they look comfy.

The MIL arrived and the nice policeman took me to the side of the police car.  He opened the door (to shield the horrific and potentially trauma-inducing sight from the children) and asked me to place my hands behind my back.  He cuffed me.  “Is that too tight?”

“No sir.”

He put me in the back of the police car.  I was officially arrested, though he didn’t read me my Miranda Rights. Isn’t that, you know, a requirement?  You’d think Officer Hollingsworth, that most conscientious of peacekeepers, would remember that.  He drove away (too fast) and I realized that yes, indeed, the cuffs were too tight and that there is no way to get comfortable in the back of a police car with your arms wrenched behind your back and your knees jammed into the metal seat back.  On top of that, my glasses were inching down my nose, which is really annoying. I have back problems, too, and every bump gave me a spasm. It was miserable.

And then it got worse. My arresting officer started flipping through radio stations.  He found one he liked.  “Turn your knob to BOB 106.9!  Savannah’s home for new countryyyyy!”  The voice of Kenny Chesney oozed out of the radio speakers:

 “The sun and the sand and a drink in my hand with no bottom
And no shoes, no shirt, and no problems!”

Jostling around in the back seat of a police cruiser, en route to the jailhouse, I finally understood the concept of “cruel and unusual punishment.”

To be continued…

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Wordless Wednesday: Fun At the Jacksonville Zoo

My 13yo thinks he’s Waldo. Can you spot him?

On the zoo train.

13yo trying to hide behind his sister, who’s rocking the mullet, don’t you think?

I weep for her hair almost daily. So many blonde curls just gone. *sob*

The Wishing Well

I hope she wished for her hair to grow back…

Billy loved the birds.

“Eat or drown!” Poor bird.

Molly is less enthusiastic. She’s nervous and rightfully so…

…because birds poo when you least expect it.

The Game Of Life

I love games.  Games that require thought, shuffling, rolling dice, spinning a spinner, turning over a sand timer, or leaning over to move a game piece.  It’s a dying pleasure. Board games and cards have been replaced by Apps. The personal interaction has transformed to a virtual world of screen names and avatars.  Apps are great and playing with family and friends all over the world is awesome, but it’s not the same as gathering together with snacks, music, conversation, and laughter.

Uno Card GameI spent a lot of nights at my grandma’s house with my cousins.  Apart from arguing about who would get the primo sleeping spot under the dining room table (I never won that argument), we played Uno. The best games were the ones that lasted hours.

Another favorite was Monopoly (until my husband sucked all the fun out of it.  He has great potential as a loan shark.) I lived two doors down from my cousin and we’d play Monopoly during the summer.  One game lasted a week.  We had the patience and dedication to keep coming back to it, day after day, until we finished.  I can’t imagine my kids doing that now.

My cousin’s family loved games. We’d sit around the table, eating chips, while the adults played “Twenty Questions.”  They always laughed so much. I realize now that a lot of that laughter was at the suggestive nature of some of the questions.  A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste.

The Game Of LifeThat same cousin and I played a lot of games together, too.  We loved to play Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, and Life.  The game of Life is especially precious to me.  Near the end of her life, my great-grandmother came to live with my paternal grandmother.  My cousin and I would go stay with Mamaw when Grandma wasn’t home and I always brought Life.  My cousin and I would play in the floor for hours while Mamaw sat in her chair and watched.  We didn’t talk to her much and we felt guilty.  We were there for her, but we just sat and played games.   We were only 12 and didn’t yet understand the concept of loneliness or the joy of children.

When I watch my children play, it takes me back to my childhood.  I remember what it felt like to have no other care in the world than who was going to win a game of Uno.  I remember how effortless it was to play Twister.  When I watch my children play, I marvel at their intelligence, their joy, their existence.  I delight in them. My Mamaw, sitting in her chair watching her two great-granddaughters play Life, laughing, and chattering probably felt the same way.  I imagine her thinking about her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren.  About her Life.  We needn’t have felt guilty.

While we were playing Life, she was enjoying the fruits of hers.


This is a revised version of an earlier post.  I’m linking up with the Yeah Write Summer Series.

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Three Birthdays Down, Two To Go

Kids birthday parties are stressful. Like most moms, I want my kids to feel special on their birthdays. Unfortunately, there are some moms out there that make this extremely difficult. You know the ones I’m talking about. They rent gigantic bouncy houses, treat their girl and her twelve friends to a spa day, rent a pony, and other ridiculous stuff like that. I handled the stress pretty well on the last birthday. I rented a cabin and we had a sleepover by a lake. There was a pool. I thought it was wicked cool and the girl, when asked how she liked her party, shrugged and said, “It was fun, I guess.”  Trust me. That means she liked it. She’s subtle like that.

