Conquering Felix

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I guess it’s time to address the elephant in the room. The People Magazine Investigates show aired last night and unfortunately I was cut out of it. I am not going to lie that I was very disappointed they did that. Especially without any kind of notice. But what stings the most is the fact that the prosecutor, Hugo Holland, took the credit for getting all of Felix’s journals. When he said it I was dumbfounded, shocked and mostly hurt. I like Hugo. I have met and spoken with him on numerous occasions during this whole Felix case. He is a very nice and funny man. I have always held in high regard the hard work he put in this case in order for Felix to get convicted.

There is so much more to the things I found and experienced in that shed of Felix’s that nobody knows about. Not Hugo, the D.A., Jerry Mitchell (the investigative reporter) and even my own husband. What everyone did as a team effort was an incredible journey that began with the fight of a mother. Mary Rose never gave up hope of finding the truth about what happened to her daughter Annette. She knew in her heart that Annette was no longer here on this earth but she knew that her spirit never left. Mary Rose felt her presence every day of her life and still does to this day. Mary Rose took the passion and undying love for her child and fought to bring a lot of people together to put Felix where he belongs. I commend each and every person who had a part in that journey and consider myself blessed to have a small role in the fight. I have made new friends during this process and will forever be grateful for that.

My journey began in the spring of 2013 and has been well documented. If you don’t know the full story of my involvement please visit the Clarion Ledger’s website. Reporter Billy Watkins did an amazing article about my work on this case. During the course of my journey I would reference everything I did with a “We”. “We did this” and “We did that” type of commentary. One day Lumpy asks me “Why are you always using the term we when you tell your story?”. Well, I have always considered everyone involved as a team. So when I was walking Felix’s property in the cold and rain listening to him tell me about his life I knew I wasn’t alone. When I sat with him for 6 hours listening to him describe every single aspect of his personality in great detail, I knew I wasn’t alone.

I have been approached by many media outlets to tell my story. I have only done a few interviews. When People Magazine approached me I was happy to tell the story for them. I had about 6 weeks notice from the time they called me to when I went to Los Angeles to tell my story. It was an interesting and educational experience. Even though I was cut from the show, I am grateful for the experience. I understand there is only so much time to tell this story and I felt like the show did a very good job on hitting the key points. I use the ABC 20/20 experience for an example. They came in and we spent 14 hours in one day filming just my part. They edited that down to about 10 minutes of air time. So, people will ask if I am mad because I was cut out of this last show. No, disappointed yes but not mad. I get it!

I have a lot of friends and family sending me messages last night and today upset at the program. Don’t be, I am OK with it and so you will be too. What matters most to me is knowing that Mary Rose, Will Horton and Brian Hensley can go to bed at night now with a little more peace in their hearts. As I have been asked many times “Who hired you to work this case?”. My answer is me. I worked this case pro bono. I read Jerry’s story and felt something. I can’t explain what the feeling was but I knew that I wanted to help so I did. And to clear up a misunderstanding that a lot of people have had over the years. The part that I played in the case had absolutely nothing to do with Felix getting arrested in May of 2013. The district attorney’s office was already in the process of getting him arrested. Now, I did testify at his trial but it was to introduce specific evidence that I found in his shed. I am humbled at the positive comments that everyone has said to me over the years about this case. But I want credit given where it is due.

Now, let’s also make something clear while we are at it. The district attorney’s office from lake Charles came in to arrest Felix and they had a search warrant. It was common knowledge that Felix was a life long journal writer. Law enforcement wanted those journals bad! But everyone did!! Unfortunately there is a law in Texas that does not allow the authorities to take them. So when Felix was arrested they had to leave without being able to search his property. I was told about this through the “grapevine” and took matters into my own hands. The day he was arrested I figured my cover was blown. Especially because me and my partner The Ninja were the only ones there filming his arrest. I took the chance that Felix didn’t recognize me during his arrest. I was right and so I jumped on the next phase of my undercover work. I was able to get Felix to invite me on to his property while he was in jail and the rest…..well you will have to wait for the book!

