Tuesday, November 29, 2011


There are some people here..... I imagine there are one or two almost anywhere you work... That spend eight hours inside the fence and you never see or hear of them all night long, as if they were never here at all.

I always refer to it as "ghosting". Other people have other phrases. Like "That blankety-blank so and so was supposed to be an extra out here on the yard and I haven't seen him all night! Where the frack did he go?"

Some people are extremely good at ghosting. On our shift after seven or eight o'clock there are numerous empty buildings you could slip inside of if you had the right keys. Bathroom, phone, coffee pot... sometimes even a teevee set if you play your cards right. And if nobody knows you're there, you can sit warm and cozy all night long.

Me, I'm usually not so good at it. I get bored and lonely when left by myself too long. And I feel guilty about not being out there doing something.

But tonight I got fed up and I ghosted. Sort of.

I came in early as usual and Lt Sienna said "Revvy, where do you want to work?" I knew right away we were overstaffed again. At least temporarily.

I smiled and said hopefully "Someplace warm?"

He said "Okey doke! Go work the control center until I need you!"

Sweet! Inside and warm was okay with me, after last night. So I went outside to smoke and wait for shift to start.

But alas, it wasn't to last. Five minutes later he came out and said "I need you to go on outcount. We have an inmate in surgery and I need you to go relieve the day shift guys. You'll probably be back early." It was at the local hospital, not five hundred miles away like some of them so I agreed. He gave me a couple of different people to take with me and I picked Brylcreem. He's a nice enough guy. His hair is so perfect it's a little irritating, but other than that...

So we went and relieved the day shift guys and an hour and a half later brought the inmate back in time to get back inside before count. Got him put up in medical and I put the car away and we went inside to find out where to go next.

We got into Central and Captain Spit was on the phone. Something bad about count.

"I don't know how they done it." He says, "But 30 house seems to be missing a whole wing. They're short 51 offenders somehow." He shakes his head and points at Brylcreem and says "I want you to go help 30 house remember how to count."

He sends me to A-yard to relieve the Watcher and send him up to Central. Something about training hours and his mad computer skills.

Well of course Sgt Uncle Buck aint gonna let his top guy go while count is messed up and we still have to run mainline. So I get to go hang out on the yard for awhile until he can go take care of whatever it is the captain wants.

No big deal. I go out and watch the movements and the line up at medical. For about forty five minutes.

Then Silent Bob comes out to where I'm at and says "You need to go up front and relieve Brother D and have him come in here and see Sgt Buck. He's in the P-car."

Okey dokey. Off I go. And Brother D isn't happy about being relieved. Plus, he hasn't been inside farther than Central in ages and I have to tell him how to find A-dining, where Sgt Uncle Buck is.

I always love being the bearer of bad tidings. And Brother D, aside from being one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, is also one of the people you do not want pissed off at you. He's big and strong and loud and a bit scary when he's pissed off. Fortunately, he's not one to shoot the messenger.

So I stay in the P-car for maybe half an hour then get relieved at the regular time by Bucky who takes his turn in the car and I go back inside. I left my lunchbox in the control center and I decided to stop and eat my dinner before I go back in for my next assignment.

While I'm up there they said "Revvy, you need to stay up here for awhile. We need some relief so we can go smoke now and then." Sgt Loompa nods and says "Yeah. You can stay up here. If they want you, they know where to find you."

So I ghosted the rest of the evening in the control center. Not "actually" ghosting, but as close as I ever get. And there was a coffee pot and a bathroom and while there was no teevee set, there was good company to make up for that one lack. That was enough.

And while I was there Peggy Sue dropped in for another of those great squeezy hugs and she brought me a letter of recommendation for my promotion packet that made me sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread. She used words like "poise" and "professionalism" several times. Even "consummate professionalism", which made me blush and say "Aw, shucks!"

I know I already said it, Peggy Sue, but thank you again. I only hope I can live up to that sort of recommendation. And P.S.- Tell your daughter I think she's every bit as cute as her Mom is. (grin, wink)

And since me and Brylcreem started early, we got to burn out early and call it a night at 10:30.

Not too shabby, for a ghost night.

So Wednesday will be Stay At Home Because You're Well Day (I'd like to!), Computer Security Day, National Mousse Day (the food kind, not the hair kind), and the Feast of St Andrew the Apostle.

Don't get your mouse and your mousse confused. That would be a mess!

Misery Loves Company

Sorry. I just couldn't resist that picture when I found it. I'd put in "Misery" and all I got were pictures of that Stephen King book and frankly, Kathy Bates scares the crap out of me.

But then I found this picture and said "Yeah! That's cool! It has nothing to do with my topic but what the snap, right?"

So there it is. Enjoy. Velma was way hotter than Daphne anyway.

It's a darn good thing that misery loves company. Because it was a natural born dog-boned miserable night to be out on the yard, but at least we had plenty of company.

