Friday, December 31, 2010

In The Air Tonight

There was something in the air, all right. I don't know what it was but I don't know if I should try to bottle it or have it declared illegal.

All kind of silliness and giggling going on over the radio waves. I strongly suspect that there will be a new round of staff urine tests going on real soon.

They had me scheduled to work with Sgt Archer and Mr Peepers. I've never actually worked with Peepers, I've just encountered him a few times and have heard some stories that made me scratch my head. Someone told me he used to be some sort of airplane mechanic.

Another good reason to never fly in an airplane ever again.

I begged Lt Pagliacci to give me somebody who knew what they were doing out there, so he sent me Ham. I can work with Ham. He's nutty as a granola bar but he can be trusted and knows his way around the place like nobody's business.

And now that Sausage bid off utility, I think Ham is our senior utility officer.

A bit windy, but a good man to have around.

And that (mumble mumble) Archer was on Dog Team training this afternoon so he didn't come in. They sent us Sgt Smiley instead. Not a bad guy for a sergeant. Pleasant enough. He just practices that "I'm lost" thing so we do most of the work for him and he doesn't have to do all that much.

It works for him.

Right as mainline is starting we get a call that one of the wobbleheads is checking in and needs to go to the Hive. Heck. I'm the closest one, I'll get it. No big deal.

While I'm escorting they pull Goosey out to call in the rest of the houses and get them fed. By the time I get back from the Hive the last of them are leaving.

I said "Holy snap. Was I gone that long?" Goosey says "Nope. It was just a crappy meal so I got them in and out quick, that's all."

Man! How come that never works for me?

So Sgt Smiley is going up to Central after chow is over. I'm taking the cart back up to the shack so I can eat my dinner. It's a misty drizzling rain and the wind is blowing in all directions. The windshield on the cart is scratched up so that it's hard to see through it when it's dry, let alone covered with rain drops.

I lean around the windshield to see and my glasses are immediately spattered with rain.

Then "thump!" I hit something.

I thought I ran over one of those cats that's always hanging around the chow hall.

I look back and see one of the out of bounds poles laying on the ground. It's a 4x4 about four feet long painted black. In the dark and in the rain I didn't see it.

Sgt Smiley walks up and says "Hey, you hit that pole."

Gee, thanks, Sarge!

I load the pole up on the cart and take it up to central and do the paperwork and fill out a work order to get it fixed. And in the meantime I have to listen to Pagliacci and Gerber give me rations of snit for running it over. Then they make me load this four foot pole on my shoulder and take it over to the contraband room in 25 house so I can lock it up.

When I walk into 25 house with this thing on my shoulder half of the inmates scurry away and the other half start calling me "Postman" and "Walking Tall".

I knew it was going to be a long night. It was.

Coming back in from doing the Del Norte walk, Sgt Puddle calls me up into the Control Center and says he wants to introduce me to a new employee.

And there in the corner sits Vinnie wrapped in toilet paper with streamers coming off of his hat like some sort of Tim Burton bridesmaid's gown. He has christmas ornaments hanging from his earlobes and one from the center of his chest, pulling down the toilet paper wrapping and making him look like he has cleavage.

Ay-yi-yi!

I was just going to walk up to the chuck hole and say "There seems to be a bit of tomfoolery in the air tonight!"

But by that time it would have been a severe and ludicrous understatement.

I get back out on the yard in time to help with count, then get called for one more escort. One more wobblehead checking in from his cellie.

And off to the Hive I go with my new passenger, hopefully for the last time of the evening.

What was it the list said about today? Oh yeah. Festival Of Enormous Changes At The Last Minute and National Bicarbonate Of Soda Day.

I could really use a bicarbonate of soda right about now. I'll settle for some tums and tylenol instead.

And tomorrow is Unlucky Day. Joy.

I better stock up on the tums.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Should Have Kept My Mouth Shut

I really should have. It would have made my day so much nicer if I would have just said nothing.

There's probably a lot of people who say that about me.

Right at the beginning of my shift up in the Comm room, this guy comes up and wants the keys to the combination Evidence/Telephone Equipment room.

It's a restricted key, but he's on the list so it's okay. I give him the keys.

He comes back in a second and says "Hey, by the way. That door was already unlocked. Just wanted you to know."

Oh, crip-crappity, snip-snappity frappin' poop.

I call Sgt Puddle and he says "Oh snap. Call the Lieutenant."

I call the Lieutenant and he says "Oh snap. Call the captain."

I call the Captain (who happens to be Capt. Crane oh joy) and he says "Oh snap. I will need copious paperwork from you in the next five minutes. Write up everything you know in a memo and get it over to me just as fast as you can."

Yeah, right. Right smack in the middle of shift change.

And while I'm trying to deal with the mess of shift change he keeps calling every five minutes wanting updates and asking more questions.

Finally I said "Look. It's busy as hell up here. All I have for you so far is a piece of paper with your name and my name on it. If you want more than that it's going to have to wait. Or you can come up here and juggle keys and radios while I write."

He decided to wait. But not very patiently. Brother D called out sick and they sent me Goings, who was still sick but getting over it. We obviously never danced much together before because we kept getting in each others way. That sucked.

I get impatient and I just wanted to knock him out of my way a few times but he's bigger than me. Plus, he was trying to help. We just need more practice.

I finally get the paperwork done and run it over and deliver it right before the Captain left and everything is fine again.

Got out to do my two hours in the P-car and drive around doing nothing. That was nice and gave me a chance to get my brain clear again.

At one point I pulled up to the front and Miz Odd was out having a smoke. I asked her how her night was going and she said "It's been nice. There's not a single Captain here. Just two decent Lieutenants and one snaphead."

Well, she didn't really say "snaphead", but you get the picture.

But I really just should have kept my pie hole shut. It would have saved me alot of grief in the long run. Maybe someday I'll learn.

But I doubt it.

Wow. Checking the official list here..... tomorrow doesn't look too good.

Festival Of Enormous Changes At The Last Minute and National Bicarbonate Of Soda Day.

Hey, at least they put them both together. If there's many of the first, I'll be needing a bunch of the second!

There's No Place Like Home!

Well, yeah. Actually there 's places much better.

Much much better.

They sent me back down to the Hive today to work the floor and the place gave me a headache just as soon as I walked in the door.

Noisy, stinky and full of the exact same idiots that were there when I left almost six months ago. Some of them had gotten out and come back and some where exactly where they were when I left.

The Stork was down there pulling some nutty crap about how he was a three star general and how the CIA needed him to get back soon or there was going to be some serious trouble.

I told him to knock off the crap because I knew he wasn't crazy and how it was just a stupid act. And he's not crazy. Not like that. Yes, he has severe emotional problems and the mentality of a ten year old, but he's not crazy.

He tried to bluff his way out of it but he knew that I knew I wasn't buying his present line of B.S. and he toned it down for the rest of the evening.

Schmelvin, on the other hand, was pulling his same old carp and I wasn't buying it either. He wanted to talk to Sarge and said it was too important to tell me. I said "If you can't tell me, then I can't tell the Sarge. That's how it works here." So instead he launched into an hour long screaming tirade about how he could beat up any CO that dared to try opening his door and how he could kick the door off of it's hinges if he really wanted to.

On my way out of the wing I said "Go ahead. Kick that door loose. I'll be down here waiting if you get this far."

He never showed up.

Imagine that.

In a way it was kind of entertaining, but it was mostly just irritating.

I'm so glad I don't work down there regularly anymore. I miss working with LB and BG and Little B, but not bad enough to go back down there full time.

If they want to hang with me, they can come out to the yard.

Tomorrow, according to the national list of such things, is Pepper Pot Day.

I don't know about this one. Sounds like it would burn your lips.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's No Wonder I Get Sick Alot

I was kind of excited when I came in today. Uncle T is off on vacation for two weeks and today I was scheduled to work with Sgt Miz P and St. Francis on B yard.

I figured it was going to be a fun night.

After all, Miz P and I go way back and I hadn't gotten a chance to work with her once since I left the Hive. I was really looking forward to it.

