Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thinking Too Fast

I have a love/hate relationship going with my Wednesdays. It's my comm room day, as you may know.

I dig the comm room because there is usually very little work involved. Note the italics there. Toady there was a utility up there when I relieved and it didn't take me too long to notice that things were screwed up. It took a little bit later to fully understand how screwed up they were.

It was nothing major, mind you. Just little stuff that kept throwing me off.

There were maybe half a dozen radios in the wrong spots. 114 was in 141. 112 and 113 were reversed. 122 was in 222's spot. Things like that. They just kept throwing me off. Two of the key tabs got misplaced, so I had radios out and didn't know who had them so I had to go back through the sign out sheet page by page and try to read peoples handwriting. I got halfway through and could not find one radio anywhere. It was really really pissing me off.

Luckily for me, Sgt Puddle likes me and he came up to help. And a fresh set of eyes showed me where the mistake was. Made me feel like a dope. I got agitated and was thinking too fast and just couldn't see it.

Pfui. It made me say "Snap" a whole lot.

There was another staff assault down in the Hive today on day shift. Maybe the fifth or sixth one in two weeks, I think.

That little wobblehead Shmelvin (the one that says he's a CIA assassin and a black belt in karate, etc) was down there and played the unresponsive game. Just layed on the bunk and wouldn't move or respond.

So when they went in to make sure he was still alive, he started kicking and struck three staff with his feet before they could get him restrained. One hurt his wrist and had to go get an x-ray.

Then when they wrote him the violations he blamed it all on his "mental illness" and claimed he didn't know what he was doing.

The little jagoff doesn't have a mental illness as far as I'm concerned. His problems are all emotional. He does this stupid crap for attention. That's what got him in prison in the first place. Acting like a fool for the attention.

I don't think he's realized it yet, but he crossed a line that there is no going back from. He hurt a CO. Now every staff member here is going to switch from treating him like he's just a childish fool to treating him like he's a semi-dangerous snaphole. And the next time he even twitches towards anybody he's going to get slammed and hard. We used to just pretty much ignore him and his stupid little games.

Now he is the enemy and will be treated with extreme prejudice.

Personally, I hope he learns that lesson sooner than later.

Because if they press the charges, we're going to be stuck with his little punk butt for another 15-20 years.

Hopefully I will be long gone before they ever even think about letting him out again.

Okay, I'm getting myself all worked up again. Time to decompress and go to sleep.

Let's be careful out there.


I got lucky and they stuck me on the yard today. Just me and Goosey and Sgt Bumblebee. That turned out all right. I spent most of the night walking. Didn't mind it so much. We had two carts but there were some issues.

When we took from days they told us that maintenance had fixed the brakes on one of our carts. That was a good thing because that sucker took half the yard to stop before. We were considering buying an anchor or just finding a big rock on a rope to toss out when we needed to stop.

I'm actually surprised that nobody had gotten run over by that cart. Or that it hadn't rolled off down a hill by itself and burst into flames.

Okay, it's an electric golf cart and probably wouldn't burst into flames. But the way this place is run and the way things get jury rigged around here it would not surprise me in the least.

It turns out that instead of sticking on new brake pads, they just cranked down on the cable as tight as they could get it. It's so tight the brakes are half on before you even touch the pedal. So the motor is fighting gravity and the brakes at the same time. Burns up a full battery charge real quick.

And if you do happen to step on the brake pedal it immediately locks up the back wheels so you slide to a stop.

Plus it turns out that one of those freaking geniuses down in the maintenance shop just hand tightened the lug nuts on the drivers side wheel. It damn near came off while Bumblebee was driving down to the wobblehead house.

I thought he was going to have an aneurysm. He's a little excitable.

When I first signed on with the department, I wanted to work in maintenance. Of course I wasn't one of the founding fathers of this county and I don't drink beer with any of the movers and shakers here so I didn't get the job.

I became a CO instead. Now I'm pretty glad about it.

Even the bad stuff people say about me couldn't be half as bad as some of the stuff I have heard said about maintenance. That would really make me feel horrible if people talked that bad about me.

I have heard their motto is: "We aren't fast, but we're half-fast."

And I can sure believe it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just Not Right

Some things are just not right. Where you just want to slap somebody upside the head and say "What the snap were you thinking???"

Putting me in the control center is one of those things.

I haven't been up there since they put the new panels in and I didn't have a clue what to do. I think I opened the wrong thing about thirty times and I know I hit the "clean screen" button and froze up my screen at least four times.

Fortunately I didn't do anything monumentally stupid.

And luckily for all of us Vinnie and Sgt Puddle showed up for work or we would all have been screwed.