I have spent 5 years of stress, euphoria, tears, blood (literally) and many sleepless nights over this case. Of all of the support I have received, my husband has been my rock. He is the one who wakes me in the middle of the night terrors. He is the one who gives me positive reinforcement when I wasn’t sure I was doing the right things. He is the one who stayed at home with our child when I would be gone for days at a time. He is the one that would hold me after reliving my story to the media outlets when I would break down. A lot went on inside the walls of that storage shed. Things that will forever haunt me. Things that I have not shared with anyone. But I will share them. Someday I will tell MY story.

Google thinks I’m a perv!

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I am checking in on my blog today after not being around a few days. I notice that yesterday someone did a search for the term “candid water park” and this led them to my page. Really? Hmmmm….ok, so how did this happen? I immediately Google this term and it shows me a list of porn pages that apparently are “candid” shots of people at water parks. WTF!! I click on Google page after page all the way to the end and NO WHERE is my blog. Not even a link that could remotely come close to pointing a person to my blog.

I don’t get it Google. Why are you sending people to my page via voyeuristic porn? What have I ever done to you? I love Google! I tell people all the freaking time how much I love it! I have never done a negative thing towards you and you are trying to make me look like a pervert. I will admit that there are few times that I can be a bit “risky” but candid water parks? No thanks. I’d rather see some hunks in a fire department washing the fire truck. Or the USA Olympic dive team (see previous post)!

And just who is the person that used this term to attempt to find me? I do not know a single person….wait….never mind. I wish that my page would allow me to see the identity of this person. I have a few questions for them.

So in the future, if you have not subscribed to my blog or you have been in a horrible accident and all you can remember is that there is a funny freak of a girl who writes an amazing blog then just Google the term “candid water parks”. I can not be held responsible for what you will find!

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That deer looked suspicious.

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I called the cops on a deer today. No I’m not crazy, well no more than usual. But in my defense the deer had it coming. Let’s back up a bit here so I can explain. Last night I took my niece (aka The Huntress) to see a scary movie for her birthday. She is my scary movie buddy and we have been wanting to see The Visit so there we are. Side note: the movie was not as scary as I wanted it to be but we’ll talk about that another time.

Moving forward to me being woke up at 3:30 AM. I have no clue what woke me up but I vaguely remember checking my cell phone and then rolling over and going back to sleep. No big deal…this happens all the time! I get up this morning and slowly make my way into the office with coffee in hand. I actually had some reports to finish and send to a client. After the obligatory early morning Facebook and Twitter trolling I start to act productive. While I’m waiting on some reports to come through I suddenly remembered that I was woken up by some unknown presence in the middle of the night. I was very content to blame it on the scary movie but then I realized that it was kinda crappy so I decided to review our surveillance system to see if there were any unknown apparitions in my yard.

I log into my security system……keep in mind that we had a new device installed last week that allows us access to the recordings 24/7. Why didn’t it do this before you might ask? So did we. It was just by dumb luck we found out that it didn’t record all the time and were able to correct it. So I am new to the system and there is a learning curve. Once I figure out that Lumpy’s truck has not been stolen but just parked in a different spot AND that I was actually on the wrong day I go to last night’s video at 3:30 AM. #ghosthunting

In this clip you can see Lumpy’s truck and my neighbor’s lighted front porch. You can also see a small lighted area that I have so graciously highlighted for you.

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While I am looking for ghosts I realize that the recording stops dead at 3:41:26 AM and this puzzles me. Why am I paying over $300 a month to Time Warner for my shit to stop in the middle of the night? So I rewind the tape trying to figure it out when all of a sudden in that little lighted spot there is movement. MOVEMENT!!!! Holy Cat Burglar man what is that!!!  I watch this thing about a million times and realize I am NOT seeing things. There really is something moving on the screen. And of course right in the middle of this movement is when our recording stops. WTF!!???

I get on the phone with tech support to see what the problem is. While sitting on hold for infinity I begin text Lumpy.

ME: Did you screw with the cameras last night?

LUMPY: Why the hell would I do that? What time was it?

ME: 3:30 AM

LUMPY: Are you drunk? I was sleeping at 3:30 this morning.

ME: OK I am freaking right out then. There is someone on the film but then it cuts off. I am on the phone with tech support to try and fix it.

LUMPY: What do you mean there is someone on the film?

ME: THERE IS SOMEONE ON THE RECORDING AT 3:41:26 am AND IT’S EITHER A GHOST OR A BURGLAR!!!COME HOME NOW AND LOOK!!!