The wind blew in big gusts and it rained and sleeted and snowed and rained and sleeted some more from right after we got there and all night long. It wouldn't have been so bad but for the wind! That stuff would just cut through you like a frozen knife blade against your bones. I wore half of the clothes I owned and I still got cold. My neck and shoulders are all sore from tensing up when those cold gusts hit.

And we had so many people out on the yard that we wouldn't all fit in the shack at the same time. We had to keep rotating in and out so someone else could go in and warm up. I kept hoping two or three of them would offer to go home early just so we could get some space to sit down. But this close to the holidays nobody wants to give up any time waiting for that big comp time payout in December.

I certainly wasn't going anywhere. I'm waiting for that big comp time payout.... (grin)

Anyway, it was a good thing that all of the knuckleheads behaved themselves tonight. We were all pretty miserable and cranky any time we had to go outside and I think they could tell that. I'm sure if we had needed to "escort" somebody in cuffs that they would have ended up just as cold and wet and uncomfortable as we were by the time they got back inside again.

I can walk pretty slow when the mood strikes me. And run pretty quick when I need to. All depending on the situation.

But we all survived and I didn't even get run over by Sgt Uncle T when he drove up on the grass and scared me out of three years growth with his horn. The big putz.

Somebody needs to slap that man, some days. And if he had gotten stuck in the mud I would have laughed my rear end completely off. Before helping to push him back out again, of course.

Tuesday is going to be Square Dance Day (Oh whoop-de-frickin'-doo), Electronic Greetings Day, National Lemon Creme Pie Day, and the commemoration of Saint Saturninus.

Please celebrate in moderation!

Friday, November 25, 2011

That Prison Sense Of Humor

I've talked off an on about the twisted sense of humor we have here. It's pretty bad and the longer you stay here the worse it gets.

I don't "really" mention most of the things that we find hilarious. For one thing, I don't use that kind of language here. The second reason is that I don't want to lose all of my readers.

Let's just say we are some sick twisted swine and leave it at that, shall we?

So the other night I was discussing getting together a packet for the promotion board with a friend of mine and I mentioned that I needed to get at least a couple letters of recommendation to put in there. Peggy Sue said I needed at least three and she's right. If you can't get at least three people to admire you enough to write letters, then you probably aren't going to get promoted.

My friend offered to write me a letter and I said that I appreciated that and thanked him in advance. And this evening when i got a chance to check my email there it was. Very professional sounding and well written and make me sound like an all around good Joe. It was almost a little embarrassing to read, but that what letters of recommendation are for, right? I smiled and printed it out and sent him a reply, thanking him for his effort. And that letter is going into my packet for the board.

Not long after that the phone rings and an anonymous voice says "There's another letter coming out of your printer for you." And sure enough, there was.

This one, however, was a letter of "Un-recommendation". It started out with "Seriously, are you people completely out of your collective minds?"

It goes on to say what a horrible train wreck of an officer I am, my lack of professional knowledge and demeanor and my ability to "lose control of any given situation." There's quite a catalog of all of my failings and goes on to state that I would be "An absolutely piss-poor candidate for promotion to the rank of COII."

But the last line was the very best: "Taking all of that into account, perhaps he is more qualified for the position of Captain."

I hadn't laughed like that in quite some time. I actually had tears in my eyes by the time I was done reading.

The whole thing had been written anonymously, of course. But I was pretty sure I knew who the culprit was and called back to thank him again for making my night.

It was twisted and awful and horrible (and only partly true) and it left a smile on my face for the remainder of the evening.

Thank you again, my anonymous friends, whoever you are.

And now that I got a bit of sleep last night I think I can get back to posting the calendar again.

Saturday: Shopping Reminder Day, International Aura Awareness Day, National Cake Day and the day of Saint Pope Peter of Alexandria.

Sunday: Pins And Needles Day, National Day of Listening, National Bavarian Cream Pie Day and the day of St. Severinus.

Monday: Make Your Own Head Day, Cyber Monday, National French Toast Day, and the Feast of St. Rufus and His Companions.

Aura awareness? Hmm....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight

We lost another good friend this morning.

Miz Double J, Choppers wife, passed away this morning after a long and difficult fight with cancer.

I didn't know her as well as I wish I had. But she was a nice sweet lady always quick with a smile and a laugh and the few times I needed her help she was always willing to lend a hand. Ladies like her are one in a million.

And there was something about her that always made me think of lavender. I'm not sure exactly why.

We all missed her when she quit working because of her health and we will miss her even more now that she's gone.

Please keep Chopper and his family in your thoughts and help them pull through this difficult time.

Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight...

Sleep Deprived

Yow. Worked a double shift last night and they kept me in the comm room. Spent most of the night walking in circles to stay awake.

Got to be back at work again in eight hours. I'm going to bed.

Have a happy turkey day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Surprise In My Mailbox

No, it wasn't a puppy. I just liked the picture.

I was actually in the bathroom this morning when the mail came in. Taking care of business, you know.... Thinking about stuff..... when I heard my wife say something I couldn't quite make out.

