Friday, July 29, 2011

Ahhhhhhhhhhh.........................

Well, that's it. I am officially on vacation for the next two weeks. They forced me to work the Hive for my last day, but I survived anyway.

Actually I suspect the Lt thought he was doing me a favor giving me a 2-10 spot on my Friday. It's 50/50. Don't much care for working down there so much any more, but I do know the job and I can definitely fill the position and I don't mind getting off work early.

Earlier in the day I had a whole post written in my head about pure bone laziness and how much it pissed me off. Big M and I came in and found a bunch of things left undone and a bunch of things done half-fast and very poorly and we set about fixing them and making things right so that there wasn't a big mess when "our" crew came in.

But as the night progressed I just wanted to get out of there and go home so I could relax. The aggravation melted away into one of those "Oh well, what do you expect?" moods. Frack it.

That's my motto for the next couple of weeks. Frack it. They can clean up after themselves. Or not. Frack it.

I think I was getting a little burned out. Maybe I needed a vacation.

Not exactly sure what I will be doing on the blog. I imagine if I do anything exciting I'll post some pictures. But I've been toying with the idea of running a "best of" series of some of my old posts from way back when. That might be fun to go back and read a few of those.

Then again, it might be one of those "What the snap was I thinking when I wrote that?" moments. Who knows? I guess we'll find out together.

So, before I toddle off to bed, here's the rundown for the weekend. Saturday will be National Cheesecake Day. Oh yummy yum yum! Save me a big slice, please! It will also be Father In Law Day and Paddle For Perthes Disease Awareness Day.

Sunday will be Parent's Day, Shredded Wheat Day, National Raspberry Cake Day and Harry Potters Birthday.

Monday will be Friendship Day and National Raspberry Cream Pie Day. It will also be Girlfriends Day and Lughnasa , as well as Respect For Parents Day, Spiderman Day and US Air Force Day.

Enjoy! I will.

Laughter Is Not The Best Medicine After All!

Ye gads. I'm still sore. I guess you could call it a work related injury, but it's nothing I plan on filing any paperwork over.

I hurt myself laughing.

Gray Ham and I were out front of B-dining patting down inmates as they came out of the chow hall. He was being the silly/serious coot that he always is. He flips back and forth between cracking jokes and chewing butt like flipping a light switch. If you have a butt chewing coming, he will give it to you like nobody's business. If you don't, he'll crack a joke. That's him.

I was bent over patting down an inmate and he came off with a one liner in response to something another inmate said that caught me completely off guard. I whooped and went to stand up and something in my ribs down low on the left side went "Pop!"

I don't know if it was just cartilage or if one rib crossed over another or what, but for a second there I thought I had been shot. It scared me a little but I was still laughing and saying "Ow ow ow ow!" and dancing around in little circles holding my side.

And they all tried their best to make me laugh all night long and succeeded several times. The evil swine.

That was close to seven hours ago and my ribs still hurt.

I can just see that accident report going up the chain and the snarky comments that I would get back on it.

No thank you. I don't want to be the first officer in the department to be officially ordered not to laugh at work.

Then again, I would love to have that in writing, just to hang it on my wall.

Anyway. I'm 2-10 down in the Hive again tomorrow. They do love doing that to me on my Friday. I'm not so crazy about it myself, but at least I get to start my vacation early.

So Friday will be Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day. Apparently if you have mice in your home you have to sacrifice some cheese in the traps to be rid of them. And Friday is the day you purchase that cheese.

I think somebody was smoking the Liquid Wrench when they thought that one up!

It will also be Lasagna Day, Lumberjack Day, Rain Day, National Talk In An Elevator Day and Systems Administrator Appreciation Day.

Good thing it aint Tell A Bad Joke Day! I couldn't take it....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gruntled, Or Not?

For the most part, my nights in the comm room are uneventful. Unless something gets lost or broken or somebody does something stupid. I just put in my eight hours and go home.

There's seldom any real work to do. And certainly nothing strenuous. When the a/c and/or the heat are working correctly when they need to be, it's not a bad gig.

We had enough people on shift that they stuck DoubleH down at the front desk and I spent a good amount of the night chatting with her. She doesn't smoke but she knows I do so she kept saying "Hey Rev! Come out and smoke with me!" And we'd sit out on the step and I'd smoke and she would clatter on about this and that. A nice lady. A little disgruntled, but nice none the less.

She even came out and said "Hey! You can tell 'em all on your blog that you spent the night with the disgruntled woman!" I laughed and said "Well, I probably won't say it quite like that."

But then I did. Hmm.. She got to me.

Some of us are so disgruntled that I do wonder if we were ever gruntled to begin with. And until right before I started to write this post I wasn't even aware that "gruntled" is a real word. I'm sure it's not in the Webster's or the OED yet. But look it up! It's being used! As a matter of fact, I ran across a picture of this shirt here:


That took me a few moments. Give me some slack. It's late and I've already taken my meds. It meant that the wearer was neither impetuous, inept or disgruntled.

If they gave me the task of going through the list of the 400 or so custody employees and said "Give one of these shirts to each employee that this describes", I might hand out three. Tops. And right now I couldn't name those three. Everybody I know or work with is at least one of those things, if not all three.

I willingly admit that I am in the "all three" category.

But I had a good time talking to DoubleH. She's been on utility forever and is hoping to get a bid in either 10 or 7 house and stay in one place for awhile. Maybe that will help her with her gruntulation. Or Egruntulation. Whatever it is that makes her happy. Fresh coffee usually does it.

Okay. I can tell that my meds are kicking in and I'm getting silly. Soon I'll be typing this with my nose. Time to check the calendar and go to bed. And hope for no more of those fragged up dreams I've been having. I would have mentioned the last one but it gave me the shivers all day. Yuck. I'll bet Chanel would drive all the way here and smack me for mentioning it.

Hmm... It might be worth it.....

Nah.

Thursday (B-yard and near 100 degrees) will be National Milk Chocolate Day. Sweeeet! It will also be Buffalo Soldiers Day and National Chili Dog Day! Yayyyy!!!

The Dreaded "Q" Word

They had me schedule to work the Hive today. I wasn't looking forward to it.

It's funny. There was a long time when I thrived on working that house. I just ate up the stress and the aggravation and the smell and the violence inherent in the place.

Working the Hive was like being a gladiator. I'd walk into the arena each day wondering if I was going to be able to walk out again under my own power at the end of the shift. There was a time when it was that dangerous. I'd seen more than one coworker carried out of the place and off to the hospital.

I was lucky. Extremely lucky. I'd been hurt a few times, sure. Left bits of my skin and not a little of my blood on the floors and walls in the Hive in my day. Like so many others. But I never got hurt too bad that I couldn't come right back that evening, if not the next day.

And every night when I walked out I felt good and happy and not just a bit relieved that I had made it through another day.

Not so much anymore, though. Now 99% of the danger is gone and pretty much just the aggravation remains. The Hive has gone from being the Colosseum to being an office building with noisy neighbors.

Snap it was hot! I just barely made it inside the fence and I'm already sweating. Took my hat off and laid it on top of my lunch box in the shade and ran my hand through my short brush of gray hair. My hand came away wet. Yuck. I keep an extra handkerchief stashed just to dry off with. Wiped off my hand and ran it over my head like a beach towel.

Stood there awhile and waited for the crew to assemble. Chatted awhile with the Watcher and the Fireman and Miz Fawkes, who had gotten an embarrassing rip in her pants. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it. But my eyes kept getting drawn to that flash of pale skin. I thought she knew about it. Apparently not. The next thing I knew she was on her way down to the training building for a new pair of pants. I guess her idea about the stapler didn't work.

Finally, it was time. I tossed my hat back on my head and said "All right. Let's get this over with."

It was hotter than crap and I knew the knuckleheads were all going to be hot and pissed off. And the house was almost full so if anything happened we had very little room to maneuver as far as moving people around.

Plus we had the cream of the present crop of prime wobbleheads down there already. They had already been playing the little attention games lately.

In short, it was prime ingredients for one heck of a long night. If we didn't have a mostly veteran crew like we had, it could have been bad.