LUMPY: Calm yourself I will be home in a few minutes.

By the time the Lumpster got home I have now decided there are 2 people on the camera. Lumpy views the stuff and he sees it too….so I am officially NOT crazy(er)! I tell him the whole story as to why I am even looking at the film and he is seriously beginning to question my life choices (once again). I tell him that our neighbor is not home. See, she is an elderly lady who is very nice but keeps to herself. I am ashamed to say that I do not remember her name. Lumpy has her daughter’s phone number so we call her up and tell her whats going on. I didn’t want to trompe on over there and freak her out until we have a solid plan. And when I say plan I really mean that I have put on my tennis shoes and have my gun.

The daughter tells us that her mom is not answering her cell phone and that she NEVER turns it off! Holy murdering batballs what now? We walk over and take a look at the front door and it is open!! OPEN!! Lumpy tells the daughter and she calls any places mom might be. Nope haven’t seen her. Don’t know where she is. Her car is gone, she won’t answer the phone and her front door is unlocked.

For those of you who know me know what is going on in my head. The two shady characters that were going on to her porch in the wee hours of the morning have broken in and kidnapped her and stolen her car and are heading for Mexico. But not before they emptied her bank accounts while holding her at gunpoint. OMG Lumpy we have to find her…our sweet neighbor lady…the one whose name we don’t know. SHE NEEDS OUR HELP!!

Her daughter then tells Lumpy to look in her bedroom window and see if her bed is made because she ALWAYS makes her bed. And so he does…not because he is a pervert but because we are good neighbors dammit!

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He comes inside and tells me this…..

LUMPY: OMG her bed is unmade. And there is a big pile of bedding and I can’t tell if  it is a body or what!

ME: OMG OMG WE HAVE TO CALL THE COPS. Wait I have a better idea, lets just break in and see what is inside.

LUMPY: Put your shoes on!

ME: How will we break in?

LUMPY: I’m gonna get a screwdriver.

ME: Ok I’m gonna use an ice pick ….and I’ll get the gun.

LUMPY: An ice pick? We aren’t making cocktails you idiot.

ME: Not for ice…so I can slide it through the screen door and pop open the latch.

***Keep in mind that it hasn’t occurred to us that even though her front door was open the screen was still latched

LUMPY: Ok let’s call her daughter and tell her the plan.

Right at this very moment our neighbor drives up her driveway. WHEW! She’s not dead! We walk over and tell her the deal and show her the video. We go to her house and see that the window in her driveway appears to have been messed with. After much contemplation we decide to make a police report. Even though nothing was taken she would have felt better if there was more patrol. While waiting for the officer to arrive we have a deep debate regarding the timing of the camera glitch and the characters appearing on her porch. It looked as if one of them looked right in the direction of our camera then it stopped recording. Coincidence? I think not. We have now decided that they had some sort of scrambling device that caused the camera to stop recording as not to catch their actions! #seemslegit

Officer Friendly arrives. I happen to know this fine gentleman and so I will spare the embarrassment of him knowing me and not use his real name. We go over everything and he looks around and decides that yes it does appear that someone made an attempt to break in. BUT….let me see the video. OK Officer Friendly step inside my office and I will show it to you.

Keep in mind that I was on the phone with tech support for an hour and a half and they determined that whatever the glitch was that I had no film from that point forward and the technician will have to come out and fix it in person. Ok no big deal. I log back into my system and guess what….the film is there…ALL OF IT! I am beyond excited because now we can see exactly what these characters did after they entered her porch. Thank you tech support at Time Warner!

ME: Ok Officer, if you will look in this space right here you can see what we are talking about.

OFFICER: Yep I see it. It looks like there are two of them.

ME: YES! And hey, it’s fixed let’s watch the rest of it and see what happens.

We all gather around the computer screen with baited breath to see these dirty little bastards and all of their devious actions.

OFFICER: Look! I see them leaving the porch. Let’s watch to see where they go.

ME: What’s THAT! They are in our front yard! OMG

OFFICER: Yes they are, they……um, wait. What is that?

LUMPY: Looks like a deer to me.

ME: OH shit man! IT IS A DEER!

We are rolling on the floor. I am about to pee myself and Lumpy and the officer are cracking the hell right up. After watching it about 6 more times the officer says “Do you want me to write a report for you?”

