Friday, September 30, 2011

The Wounded

For some reason we have a record number of staff members on "light duty". That means that they have been injured at work and are now lost in the bowels of Workmen's Compensation. They still have to come to work, but they are not allowed to do any actual work inside of the institution except under very strict circumstances.

We have had quite a few shoulder and back injuries of late. I don't know why.

Some of these people are my friends. Like Sgt Miz P and until just recently, Miz Twang. I know what happened to them and how they got hurt and I saw them almost every day just itching to come back to work.

But there are some people I wonder about. A couple of people who have been on light duty more than they have been inside the institution.

Let's just say I have my suspicions and leave it at that.

While most of the time we don't have to do a whole lot of actual physical work here at the prison, there are times when we have to be extremely physical if an offender is out of control. That's just the nature of the beast.

And if you are too frail to take care of business when it comes down to a donnybrook then you need to find somewhere else to work. Maybe a desk job or something. Somewhere else.

I believe I'll just leave it at that and walk away now. I already made myself mad about this once today and I don't need to do it again.

Tomorrow I'm schedule to be in a bubble somewhere. Not really all that thrilled about the idea. But I've learned that I can do almost anything for eight hours.

Friday is going to be National Mud Pack Day. I'm not sure I care much for the sound of that, whatever it may be. It will also be Blasphemy Day and Hug A Vegetarian Day.

What a combination.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Admitting My Ignorance

My night in the comm room/P-car. Was looking forward to a fairly calm night with no drama.

I got that, for the most part. Except for one small incident.

Brother D is out for a hunting vacation and they sent some new kid up there. I say "kid" because he looks like he's about fifteen. I know he has to be over twenty one because it's a requirement to get the job. But man, he don't look it. I was half tempted to card him when he came in the door. Young and chipper and full of energy.

Heck, he still had that "new smell" on him. (grin)

At any rate, when I went to swap him out in the P-car I decided to check and make sure the shotgun was loaded and correctly. I know they carry out so many rounds and they are counted twice and someone watches the loading when they first get in the car. When Brother D is there I know there are so many in the side saddle shell holder and so many extra in the case so there are six rounds in the weapon. That way I don't need to completely unload and reload it to check.

But this new kid was an unknown so I decided to check. And while I was unloading the weapon I saw something fall out of one of the shells and down into the open chamber.

I said "What the snap? Oh, this aint good."

Holding the shell over my hand I shook it and some more stuff fell out into my hand like a salt shaker. As a matter of fact, it looked like the salt they put on pretzels.

Right about that time Peggy Sue came up and she saw me doing that and said "Oh, that aint good!" And then I got another one of those fabulous squeezy hugs that helped me forget about it for a moment. That was nice. But then I had to shake myself and slap myself around some to get my mind back on my problem.

Called Sgt Puddle on the radio and showed him and he said "Oh, that aint good!"

There was this funny echo going on, apparently.

So I finished unloading the shotgun and cleaned a few grains of that mystery stuff out of the chamber the best we could. It looked like we got it all out. If that had been a rifle I would have handed it over and said "I'm not carrying this thing." But being a shotgun I figured it was probably okay.

But I have no idea what that stuff was. I know the pellets are round and gray and the powder is usually black and flaky. I know how to load it and unload it and how to shoot it and which end makes the most noise and which end never to put your lips on and that's about it.

I'm not a firearm aficionado, you see. I like guns and I like shooting for fun and if I had the time and the money I would have a few of my own to play with. But I would never be what you would call a serious hunter or anything like that. Just a weekend target shooter.

So if anybody has any ideas about those mystery grains of stuff, I'd like to hear what it was. For all I know, it could have been a salt shaker made to look like a shotgun shell.

Knowing this place, it wouldn't really surprise me all that much.

Thursday is going to be Poisoned Blackberries Day. Oh, that can't be good, either. It's also going to be VFW Day and National Coffee Day.

I'd shy away from any blackberry coffee, though.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Search, But No Seizure

Well! Despite what the schedule said, I got nowhere near three house this evening. Not that it's a good thing or a bad thing. I got nothing against that house or their crew. Just stating a fact.

Uncle Scary was going to be late so they stuck me on the wobblehead yard until he got there. And sure enough, as soon as I got his IP and building checks done, he showed up. Ah well.

Got to spend most of the rest of the night on B-yard as an extra. That was somewhat startling. Usually if we have an extra they don't stay there all night. But I did. Well, most of it. And we had two OJT's out there as well. Don't know quite what to make of them yet. It's much too early to tell.

But I do love listening to the new people on the radio. They mess stuff up much worse than I do.

Since Sgt Uncle T had Sausage and St Francis and the two OJT's out there, he held me back and I pretty much did diddly-squat most of the night.

But there was a price to that, of course. He's taken to calling me his "pet". So I had to put up with being called "Fido" and people barking at me all night.

That's okay, Uncle T. I know where you sleep.

Later on in the evening I got sent on a "secret detail" up in A-visiting. I wasn't allowed to know what I was doing until I got there. Turns out we were doing staff searches on midnight shift as they came in.

And believe me, nobody looked like that picture up there.

The really surreal part of it was, it was Lt Pistachios last night. He's retiring. And they set up his little retirement party right on the other side of the room. So on one side as they came in we were searching lunch boxes and patting them down and making everybody take off their shoes and such. Then as they got done they got cake and ice cream and soda as they went out the door.

I hate staff searches. Personally I think they are insulting. On the other hand, we all know people who have brought things in. Sometimes dangerously stupid things. There was an officer a few years ago that was so adept at finding prison made weapons (shanks) that we were all pretty sure he was making them himself and bringing them in just so he could find them. And somebody else that found so many tattoo guns we were beginning to suspect the same thing about him.

Just like the cell phone they found........

Never mind. I'm not going there.

So many times in so many places staff at prisons have been caught bringing in really stupid things. Drugs, weapons, cell phones, etc. We all know it happens. And there's always someone willing to do something that retarded for whatever reason.

But that doesn't make me like being searched or searching my fellow staff any better. I still find it insulting.

And I am very happy that we didn't find anything stupid.

Wednesday is going to be Ask A Stupid Question Day, Fish Tank Floor Show Night, Rosh Hashanah, and National Good Neighbor Day.

I think I'll go ask my neighbors fish if they are Jewish. That should cover everything.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nearly Stepped In It!!!

For a day that showed such promise in the beginning, it sure went downhill quickly. And I almost stepped off into the pile without even thinking.

Had a visit from a couple of angels this morning. Not many lucky guys get visits from angels dressed in camo BDU's. But I'm just awesomely lucky that way. Miz Archer and Miz Twang were out for E-squad training and came by the house on their lunch break. Yippee!