I spent the first hour trying to figure out the dang panels and wanting to chew my own foot off.

I spent a good part of the next seven hours watching those two try to poison themselves with Pixie Sticks.

That wasn't pretty at all. They were like preteens with a platinum Visa card in Willy Wonka's factory.

I will probably never eat a Pixie Stick again and I didn't even have any.

Not to say we didn't have a good time. Once I stopped stressing out about the panels, anyway. We spent a good amount of time talking about songs and movies and books. We have alot of the same tastes.

Which worries me just a little sometimes.

But I think it worries them too, so it all works out.

I think I would have enjoyed it more if there wasn't so many things to screw up. But you can really screw up in the control center and I don't want any part of that mess. Give me one of those simple straightforward "Talk him down or thump him" situations every time.

My brain can handle those better.

Give me 200 inmates to account for at one time and in one house. Not 3000 of them scattered all over the place.

No thank you.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


For once somebody did something funny on the radio and it was neither me nor St Francis.

I'm not going to say his name to protect the innocent. Even all of the nicknames I could come up with would give it away, so I'll just say "Officer X" and leave it at that.

X is a pretty good guy. A little new, but that wears off quickly in our little department. There's no in between, it seems. You are either new or you've been here forever.

I just contradicted myself. Imagine that.

At any rate (he continued, totally ignoring his contradiction) X was somewhere. I don't rightly recall which house he was in. I was up in the 1 house bubble with Miz Maybe and Yamaha when we hear X on the radio telling someone to go to channel two.

Yamaha catches it first and switches his radio over, just like almost everybody else on the camp.

X comes over the radio on channel two and says "Yeah, can you send somebody down here? I'm down in the bathroom and I can't get out."

Whoever it was he was calling says "Whaaaaaat?" and you can hear laughing in the background.

He comes back and says "I'm stuck in the bathroom and the door won't unlock!"

We of course lost it right then and there. It's a good thing nothing else happened for the next ten minutes or so because we would have been completely useless we were laughing so hard.

Poor X.

The next time I see him I'm going to have to shake his hand.

He made what was shaping up to be a pretty boring night worth while.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Don't Want To Be A Backseat Driver

Sounds like things are heating up again down in the Hive. At least with one knucklehead, anyway. He spit on Windows the other night and this evening he threw a cup of an "unknown substance" that he claimed to be a bodily fluid on LB, Drew and another officer.

Why he is still in one piece I do not know. I wasn't there. By my own choice. I elected to get out of there while I could.

But as soon as I heard about the incident (third hand, of course) my mind was full of "Well, I would have...." and " They should have...." and "Why didn't anybody..."

And I stopped myself. That was the same crap I used to get from the lieutenants and captains every time I got in a use of force. Not gonna go there.

Once I figured out that everyone was okay, then I just left it alone. It's their baby now and most of the time I am half a camp away.

Of course if they call for help, I'm going to be on my way and you better clear the sidewalks because I don't stop or maneuver very well when I get to running.

I'd love to be on point when somebody finally decides this punk needs a lesson taught to him. The way he's going I'm sure it will come.

That is one good thing about not being assigned to the Hive anymore. If they decide to send in a team with or without the shield, I'm available. My day will come. If not with this knucklehead, then with the next one.

On the down side of this day, it was Peggy Sues last day and I didn't get a chance to see her off to her new job. I'm sure glad she stopped yesterday and gave me a hug. Gonna miss that girl like crazy. But I'm sure she's gonna be super in the new position. And it's real warming to know she's still in our corner.

We can only get better with backup like that.

We will miss you Super Lady. Come around and visit when you can.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Your Tax Dollars At Work

I told you last week that they had scheduled me for shotgun training in the middle of my vacation. In retrospect, I should have gone just to mess with them.

But instead I went today. That was fun. It was pouring down rain when I left home so I brought my jacket and my raincoat, just to be on the safe side. Got pretty wet just going from the truck to the training building.

I was glad I wasn't in the morning class. They got soaked. By the time we got out there the rain had stopped and it turned into a sauna outside. That was freaking lovely.

It is supposed to be a three hour class. Including the range time. But they only schedule three of us for this afternoon.

Three of us.

Hey, at least they only scheduled one instructor to show up. I wouldn't have been all the surprised to see three or even four instructors.

So he stretched out the classroom time for two and a half hours and left the last half hour for actually shooting the weapon. Because if we don't actually spend three hours doing this they can't say that were are certified in shotgun training.

Seriously! We could have gotten into some really fun stuff in two and a half hours. The part of the training that we are actually required to take and understand could have been done in twenty minutes for the three of us.

But, no. All we were allowed to cover was the stuff the state makes us cover and nothing else. So we asked alot of silly "what if" questions and took some hellishly long coffee breaks.