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I Got Mine!

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Alright peeps, I know I’ve been in hiding for a while now. Not really in hiding but more like in the laundry room and the kitchen and the physical therapist’s office……stuff like that. The Lumpster got knee replacement surgery a few weeks ago and I have been playing nurse to him (not THAT kind of nurse people) so I have been super busy. We took an early vacation this summer knowing we would be out of commission. The beach with our friends we vacation with each year and we all had a blast. We opted for more fruit and less bacon this time. I know, I know, how can we be such traitors you might ask?! But we are not getting any younger so certain adjustments must be made.

Fast forward to post knee replacement surgery for Lumpy and weekly rehab at the VA. We love our physical therapist! He’s great and has a bit of a twisted sense of humor so everybody wins. One day after therapy the Lumpster the Pickle and I got in the elevator to head downstairs. We were quickly joined by a fragile older man with an oxygen tank and his hospital orderly helping him. The next floor down a rather large older man on a scooter squeezed in and we are all on our way down to the basement.

The elevator comes to a grinding halt on the first floor. Not just a casual stop so that the doors can open for another to join us but a true “grinding” stop. The doors make a vain attempt to open and allow us to exit but then after about an inch decided to slam shut trapping us inside. Lumpy is pressed up against the back of the elevator on a walker and I am wedged between him and Jabba the Hutt on a scooter. Mind you that Jabba has probably not showered in at least a fortnight (and I’m being very nice here). The Pickle is squeezed between Lumpy and fragile gramps and his oxygen tank. And Poindexter the orderly seems to be quite comfy with one-quarter of the entire elevator to himself. After about 10 minutes of much debate as to how to handle the situation, Jabba presses the help button. 2 minutes later a man comes on and ask if there is a problem. “Well yes that’s why we pushed the help button. We are stuck in the elevator on the first floor.” OK we are sending maintenance over to you now. ::::::whew:::::

Minutes pass slowly and I type on my phone a message to Lumpy and show him so I do not alarm the kid “I am about to freak the fuck right out” and in all his male sympathetic nature he busts out in a full man giggle. The Pickle begins to analyze each passing second with questions about why the elevator is stuck and what happens if we are here for a long long time etc. This is not helping my current mental state one bit. See, I have never been stuck in an elevator…..EVER. I had no clue what to expect. Were we going to be there for hours and hours? Sweating and bonding with each other like they do in the movies? Was I expected to gradually remove my articles of clothing after each hour has passed in order to progress the bonding state all the while allowing my body breathe and avoid suffocation and certain death? Was the elevator going to break loose and plummet to the ground in a free fall causing all it’s inhabitants to die a painful and agonizing death with the last sounds we hear are each others death screams?  But alas, all the morbid thoughts that had entered my head in the minutes and hours that passed were thwarted by a conversation between Jabba and Poindexter regarding Jabba’s scooter. It happened to be a gas-powered scooter….GAS PEOPLE! This means fumes, in an enclosed area, gas fumes. THIS IS HOW IT IS GOING TO END! We are all going to die of asphyxiation from gasoline fumes. Why, because Jabba claims that the battery-powered scooters do not last as long or have as much power. Here’s an idea Jabba, lose some weight and maybe your battery-powered scooters can efficiently haul your medium-sized ass around better. That will save lives man! Think of the child in this elevator….and the Pickle too!

SO as I am in full on panic mode and attempting to send my final words via a Facebook post this happens;

LUMPY: Is there any water left in the water bottle?

ME: Yes a little swallow.

LUMPY: Let me see it.

ME: Here ya go.

LUMPY::::::gulp:::chug::::AAAHHHHH

ME: blink blink blink

Lumpy hands me the empty bottle. EMPTY BOTTLE….the only source of consumable fluids in the elevator and he slammed it down like it was a shot of tequila he was drinking from a stripper’s belly button. Holy crap man, we could all die in here and you just drank all the damn water (inside my head).