The Super Twins were already down there running rec. It was me, Farmer John, Super V in the bubble and Sgt LB. Super V hadn't run that bubble much but he knew how and did his very best to keep up with all of our comings and goings. He did good.

Farmer John and I did count and a good portion of the feeding and later, when the Super twins were doing rec, searched ten cells. That was always a good time for somebody to get pissed off and start a ruckus. But we double teamed them and kept them corralled and nothing happened.

We had no lockups, no check-ins and no trouble at all.

And we all fought against saying the dreaded "Q" word that would jinx us.

Me, I waited until LB and I walked out into the parking lot after work.

"Man! It sure was a quiet night!" He just laughed and walked away.

Wednesday will be Take Your Pants For A Walk Day. Yeah. I'll do that. It will also be Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, Take Your Houseplant For A Walk Day, Barbie In A Blender Day and Walk On Stilts Day.

Let's see you do all of that at the same time! Can you imagine what the parade would look like? Woof!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Day At The Skunk Works

Here I was thinking I wasn't going to have much to write about. I was an extra on B-yard. One of three extras, to be exact. There were five of us out there today. Incredible.

I kept waiting for something to happen or somebody to realize that we had so many extra people. Usually when someone sees we have extras, several people suddenly get "sick" and have to go home. Then I'd get pulled somewhere else. But it never happened.

Went down to the chow hall after the yards closed and grabbed a popsicle out of the freezer and immediately dripped some of it down the front of my shirt. Nice. Went into the bathroom to wash it off the best I could.

Then I stepped outside to watch the laundry workers on their way to chow. I got about three steps away from the door and a bird crapped on my shoulder.

I thought "So, this is the way it's gonna be, huh?"

Went back into the bathroom to wash the bird crap off of my shirt.

At least it didn't clash with the popsicle stain.

I really thought about taking advantage and going home myself. I imagined that it could only get worse from there.

But it didn't.

We got all the way through open yard with nothing happening. Closed them down and sent the little dogies back to their pens for the night and settled in to eat some dinner.

Not long after I sat down to eat I heard this "Yee-Haw!" off in the distance. Like Slim Pickens riding the A-bomb in "Dr Strangelove". I step around the shack and see that ridiculous m....... My immediate supervisor, Sgt Uncle T, chasing a medium sized white skunk across the yard with the golf cart. And he's herding it right towards the shack!

Me, Nook (up from 30 yard for a visit), Red, Meanie and Sausage all take off in different directions as this poor skunk is running for it's life right towards us. Me, I closed myself in the shack. Everyone else ran off.

The poor skunk, not the most agile thing in the world, managed to jink to the side and run off across the baseball diamond. Sgt Uncle T, also not the most agile thing in the world, barely missed taking out the foul pole and a bit of the diamond fence with the cart and chases the poor thing back around for another trip around the shack.

Finally, the poor critter managed to elude him and go through an opening in the fence and took off across the yard, heading for 6 house. It was running just as fast as it could go. When I saw it last, it was through the fence behind 6 house and still going strong as it ran off into the night.

It's probably still running.

At least I didn't get any of that on my shirt!

Tuesday I will be in the Hive (joy...) and it will be All Or Nothing Day. That just doesn't sound good. It will also be One Voice Day. There are several different meaning for this one. Take your pick!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Finally A Floor!

Way back in March, I wrote this post about tearing up my office to take out the nasty old carpet and put in a new floor.

Well, that didn't work out so good. We ended up having to spend a bunch of money on other more important things and the cash for my floor went by the wayside. But I had already taken about half of the stuff out of my room and stuck it in the spare room in boxes and heaps.

Then about two weeks ago I finally got some money and went out and bought me some self adhesive tile that I thought looked okay. It wasn't what I had originally planned, but it was good enough. And I hauled out more stuff from my office to the other room.

But I was getting mighty tired of not being able to find any of my stuff. So this weekend I decided that now was the time to get it done. Broke everything down and hauled it out. The only thing I left was my desk. This was fairly early Saturday morning. After I had read the comics and the blogs, of course.


My desk is so old and decrepit that I didn't want to haul it halfway across the house and risk it falling apart on me so I left it there and worked around it. Pulled out half the carpet then moved it onto the bare floor before I pulled the rest of the carpet up.

It wasn't quite as nasty under my old carpet as it was in the living room. But it was still pretty nasty. The padding was disintegrating and whoever had put the padding down had gotten pretty gay with the stapler.

Of course I mean that in the best possible way.

And beneath the padding we found more staples and chunks of even older padding from the carpet before that one. And bits of the previous carpeting, maybe going back two layers. I'm not sure which one came first, but we found chunks of a deep green carpet as well as maroon. We pulled staples and swept and vacuumed and pulled more staples and swept again. Then I started putting down the tile.

I was pleasantly surprised that it looked so good. And I do like the brick pattern.

It's been ages and ages since I laid any tile and I was pretty rusty at it. Fortunately the trim, once I get it repainted and put back in, will cover most of my mistakes. And the older I get the less padding I have on my tailbone. Spending most of the day sitting on a hard floor has left me sore in some different places. I'm glad my desk chair is well padded.

Saturday evening I got my desk moved back where I wanted it and my computer set back up again. The only thing left to do was a strip in front of the door and inside the closet. I left those for today.

And this morning I got up and finished the tile and spent most of the day moving the rest of my stuff back in. There's still a few piles of miscellaneous junk to sort out, but I got most of it back. And I got my comfy reading area back as well. I've been missing that.

I still hurt in all of those places and maybe a few more. But I'm happier now that I finally got my space and my stuff back in the same room. And it's opened up some more wall space so now I need to find more stuff to hang in those empty spots.

My wife designed and printed me out this cool steampunk poster a couple of weeks ago. I think I'll try to encourage more of that. It goes good with my gears and things.

And since the weather has been so miserably hot, we decided that a cold dinner would be preferable to a hot one so we splurged just a little bit and bought some fancy sammich fixin's and she made a batch of that great pasta salad made with rotini, ranch dressing, shredded cheese and chicken meat.

I made me a fat victory sandwich and enjoyed the heck out of it, even if it was almost too big to fit in my mouth.


Tomorrow I can go back to work and get some rest. Phew!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

No Thinking Zone

I guess I could have just posted "It's too hot to think" as has been suggested.

I could use that as a handy excuse why my posts have been so lame the past few days.

And it's true. It's just too dang hot to think.

Apparently it has been affecting everybody. Especially today. Things were so screwed up today it was like everyone's brains had melted smooth out of their heads, leaving nothing but a trail of gently steaming gelatinous goo everywhere they go.

Okay, I feel disgusted just writing that. Bleah! What a picture.

When I left last night I had the mail run then B-yard. When I came in today I had the mail run then A-yard. before I even left for the mail run I was back on B-yard again. Okey dokey.

I don't mind doing the mail run. My day starts out early. Instead of tramping all over the camp and getting to my post by 3:15 at the latest, I sit outside the admin building until no sooner than 3:30, which is when the mail is ready for delivery. Load it all in a little cart and drive around the camp sitting on my butt delivering it. I don't even have to get up. They all come out and get the mail bags when I call.

Heck, I can even stop and chat for a minute now and then and nobody minds.

Get done and head back out to put the cart away then mosey on out to the yard..... Get there about the time it closes.... And mosey on down to the chow hall. No big hurry. I even had time to go in and eat a popsickle out of the freezer at B-dining before count.

Then Sgt Uncle T comes over and says "Someone screwed up. You have to go relieve in the visiting room until 6:30. Then come out to the yard."

Snap. That was one of the last places I had never worked. I'd been in visit lots of times, but never when the visitors were there. I hadn't a clue what to do. Luckily Turbo was there. He's an old hand at visiting and knows the ropes.

The main problem was that count had not cleared yet. We had visitors in there waiting for the inmates to show up but since count was messed up they couldn't get there. They were waiting around patiently but when they called and said send them all back for a name and number count, we knew it was going to be a long time before any more inmates showed up.