I asked her to repeat that and she said "You got a letter from the personnel office!"

Oh snap. If I hadn't been just then, I probably would have. If you know what I mean.

So I have an appointment to interview for Sergeant on December 5th. Aaaaiiieeee!!!

It's been kind of an emotional roller coaster all day. I tried to keep it to myself and act all casual but I couldn't. The first person I ran into was Drew who said "Did you get a letter? I got mine yesterday!" Well, that let the cork out of the bottle and it's been my topic of conversation all day.

I really hope I didn't make anybody else crazy with it.

Peggy Sue came by later in the evening (I was so happy to see her, especially then) and gave me a big squeezy hug which helped calm me down some and her and Sgt Puddle gave me an intensive counseling session on things to prepare and think about and say in the interview.

I hope I can remember a tenth of that stuff when I walk in the door.

Snap! It has been just long enough since I put myself on the register that I had almost calmed back down. Now I'm all nervous again.


Wednesday is going to be Dr Who Day, Fibonacci Day, National Espresso Day, Tie One On Day and Saint Cement I Day.

Imagine Dr Who on espresso!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Let's Just Stop This Crap Right Now

You can read the whole story here.

Cell phones are becoming an epidemic problem in prisons all over the country. And something needs to be done about it now.

I'm not sure how many we find a year here in Raccoon City but it seems like every time I turn around somebody is finding another cell phone.

Not too long ago we got a call from a young lady who said that the man who victimized her had sent her a friend request on Facebook. I don't know her or him or what he did to her but from what I heard she was justifiably upset. We turned it over to the Captain on shift and hopefully he dealt with it appropriately.

I also don't know if he had a family member do that or if he did it himself over a cell phone.

But this kind of bullsnap has gone on too long and is becoming a real problem.

Cell phone trackers only work when the phones are on. Dogs can be trained to sniff them out but it takes a long time and is pretty expensive, from what I have been told.

How about jammers? I have seen them for sale on Ebay for fairly cheap. Let's turn each and every prison in this country into a cell phone "dead zone". Make sure that even if they do get a phone that it won't work inside the fence. Shut them down cold and hard.

Oh, what? Your cell phone doesn't get any reception in the parking lot? Well, too freaking bad. Drive a hundred yards away and you should be fine.

What's that? You are somebody important and you need to be connected to the world 24/7? Well, too bad, bundt cake! You aint that important.

The victims. They're more important than you. Society. The people we are protecting. Way more important. You can drive down the road just like anybody else.

And while we're at it, let's make possession of a cell phone in jail or prison considered an attempt to escape? Automatic?

Sounds like the possibility of another 8-10 years to me....

Okay, I'm done.

Storms rolling in anyway and I have to run.

Tuesday will be Start Your Own Country Day and National Cashew Day!

Nibble on something!

Saturday, November 19, 2011



I worked the dang laundry. And I was right. I didn't like it.

The staff down there were fine. More than helpful. Even the inmates were for the most part cooperative and easy to deal with. After all, the inmates get paid by the hour to work down there and it is pretty easy to lose your job if you want to be a knucklehead.

I made sure that they knew I was cranky about being down there and wasn't going to put up with any tomfoolery.

Or hijinks, either. I have a low tolerance for hijinks.

The laundry is a huge building. And it's chock full of ginormous washing machines and dryers big enough to wash a Buick in if you so desired. When all of the machines are running it is extremely noisy in there and the inmates have to scream at each other to be heard over the noise.

Which makes the noise that much worse, of course.

And despite all of those washing machines going and producing steam, the place is dry as hell. All of that lint that doesn't get caught in the traps and those hugemungous dryers suck all of the moisture out of the air and I am even now as dry and dessicated as that poor fellow in the picture above.

Between the hot dry air inside and the cold wind outside my lips are split in a couple of places and my hands are dry and crackly. And my sinuses are packed full of lint, along with seemingly every single pore in my body. Even my eyelids are crunchy with lint. Yuck.

Add that to the headache I got from the noise and the backache I got from doing about 150 pat searches and you'll begin to see why I don't like to work laundry.

And of course, just to add insult to injury, I got stuck with the count and relief in 4 house after I got done. The laundry officer always gets shafted like that. Not that I minded 4 house. But it's all the way across the camp from the laundry and I had to hustle to get there by count time.

While I was there I did hear a rumor that my pal FlyinMonkey is going to be the next one to step up and put himself on the register for Sergeant. So we all need to head on over to his blog and encourage him to get that done! Yeah, Monkey!

Anyway, my night time drugs are kicking in and the headache and backache are easing off to a dull scream so I'm just gonna hit the highlights of the weekend calendar and toddle off to bed.

Saturday: Have A Bad Day Day, National Day of Play, National Toilet Day and Carbonated Beverage With Caffeine Day. Apparently there is no saint for this day.

Sunday: Absurdity Day, Children's Day, Name Your PC Day and National Peanut Butter Fudge Day. Again, no official saint. What the snap?