I gotta tell ya. Hugs from pretty girls are the best way to get awake and get your blood moving.

Mmmmm...... (happy smile)

While she was here Miz Twang asked "Are you calling out today?"

When I asked why she said "I heard they might pull Sgt Puddle and leave you up there by yourself."

Oh snap. Well, it's a Monday. No transfers. I should be able to do it. I hope anyway. Oh snap.

That thought lingered in my head while I showered and got dressed and packed my lunch and got ready for work. And all the way to work listening to Elvis Costello on the CD player I felt like a paratrooper standing in the door of a C130 looking down at the beach at Anzio or some place like that waiting for the green light so I could jump.

And all the while I'm thinking "Oooooooooohhhhhh snap."

When I got there the desk was a mess. Panda had papers strewn everywhere and his breakdown board looked like ants had crawled all over it with ink on their feet. The breakdown board was the base for what we started all of our house count numbers from. They had apparently moved people all over the camp today and he had taken notes all over the thing, totaling and re-totaling.

He started to get up and leave and I said "I hope you are printing me a new breakdown sheet!"

He's supposed to do that before he leaves.

When he went to make a new sheet was when everything went to snit. Got down to the bottom and he was off by one. Definitely no good. Luckily for me Sgt Puddle showed up and between the two of them they managed to find his mistake.

Almost an hour later.

I did most of my prep work for the 4:30 count on the back panel by the printer but couldn't even start checking to see if the numbers were right until he gave me the base totals to start from. When he finally said "Here, I think it's right." and bailed it was 4:00 and I had to hit the ground running.

I don't think I have ever in my whole ever loving blue eyed natural life written down so many numbers and added them up so fast. And the whole time my fingers are rattling against the keys of the calculator the tightly wrapped and aggravated voice of Leonard "Bones" McCoy was echoing in my head: "Dammit Jim!! I'm a doctor, not an accountant!"

Sgt Puddle told the Captain that our count might be bad. And why. And bless his little black heart he decided to stay down at the front desk rather than come up in the control center to be closer to the action. I didn't need an upset Captain leaning over my shoulder right then.

When my pencil finally fell back to the desk top it was 4:28. Two minutes to count. I thought it was right. I suspected it was right. I hoped it was right. But it was much too late to go over it again. All I could do was hold on to the ripcord of my emergency chute and hope it worked.

One hand was answering the phone and the other one was writing down the numbers as they came in. In the meantime I chewed my fingernails all the way up to elbow and gave birth to about twenty litters of kittens.

When count finally cleared you could have knocked me over with a feather. I seriously thought about just disappearing under the desk for a long nap or to play with all of those imaginary kittens for awhile.

Instead I went outside for a smoke. What we really need is an emergency bottle of whiskey at the front desk for things just like that. One stiff belt would have done wonderful things for the state of my nerves right about then.

Maybe I should put in a work order. Think they'll go for it?

Nah. Me neither.

On Tuesday I will be somewhere besides the control center.

Feeling pretty good about that.

It will be Crush A Can Day, Ancestor Appreciation Day, the Peregean Spring Tides, and World Tourism Day.

I'm feeling better..... Think I'll go for a walk.....

Friday, September 23, 2011

Unfamiliar Territory

Several things combined together to knock me off kilter just a little bit tonight. I woke up feeling kind of stuffy and sinusy and had a bit of a headache. I really though about calling in sick but I had looked at the chrono the night before and knew how short we were on shift already.

And you know how guilty I feel when someone else gets jerked around or hurt when they get put in my spot. Me and my neuroses go back a long ways. At any rate, I don't call in unless I'm at death's doorstep.

I try not to hang out there much. Depressing place. Dusty as all get out.

At any rate, by the time I got ready and actually drove to work, I felt considerably worse. It may have been the change in elevation. After all, Raccoon City is a whopping 145 feet higher than Leadbibleton, where I live. That kind of change in pressure isn't good for your sinuses. My headache had settled in behind my right eyeball, set up housekeeping, ordered pizzas and invited it's friends over to poke long needles into my brain.

And everybody I encountered looked at me and said "Gee Rev! You look like hell!"

That kind of thing always works to make you feel so much better.

I felt about as perky and summer fresh as a tattered gym sock abandoned in a drainage ditch somewhere in rural coal mining country.

But I digress.

They also had me in Brother D's spot, which was very strange. The man is usually healthy as an ox and almost never calls in sick. Yet he'd been home sick all week. I think it had been quite some time since I had ever had to work that spot.

His post is exactly opposite of mine on Wednesdays. On that day I do Comm room, p-car, comm room. He does p-car, comm room, p-car. I know it doesn't sound like there's all that much difference, but there was just enough to throw me off. For one, I wasn't used to having to go get a shotgun and put it in the car and load it. When brother D is there, it's already in the car and I just check to see if it's loaded. Walking through the front lobby with a shotgun was a very strange feeling.

And walking back in with it at the end of shift was just as strange. I got some funny looks. I wondered if I looked more disgruntled than sick.

I also forgot that I was supposed to go get gas in the p-car at some point during the evening. Once again, Brother D always takes care of that and I don't have to mess with it. He likes to go down and chat with the maintenance guy while he's fueling up.

It wasn't until I was halfway across the parking lot to go home that I remembered that. But I only used 1/8th of a tank so it should be fine. If anybody even notices I'll get razzed, but little more than that.

The whole night was just far enough off of my usual routine that I felt like...

Like when you tip back in a chair and almost fall over but catch yourself at the last second.

Just like that. Weird and disconcerting and I'm glad it's over.

Now I can be sick and miserable in my own bed. Huzzah.

A quick lineup for the weekend:
Saturday- Festival Of Latest Novelties, Responsible Dog Ownership Day, Fish Amnesty Day and Punctuation Day.
Sunday- National Comic Book Day and National One-Hit Wonder Day
Monday- National Good Neighbor Day and National Pancake Day.

Celebrate! Just do it quietly, okay? I still have a headache.

Word Fun

Thursdays are my day on the yard. I usually look forward to most parts of my Thursdays. A few parts, like doing the Del Norte walk, can really suck. Especially if the weather is nasty. Or wading the mud doing the inner perimeter check.

But for the most part I know I will at least have a few minutes of fun hanging out with Sgt Uncle T. Even if the rest of the night goes bad, I know that at some point we will get together and have a laugh about something.

Sausage was out for training so they sent us Silent Bob. I knew that meant that we were going to have more time to have a conversation because Bob is, well.... silent. But I'd at least get a grin out of him when Uncle T was doing something silly. I'd lean over and look at Bob and shrug like "See what I have to put up with?" He'd just grin and shake his head.