And since visit closes down at 6:30 they might get 10-15 minutes before they had to leave. Several families left when they heard the news. Turbo was nice and explained as patiently as he could. Many of them understood and went ahead and left without any protest.

Captain Fluffy was up in the Control Center being in the way while they were trying to figure out where count was messed up and he saw the visitors trooping out. So he called back and was insinuating that we were throwing them out.

**sigh** "Find a nit and pick it." That seems to be his motto. never mind that our count was off and an inmate might possibly be missing. Why were those visitors leaving? I'm sure glad Turbo showed up to talk to him. He was making me cranky.

Count finally cleared and we started clearing out the rest of the visitors and inmates that were left. And the inmates whose families had already left showed up and were pissed off. Turbo called the houses and told them they left but apparently the news never got passed along.

Nobody was thinking, apparently.

When we finally got done with that nonsense I made it back out to the yard right before they opened. Late, obviously, because of the long count. Then there was this disorienting and confusing series of calls on the radio.

"The yards are open on the A and B side!"

"No! Only on the B side!"

"A side is ready!"

The yard is open on the A side!"

Nobody had a clue if the yard was open or not. 6 house sent some out and then stopped. 7 and 8 held theirs up and called on the phone to make sure. Then they let them all out.

They managed to get almost two hours of yard, but it was a near thing.

And when the 10:00pm count came around, guess what? It was screwed up again. Apparently in the same place as last time. But they decided to send people other places to count again just to make sure. After some pretty rude radio calls.

Me, I just held my head in my hands and watched the yard and said to heck with it.

By then it was cooler outside, but I was too tired to think anymore.

I am so happy it's Friday. You have no idea.

The lineup for this weekend. Saturday will be National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, as well as Gorgeous Grandma Day and Hot Enough For Ya Day. Sunday will be Amelia Earhart Day, Cousins Day, Mormon Pioneer Day, Cowboy Day, Drive-Thru Day and Tell An Old Joke Day. Monday will be Threading The Needle Day and Merry Go Round Day.

Whew! Enjoy!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Overheated

I knew it was going to be a hot one today. Temps somewhere around 100 and a heat index of about 115 to 118. Whew!

The night before I stuck a water bottle in the freezer and froze it solid, hoping it wouldn't bust. This morning I stuck in 4 more bottles and two Powerades and got them good and slushy before I left for work. When I got to work I grabbed another unfrozen bottle out of the machine and slammed it down before we hit the yard.

Lt Strong came out and said "I'll be out here all night with you guys. I don't want you moving around. If something happens, call it and we'll deal with it. Otherwise stay in the shade and drink plenty of water."

Fortunately nothing happened. I was so freaking hot I think if I tried to run anywhere I would have just fallen over and melted into the concrete. We kept moving from shady spot to shady spot trying not to fry in the sun.

And those fool inmates were out there running on the track and playing basketball and lifting weights. Captain CJ made it pretty plain: "Let them do what they want to. But when the first idiot falls out from the heat, we are closing the yards!"

None of them fell out. But I thought I might a couple of times. If I was just wearing shorts and a t-shirt and sneakers like the inmates it might have been more bearable. But stuck in that uniform with the duty belt and boots was just miserable.

Luckily for me, Sgt Uncle T got tired of driving himself around and had me get on the cart and chauffeur. That created a little breeze, anyway. And gave me somebody to talk to so I wasn't just standing there feeling miserable.

I saved the frozen bottle for last. When I started on my Del Norte walk it was still frozen almost completely solid. By the time I was done there was about an inch of tepid water left in it.

The girls in the control center were messing with me on the radio. And when i got back up there I said "If I had the energy to take my boot off, I'd pour about a gallon of sweat out of it through this chuck hole! Ten you'd be sorry!"

Either it cooled down quite a bit after I was done or I cooled down some when I got to quit walking. Either way I was a bit more comfortable towards the end of the night, even if I smelled bad. We sat around the picnic table in the pavilion and Sarge and Sausage and the Gray Ham talked about westerns for an hour while I tried desperately to doze and block out the conversation.

I'm not a big fan of westerns, you see.

Okay, so I'm not perfect.

But I survived the night and didn't have to chew my own foot off to get away from the movie chatter so i guess we can chalk up another one in the "Success" column. Yay!

Friday will be Rat Catcher’s Day. Hmm... Isn't that what the cops do? Oh! Different rats. I see. It will also be National Penuche Fudge Day (It's made from brown sugar and usually has pecans in it) and Spoonerism Day. If you get your tang all toungled, you'll get everything bass ackwards and they will all think you are nucking futs!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In And Out Of The Doghouse

Whoops. There I go again. In the doghouse.

One comment. Just one little comment. One little snide remark at the end of a blog post and I'm back in the doghouse once more.

Two days a week I am actually assigned somewhere and have a regular supervisor. Wednesdays I'm in the comm room and work under Sgt Puddle. And Thursdays I'm out ramping around B-yard working for Sgt Uncle T. The other three days I'm a loose end and work for whoever needs me. It's not a bad gig. Since I'm "utility" I'm actually assigned to Sgt Archer but since I never get to work with him it's kind of strange. And a bit frustrating.

Sgt Puddle is easy to get along with as long as I do my job and don't cause him any headaches. I try to be nice as he has enough to worry about with that crew of dangerous miscreants he has up there in the control center.

Speaking of those miscreants, I got a good look at Miz Vinnie's butt tonight out in the parking lot. As I suspected, it was well worth looking at. I look forward to the next time!

And I usually don't have to worry about working with Sgt Uncle T. After a week of putting up with St Francis and Sausage and Kermit he usually welcomes me on Thursdays with open arms. Amazingly enough, he considers me the "Good CO" out there.

But apparently he took that (grinz at Sgt Uncle T) remark after mentioning Lollipop Day to heart.

Of course if I hadn't ridden him so hard about the lollipops in the first place, he probably wouldn't have taken it that way. So I guess it's my fault. I just can't resist poking the bear with a stick now and then just to hear him growl.

So I'm sure I'll be doing alot of walking and getting the snit detail tomorrow. Ah, well.

It was worth it.

Hee hee hee!

Hopefully tomorrow won't be something quite so personally hazardous to my health. Let's see, shall we? Ah, yes.

Thursday will be National Tug-Of-War Tournament Day. Innocent enough. It will also be Get To Know Your Customers Day (Ummm... no thank you. I know them well enough) and Legal Drinking Age Day. (shakes his head) Okey dokey then...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good, If Unexpected, News!

I took the day off from work because I had a doctors appointment today and my appointment was for 2:45, which is about half an hour after the time I usually show up for work.

I really do despise coming in to work late, even if it's planned ahead. Afterwards my whole day feels like I need to rush to get caught up. So instead, I scheduled the day off.

Besides, if the doctor said that I was going to require some sort of surgery I had a bazillion questions I wanted to ask before we went any farther.

So I get in there and he asks me some questions about what I do and how much I move my arm and where it hurts and whatnot. I explained about the popping noise and he moves my arm and makes it pop and says "Like that?" When I squeaked he said "Sorry."

He moves my arm around some more, his fingers feeling the tendons and muscles moving, then points to a couple of places and says "It hurts here, here and here, right?" I said he was right on the money.

He flips through my chart some more and says "Well, the good news is that you are doing everything right so far. Getting the x-rays and the MRI was a good idea. Keep wearing the elbow brace, use hot and cold packs and direct massage on the areas. Try to strengthen the arm slowly and give it lots of rest in between. It will either heal itself slowly or in the next say... three to five years you might need surgery on it. But not right now."

The Doc told me about what the surgery would be like if he needed to fix the tendon attachment to my elbow and told me three to four months recovery time on that and several months of physical therapy afterwards.

Yikes! Right now I have a little over four months sick time saved up. And if I had to spend three to four months not moving my arm or using my right hand at all (no jokes, please. I've already been there) I'd either end up dead, crazy or divorced or any combination thereof.

So the good news is no surgery. The bad news is that I'm going to have to let it heal on it's own. And he advised no more than two cortisone shots in a years time. So I could go get another one, since it's been seven months already, but I think I'll hold off. Wait until it's necessary.