Another 3 or so hours pass by and the intercom comes back on and a man’s voice said “Um, we can’t find you? What elevator are you in?” The one that is broken dude. Ya know, there are three in this building and one of them won’t open. THAT ONE!! This is shortly followed by a bunch of screeching and metal clanging then the doors are finally pried open. HALLELUJAH!!! We are free! The 6 of us come piling out and I immediately take a deep breath. One of semi fresh air not polluted by Jabba’s offensive body odor and the smell of Poindexter’s vapor rub. We make headway to the other elevator because we have one more floor to go. Frankly I’d rather take the stairs one floor down but because the Lumpster is on a walker it has made that option unavailable. We enter the next elevator and the Pickle immediately says “Maybe this one will get stuck too!” SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!

Exit to the basement was uneventful and we get in the truck to head home. At this point is dawns on me about the water. Remember the water, the one that Lumpy shot down in one giant gulp? I ask him about it.

ME: Did you give any thought to the women and children that were in the elevator when you chugged down the only water in the joint?

LUMPY: Yep.

ME: And…..?

LUMPY: I thought, I got mine!

ME: We could have died in that elevator and your first thought was to consume all the water?

LUMPY: I just had therapy, I was thirsty.

Wow Lumpy, it’s good to know where your priorities are in a crisis. I bet you were already planning on which one of us you would eat first when we start killing over. I will know how to handle this next time we are stuck in an elevator for hours on end (technically it was only 13 minutes).

The U.S. Open at Jurassic Park

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It’s father’s day and Lumpy is watching the U.S. Open. I enjoy golf and so I decided to sit down and watch it with him. Much to my surprise is the condition of this golf course. It is being played at the Chambers Bay course in Washington. Chambers Bay is like the Jurassic Park of golf courses. I am not sure who maintains this place but my guess would be Carl Spackler from Caddyshack minus the gopher. Hell, a gopher might be an improvement!

This is what is known as a links style course. I’ve never heard of this before but Lumpy insists it’s a spectacular challenge for the golfers. I completely disagree with him. It would be like going to the NBA finals and having them play on a baseball field. These professionals do not train on a course like this so why would they play on one?

Watching these guys try to putt is like riding down a ranch road on a tricycle. It might sound like fun but it’s just too bumpy and all you get is confusion and a sore ass.

The sand traps are just plain bizarre. Is that even sand? I have never seen gray sand. I think it is the remnants of a tar pit. And there is a railroad track that runs along side the course. Lumpy said there was a train that came by earlier. If that’s not a concentration breaker then I don’t know what is. Clearly this course is on the wrong side of the tracks. Brandon Grace hit the ball out of bounds…badly. I think the ball was trying to get to the good side of the tracks. I’m with the ball on that one.

The tee boxes are the only thing remotely resembling anything green on this course but they are strategically placed next to a giant mound of dirt. This would pass for an ant hill in Texas but I am sure in Washington it is more like a pile of fill dirt. It’s like a construction site with tar pits and weeds. At one point I swear I saw a homeless man standing in the rough.

And the divots in this place are huge! And apparently have never been repaired….ever. My guess is that they have really bad golfers or a tyrannosaurus rex is mad because he can’t play so he stands in the tee box and digs holes with his feet. I keep waiting for a pterodactyl to swoop down and steal the golf balls.

As of right now Jordan Spieth is in first place and I’m ok with this because he is cute. I would like to see Jason Day win because his ass is really nice. I realize at this point that won’t happen. But whoever ends up winning is not as important to me as making sure that the dinosaurs that inhabit this golf course stay on their side of the tracks.

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I don’t think Napoleon Dynamite is going to last very long.

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I don’t think Napoleon Dynamite is going to last very long.

Lumpy has seasonal help every year and he has started hiring for this season. He also likes to give nicknames to the guys that work for him. This year he has hired Napoleon Dynamite. I am not kidding. When he told me this I was so excited! I told him that I needed to see a photo of this guy immediately. He proceeds to tell me he will try and sneak one for me.

ME: Forget the sneaking business. Go up to him and say this “My wife is a freak and when I told her you resemble Napoleon Dynamite she flipped out and now she wants a picture of you”

LUMPY: That’s just creepy and I’m not going to do that.

ME: Ya, and sneaking one is not creepy? You are not sneaky enough to pull it off anyway.

As of yesterday he hadn’t delivered the pic. The crew shows up at the house to mow our lawn and I spot Napoleon in the backyard. I make a beeline to him …….

ME: It’s true! You do look like Napoleon Dynamite! OMG I need a picture!

