Friday, November 22, 2013

Today in Court - Totally Sucked

Today was the court date set for Ebony and Shelby to accept or reject the deal given to them by the district attorney, on Nov. 12th - the last court date.  I thought everything was ready to go.  I had spoken to Shelby several times and she new she was offered a good deal.  Ebony's deal was even better, he'd been offered two years, would probably serve a year, or even less than that.

Got up, dressed for court and headed out the door.

Got to the courthouse - they call it the BBC.  I don't know what the acronym is for - haven't had the interest to look it up.  Anyway, went to the court room, third floor, 317.  I enter and see Ebony's dad, and Heather, a on-again off-again girlfriend of Ebony's.  I also see Joesph Reisz, Shelby's attorney, but don't see Ebony's attorney.  A few minutes later he walks through the door, gets Reisz' attention and calls him outside of the courtroom.  Another case is currently being tried, Shelby and Ebony's case hasn't been called yet.  I exit the courtroom after them, to let Reisz know I'm there.  He acknowledges me but continues to talk with Ebony's lawyer.  I take a seat in the hallway and wait for them to finish their discussion. 

Here's the BBC:

Afterwards, Reisz walks over to me, seemingly frustrated, and tells me that Ebony has decided to reject the deal.  "What?!, " I ask.  "Why?"  He tells me because he's an idiot.  I agree with him.  He says that Ebony feels as though he is the victim in the case.  He was just with Shelby and George attacked him.  I asked him how this affects Shelby's case.  The problem is the case is being tried together, because the crime was committed together.  So Reisz then tells me that he's going to see if the DA will agree to split the case, allowing Shelby to accept the deal and then let Ebony fend for himself.  I thought that was an excellent plan and agreed with him.

We all go back into the court room.  The other case has ended and Ebony and Shelby's case is called.  Instead of bringing them in the courtroom, the lawyers waive their appearance and state that they'd like some time to talk to their clients, that one is rejecting the offer and the other is not.  The judge agrees and the lawyers and the DA step out of the courtroom.  The DA looks pissed.  Reisz tells me he's gonna try to get Shelby to talk to Ebony - have them and both lawyers in the same room - to discuss it and try to get him to change his mind.

He goes upstairs to tell Shelby what's happening.  He comes back down.  Shelby is obviously very upset.  She was ready to accept the offer and move forward.  This stalls things completely.  The DA has 10 days to think about splitting the case, so the court date was reset to December 5th at 1:30pm.  Obviously, Shelby will have (or better have) had the baby by then and I will not be here for that hearing.  That is also my birthday.  Happy birthday to me.

Here is a brief, oversimplified version of the problems with all of this:

If the DA refuses to separate the case, then Shelby's offer could be redacted.  The DA is pissed. I told Reicz that Shelby could testify against him, thinking it could make it more appealing to the DA to separate the case. The box cutter found at the scene could be put in Ebony hands. Reicz is worried about if they don't split case, then it's both armed. Conspiracy to commit murder....several other charges could be found if they go to trial.  The police tape of them being interviewed is pretty damming.  Both are mad.  Both Ebony and Shelby say stupid things - that could potentially be used against them.

If they don't separate the case and Ebony continues to refuse, then the case goes to trial.  If found guilty, Shelby could be looking at serving 10 - 18 years.  Ebony could be looking about 10.  Ebony thinks he's the victim.  Shelby did the stabbing.  He was just there and George attacked him.  George was the aggressor.  But the stupid thing Ebony did was go back and steal his cell phone.  He stole a cell phone from a man on the ground bleeding, then left the scene of the crime.  That's how he got the felony robbery charge against him. 

Shelby's lawyer thinks Ebony's family is telling him to not take it. But I talked to his dad and to Heather. They were both shocked and think Ebony's being stupid.  My gut is telling me his lawyer is advising him against the deal. My gut is usually right.

Here's my hope: the DA separates the case and allows Shelby to take the deal. Ebony goes to trial and loses and then gets locked up for long time.  What are the chances of that happening?  I don't know.  50/50, I'd say.

So now, all of my court appearances are over.  Now I'm just sitting here waiting for Shelby to have her baby so I can get her go back home.  Ellie is missing me and I'm missing him too.