Tomorrow it's back to work and one day closer to the weekend. And this weekend, if nothing else happens, I'm going to be finally replacing the old nasty carpet in my office with some nifty tile I found. I post some pics.

Wednesday is my comm room day. It's also Ugly Truck Contest Day. Mine is kinda ugly but it's no contest winner. It's also National Lollipop Day! (grinz at Sgt Uncle T)

Dancing With Myself

It was kind of a strange and good night. It started out pretty good and stayed good for the rest of the night.

And that was........ good.

Hmm.... I seem to be running low an adjectives. (Note to self: buy more!)

I was scheduled to be an extra on the yard this evening. When I got in Lt Baby Boy says "You got the mail run and then you're on B-yard. I want you to take one of the new guys with you and show him how it's done. Then take him on the yard with you."

Okey dokey. I can do that.

Like I've said before, most days I don't mind starting the day doing the mail run. You don't do a thing until after 3:30 when the mail gets ready and then you drive around and holler on the radio for about half an hour. That's just an easy way to start the day.

Some days I prefer that to starting out my day slamming some knucklehead to the ground. Much less paperwork.

While I was waiting for the mail I lounged around outside and Sgt Uncle T drove up. Or rather, his wife drove up and let him out. Being the curious type, I trotted on over. I've heard so many stories about her but had never really met her before and now was my chance.

To my immense surprise Sgt Uncle T said that Miz T was a new fan of my blog and becoming a regular reader. Then she shook my hand and said she was "honored" to meet me.

I don't think anyone has ever said that to me before. I was a bit stunned.

So I just want to say Hi Miz Cindy! And I was very pleased to meet you too. That was nice.

And I'd also like to say Hi to Miz Cindy's sister who is also apparently reading me. We haven't met, but I would like to. It's always nice to meet people who read this stuff and don't think I'm just some weirdo. (grin)

So anyway, I took the new guy on the mail run and gave him the rundown of how it's done. I told him "Pay attention. You aren't on OJT any more. From now on they will expect you to know how to do this stuff."

Which is pretty much true. When I transferred over here almost eight years ago they all said "Well, he's been a CO for eight months already! He should know everything!" and they threw me out there and expected me to know what I was doing. Heck, I was lucky if I knew what house I was supposed to be in.

But that's another story.

So after the mail was done we trotted out on the yard just as they were closing and went on down to the chow hall where we caught up with the news of the weekend.

Apparently after the two fights on Friday they had three more over the weekend and the big cheeses were getting a little upset about it. And there seemed to be some concern since Sgt Archer got hurt. Which is perfectly understandable.

Before this nonsense started they didn't want up "clumping up" out on the yard. They wanted us all spread out and still wandering around, covering as much of the yard as possible. Which makes sense in one way and none in another.

Now they want us paired up so in case something happens you will always have backup handy. Now they are finally starting to make a little sense. And since we traditionally only have two yard officers and a Sergeant out there, they started sending us extra people.

Like me and the new guy tonight. And Nook, after his little stint in the Moon Room.

When the yards opened Sarge paired Sausage and St Francis together and the new guy with Nook. I said "I guess I'm just the odd man out." Sarge said "Nope! You go get the other cart and patrol in that. That way if something happens somewhere you can get there faster."

I can't remember the last time we had five CO's out on the yard all at the same time. And I guess the extra presence helped because nothing happened.

There was one point when I was sure there was something either happening or fixing to happen. Lots of inmates were watching a certain area of the yard or kept looking back in that direction. And I could see three or four others trying to look like they were standing around randomly but they were very actively standing as lookouts for somebody or something.

I skittered over and told Sarge and St Francis and Sarge sent him and Sausage down there to cover that area. I kept an eye out but also watched other areas just in case they were trying to draw us away.

Either we missed what happened or our reaction stopped it from happening. We may never know. But at least we got through the night with nobody getting hurt and we all went home at the end of the night. That's always a good thing.

So Tuesday will be Flitch Day. I had to look that one up. Check out the link! It's interesting!

I won't be at work tomorrow. I go to see the surgeon about my tennis elbow and find out the results of that hideous MRI. Hopefully I find out exactly what is wrong with it and maybe what we can do to fix it. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Stupid Gnats!!!

If it hadn't been for those stupid gnats, maybe I wouldn't have seen anything and maybe nobody would have gotten hurt. I don't know.

The day started out bad and good. I was supposed to be in the Sally port and I didn't want to go there. When I got in Gray Ham was complaining that he was supposed to be the 4 house bubble and he didn't want to go there. I said "Would you rather work the Sally port?" and he said "Sure!" So we squared with Lt Strong and he was fine with it and we were both much happier.

On my way down to 4 house walking with Woody we heard a broken up radio call. "9..... dog run... by 30 yard." Some female voice. Not projecting, just talking. We didn't hear any emotion or urgency so we ignored it, pretty much. Whoever it was sounded casual so whatever they were saying didn't seem urgent. Then as we entered the 4 house bubble we heard it again. "9.... dog run... by 30 house." That time somebody figured it out and they called "10-49! 10-49! In the dog run by 30 house!"

Cripes. A fight and all the way across the camp. And right at shift change, too! A handful of day shift people got involved. By the time anyone figured it out they had gotten tired and quit fighting and fled towards the yard.

Somebody called over the radio (supposedly from 30 house) and said "The offenders were white and shirtless and heading for the yard!"

I grinned and pretended to push the button for the yard speaker and said "Offender White, Offender Shirtless! Report back to housing unit 30!" That got a laugh.

They managed to find them pretty quickly. One of the guys left a shirt with his blood and his name on it in the dog run and they found the other guy trying to wipe the blood off of his face by the gym. So they got locked up pretty quickly.

And our day went on from there. Closed the yards. Counted. Cleared count and sent them to chow. Got them back in. Opened the yards at 6:00 and let them all out again.

At about 6:15 I went outside to smoke. I usually sit at the picnic table in the shade but there was a cloud of gnats there that wouldn't go away. they kept flying in my face and getting in my hair so I moved away from the house out towards the yard. Just smoking and looking around like I do.

From where I was standing I could see across to B-side yard into the weight pavilion. Maybe thirty, forty yards away. Just looking. Not doing anything in particular. Then I saw some quick movement. It looked like one offender took about three steps and punched another one. I blinked, thinking "Did I just see that?"

Then it all broke loose and I saw two of them move out onto the grass, swinging. And two more. And the first two were still under the pavilion going at it.

Grabbed my radio. "10-49! 10-49! B-side weight pavilion!" And after they had repeated it I added "Be advised there are multiple offenders!"

I was a little ticked off because one: I was the bubble officer and I wasn't supposed to leave. And two: there were three fences in between me and them and I had no keys and no way to get there in time. Pfui.

The yard dogs and everyone else got there pretty quickly and broke it up. It looked like it was under control when there was another flurry of activity. One of them broke loose from whoever was trying to cuff him up and clocked his opponent in the head. About a half a second later Sgt Archer and Sgt Moon came with a flying body tackle that took the guy to the ground so hard I felt the earth vibrate under my feet. I though "Ouch! That's gonna hurt in the morning!"

Since there were so many offenders and so many staff involved, they closed B-yard. Then since they had to pull from A-side to help staff B-side, they closed A-yard as well. The guys in my house were complaining, but on A-side they let us have open wing. On B-side they were locked down tight and they kept them locked down until almost 8:45.

It turned out that Sgt Archer wrenched his shoulder and hurt his wrist taking that fool down and Sgt Moon got somebody else's blood on him so they both had to go to the hospital.

Our mood turned a little ugly.

We don't really mind so much when they hurt each other. That's what they do. But when one of ours gets hurt they quickly discover that they have nothing coming.

It didn't take long to locate all six of the fighters. They caught three right away but three others had vamoosed. But the idiots had left their ID cards in the weight pavilion when they ran away so they were busted quickly and off to the Hive they all went. The fool who got slammed so hard tried to call a medical emergency saying he was having trouble breathing and chest pains. They took him up to medical on the cart and the nurse told him "You just got pepper sprayed and slammed to the ground by about five hundred pounds of pissed off CO. Of course it's going to hurt, dummy! Send him back to the Hive!"