Come to find out that Miz P is sick with one of the versions of the flu going around. One is all head and chest like the one I had and the other affects the stomach. Often there's alot or ralphing and pooping involved.

I'm glad I didn't have that one. But it sounded like Sgt Miz P was coming down with it. And St Francis was just getting over that particular strain. He was still a bit iffy, but game as heck and ready to rumble if necessary. That's just how he is.

I tried my best to take as much off of both of them as I could and let them rest but neither one is much for just sitting around and resting. And when it comes right down to it there's some things I can't do that a sergeant can.

Cold as hell this evening. The weather geek said it was supposed to be 32 this afternoon but if anybody claimed it got over 20 I'd call them a liar. I believe it was 17 when I left the house at 2:00.

I layered up with long johns and my black turtle neck and my insulated bibs over my uniform and I was still cold. But I warmed up pretty quick when I had to go up 6 house and help count. Following KP around the wings and up and down the stairs had me sweating in no time. When we were done I carried my coat over my arm as I walked back to the shack, heat rising off me like a hot rock in a steam sauna.

Probably not the smartest thing to do, considering the temperature. But I was overly warm. Then I went and sat in a small shack with two sick people.

Aw, heck. It was worth it. I got to spend time with Sgt Miz P. She's my buddy.

So today was Fruitcake Day. Yeah. That's fitting.

Tomorrow is both Card Playing Day and National Chocolate Day. Chocoholics rejoice!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sam Spade At Work

The snow was falling even faster now. Faster and bigger fatter flakes.

Way different from when I left for work. Then it was just lightly coming down in little balls that were neither snow nor sleet. It looked like those little balls they fill beanbag chairs with. I always referred to it as "sneet".

Well, it wasn't sneeting now. It was flat snowing. A big white fluffy blanket that wouldn't warm your bones no matter how thoroughly you wrapped up in it.

I pulled up the collar of my coat to keep any of those cold wet things from assaulting my neck. They were vicious like that. Communist swine. I knew this type of snowflake. It would lurk around wafting on the breeze waiting for an opening so it could dive down your neck or into your ear canal or whip past the edge of your glasses and land right in the center of your eye.

Yeah. I knew it's type.

The Admin building is a huge marble edifice built over a hundred years ago back when big rocks and the men who knew how to cut them were cheap. Nowadays you couldn't get one block for the price of the whole building.

It was my job to make sure it was secure.

Of course it was freaking secure. The place is built like a bank vault and it got locked up tight last night after the last secretary abandoned her desk for the long holiday weekend and nobody has been back in there since.

But I had to check it again anyway. It was my job.

My boots squeaked wetly on the aged tile floors. Who knew how long those tiles had been there or how many were layered beneath them. Heck, the place could have once had ten foot ceilings now reduced to eight with the layers upon layers of floor tile.

I started out on the third floor, checking doorknobs as I went. As I hit the stairs down to the second floor something caught my eye. It was a dead cockroach the size of a skateboard, laying on it's back, legs curled up.

At least, it looked dead. You could never tell with these things. Stepping on them did no good, as they were able to withstand weights of several hundred pounds per square inch. It would take someone the size of a Lieutenant or even a small Warden to crush one of those. I just wasn't carrying that much backup with me.

And I knew that if I tried to stomp it and it was only pretending to be dead, that vicious sucker would rip off my boot and I'd be lucky to be left with a partial foot to drive home with.

So I did the next best thing. Right out of the manual. I kicked that sucker down the stairs. It bounced and spun and flipped end over end like a two foot long paper football before coming to a stop on the landing below.

It was dead all right.

Or one hell of an actor. If I ever see antenna marks in the cement in front of Grumman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, I will know who should have won the Oscar this year.

"And the winner for Best Dead Bug goes to....... the envelope please?"

That nasty bit of business out of the way, I continued with my task. The building was s ecure. Was there ever really anything in there worth stealing?

I doubt it. There was sure nothing there I wanted.

Oh sure. I'd strip all the woodwork out of the place and haul the whole thing off for the stones, but other than that....... no.

Once again I stepped out to face that evil snow again. It stared back at me, mockingly.

I suspected that the walk back was going to be no picnic.

I wrote the above while sitting in the Comm room watching the weather channel.

So you can guess what kind of night I had.

I could have done that one from home over my email.

Ah, well.

For some odd reason, tomorrow being Xmas, is also National Pumpkin Pie day. Shouldn't that be on Thanksgiving instead? I'm so confused!

Now He Tells Me!

It was just one of those things. One of those situations that I hadn't had to deal with before (up to this point anyway) and didn't know what to do.

I had never been on the yard when count was so screwed up that we had to send all the workers back to the houses before. I knew that we had to do the inner perimeter (IP) check as soon as the yard was clear. I remembered hearing that one the radio before.

What I didn't know was that some body was supposed to immediately start doing the Del Norte check as soon as it happens.

And tonight, being Thursday night, was my turn. I didn't know I was supposed to go do it. I was concentrating on figuring out how count was screwed up. And we found the problem.

After we had counted three times.

Hey.....

But policy states that the Del Norte check has to be done when we go into an emergency count. And the Captain insisted, as was his right, that it be done.

So I trotted off as quick as I could to get started on it.

And about halfway through realized that the whole camp would be waiting for me to finish the check before they could clear count.

Oh.

Snap.

They really should have sent somebody younger.

I dog-trotted around the camp just as fast as my legs would go, hitting the zones and moving on. It's a good thing all that ice melted or I would have broken something.

Sgt Puddle says I got done with my check right about the time all of the houses called in their count. It was a close one.

By the time I made it back out to the yard they were about halfway done with dinner. At that point I wasn't moving as fast as I had been before. And I had to sit down on the cart for about fifteen minutes and rest.

I was pooped!

And all of that because of some idiot who didn't listen to directions when they told him where to stand for count. He was so caught up in talking to his buddies from a different house that he went to stand with them. What would normally be a twenty minute count took well over an hour.

I didn't feel sorry for him at all when they locked him up. The jerk.

At least somebody else did the evening Del Norte walk so I didn't have to do it twice in one evening. That would have sucked severely.

Anyway.

Tomorrow, aside from being Xmas Eve, is also national Egg Nog Day. Who would have imagined it? What is a nog, anyway?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sometimes I Feel Guilty

When I came in today I heard lots and lots of radio chatter. Not any of that excited "Oh snap" chatter, just alot of the "Come here... call me... do this... do that...." type of stuff. Lots of it.

Then I heard that they had a couple of crazies down in the Hive. Stupid little Schmelvin tried one of his fake suicide attempts. Another one went off of the deep end. They had to put a movement team on him. And the Stork was playing the "unresponsive" game every chance he got.

And I'll have to admit I giggled a little. Not because they were having trouble, but because it wasn't my responsibility anymore and I was happy about it.

Then I felt guilty about being happy about that.

And the silliness continued on through the night. Nothing major. But a whole pantload of code 16's for "unresponsive" (the stork) and "chest pains" (Schmelvin).

Meanwhile, I drove around in the P-car for two hours and responded to only one zone alarm the whole time.

But I did see a fox out in the field outside the fence. That was cool.

So I still do feel a little guilty that I'm out of the Hive and doing very little work for the same money Sometimes I think I should be back down there helping out.

Then I get one of those twinges in my elbow and say "Naaaaaah....."

It's a young man's game. I'll let them take it.

According to the official list, tomorrow is Roots Day. I have absolutely no idea what that means. Are they talking about the old teevee miniseries or what?

Heck, that was depressing enough the first go 'round. I'm not going there again, thank you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Should Know Better

You'd think I would know better than to volunteer. After seven years in the Army it got drilled into my head, yet I do it anyway.

Smiley found some dingus down in three house. Some little thing like an allen wrench that removes security screws. Little bitty ones.

They made a big deal about it and the inmate who had it ended up getting locked up for it. Charged with attempted escape, since theoretically he could use it to take some of the locks apart. Not any of the big ones leading out of the institution...... but hey.