Ruh Roh - Water works

So, I was taking a shower yesterday and I noticed that the tube on the shower nozzle was exposed and it was really bubbled up, like a huge pimple about to pop.  Then suddenly, bam, water starts spraying everywhere.  Crap!  I'm a guest and I've single handedly, two days into the apartment, broken her shower sprayer.

So, I planned on just buying her a new shower sprayer when I went out later to ship some boxes home, so I'll have a lighter load when the baby comes and I have to make my way through the airport.  I headed to Burbank because they have a bunch of the big chain stores like Lowes and UPS store.  Like I mentioned before, Jenna was so generous and gave me bunches of clothes and her friend that had a baby also gave a bunch too.  Well, there's just no way to pack all of this into suitcases and pull it through the airport .

Then, three boxes and $217.00 later, I decided that I might need to just try a simplier solution for the shower and tape it up.  So I headed to Lowes.  Spoke to a very nice gentleman who told me to wrap the hose with one piece of tape on the inside, so it won't get bulky trying to slide the silver casing up and taping it.  This is how it turned out.

We'll see how long it lasts.  I think I'm gonna take the hose and see if there is just a replacement for that.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Babywait 2013 - My Awesome Friends - and how I'm feeling loved

So, I'm still in LA, waiting for Shelby to have her baby.  There's not much more to be done here, on the legal end.  She and Ebony go back to court on Thursday to accept the deals the DA offered them, then they send them off to prison.  Shelby was hoping to go to this program called Fire Camp - it's for prisoners to clean up the rubble from all of the wild fires in California.  But their web site states that they don't take people convicted of violent crimes, so she probably is not a candidate for Fire Camp.

I guess it's possible that Ebony could serve his time in the detention center since it'll only be about 13 months.  I guess it's up to the courts and prisons.  Word has it that Ebony is not keen to signing guardianship papers to me and Mike, either.  That's gonna be a huge fucking headache if it's true.  We'll fight it, of course, but if he gets out and comes and gets the kids, after we've provided them with a stable life for over a year, it'll be heartbreaking and it's possible we won't know how to reach him and whatnot.  That's really depressing and I don't want to write about that right now.

What I do want to write about is my awesome friends.  First of all, my friend Angela.  If it weren't for her, I would not have a place to stay here in LA.  When I contacted her and told her the deal, I asked if I could stay with her for a week or so, before Shelby's due date.  She said of course, instantly. Then, after talking to Shelby and realizing that I needed to be here for the dependency hearing for Ellie, on October 31st, I asked her if there might be a vacant studio in her complex that her landlady (Nancy) might rent me for a month.  Staying with someone for a week is one thing, but a month is something completely different and I didn't want to put her out.  So she did some asking around and come to find out, a neighbor of hers (Adora) has a boyfriend (Jimmy) who actually rents a studio in the building but he works in Florida and was going to be gone during that time and said I could stay for free!  Amazing, right?

It's nothing fancy, just a little studio apartment with a bed, kitchen and bathroom.  I spent about $40 at the 99Cent store buying two plates, tow glasses, silverware, a skillet, etc...  I would fill up my skillet with water each morning, heat it to boil and drink instant coffee.  Angela lent two folding lounge chairs so I'd have something to sit on.  It met my needs perfectly.  Then Angela told me she was going back to Atlanta for a couple months and I could move upstairs to her one-bedroom.  It has a couch, chair, TV, kitchen and microwave and coffee maker, and bed.  Woot!  Plus the timing was perfect because Jimmy was coming back from Florida.

                             (btw - that's all of my crap all over the place - Angela keeps a tidy crib)

So, I've been kickin' it in Angela's place for a couple days now - which is awesome - getting caught up on Walking Dead and other shows.  I love Angela's little apartment - it's in North Hollywood, which is a good location and pretty convenient to lots of things.  Problem is, I don't really like LA and I'm not that motivated to visit lots of things.  I'm pretty much ready to get the baby and go back home.  But, I digress.  Back to my awesome friends.