So Uncle T and I got to talking and I mentioned something I saw on the Weather Channel up in the comm room the other night. A tree or something had blown down in a storm and crushed the roof of a car flat and a man was still trapped inside of it. They had an interview with the Fire Chief who helped cut the guy free and he said "We just took and cut the roof off of that car."

That phrase just whirled around in my brain like a swarm of very confused bees. Look at it again:
"We just took and cut the roof off of that car."

Took? Took what? Took it where? Did you bring it back or are you admitting to stealing something?

It seemed to me like there was an unauthorized and completely superfluous verb there.

Uncle T looked at me and smiled and said "Just like mayonnaise."


"Mayonnaise alot of ways they could have took and cut the roof off of that car, don't ya think?"

So it was like that all night long.

"Mayonnaise alot of inmates out on this here yard!"

"He just took and walked down to laundry!"

The best one was:

"Mayonnaise alot of mayonnaise on that sammich. So I just took and scraped some of it off!"

And through it all Silent Bob just sat there and grinned and shook his head. I'm sure he thinks we're both idiots. Or possibly insane.

He's probably not far off, if you want to know the truth.

Friday is going to be Checkers Day and Dogs In Politics Day. Wasn't Checkers already a dog in politics? It's also going to be Celebrate Bi-Sexuality Day, Hug A Veterinarian Day, Love Note Day and Mabon.

Get your Autumnal groove on!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blue Flu Season

There must be something going around. We have been having people call out left and right. Today we held over ten people from day shift. I haven't seen that happen in awhile.

Lt Sienna called me this evening in the comm room about something and I asked him how many we held over. When he said ten, I said "So, I guess I probably can't go home early, eh?"

He said "Hah!" and hung up the phone in my ear.

Guess that answered that question.

Maintenance is still fiddling around with the water system that broke yesterday. Apparently what they did to get it working again was just a temporary fix. I heard that they are coming in at 2:00am this morning to try a more permanent solution.

We'll see how long this one lasts. I'm in the pool for one week exactly.

And that's all I really have for tonight. I've been sleeping funky the last week or so. Either waking up too early or sleeping too late and not getting any rest no matter what interval passes. I'm tired and crabby.

Thursday is going to be Hobbit Day and Dear Diary Day as well as Elephant Appreciation Day and national White Chocolate Day.

Don't forget!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Feel Like Elmer Fudd Sometimes

I should have been paying more attention on the way in. I'm pretty certain that wascally wabbit was poking out of his wabbit hole watching me walk in going "Watch dat foist step, doc! It's a Lulu!"

The first thing we hear is "Hey! There's no water anywhere in the camp! A water main burst underneath 6 house and blew a hole in the sally port and they had to shut off all the water to fix it."

Oh nice.

They kind of failed to mention that nobody had been able to flush a toilet (like the one in the control center) for the last six hours. Of course that was pretty obvious when we walked in. I was standing there with my eyes watering and having flashbacks of being in the Hive in the bad old days.

I suspect nobody would have minded too much if I lit up a cigarette in there. Compared to that bathroom it would have smelled like a Glade Plug-In.

I went and bought two bottles of water out of the vending machine so we could have a pot of coffee. And that helped dampen the smell some.

Coffee is such a wonderful liquid. Good for so many things.

Since I am still learning to work the desk they are sticking me on it as much as possible. It was good that I had Sgt Puddle and Miz Twang, who came off of light duty today (hallelujah!) and Stubby there, as it was transfer day and we had inmates scattered everywhere. Count was a near thing but we did survive it.

Can I remember everything that went on tonight? No. I didn't keep my notes. But I do remember at one point being outside smoking and they popped the lock to get my attention. And when I tried to come back in we discovered that the control center door was broken and not only could I not get back in, they couldn't get out!

Not really sure who was more distressed over that.

It seems that while I was out one of our Captains decided we should have an emergency count. You know, just to make sure we didn't lose anybody, even though count cleared just two hours ago. And when Captain CJ found out about it, she went just a little bit ballistic. Understandable, her being the shift commander and all. So she cancelled it.

Only to have her call back an hour later and say "Just as soon as we get medical clear of med pass, go ahead and call count."

"Umm.... what?"

Normally when we call a count at a different time we call on the radio and tell them to lock down and prepare for count.

But not this time. Caught everybody flat footed. I think they had guys out on the rec yard down at the Hive. And they had to bring them all back in before they could count.

I called it at 8:07. At 8:07 1/10th my phone started ringing off the hook.

"Did you just call count?"


"Oh snap!"

No sooner did I hang up then it rang again. "Did you just call count?"

I still don't have a clue why they did it that way. I probably never will.

We cleared that one and then had to do our regular count again at 10:00.

Sometimes I think they are testing me, just to see if I'll snap under pressure. I'll tell ya, if it wasn't for the crew up there, I might have. They handled everything else and let me run the desk and the radio and the paperwork.

But now I feel like I have been trampled on all night by a thousand pygmies wearing hobnailed boots.

And tomorrow if I'm up there, Stubby can run the desk.

It'll probably be the calmest day in the whole year.

Wednesday is going to be World Gratitude Day and International Banana Festival as well as World Alzheimer's Day.

I forget why, but I'm thankful for that.

Antisocial Behavior

Went down to the Hive for my Monday. It's been a little while.

I'm not sure if I like what being down there does to my attitude now.

I used to love being down there. Well, I'm not sure "love" is the right word. I fit in down there very well. I knew the house and I knew how it ran and how it should run and what should be done at what time and how.

Admittedly, I was a little bit of a jerk about it at times. I have definite opinions and when you start getting into my zone and messing with things I can get a little testy. I just wanted to get done what needed to get done and go home.

I suspect most people are like that about their zones.

Since I have been other places for the past year and a half or so now I have mellowed considerably. I'm still kind of a jerk about getting the work done quickly so we can all go home on time, but my..... aggressiveness towards the offenders has gone way down. I guess mostly it's because the ones outside the Hive tend to be less obnoxious than the ones inside.

So when I find myself down there again and I get that old feeling in my hackles and I'm angry and more aggressive and suspicious of every action it really grates on my nerves now. Each time we opened a chuck hole or a door I found myself tensing waiting for something stupid to happen. Because I knew from past experiences how fast something can go bad, especially down there.

And I had to fight myself to keep it from showing in my face or body language and that was very hard. I don't know if they could see how tightly wrapped I was or not. Nobody said anything, so I think I covered it well.

The place just makes me tense. And I don't enjoy it anymore.

Even though we had a very calm night I was still quite wound up until we finally walked out of the door again at the end of shift.

And now my body is going through this huge adrenaline crash and I can barely keep my eyes open.