And they escorted him back down to the Hive wearing nothing but a pair of boxers and a full set of restraints. He was walking like an eighty year old man. It served him right. He was lucky he was able to walk at all. Personally I...... Well, never mind.

Because of their foolishness they only got to have about 20 minutes of yard time this evening. And the Captain was pushing to leave the place locked down all weekend. That would have served them right, too.

It seems bad to punish everybody for a few idiots, but peer pressure is one of our biggest tools. The ones who had to spend the weekend in the house would make sure that those fools knew how pissed off they were for screwing up their weekend. And they would have probably all gotten thumped again when they got out for being such idiots.

And I almost got away with my part. But when it was all said and done and they were trying to figure out who did what the question came up "Who called the fight?" That rat basticule Lt Chestnut said "I'm not sure, but it sounded like Rev."

Lt Strong called me in 4 house. "You called that 10-49, didn't you?" When I admitted it he had me come up to central and do paperwork. Then more paperwork. The he sent me out on B-side to help out until the regulars got back out on the yard. Then I had to go up and do some more paperwork.

Sgt Moon came back and he was okay and Sgt Archer had his arm in a sling and is going for an MRI tomorrow to make sure, but they thing it's just sprains. I was relieved.

So the question remains. If it hadn't been for those dang gnats, I would have stayed at the picnic table and not been able to see into B-yard. If I hadn't called the fight, would Sgt Archer still have gotten hurt? Who knows? I sure hope he's okay, though.

At least it's Friday.

The weekend lineup goes like this: Saturday is International Juggling Day. It's also National Hot Dog Day, Cow Appreciation Day and Woodie Wagon Day. Sunday is National Ice Cream Day, Wrong Way Corrigan Day and Yellow Pig Day. Monday will be National Caviar Day, Mandela Day, get Out Of The Doghouse Day and Hug Your Kid Day.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Unprofessional Axe

Oh boy. Count was late late late today. Something (I have no idea what) was wrong and they couldn't make the numbers match up.

And just in case you were wondering, it's really bad when a prison can't make the count come out right. Sometimes that means that somebody is missing.

Here's the deal: Laundry counts their workers and sends them to the chow hall to eat right before count. They stay in the chow hall during count and then as soon as it clears they go back to work at the laundry.

No big deal. We do it every day. They got up to the chow hall and count was called and we waited for it to clear. They were a little late calling it. About 4:35 or so.

And then we waited and waited for count to clear. When it didn't we waited some more.

Finally they called over the radio to send all of the workers back to their houses for a name and number count. Usually when this happens we don't send laundry back. They have already been counted correctly (supposedly) and we keep them in the chow hall.

So Sgt Uncle T got on the phone and called to ask if we were sending laundry workers back to their houses. Things in the control center were a little heated by this time because of the messed up count. From what I heard later not only was Captain Fluffy up there, but Captain Crane, our acting Major was up there as well.

Demanding answers, of course, instead of being of any real use in the situation.

Anyway, emotions were running high and some heated words were exchanged over the phone the Captain Fluffy got on there and told Sgt Uncle T to do what he was told then hung up on him.

Oops. I don't think I've ever seen Sarge quite so mad as he was right about then. He waved his arms and shouted "Send 'em back to the houses!"

We aren't really supposed to do that, but we did it, anyway because that's what the Captain said to do.

So I went to do the Del Norte walk early, because when we have a recount like that, it's what we are supposed to do. But when I got to the gate they called me and said don't do it. So even though I was supposed to do it, I didn't do it because the Captain said not to.

Are you confused yet? I sure as heck was. Here we were in a huge goat rope and we have set procedures that we are supposed to do in these cases. Yet they tossed out those procedures and changed everything and decided to do something different.

Why? I haven't a clue.

But it sure managed to piss everybody off. Sgt Uncle T and Captain Fluffy got to have one of their famous shouting matches over it later. I was glad I was busy elsewhere.

At least we managed to find all of our inmates. Apparently it was just a numbers error somewhere and not someone hiding or escaped. That's always a good thing.

But boy, it sure got downright ugly there for a while.

Tomorrow they have me scheduled to be down in the Sally port. I am so freaking overjoyed. Two hours in the sally port, two hours in the P-car. Two hours in the sally port, two hours in the P-car. What fun.

Aside from being Pay Day, Friday will be National Tapioca Pudding Day and Respect Canada Day. It will also be Gummi Worm Day and Saint Swithins Day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On The Outside, Looking In

I loath to admit it, but I'm beginning to really enjoy my Wednesdays in the comm room.

For one thing, I'm outside. Not outside outside, like out in the fresh air. Except for my two hours in the P-car, anyway.

I'm outside the fence. And unless some snaphead tries to climb the fence, whatever goes on in there doesn't really affect me. Much, anyway.

And after listening to all the radio traffic inside I was pretty happy I was outside today.

First off, there was a Code 16 (medical emergency) on one of the yards. The offender was dizzy and couldn't walk. No big deal. They took him to medical.

Not long afterwards they said his blood pressure was way low and he was going to have to go to the hospital to get checked out. So they called an ambulance to take him there. Again, no real big deal.

While they were trying to load the ambulance a fight broke out on the yard. They ended up pepper spraying both offenders and at least one other staff (Lt Farmer) before they could break the fight up.

From what I heard, so many inmates clustered up around the fight that the Captain said "Oh frack this. Close the yards!"

So we got the ambulance out and the yards closed down for the night. While all of that was going on they did a cell search in 7 house and found a metal shank in one of the cells. Locked up two for that. One knucklehead in 8 house got mouthy about the yard being closed and he got locked up.

Earlier when I switched out in the P-car with Brother D he told me "Don't use up too much gas. We're out of fuel." We have our own fuel tank on premises but apparently nobody came to fill it back up so we have no gas. Nice. And we sent a chase car out to the hospital behind the ambulance with a quarter tank of fuel.

Not too much later the hospital called and said the inmates kidneys might be failing and they were going to have to send him to another hospital all the way across the state. So Ms Odd had to take another car to the gas station and fill it up with the state credit card and switch out with the guys over there.

In between it seemed like there was a steady stream of them going down to the Hive. I lost count after awhile. Maybe ten altogether, it seemed like.

In the meantime I was pretty content to spend a day in the air conditioning and not running back and forth like a maniac. That felt good.

Hopefully they got it all out of their system today.

Thursday will be National Nude Day. Oh....... Snap. Let's hope that doesn't get around. Keep it to yourselves, okay?

Wet And Wet And Wet

It was another heat advisory when I left the house this afternoon. Around 99 with a heat index of 110 or so. Just another lovely day to spend in polyester pants.

I was sweating by the time I got out of my truck and pretty damp by the time I got inside.

Sgt Uncle Buck told us "Stay in the shade. Drink plenty of water and don't move around too much! Don't want you guys getting sick!"

Hey, I can do that.

Not long after we got out on the yard it clouded up some and at least covered the sun so we didn't feel like an ant colony under a magnifying glass. That was some better. Then, just as soon as count cleared and we started running mainline the clouds went away and the temp soared again. Oh snap!

It stayed toasty hot all the way through chow and after the yards opened. I was drenched in sweat all the way down to my socks. And my eyelids are tender from wiping away the sweat. Yuck.

Then about 6:30 or so some more thunderheads rolled in and mercifully covered the sun again. It got just cool enough to breathe again. I could see some lightning off in the distance and i was sure hoping it was heading our way.

I'd count it the way I used to do when I was a kid. Wait for the flash and count "thousand one, thousand two, thousand three.."

At first it was like twenty five miles away. Then ten. Then five.... About that time Lt Farmer called on the radio and said "Close the yards!" Yay! The inmates all bitched and whined, of course. They lost about an hour and a half maybe of their yard time.

We didn't mind it so much.

The Fireman and I were sitting up in the shack after we got the yards clear and he said "We should go do our inner perimeter check now, or at least some of it, before it starts raining. I'd hate to get soaked." I agreed that was just a Jim Dandy idea so we set off in separate directions, checking the fences and the gates.