And they wanted digital pictures of the dingus. Of course.

And none of the four people on our shift who know how to work the camera and write the reports were here tonight. Of course.

I was up in central doing the yard paperwork (I was on A-yard tonight, amazingly) and Sgt Buck asked me "Do you know how to run the camera and stuff?"

Sure. It's just a freaking digital camera. How difficult can it be?

It wasn't really that hard. It was just getting the computer to work that was difficult. The frapping thing was so slow I could have hand printed ten Gutenberg bibles just waiting for the word processing program to open.

And the captain wanted printed copies of my pictures and all we have to work with is that stupid paint program that comes with all computers.

I dare you to work with multiple pictures and make them come out right using paint. Pfui!

In the time it took me to beat that stupid thing into submission I could have driven home, out them in my Corel program and made him a nice photo display with all of the information actually printed on the page, bound it in a nice folder and driven back to work.

Ridiculous.

But on the plus side, they kept Buck so busy between three and four house that I had the yard mostly to myself most of the night. That was kind of cool. And I got to track mud all over central security while I was doing my paperwork. I'll bet the porters are going to be cussing me in the morning.

Hee hee hee!

So while I did Look On The Bright Side and I did get to play with my flashlight, I never got any grilled shrimp nor a hamburger today. Win some, lose some.

Hmmm.... And tomorrow is National Date-Nut Bread Day.

I don't think I'll be getting any of that, either.

Pfui.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I'm Not A Mushroom!

Even though I'm kept in the dark and fed bull-hockey most of the time.

And today I really was in the dark. I was up in the comm room. When I came in I heard that there was going to be an power outage from 3:00 to 4:00.

I thought to myself "Great. Right in the middle of shift change. Don't that just butter your biscuit?"

So I went up there and waited for the power to go out.

And waited.

And waited.....

Got all of the way through shift change and it was almost count time and I thought "Well, maybe they decided not to do it after all."

Five minutes before count..... the power went off.

Not everywhere. Just the control center complex (which includes the comm room), main production, 25 house, the admin building and laundry.

And not all of the power went out either. My lights were out but the hallway light was on. My battery chargers still worked as well as the fridge, the fan (which somebody stole back, thank the gawds) and the teevee.

So I could still watch the freaking weather channel. Yay!

I had already gotten my key inventory done but had to do the radio inventory by flashlight. That sucked something big and nasty. My head still hurts from that one.

They had bought us a couple of battery operated Coleman lanterns the last big power outage but they had left the batteries in them since then. One lantern was so corroded I had to pry the bottom open. It was completely toast. I managed to get the other one cleaned up and working so I had a little light to work by, at least.

The lights stayed out until about 5:45. They came back on while I was doing my evening check of the admin building by flashlight. When everything came back on it startled me and I almost fell down the dang stairs. Did an interesting little dance step there while trying to shield my eyes and keep my balance at the same time.

And of course, it's still hotter than crap up there in the comm room. I'm ready to bring a sledge hammer and bust us out a window.

I got a look at the chrono for tomorrow and they have me scheduled to be in 7 house with Frankensenseless and Miz Homey. I'm not sure if the Lt hates me or if he wants someone halfway responsible in between those two. Either way I'm sure he hates me.

So today was Games Day. Which explains alot. And tomorrow is many things. Lets see...

Look At The Bright Side Day, National Flashlight Day, National French Fried Shrimp Day, and Hamburger Day.

Gonna be a busy busy day I think.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

There's No Joy In Mudville

Well...... snap. I didn't get my job bid. Sausage got it.

Good for him. Pfui for me.

All I got in my mailbox was a letter from the Major stating:

I have received your application wherein you expressed an interest in the above position. However, you are ineligible to bid due to D2-2.22 Job Assignment Bids REV 11-22-09- Employees who have been awarded a post shall remain on the job assignment for a minimum of 180 days from the date of assignment before they are eligible to bid on another job assignment.

I kinda figured that was going to happen, but it still sucks.

So now I'm stuck for awhile longer. Hell, practically forever. In order to get a spot on the yard you pretty much have to wait until someone retires or dies.

Or falls in lust and wants different days off.

It could happen.

Aw hell. Tomorrow is National Roast Suckling Pig Day.

And me without a suckling pig in the freezer. Snap!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Slippery As @&%!*!!

The freezing rain finally ended and it got up into the low thirties this afternoon. People were saying "Oh, it's all going to melt off and everything will be fine."

Yeah. Wrong.

It only stayed above thirty for a couple of hours. And only the stuff in direct sunlight (if there was any) melted and then froze again.

Doing the Del Norte walk was a real adventure. The area between the fences is full of gravel. Well, rocks, anyway. And they all had a nice coating of ice.

I imagine if you went to a hockey arena and poured a million ball bearings on the ice and then tried to walk on them it would be like that.

I was pleased and amazed and somewhat startled that I made it all the way around without breaking an arm or a hip or something. But it was a near thing. Actually, four of the zones I set off were when I slipped and grabbed the fence to keep from falling.

I don't think I got an accurate survey of the lights because I had to watch where my feet were at all times. If I had to write down a light out I had to come to a complete stop or I would have ended up flat on my back.

And let me tell you, walking like that for any length of time is hard on your hips and back. Oy, I'm not getting any younger!

We had the expected bazillion call-outs today. Maybe a quarter of day shift and about as many of our shift didn't make it in because of the ice. That was bad news. We ended up keeping alot of day shift people over to cover ours.

And I made it out again without being held over. I must have done something good in a past life.

Do I already cover what tomorrow will be? I can't remember. In any case it's both Underdog Day and national Maple Syrup Day. Just in case you were wondering.

Maybe that's why my house smells like pancakes. It's very strange.

It's Ice To Be Home

I wrote the following post while I was up in the com room last night:

Let's see.... Where to begin?

There were so many fun things tonight.

We've all known for a week that bad weather was on its' way in tonight and tomorrow. I packed a little extra food and extra smokes and extra Tylenol in my lunch box before I left the house.

Freezing rain. And the drizzle started just as I left the house. Lovely.

When I got to the comm room there was a geek from the IT department installing a new camera system for the visiting rooms. They tore out all of the VCR's and the little gadgets to control the cameras and replaced it with some computer driven thing that nobody has had any training on at all.

And of course when they installed the new gadget the computer promptly crashed, wiping out the whole system. The little geek was re-installing everything. And he didn't know enough about the system to reprogram it himself. He was on line with tech support the entire time.

This is the guy who is supposed to teach us how to use the thing. Hoo boy.

He was using his cell phone as a speaker phone instead of holding it to his ear like a normal human while Brother D and I were trying to handle shift change and the mass exodus from everybody leaving because the weather was getting bad. He kept whining because we were making too much noise.

I really wanted to show him the optimal place to insert that cell phone.

One thing I discovered right after I got in was that one of the banks of our radio chargers had died. I asked the day shift guy and he said "I have no idea when that happened. Oh well." We could barely keep up with charging the radios as it was and now we're down a whole charger. Nice...

Some time since the last time I was in there the warden had come in and taken away the remote for the teevee in the comm room. We are now locked on the weather channel and pretty much nothing else. At first I was pissed at the warden about it. Then I found out that a certain comm room officer (no names mentioned) was sitting at the desk with his feet up watching Andy Griffith when the audit team came through. He didn't even get up when they came in and that's why we lost our teevee channels.

I wish the warden would have removed him rather than our teevee channels. It would have been nicer for everybody. I'm still not real happy with either of them right now.

So the freezing rain started and everything gets real icy real quick. I hear rumors they are going to shut down the highway. Here I am thinking "Snap. I'm not going to get to go home tonight and might not be able to get there even if they let me!"

I toddle out to the parking lot to get my coveralls, just in case I need them. All the way out to the truck and back I'm doing the Oh-Snap-It's-Slippery-Tango. I'm sure it was real amusing had anybody been watching.

