Friday, November 21, 2008

Last day in Manvel

Today was my last day on the job that I've had for most of my life. I went in early to drink coffee with my friends at the Chevron. Some of them got together and bought me another cake complete with balloons, which was a total surprise. I wondered why Slick Atchison was hanging around. He must have had something to do with this. He retired from HPD and Brazoria County as an Investigator.

Another one of my friends, Alton Rogers, came in for the first time in a week because of his knee. He said that his knee locked up and his wife took him to the doctor but he found out that he only has some inflammation and swelling so no knee replacement is necessary. He was prescribed Hydrocodone, so I told him to hold onto them and we could sell them for some good money. We are both living on fixed incomes. Alton retired from the city of Houston as a health inspector. He then went to work for Brazoria County and retired a second time.

I went on into the office but Mike asked me to go on a code enforcement call with him. It turned out to be a good thing that I did because the call was on a group of roofing contractors that tried to give him a hard time. There was about 7 trucks in the yard of a house with two travel trailers in the yard, which is illegal. These guys are in for hurricane repairs and rented a house, paying $1,600 a month. They had rutted up the yard and tried to tell Mike that the owner knew about what was going on and had approved it. He called the real estate agent who was handling the property and told her, and I'm sure these guys will be looking for a new place to live soon.

I went into the office and asked Ethan about my identification card. He has a special program to make ID cards but was having trouble with mine. First it wouldn 't print in color then it wouldn't print the right dates. He was getting frustrated when it decided to work, so I got my new ID card with retired in red.....It sure made me feel funny to think that I am finally retired.

I went in and talked to the Chief. I also presented him with my memo about my on-call time. It is a city policy that anyone that is routinely on call shall be paid two hours of regular time for any days in which he/she is not called out and paid for it. The Chief never denied that I was owed the money, he only said that it was going to "leave a bad taste in the city's mouth". I didn't have much to say, and hope we can work this out without a lawsuit.

After leaving his office, Stella came to pick me up since I don't have my Expedition any more, and we met Kristine, Mike and later Adam for lunch at Emily's. We finally got away about 1 o'clock and went on home to bring the trailer to Rayford.

After loading stuff up, we got away about 4 o'clock. It was a non-eventful trip up the beltway and we got to the park about 5:30. Ricky had fixed some chili and picked up some tamales at HEB, so supper was fixed for us. Dee is getting over her foot operation, so she is laid up for awhile. It was a very good supper with good friends. We came home about 9:30.

My very first night of being retired.

The Adventure Begins

And the adventure begins……

Today was my last day to work a full day and the day of my retirement party. I must say that I didn’t really know what to expect at the party but it turned out very well. Dedra is on vacation, so I guess I shouldn’t be disappointed that she didn’t make it. Everyone from City hall was there, even Isaac from Public Works. The Chief made a small presentation of a plaque that was very nice that listed out my law enforcement jobs and the years that I worked there. It totals 34 years, which is a pretty good career. The Santa Fe PD Chief of Police, Barry Cook came over. Barry has always been a good friend and of course we worked together in Dickinson back in the early days of the police department there. Barry had left Santa Fe to come to Dickinson, but soon went back and then made Chief of Police. Judge Culling, the Municipal court judge in Manvel came over, as did JP2-1 Justice Court Judge John Vasut. I was glad that these two men came as they have both been good to me in Manvel. Judge Vasut is a former Detective from the Angleton Police Department

As I said before, the city bought me a plaque and the Police Association gave me a silly retirement hat and a gift certificate for Camping World for $100.00. That was very nice of them. David Davila, a former officer in Manvel gave me a very nice pocket knife and another nice retirement card.

Before the party started, I finished up some reports that had some minor problems and took care of some evidence that I had found in my desk drawer. There were some video tapes of the counting of the money that was recovered in the 2nd bank robbery and another video of the return of the money and the counting of all that cash. It wasn’t as though I had actual evidence in my desk, it was video tapes of some events that were taken by others and then given to me to take care of. I got ‘er dun today and dropped them into the evidence storage where they will be filed with the rest of the evidence.