I suppose if I were forced to, I could get used to working down there again. But I don't think I would enjoy it like I once did. I like the people down there. Just not the house.

Too many memories in that place, I guess. Hopefully it will be awhile before they put me back down there again. I just don't like it anymore.

So Tuesday is going to be National Punch Day. Hopefully they mean the drink.

I'll have a big glass, please.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thank You!

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have been here time and time again to read this drivel I pound out five days a week.

When I started ranting on here three years ago last month I had no idea that anybody would actually read any of this stuff, let alone come back more than once.

Just this morning I passed fifty thousand hits. That just stuns me.
And I never really thought that this would be something I would stick with for very long. I have a short attention span and a mild case of ADD and I didn't really suspect that I had that much so say about anything in particular.

But 897 posts later, I'm still at it.

When I started I thought that maybe a few people from the prison might read something I said and get a laugh out of it. So I threw in some of the local scuttlebutt and a few inside jokes and alot of ranting about things that are screwed up in that mess of a place we work in.

And, in the beginning, that was all who was here. Co-workers and my family.

My outside of work family, I mean.

Then things started to get a little strange.

As you can see, most of my hits are inside the US but there's a big cluster in Europe and a smaller group down in Oz and up into the Far East that have been staying the same for quite some time.

There's a small group of hardcore readers up in Canada who have been pretty steady and one lone guy in the Russian Federation who seems to stop by now and then. I wonder about that one sometimes. If I zoom all the way into the map there are no roads or town or anything there. Just a dot in the middle of nowhere. Weird.

And a new pocket of hits up and down South America have been popping up recently that have me wondering.

Anyway, it's just been amazing and I hope I can keep doing this for another three years at least. Maybe by the time I get to 100,000 somebody will finally pop on here and say "Will you shut up already? I'm trying to sleep!"

Hee hee hee! Not on your life, pal.

So to all of you from all of me, thanks for being here. And I'll be back on Monday.

Whups! Almost forgot to look at the calendar. Got bust blowing my own horn and forgot my job.

Saturday is going to be National Apple Dumpling Day and a whole bunch of other things. Let's see: Citizenship Day, Constitution Day, Big Whopper Liar Day, International Coastal Cleanup Day, Seat Check Saturday (?), Responsible Dog Ownership Day and National Ladies VFW Auxiliary Day. (whew!)

Sunday is going to be National Play-Doh Day, Air Force Birthday, ADD Awareness Day (yup), National Respect Day and Wife Appreciation Day.

Monday will be National Butterscotch Pudding Day, Talk Like A Pirate Day and National Women's Road Warrior Day.

That's a lot of stuff to celebrate. Better get busy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

You Gotta Be Adaptable

There are some hard lessons to be learned in prison. On both sides of the cell door.

And one of the main things, especially for us, is you have to learn to adapt.

Things change here constantly. Not only do new rules and changes come down from the capitol, they also come from the white house across the street. Some assistant warden or program director who works out of an office will say "Okay. Now we are doing things this way." And it will be the law as far as we are concerned. No matter if it's dumb or doesn't work right, it's the way we have to do it.

So we do it that way until someone else changes their mind.

And we just got a new Major and apparently he doesn't like the way we did almost anything, so he's changing stuff.

Our Captains rotate every six months and with each new rotation we have to change how we do things. And we have two Captains on our shift and they like things done differently so we have to act according to whoever is on shift that night.

The Lieutenants rotate once a year and they all like things done their own way. And we have to figure out how they want things done to keep them happy.

And when you go from housing unit to housing unit and yard to yard, all of the Sergeants want things done their way and you have to learn their little foibles and idiosyncrasies in order to keep them happy.

I remember seeing a movie one time where the hero had to cross a wide pit. And the only way across was to step on the tops of these wobbly wooden poles that stood up in the pit.

I don't remember which movie it was, but I thought it was a neat concept at the time.

Now imagine there's a deep pit. You have to get across it and you have eight hours to get there. It will take you eight hours to cross. And if you fall in you will either die or get a serious frowning at. There are wobbly wooden poles that you have to step on to get across the pit. And not only are they wobbly, but they are all moving at different speeds. Some go up and down and some go side to side and some go around in little circles and a few of them will wait until you step on them before they start moving.

Some of your co-workers will stand at the edge forever and wait until someone comes along and builds a bridge. Some will leap out randomly like spastic jack rabbits, flinging themselves from pole to pole and hope they end up somewhere good. A few will just attach themselves to a certain pole and hope it goes somewhere. Some will make it across and some will fall.

Got that picture in your head?

That's a pretty fair analogy of what I'm getting paid $13.50 an hour plus some often dubious benefits to do.

Sound like fun? Come join up! Just don't wait for that bridge thing. There's no money in the budget for that.

Friday I'm out on A-yard in the Fireman's spot. Which probably means I get to do the Del Norte walk two days in a row. Ah well. I need the exercise.

And Friday will also be Stay Away From Seattle Day and Collect Rocks Day. I don't know why we should stay away, but I'll do it just to be on the safe side. Guess I'll just collect rocks instead, eh?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

At The Helm

Hey, at least I got my picture thingy back! Yay! Have no idea what that was all about.

Last night when I left work it was 74 outside and I came home and sat in front of my fan in shorts thinking it was mighty warm. Tonight when I left it was 52 and falling. I'm sitting here in sweats and thinking about putting another blanket on the bed.

Man, you can have this midwest weather.

So tonight I was kind of left in charge. That was scary. Sgt Puddle was off for training and everybody else was just ...... off. Of course, that's how I ended up there in the fishbowl in the first place, if you'll remember. There wasn't anybody left and I volunteered.

They gave me Sgt Loompa and Miz Chatters. He knows some about it (how to work the doors and gates) and she can run the desk about as good as I can. But since she is going to run the desk tomorrow I took it tonight. And every time something out of the routine happened they looked at me and said "What do we do?"

Well, how the snap do I know? I've only been up here about two weeks! Ummm.... Here, try this and see if it works. Okay. Cool!

I thought I had a handle on the 4:30 count until my first set of numbers came in. From the Hive. Crutch called and said "We got 152." I looked down at my paper and it said 150. Nope, try it again. Call me back. In the meantime I am feverishly checking my numbers and still coming up with 150.

They call back. Still 152. Oh snap. So I start going over their numbers. We found the problem pretty quickly. They had locked up one from 3 house and one from 10 house during the day (about 1:00pm) and never called and told anybody.

Okay, we can salvage this. Maybe. If both 3 and 10 house call in one short then even if my numbers are wrong, they still add up and we're good. Nobody missing.

They did and it was and it cleared and I went out to smoke and hyperventilate a little bit.

Right after that Peggy Sue stopped by and I got to vent and got another big squeezy hug and things were much better after that.

