Saturday, June 27, 2009

No, It's Not Your Eyes

I've been wanting to do some spring cleaning here for some time but today was the first day I got the chance. I apologize to anyone who attempted to visit as I was changing color pallets like a deranged chameleon.

Yes, I did look at other templates and found one I liked.

No, I didn't use it... because it wanted to delete all of you.

Fine, I'll admit it: Susan is smarter than me. Or more determined. To tell the truth, I have a sinus headache right now and the barometric pressure is falling. What does that have to do with a computer, you ask? You know how some people will claim their knee hurts before a storm? Well, when we're about to have a heck of a thunderstorm and the barometric pressure drops, my head feels like a melon in a vice grip. Needless to say, I didn't need a tension headache masquerading as failure piled on top.

All I really wanted was a splash of color. My first blog was green, which made me sentimental. Okay, so green is my favorite color, the color of my eyes and the color of that beautiful tree out front. It seemed....logical.

I'll admit I'm not happy about how much space is wasted compared to the last one and I hope you won't get dizzy going back and cross the page so fast. If that happens, let me know and I'll decrease the font size to see if it helps. But to tell you the truth, I like the font size as it means the reading glasses stay away from me. :)

So feel free to comment....and I hope you're having a great weekend!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Flash 55

This week's offering came about from reading Susan's recent discussion on why we have blogs and the resulting effect they have on us.

Reading was her comfort food.

The week’s menu, however, brought indigestion. Revelations of premature death. Jobs murdered by the economy. A garden forgotten. A college bound child’s plan evaporating. One soul depressed. Another AWOL.

Yet a military motto silently whispered, “leave no one behind.” These invisible friends were her passport to humanity. Minus an agenda.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vow of Silence

Today seems like the perfect time to take a vow of silence as a native of South Carolina.

Truth is, if I have to hear any more about our thinking-with-the-wrong-head governor, I'll scream.

Ironically I once wrote him concerning pending legislation which would've expanded the local 2 year college to a 4 year school. It was part of a larger university system which allowed me to get 3/4 of my education in a more personal setting, rather than spend big bucks to live on campus. I politely shared that many of us would not have been able to afford a college education without that 2 year school. I added it would be not only a fiscally smart move, it would allow the next generation the opportunity to get an education as a person and not a statistic. [Which is what happened when you transferred to the main campus and got lost in the shuffle where no one cared. ]

His reply consisted of [a] You're wrong and [b] I know better than you.

Oh really?

Still think you have all the answers, Sir?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

As The Temperature Climbs

I decided this morning to go out in the yard and get things done before the heat index kicked in. Didn't quite make in dripping wet with sweat in 30 seconds while merely standing still outside. At noon it was already 94 degrees [For Rachel et al across the pond, that's 34 C]. Now I know why I don't like Celsius...34 isn't a high enough number for describing HOT!

Any way, I was re-potting some ferns on the porch this morning when I noticed how nice the Portulaca was doing. You see, I have this silly planter I did when teaching the Seniors ceramics. It's called a "Crack Pot"...oh yeah, I bought it for the symbolism. The pot is a little man's face and the pot is perched on his "feet". It has false cracks running through it, thus the name. Every year I plant something new in it, to make the little guy look as if he has hair. This year, he has floral dreds. You can just barely see his feet. Susan will probably be the first to spot the fact this shot looks a little "softened" in one corner. After I took two, I realized the lens had fogged up from the temperature change from inside the house to front porch!
While working on our family tree I've discovered that over half of those ancient relatives were farmers. Thus, there is a genetic explanation for why so many in my family love flowers and the like. Four years ago one of the Seniors gave me this tiny little aloe plant. I had no idea what type it was as it wasn't the usual "spotted" variety they sell in gardening shops here. The poor thing was about 6 spindly inches tall and I wondered if it would make it. You tell me.

Why yes Radge and Moo, that is an ancient whiskey barrel
it's perched upon.
No, someone else drained it prior to it's arrival on my doorstep.

To give you a better sense of scale here's a "regular" aloe plant, which is about 6 months along, in front of it.

So now I'm staying indoors, where it's cool...and my computer feels sorry for me. Yesterday I picked a "Nature" banner for my Google home page. It was a close up of the very colorful feathers of some yellow and orange bird. Looked like flames if you ask me.

This's a picture of a polar bear crossing an iceberg. Maybe my computer has a sense of humor after all.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm M-e-l-t-i-n-g!

Okay. It's almost 6 p.m. and it's 91 degrees. Yep, you read that right. That also means it was about 97 degrees at some point today and I'm lucky I didn't just spontaneously ignite. Or melt to the car seat. And that's without factoring in the heat index, which means the temperature generally feels 4-5 degrees hotter than the old thermometer states.

Really, once it gets above 95 degrees does it really matter that hot "feels" hotter?

So if I don't post tomorrow, it's because I melted. Because tomorrow, they're calling for 102 degrees. You do the math for the "heat index" figure...I can't bear to think about it. And to think "Summer" doesn't actually arrive until Sunday!

Actually, think I'll just go find something cold to drink... and use a picture of icebergs as my screen saver.

I'll let you know if the icebergs melt.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Laugher is the Best Medicine

Last week ended weirdly. A co-worker, overwhelmed by the amount of work in the Summer Program, lectured me about forgetting to take out the trash. I said very little because [a] I'm Director of my own Center [and entire staff!] and had just finished playing janitor in my own building [b] It's not my job to clean up after her and [c] you can't win an argument with a woman that much larger than you. It left a bad taste in my mouth, increasing my appetite for another job.