I get through the first three hours of my shift and I'm ready to go out in the P-car. My pockets are loaded with snacks and water and I have a fresh cup of coffee to take out with me. I call Brother D to come to the front. Next thing I know he's on channel two. He calls Sgt Puddle and says "Sarge, I got a problem." Model-A and I look at each other and say "He's stuck."

It seems that when he tried to come back around the corner to come back up here, he slid off of the road and munched into the fence around the water tower and was stuck in the ditch. Just slid smooth off the road. Brother D is one of the most careful people who works here. He wasn't hot-rodding. he said there was nothing he could do. The car was determined to slide into that fence and he couldn't convince it otherwise.

After all of that I ended up missing my turn in the P-car. Rats!

I was really looking forward to it, you know.

We had to get the grounds guy to come in with his big salt spreader and de-ice the outer road and pull the P-car out of the ditch. Him and his dump truck salt spreader does the whole perimeter road twice with a good layer of salt.

I looked at Sgt Puddle and said "We all knew this was coming for a week now. Why didn't he do that this afternoon before it got so bad? Maybe we wouldn't have wrecked a P-car if he had!"

Sgt Puddle looks at me with a straight face and says "We in the DOC are reactive, not proactive!"

Yup.

So I'm sitting here now wondering if I will make it home tonight or not. Whether I will have to stay or if I'll end up in a ditch somewhere between here and there. At this point there's just no telling.

And that was all I wrote there.

Out of the 68 people on midnight shift, 35 of them called in. I was startled when I got relieved. The parking lot was nasty and I almost slid downhill trying to get out of my spot. I drove about 30 mph all the way home and managed to make it without too much trouble. But it was a long tense drive.

So today is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day. Yum.

Tomorrow is both Underdog Day and National Maple Syrup Day.

I'm thinking french toast. How about you?

Ice Delay

You know what? It's 12:20 am and I just go home from work.

It's been a long night and a long drive home.

I've got things to say, but I'll say them in the morning.

Tomorrow will be Chocolate Covered Anything Day.

Bring me some. I'll need the energy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just A Nifty Gadget

I don't know if I've written about this thing before or not. Heck, I've written about so much silly snit over the last two years that I've completely lost track.

But this thing, especially in the winter time, comes in real handy.

If you can't tell, it's a boot dryer.

I'd never seen nor heard of one before until one day when I got a Sportsman's Guide catalog in the mail. And when I read the description I decided that I just had to have one. It was, I believe, only about forty bucks at the time.

You can have heat or no heat. In the summer time, I put my boots on there after work with no heat just to air them out after having my stinky feet in them all day long.

When it's wet I get home and put them on there for twenty minutes or so to get them drying out so they finish drying by morning. And it has extra things so you can put wet gloves, hats, etc on there to dry them out without putting them in the dryer and shrinking them.

And when it's real cold outside (like today), before I get dressed for work I put them on there with the heat for about ten minutes so my boots are toasty warm when I put them on.

Man, that feels nice!

And they say that using one of these things will make your footwear last a lot longer.

I don't know about that. I'm so hard on shoes and boots I only get about a year at best out of a pair.

But I think if you live anywhere that it's hot, or cold, or wet, then you should have one of these things.

But then, that's just my opinion. Take it or leave it.

Hmm.... let me check the list.

It says here that tomorrow is National Lemon Cupcake Day.

I can't recall that I have ever eaten a lemon cupcake in my life. Of course I never had bouillabaisse, either, so I guess I'm batting zero for holidays so far.

I'm still waiting for National Steak And Macaroni & Cheese Day.

It's gotta come up one of these days! I'm waiting!

Attention: Superheroes!

If you are looking for the perfect place to buy the perfect gift for the superhero in your life, then I have just the place for you.

The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company of Brooklyn, N.Y. (obviously) has got everything your super might ever need, all in one store!

Capes!

Costumes!

Sidekick placement services!

Alternate identities!

Secret lairs!

Antimatter!

And much more! All in one central location! And most things are very well priced.

And all purchases go to aid the 826NYC Foundation which encourages kids 6-18 to write and to develop writing skills. A very worthy cause in my eyes, and one worth supporting.

So if you have a superhero or even a budding superhero in your family, go check the place out. I know it's probably too late for Christmas, but hey! There's always next year. And don't forget those upcoming birthdays and such!

And it's for a good cause!

And just in case you were wondering, I spent today, which was Ice Cream And Violins Day (???) in the bubble in 3 house where absolutely nothing happened. Well, me and TJ had a good time chatting about zombies, but that was about the extent of the excitement.

Tomorrow, which happens to be National Bouillabaisse Day (I know the word, going to have to look it up) I am scheduled to be out on the yard again. Wheee!!!! I think it might get up to 20 degrees tomorrow! A heat wave!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Split Personality

I got tired and distracted last night and this morning I realized that I completely forgot to post anything.

Last night I was in a 2-10 spot in 4 house. Just me and Gums and Sgt Duck. It was Gums first time at running a bubble and he was slow as hell about it, which was a little frustrating.

But I figured the best thing to do was be patient and let him get some experience. I do suspect that some of his awkwardness was that he was being purposefully obstinate in hopes we would get fed up and take over for him.

That didn't work. Duck said he was running the bubble and that was that.

We survived. It's all good.

I have come to the conclusion that I am socially schizophrenic. Or something weird and pshrinky like that. Don't know if there's a clinical label for it.

When I'm at work, I try to be friendly to everybody I meet. Well....... mostly everybody, anyway. There are a few people there (as far as staff goes) that I try to avoid spending time with at all costs.

But for the most part I tend to be very gregarious and sociable as much as I can. I would say without hesitation that when I am at work I have at least a hundred real good friends. I would happily work and chat and spend eight or more hours with at least 99% of my co-workers and have a real good time about it.

Hell, I've even been known to spend an extra hour hanging out in the parking lot after just to shoot the breeze and decompress a little bit. Really need that some days.

But once I drive out of the lot everything changes.

Once I get home and change into my "civilian" clothes, I become a hermit.

I'm off in my own little world doing my own little things and I don't want to see or talk to anybody unless I really have to. I rarely get out and when I do it's to get what I need and go right back into my comfort zone.

I don't go hang out in the clubs and bars where I know alot of my friends go. Tonight is the prison Christmas party in town and I'm not going there either. I detest crowds and I don't like being around people who have had too much to drink (being a semi-reformed drinker) and I sure as hell aint gonna willingly go into a crowd of drinkers for amusement.

I'd dive into a crowd of inmates to stop an assault but I wouldn't walk into a crowd of partiers to say hello to somebody.

Alot of folks at work know where I live and a few have stopped by now and then. I always welcome them with a smile and enjoy the visit.

But it's strange having other people in my house. And especially after this last debacle with the foster kids (which is over and will never never be repeated in my lifetime) I've grown increasingly uncomfortable with people in my house.

I wonder now and then if I should talk to somebody about that or if it's natural.

For now, I'm just going to go with it. It's quiet in here and I like it.

According to the list, today is National Noodle Ring Day. I guess we all better have Spaghetti-O's for dinner. And tomorrow is Ding-A-Ling Day. Boy, I know a boatload of those! I guess it's their day.

Friday, December 10, 2010

It Started With A Bang

But only ended with a shiver. It was a windy cold night.

It was supposed to be one of the warmest days of the week but that cold wind whipped on down and made it like sub-arctic outside. Brrr!

Tonight was Goosey's last night out on the yard. Sunday he starts in B-dining.

First thing on shift he has to go up to medical and relieve someone from day shift who is sitting with a couple of inmates in the dentists office. I figure no big deal. I can do the inner perimeter check by myself.

Sgt Uncle T and I barely get to the shack when we get a call to come to B-rec ASAP.

Oh well Ho Dee Frickin' Doo Dah Day! I hate those calls.

We get down there and the rec guy is pointing to an inmate walking away. We stop him and I recognize the dude right off the bat. One of the biggest drug mules on the camp. Any time drugs are mentioned on this side, this dudes name gets mentioned.

