Yes, there is news! Otherwise I would not post two days in a row! When I arrived at work this morning in Orange County after driving in from Palm Springs, I glanced down at my phone and saw several emails from my attorneys. Experience has taught me that this is generally not a good sign. After pulling in to the parking lot, I opened the most recent one and, at the bottom of the chain, saw an email saying that I was to surrender to the federal prison camp on January 13 at – wait for it – Bastrop, Texas. What? I had requested the prison camp at Taft, California (near Bakersfield) and generally the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) places inmates within 500 miles of where they live. Bastrop is a cool 1,300 miles from Palm Springs. Before I even had time to freak out though, another email popped through. Oops! Did we say Bastrop? Sorry, we meant Taft. So, yes, I will be serving my sentence at Taft starting on January 13. Whew! Seriously though, it is a great relief to know I will be at Taft – close to my Mom and Les as well as my brother and sister-in-law and it is actually the closest camp to Palm Springs. I am also glad to have a date as I am ready to move on to the next phase of the journey. So yes, this is good news. But that is not all.
I also found out that the judge in my case ruled in favor of the government’s motion to eliminate restitution for me. This means that once I pay my fine, serve my time and successfully complete probation, I am done. Had restitution been ordered, I would probably have been required to pay the government a percentage of my earnings each year for the rest of my life. In the grand scheme of things, the financial impact of this is probably not large. After all, it’s not like I’ll be working for 20 years after I am released (or at least I hope not!). But psychologically – at least for me – it’s a big deal. It gives me a goal – an end point – and that translates to hope. And I think these things are very important for people in my situation.
There are always “silver linings” in even the darkest situations and today had two big ones. This journey has truly been like a roller coaster (good thing I love roller coasters!) with a particularly steep but brief plunge today. But the coaster is getting ready to coast into the station and I am ready to get off and embark on the next part of the journey. Thanks for coming along for the ride with me and I promise I will post soon on how to stay in touch with me at Taft.