Until the comm room called up and said they were missing a radio. Searched everywhere. Under the desk. In the racks. In the repair piles. Nothing. tried to call the last person who signed it out but he wouldn't answer his phone. Sgt Loompa got on the phone and called every single person on the camp with a radio looking for it. No luck. And Meany was up in the comm room getting pretty aggravated.

The Captain had him and Growl both write paper on the search and turn it in. We never did find it. Hopefully it shows up again.

And I felt a little bit guilty because it was supposed to be my night in the comm room.

Just a little, though.

About one minute before 10:00 count Lt farmer calls me and says "We are moving an inmate from the wobblehead house up here. Don't call count until we get him moved."

Ooookayyyy.... now what?

Turns out he had a death in the family and they wanted him up there when they told him. It seems that the last time that happened he went a little ballistic. They wanted more big guys around him this time just in case.

In the mean time my phone is ringing off the hook. "Did you call count yet? Did I miss the call?"

"No, I haven't called it yet. Something is going on. I'll let you know." Click.

Ring! "Did you call count? I must have missed it!"

Etc. Etc. Etc.....

Oy freaking vey.

If they stick to the schedule, I will be on the yard for the next two days. I think I'll enjoy that. Somebody else can have those headaches for a couple of days. I'll just go back to being a front line grunt and let somebody else make the decisions. Yay!

Thursday is going to be Felt Hat Day. Oh yeah. I'm all into felt hats. Wish I could wear some of mine to work. My derby or the fedora. I just look awesome in hats. It's also going to be Greenpeace Day, International Day of Democracy and Day.

Look that one up!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lost In The Crowd

Let's all pretend that this is a kind of
neat "Where's Waldo?" picture,
shall we?

For some reason blogger isn't letting me post pictures. After several tries with different pics, I gave up. It was just pissing me off.

It seems that the inmates have decided that 9:00pm is the perfect time to fight. This was the second night in a row.

They used to fight right after the yard opened. We figured if we got past the first 15 minutes of open yard without a fight, we were going to have a good night. Now apparently it's 9:00pm. I don't know why.

Grasshopper had offered to do the radio check for me so I was sitting out of the way doing up my count sheet. He'd just gotten through calling the Lieutenants when:

"10-49! 10-49! Housing Unit six!!"

I'll have to admit he handled it better than I did. Outwardly, anyway. He called it very calmly then looked at me and said "Do I keep on with the radio check?"

I told him it would be best to wait until they cleared it.

So they cleared the fight and we went on with our business. Grasshopper finished the radio check. I left a space on my count sheet, figuring I would be getting a call from the Hive that they got two fighters from 6 house and I didn't want to have to erase a bunch of numbers.

I got my sheet ready and I had the lockup board ready to write down the names and I waited.

And waited. And waited....

Finally at 9:45, right before count, I called 6 house. KP answered. I said "I guess we aren't going to move those guys before count, eh?"

"We aren't locking anybody up."

"Say what?"

"I lost them in the crowd and we don't know who they are. They'll have to review the tapes and the Captains can't do that any more. They'll have to do it tomorrow."

"Really. Well..... Humph. Okey dokey, then! Thanks!"

And that is just a sad state of affairs. They spent a bazillion dollars to have this camera system installed but because some of the supervisors couldn't resist playing Gawd as Micro-manager with it, they no longer have any access to it.

We would have to get somebody to come in and access the system even if we were trying to find out who assaulted one of us, let alone an inmate.

Sometimes I'm amazed that they still let us come inside the fence at all.

Garrf! Don't get me started. I'd end up here all night, ranting and raving.

Ah, well. from the looks of things they are giving me a week away from the fishbowl next week. I'm not scheduled to be up there once. That will be kind of nice. I can take a break and do some normal CO things and maybe even respond to something if anything happens instead of just gnashing my teeth and beating myself in the head with the phone.

But schedules around here have a mysterious way of changing suddenly. Have to wait and see, I guess.

Wednesday will be National Creme Filled Donut Day. And apparently that is important enough to be the solo holiday.

Works for me....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Adrenaline Rush

I was pretty proud of myself early on in the day today. This marked the very first time that I handled the 4:30 count all by myself and got it right and cleared without a single screwup.

And I had additional things to account for. All last week education was out, but now they are back in session and I had over a hundred inmates in there from different houses. Laundry had over a hundred in there from different houses. And the maintenance guys had eight offenders from three different houses out working on a broken water pipe outside of Central.

I wasn't sure where to put them, so I just stuck them in a normally blank column on my count sheet and hoped for the best.

I actually got everything added up early and it all looked good. I was startled and pleased with myself. And it was a good thing it was right because Sgt Puddle left to go take care of something right after I called count so if something was wrong I was going to have to take care of it myself.

Testing me, you see. He's tricky like that.

When it all went well and count cleared I wanted to whoop and do nip-ups in the control center. But there isn't room for that sort of thing and whooping is frowned on up there. So I just sat quietly at my desk and clapped my hands and said "Yay!"

Things went pretty well after that. Only got fumblemouthed a couple of times and nothing too embarrassing. I was starting to feel like I knew what I was doing.

Like I said, things went well. Until a little after nine.

9:06, to be exact.

"10-49! 10-49! 10 house!!!" (that's a fight, by the way)

I said "Yeek!" and started to rise up out of my chair to hit the door and run. I got about halfway up and realized that I could not go. Oh snap!

And not only could I not go, I had to remain calm and coherent enough to relay that call over the radio. Take a deep breath. Push the button and lean into the mike.

"Raccoon Station to all radio units! 10-49 10-49 housing unit 10!"

And even worse than not being able to run to assist I had to sit there and wait for them to get control of the situation and then report that to everybody else over the radio.

That was an extremely long two minutes. That may not seem like a long time to you, but think about if you knew a friend or loved one was going into a possibly dangerous situation and all you could do was sit in a chair and hope they were all right for two minutes.

Two...... Long....... Freaking........ Minutes.......

That took forever.

I've got to tell you that really sucked just sitting there. I couldn't have told you without looking who was down there tonight. It might have been somebody I didn't really like. There's a few of those here. It could have been a close friend. That didn't really matter.

What did matter that some of ours were going into danger and I couldn't do anything about it other than to listen to the radio and report what I heard and hope they were all right.

I've got to tell you, that was bloody difficult. And by the time they called a 10-6 (no further help needed) I reached for the mike button and my hands were shaking from the adrenaline dump. I had to stop and take another deep breath before I could call it over the radio.

If there was much of that going on, I wouldn't be able to stay up there in the fishbowl. I wouldn't be able to take it. Even if I am old and fat and smoke too much and can't run very far, let me out so I can respond. That just eats me up inside when someone needs help and I can't go. If the situation had gotten out of hand I might have just burst into flames.