NAPOLEON: Um….ok. They said you wanted my picture. (He says this as he is staring blankly at me in disbelief)

ME: Hey, at least I’m not asking you to take your shirt off while you are in my yard. Now shut up and pose for me while I take this pic.

Yes folks, it’s true. There have been an occasion or two when I have secretly wished for the lawn crew to remove their shirts while working in the yard. And when I say secretly I mean that I open the front door and yell it into yard for all the neighbors to hear.

So this conversation made it to the cutting room floor and I decided to save it and share with all of you.

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Social Media……keep it in your pants kids.

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Social media has its place in our society. Some sites are more popular than others. Facebook happens to be my favorite with Twitter running a close second. My nieces use SnapChat like crazy. There are also the ones that are geared toward dating or just hooking up for sex.

I like social media. It gives me news and keeps me in touch with friends that live near and far. It is a major tool in the investigation world also. I won’t go into the details there but you can probably guess. I also like to watch people air their dirty laundry too. #imnotgonnalie

Followed by anything that is popular you also have your critics. So many articles are done about how dangerous certain social media sites are for our children. They are a window into the sex trafficking world and this I won’t disagree with.  However, I feel it necessary to voice my opinion about the majority of these articles “warning” parents about their children on social media.

My feeling is this, we are living in a completely different world than 20 years ago. Electronic devices control our every move, including socializing. Now I am not saying that person to person interaction should be a lost art. I am a firm believer of everyone (not just children) taking the time to interact with people on a personal level and not just electronically. But it is what we teach our children in the home about respect and morals that will ultimately be the solution to their safety while participating in social media.

This means you, the parent, are responsible for calibrating their moral compass. Like it or not, you can’t blame society, teachers or any other caretakers for the problems your child has. If they are posting naked photos on their social media sites then you as the parent must handle the situation.

I realize that we can teach our children the rights from the wrongs and they can still disappoint us by doing stupid things online. But it’s how we react to it that makes the difference. If you teach your child respect for themselves and others then you stand a better chance of them NOT doing stupid things online and in turn setting themselves up for negative experiences.

I love the internet and all of the wonder it brings into my life everyday. I imagine it feels the same as when my parent’s generation discovered color television. Let’s embrace it in all it’s glory but please take responsibility for your children’s action as they are the reflection of you.

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Roots…they will never be the same.

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As I begin this new year I find myself starting a blog post then quickly getting distracted and abandoning it. There are many topics I have I’d like to blog about but getting that first line out is truly the toughest part. It’s like an artist with a blank canvas. Once the first stroke of the paint brush is made then it all comes easy (or so I’d like to think). So here I sit, making a vain attempt at this post and I draw a blank. Perhaps Taylor Swift can write my name in it someday.

My father did a lot of work on our family genealogy and when he passed I took it over. I go through spurts working on it. Because winter time is kind of slow for me in my work I decided to take a road trip to the town of Manvel, TX. This is where my father was born and raised before coming to Kerrville. My oldest niece has taken an interest in our family history so I decided to drag her along with me. I’ll admit it wasn’t hard to convince her to go. She was pretty excited and I was to be able to pass along a family torch of sorts to her.

My niece works the night shift at a hospital so she came straight to my house from her job. Once loaded up we were off and I fully expected her to fall asleep on the trip down. Boy was I wrong! She has more energy than any 3 year old that has been snorting pixie sticks for breakfast. By the way….she’s 24 not 3. Snorting pixie sticks? I didn’t ask.

As we truck along the highway I begin to tell her some of the stories that I was told over the years by family members. I prefaced all of these stories with “I am not making any of this stuff up. Just going to tell you like it was told to me.” Her immediate response was a 3 second blank stare followed by a hearty “COOL!!”

Our side of the family that we were researching this trip is the Booth line. Specifically William Rufus Booth. He is my great X5 grandfather and he and his wife founded the small community of Manvel. It’s located just south of Houston. For this I am grateful because I despise driving in Houston. I will avoid it at any cost. Last time I drove to Louisiana I actually found a route that took me to the north of Houston. Lumpy told me I was wasting time and just get over it and drive through the city. I said hell no! The large city overpasses and giant bridges are my kryptonite. I just can’t do it. I’ve got caught a few times by surprise on them and the panic sets in. Not like I get a little nervous and it passes when I’m done. No, it’s more like “OMG I am going to randomly plummet off the side of this bridge at a high rate of speed forcing the rescue workers to fish my carcass out of the bottom of this river because it will be embedded into the bottom. I will be covered in dirt and be eaten alive by some mysterious river monster that has never been seen by human eyes. Then my car will burst into flames and burn for days like a rabid tire fire. All the while I will feel every single thing that is taking place with my body and be in pain and turmoil for days.” I tend to overreact sometimes.