I went by the First State bank to see their employees before I left, including Ron Brazil the branch manager. Ron was out today, running errands for the bank, but I did get to talk to Sandra who was a former teller at the 1st National Bank and who had been robbed in the first robbery there. She was shocked to hear that I am retiring, but I think they are all glad for me. I met the new personal banker there, a girl named Angela who used to work for Amegy bank and who had worked with Stella there. She remembered “Stella the stalker” as being a hard auditor. She complimented Stella on being such a stickler for details in her audits and said that she learned (the hard way) how a good exam was supposed to have been done. She said that the new bank’s people were not nearly as thorough as Stella had been and didn’t know nearly as much as she did, so the bank was the one that suffered when Stella left.

We went out to eat at the Red Lobster in Webster for Tyler’s birthday, which will be on Saturday. We are leaving tomorrow for Rayford where we will stay for almost two weeks through Thanksgiving and will leave on Thursday December 4th for Boerne and the Boomer’s Christmas rally there. I think it would be nice to stay in the Hill country for a couple of days to look at the pretty Christmas lights, but we’ll see how that goes.

I cleaned out my office yesterday and today I took the rest of my stuff home. The office looks so bare without my certificates and awards hanging on the wall. I also brought in all my uniforms and gear as well as my duty gun and holster. Tomorrow, all I have to do is bring in my other gun, badge and identification cards, credit cards and my Expedition which I will turn in. I plan to go to lunch with Kristine Schaffner, Mike Jaimes and Greg Bartlett who were all good friends to me during my stay in Manvel. Stella said she may come have lunch with us and then we leave to go home and get the trailer to go to Rayford, and THE ADVENTURE BEGINS!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thursday-Wednesday November 13-19th

There was not much to report on these days. I kept plugging away at old cases and getting my office cleaned up so whoever takes it over won't have the big pile of papers that I accumulated over the last couple of years.

I took statements on a couple of sexual assaults so that I can interview the bad guys next week as my last big cases. I went to the 1st National Bank and closed my account and said goodbye to the employees there. I have come to be on a first name basis with the ones that have been through the robberies. It's kind of ironic that there have been so many big cases like the bank robberies and a large theft from the bank that I have worked on and cleared. I am proud of the fact that we caught the two guys in the second robbery and then I was able to make a case on a third suspect and identified another suspect that I was unable to get the necessary evidence on to be able to arrest him. All three of the suspects have plead out to penitentiery time ranging from 10 years to 18 years. I have managed to put 8 people in the pen since being back in Manvel.

Saturday was spent relaxing. We went out to eat on Saturday night with Harry and Judy Hartley at the old Terrace Drive In in Texas City which is now a mexican restaurant. It was good to see our old friends and spend time with them. We made some plans about the upcoming Boomer rally in Boerne to leave from Rayford and drive up to Boerne together. We will likely hook up with Ted and Donna also to make the trip. We went over to Kim and Jeremy's house after eating and watched the boys on the WII. They both set up their profiles for the excercise program. We got home about ten o'clock which is pretty late for me to be up.

Sunday I woke up early as usual but when I went in to watch my tV shows, I found that they weren't available. Since the storm we haven't been able to get channels 20-60 consistently. Sometimes they show to not be available but other times they work fine. I started watching the Houston Texans getting beat before we went back over to Kim's house to spend time with the boys. I played a game of chess with Tyler and as usual, he beat me. It's been a long time since I've played, so I was very rusty. I think they are coming up to Rayford for Thanksgiving and we talked about that.