Those adrenaline rushes make me want to thump somebody. Insert Inmate A into Concrete B, then fold along the dotted lines. Trying to sit dispassionately behind a radio.....

I just don't know about that. I get a little excited.

We'll see how it goes, I guess. I'm up there again tomorrow. Transfer day with no Stubby again.


Tuesday is Defy Superstition Day (knock on wood), as well as International Chocolate Day.

I wonder if I can find a chocolate rabbits foot for luck?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Nobody To Snap At

If anybody happened to be standing outside around 4:30pm CST and hear a primal scream off in the distance, it was probably me.

I made a couple of boneheaded mistakes on my count sheet and didn't catch the error in time. Two of the errors cancelled each other out but the third did not. I ended up with a number that claimed I had one more inmate than I actually had. I tried to find it and Sgt Banty tried to find it and Grasshopper leaned over my shoulder and tried to find it..... nothing.

Finally, as Sgt Banty was on the phone explaining to Capt CJ why I hadn't called count yet (eight minutes late) I caught the mess up with a loud "Ah-ha!" How embarrassing.

In the meantime the phone is ringing off the hook with people saying "Did you call count? I didn't hear it."

At least down in the Hive I had somebody to yell at if things went wrong. There was always some dunderhead willing to say the wrong thing at the wrong time and get a quick blistering in return.

Now I gots nobody but myself to yell at. And I'm mean.

The only bright part of my day (besides going home afterwards) was when Miz Twang came up to save my bacon. And the first time she brought me a big cup of fresh coffee from the gas station and a brand new bag of wintergreen Life Savers. She pulled my dinkie out of the fire a few times tonight.

Why, if she wasn't engaged to one of my best friends and I was mumble-mumble years younger.... Ah well.

I really do wonder if I have the sense or the mental stability for this post.

Hopefully it gets better with time. They are all really pushing me to bid in up there at least for a six month stint. I have a feeling that I might be a gibbering basket case after six months.

I'll have to think about it. That will look good if I go ahead and try to promote.

(See the picture above for the sigh)

I got two days off and then it's back at it again...... Whoop!

So Saturday is going to be Swap Ideas Day, National Lacemaking Day (really?) and Suicide Prevention Day.

Sunday will be No News Is Good News Day, Grandparents Day, National Hug Your Hound Day, Patriot Day and Remembrance Day.

Monday will be National Pet Memorial Day and National Chocolate Milkshake Day as well as National Boss/Employee Exchange Day and Video Games Day.

I'm not trading places with my boss. No sir.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Got a One Day Break

Got a one day break on the yard and then it's back to the fishbowl again!

Gonna keep this one short and sweet. I slept poorly and arose too early and I spent half the night with a sore throat and trying to lose my voice. It was a good thing I didn't need it. I sure hope it goes away by tomorrow. It's me and Big'un and Sgt Banty and Grasshopper tomorrow.

Hoo boy.

Friday is going to be Teddy Bear Day and Wonderful Weirdos Day and Stand Up To Cancer Day.

And to all you wonderful weirdos, goodnight.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

That @&$*!@% Murphy!!!

Let me see if I can get the chain of events clear in my head here.... My brain is still racing around like a chihuahua on crack. I feel like I got run over by a bus full of wobbleheads.

Yesterday Sgt Puddle said "If Stubby calls out again, I'm going to pull you out of the Comm room and up to the Fishbowl." I said I was okay with that. After all, I still need the experience.

He did and he did and I'm still kicking myself for agreeing to it.

I jinxed myself. I know it. Crowing about what a calm day it was on Monday being a holiday and how easy I managed to skate through a transfer day, all things considered.

I freaking jinxed myself.

Everything was fine right up to the 4:30 count. Then it all went to snit from there.

LB calls from the Hive and says "You're going to hate me, but we have a screw up. They released one from here this morning and never changed it in the computer. All they did was erase him off the board. But this guy aint here. He's in 10 house."

And sure enough when we checked the computer, it still said he was in the Hive. Okay. Bad, but fixable. If the Hive is down by one and 10 house is up by one we are reasonably sure the numbers match. Called 10 house and had them do a visual ID and make certain that guy was in there.

Then 30 house calls with a bad count. Tells me they have 292 in house and I knew that was wrong. They only had 298 assigned and I knew that 100 of them were in laundry and 4 of them were out on work crews and one was in the Hive. And Sore gets pissed at me when I tell him it's wrong.

Standard operating procedure at that point is to call all of the places on B-side that might be the problem for a recount. Dining, laundry, medical and main production. We call and start a recount there.

Sore calls back and says oops, they have 192. No, that's still wrong. He's mad again. Sgt Puddle is on the phone calling the Lt and saying we have a problem.

One more call. 195. Nope. Now I'm about two minutes away from having everybody sent back to do a recount of the entire camp. And when we do that we have to start calling people on the outside including the local police department to let them know our count is bad and we might actually be missing somebody.

I really don't want to do that. Really.

We actually stretch it for an additional two minutes and they finally call back with the right number. Whew! That took about 17 minutes longer than it should have and I was sweating bullets.

We get through count and chow and open the yards. About 20 minutes after the yards open we have a code 16 (medical emergency) for chest pains. I don't hear anything more on that for awhile. Next thing I hear is we need to clear A-yard for the ambulance that's "two minutes away"!

What? Umm..... We are the ones who are supposed to call for the ambulance and they have to tell us so we can have the paperwork ready before he can leave the camp! Aw, carp!

Sgt Puddle was out front talking to Peggy Sue and I wave him back up in a big hurry. I get another big squeezy hug in the process (hey, I'm 2 for 2!) and put him to work. I have no idea how to do an outcount like that fast enough to get it done before the ambulance arrives. Sgt Puddle can knock it out in a heartbeat and he does so then runs over to get it signed. In the meantime they pull some newbie we had up in the fishbowl and are sending him and Sausage out with the ambulance.

Right before the ambulance shows up we have another code 16 in 1 house for chest pains. Aw! What the snap!?!

Captain CJ calls me to get hold of the Major at home for her and he doesn't sound happy when he answers the phone.

I manage to sneak out for a quick smoke and to deliver a message to the newbie when I hear a call for a code 70 (fire alarm) in B-dining! Snap again! Trying to think. Who is here on the fire brigade besides me? My brain is toast. I can't think of anybody.

Run back inside and shout to Sgt Puddle "Who is here besides me?" He shakes his head. I think it's just you!" Snap squared!