I was also able to meet up with my friends Kasia and Tal.  They are film makers I originally met in Atlanta but then they moved to NYC and got big shot jobs and Kasia is a recurring alien on Star Trek and has been scary chicks in big shot movies and an assistant to big shot directors, as has Tal and now they live in LA and they are way too cool for school.  Anyways, I got to meet up with them last week after the video conference with Shelby and just hang and they listened to me whine and still texted me days after hanging out.  I didn't scare them off.  They were so supportive and great listeners and we were able to share wonderful stories about a mutual Atlanta friend, Daniel Burnley, who recently died, unexpectedly.  But we met at this really nice place (with awesome food and pricing) and then got our pictures taken in their cool photo booth.  How cool is that? That was some much needed fun!

Last week, I met up with a longtime Atlanta friend, Jenna.  She and her hubby (and baby Rio) moved out here a couple of years ago.  She still visits Atlanta and we try to catch up when she does, but it'd been over a year since I last saw her.  Since then, she's had another baby, Luc (French spelling and pronunciation, as her husband is from French).  Jenna actually read my blog and reached out to me and wanted to help in some way.  So we met for lunch. It was so great seeing her.  She's so pretty and always has a smile on her face.  I love looking at her.  Anyway, girl crush aside, she gave me four bags of baby and big-boy clothes (for Ellie, since Rio and he are around the same age) and shipped a box of toys to Monroe.  Mike called to tell me that they arrived today.  How awesome is that?!  Look at all this stuff!  The Kaloo is a French thing and it's supposed to be for good luck.  I'll definitely take that because I need all of the good luck I can get right now.  Isn't it adorable?  You pull it down and it plays music as it scrunches back up.

Then, my friend, Tiffany, who is a self-denying artist, designed two door plaques for Ellie and Emma's doors.  She texted me photos of them the other day, because I couldn't wait to see them and I pressured her into sending me photos of them.  I LOVE them!  They are unique!  Ellie and Emma are two special little kids, with lots of love they don't even know about!

I also cannot leave out some other very special friends as well.  First, Gabe and Trin.  Gabe, my business partner, and I have worked together since 2006.  We've seen the worst and best sides of each other and through it all, we continue to work together - something works right there.  We are actually horrible work partners because we fight like brother and sister, yet our projects turn out great.  It's just getting through the process that's the hard part.  And Trin, she's had to share him with me all these years, which I know has been difficult so she gets the most kudos - altho I do hope I have provided her with some relief and respite at times.  Gabe is quite a handful.  ;)  (But I wouldn't trade him for the world.)  Anywho.....back to their awesomeness....  They gave me a travel system: a stroller that has a baby carrier that snaps into a car seat and the stroller and another base for another (namely Mike's) car for the carrier, in case one person has the kid the morning and the other person has the kid in the evening - you don't have to move the car seat, just the carrier.  That's pure genius - sure didn't have that when I was raising Shane and Shelby.  They also gave us a bouncer and toys for Ellie, since Gustav and Ellie are the same age, and an alphabet sponge mat thingy.

And, Mary Jane, Jay's mom also gave me a bunch of toys for Ellie, since her three grandsons are older than Ellie and have outgrown some of their toys, like to big Legos, Linkin Logs and a chalkboard and stuff like that.  She even gave up an old toy, that Jay claims to have played with (he didn't mention how long ago, so could just be a few years ago) - one of those dogs with moving feet as you pull the leash.

I swear, I don't know how I would make it through all this without my friends.  Jay came out for a visit this past weekend.  That's a completely different blog, but I am grateful that he did.  I needed some time with him and to think about other things and have fun with him. We did a bunch of the touristy things but also just chilled, which was good.  I did get him to try on the baby Bjorn - hee hee.

I am one lucky person and I don't know what I've done to deserve such wonderful people in my life, but I'm so glad I have them.  Now, it's just back to Babywait (see what I did there? You get it? Like Watergate? Bwahhahahaha - okay, cornball, I know).  Shelby just called me and said she has been having cramps but she went to the doctor yesterday and she's not had any contractions, nor is she dilated.  However, since her visit, she's been spotting, so hopefully the doctor gave Emma a little tap to let her know that it's okay to go ahead and come on out.  People are waiting on her - especially me.  I'm ready to get her and go home.  I still have a condo to move out of and into Monroe.  I sure hope she's strong, because I'm gonna need some help moving.

I did go out today and get a couple things at BabiesRUs for Emma.  I got her a cute, "coming home from the hospital outfit," some shoes (how cute are these?!), more diapers and instant formula for the plane.  She better hurry up and get here before I max out Mike's BabiesRUs card. Tomorrow, I plan on shipping a couple boxes to Monroe so I don't have to deal with all this stuff and a baby while trying to maneuver my way around the airport with a newborn.

