Monday, August 29, 2011

I Got Cocky And....

Boy I should have known better. I called the prison on Sunday evening to check and make sure I hadn't been moved. When I left Friday I was scheduled to be 2-10 in 6 house. Not a bad gig. I would have had to do some work there, but I can do that. I'm not against work on moral grounds or anything. I just don't want to get too cozy with it, if you know what I mean.

But when I called Lt Baby Boy said "No, I need to put you in the Control Center. Come in at the regular time and work there."

Well, you know, I can do that.

Then I started thinking. Hey, it's a Monday. No transfers. Shouldn't be anything I can't handle going on. Maybe I'll ask Sgt Puddle if I can take the desk! I think I can handle doing that 4:30 count. As long as somebody is watching in case I need some help, I should be fine!

And the more I thought about it, the more I thought "Yeah! I can do this! It's not that hard. Yeah!"

So when Sgt Puddle got there and found out it was me and Big'un up there, I gave him a thumbs up and said "Hey. I got this!"

I was pumping myself up, you see. Psyching myself up. And not listening to that little voice in the back of my head like an angry chihuahua that was saying "Stimpy! You Eediot!"

What I wasn't really aware of is the exact timing that has to take place in order for the 4:30 count to clear smoothly. You get pre-counts from several places: laundry, both dining halls, medical and education. So that you have a good portion of the offenders already accounted for before you call for the housing unit counts. And if they don't come in on time you have a very small window to get your numbers in order.

It's like being an accountant for a firm that has 200 employees and 2500 hundred customers. Somebody dumps the ledgers on your desk and says "You have 30 minutes to make these books balance. Go!"

Oh snap.

One of my pre-counts got called in late and I made a small math error because I got in a hurry and somebody else made an error and I ended up off by two.

Now, in a big office with 200 employees and 2500 customers, being off by two is no big deal. They would just say "Hey, that's close enough. Good job!"

But in a prison being off by two is a big deal. A real big freaking deal. I started running through the numbers again and I couldn't find it. Sgt Puddle jumped in and started looking and he couldn't find it either. So we started..... Well, I started panicking a little. He was cool and calm about the whole thing. We called a few obvious trouble spots, like education and Main Production for recounts.

Luckily he caught my screw up and one of the dining halls called in a different number and apologized for the mistake. He'd sent a worker to medical and medical had sent him back and he didn't know about it. Count was only about five minutes later than normal.

But it cleared. I was ready to start gnawing the desk by that time and thinking "You fool! You can't even balance a checkbook! What do you think you are doing?"

I had bounced in there like Tigger and came back out again looking more like Eeyore with my tail dragging and barely nailed to my butt.

Sgt Puddle was there giving me encouragement. "I've seen much worse. And hey! Count cleared! We didn't have to do a total recount, so it's okay! You did good!" He made me feel better but I suspect that if he hadn't been there I would still be sitting up there right now trying to clear 4:30 count. I dunno.

And Miz Twang came up there later and did the same thing. Bless her little onion-like bits. She made me feel almost competent. And she did brighten up my day. Considerably. If I was, oh.. twenty years younger.... Ah, well.

I learned a few more things this evening. How to put outcounts into the computer. Or part of the process, anyway. It's complicated. And how to reset the Del Norte lights, which is ridiculously complicated for absolutely no reason. And how to reset a faulty fire alarm that kept going off and going off and going off......... Stupid fracking thing. Not at all complicated, but extremely annoying.

And I got a few more compliments on my radio voice which made me blush.

I guess I'll keep this up until I feel that I could run this thing with a fair amount of certainty. That way if something happens and we have another night when there isn't anybody to run the desk I can step up and say "I can do that."

But I have a feeling that's going to be a good ways down the road.

I'm supposed to be up there again tomorrow. Transfer day. But I'm not taking the desk. Nosiree Bob!

Tuesday is going to be National Toasted Marshmallow Day. Yum! S'mores! It will also be Eid-Al Fitr and National Holistic Pet Day.


  1. You do a wonderful job. Voice and all. Just promise me that you will always look out for ways to keep improving and learning. I know I will as well. I have faith in you and you onion-bit tutor. You have some of the best help around you. And amazingly enough they are willing to do it without fear of replacement. Only hope of making another fully competent professional.

  2. Great job tonight! I had faith and it was well placed. No doubts in my mind about that. "Fresh air breaks" are freely given and well deserved in the fishbowl so don't worry about that. Next round will go even smoother now that you have seen some of what is dealt with on a daily basis in there. Look forward to having you back in the big chair again soon. I tell everyone who happens to work there, "There is nothing you can do that I can't help fix or fix myself" Just remember that.

  3. Boy you been flying the starship a lot here lately. Good job, you haven't crashed it yet so I think your hired Han. Haha
    My security word is milliker. A man who hikes from mill to mill.

  4. Yummy. Marshmellows. I would love to have one of those giant marshmellows toasted on the top to perfection, with a cup of freshly brewed French Roast Coffee...or a glass of milk. I don't think these exist, just campfire movie props. Mmm...toasty...And happy day for whatever that other thing is...In the interest of being American, if I cannot pronounce it, then it must not be anything. :-)

    safeword: sancra

    man, tough one. Um...A special blend of coffee localized to San Francisco that taste like Sanga, but with less flare and frothy goodness.

  5. I have only one word to say to you. "Sergeant!"

  6. Phoenix Tears- I'm nervous as hell the whole time I'm up there. I'm sure you can all hear my voice range going up and down. And I don't think I would make it without my tutor. She calms me. You have a keeper there. And I don't know about that "fully competent" part. I'm just hoping I can plug a leak before we all drown.

    Puddle- Welcome! I'm sure glad you are up there. And I'll try my best to not screw anything up too horribly.

    FlyinMonkey- Not Han, I think. More like Chewbacca. Big and hairy and not many people can understand me when I talk. And just because I haven't hit anything yet.....

    Scott- They exist, you just have to hunt for them. And I'm looking forward to this day because it marks the end of Ramadan. So we don't have to mess with that anymore. Yay!

    Vincent- It will look good on a resume', but I don't know if I'll survive it.

  7. I remember when I was working security, running any kind of gate used to drive my nuts at first. There was always an anxious breaking-in period. It always seemed like no matter how many different kinds of scenarios they went over, I always got that one oddball they never told me what to do about. There'd be like, tanker truck...tanker truck...tanker truck...then guy driving a pick-up with a toolshed on the back of it. He's never been there before. He doesn't know what to do. No one left me a note about it. The contact name he has isn't answering the phone. Arrrrgghhhhhh!!!

  8. Ummm, that should have been "drive me nuts." *sigh*

  9. Bryan- Hee hee hee! I'm so glad you cleared that up. Hee hee hee!
    Oh.... snap.....