Monday: World Hello Day and False Confessions Day, World Television Day, Gingerbread Day and The Presentation of the Virgin Mary Day.

Yee haw. Crackle crunch.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Cussed Out Loud

For 99.9% of the night, it was pretty good. Things went well. Nobody got stupid. Count cleared on time for the first time in three days.

Mainline went amazingly fast. The inmates weren't lingering on the walk and came into the chow hall so fast that the staff inside had to shoo them out so others could find a seat. We fed all of B-side in under an hour from start to finish.

The only real downer was that Meanie developed a migraine and we were too short to let him go home. He sat in the shack in the corner most of the night with his eyes closed and only came out to smoke and when we needed him for something. I gave him the lone Tylenol I had in my lunchbox but it didn't help any.

Poor lil' guy....

All week they have had me scheduled to work the library on Friday.

It's not a bad gig. Very little work involved. Let 45 of them in and shoo the rest away. Then sit and read a book for a couple of hours. Drink some coffee and chat with either of the librarians, both of whom are very nice ladies. When it gets done chase them all out and lock up.

Simple and easy. A great way to end the week.

Well, that didn't last. Some time between this afternoon and this evening they moved me from the library to laundry. And when I saw that I cussed out loud. Repeatedly.

Obviously, I wasn't pleased about working the laundry.

For one thing I haven't been down there in close to seven years or more. Don't have the slightest idea what to do down there. Don't remember how and when they count or when to make releases or anything.

For another thing it's hot and nasty down there and the place is full of lint and it makes my sinuses go crazy.

So I'll be clueless and sneezing in a huge warehouse of a building with over a hundred inmates and three or four square staff and really really cranky all night long. Instead of having polite conversation over tea and scones in the library like I had planned. Pfui.

I was still grumbling about it on our way out to the parking lot with Sgt Uncle T. As he got into the car with Miz T he said "Well, I'm off to enjoy my five day weekend! You have fun down in laundry tomorrow!"

Without any conscious thought, my mouth flew open and I said "Aw, frack you!"

Well, I didn't exactly say "frack" but you get the idea.

I think I shocked poor Miz T. I think most of her opinion of me comes from this blog. And maybe some of the outrageous fibs her husband tells her abut me. It was the first time she actually hear me cuss and I felt bad about it. I should have just leaned in and flicked him on the end of the nose or something.

So, Miz T, I apologize for being a potty mouth. But that husband of yours knows how to push my buttons sometimes. One of us is obviously not beating him enough. I'm going to start carrying a rolled up newspaper when I'm on the yard to keep him in line.

Unless I can induce some poor soul to trade me places I'm going to be cranky all day tomorrow.


Friday is going to be Occult Day, Married To A Scorpio Support Day, Push Button Telephone Day, Mickey Mouse Day, National Vichyssoise Day, and Dedication of the Basilica of St Peter Day.

I've been trying to throw in a "Saint A Day". There's bazillions of them, after all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sgt Puddle Saves The Day

Hmmm.... That kinda sounds like the title of a children's book.

Also by the same author:
Sgt Puddle and the Mysterious Red Patches
Sgt Puddle and the Pink Ping Pong Ball Mystery
Sgt Puddle Goes to the Chiropractor
Sgt Puddle Does Jello Shots
Sgt Puddle and the Control Center Monster Hunting Club

Hee hee hee! Anyway...

We had another one of those bad counts today. Nobody could figure it out. The discrepancy was somewhere between 4 house, 6 house and education. They'd counted education three times before giving up.

And Captain CJ was smoking mad. Hot hot hot like one of those foil thingies of Jiffy Pop fixin' to bust open everywhere. She decided to send everybody back and do a name and number count.

Then Sgt Puddle got an idea. He had them write down the names and numbers of the 4 and 6 house offenders at education. Then he had 4 and 6 house write down the names of those that came back into the houses from there.

Only one discrepancy. Our culprit. Apparently he was also the little guttersnipe that fouled up count yesterday but nobody caught him. Standing with 6 house when he belonged in 4 house for all three counts. Busted!

By Jiminy Crickets we'll know where he belongs for the next count! In the Hive for a good long stretch.

He's lucky Captain CJ didn't strip all of his skin off before she sent him down there. That woman has a wicked tongue on her when she's in a mood.

I know. I've been on the receiving end of one of her tirades before. Yowch!

Once again, I was so glad I wasn't up there on the desk tonight. I just stayed in the comm room all by myself, stress free for a change.

Before I went inside today Lil' B came up and asked me if I wanted to give up my Saturday/Sunday job for a Monday/Tuesday job down in the Hive.

I said I'd think about it.


Ummm..... No. Sorry but... No.

So Thursday is going to be Take A Hike Day. I'll be doing that along the Del Norte fence. It will also be Guinness World Record Day, Homemade Bread Day, the Great American Smokeout, National Baklava Day and Saint Elisabeth of Hungary Day.

Who will get the record for smoking the most homemade bread?