I think it took us longer to drive to the range (about 100 yards down the road) and set up than it did for the three of us to fire off ten rounds apiece.

But hey, what am I complaining about? I got three hours of overtime for the class.

What a place.

AGAIN With The Digging???

Whilst I was gone on vacation, our erstwhile maintenance crew (ever searching for worthwhile work to do), managed to dig up the swamp out behind central security yet again.

For the seventh year in a row, so far. I'm sure they were doing it before I came to Raccoon City and I'm sure they'll still be doing it long after I depart.

They seem pretty serious about it. Or at least they have dug a serious hole. It stretches probably fifty feet from central all the way to the mattress factory. It uncovers four or five of the secondary lines running off of the main. Remember when that one blew? We thought we might have to go rent some john boats just to sign in and out of central.

Of course, the main line is somewhere four of five feet to the left of where they actually dug. I hope they know that. Or maybe they are saving it for an encore. Who knows?

I've been told that they dug this trench some time in the middle of the week I was off. Then they stretched some yellow caution tape around it and left.

And there it lays. The hole thing, as it were.

So, of course, none of the rest of us could be serious about it. Even if it is a serious hole.

Some joker put a sign on one of the mounds of dirt that reads:


Some of us only dream about doing things like that. Other aspire to greatness.

I got some odd and half not-unexpected info this evening. A little birdie related to me that there are some people who are very glad that I got out of the Hive when I did, as "the rain is going to fall there soon."

That just does not sound good. If it's bad news I am glad I got out when I did, but I do worry about my crew. I hope they don't get caught in the middle of anything stupid. Hopefully they will keep their eyes and ears well open and perhaps whisper a word of advice to those without internet access.

If they **cough cough** BG **cough cough** know what I mean.

And I'm happy that there was someone who was glad I got out before the bad things happened. We don't get alot of support most days. We cling to what we get.

I still think about the place that was my home for so long. I don't particularly want to go back to being crazy all of the time but I miss the action, if you know what I mean. But I also know several people (namely KP, my wife and my doctor to name a few) that would slap me on the back of the head if I went back down there full time. It just wasn't good for me at all.

Who knows? Maybe I'll find a place I like and settle in somewhere that I don't have to run my bleep off for eight hours a day. Maybe I'll find it before our maintenance crew tunnels into the earths core and kills us all.

That would take a heap of yellow caution tape, I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Take Time Out To Read

I've always been a reader. From as early as I can remember I have enjoyed reading. Most of the time at home here I have at least two books going at any given time.

And I usually have one or two of them in the truck just in case I get stuck waiting somewhere.

Or in tonights case, out in the sally port again. When the Lt told me I was going to be in the sally port/ p-car, I dashed back out to the truck and grabbed the book in the back seat. Didn't even really look at what it was, just stuck it in my pocket and scampered back.

Turns out it was just a little apropos for the setting. It was "Jailbird" by Kurt Vonnegut.

On that job post you spend two hours in the p-car, then two hours in the sally port. Then two hours in the p-car and two in the sally port. And except for the few minutes when you are switching out with the other officer, you are completely by yourself.

You almost yearn for something to happen to break the monotony.

I read that entire book tonight.

During the four hours I was driving, I checked one zone. In the four hours in the sally port, I let two drivers through one way.

In short, nothing happened.

Now I have to find another book to put in the truck for the next time. Nothing against Kurt, but I think I'll go for something a little more exciting this time.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Last Day Of My Vacation....

...looked nothing like this. Just in case you were wondering. I neither went anywhere nor did anything exciting. Other than cleaning out some old trash, that is.

And actually I have two more days until I go back to work, but this was the last day of my actual "vacation" time.

So tomorrow I think I'll do the normal weekend routine. Mow the lawn. Clean up the yard a little bit. Start getting ready for winter. Maybe burn a barrel full of yard waste and stand around and smell the smoke.

I need to think up another project that won't take much in materials. Something that can keep me going through the winter and not cost an arm and a leg like those dumb chairs did. Excuse me... like those nice comfy hard to get out of chairs did. Darn comfy things, anyway.....

Grumble grumble....

I've pretty much given up on making something I can sell. I'm not that good at it anyway and every time I come up with something good, the local hardware store starts selling them for less than I pay for materials, so what's the use?

Any ideas? Suggestions?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cleaning Out The In Box

On the sink in the bedroom, right next to where I hang my uniforms, is a little wire basket. You can see it there in the background next to the toolbox that I use as a footstool. It measures about 8" long by 6" wide by 3" deep. Not very big.

I use it to dump stuff out of my pockets when I get home. Ostensibly so I can file them later.