Up to the comm room I go to get keys and a radio and truck across the yard towards dining. As I get near I see them taking an inmate in cuffs away from the chow hall and i screech to a stop. There's not supposed to be anybody in there this time of night! What the....

Turns out The Watcher (aka Phoenix Tears) was here tonight and he cleared the alarm.

Sgt Uncle T was driving by on the cart and saw the alarm lights going off. He pulls down by the chow hall to investigate and sees an offender inside beating on the window. He'd been in the bathroom and when Towtruck locked up and left, he locked this guy in the building. The kid got scared when he couldn't get out and pulled the fire alarm.

Hoo boy. I wouldn't want to be in Towtrucks shoes when he comes back tomorrow. He'll be lucky if he gets left with one butt cheek to sit on.

When I get back up to the fishbowl, Captain CJ has me call Towtruck, the Fire and Safety guy and the Major at home again. And yes, he still sounds pissed off.

Things go fairly smooth for almost an hour when I hear a loud garbled call over the radio:

"Garble garble nine! garble D-wing!" Whoever it was sounds excited. Uh-oh...

"10-9 your traffic?" 10-9 means repeat.

"Garble garble nine! garble garble D-wing!"

And then "10-6 the 10-49 garble garble." Sounded like someone from the wobblehead house. 10-6 means it's under control.

Holy freaking snap. I almost said "What's next?" But I knew better.

So we are locking up two from 9 house, apparently. For fighting.

It's getting close to count and I call medical for their numbers and Lt Farmer answers.

"Whattaya need, Rev?"

"I need their count."

"Well, they're kinda busy. Doing CPR on one in the back right now."



"Oh snap."

They got him going again and were debating on sending him out to the hospital as well. Then we got word that the guy we sent out earlier was going downhill and they were going to move him to a different hospital. Which, of course, takes more paperwork that I don't know how to do yet.

Needless to say I wanted to kiss midnight shift when they showed up. I was ready to run as fast as I could out to the parking lot before anything else happened.

Tomorrow night I am on the yard. And I'm staying there if I have to nail myself to a tree.

Thursday will be National Date Nut Bread Day and Pardon Day as well as International Literacy Day, Virgin Mary Day and World Physical Therapy Day.

I'd settle for the bread.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


When I looked on the way out they had me scheduled for the control center again. I was happy and nervous. Tuesdays and Thursdays are transfer days.

Those are the days we trade inmates with other camps. Ours transfer out in the morning and theirs transfer in in the evening, right about shift change.

And 9 times out of 10 if count is screwed up bad enough that we have to do one of those "Send everybody back to their housing units and count them again" counts it's on a Tuesday or a Thursday.

I had yet to work up there on a transfer day. But I told myself "It's okay. Stubby will be there and he knows how to do transfers. I can watch and learn some things."

When I got to work I remembered where I was working and what day it was. And again I told myself "It's okay. Stubby will be there and he knows how to do transfers. I can watch and learn some things."

I came in and looked at the chrono and, sure enough, I was in the control center.

I said my little mantra again.

Then, just to be nosy, I looked up at the list to see who had called out.

Just one name on the list.

I'll give you three guesses.

Yup. It was him.


Okay, Rev. Don't panic. Let's see who is up there with me. Sgt Puddle. Excellent. I'm not completely hosed. Big'un.....of course. He's always up there these days. And... Mr Coffee.


I said a few more quite unladylike words right about then. And seriously considered having a sudden case of appendicitis. Or strep throat. Or pink eye. Or even strep eye and a pink appendix.

And right about that time (abut ten minutes before shift change) the transfer bus rolled in.

D'oh! Oh snap.

And silly as* me, I went on up there and started checking my numbers, feeling about as perky as a man walking to the gallows. Oh my. 43 outcounts and 4 sleepers (which screw up count something fierce some days) and 13 on the transfer bus.

To my incredible surprise, Ms Swabbie was already doing the transfers in the computer and she got them done right after I got up there. I didn't get to watch but at that point I didn't care. She had done the hardest part of the number crunching and if she didn't make any mistakes, my count should be good.

Between my ham handedness with the numbers and somebody forgetting to tell me that they had locked up two right before count it was very nearly screwed up. I had to do some fast tap dancing and recalculating and swapping numbers but it finally came out in the end.


The places I am screwing up are simple and boneheaded. I had 2 outcounts from 10 house but I wrote down a 10 instead of a 2. Like a fool. Simple things like that are catching me up.

And to make things worse there was something big going on somewhere that involved several calls to one of the police departments in the next county, a call from the Captain for the head of maintenance and a call to the Major. I never did figure out for sure what was going on with that. But it was just enough extra input to get me flustered, apparently.

We made it through, but it was a close call.

And Stubby, wherever you are, you're a jerk.

You better have been sick and not just fishing or I swear I'll spank you.

On a lighter note, Wednesday will be Neither Rain Nor Snow Day. Maybe I'll get some good news in the mail. It will also be Google Commemoration Day, Salami Day and Grandma Moses Day.

Go wild with the celebrations.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Relaxed Into It

Back up in the control center again today. As it was a holiday I was hoping I could run the desk so I could have a chance to get more relaxed into the position.

I did, and it worked. I only panicked once and just briefly.

On a holiday there are minimal square staff and no education and few work crews and very seldom any extra whoop-de-doo going on. So both counts would be fairly easy.

Of course almost anybody could do the count up there with minimal training on a calm day when nothing is happening. If I can learn it, anybody can.

It's those days when you have three fights and two 10-5's and six emergency outcounts and an assault and they decide to lock up six inmates at 9:59pm that your true colors show out. Then stuff gets real exciting and you have erased and rewritten your numbers until the paper is tissue thin and the Captain is up there leaning over your desk wondering WHY count hasn't cleared yet.

Those are the days you fear and dread and train for and hope they never come. But if you stay up there long enough they will come eventually.

This evening it was me and Meanie and Sgt Puddle. About 9:00pm, Sarge had to run over to central to deliver some paperwork or something, leaving me and Meanie up there by ourselves. i got my count sheet out and started crunching numbers. Laundry was clear and the only thing I had left was Medical and Mr Toad called his count from there early.

I added up all my numbers and whoops..... That's not right. I was way off. Took a deep breath and started again slowly and carefully and re-added everything. This time it came out right. Whew! That was close.

When I said it all added up, Meanie said "Hey, it's 9:45! We got this!"

I said "Don't jinx me. I've seen the whole world go to snit at 9:59 before. Not from up here, but from out there. All I know is that the people up here tend to get real testy when that happens. It aint pretty."

Sgt Puddle came back right before count and I gave him a thumbs up. I think he stayed away just to see if I could handle it by myself. I did, but like I said, this was an easy night.

