Traumatic Experiences 4 - October 2011

From James l: 2-5, Tyndale's Living Bible: "Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don't try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and He will gladly tell you, for He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him; He will not resent it."

My fourth trauma dealt with an injustice. Since Ethel Rose was in Nevada visiting relatives, Ronnie came over and spent four days with me. He helped prepare to mail 548 letters for July and 553 for August "Happenings" at night. During the day, he worked in my yard in this 100+ degree weather. I have 8 huge oaks and 1 magnolia tree. Limbs are falling because of the drought. Ronnie cut up several big limbs and stacked them by the curb in front of my house. He trimmed a lot of trees and shrubs. He had a pile 6 feet tall and 15 feet long ready for pick-up on July19. Tree waste is picked up six times a year, on the third Tuesday of odd months. They didn't show up on July 19. I figured they had too much, and would be by on the 20th. No.

On July 21st, I called my neighbor, Mark, and asked, "What happened?" He said, "They skipped our circle of homes. I'll call them." Mark was told, "Our records show that the tree waste was picked up on the19th." Mark replied, "It was not. I'm standing here looking at it."

The operator said, "It will be picked up within three days. Your ticket number is 208137."

It was not picked up. Mark called them again and was told, "The trash will be picked up within three days. Your ticket number is 216159."

Wednesday, August 3, my housekeeper, Geraldine, was with me from 9 a.m. 'till 4 p.m.

She comes once a month to clean house. At 3:00, she was sweeping the sidewalk and small porch in an alcove to the front door. She brought me some papers which were attached to the door knob beneath a large 9"x12" sign with 1-1/2" letters, "PLEASE MAKE ALL DELIVERIES AT THE OTHER DOOR" and an arrow pointing to the kitchen door beside the garage.

There was a bright red "NOTICE -- The Houston Police Department Neighborhood Protection Corps has attempted to inspect your property. Violation of Chapter 10 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances has been reported or observed at this location. Please contact the Neighborhood Protection Corps Representative indicated below to arrange an inspection or to obtain additional information."

COMMENTS: 3rd Tuesday

INSPECTOR/OFFICER: M. Gibson (or Cibson)

TELEPHONE NUMBER:

DATE; 3-5-11

Nuisance violations can be reported by calling 311.

This red notice was attached to a pink "City of Houston Municipal Courts ticket #N25995304. Pay or Resolve this ticket before your court date OR you must appear at 8300 Mykawa, Houston, TX 77048 at 10:00 a.m. Sept. 13, 2011." The charges:

39-77 (D) as (owner) (occupant) allow to remain materials at the curb line for

(heavy) (oversize) collection service prior to scheduled collection service time."

Your failure to appear, failure to pay or failure to satisfy a judgment ordering payment of a fine and costs, may result in 1) a warrant issued for your arrest; 2) a

Charge of Failure to Appear and $217 fine; 3) denial of Driver's License renewal; 4) denial of motor vehicle registration or renewal; and 5) a $30 DPS fee for each violation charged.

This is not an admission of guilt, but I do acknowledge receipt of this notice and I will appear in court at the time and place designated above. I am the person named and identified in this ticket.

Signature: Unable to obtain signature

This sneaky officer did not ring my door bell. Geraldine and I were home all day. My garage doors were half-way up because of using the washer and dryer in the garage. It was plainly evident someone was home. This officer could have been given all these ticket numbers where calls were made to pick up the trash, and avoided a lot of trauma for me.

I called Mark on the telephone and said, "I hope you are getting a lot of comfort out of all those ticket numbers. I just got a warrant for my arrest…" and I started crying! I couldn't talk.

Mark said, "Don't you worry about this. I'll take care of it." He called the area supervisor and reported my unjust treatment. She said she would take care of it…Ticket No. 222104!

I don't know what all Mark did. He was really busy. He sent letters with signatures from four neighbors about this predicament to the Mayor of the City of Houston (Anise Parker), to Chris Moran of the Houston Chronicle, to the 311 operator.

Dortha didn't want me to go to court alone. She could take off work August 12, if I could go earlier. I called 311 and was told they did not have the ticket--the officer had 2 weeks to turn it in--I had two choices: pay the fine OR request a trial by judge and jury--most people just pay the fine--call back on Friday. I had no desire to pay the fine. How long would a trial drag on?

Even with Mark's help, this was extremely stressful for me.

I looked up Makawa on the Key map and couldn't tell how to get there. I checked out the big map of the City of Houston. I'm at North Shepherd and 43rd street on the north side of 610 and Makawa is on the south 610 at the 6000 block; left to 8800 block. I'd be driving in unfamiliar territory for about an hour. How many trips before the trial would be over?

I received a call from the Special Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff at City of Houston Mayor Parker's office. After answering all her questions, she said she was working on this and would get back to me.

Tuesday afternoon of August 16, I noticed the pile of tree limbs were gone. I walked out to the street and was very dismayed to see two deep 6-inch ruts and a large gouge in my yard… like the crane operator wasn't very happy. I wonder how my yard man is going to drive his mower over this. The trash crew spilled limbs in the street and drove off leaving them there.

It was dark, like night, when my phone rang and a man asked, "Have your tree limbs been picked up?" "Yes, they picked them up today." "What day? This is Wednesday!" "Oh! I was asleep and thought this was Tuesday night! The men did a messy job spilling limbs in the street. Now, if I have someone pick them up and place them by the curb in my yard, am I going to get another ticket?" "I'll send them back." And he hung up, Wednesday morning, Aug. 17.

When I left home to go to the post office Thursday afternoon, all limbs had been picked up.

On August 31st, I called Mark. "I think I need to write some letters to the politicians, like Dwane Bohac. When Linsay at the Mayor's office said she was taking care of 'it', I don't know if she meant getting the limbs picked up or canceling my ticket. I haven't heard from her." Mark said he would try to find something out. He called me back and said, "Your ticket was dismissed on August 23rd!" "Why wasn't I notified? Do I have to have something in writing? Do I still have to go to court?" "No. Case dismissed!" I called 311, received verification and was told they didn't send out notices of dismissals!

The minute Mark told me my ticket was dismissed, I felt a "rush" from head to foot, and a relaxing enlightenment in my whole body. I never felt that before. I felt GOOD! Happy! I was unaware of being that uptight. Stress is called "the silent killer." Mark took most of the stress away. I've never been able to understand the effects before. It's difficult to avoid. Laughter is the antidote. It opens your arteries, boosts the immune system, relieves stress and pain, hastens recovery. The Bible says, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" (Proverbs 17:22). God heals through laughter. I hope my cartoons and jokes lighten up your life with a good belly laugh.

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