Today I was in a cleaning mood so I emptied out the little wire basket and sorted out the papers I should file and keep. The stuff you see there on the floor is the stuff I decided to keep.

About half of what was jammed in that little wire basket. The rest went in the trash can.

The rest is all leave forms and memos and use of force paperwork and job orders, etc.

I'm a little embarrassed to say it, but there was a leave slip in there from 2006.

I guess that shows how long it's been since I cleaned out the basket and did any filing.

And of course when I opened up the filing cabinet, stuff just fell out on the floor in a pile. Looked like I had just been throwing stuff in there for awhile now. Sheesh.

So it looks like I have my work cut out for me. At least I am throwing away some crap and getting rid of a little bit of it.

I have decreed that this is the year I am going to get rid of any useless crap that I have just laying around. I have already gotten rid of quite a bit, even though it hurt to part with some of it. It's been a learning experience.

Will there be a whole new me? Oh snap no.

But I will be toting much less baggage, believe me.

And yes, I know the carpet in my office is nasty. Years of dogs and foster kids will do that.

It's cleaner than it looks.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Decisions.... Decisions....

I stopped on Friday to check my mailbox at work. I try to do that about once a week, just in case there's any important mail in there for me.

Of course the fact that there hasn't been any mail in my box for months doesn't make me stop checking it. Just in case.

No news is good news, right?

At any rate, I stopped and checked just in case there was something in there before I went on my weeks vacation.

And Glory Be!

There was something in my mailbox! I was so excited I could hardly contain myself.

Are you noting just a hint of sarcasm here? Good. Just checking.

It was a notice that I had shotgun training. On Wednesday, September 15th!

Which is/was today. Just in case you were unsure of the date.

Right smack in the middle of my vacation. Well, as you can imagine, that just didn't sit too well with me. I talked to Lt Gerber, as he was on the books that day but he was a little busy and told me to call him later.

So I waited until later on in the evening and called him again. He hemmed and hawed around a bit about it and I just said "Look, Lt. If it's going to be a hassle, I'll just go ahead and come in for the dang training. It's not that big a deal." And it wasn't really. A couple of hours. Not like I was losing a whole day or had to drive real far. Hell, I'm only 15 minutes away.

It was the principle of the thing, you see.

But the LT said "No, dang it. Have a good vacation, dude. We'll reschedule the training for later."

He really did call me "dude". I like that about him.

So I woke up this morning and remembered what day it was. And I really really thought about getting dressed and going in for the shotgun training anyway, just to mess with them. Just to make them give me back a little of my vacation time.

But then I remembered that part of the reason I was taking a vacation was that I had too many hours and needed to burn some before I lost them. So I said "To hell with that." and went back to sleep.

I guess it wasn't that hard of a decision after all.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The New Office

Now that all of the rotten children are gone, the wife and I decided that we were going to make good use of the three bedroom house we live in. Her crafting stuff took over the living room and I got the smaller of the three bedrooms for my new office.

Of course now that means I have a whole room to fill up with my junk, rather than that little cubbyhole out in the garage.

It's a work in progress at this point, like any space I tend to inhabit. Things tend to flow around some. I'll mulch them under until I like the flavor of it.

I'm sure by that time it will be close to full. Dragons and swords and ray guns and statues and figurines and tools and parts of this and that. And books. Can't forget those.

But at least I have a place I can call my own. I even have a door I can close for privacy. I haven't, yet. But if I ever need to, it's there.

You ever need to find me. This is where I'm at.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Search For Rain Gear

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find good rain gear around this place. And I'm not talking at the prison or in my house.

I'm talking about this whole freaking town.

Three towns, if you want to get particular.

After that last big storm out on the yard I figured it would be in my best interest to locate me a good pair of rain pants. Something that would cover the tops of my boots and my lower legs and help keep me a bit dryer.

In case anybody asks, Wal-Mart sucks. And two Wal-Marts suck twice as much. I know, I went to both of them. The only thing they had in the way of black rain pants (that being the only color I can wear at work) were M/L sized ones that would have fit someone three times my width. They looked like someone had cut up and old inner tube and stitched it back together to fit a Sumo wrestler.

I couldn't have worn those if I tried.

So I went to the hardware superstore across the street. They had bright yellow slickers and bright green rainsuits.

But nothing in black.

Then I went to the local cowboy supply place. Same story there. Bright green, yellow and orange.

But nothing in black.

So I cruised over to the other cowboy supply place on the other side of town.

They had some in black. They were bib-types and were big enough you could have put two rodeo clowns in there and it would still have been pretty funny. Like one of those big striped barrels. Except black.