I can already hear the whole script in my mind even before the rec guy opens his mouth. They saw this guy pass something to another inmate and before they could get in there, the other guy put it in his mouth and swallowed it.

So I get to go strip out the mule and Sarge takes the other guy. I find nothing, but put him in cuffs anyway. Take him up to central. Sarge is already gone with the other one.

I take the mule up to central and pass him off to Captain Rogaine. I say "Here he is. There is nobody on the yard so I'm going outside." And i run back out the door before he can protest.

They end up locking up the mule on suspicion and putting the other guy on dry cell to see if he poops anything out. Fun fun!

Goosey ends up spending more time doing paperwork and escorts and details than he spends on the yard all night long.

If nothing else, it gave him an interesting last night.

Ummm..... Wow. Tomorrow is the Festival For The Souls Of Dead Whales.

Man, who compiled this list?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

That Really Hit The Spot!

I know I already posted today, but I just had to put in a note about something really nice.

I had posted early because I knew it was my night in the Com room and nothing usually happens to me up there.

But something nice did happen. And something stupid right after that, but I'll get to it.

I had swapped out with Brother D and was out for my two hours in the P-car when the Watcher came out front and motioned me over. He told me that Miz Twang (his sweetie) was out running errands and she was stopping by momentarily with a treat for me.

And here she comes tooling into the parking lot and gets out of her car and brings me a 24 oz dark brewed fresh coffee from the gas station down the street.

I stuck my nose down to the little sippy hole in the lid and it was like I had been transported to a brazilian rain forest. Sweet nectar of the gawds!

If I hadn't been buckled into the seat I would have fallen at her feet and purred like a cat.

The usual crew in the control center doesn't drink coffee and I don't have a pot in the com room so I'm used to doing without on my Wednesdays.

They are so nice to me. If they had a cult, I'd join it if she would just bring me coffee like that all the time.

Of course now instead of drowsing and waiting for my two hours to end I'm buzzing like a hummingbird out there in the car. Hyper-alert. If anybody had tried to escape just then I probably would have torn them to shreds with my bare hands without even thinking about the shotgun.

So I'm driving back behind the predator unit where they are building their new halfway house (snort) and I see back in a dark corner a whole bunch of junk piled up against the fence on the inside.

Hey, that's not cool!

I call Sgt Puddle and he comes out to look. It's mostly tarps and some carpet and stuff. But it's piled almost five feet high against the fence. So it turns our twelve foot high fence into a seven foot high fence. And right after we get a look at the pile of stuff I glance over and there. leaning up against their new building, is a twenty foot extension ladder!

Great googly moogly! With that stuff I could have been over both fences in less than ten minutes, tops. What a bunch of idiots!

Sgt Puddle goes to call the guys at the predator unit and the dude laughs and says "Hyuck hyuck! Yeah, I guess I should move that stuff, huh?"

Whoo! I don't care. I have coffee. Let 'em climb over! I'm ready!

Doofuses.

So tomorrow is Pastry Day. I think I said that already. More coffee!

Lost & Found

The other night the page with my list of national holidays disappeared from the web. I don't know if their server crashed or what. It just wasn't there anymore. So I had to go searching for alternate lists.

Today I found one that seemed to be an identical list so I copied and pasted page by page the whole thing into a word file, just in case. And I found another file with some other alternative holidays in it that I will be incorporating into the list. Hopefully it will be a little more comprehensive.

What a pain in the butt.

And while doing my morning browse through the comics and weird news stuff I scrolled through the headlines of the local online newspaper and saw a name I recognized.

There was a wobblehead we had a few years back that was almost legendary for some of his weird antics. One afternoon he stripped naked outside of B-chapel and wandered into the middle of a muslim ceremony taking place there.

That very nearly caused a riot and he very nearly lost his life. I wasn't there that day but I heard it was spectacular.

So it seems the other day this same wobblehead (who had been released from prison a couple of years ago) was in court for a mental health commitment hearing. They were either trying to put him back in the nut hatch or keep him there, they weren't specific. It seems he didn't much care for the way the proceedings were going so he ran from the courthouse, stole a car and drove it into the next county where he was finally apprehended.

According to the newspaper, we will be getting him back for another five years. Oh boy.

And it sounds like he hasn't changed all that much. If he comes back to Raccoon City, he'll be back in the Hive in no time. I don't envy the crew down there that chore. He was a handful.

So according to my new list, today is Take It In The Ear Day (???) as well as Brownie Day and tomorrow is National Pastry Day. Hmm.. do we have a national pastry?

Follow The Bouncing Ball

It was my turn to be the bouncing ball tonight. It happens.

I had been scheduled to be on B-yard. So I dressed for the yard. When i get in the Lt says "Go do the mail run, then go to B-yard."

Okey-dokey. I can do that.

For some reason today every time i tried to go through a door today there were two people in the doorway blocking me. And it was always someone who outranked me so I couldn't just knock them down to get through.

Well, I could have...... but, you know.

So I get the mail run done and go back up to get yard keys. I stop by central to pick up my lunch box and the Lt tells me "Go to main production. The Singing Cowboy is sick and has to go home."

Okey-dokey. I go over to main production and he's not there. There are two other officers already there. What the snap?

Just about the time I'm thinking the Lt has made a mistake, he calls me on the radio and says "Go to A-dining. That's where he's at."

Aw... snap. Okay. So I trot over to dining and sure enough, there he is. Trade keys with him and off he goes.

This is my third time in A-dining in seven years. I hope the inmates know what they're doing, because I don't have a clue. Sure enough, between them and the cooks, they kept me from screwing anything up.

Get done there and call the Lt and ask where next. He says "Back to B-yard."

Back up front to get my yard keys once more.

All night long I kept waiting for the call to send me somewhere else, but it never came.

There's a handmade sign up in the yard shack. It says "Driver wanted. B-yard. Sunday thru Thursday." Funny stuff.

On the way out I ask the Lt what my position number is. He gives me a funny look and says "Are you applying for that driver position?"

Yeah, funny stuff.

I'm going to drop a slip on it tomorrow when I get a few minutes.

Wish me luck.

At least tomorrow and Thursday I know where I'll be ahead of time.

Well, cool! Tomorrow is National Brownie Day! A holiday you can really sink your teeth into...

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm Not Easy To Please Sometimes

Since I was out sick Friday, I remembered to call last night and ask where I was supposed to be today. Lt. Pinocchio said I was on B-yard.

So I dressed up for the yard.

A few minutes after I had gotten here he had me sounding like that goat on the Aflac commercial.

"I put you up in the control center."

"E-e-e-eh!"

"Or you can swap with TireGuy down in 30 house."

"Na-a-a-h!"

"Or you can swap with Sausage and work the library."

"Na-a-a-h!" I thought about the options for a few minutes and recalled the weather report.

"I'll work the control center."

It wasn't so bad this time. I wasn't quite as nervous as I was the first time and I actually managed to work the back panel the entire night without hitting the clean screen button once and locking myself out. I was so proud.

Spent the night up there with Sgt Puddle and Miz Twang. We had a pretty good time. I suspect that I should learn that nefarious count sheet, just in case the world decides to come to an end and they put me up there on the desk.

Oooooh, that just wouldn't be pretty.

Goosey's bid is up already. I'm going to drop a bid on it. By the time they come down I will still be twenty days shy of actually being eligible to bid. I'm hoping nobody notices that. And it stands that since it's the middle of winter maybe nobody else will want it.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Tomorrow is of course Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and Cotton Candy Day as well. Let us raise a sticky hand in salute to all of our veterans.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Finally! A Genius!!!

I have met so many stupid sta-hoo-pid criminals in my line of work that I was beginning to despair of the lot of them.

I was beginning to lose some of my sense of magic about the whole evil genius mastermind thing.

Then I ran across this story completely by accident today and I just had to post about it. It restored some of my faith in criminals.

Outside the zoo in Bristol, England is a parking lot that will hold about 150 cars and 8 buses.

For the last 25 years the parking lot fees have been taken and managed by a rather nondescript man who everyone recalls as being "very pleasant."