All in all it was a good night. Peggy Sue stopped by to visit and I got one of those big squeezy hugs that always make me feel warm all over. Got to go out and smoke with her and chat for a few minutes. It's always nice seeing the Boss Lady.

I have heard rumors that Miz Avon is talking about bidding back in the control center. That should be a good thing. I think she worked up there for awhile and did pretty good. All we need now is for Miz Twang to get better and come back to work and we will have a full crew up there again. Then maybe I can go back to being a utility infielder.

Maybe some day soon they will have enough people that they won't need me anymore. That will be fine, too.

I didn't start this with an eye towards being up there full time. I wanted to learn enough about it that if things went south maybe I could step up and try to fill in a gap. I haven't quite done that yet, but I think I'm getting there.

And yes, I am trying to assuage some of the guilt I felt for bailing on Sgt Banty that one night. Now I am desperately trying to say enough "Hail Mary's" to atone for that misdeed. Not being catholic, I don't know for sure how many is enough. I guess when I get good enough that I can handle one of the rough nights I'll know when it's enough. And if I can bail somebody out of a jam some night then I know it will have been enough.

All I can do for now is just keep on trying.

Tuesday is going to be Fight Procrastination Day. I was hoping to put that off until later, but there it is. It's also going to be Another Look Unlimited Day. That seems like a worthy effort.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Off My Square

I'm a person with a fairly small comfort zone. I like doing the things that I do and getting good at them and I'm not real happy when I have to cozy up with change.

That's one of the reasons that I stayed in the Hive for so long. It was a horrible wretched stressful place to be, but it was what I knew. It was probably shortening my life working down there for so long. And it took a case of tendonitis so bad that I started losing the use of my arm to get me out of there.

Even with that it took a real effort to make myself move out into a new place and learn to do new things. Just like the agonizing and nail biting that I went through first to step up into the control center and then to put myself on the Sergeants register. I can't tell you accurately how those decisions bothered me and how much sleep I lost over both of them.

But I left the Hive and went out onto the yard and the comm room. And after awhile I got comfortable again. Occasionally working a housing unit wasn't too bad. They were just like a tamer version of the Hive. No big deal. Even working a 2-10 spot was still okay. I had to leave an hour earlier but it was close enough to being within my routines that it didn't throw me off too much.

I've got my routines. And I stick with them as much as I can. I even have my computer to nag me about the things I need to do each day. Take your meds! Exercise! Write something! Read a book! I growl and bare my teeth and make up new words to say in reply sometimes.

Today working the 12-8 spot had me all messed up. I felt like I had to rush through my morning and I skipped my workout and my timeline was off all day long. Especially after they moved me temporarily when I got to work.

I was upstairs getting my keys and radio when Shoal yelled up the stairs and said "Call Lt Gerber!" Snap. When I called he said "Go up to the control center. Someone has to go home sick. Then go work dining after you get relieved."

So I spent the first three hours of my shift up there working with two guys I barely know. Well, I know them, but I've never really worked with them before. And seeing me up there so early in the day was making people stop in the sally port and do a double take. They would give me that "What the snap?" look and I'd just shrug and shake my head...

It felt like I had been up there for half the day and I looked at my watch and it was only 2:00 pm. It startled me. That's the time I usually leave for work and that realization reset my internal clock to my regular schedule. So even though I had been at work for two hours my body felt like I just got here and my mind was going "Nooooooooo...........!"

Needless to say, I was just messed up all day long. Finally managed to get down to dining to work with that silly knucklehead Goosey. We made it through chow and the cleanup and I was pretty happy when it was time to go home.

And once again my internal clock kept jacking with me. I was a few minutes early on my way out so I stopped to smoke and chat with Captain CJ outside. Then I went in and had a short discussion with Lt Strong in central. Visited with Stubby in the control center on the way through. And of course I couldn't help but spend time with my two favorite broken girls, Miz Twang and Sgt Miz P outside. They always make my day.

After all of that I was about 45 minutes late getting home. I'm tired as hell and my mind and body can't decide what time zone I'm in.

I think I really need to practice being more flexible, don't you?

So here's the weekend lineup.
Saturday is Skyscraper Day and apparently nothing else. Awesome.
Sunday is Newspaper Carrier Day (Just for you, Joe!), International Drive Your Studebaker Day and Oatmeal Day.
Monday will be Be Late For Something Day (there goes my schedule again!) and Labor Day.

Time to put all of those white jumpsuits back into the closet for the season.

What Don't You Do With A Gift Horse?

It had been a couple of weeks since I had to walk the Del Norte. Last week Meanie took it so he wouldn't have to count and the week before I traded someone else for something they didn't want to do.

This week there was nobody else but Sausage and I knew he wasn't going to do it.... So I was stuck. I wasn't looking forward to it. Today was pretty hot. The thermometer in my van read 111 when I got in it this afternoon. But it did cool down to a frosty 103 by the time I got to work. That was a plus.

Since my little pocket notebook got used up I got a new one last week and I lost my master list of the Del Norte lights that aren't working. So I got the new one out and prepared to write down the light numbers. I got all the way to pole #10 before I realized that there hadn't been a single light out so far!

What the heck?

I looked back down the line of lights to see if I had missed any. Nope! Wow.

Somebody fixes things around here. Cool.

Got to #12 and there was one light out. Okay. Here we go. I wrote down a "12" and walked on.

And walked and walked and walked.

When I got done I looked at my notebook and had a "12" and a "32" written down. Seriously? Only two lights broken out of the 48 that I check. That had never happened to me before. Last time I think I wrote down sixteen lights.

And when I got down to zone 11 where the creek runs when it rains I almost tripped and fell in shock. Someone had gone out and built us a metal walkway over the creek bed. We could cross the creek and not fall off one of those stupid cinder blocks! Yay!

Further along there were two more metal walkways over the smaller creek beds as well!

Somebody has been busy!

When I got back up front and mentioned it, Sgt Puddle said "Yeah. We have VIP's coming in for an inspection next week. They are sprucing the place up a bit."

Now I hate inspections and have little use for VIP's just like the next guy. But we have gotten more stuff fixed in a week than we have in years!

These guys may have to come back more often. Maybe I can take a few of them for a ride on the B-side golf cart and they can see how bad the steering wobbles and the fact that we have no brakes. Maybe we can show them some of our fancy brand new ten year old computers.

Of course if we show them too much of the messed up junk we have to work with, they might just say "This place is too old to fix. Tear it down."

Then what would I do?

Friday I have to be in at noon. Not happy about that, but at least I get to leave early. And much to my surprise it will also be National Beheading Day. Oh good grief. I'm not happy with that one bit! But it will also be Bison-Ten Yell Day, V-J Day and National Lazy Moms Day.

I guess I can live with that.