Monday started my last full week to work. It's exciting to think that I've worked all my life looking toward retirement and now it's here! WOW....
I've never really been without a job for any length of time, so it will be weird to think that I don't have to get up and go into the office or be on call. I'm sure I'll get used to it. I took the last of the statements on one of the sexual assaults, so now I just have to contact the suspect and interview him. I also learned today that the City and Police Dept. is going to have a retirement party for me on Thursday afternoon. I told the Chief that I had already sent out notices to many of my law enforcement friends and he forwarded the invitation to them too. I also found out who my replacement will be, Dennis "Duke" Adkisson. Duke is a 27 year veteran of the Alvin Police Dept. and should be an asset to the PD.

Tuesday I started cleaning ut my office. I took much of my "stuff" home and about the only big things that are left are my plaques and photos on the wall of my office. I spoke with Suzanne Birdwell, the forensic artist for the Texas Rangers, stationed in Austin. She and I have been working on the cold cases here in Manvel, especially the Princess Blue case. This was the recovery of skeletal remains in 1990 that has remained unsolved to this day. I am very sorry that I wasn't able to at least get this girl identified. I would have been satisfied to have been able to get her returned to her family for closure of the missing loved one, but it just didn't work out. It has been an honor to have worked with the legendary Rangers on these cases and I will never forget my time here.

Wednesday I had an appointment with the suspect in one of the sexual assaults to take his statement, but he wouldn't answer his door. It turns out that he lives in Dickinson, not far from my house. I wasn't surprised when he wouldn't talk to me about the case but its still frustrating. I will refer the case to the DA's office for a Grand Jury investigation. I went to lunch with BCSO Investigator Richard Rosser, who I had also worked the cold case with. It was good to see him again and to talk over old times. I plan to take down my wall decorations today and will bring in all my gear tomorrow so that all that will be squared away before the big day on Friday. Tomorrow is my big party.....

So long for now,

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November 10-12th Monday-Wednesday

This begins my next-to-last week to work, so it's an exciting time for me. I have a couple of cases that I need to work on, and began on Monday. I took some statements on Monday, and did the reports. Tuesday I was scheduled to meet with one of the suspects, who has already retained a lawyer, but in the morning, I got to feeling very bad and went home with a sick headache. I called and cancelled the meeting with the lawyer.

I felt a little better in the afternoon and managed to take the trailer to Due's Camping Center to have the Dometic recall repair made. It was very easy, just pull into the lot and left the truck and trailer. The tech came out and worked on it in the lot while we browsed inside the store. Believe it or not, we didn't buy anything!

We did have a little bit of a different experience when hitching up. The teflon ring that is used for lubrication between the hitch and kingpin has always fallen off. Today I put it in place but somehow when the kingpin slid into the hitch, the ring got smashed and kept the hitch from closing. After a few tries of getting hitched up, I discovered the problem and threw the old teflon ring away and the hitch slid right into place. We probably should have bought one while we were at Dues, but we'll get one somewhere.

Wednesday I went to my last Forgery Roundtable meeting at the Tele Chek plaza on Westheimer in Houston. The Tele Chek director of security announced to everyone there that I am retiring next week. There was a Pasadena PD Sgt. there who is also retiring soon. He is much younger (50) than I am and said he will try to get another job but didn't say where he may try to go. There were some representatives there from the Attorney General's office who said they have openings for investigators but it would mean driving all the way to Hwy. 290 and Mangum which is a long way from Dickinson.

I had spoken with a guy who said he is an investor interested in buying houses about looking at our house. I spoke with him again this afternoon and he finally admitted that he will not pay more than 60% of retail for an investment house, which means he wants to steal it or buy only houses in distress or in danger of foreclosure. I finally told him thanks for your time but I don't think we can afford to give the house away. Stella spent two days sprucing the house up to show it to him too.....

So long for now,

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Saturday and Sunday, November 8 & 9

This has been a very pleasant weekend. We stayed at home all day Saturday. Stella fixed us a good breakfast of fried eggs and bacon with toast and a supper of leftover bbq chicken. Stella cleaned out some old mail that will be destroyed and I just watched some TV and surfed the net all day long.

Sunday morning she fixed us some biscuits and gravy for breakfast while I watched my car shows on TV. I called Emile and Rose and we met them at the Salt Grass restaurant in Sugarland for a late afternoon meal. It was good to see them again and especially since we'll be leaving as soon as the house sells.