Another 3 Count Night

Three! Three counts! Ah-ah-awww.... snap. At least I wasn't in the control center for this bit of silliness. I actually made it out to 30 yard where I was supposed to be.

And after last night I squelched any curiosity I had about what went wrong and never even called anybody to find out.

As long as it finally cleared and nobody had escaped, I didn't want to know.

But they did make me walk that dang mile-long inner perimeter check three times, the evil swine.

Being as how the 30 yard shack has no power at all I was forced to go to 30 house to heat up my dinner and make a pot of coffee and got repeatedly trapped by the Mighty Sore and had to listen to his interminable stories.

The man has been everywhere and done everything and been richer than Queen Isabella and heartily satisfied every single woman north of the equator, all the while checking his Nordic good looks in the mirror.

I do say he tends to make me feel rather sub-par and ill-contented with both my life and my intelligence.

But I bore the brunt of his attacks on my less than stellar life with aplomb and let him regale with tales of his daring-do because I got to sit down and rest my tired feet in between the microwave and the coffee pot.

That was an equitable trade for the assault on my ears. They are still stinging a bit, but it will fade.

We survived.

Wednesday is going to be Button Day. It doesn't specify between a shirt button and a push button. I guess it's up to you. It will also be National Fast Food Day, International Day For Tolerance, Prematurity Awareness Day (but that might be a day early) and the Day of Saint Gertrude.

Don't get too crazy with it.....

Monday, November 14, 2011

It Wasn't Funny The First Time!

When I left Friday they had me scheduled to work 30 yard. Okay. Small shack. Lots of walking. Huge inner perimeter check. Ah, what the snap. No big deal.

Checked the weather this morning and they said 60% chance of rain all day.

Lovely. Okay. I brought my raincoat.

Got to work and they said we would be under a tornado watch until 10:00pm.

Niiice. Great. Just freaking great.

Then Lt Chipmunk (who was on the books) said "Hey Rev! Would you work the control center tonight? Vinnie called out!"

What? Stay inside and dry and warm all night and out of the any potential tornadoes? Well, yeah. I mean if you really need me to, I guess I could do that.

Sgt Puddle was finally back from being marooned on a desert island for ten years (seemingly, anyway) and Miz Twang was going to be up there, too. Heck yeah! I went on up and started to check the numbers and get things ready.

Miz Twang came in sounding all sickly and squeaky like she'd swallowed a toy saxophone and it stuck in her throat so I knew she wouldn't want to be on the phones and the radio all night long. My immediate reaction was to take her home on a mission of mercy and feed her chicken soup and pop her in a hot bath until she felt better. But if I did that I'd need to bring The Watcher along too since he was in the same state.

Since my bathtub isn't big enough for both of them the best I could do was to take the desk and the counts and the radios and take the burden off the best I could.

I really need a bigger bathtub.

Anyway, since it was a Monday and no transfers I figured it would be a pretty easy day.

Yeah. Well, that didn't work out so much.

Right after shift change some caseworker on her way home called and said she saw a guy walking down the road wearing gray pants who kinda looked like he might be an inmate.

Really? Okay. Close the yards. Close the wings. Stop all movement and call for a count half an hour earlier than usual.

That threw everyone into a tizzy. We had inmates scattered everywhere all over the camp. And of course my phone immediately started ringing. "What's going on? Did you just call count? Why?" To which I replied "We are counting. Yes, I did. And because I was told to."

That was all I had time to say because all the rest of the lines were lighting up.

We got two miscounts. Only two. One house on one side was down one and a house on the other side was up one.

Oh snap. Did they move somebody and not tell the control center? Snap, I hope not! Count 'em again, please!

Finally got that one cleared up and went back to normal operations. Of course it threw our whole routine off and we had to improvise but we got all the feeding done in time to make a recreation movement at 6:00pm.

I thought we were going to be safe after that. Then the phone rang again.

Some Sergeant from another prison down the road called and said she saw a guy wearing gray pants walking down the road. And when she turned back to look he took off and disappeared.

Really? Again? This aint funny anymore.

Start calling people again. Hold all movement. Clear the yards. Count them in place.

Count them in medical? Yes.

Count them in the library? Yes.

Count them in A and B rec? Yes.

Count them in A-visit during their AA and NA meetings? Yes.

My count sheet didn't have places for all of those places so I had to improvise with white out and drawing extra lines. When I was done it looked like something Arlo Guthrie would put in one of his songs.

And of course the phone rang nonstop with the same questions. They got pretty much the same answers as before.

I think the top of my head was steaming by the time I got done adding all of those numbers up and I think at one point I was holding about twenty different writing utensils in one hand at the same time while holding the phone to my ear with my shoulder and running the adding machine with the other hand.

I really do suspect that being out in that tiny shack in a tornado would have made for an easier night.

Luckily for all of us and my sanity that count cleared. And we didn't have any more silliness. The 10:00pm count was on time and without any errors.