I was just about to leave when I looked over at their biker rack. They have a small selection of clothes and gear for the cowboy motorcyclist in us all. And it was almost all in black.

Hey, rain gear! Yay! Nice stuff, too. I tried a few of them on and believe it or not, I fit into a size small. Even over a pair of BDU pants. They must have some big bikers around here.

The pants were nice.... pockets, reinforced in the butt and knees. Waterproof.

And sixty dollars.

Well, snap.

So I guess I get to save up my allowance and hope it doesn't rain again any time soon.

Maybe next year I'll manage to stay dry out on the yard.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mr. Nice Guy

I got sent down to 4 house tonight. It's at least half full of ex and future Hive denizens. There's maybe three inmates in that house who don't know who I am. And maybe only a dozen that didn't flinch when they saw me sitting in front of their house.

Here was a fun little conversation that occurred out front:

Inmate: "Oh snit. Are you down here tonight?"
Me: "Yup. And there's sixteen empty beds down in the Hive."
Inmate: "Uh... I'm going inside to watch teevee for the rest of the night." (as he hurries inside)

I figured it might be a fun night. Me and Big Mess and Miz Trees with no supervision.

Count was screwed up (not ours, somewhere else) and we had to count them twice and chow was late and the yard was late..... That always throws your whole night off.

Then right after the yard opened an inmate came out to the sallyport and said "There's a guy in C-wing having a seizure!"

Oh snap. Miz Trees and I trot in there and the guy is laying on his bunk sure enough having a seizure. Just a mild one at first. She calls a Code 16.

Then he has a harder seizure. And comes out of it.

Then back into another one. And Sgt Buck comes in and helps me hold the guy on the bunk so he doesn't fall off. And he comes out of it.

Then back into another one. And the guy is kicking the crap out of my leg as I'm blocking him on the bunk. And he comes out of it as medical gets there. He almost takes a swing at Buck because he's so startled. To him I guess it looks like we just all appeared in his cell.

Then he goes into another seizure. Hard and nasty. I'm thinking one of us is going to end up getting clocked by either his hands or feet, he's thrashing so hard.

And every time he comes out Buck and I are saying "Take it easy, buddy. Calm down. We're here to help you." Trying to keep him from freaking out.

He finally comes out of it long enough for us to get him on the stretcher and he goes into another one. As soon as that one is done we get him secured and they carry him almost out of the wing before he has another and they have to set him down again.

Then he comes out of it and they get him to the medical cart and take him away.

Holy snap. When the dude finally comes back about three hours layer he's so wiped out he can barely stagger to his cell and lay down.

That was exciting.

Then everything was calm until about 9:35. About ten minutes before they all lock down for count. This inmate from A-wing comes up and says that his cellie is afraid and he wants to check in. I look up at the clock and say a few bad words, then go down to the cell with Miz Trees.

Sure enough, he wants to go to the Hive. Says he doesn't feel safe on this side of the camp.

Dag nab it! Why did he have to wait until twenty minutes before count to do this? Stupid gol-blasted ping pong brains.....

Get Sgt Buck back down there. We have to count the guy as being in the house, of course. So I get to help him pack his property while Buck helps count.

And all the while the guy is packing he keeps asking me "Do you think I'm doing the right thing? Or do you think I'm a coward?"

I could tell right away that this guy has got some pretty severe mental/emotional issues. Why he wasn't down there with the wobbleheads I don't know.

But he was already upset and worried and I just didn't want to make it worse by saying most of the things that I thought so I just agreed that he was probably doing the right thing and that he actually was pretty brave to have made this decision.....

I'm not all that good at being nice and helpful.

But I can do it when I have to. Leaves a funny taste in my mouth.

Starting nine days vacation tonight. I'm going to try and keep posting monday thru friday. You may just end up with pictures of what I did around the house on vacation.

If it gets too boring, let me know.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Remember back when a puddle was alot of fun? Remember when just seeing a puddle made a smile come to your face because you knew you could while away an entire afternoon playing in it?

Hell, my mind is so juvenile that it really hasn't been all that long ago for me.

But nowadays, not so much. Especially when the puddles are still forming around me.

Like today, for example. The rain started this morning and continue pretty much all day long. Nothing wild. Not a toad strangler or one of those tarantula downpours. Just a steady soaking drizzly rain that just went on and on.

And of course, being Thursday, it's my night on the yard and my night to do the Del Norte walk three quarters of the way around the camp.

And of course, you can't do the walk until late in the evening when the yards close. It was about seven-ish tonight. We'd already been in and out of the rain for three and a half hours and we were all pretty wet.

I came to the realization that there's a big difference between water resistant and waterproof.