So Houston traffic averted we made our way to Manvel, TX Population 6500. I am lucky to have a niece that listens to the same type of music I do. Or maybe I listen to the same type that she does? Either way the music was loud and enjoyable as she learned of the twisted tales of the Booth family of East Texas. I’ll save the details of the stories for another post but they are ……different to say the least.

I am kind of new to all of the social media sites out there and this includes SnapChat. Apparently this site is made for people who do not like to have their picture memorialized in the form of screen shots that can be shared with others online. What I mean is that you can snap a picture and send it to your buddy and then set a time frame as to how long it will last. It’s like self-destruction of your digital face. Or boobs or ass or whatever else you feel necessary to take a photo of and send. I prefer my armpit because I figured if someone wants a personal picture of me I’m safe sending the pit. Nobody would want to try and save that to blackmail me at a later time. And if they do then perhaps I have bigger things to worry about.

Where was I…Snapchat. Ok, my niece is a snapchat-o-holic. No joke. She can snap a selfie and send it to her friends faster than a 3-year-old high on pixie sticks. Every time I would look over at her she was either dancing to Taylor Swift or taking a selfie. Now, I have been known to take a few selfies now and then but she must have taken about 500. And that was just before we got to Buc-ee’s! I am happy she has a lot of friends and none of them are imaginary (I think) but I can’t help but wonder if she has met all of these people. Or is it a lot of people or just a select few that she is SnapChatting with? And why do they need to see her face so much? I mean, she hasn’t changed her look in the past 5 minutes so why send another selfie? Did you get a boogie or a scar since the last selfie? Was there some sort of new traveling plastic surgery procedure that you preformed in the front seat that I missed? Have you poked your eye out and need to get medical advice from your friends? I’m just confused. I’m grateful she did not feel the need to take any boob or butt selfies in the front seat of my car. #awkward

If you have never heard of or been to Buc-ee’s then you are missing out my friends. It’s the mother of all convenience stores. They have everything for sale there. Gifts, t shirts, a deli and bakery and the biggest selection of road side treats anyone can imagine. They have every kind of animal made into jerky. Beef, pork, turkey, chicken and road kill. Ok probably not road kill but if you could legally sell it I bet they would. And the bathrooms….OY they are fabulous. It’s like going potty at the Taj Mahal. I’ve never actually been to the Taj mahal but I imagine it would be the same experience just with a passport (and fewer beavers).

We grab some snacks and get back on the road. A few miles down the highway we decide to bust open the coveted Beaver Nuggets. Beaver nuggets you ask? Buc-ee’s sells this tasty little treat they call Beaver Nuggets. Buc-ee Beaver and his nuggets. They are some sort of sweet puffed corn product coated in sugar. My niece decides to cram an entire handful of these tasty morsels in her mouth and then commence to dance and sing to Taylor Swift’s Blank Space in the front seat of my car. And then this happened…..

Niece: COUGH COUGH COUGH

Me: What the hell is going on over there?

Niece: COUGH COUGH COUGH SPUTTER

Me: Are you choking or puking?

Niece: GURGLE GURGLE COUGH

Me: Don’t puke in my car dammit.

Niece: OMG I almost choked and died!

Me: Ok good. As long as you don’t puke.

Niece: But I almost DIED!

Me: You are being dramatic.

Niece: These damn beaver nuts almost killed me!

Me: Nuggets not nuts you dink.

Niece: I thought they were called nuts?

Me: Well they are now! That’s hilarious. Beaver nuts BHAHAHA!

Niece: No seriously, they are not called beaver nuts?

Me: Do beavers have nuts?

Niece: The boy ones do dumb-ass.

Me: Oh, well that makes sense. I’ve just never looked before.

Niece: Me either but it makes sense.