After leaving Sugarland, we went to Texas City where I filled the truck. It's so nice not to have to spend $100 every time we fill the truck. Diesel prices are much lower now, we paid $2.88 per gallon. I roughly figured my mileage at 16 or so mpg. Not too bad since some of that is pulling the trailer.

I talked to Bill Sims on the phone and invited him to the Texas Boomer Christmas party in Boerne. We have signed up and will likely travel to Boerne with Ted and Donna and Harry and Judy. We're thinking that we'll stay at Rayford after Thanksgiving for four days and leave from there for Boerne on Thursday December 4th.

So long for now.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Latest Developments

I have decided to skip ahead a few days and catch up. No one really cares that I went back to work for a week. I had gone back to Rayford where Stella was with the trailer on Sunday night. Rick and Brenda were off on Monday and wanted to get together. We all decided to ride over to Camping World in Katy. They wanted to look for a new motorhome and we wanted to look again at the Bighorn 3370 that Joe French was trying to sell us. He came up with a much lower price, which he negotiated through his corporate office and with participatation from Heartland.

While driving over, Chief Garcia called me on my cell phone, asking about a particular video tape that I couldn't find. He made me come into the office to find the tape and copy it for the DA's office. I told him where the tape could be found, but he made me come in to copy it because the Capt. was off sick. I went in and found the tape exactly where I had told him it was and verified the tape was not the correct one and told him. We wasted about an hour and a half with no good results. We went over to CW and looked and really liked the trailer but had to call Joe back and tell him that I would have had to retire earlier than I wanted to in order to buy the trailer. We don't want a note, so I was going to make a one-time withdrawal of funds from my pension, but would have to retire at the same time. Since I had told Manvel that I would stay until August, we decided to let the trailer go. Stella said that she wanted me to go on and retire, but I had given my word and was going to try to do it.

Rick and Brenda had also found a motorhome that they liked very much, but they, like us, did not want that much of a payment so they passed also.

After spending all day long at CW, we decided to stay all day Tuesday and leave for home on Wednesday which we did. Rick and Dee and Tommy and Susan had decided to fix spaghetti and meatballs on Tuesday night, so it was a very nice night sitting around with good friends after eating a wonderful meal.

We got up Wednesday morning and packed up everything and drove home. Actually we did well, having everything done and leaving by 10:30. We got home just before noon and I had plenty of time to shower and dress for work. This was to be my last full week on patrol before returning to investigations on Monday.

I went into the office and immediately found my laptop missing. Knowing there was going to be trouble over the missing tape, I looked at my door to make sure my name was still on the office, which it was, and went into dispatch to talk to Dedra. After talking with her, I went looking for Captain Bell and my missing computer. I found him in the IT office where the video tape storage cabinet is. He immediately began yelling at me about the tape, and showed me where it had been found. I knew immediately how I had made my mistake but he kept on yelling and screaming at me. I asked him to stop screaming at me but he continued and actually made a threatening move toward me. When I heard enough, I took out my identification card and threw it on the desk. Then he began yelling for me to turn in everything, my badge, gun everything! I went into my office and took off my gunbelt to remove the holster and he followed me in to keep yelling at me. I asked if I could drive home in the Expedition to get the rest of my gear, but he said "hell no, it's not yours any more", so I called Stella to come pick me up. While waiting for her, I prepared a one sentence resignation/retirement letter and went into the Chief's office to give it to him. He told me to go home and think about it before making a hasty decision. I told him that I was not going to be talked to like that. Stella came and got me and we drove home with me shaking with anger and frustration. I could not believe that I had been treated like this by a supervisor and someone who totally lost control of his emotions.

When we got home, I took off my uniform and we went to vote. I found it kind of odd that the early voting location had been changed to the Community Center at 27th and hwy. 3 which is squarely in the middle of the Moore's addition in Dickinson.