My boots and raincoat are water resistant. No part of my ensemble is waterproof. And my jacket is nothing but a sponge, waiting to soak up as much water as it can get.

The walk begins with a short wade through Lake Sallyport and on up the hill. You get to stay pretty dry until you reach the bottom of the hill (about zones 11 and 12) where you get to wade through a couple of interesting swamps. Some kind soul set out cinder blocks to step on across the swamps. They are effective if the water does not come over the top of them.


And I discovered that there is a hole in the middle of the lower sallyport that is just a tad deeper than my boots are tall. I'm walking across the sallyport to hit my last zone and Model A sticks his head out the window of the shack and says "Wet enough for ya?" I look over and nod and wave and Goosh! Into the water I step. And I said "Aw fracklllrrrrjjj" or something like that. Luckily for me I had the whole rest of the long zone to walk up and back and goosh the water back out of my boot.

By the time I get back on the yard three people have told me that we had a fight at six house. I delayed as long as I could getting back, but there was nothing for it. As soon as I told Sarge I was back, he sent me to six house to escort one of the lockups down to the Hive.

In theory they two houses are practically next door to each other. But you have to walk the inmate all they way up to medical to get checked before taking them back down to the Hive, so you effectively doubled your walk out in the rain. And inmates never walk quickly unless it's for their own benefit. If they think that walking slowly will make you angry or miserable, they will walk as slow as they can, even if it is making them miserable too.

When I stated my escort the inmate looked at me and said "And how was your night?" in kind of a snarky sort of way. I said "I'm soaking wet and my boots are full of water. I'm tired and wet and uncomfortable and pissed off. Is there going to be a problem?"

He just ducked his head down and said "No problems." And there weren't.

But despite being soaking wet and uncomfortable, we had a pretty good night. Me and Goosey and Sgt Uncle T spent the last hour of the night up in our new shack playing music trivia. So we managed to end the night on an upbeat feeling rather than just blah. Not bad.

But I found out this afternoon that Peggy Sue is going to be leaving us. Going to another job in the camp up north of here. That is really good news for her and really sucky news for us.

We're going to miss you Peggy Sue!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Good Day To Be Outside

Outside the fence, anyway.

Tonight was my night in the Comm Room, handing out radios and keys to everybody going inside.

And from the radio traffic I heard, I was plenty glad to be still outside the fence.

Nothing major or really bad, just b.s. and b.s. and b.s. It seemed like every five minutes or so someone was calling for a Sergeant to have a violation read. And in between times the yard dawgs were steadily escorting inmates down to the Hive.

The Captain got a phone call and went home early in the shift and that only left us with Lt Gerber on A-side, Lt Rogaine on B-side and Lt Pullmyfinger on the books. And they were kept hopping. Someone was always calling one of the other saying "10-15 or 10-10".

For those of you who don't speak CO-ese that means "Call me or come here."

Locking some more up.

I did hear one ASAP call. The wobblehead house wanting an escort to the Hive ASAP. That's never good. I was out in the P-car when I heard that one. They got Goosey to do that escort with someone behind him for backup just in case. Goosey is good for those. He's just easy going and silly enough that most of them don't give him any trouble.

I watched from the car outside. Not like I could have done a damn thing if anything happened, but I watched anyway.

Luckily, nothing happened.

Yup. All in all, I think it was a good night to be on the outside.

If it wasn't so freaking boring, I could get used to it.


At least I hope I was some help.

Things apparently have been getting a little rough down in the Hive lately. Being over-full all of the time and not having too many regular people in the house. The 10-5 last night and then the inmate dropping dead...

Oh yeah. You probably didn't hear about that. This scary looking wobblehead we got in last year. Looked like he could have been an extra from "Children of the Corn". Scary nasty. Smelled like pee all the time. And even worse when he was down in the Hive. The first thing he would do when he got down there was get mad and pee all over his cell and all over his stuff.

Exceedingly nasty person.

The dude should have had one of those scary biblical names like Ezekiel or Cain or something. I had heard (but never verified) that he was in prison for biting off a piece of somebodys face and eating it. Bleagh.

Like I said, scary.

Anyway, sometime during the night, right after someone had done a wing check, he just pitched over dead. He was maybe forty years old. Looked like he was maybe twenty and acted like he was ten or twelve. I've heard it was natural causes, but we'll never get to see the report so I don't know for sure.

Little Miss Twang was scheduled to be down in the Hive tonight and she was a bit nervous about going down there with all the crap going on. I tried my best to give her a pep talk and get her mind back in the game. You don't want to be down there with your mind on something else. It's just not healthy.

I told her "Do your job. Make sure your butt is covered on what you are supposed to be doing. And try to keep anyone else from doing anything stupid. That's all you can do."