Me: Let’s find a beaver and check for nuts!

Niece: I’m ready to go home now.

So I’m glad my niece didn’t puke in my car (or die) on those beaver nuts. We are going to petition the Buc-ee’s people to rename their beaver nuggets to beaver nuts. I think we have winner!

The trip was successful for us and we had a blast. My niece is an amazing young woman with just enough of a twisted sense of humor to make me proud! She has mad front seat dancing skills and can get animals to mysteriously flock to her without the aid of treats!  As we are trolling my ancestral stomping grounds we came upon these little baby goats but they were not babies at all. They were pygmy goats according to my niece. Whatever they are called they were cute as hell. Three of them got out of their little farm yard so we are debating the process of getting them back in when their person drove up. My niece asked what we should do…it was more like “Maybe we should run away?” and I explained to her how guilty that would make us look. I swear we were not going to steal the goats! So goat owner man comes up to us and we explained to him our need to help get the goats back in the yard. I immediately blurt out “My niece knows how to handle goats!”. I have no idea why I said this. It was like I had farm animal tourettes. My niece just blankly stares at me and then commences to speak to the goat man like a normal human being. Between the three of us we were able to coral the pygmy goats and get them back into their farm yard. But not before the guy tried to give us a miniature cow. True story!

Then somehow we end up in a pasture with these horses. I have never been on a horse. I want to ride one so bad but it has never worked out for me. I did have an opportunity once as a child but I have a vague memory of crying and wetting my pants. But no memory of actually riding the horse. Anyway, my niece begs me “Please stop so I can pet the horses” and I happily oblige. As we approach the fence she calls out to them in some unknown horse language and they come trotting up to us. I have no idea how she did that but those horses loved her. Me not so much.  It was very cute and somewhat awkward for me and probably more so for the horses.

On our ride back home we decide to visit the Varner-Hogg Plantation. I never even knew it existed before this trip. My niece really wanted to go and I love any type of adventure so off we went. P.S. I love smartphones! Turns out we were the only people on the tour at 10 am on a January morning. I was happy about this because I tend to be somewhat of a smartass in these types of situations. I can’t remember our tour guide’s name so I am going to call him Bob. Bob was and older gentleman who was very nice but not much of a sense of humor. He proceeded to explain all about the plantation and its history etc. This included showing us Governor Hogg’s bedroom that just so happened to be on the ground floor and his wife’s bedroom was upstairs. It went something like this:

Bob: This is the governor’s bedroom and his wife’s is upstairs. He has a door that enters from the outside of the bedroom so that he could have business meetings in his quarters and the men could enter and exit from the outside and not disturb the house guest.

Me: I bet it was more like his girlfriend would use that door so she wouldn’t get caught by the wife.

Bob: BLINK:::::BLINK::::BLINK

We are upstairs now.

Bob: This is the wife’s bedroom.

Me: Why is that bed so small? I mean dang the governor was over 6 foot tall and over 300 pounds.

Bob: Keep in mind that he slept downstairs.

Me: Yeah but if he came upstairs to get a little from wifey he’d break the bed.

Bob: Moving on to the next room please.

I’m surprised they didn’t ask me to leave.

After the house tour we are allowed to walk the grounds unsupervised. I bet they change that rule after we left. There are your typical fallen down brick buildings and such that we are looking at. As we are approaching the remains of the sugar mill I promptly climb on the rock pile “Hey look at me! I’m king of the mountain!” My niece proceeds to read the part in the brochure “Please do not stand on the bricks as they are over 100 years old”. My bad. The old sugar mill has these giant black pots. I have no clue what they are for but they looked cool. I told my niece “Climb inside and I’ll take your picture.” Aunt Gina I’m pretty sure we are not supposed to do that. “Screw them, they aren’t looking”.

pot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUCKER!

After our sugar mill shenanigans we decide to visit the old cemetery on the grounds. We cross a foot bridge and it happens…..

Niece: The cemetery is over there and I think we use the sidewalk by the barn.

Me: Screw the sidewalk, let’s go behind this building.

Niece: Um…ok.

Me: Hey look, the cemetery is over…..SPLAT.

Epic faceplant by yours truly.

Niece: What the hell..are you ok?

Me: I am gonna pee my pants stop laughing!

Yep…rules are made for a reason kids.

faces