He was charging 1.40 pounds for each car and 7.00 pounds per bus for parking.

Then one day after 25 years of coming to work and never missing a day, the little man doesn't show up for work.

Nobody has a name or a phone number to call to ask about him so the zoo administration calls the city council and asks for another parking attendant.

The city council says the zoo parking lot is the zoos problem and they should provide their own attendant.

The zoo claims the parking lot attendant was a city employee.

The city does some research and claims that the attendant has never been on their payroll.

It turns out that this guy just showed up with a ticket machine one day about 25 years ago and started charging parking fees, raking in about 560 pounds a day for the last 25 years. The equivalent of about 7 million pounds over the span of time.

And apparently when he either decided he had enough money or that he'd been doing it long enough, he decided to retire.

And nobody even has a clue what his name is.

Freaking brilliant!

So granted, he's no Dr. Moriarty, but he devised and executed a plan which allowed him to live in comfort and rake in extra dough for very little work and got away with it clean.

And did anybody get hurt? No.

And did he really steal anything from anybody? Not really.

Of course, they would call that "theft by deception" and make it a felony here.

But in my books, I'll have to tip my hat to him, wherever he may be.

Today was National Sacher Torte Day. I had to look that one up. It's apparently some sort of chocolate pie/cheesecake thing from Vienna invented back in 1832.

Tomorrow is National Gazpacho Day and Mitten Tree Day. I'll let you look those up for yourselves.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Taking Another Sick Day

I know I just took off a sick day not too long ago. But I can't help it.

Woke up this morning running a fever of 102.4. Luckily now it's down to 99.8.

Felt pretty yucky all day long.

I know they are going to say I called out just because I was scheduled to work down in the Hive today.

I didn't really want to go down there but I would rather have worked there than felt like this.

So anyway, I'm going back to bed, I believe.

Tomorrow is Wear Brown Shoes Day. Don't forget.

Planning An Escape

Well! It finally happened. Not an actual escape, but somebody seriously planning one.

I was startled.

It seems they found a note on an offender down in the wobblehead house with details of his escape plan and the fact that he might be in cahoots with one or two other offenders in a different housing unit.

When they searched his cell they found a rope made out of torn and twisted bed sheets blackened with shoe polish. A pair of Levi's jeans and a note with a phone number on it stating "Call this number when you get out." There were two quarters taped to the note.

Obviously, off to the Hive he went. And they managed to identify at least one of the others implicated and locked him up, too.

So I got to be doubly surprised. One that someone was attempting to escape for the first time in seven years that I have been here and two that we actually caught them beforehand.

So with all that in mind it was an interesting but somewhat uneventful night.

Unless you count the walk that I sent Sgt Uncle T on.

I'd been ailing all day. Think I'm coming down with the flu again. Nasty headaches, chills and sweats. Sore throat. The whole nine yards. Uncle T was letting me stay in the shack in the warm as much as possible.

While we were sitting there I asked "Those gates between the houses. Do we have keys for them? Out into no-mans land?"

He nodded and said "Yeah. I think so. Why?"

I just shrugged and said "No particular reason, really. But I was just thinking. If I was planning an escape, I'd do it right about now. And I'd be right out there, where it's darkest."

He jumped up and looked at where I was pointing and said "I hate you." And started walking that way, all the while saying "I freaking hate you." over his shoulder.

So I stayed in the shack and he walked all the way down to 6 house and through the gate and out behind it, calling the p-car on the radio to tell them he was there so he wouldn't get shot at. And he walked all the way behind 6 and around to 7 and back, then moseyed back up to the shack.

Since I'd made him work so hard, I stirred up a cup of coffee with two sugars just for him and gave it to him when he got back.

He was crabby with me most of the night after that. Well, that and other things.

We found out today that Goosey has bid off the yard and is going to be working in B-dining. Something about having the same days off as his squeeze.

And here I am about a month shy of being able to bid on another job. So somebody else might end up with that spot. And full time spots on the yard are difficult to come by.

I'm going to bid on it even if they tell me no. What else can I do? Maybe, because it's the middle of winter nobody will really want it and I'll get it by default. Who knows? Depends on if I'm on the Majors crap list that week or not.

I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Tomorrow is National Roof Over Your Head Day. That's always a good thing to have. A sound respectable holiday a man could get his whole family involved in. I like that! I'm Darev2005 and I approve this holiday.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Freaking Pneumonia Weather!

We have steam heat in the prison. And no controls over it.

It's either on or off. No happy medium.

Freeze to death when it's off, and sweat when it's on.

There is no ventilation up in the comm room. It's upstairs with no windows or cross wind or anything. So all the heat rises right to the top.

And our new warden, in his infinite wisdom, has had all of our fans removed.

When an inmate gets out of prison and leaves property behind, like fans and radios that they don't want to take with them, historically, they have gone to the housing units or whoever needs them. Otherwise they would have just sat in a storage building until they rusted away and then on to the dump.

But we could use them and so we did.

Our new warden didn't much care for this practice and had all of the fans and radios removed.

We had one big state issue fan that blew way too hard and was real noisy that we scrounged up to keep some air going in there but they came and took it to try to cool down the telephone exchange room which has been overheating for years.

There are no people in that room, only equipment.

I guess that equipment is worth more to the state than any of us are.

So I get to stay in a 90 degree room one night a week and sweat my butt off then go freeze for two hours out in the p-car.

And if I get sick, they will think I'm slacking just to get an extra day off.

What a wonderful place.

So tomorrow is National Fritters Day! Yee-haw! Hey Maw! Warm up the fryin' kettle!

Taking Care Of Things


Had to go to Wally World after work tonight and pick me up a new pair of boots. While I was on A-yard out in the rain last night I discovered that my right boot had a wee hole in it and water was seeping in.

Not a good thing to have this time of year. Plus the soles were just wearing out and when i did the Del Norte walk (as I did tonight and probably will again on thursday) I could feel every single rock I stepped on.

And there are some pretty good sized rocks out there between the fences, let me tell you.

I know I should have rousted my lazy butt out and gotten them this morning, but I'm a real bear in the mornings. Just ask my wife. Or any of those poor suckers who had to work with me on day shift. I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination.

So I went tonight. And luck was with me, as I did find a pair more or less my size in the first store. Last time I went to find my boots I ended up driving about forty miles up the road and tried about ten stores before I found a pair in my size.

I should have an easy night on my feet tomorrow, as it's my day in the com room and p-car so i won't have to walk very much. I can get the new boots broken in before my next night out on the yard.

So aside from taking Goosey's turn at the long walk tonight, we did pretty much nothing. Which was amazingly cool because it was bitter cold outside. I don't know what the mean temperature was, but there was a stiff wind that had some serious teeth to it.

At one point St Francis and I and Sgt Uncle T were all sitting in the shack giving each other a hard time about this and that. And Sgt Uncle T exploded and said "By Gawd, you guys are going to show me some respect!"

So I got out my notebook and a sharpie and I did.

He deserved more than that, but it was the best I could come up with at the time.

And he did ask for it, after all.

Today was Biggest B's last day with the department. They had a little ceremony with cake and gave him a plaque. You'd think after more than 25 years working your tail off for this place you'd get more than that.

We will miss the heck out of him around here.

Tomorrow is both National Pie Day and Eat A Red Apple Day. I figure if you eat an apple pie you'll be covered on both bases. Why not?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Working In A Junkyard

We work in a prison that doubles as a junkyard.

Sure, we're hard on stuff. It's a prison. Somebody should be making tough things to last in a place like this.

Sgt LB told me one while he was in Iraq that his laptop accidentally got dragged underneath his HMMWV for twenty miles and when he got to a safe place and drug it out from underneath the vehicle, all he had to do was blow the sand out of it and it worked fine.

Why can't we get stuff made like that?

Well, because we're a low priority podunk prison in a mostly bankrupt state, that's why. So we have to settle for whatever used junk they can scrape together for free or less. As with most government agencies, we get what the lowest bidder offers because that's the way it's done.