If it wasn't for Miz Twang and Sgt Puddle helping out on the phones and The Watcher braving the elements to bring me some much needed coffee I don't think I would have made it at all. You guys are truly the best. Even if you're a little croupy and squeaky at times.

I'm scheduled to be on 30 yard again tomorrow. And I don't think the weather outlook has changed any.

In the meantime I need to restock my supply of Tylenol and tums in my lunchbox, I believe.

Tuesday is going to be National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, National Raisin Bran Cereal Day, America Recycles Day, I love To Write Day and National Bundt Cake day.

When is National Lucky Charms Day, anyway?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Anticipation Is Making Me Crazy(er)

Every day, sometimes several times a day someone asks "Did you get a letter yet?"

Nobody can say for sure if they have sent them out or not or when they will. And every day I go out and get the mail with a little knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach.

I'd like to promote... I think. I suspect that I would be at least competent at it and at best I might just keep someone from getting hurt. The worst thing that could happen is someone will say "Hey, you really suck at this, dude."

I just want them to send out the dang letters so I'll know if I get an interview and then get the interview over with.

After that, waiting for their decision will be a cake walk. That will be the easy part. I know I'll be up against some stiff competition. The Watcher and Abel and Stubby and T. Wayne and Miz Havoc on days. More of them I can't think of right at the moment. Plus anybody that might try to transfer from another camp. I don't really look at them as "competition". I look at them (the ones from here, anyway) as friends who are trying to promote at the same time as I am.

Personally I hope they all make it and I will be happy if and when they do.

I just want to get the preliminaries over with. It's making me crazy.

Here's the weekend lineup:
Saturday: National Pizza With The Works Except Anchovies Day, National Gaming Day and National Domino Day.

Sunday: National Indian Pudding Day, International Tongue Twister Day and World Kindness Day.

Monday: Operation Room Nurse Day, Loosen Up And Lighten Up Day, National American Teddy Bear Day, National Girls Day and National Guacamole Day.

Hmm... Girls, teddy bears and guacamole? Sounds like fun!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Good Advice

Since I decided to put myself on the Sergeants register I have been getting alot of advice.

Some good. Some bad. All of it seemingly well meaning.

Read this. Study that. Learn this and memorize that. Read this policy and that SOP. Remember the use of force continuum and learn our Mission Statement.

I've read policy until it's running out of my ears and now it all sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher. "Wah-wha-wa-wa-Wah?" It's all a moosh in my head.

Tonight Sgt Uncle T gave me some of the best advice I've had so far.

"Just relax!" He said. "Don't get all nervous! Those people on the promotion board are the same ones you sat down with in the chow hall last week and made dirty jokes about the mashed potatoes! There's no difference. Be yourself and relax. You'll do fine."

And that is some dang good advice.

Of all of the people that might be on the promotion board the only one I don't know is our new Major. I think I've spoken maybe a dozen words to him since he took over.

It's not that I'm scared of him or avoiding him.

I just haven't gotten into any trouble with him yet and so I haven't had a reason to go in there.

It'll happen.

Sgt Uncle T and I spent alot of time outside the shack tonight standing in the blistering cold wind watching the frost form on the yard. He gave me quite a bit of good Sergeanty advice. There was too much chattering going on inside the shack so we braved the cold and stood outside. It was considerably chillier, but much quieter where we were.

He said "Always back up your people. Don't be afraid to fight for them."

And "Be able to make a call. Decide. Nobody else is going to."

And "Learn something about the people who work for you. Find out their likes and dislikes. If they think you think the same way as they do, they will do anything for you. And it helps pass the time when nothing's happening."

I may have paraphrased a little with some of that. I'm sure I'll hear about it. But hey, my brain is just now thawing out.

If the strangest thing happens and I do get promoted, I will try to stay pretty much the way I am. But I will try to be at least as good a supervisor as Uncle T is. I'm going to use him as an example.

And if that statement just blew my chances for promotion, then they didn't want me that bad in the first place.

So! Now that I have actually managed to write something, on with what you really came here for. Tomorrows list of celebrations.

Friday is going to be (besides 11-11-11) Air Day, Death/Duty Day, Veterans Day and National Sundae Day.

A Sundae on a Friday? Who'd a thunk it?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Writers Block

And I have it bad. Been sitting here for almost half an hour and not a single thing has come to mind.


Thursday will be Hopefully Something Interesting Happens Day. I just made that one up.
It will also be Forget-Me-Not Day, Area Code Day, Marine Corps Birthday and Sesame Street Day.

Unleash the hounds!

Well, Snap!

Grumble grumble grumble.....

I had a jim dandy post here about The Worlds Most Worthless Raincoat, which is standard issue for all of us here at Raccoon City.

But the storms knocked out my internet connection before I could post it. I waited and waited, hoping it would come back up but it didn't.

So I thought "Hey, I'll just leave the page up and post it in the morning!"

Wrong! My computer decided to update and restart itself sometime during the night. So all of my spontaneous genius was wiped away like dust on a chalkboard.

Stupid internet.

Somewhat fittingly, today is Chaos Never Dies Day.