By the time I got to three house it was sprinkling some. Stubby and Sgt Giggles stepped out and said "You want a raincoat? We have extras!" I declined. It was just sprinkling and those raincoats are too hot anyway. I'd rather get wet.

When I turned the corner from three to four house it went from a sprinkle to a tarantula downpour and I got soaked to the skin in seconds. The Fireman calls me on the radio and says "I'm gonna hole up somewhere dry and we'll finish this later, okay?"

Well, I though that was another pretty good idea. maybe even better than the first one was. I walked in to the four house bubble and Miz Fawkes was on the phone. She holds it out to me and says "It's Sgt Giggles. He wants to know if you want that raincoat now?"

Where would I be without people like that watching my back?

It rained for maybe half an hour and let up long enough we got our check done finally. Afterwards we got treated to a lightning show that made up for missing the fireworks on the 4th. Several times I had to blink away from the flashes and still had the lines running through my eyes when I closed them, they were so bright.

At least it cooled it off some. It was only 76 outside when I left work tonight. Last night it was 90. Nasty.

Even now there's another storm rolling in and I may lose power or have to shut down. That sucks. But I do like lightning storms, despite the inconvenience.

I've always said if the weather isn't trying to actively kill you, it's just kind of boring.

Wednesday will be Fool's Paradise Day. I think that's where I work, for sure. It will also be Embrace Your Geekyness Day and Gruntled Workers day.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Who Is Listening?

The other night I had a whim. I wondered..... just how many other people are out there writing about working in a prison? Surely there has to be others.

So I went to my Yahoo page and put in "Prison Blog" in my search box.

Yahoo returned me 67,900,000 results.

So I set to scrolling through a few pages of those results. Now and then I would click on a page and look..... then go back to my search and scroll some more.

After 25 or so pages I gave up in disgust.

There were lots of prison blogs.... written by inmates. I read quotes from Lil Wayne, Paris Hilton and David Berkowitz, the infamous "Son of Sam" killer. They weren't actually blogging from prison. They were sending out letters and friends and family and sympathetic supporters were posting them in the internet.

There were lots of support blogs. "Free So and So!" and "Reform Now!". All written by either ex-inmates or friends and family of inmates decrying the "deplorable conditions" and the "physical and psychological torture" and the "inhuman suffering".

Of course there's little mention of what So and So did to get into prison in the first place. No entries about the shattered lives and broken homes and possibly even mangled corpses left behind for the rest of us to deal with while this "poor man" suffers in the hell that is prison.

When I read that someone referred to Berkowitz as a "reformed man" and a "true born again christian" I wanted to retch. I wonder how his victims feel about him?

I suspect that if I were a religious person before I read that statement, I wouldn't be afterwards.

But anyway, I digress.

I refined my search and put in "Corrections Officer Blog".

That netted me nineteen results.

None of which were me, by the way.

Most of them were from "Organizations" like the CPOA, which is, I'm sure, a fine organization if you happen to live in California. But none of them lead to actual blogs supposedly written by corrections officers.

So where are our voices? I know you people know how to talk. I listen to you every night. Some of you talk nonstop!

Why are we letting the inmates get all the air time?

Sorry. It was a long hot busy night down in the Hive. No real excitement, just work and almost unbearable heat and very little relief. It was a heat index of around 114 degrees today.

Right now, even after a cool shower and a big glass of ice water, I feel like a baked potato that has been left in the oven too long. Nothing more than a dried out husk.

Guess I'll quit being such a crabass and go to bed.

Tomorrow will be National Pecan Pie Day. Not a real huge fan, but I'd eat some. And that appears to be all she wrote for the holidays tomorrow. Simple. I like that.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Scaring The Newbies

I didn't do it, but I suspect I will get blamed either way.

We have a new group of OJT's roaming around learning how to be CO's. There's only four that I have seen. There may be more. Two fairly young guys and two older guys about my age.

This evening I was down in the Hive doing rec with Big M and when we got done and came back into the office there were more people in there than when we had left. We had the two older newbies with us all night long and the two younger ones were down in the wobblehead house with Sgt Miz P.

The younger guys did a cell search and had found a "prison made weapon". It was a broken disposable razor handle with a razor blade melted into it. The inmate had admitted that it was his and said he used it to cut out newspaper clippings. I believe that what he said was true. But it was still a potential weapon and he had made it by his own admission so they locked him up for Dangerous Contraband.

They brought the inmate down to the Hive and we sent the older newbies to do a strip search of the guy before he went into a cell. The guy had a whole bunch of stuff in his socks. Plastic pouches of peanut butter and jelly. Some crackers. A rolled cigarette. And a lighter with one of those tobacco and floor wax covers that I showed you a few months ago here. This one had a picture of some naked girl in a very revealing position on it. Attractive enough if you were into that sort of thing. Anyway, all of the stuff from his socks was piled on the table waiting for somebody to bag it up and store it away.

When the younger newbies came down to get their violation read, they were lounging about in the office waiting for Sgt LB to get done with whatever he was doing to go read it to the offender. One of the young guys picked up that lighter and said "Hey, that's pretty cool..." and somebody (not me, I tell you!) said "It was in his butt."

That lighter shot out of his hand like it was already on fire and across the table, knocking over several things including somebody's cup of coffee which immediately went everywhere. Then he started fumbling trying to clean up the coffee spill and knocked over a few more things in the process. All the while his face was bright red.

We finally told him it was really in the guys sock and not in his butt after all. Which, considering the state of his socks wasn't really all that much better, in my opinion. But it made him feel better even though we laughed at him.

I had told that same young man the other day "If you can learn to deal with your fellow staff members, then dealing with the inmates will be a piece of cake."

It seems that I wasn't too far off the mark.

You'd think as bad as we need people we would be nicer to the newbies. But we have to get them broke in and make sure they can take it before we let them loose on their own. It's for their own good.

Saturday will be National Sugar Cookie Day. Yum! I love sugar cookies! It will also be Bald-In, Bald-Out Day , Hop A Park Day and the Martyrdom of the Bab.

Sunday will be Clerihew Day. It will also be Don't Step on a Bee Day, Pina Colada Day, and Teddy Bears Picnic Day.

And Monday will be National Cheer Up The Lonely Day. As well as Bowlders Day , World Population Day and International Town Criers Day. I think they just call them gossips now, though.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

An "Open" MRI

I have never before in my life had an MRI before and I believe the next time I will just say "No thanks!" If they can't figure it out with x-rays them I'm probably going to die.

First off, I'm just a teensy bit claustrophobic. I wouldn't have made it in one of those tunnel things. But even if this thing was open on the sides having that huge steel plate an inch from the end of my nose was enough to give me the heebie jeebies.

They could have at least put a "Where's Waldo" poster or something interesting to look at on the bottom of that thing.

The guy was nice. He tried to make me as comfortable as possible, giving me supports for my feet and my other arm and all. He even turned on a classic rock station for me to listen to. It's too bad playing air guitar is frowned upon while getting an MRI. I'll bet that would have looked awesome.

But even as nice as he was, I still had to lay there for almost a solid hour, completely still. My body complained. I had muscle spasms and itches would pop up where I couldn't scratch them. Those were maddening. And I got this weird little muscle spasm in my chin in the middle of the thing that felt like a spider was crawling on my face. That was almost the end of it for me.

For a while I lay there while this thing went "wop wop wop wop" and "dit dit dit dit". I tried to pretend I was in a big video game and I was zapping enemy space ships. But that only held my interest for a little while. What was mostly on my mind was that my arm and legs were stiffening up and that it was going to be pretty dang painful when it was over.

At one point during the procedure I felt like I needed to fart. I almost went ahead and did it, as I was the only one in the room. But then I thought "Oh snap! If I fart in this little enclosed space it will choke me to death!" so I held on to it.

And being a guy and since most guys think farts are hilarious the more I thought about it the more I had to fight myself from breaking out in a case of the giggles. I had to fight to control my breathing and force myself to think of something else or I would have been history. I know how I get. Once I start laughing like that I'm done for 15 or 20 minutes or so. I'd lay there and just go "Hum.... hum.... hum...." and put my mind on something else for awhile. But every time my insides would make a noise I was there again, going "Hum... hum... hum...." trying not to bust out laughing.