I know that she knows what she is doing down there. She's been there a bazillion times.

But with all the other b.s. going on she was a little rattled. But then, she's a self-rattler. A little high strung, but damn competent when it comes to doing the job.

I don't know if I was any help or not. But I didn't hear any excited voices on the radio so I guess everything went all right.

I did the best I could. I hope it helped.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Needed A Nap Afterwards

I knew something was going to happen. It was inevitable.

Too many people used the "Q" word at the beginning of shift. The fools. Jinxed us all.

And I was sent to 2 house. The "Q"-est house on the camp, pretty much. Something had to happen.

And I was already stiff and sore when I got there today.

As luck would have it, I had decided that yesterday I would finish the painting I needed to do at home. Just one more room to go and it would be done. Those hideous pink walls would vex me no more.

But it took coat after coat (four in all) to cover the color. I spent the day cutting in and rolling, moving on cutting in and rolling, moving on, cutting in and rolling. All around the room over and over again. I actually ran out of steam and left one coat undone. I will probably do it this weekend.

All of that up and down the step stool and bending over to cut in the bottom and reaching with the roller got to me. Woke up this morning stiff and sore. Thought about doing a mile on the treadmill and decided against it. I was too sore.

Got to work and kept going out to the picnic table out front and stretching, trying to get my legs and back to unkink and relax some. I finally got a bit unwound when.....

I hear Windows on the radio...

"garble garble in the Hive! C-wing!" Uh oh. He sounds excited. I start moving towards the door. "Little B! Let me out!" He pops the door and I start heading for the turnstile. Then I hear it.

"10-5! In the Hive! C-wing!"

Oh snap.

They had just opened the yards and all of the inmates are trying to get through the turnstile to go out to the yard. I'm running towards a knot of them.

"Make a hole!" I yell.

They have no idea what "make a hole" means.

"Get the Frack out of my way!"

They get it that time and move. I almost brain the last guy through the turnstile with the bars as I blow through.

Haul butt down the walk, just as fast as I can. There's another cluster of inmates coming out of 3 and 4 house. They are all just standing there in the middle of the walk looking down at the Hive and wondering why everybody is running and not looking behind them.

I yell "MOVE!" and lower my shoulder to plow through them just in case they don't understand.

They move just in time. I'm so surprised I almost stumbled. Stupid inmates.

I get down there and into the wing as I hear "10-6 the 10-5!" Aw... hell.

It's over already.

I see Sgt Bumblebee come out of the cell wiping his face. Uh-oh. No, wait. It's just pepper spray. He must have gotten a faceful. I'm almost glad I wasn't faster. Been quite a spell since I was sprayed last. Not real eager to do it again anytime soon.

Turns out it wasn't much. Some knucklehead who thinks he's a bada*s and is transferring to a C-5 camp in the morning decided to get froggy during a cell search. He turned and lunged towards Chucky and Windows. Sgt Bumblebee hosed him down (dosing himself in the process) and the knucklehead was introduced to COI Concrete. End of story.

But lawsy lawsy! I could have done without that run. It was a real good thing that I had needed to stretch so badly at the beginning of shift. I guess I should do that every day, just in case.

When I finally plodded my sorry butt back up to the house, I really really needed a nap. Between the adrenaline dump and the run I was done in. Couldn't have a nap, but I sure wanted one.

I guess I best get back into my routine on the treadmill in the mornings.

Hopefully that will be all of the excitement for the week. Next week, I'm going on vacation.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Situational Awareness

Or the lack thereof, as it were.

I'm going to have to get out of this utility gig and into someplace regular where I can remember who I am and who I am talking to. It seems I can't remember from day to day.

Tonight I was in eight house. They were locking one of ours up from the yard and sent him down to pack his property. I figured I owed my old crew a heads up so I called Sgt LB and said "You know we're locking one up from six house?"

When the inmate was ready I got on the radio and said "47 to B-yard, need an escort from seven house to medical and then to the Hive."

When I got outside with the cuffed inmate and wondered where the yard dawg was, it suddenly hit me what I had said. So I got back on the radio and said "Be advised that was Housing Unit Eight." And the yard dawg wandered up from seven house where he had been looking for an inmate in cuffs.

Last night I called 74 (wobblehead yard) instead of 75 (outside workers yard) to tell them the laundry workers were coming back into the yard.

And when I worked the wobblehead yard I kept trying to call the laundry CO to tell him he had workers at his gate and he wasn't answering. After a few times Little B from the control center called me and told me to go to channel two on the radio. And when I did he explained that laundry was 78, not 76 (medical) which I had been calling.

To which I replied "10-4, sir! I'm an idiot. Thank you!"