Rock the frack on.

And I'm sure you'll all join me in mourning the passing of Bil Keane, who started the comic strip "Family Circus" back in 1960. He passed away this morning of congestive heart failure.

We'll all miss you, Bil!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Playin' The Game

For once we had extra people on B-yard. Usually A side gets all the cream and it's just me and Sausage out there.

We grumble, but we don't really take it personally.

Besides, everybody knows that Sgt Uncle Buck gets all nervous and weepy if he doesn't have an entourage on the yard. He wasn't here tonight so we made out like bandits.

So tonight we actually had enough people to cover all of the yard. So many, in fact, that Sgt Uncle T occasionally lost track of who was where. It was understandable. Where usually we just have a 70 and a 71, tonight we had 70 (G), 71 (St Francis), 72 (Yours Truly), 73 (New Guy) and 73 alpha (Mr Coffee).

Of course Mr Coffee spent most of the night following his cup around and went from one coffee pot to another. He was there when we needed him, but when we didn't he was off seeking the eternal buzz.

The rest of us sat down underneath the pavilion between movements and played the Rock Band Name Game. The way we played tonight, we started with A. When someone dropped out we went on to B.

At one point Uncle T and I got left alone for awhile and we battled on with B's for over an hour. And band, any musician or entertainer; from Billy Ray Cyrus to Beethoven to Bon Jovi and Bonn Scott, Beatles, Buddy Holly and Benny Goodman.

They called a code 16 down in 9 house for chest pains and we jumped on the cart, still playing. On the way we picked up the Captain and we were still playing. he was sitting on the back of the cart looking at us like "What the snap?" And while we were standing in the day room while the nurse took this guys vital signs I'd say "Benjamin Taylor."

He'd say "Ooh! BB King!"

"Billy Idol."

"Billie Holliday!"

I think the Cap was glad to get rid of us, since he had no idea what was going on. From the look on his face, he thought we were weird.

We made it as far as the G's later on that night and everybody finally gave up in despair. Then we started up with N again later and played that one to death.

And even with all that we still managed to get our work done.

It was a good night.

Tuesday is going to be Dunce Day, Aid and Abet Punsters Day, Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day, Election Day and X-Ray Day.

Punsters! Yeah!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

They Are Getting Pushy

The rumor mill has it that they sent out letters for Sergeants interviews today.

Don't know if it's true. And if it is, I don't know I'll get one. Just wait and see, I guess.

The Lt on the books is getting kind of pushy about me studying up for the interview. I looked at the chrono for next week and all of my utility days are front desk, mail run, etc. All places that leave me with time on my hands. So why not study up a little? Yeah.

I'm tired of this stuff already. Just want to get it over with so I can go back to being me again.

And to top it off I had a crummy day. Kept dropping things in the comm room and almost everybody that came to the window had a bad attitude. Brother D kept me from snapping on a few of them. He always has a calming effect on me up there.

So I think I'll just do the weekend calendar and try to sleep this day off. Except for a couple of bright spots, this one wasn't worth keeping.

Saturday: Gunpowder Day (make things go boom!) and Sadie Hawkins Day.

Sunday: Saxophone Day and Marooned Without A Compass Day (I'd rather be marooned without a saxophone), Daylight Savings Time Ends Day and Zero Tasking Day.

Monday: National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day (At least it's not coconut) and Job Action Day.

And if you can explain that you are officially much smarter than me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Training Glitch

Well, it seems we have hit a snag in our training schedule.

When I first started with the department we had yearly training that took an entire week. We got all of the 40 hours required in one week and we were good for the rest of the year.

They told us we were the "Highest trained and poorest paid CO's in the country."

I believed the second part, but not the first.

Then about three years ago they stopped doing that and our training dropped from five days to three and then down to two. We did Defensive Tactics and Weapons and nothing else.

Not sure exactly why they did that. They just did it. We all just shrugged our shoulders and said "Okey-dokey" and went back to work and didn't think about it any more.

Now all of the sudden they are telling us we have to have our required 40 hours of training every year or there will be "consequences". And that it is entirely our responsibility to make up those extra hours before the end of the year.

Let's see... I have been waiting to get Field Training Officer training for over two years now. I am "on the list" or so I'm told. I've been trying to get them to give us some training for this "Fire Brigade" or "Institutional Search and Rescue Squad" thing that I volunteered to do for well over a year. And just last month I applied for "Trainer Skills For Trainers" and got turned down.

But none of that really counts.

So now that it's coming down to the wire they have decided that we can go to some national corrections officers website and take some online courses to make up the deficit. We can do some of it at work as long as it doesn't interfere with our work. Or we can do it at home but we won't get any extra comp time for it.

What to do.... What to do... I can try to do it at work but the chances of being alone on a computer for an hour and not have to jump up and do something else in the middle are slim. Or I can sacrifice an hour here and there and lounge around in my PJ's at home and even play music or stop and watch a teevee show in the middle if I like.