This party was for my Aspie. I was worried. Turnout for a summer birthday party isn’t the greatest, especially when the birthday falls two days after the Fourth of July. That’s stressed Mikey in the past. “What if nobody comes?”


Burger King

Nothing says “Happy Birthday” like a creepy king and a Whopper.

I held my breath when I asked what he wanted to do for his birthday this year.  He didn’t hesitate.

“I want to go see The Amazing Spiderman and go out to eat and I want Noah to come with me.”

Whew.  A movie and dinner with a kid I know would come.

“Where do you want to eat?’

“Burger King.”

Burger King?  Really? Alrighty then.

“What kind of cake do you want?”

“A map of the world.”

I love this kid. He made it so easy on me. A sheet cake with a drawing of the world. Easy peasy, right? Well, kind of. I had to do it free hand while looking at a picture. As usual, my kid got the short end of the cake decorating stick. Their cakes are always so…shoddy.

map of the world cake

I seriously need to invest in an airbrush system.

He liked it. Though he did point out that I forgot a body of water to separate the too small Africa from Eurasia, Alaska looks like a hawk’s head, and Italy in no way resembles a boot. All valid points and he was gentle about it. He’s a good kid.

He got everything he asked for–a super impressive Atlas (geography buff), a watch, and a gift card to Game Stop. Again, he made it easy on us.

He was funny on his birthday. Everything we did was “the first time I’ve done this as a 12-year-old.” I took him to the beach. “This is the first time I’ve been to the beach this summer AND as a 12-year-old.”  We had pizza for dinner. “This is the first pizza I’ve eaten as a 12-year-old.”  You get the idea. I’m glad that only lasted for a day. As funny as it is, I really didn’t want every minute experience commented on in that manner. “This is the first time I’ve eaten lasagna/hamburgers/ice cream/a ham sandwich/a bowl of Captain Crunch as a 12-year-old.”

So birthday number three is in the books and it was a success. Next up is Billy, the soon to be seven-year-old. He’s going to say Chuck E. Cheese or Jumping Jacks. I’m prepared for it. I have no idea what kind of cake he’ll ask for. I’m sure it will be difficult and he’ll want it just so. I’m really gonna have to step up my game on that one.

Related Posts:

A Birthday Party at the Commune
Three Cakes 
The Leaning Tower of Rapunzel 
The Lego Head Cake Debacle 

These Moments

“Mommy, can I hold you?” She holds her arms up in the air, opening and closing her tiny hands and batting those gorgeous blue eyes at me.  The answer is always yes.  I scoop her up and she lays her curly blonde head on my shoulder.  “I love you, mommy.”   My insides turn to jelly.

She’s my girl. My Anna.  Twenty-six pounds of sweetness and spunk.

The Spunk

The youngest of five, Anna is naturally spoiled.  From the moment she was born, people have fawned over her–me, her daddy, her sister, her brothers, her grandparents, church members, strangers in the street.  Really, it’s beyond ridiculous.  We’re creating a monster but I can’t bring myself to stop telling her how beautiful and smart she is.  I can’t help holding her every time she asks.  I can’t help marveling over every little thing she does. I can’t help it because I know she’s the last baby I’ll ever have.  I can’t help it because I know in the blur of raising her older brothers and sister, I missed valuable moments.  The guilt of that is overwhelming, though I know it’s not a unique experience to me.  All mothers, especially young mothers, get lost in the lack of sleep, the frustration, the uncertainty of parenting.  By the time we learn to relax and just go with it, our babies aren’t babies anymore.  We’ve missed the joy.  Anna is my chance to recapture it.

When I held her as a newborn and smelled that sweet baby head, when she smiled at me for the first time, when she said her first word, took her first steps, tasted her first lemon, gave herself her first haircut, I remembered my other children doing the same things.  When she says, “Look at me!” and does a dance or makes a funny face, I remember all the performances I’ve watched over the last thirteen years.  She’s my trip down memory lane.  I thought those memories were gone, but with every new thing Anna does, they rise to the surface, whispering, “Remember when…?”

With my last child, as with my first, I’m learning how to be a parent. This time, it’s not about when and what to feed them, how often to change diapers, when to call the doctor, or when to put them to bed.  It’s about spending time with them, listening to their stories, and  marveling at their accomplishments.  It’s about watching them grow into the people they’re going to be and seeing all the little things that brought them there.

It’s about living in the moment.

Baby Blues

The Diaper Hat Moment

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