In the meantime, all of the cheap junk they bought us is falling apart as fast as it's getting shipped in. I think we got some fifty new microphones for our radios a couple of months ago and already most of them are broken. Why? Because they were cheap to begin with.

And, we're hard on stuff.

Working in a prison isn't brain surgery or rocket science. Which is a bloody good thing around here. There would be alot of accidentally lobotomized people making things blow up if it were.

But even the simple stuff..... the things that could get fixed and fixed right with one guy and a tool belt can't ever get fixed. You notice something is broken and you put in a work order. Then you wait and wait and wait..... and while you're waiting, the thing gets more broken.

And by the time they get around to fixing it..... "Well, it's too broken. And we can't afford to replace it. You'll just have to do without. There's no money."

I'll bet the governor and his staff aren't sitting around in government surplus reject chairs in front of desks held together with duct tape. And I'll bet if his stuff gets broken it gets fixed mighty fast!

The rate things are going there's going to be nothing left but the fences soon.

And even they don't look too healthy.

Ahhh..... Tomorrow is Stay At Home Because You're Well Day.

"Sorry. Can't come in. Feel too good! Might be out all week! I'll be back when I feel worse, okay?"

I can see that going over big....

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Night At The Opera

For my friday they gave me a 2-10 spot down in the wobblehead house. That aint bad.

I was really hoping I was going to get to work with Sgt Miz P, since it's her house. But alas, Sgt Archer is still out in the woods playing "Deer Whisperer" so they pulled Miz P to the yard.

Snap!

It wasn't too bad, tho. I had Bubbles and the Grif and PB from the yard came in and hung out most of the night.

Miz Bubbles is a riot to work with and she laughs like a chicken on crack. And she does this often. She is with laughing like the Mad Bomber is with ranting. Just poke her with a stick and she can go for hours.

There had been this mention of singing opera earlier in the night and I didn't know exactly what they were talking about.

Until count time, that is. Just as we were coming through the crossover door from C-wing into D-wing she turns and lets out this note over my shoulder reminiscent of some of the note Jo Anne Worley used to do on Laugh In. If you are old enough to remember that show, you'll know what I mean.

For a second or two I probably looked a bit like the guy in those old Memorex ads.

I'm pretty sure she almost blew my hat off. And maybe the rest of my hair with it.

I said "Good Gawd woman! Sounds like someone stepped on a snake!"

She just laughed (go figure) and went back to counting.

I think my ears are still ringing.

So tomorrow is Pins And Needles Day. Ooooo... I'm all tingly....

Hosed

Oh yeah. I got hosed. Big time. And by somebody I had just done something nice for.

You can't trust anybody around this place, lemme tell you. If there had been a petard handy, I would have been hoist right up by it. Luckily for me, there's a severe lack of petards in this area.

Since it was Thanksgiving, the wife made up a couple batches of cookies and sent in two little buckets full of them in with me. One of them was for me and the crew and whoever happened to wander by and the other went up to the Lieutenants office.

She remembers working with them and still likes most of them. And heck, it never hurts to suck up just a little now and then, right?

So after a cold wet icy rainy night (I'll get back to that later) I end up doing count and relief in 6 house. While I'm counting Sgt Major taps on the window and shows me a note to call the Lt's office. I rolled my eyes. Figured I was going to get stuck working a double or something.

I call up there and Lt Gerber says "Hey, your cookie bucket is up here by the computer. Don't forget to pick it up. They were good, by the way, thanks!"

I told him no problem and said as how I was glad to have a place to take stuff like that when the wife gets in the baking mood. I said "If I ate all of the stuff she baked all of the time, I could be a captain!"

It's a long running inside joke. But many of our captains are a bit larger than life sized.

A few moments after I hang up the phone rings again. This time it's Captain DoubleM and she does not sound happy. "What this about eating all of those cookies and getting big as a captain?"

I stood there with my mouth flapping uselessly for a few seconds and she can't take it anymore and starts laughing. She tells me Gerber fronted me out and told her what I said so she couldn't resist making me squirm.

Sucker rolled on me. No more cookies for him! The rotten dog.

We got a little bit of ice and a few snow flurries today. Not enough to stick or get bad, but the wind had a definite bite to it.

When I went to do my Del Norte check, the sallyport gate had frozen shut and wouldn't open. So I had to go around and come in from the other side and take the torch with me. A good thing I took it because all of the gates were frozen shut and I had to heat them all up to get the keys to work. One gate I had to torch open twice because it had refrozen shut by the time I got back to it. What a pain.

And of course the doors on my truck had frozen shut as well when it was time to leave. Thought I was going to wrench my arms out of their sockets trying to get inside.

Tomorrow is Shopping Reminder Day.

No, I think I'll just have to pass on that one, thank you. No black friday shopping for me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's That Time Again

It's that time of year when the weather starts to get really interesting again. I always say if the weather isn't trying to kill you, then it's just another ho-hum day.

Around these parts, the weather could get convicted for felonious assault with intent to kill.

This evening a pretty thick fog rolled in. Visibility dropped to under 100 yards. So we went into a code 17. That's when we put out an extra p-car and divide the zones into three parts. And instead of just answering alarms like we usually do, you check all of your zones and report in every fifteen minutes.

Kind of a pain in the buh-tocks, but it was something different for a change. And driving around in that fog was making me a little paranoid. If I was an inmate intent on escape, that's the kind of thing I would have been waiting for.

Luckily it only lasted a couple of hours before it lifted and blew away.

Of course now there's severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings just south of here and possibly heading this way.

Ayup! Theah's a stahm comin' Mahtha! I can just hear it now.....

Well, for those of you who are going to be out and about with family tomorrow, have a happy Thanksgiving. And for those of you (like me) who are going to be at work, you try and have a happy one too, the best you can. Also, besides being Thanksgiving, tomorrow is also National Parfait Day.

If I could just remember what the snap a parfait was, I'd be fine.

Well, whatever it is, have a happy one! And let's be careful out there....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Taking A Sick Day

I finally went to see my doctor again. And he was, as usual, most accommodating.

Of course, he had to give me a ration of grief over over-stressing my arm again. I had to make many promises to take it easier this time.

So no more hat racks for awhile, I guess. My projects will just have to lie fallow in the shop for the time being.

He gave me another steroid shot in the elbow which hurt like crazy. But that only last for a moment. Now it's just a dull ache.

He also gave me Demerol to get me through the pain of the steroid freeze. I can tell that if I hadn't taken a pain killer, that my elbow would be extremely painful right about now.

That's the good thing about pain killers, I guess. It still hurts, but I don't care. I am severely buzzed.

You can probably tell. If you could see me typing this you would probably laugh as I sit here trying to force words to come out of my fingers. It aint easy, let me tell you.

But tomorrow, if history serves, my elbow will be right as rain, at least for the next few weeks. All I have to do is get through tonight. At this point that doesn't seem to be a problem.

Tomorrow should be interesting. It's Use Even If Seal Is Broken Day.

What the hey. Live a little!

As for me, I'm going to take a nap.

Proximity

There are some things that just shouldn't be mixed.

Or, I should say, there are certain people who shouldn't be mixed with me.

That idiot I was paired with tonight being the prime example. I've written about him before and once gave him some sort of clever nickname which I can't remember right at the moment. I'll just go ahead and call him Frankenjerk for the time being. It fits him.

At least I didn't really have to work with him. I only saw him every two hours. The Lt stuck me in the P-car/Sallyport tonight. And Frankenjerk was the other half. I swapped off with him every two hours. Thankfully, I only had to interact with him for a few minutes.

Aside from being thoroughly annoyed the night was pretty much uneventful.

Well, pretty much.

One of our microwave sensors developed a glitch and the zone alarm kept going off all night long. I think they called for us to check that zone at least fifteen times in eight hours. Though I do suspect that some of those calls were just yanking my chain. I made the mistake of letting Vinnie know it annoyed me so I think he added a few extra calls in just to twist my tail a little bit.