PS:  I thought the cute Zebra dress for her coming home from the hospital is completely perfect - with it's little prison stripes.  Hey, I gotta take the humor where I can find it, right?  She will be adorable.  Now, c'mon Shelby, do some jumping jacks already!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Shelby Update

So, for those of you who are reading, here's an update (altho, I'm pretty sure I've already told this to all my readers):

Shelby and Ebony went to court on Tuesday, the 12th.  Shelby was offered a deal of four years and a lowered charge of assault with a deadly weapon.  Ebony was offered two years with felony robbery.  Neither one of the accepted the deal yet - they asked for a continuance, which is set for Nov. 21st, which will give them both time to think about the offers.

Shelby's lawyer thinks he can get her four years.  In California, you serve 85% percent of your sentence, then you are eligible for parole.  So, she'd be looking at serving three years and two month.  Ebony's lawyer thinks he can get him about 13 months, so Ebony could be out in a little less than a year.

Shelby got offered a good deal.  She did the crime.  I think she's going to take the offer.  Her lawyer set up a video conference yesterday that allowed us to talk about it.  I also got to see the initial police taped interview of them right after everything happened.  I have to say, it broke my heart.  It broke my heart to hear Shelby state her name for the record - the name I gave her.  She stated her date of birth, a date I remember well.  I never thought I'd be watching a video tape of my daughter being interviewed by police.  I've hated the lifestyle Shelby has chosen for herself.  It's one that is so far removed from the one I gave her as a child.  Nonetheless, things are what they are.

So, here I wait.  I'm waiting for her baby to be born.

This sucks.

I don't know if I was allowed to take this picture, but I did.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mom's Obituary

Here's the obituary that will appear on the Gentry Griffey web site for mom in the next couple days.

Linda Kay Speeks, 65, of Knoxville, Tennessee, passed away on October 29, 2013.

At Linda’s request, a funeral service will not be held. In lieu of a funeral, in the spring of 2014, her family and friends will embark on a trip to Destin, Florida, one of Linda’s favorite locations, to celebrate her life and sprinkle her ashes into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Linda was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on July 1, 1948. She graduated from South High School. Afterward, she spent much of her professional career providing technical support in the computer industry, including a long-term stint as a bulk bank teller for American Express. 

Linda always exhibited a zest for life, especially in her love of life’s simple pleasures. She was an avid NASCAR fan and loved her cat, Victoria, dearly. She was devoted to her family and friends.
Linda is survived by her daughter, Paula Martinez; two grandchildren, Christopher Shane Carter and Shelby Ann Carter; four great-grandchildren, Brianna Marie Carter, Aswad Elisha Woodson, Christopher Kainan Carter, and Skylar Renee Carter; and her step-brother, Michael Collins. Linda also leaves behind a legion of friends, extended family and well-wishers.

Linda is preceded in death by her parents, Mary Jane Collins, Paul “Buck” Collins (her step-father) and her natural father Paul Hurst.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society by telephone (1-800-227-2345), via U.S. mail (American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718) or online (  Additional information is available at:

Please feel free to sign this and share your memories.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lots of changes in just past week.

I haven't posted in a few days and quite a lot has happened during those days.

1.  My mom died the day after my last post.
2.  Drove to Knoxville and signed the papers for her cremation, drove back the same night because I had to fly to California the next morning.
3.  Flew to LA for the dependency hearing, the next day and was awarded temporary custody of Ellie - that day.
4.  It took pretty much all day for the court to get the paperwork in order for me to leave with Ellie.
5.  Left the courthouse with Ellie, drove to his foster home and collected his belongings.  We tried to make it back in time to Trick-or-Treat, but it got too late too soon and opted for a cozy dinner instead.
Ellie said goodbye to Mrs. Brown, his foster parent for the past two months.