Stella and I talked my situation over and decided to go ahead and retire now. Since it is obvious that I was being forced into doing something that while I was not prepared to do now, it was the best thing for all if I did it. I typed up the letter and the next day went in and told the Chief of my decision to retire on November 23rd. He just simply took the letter, dated it and put it into my file in one of his desk drawers. This just backed up what I had known all along, that he and Capt. Bell were ready for me to leave. I had made a serious error in judgement by telling them of my retirement plans so early. When I did that, I signed my walking papers with the Manvel Police Dept.

I agreed to work my last day on patrol in uniform on Friday October 31st (Halloween night) and worked the rest of the weekend in BDU's and my pullover shirt.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sunday October 19, 2008

The final day of the Heartland rally. We got up and watched lots of our friends as they packed up and left. There were four or five of us that didn't have to leave, and then we got to sit around and watch all the expensive Prevost rigs pulling in and setting up. They were a sight to see! Most of them are very pretty but a few don't have any slides and I don't see the need to have a big expensive rig like that without a slide to give more room.

One of them actually had the prettiest graphics on the outside, but was way too gaudy on the inside. They left the blind open and you could see the mirrors and rope lights inside. It looked to me like something that should have had a red light out front. If you know what I mean.

We later got to go inside some of the display models. I'll say one thing, they are very plush inside. You sink down into the carpets and the leathers are some of the softest hides I've ever sat down on. I still can't see a million plus dollars for one though. I guess I'm destined to be trailer trash.....

Talk to ya later,

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saturday October 18th

This is the middle day of the Heartland rally. Joe French (Camping World) had agreed to buy everyone's breakfast that was prepared and served by the park. It turned out to be a great time for visiting and just sitting around talking with our extended "family" of Heartland owners.

Camping World had also sent one of their service techs named Dean, to perform any needed service work for anyone at the rally. He didn't have a lot of parts with him, and said that if someone had something that needed an adjustment or something repaired that wouldn't take long to fix, he could take care of it. This is another reason that I love my Heartland trailer. Dean started making a list at the breakfast and started to work around 9.

Jim Beletti had also hooked us up with EVDOAlex, Alex Sains of the 3G to come talk to us about mobile Internet solutions. This is a young man that really knows his business! He brought in three portable routers, one for each of the major providers, AT & T, Sprint, and Verizon. Anyone that wished to bring in their laptop could try out any one of the three for speed. He also explained about the limits placed by the providers for data and how it is actually working with users in other areas. He also explained about using a cell phone tethered to a router for internet. This is another solution, so each of us should make up our own mind about which plan to choose.

Alex also brought three antennas for use in picking up an internet signal. The first was a desktop unit that would be good in a park, where you are some distance from the internet source with few trees or other "line of sight" blocks; the second was a magnetized base unit used outside that will give increased reception when there are line of sight issues; and the third was a much larger outside antenna that gives a much longer distance reception area. I suppose there are applications for each one, but it can get confusing!

Alex was a great teacher for all of us, and he really knows his business, so our thanks go to Jim for setting it up and to Alex for driving down to put the session together. I guess its a sign of the times that Alex works for the 3G store which is in Cary Illinois, but he actually lives in Dallas. Wow, what a commute to work!

Alex stayed around all afternoon, talking to folks, selling a lot of merchandise and actually walking around looking at the rigs and making suggestions. We invited him and his wife to stay for our potluck dinner, which he did. I even saw him delivering some items to someone that had decided to buy after the supper. I told him that his boss should buy him a coach or trailer and put him on the road, going from rally to rally, show to show!

The potluck dinner went very well, with plenty of great food. Joe had brought some gift bags and lots of items for door prizes, which were given away before supper. I had gotten some free Streak-X cleaner as well as roof sealant which I gave out in the afternoon. Everyone seemd to appreciate the gifts.

This turned out to be a great ending for our last night together at the rally. We had a very tiring but great again and will be looking forward to the spring rally, April 3-5th, 2009.