It was a tough battle, but I made it. I almost feel like I deserve a medal for that fight.

And I was right on the money about how it felt when I was done. The first chance I got to stand up I couldn't bend my arm again. Finally I grabbed it with my other wrist and something in the area of my elbow went "Snap!" And not like an exclamation, the way I use snap. Like something had to break loose in order for me to bend my arm again. That kind of snap.

Oh yeah, that hurt.

And my knee, which had been feeling better, had stiffened back up and ached all day long, even wrapped up in an ace bandage. I limped around the yard all evening.

We had a pretty good night, even though Captain Fluffy was on one of his rampages about pat searches again. he sat on the cart and watched us pat search at mainline and then rode around on the cart during open yard and watches us pat search some more.

Luckily some storms rolled in with lightning and he closed the yards early so we got a break. And the Meanie took my turn on the Del Norte walk, which was very nice. We got to spend alot of time sitting around the shack and watching the storms roll by.

Tomorrow I'm back in the Hive 2-10 in BG's old spot again. It won't be as hard as the first time was, I'm sure. But if those little knuckleheads down there are playing their stupid little games again like they were earlier in the week somebody is going to get their feelings hurt. And maybe some other bits of them too. I already had enough of that snit to last me for awhile.

Friday will be Video Games Day. Ack! I hope it aint like the boring one I played this morning. It will also be Collector Car Appreciation Day.

I think I'll just appreciate that I have a car at all, even if it's not a collectable.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Post!

Don't blame me for this. It was Sgt Uncle T's idea. After reading the post about what I carried in my lunchbox he said "Next time you get stuck for an idea, just post a post!"

So there it is.

Looking for that picture has been the most work I have done all night.

Except for writing the zombie story, that is. I had started to write something else when suddenly this zombie story poured out of my head. It was the end of the series that FlyinMonkey is writing. He said he's got a few more to do and then I get to end the story my way.

That is so sweet.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the nice post. Especially the boot. I thought that was special.

I have to get up early tomorrow and go get my MRI done. That should be fun.

Thursday (B-yard, yay!) will be National Strawberry Sundae Day. Oh freaking yum yum yum! It's also Chocolate Day and Tell The Truth Day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mixed Feelings

When I got up this morning my arm hurt like the dickens. That dull ache that I get when I use it too much these days. And my right knee was slightly swollen from doing all that running around last night. I figured that was coming.

Had an appointment with the doctor this morning. Actually, the Nurse Practitioner who works for the surgeon whom I haven't met yet. Filled out some forms and answered alot of questions. She tweaked and pulled on my arm and there was alot of "Does it hurt when I do this?"

The answer was usually "Yes!"

They took x-rays and I got a neural pathways (?) test. She stuck some electrodes to my arm and fingers in different spots and made my fingers jump like a frogs leg in a skillet. I don't know what it was supposed to show but the look on her face was promising.

I have an appointment on Thursday afternoon to have an MRI done on my arm and then on the 19th I go back and might actually get to meet the doctor himself. I'm hoping that something can be done to fix this and I'm really hoping that the recovery time is going to be fairly short.

Okay, I know I'm probably fooling myself, but I can still hope.

So they put me on 9 yard when I came in today. I wasn't too thrilled, as my knee was achy but I had wrapped it up good in an ace bandage before I left home and that helped. That yard can all be watched from one location, which is good. I could sit in the shack and keep an eye on everything.

Had to sit in the shack with the door and windows open in the heat because there's some mildew in the a/c unit and it reeks to high heaven when you turn it on. Ack!!!

Luckily we had a good night down there and none of the wobbleheads got stupid. They didn't make me run or even walk at a fast pace. Not once.

But even with the achy knee and the sweltering heat I was pretty happy that I wasn't down in the Hive. The radio traffic was all calling the Sarge to this wing or that and calls to the zone lieutenant and the captain.... It sounded like the snapheads down there were still playing their games. I guess since some of the biggest snapheads went on suicide watch the rest of their little buddies did the same thing to get in the same wing with them.

It's too bad our old Pshrink isn't here anymore. If he heard that someone was playing the suicide watch game to get a cell move or something he would leave them on watch for a whole week. That usually stopped that game in it's tracks for quite some time.

Alas, things aren't like they used to be. It's just not as fun down there any more.

Wednesday (comm room!) will be Teacher's Day and National Applesauce Cake Day. That just sounds yummy. Never had any but it sounds good. It will also be Take Your Webmaster To Lunch Day. That's a new one on me. Take him out for some applesauce cake!

Oh snap! I almost forgot I wanted to leave you with a link to the song that has been stuck in my head all week. Sons and Daughters by the Decemberists. Give it a listen!

No Fireworks For Me

And that really sucked. Every year I have managed to see the fireworks either at work or on my way home. Some years BG and I sat out on the rec yard and watched. Some years they were later and I pulled off the road on the way home and watched them from my truck window.

This year I was in the office in the Hive working my butt off trying to make sure our numbers were straight while they were going off right outside.

It was just like the bad old days. Almost, anyway. The only thing we didn't have (and I didn't even mention it until I was outside the fence) was a use of force. And I'm surprised we didn't. We were all so fed up with the inmates playing their stupid little games...

Well, I won't say what I wanted to do. Just imagine that I said something that would have been really satisfying and unprofessional.

Started my night out with a smile on my face. I was an extra on the yard. We got done with the inner perimeter check quick because there were three of us. And right before I went out to the yard Sgt Ms Archer caught me and gave me a huge piece of cake to stick in my lunchbox for later. Fresh moist chocolate cake with a big slab of the real cream cheese sugar icing and not that foam stuff they use nowadays. That would have gone down perfect after the leftover steak and baked potato I had brought for my dinner.

Sgt Uncle T picked me up on the cart and I got to ride maybe half a lap when the Lt called on the radio to send me to the Hive for the rest of the night.

I was so bummed.

With holidays you stand a 50/50 chance. They will either be completely dead or they will be crazy as heck.

We rolled snake eyes this time. It was nuts.

Right after count they call with two lockups. One suicide watch and one PC. Then another for creating a disturbance. They all got there about five minutes apart.

I flew into the 'get it done' mode and started doing files and getting ready for them. I got done with the last of the files when the first one walked in the door. Since I hadn't been down there in a year, I thought I did pretty good keeping up.

Then this idiot in B-wing tosses a note on his tray as he passes it out that says "My cellie keeps hitting me and leaving bruises."

Well, we couldn't ignore that. He stated that his cellie assaulted him. So we get him pulled out and shuffle people around in C-wing to put him in by himself. The Lt comes down and wants pictures. One bruise was several days old and the other was both old and new. Like a new bruise over an old one. And from the angle they were presented, it looked alot like he had been hitting himself.

So after a few phone calls they decide he's been hurting himself and we move somebody out of a camera cell and out him in there on suicide watch. And the dude is pissed. Apparently getting stripped out and put in a cell with nothing but a kevlar smock was not how he thought this night was going to go. So he spends a couple hours screaming and kicking his door and demanding to see "The Boss."

I told him I didn't think Springsteen was even touring this year. Maybe next year. That answer didn't satisfy him at all.

Then while The Fed was doing laundry movement in A-wing some idiot hands him a note saying he felt suicidal. We get that fool pulled out and five minutes later another one from the same wing does the same thing. But by now C-wing is full and we have to move two people out to move these idiots in.

And you know why they went on suicide watch? Because they could see the fireworks from C-wing but not from A-wing where they were. And only one guy ended up being able to see them because the other guy was around the corner pointed the other way. He was pissed. And doubly pissed because all he got was a kevlar smock and we wouldn't turn his light off so he could sleep. That don't happen. When you are on watch, the light stays on 24/7.

I'm back to the computer and the boards and the files, trying to keep up with all of the room moves. And you have to do them in a certain order or the computer will kick them out as invalid because you can't have two people slotted in the same bed at the same time. More writing and erasing and writing and erasing....