6.  The place I was staying is an adult-only community, so we booked tickets back to Georgia.  Leaving as soon as possible served several purposes - mainly getting Ellie home with his family and into a routine, so he can start feeling safe, secure and like a kid - not having to worry about his basic needs.  Mike had a work trip, and Shelby isn't due for a couple more weeks, so I could be there to help him get acclimated to his new home, routine, etc...
7.  Some idiot decided to shoot people at LAX, about an hour after we booked our tickets.  It was a day of pure hell.  Here's a link to the photos I took during the whole ordeal.
8.  We ended up having to stay the night in a hotel and catch an early flight the next morning.  It was Ellie's very first time on a plane.  He did great!

9.  Mike teaches at Kennesaw State University on Saturdays, so Jay was kind enough to pick us up from the airport and drive us to Monroe.  Ellie loved his room and went into a kid version of "information overload" spastic running around like cat does when they have those crazy moments.  I popped a Xanax, observed the activity, then reeled it in and started laying down some house rules.

10.  On Sunday, Mike and I thought it would be good to do something fun with Ellie so we took him to the Yellow River Game Ranch.  I have mixed emotions about that place, but it works to keep a four-year-old occupied  and engaged for a few hours - petting, feeding, and running down chickens and peacocks.

11.  Once Mike and I learned that we would eventually get Ellie, we placed him on all of the Pre-K waiting lists with the schools and daycare facilities in the area that offer it.  We were able to get him into Walton Creative Learning.  However, he had to get some vaccines to be current and we had to complete a shit-ton of paperwork.  Nonetheless, he was a trooper getting the injections, only requiring four adults to restrain him for two shots and I drank wine as I completed the mind-numbing paperwork that evening.  Mike had to leave for the airport for his flight for his conference.  My car is still not repaired, so we had to rent a car so I'd have transportation in Mike's absence this week.
12.  Tuesday morning was the big day!  Ellie started school and he did great!

13.  Luckily, Shane (my son) and Jon (my cousin) have been helping clean out mom's apartment, since I'm unable to do it.  Shane drove to Atlanta today to deliver a few things I wanted, including mom's cremains.  I'd been holding it together pretty well, but holding the box of her ashes really created a hurt inside that was like a punch to the heart.  Shane and Ellie played, we all went to dinner and Shane had to drive back to Knoxville.  This is an oversimplification of the day - which was actually very emotionally draining, touching, sweet, and just a bundle full of emotion.  Shane's visit threw off our routine we had started and caused Ellie to have a hard time falling asleep, but it will be fine.  We'll get back on track tomorrow.

14.  Mike comes back from his business trip late tomorrow night, so I will have a bit of a respite on Friday.  Friday is also the day the car repair shop said my car should be ready to go.
15.  I've been trying to get the apartment downstairs ready for me to move in - but that's been slow-going due to all of the other stuff.  I still don't have a closing date for my condo, which is good, since the apartment is not yet ready for me to move in it, and I don't have the time to move right now.  My heart is still broken for having to move away from Midtown.  I'm painting downstairs, the apartment, to try and make it as cozy and comfy and make it "my own space" - just really really wish it were in Midtown or Virginia Highlands or Decatur, or even inside the perimeter (insert sad pouty face here).
16.  After Mike teaches Saturday, I'm returning to my condo for the rest of the evening and then flying back to California on Sunday.  I'll be out there until Shelby gives birth.  She's due November 22nd.  Once the baby is born, I'll come back and then it'll be two kiddos.  But at least that part will mostly be over and I'll be able to focus on closing and getting moved.
17.  Jay is coming out for a weekend for a nice little get-away, the week before she's due.  That'll be a nice little getaway. In one of my previous blogs I wrote that we broke up - which we did - but he's really wanting to try and give this one more chance.  My heart hurts, because I do love him and we have a good time together, but if this is going to work, then it's going to take a lot of nurturing (on both of our parts) to keep it going.  Unfortunately, I'm a little overwhelmed right now and so he's gonna have to pull a lot more weight than he's had to in the past.  I guess we'll see if he's up for the challenge.  I do know this - I don't have the luxury of time to play games of the heart anymore.  I hope it works.  We'll see.
18.  The other good thing about me being out in LA, besides being there for the birth of the baby, is having the ability to talk with her lawyers.  I'll also get to attend a hearing that's set for November 12th and I can see her for visitations.

So, that's a quick update of things that's happened over the last week.

Oh, almost forgot: I've been looking for a "time-out" chair.  Jon sent the perfect one with Shane.  It's perfect and I love it!

Going to bed now.  Goodnight, Moon.