Ah well, it's all in good fun. And it gave me something to do while I was out there driving around doing nothing. It's too bad there wasn't something to do in my four hours in the sally port. Except for my ludicrous relief, I saw nobody and did nothing. Well, I did manage to read 196 pages of a book. That's something, I guess.

And while I was in the P-car I did get to see something a little bit startling. The back road of our perimeter is also a public road. And right behind the prison is the county jail. Occasionally we get to see somebody who has just gotten released walking down the road.

I'm driving down the road in the dark and I see someone walking and he's waving something to get my attention. I slow down some distance away (like I'm supposed to) and look. Here's this idiot walking down the road wearing nothing but sneakers, yellow swim trunks and a hat waving his release papers at me.

He says "Hey, man. You got a phone I can borrow?"

I shake my head. "Nope."

Then he says "Can I bum a cigarette, then?"

I just shake my head and drive on. I stop just inside our property to make sure he keeps going down the road. What a doofus.

Yesterday my Dad calls me from Washington and says they are getting their first snow of the season. Yesterday here it was almost seventy degrees. Tonight we were under a tornado watch and a severe thunderstorm warning. It rained and flashed like crazy but that's all. But a few people said they saw hail on their way in to work this evening. I'm glad I missed it.

On the up side, I got hugs from two really good smelling girls on the way out tonight. Sometimes it really pays to be me.

Today was Start Your Own Country Day. I'm sorry I missed that one. But tomorrow is Cashew Day. Yay! I love them things. What better way to say "I love you" than with a bag of cashews? Get in line and get yours early! I'm sure the supplies won't last!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It Don't Mean A Thing If It Aint Got That Twang!

They stuck me out on A-yard tonight. It's almost like being in alien territory, I get over there so seldom.

And Sgt Buck does things his way. There's no doubt about that. And it's different. Not bad, just different.

I used to think Buck didn't like me much. Maybe he doesn't, but tonight he didn't let it show. And he actually thanked me for my help at the end of the night, which was different.

Last night was supposed to be my night to do the long walk. The Del Norte. But we had a new guy on the yard so Sgt Uncle T had him do it instead. Sweet!

But tonight I was in the Fireman's spot and it was supposed to be his night, so I got to do it after all. No big deal. It was a crispy cool night and the walk warmed me up nicely.

So I went in the sally port and banged on the first fence zone and wondered who would be answering the radio. And my luck! It was Miz Twang! Oh joy... She has the sweetest little southern drawl you ever heard over a radio. I trotted through the first eight zones just waiting for the right one.

Walk up to the fence and give it a good rap.

"Alarm zone naaahn!"

Hee hee hee! "Copy zone naaahn!" I can't resist making fun of her.

Hell, if I didn't poke fun she'd think I was mad or something.

So I finished the rest of the walk with a smile on my face. It was worth it.

We are so short of people right now I had to count and relieve down in four house. That means the instead of just helping count and going back to the yard, I had to stay there until midnights showed up.

I'm telling you, there's some people here you don't want to be trapped in a bubble with for an hour and a half. But I got lucky. The Bear ended up spending a month or so on our shift so I stayed down there with him until we were relieved. Me and him get along pretty well. We just swapped BS Hive stories the whole time.

Well! Checking the list I see that tomorrow is Absurdity Day. Sometimes it seems like every day working in a prison is like that. We go whole months at a time hip deep in absurdities.

Just remember, if you can't say something nice tomorrow, say something absurd!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Like Trading Cards

I should probably come right out and say right up front that if you are a woman you might be offended by the contents of this post.

But I'll also say that if you do get offended at me, then you're probably too sensitive.

I'm just saying.

Anyway, I found this note on the yard tonight. To me, it represents an insight into how inmates view and objectify women. Not all of the inmates, but a good proportion of them.

To some inmates, women are objects and nothing more. Things to be used until they no longer give what is wanted and then thrown away. But since nothing of any value whatsoever is thrown away in prison, they are traded like baseball cards or marbles for something else.

The only ones considered inviolate to this are mothers, grandmothers and daughters. But any other woman is fair game. In some places and with some inmates, nothing is sacred. They will sell you pictures of their sisters and children for the right price. And for a little extra, give you their phone numbers.

At any rate, this note has four names and phone numbers on it. All women, of course. I suspect from the way it was folded that whoever wrote it forgot there was another number at the top.

The note on the side says "Here is 3 b*tch."

The notation at the bottom reads: "I only got 2 more pic and it is my baby momma. I got some pic of my fam."

I've seen notes like this before. Mostly down in the Hive. The inmate writing them obviously wants to trade for something or owes somebody some debt and is offering these women and any pictures of women he knows (including his family pictures) as a trade.

You have to wonder what these women will think when some new inmate starts calling their number. But then, maybe they will end up with someone better than the guy who just gave them away like some third round draft pick from a farm team. Then again, maybe they're used to it, I don't know.

I remember a set of xeroxed pictured of some fairly attractive girl that made the round for well over a year. Every inmate who ended up with her picture swore it was his girlfriend.

She must have been one busy girl.

The whole thing is kind of sad and pathetic and a little sickening when you look real close at it. When women went from being wives and girlfriends and family to being nothing but "b*tches"..... Well, it's no wonder our society is a screwed up as a soup sandwich.

Oh dear. Tomorrow looks like a good day to stay in bed and hide under the covers. According to the list tomorrow is Have A Bad Day Day.

I sure hope nobody does. Or at least nobody I know.

Let's be careful out there.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Be Like Mongo!

Well, there I was.... Sitting in the P-car and thinking to myself "Well, at least it finally started raining. Now I'll have something to write about."

I was beginning to despair on having any inspiration at all.

Then Vinnie wandered out front for a smoke. So I drove up and parked next to him and we chatted for a moment or two.

And he told me this story and I couldn't resist it.

It seems that this weekend Vinnie and his new bride were driving somewhere out towards where there starts to be a bit of "country" around, if you know what I mean.

Around here you don't have to drive very far to find that.

Yeah.

Suddenly a deer leaps out into the road in front of the car. Vinnie slams on the brakes and swerves to try and miss it, but no such luck. Car and deer collide. The deer flies to the side of the road and the car pulls over.

They're okay. Don't worry. But the car and the deer were both a mess. The deer was laying there with four or five of it's legs broken. The cars grill was smashed along with the windshield.

The deer is laying on the side of the road and Vinnie goes over and stands with his foot on the deers neck to keep it from moving. He's a little pissed off.

So he gets out his cell phone to call his brother, who happens to be at deer camp at that moment and says "Hey, you want this deer? Come get me and the wife and the car and the deer and you can have the dang thing."

The deer starts trying to move around like it's going to get up and he starts yelling "Stay on the ground! Stay down, you son of a buck! Stay down!"

Like the deer could understand him.

It's Vinnie, what do you expect?

The thing slips out from under his foot and tries to get up. Vinnie hands the cell phone to his wifeling and leans down and punches the deer in the head and knocks it cold. Miz Vinnie is on the phone with somebody and she says "Oh my gawd! Vinnie just punched a deer in the head!"

So his brother gets free deer meat without firing a shot. Vinnie gets a broken car and a sore hand and (I suspect) a little more machismo respect from the missus.

And me, I get a story to tell.

At least it was better than the last deer hunting story I heard. One guy a few years back was on a first date with some girl when he hit a deer with his truck. After making sure she's all right, he gets out to look at the deer. It's pretty busted up, laying in the ditch and bleating in pain. He looks in his truck for a knife to cut it's throat with and can't find so much as a nail file. The only thing in there (since he cleaned it out for his date) was his bag of golf clubs.

So he beats the deer to death with a nine iron. I know it sounds cruel, but it was the only thing to do.

And, being a hunter and not wanting to waste the meat, he tosses in the back of the truck.

It turns out his new date was both a vegan and heavily into PETA.

They never did get a second date.

Well, that's all I have tonight. It rained. And I heard a good story.

Some nights are like that.

Oh my. I just checked the list and tomorrow is Occult Day. Great. And I work in a haunted prison. Ohhhhhh..... boy.