And of course when someone tells you to go to channel two everybody else in the camp does so as well so they can listen in. I'm pretty sure I heard a camp-wide snicker over that one.

Ah, well. At least I can be entertaining, at times.

I just hope when and if a time ever comes and I have to say something really important, that I'll be able to remember where the hell I'm at. I don't want me or someone else to get thumped because I sent everybody running to the other end of the camp by mistake.

Too many numbers to remember. I need to find a home, I guess.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sometimes The Cure Is Worse

Along with all of the other stuff I have had going on lately, including all the emotional stuff that made me quit blogging and facebook and very nearly drove me to drinking again and made me a raving maniac, I have been suffering with a severe case of tennis elbow.

It was one of the (many) reasons why I bid out of the Hive to be among the more relaxed denizens of Raccoon City. Turning all of those keys and using all of those handcuffs over and over again was killing me.

I took to wearing a brace on my arm and spent a month in physical therapy. The therapy helped but didn't cure it. My arm hurt about 40-50% less, but it still hurt.

So last week I went back to the doctor and asked what the next step was. He was going to suggest an orthopedic surgeon. But after a moments thought he decided we could try a shot of hydrocortisone and see if that helped any.

I have had a few of those, if you recall. He gave me four of them in my back a few months ago. That was an adventure I don't hope to repeat any time soon.

So he mixed a little xylocaine in with it to numb it up and gives me the shot. Yeah, it hurt a bit, but you gotta expect that. He sent me home and told me good luck.

By 12:30 or so the xylocaine started wearing off and my arm started to ache.

By the time I got to work it felt like I had a bee sting on my arm bone. Not on my arm. On the bone.

By the time I hit the yard it felt exactly like my arm was broken. All I could do was drive around in the cart with my arm in my lap and try to keep from whimpering every time I hit a bump.

I managed to make it through the night by biting my lip whenever I had to use my right hand for anything.

And of course, sleep that night was impossible. I was a wreck the next day from lack of sleep.

But hey! My arm quit hurting! Huzzah!

I just passed day three without the brace. I'm still being careful with it but I think most of that is just from remembering the last three months of discomfort. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

If I would have known ahead of time how much that shot was going to hurt me, would I still have done it? I dunno. But I sure would have taken the day off and gotten some demerol or something first.

Hopefully next time I'll know better.

Hopefully there won't be a next time.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sick Day Post

Maybe I should go see a doctor about this one day. Got another one of those dizzy spells like I had a few months ago.

Fortunately I was still at home so I didn't have to call anybody to come get me. And I didn't have to get helped out like an invalid. That was embarrassing.

There isn't any warning. Just all of the sudden wham! The room is spinning and I get all nauseous. Very strange and disconcerting.

But it's only the second time it's ever happened. Hopefully it won't happen again.

But what the hell. I got over six hundred hours of sick time saved up so I guess it won't hurt to use a days worth.

I'll be back tomorrow.

Cut Off At The Knees!

It was a bad thing. A real bad thing.

Not like a "somebody had to go to the hospital" thing, but more like a "Hear that flushing sound? That's someones morale going down the crapper" thing.

And that is never a good thing.

From where I was, it went down like this:

I was up in the 3 house bubble, doing as well as expected. We were short handed, just me and Grasshopper and Miz Archer. No big deal, we handled it. Miz A was a regular and knew how the place ran and had everything well in hand.

Something with count was screwy and chow ran late and we ended up not getting yard until after 6:30. Usually they open at 6:00. And with the season changing the yards close earlier and earlier every day. Sgt Bumblebee had A-side and was handling things very well from what I could see.

Rule of thumb for closing the yards: the way I was told, if you stand in the middle of the yard and you cannot see the outer fence, it's time to close the yards. That means it's dark enough to start interfering with your vision. That's the way I was taught and Bumblebee was told the same thing.

So about 7:35 Sarge B looks out and can't see the outside fence. He calls and closes the yards. Two seconds later Captain Jabba gets on the radio and says "Leave the yards open." No explanation, of course. He's the captain and can do what he wants. But what he just did was effectively and publicly cut Bumblebee off at the knees on the radio in front of the whole camp.

For no good reason other than he wanted to.

So in one sentence he reduced what was a pretty good Sergeant who showed up most of the time and at least tried to do his job effectively to someone who probably won't show up for the next few days and have a crappy attitude when he does. I tried to cheer him up a little but I don't think it helped much.

Good freaking job, Cap!

All we have inside is each other. We are all we can count on in here. And you just reduced that number by one.

And if you ever have to call for assistance, you probably better hope that Bumblebee isn't the closest help available. Because he just might not hear you.