Just when we thought it was all over, The Fed and I went to do the 10:00 pm count and this idiot in A-wing that we had just put in there less than three hours ago said he was suicidal.

So we had to lock him to a restraint bench and finish our count then start the whole process over again. Find somebody to move and find somewhere to move him and then do more paperwork and more computer work and move them around the boards again...

I was so happy to see my relief when he got there that if he hadn't been as ugly as ten piles of mud bricks I would have kissed him. But he was, so I didn't. I just left.

I am one tired puppy. I haven't had to work that hard since I left the Hive and I found that I don't thrive on stress like I used to. It just makes me tired and cranky.

And I didn't get to see any fireworks. Pfui.

So tomorrow (hopefully a better day) is going to be Workaholics Day. Oh..... snap. I am so not looking forward to that. It's also the day I go see the orthopedic surgeon to find out if they are going to cut on my arm or not. But at least it will also be Bikini Day. Of course without a decent beach for five hundred miles in any direction I probably won't get much joy out of that one.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Came, I Sat, I Sweltered

I was almost wondering if I would get to work today or not. Some days nobody calls in and they have more than enough people. I half expected Lt Strong to say "Well, we really don't need you after all. Go ahead and take today off." I would have been happy and sad.

But he was glad to see me and asked me to go down and work 30 house for the evening. I figured, for working a day off, that's not a bad place most of the time.

And for the most part, it wasn't bad. Do an occasional security check, take care of a small problem here and there.... count. That's usually the most you have to do.

Everything was fine until about 8 o'clock when the a/c unit pooped out. I'd been sitting in my wing office reading an old Field N' Stream magazine and after a while I noticed it was getting warmer and warmer and warmer..... Then I started sweating. I thought maybe it was because I had just eaten or something. But it just kept getting hotter until I couldn't stand it any more and went outside.

Suddenly it was a lot cooler outside than it was inside. Aw.... crabapples.

So we all sweated our butts off for the rest of the night. The only office with a window was the bubble so he got a little relief. The rest of us just kept rotating outside.

But, we all survived and that got me off of the overtime list for another month or so. Hopefully.

Now I'm going to slip into my "It's too hot to mow the lawn" weekend coma for one day.

Sunday is going to be Repeat Day. What? Again!? It will also be Compliment Your Mirror Day and Stay Out Of The Sun Day. I don't know about that ugly mirror but I'm all for staying out of the sun. It's hot!!!

Monday will be Old Maid's Day, Independence Day (of course), Independence From Meat Day (what? are you insane?) and Indivisible Day. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

There Was No Wicked Witch...

But there was a FlyinMonkey. The same one who writes "They Won't Get Us". If you haven't been there to read his stories, please do. You won't regret it. Even though I was the bubble officer I had a good time with him and the WoodMan and Sgt Duck.

I'd been wanting to talk to FlyinMonkey all day anyway, after he wrote such an cool story about me being a veteran newscaster right before the zombie plague hit. That was so awesome. And I think I'm the only character besides the Monkey himself who has managed to stay alive for three consecutive stories.

And now every time I go out for a smoke I have this vision of me flicking my cigarette butt into the open mouth of a dead zombie as I walk away..... And it gives me the giggles.

I don't much care for being a bubble officer, as you can probably tell. Pretty much all you do is open doors for inmates. At least in a regular housing unit. And, if you haven't already figured it out, I'm not really all that "service oriented" when it comes to inmates. Personally, I would be more than happy if they were locked down 24 hours a day.

And I cussed alot. I said more than "snap" a few times. I don't get alot of practice running a bubble anymore, especially in such a busy place like a general population house. Except for count time and after 9:45 pm, the movement is pretty much constant.... in and out.

At one point, before I managed to get up to speed, there were several of them all yelling from different wings to get their doors open all at the same time. I got a bit frustrated and hit the intercom button in all four wings and said "Keep your fracking panties on! I'll get there!" There was a moment of silence then some anonymous fool in one of the wings said "Watch your mouth."

Oooo... snap.

I back away from the control panel and just stopped. Turned and got a drink of water. Cracked my neck a few times and took a few deep breaths. Sgt Duck was looking at me like he was going to give me a break and I just held up a hand and said "I got this."

Then I went back to the panel and started opening doors again at about half the speed I was doing before, just taking my time. I'm afraid it took a little longer than usual to get them all back in their cells but nobody had anything smart to say after that. It was an acceptable mutual cease fire. I kept my remarks to myself and so did they. We got along much better after that.

In between times we got to talk zombie stories and ideas for other tales that FlyinMonkey wants to write. He's got such an awesome imagination. Everybody is bugging him to get a part in one of his stories. Me, I'm happy with my fifteen minutes of fame.

They didn't get me!!! Yeah!

Supposedly I am working tomorrow on my day off. I'm getting close to the top of the mandatory overtime list and I would much rather work a day off than a double. Those doubles just kill me. I talked to Lt Strong yesterday and he said "Yeah, we can use you! Come in and work!" Hopefully he can justify it. I don't want him to get in trouble. But I don't want to work a double, either.

So I might have something to write about on a Saturday for a change. I guess we'll see.

Saturday will be Visitation Of The Virgin Mary Day. Oh Joy. I've been looking forward to that all year. It's also International Cherry Pit Spitting Day, I Forgot Day and International Day of Cooperatives. Whatever the heck that means. Think I'll just go spit some cherry pits and call it good. Unless I forget, anyway.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lost And Found

I don't know if they picked me or if it was just a random thing. I'll probably never know.

But when I did my Del Norte walk this evening, I found something in between the fences that should not be there.

I'd gotten a hint earlier that there might be something planted there. I should have been paying more attention maybe. But there were... things going on when I was being told. I just filed it away as a hint and paid attention to other things. So when it was time for my walk I had a vague hint that I should be extra vigilant.

Unless I'm sick or it's covered with ice or something dangerous (like running full blast to avoid the lightning) I usually do pay pretty good attention to my surroundings when I'm doing the walk. I don't want to miss a hole in the fence or a pull in the wire that might suggest someone has intentions of escaping or has escaped. I don't want to miss anything that someone may have tried to toss in or out of the fence.

After all, that is the whole reason for doing the walk. To make sure that our outer perimeter hasn't been breached or compromised. I know that and treat it pretty seriously.

There's a fair amount of trash that has blown into the fences and the razor wire and i know where most of it is. If somebody said "Where is the big potato chip bag in the fence?" I could say "Zone seven." And if they wanted to know where the yellow dollar store bag was I could tell them that it was in zone eleven. Most of this stuff is pretty deep in the razor wire and would be difficult to get out without getting tangled up in the wire so it gets left there until it disintegrates.

So when I got around the corner from zone 10 and into 11 and saw something bright white by the cinderblocks that cross the creek I knew right away there was something new out there. And the hint I had gotten earlier filtered back into my brain.

It was a pair of state issued boxers. Immediately a bazillion questions ran through my mind. Was this a set up? Evidence of an escape or an attempt? Just an accident of the wind? I stood there for a couple of seconds then got on the radio and reported it. They told me to "Stand By."

While I was waiting I nudged them with my foot and noticed there was a piece of paper folded up inside of them. Bending down to retrieve it I read:

"When you find this, return it to the shift commander after your Del Norte walk. Thank you."

So I got back on the radio and reported that. They told me to bring both items with me when I came back through.

I'll just have to say that I wasn't too thrilled about having to tote a pair of inmate underwear halfway around the friggin' camp.

The first thing out of my mouth when I walked into Captain Fluffy's office was "You could have used a t-shirt, fer gawds sake!"

He just laughed and said "You can blame that on your Lieutenants. The boxers were their thing. Good job, though! Thanks!"

So the whole thing was a test to make sure we were paying attention out there. And I'm glad that I passed the test.

But boxers? Really?

Tomorrow, being July 1st, will be Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day and Build A Scarecrow Day. Hmm.. maybe we could build an ice cream scarecrow! It will also be many other things such as Canada Day, Chicken Wing Day, Second Half of the Year Day, Postage Stamp Day, Zip Code Day and the beginning of Roswell UFO Days.

Whoop!