I guess the choice is simple. And Model A gave me a good idea tonight. Rather than take two eight hour classes and send in two completion certificates, I think I'll take sixteen one hour classes and send each one in a different envelope just to be difficult.

If they want to take up my time, I'll just take up some of theirs. So there!

Friday (yay! Friday!) is going to be Waiting For The Barbarians Day. I won't have to wait long, I'm sure. It will also be Use Your Common Sense Day.

Yeah, right. Like that's gonna happen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It Was A Freaking Joke!

We have a bulletin board right across the hall from the comm room. It has a couple items of the usual official party line stuff and some "official" claptrap stuck to it here and there.

But for the most part this is where you advertise if you have something for sale. Almost everybody in the institution passes by that bulletin board at least twice a day, so if you want to get rid of something, that's the place to post it.

I've seen houses, apartments, boats, trailers, trucks, cars, motorcycles, scooters, guns, bows, dogs, cats, cattle, llamas, ducks and even once a snake.

And one edge of the board is covered with business cards. Most of them are side businesses of people working at the prison or relatives of people working at the prison. Once again, you can find almost anything from roofing to cakes to home made laundry soap, DJ services, widow washing and holistic massage. We are a versatile and eclectic bunch.

Being me and getting bored easily, I occasionally come up with odd ideas for things to put up on the bulletin board. Not that I'm trying to sell anything or have any particular agenda to put across. I just like making people either smile or scratch their heads and say "What?"

This morning I had an idea come to fruition in that steampunk junkyard I call my brain. I got online and found the picture of the howitzer up there and made up a flyer advertising it for sale. I even put down the specs. It's 155 mm and weighs 9,000 pounds. It can fire 2 rounds per minute and has an effective range of 15-40 miles.

At first I thought my punchline would be the price. I put down "Asking $2,000,000 OBO."

But then another thought struck me and I added "Willing to trade for light truck and washing machine." To me, it was freaking hilarious.

So I stuck it up on the bulletin board and waited to hear a few laughs. That was all I was after. Really.

And I got a few.

Then some people came by and thought it was serious. Some woman (I don't really remember who it was) was complaining "Why would anybody need something like that? Nobody should have one of those! Why are they trying to sell that here?"

I just stood there with my face hanging open and said "Really?"

And then a few more people came by and took it seriously.

I was left pacing the comm room and slapping my head going "Ay-yi-yi!"

I always said "If they ever locked up a rocket scientist I'd fall over backwards."

Today I was saying "If they ever hired a rocket scientist I'd just fall over dead of amazement."

I swear, these people could frack up a knock-knock joke.

On with the calendar. Thursday is going to be Sandwich Day and Housewife's Day. Mmmm... Housewife sandwich... It's also going to be Cliche Day and National Men Make Dinner Day.

I'll gladly burn some water for dinner.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Study Time

Ah, the front desk. An hour of busywork then six hours of nothing, then another hour of busywork.

I really earned my state nickle tonight.

When I came in this afternoon Lt Sienna said "Rev, you're on the front desk. That way you can stay up here and study."

Oh snap. Policy and procedure time. He's another one of those who is pushing for me to promote. Not exactly sure why. Maybe they're all thinking "Well, doing it the old fashioned way isn't working. Let's put this lunatic in charge and see what happens! If nothing else, it will be worth a laugh."

So I stayed at the front desk and did very little other than the relentless slaughter of innocent trees as I printed out policy to pore over, hoping (perhaps vainly) that I can at least appear competent when it comes to the promotion interview.

The funny thing was, when I first came in one of the Assistant Wardens was outside talking about how he wished he had never promoted and how the extra money wasn't really worth it. He came real close to talking me back out of it again. I think if Sgt Miz P had been out there listening she would have thumped him squarely on the head.

And being the contrary type that I am, an hour or so later I was out front trying to talk Vinnie into getting on the register as well. He looked at me in shock and asked "Why would you wish a thing like that on me?" I shrugged and smiled and replied Because... misery loves company?"

He still wouldn't fall for it. Smarter than I am, he is.

Almost every day someone suggests something else I should look at and brush up on. I am now the proud owner of a pile of department policy, procedure and SOP's that is so tall it could be used as a pair of jack stands in an emergency.

I just hope that when the time comes it doesn't all blur together into one big mush and come out as incomprehensible babbling.

We shall see, I suppose.

I might not even get a letter for an interview. That would almost be a relief in a way.

I know one Sergeant that interviewed about forty times before he got promoted. I'm not going to be that dogged about it. Interviews make me nervous.

Heck, just thinking about interviewing makes me nervous. Having Vinnie in the room here while I'm writing is making me nervous. That's a first for me. Never had anybody here watching me blog before.

And I think I'll just stop right there. Too many weird pictures just popped into my head.

Wednesday is going to be National Deviled Egg Day. Sweet! I love those things. It will also be Cookie Monster Day and All Souls Day.

Deviled eggs and All Souls? Sounds like a messed up combination. Better have a cookie instead.