Besides, it was hot. Worse yet, extremely humid. Like breathing from beneath a wet blanket that's suffocating you and keeping all the heat in. Then just when I thought it was safe to be Home, Sweet Home, Hubby's Mom ended up in the Emergency Room Thursday afternoon. By the time we found out, she'd been admitted. Thankfully what could have been a life threatening condition is responding to antibiotics...although she wasn't happy about being on a liquid diet until Sunday morning. Hopefully she'll be home by Tuesday, even if she's got two more weeks of antibiotics. That's a lot easier to take when you can sit in your own recliner and swallow a pun intended.

The Weekend meant household drudgery [yeah, like being the Director/Janitor/Etc isn't fun enough] like laundry. Then Hubby's sisters both decided they needed to come visit; one on Friday with her husband, the other on Tuesday. So on Sunday, Hubby and I go to visit his Mom, thinking we'll spend a little time with the other sibling, who was already back on the road prior to our arrival. We talked and Hubby's Mom wanted to get up and walk, so down the hall we went, the 3 of us and her I.V. pole. As we got to the elevators, which has a lobby where you can look out at the city, a distinguished looking white haired gentleman and his wife approached the elevators. Funny thing, I heard his voice and immediately knew who he was before I turned to face him. When I smiled both my Mom-in-law and the man's wife looked at me with polite curiosity.

"He's one of the reasons I made it to adulthood," I told Mom-in-law, knowing the wife would overhear. "He was my pediatrician."

Doc doesn't hear too well these days, but seeing his wife smile suddenly, he asked what had happened. "You were her pediatrician," she replied proudly, "And she remembers you." He looked pleased and nodded at me as the elevator doors closed.

I then looked at Mom-in-law and added, "Yep, he use to make house calls. I remember right before Christmas one year when I was 5 or 6, he sat on the couch with me, shooting the plastic top off of a needle-less syringe, like a rocket ship. I played along, but I just knew there was one with a needle in it waiting in his bag."

There was, but he had a very soothing voice. Ah, when bedside manner not only meant genuine caring but doing so while perched on someone's living room couch.

After our Sunday visit and lunch, Hubby decided a movie would be a good escape. It was even hotter and frankly, some good old fashion escapism sounded like a good idea. Plus we were full and wouldn't have to pay and arm and a leg for popcorn.

For people who rarely go to see movies in a theater any more, for some reason we've done so for three Sundays now. Always the matinee, as I hate crowded theaters. I always have some 6'4" giant come sit in front of me at the last moment and the talkative seat kicker is always behind me. So far we'd seen J.J. Abrams version of "Star Trek". Last week we missed the start of "Angels & Demons" so we settled for "X-Men Origins". Ken will appreciate my female chauvinist viewpoint that the best part was a shirtless Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds [prior to what they did to his face!]

Sunday we picked "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian". Why? Am I a Ben Stiller fan? No. Do we enjoy sequels? Not particularly. It was absolutely a suspension of reality as we know it, with humor thrown in for good measure. The theater had about 20 occupants, 15 of which were kids, mostly little boys. And you know the best part of that movie? Okay, beside the part where the dinosaur skeleton likes to wag his tail and play fetch. Or where Rodin's "The Thinker", when asked a question, answers like Rocky with, "I'm thinking. I'm thinking."

The best part was the laughter of little boys.

Hysterical, fall out of your seat laughter that went well past the polite adult guffaw. Especially at the stupid jokes. It engulfed you like a wave and carried you along for the ride. I grinned. I laughed heartier than most adults are suppose to because it was such a contagious, joyful sound. It was probably the highlight of a very bad four days and I wanted to high five every little boy as he left.

So if you'd like a moment to forget about being an adult, this movie is for you. A world where Amelia Earhart is the adventurous one and anything you can imagine, springs to life after dark.

Geez Susan, it's like watching those clouds come to life. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Good bye Little Friend

NOTE: I had a Flash 55 ready to go but at Noon today, things changed. I'll save it for next week.

For months now the government has been bashing us over the head with, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!”

Okay, so the actual translation is “Your TV is about to quit working, your TV is about to quit working!”

Today, TV as we know it, will die. At high noon, the one in my office began it’s permanent nap…just as I was about to check the weather.

Yes, I understand the reason for the switch to digital was to add channels to the emergency network. (Terrorists, are you taking notes?) Uncle Sam gave us plenty of warning… plus a four month extension. And don’t forget those $40 off converter box coupons, limit two per household please. Ah coupons, the government’s personal bailout option for those with limited income who simply can’t afford to purchase a newer model or have no access to cable/satellite. It’s been interesting listening to the debate between those just too stubborn to make that new fangled talking box do more than play static vs. them who own every new play toy known to Nerd World.

Living as far out in the boonies as we do, where cable doesn’t grow, it became crystal clear 12 years ago we needed satellite unless we liked listening to people talk. I think they use to call that radio. So when the “BIG SWITCH” became the newest topic of conversation I read up on it, discovered we were covered and didn’t need government assistance to watch the programming of our choice. I didn’t give it a second thought until, like a countdown to doomsday, stations began to stream the “Big Switch” message across the bottom of the screen. During programming. Annoying is putting it politely. At one point I even yelled at the TV, "Enough already!” I’m prepared, the rest of the country’s been warned ad nauseum, so what’s the problem?

Last evening a nasty thunderstorm brought to my attention that I was about to lose a treasured friend.

The problem with satellite TV is that the cloud cover which comes with fierce storms blocks the signal. Bad weather = no “Weather Channel”. We fixed that by buying a weather radio , which warned us of impending weather doom in advance….in order to dive into a closet should a tornado drop by for a visit. But silly us, we still liked looking at a map so we could judge for ourselves how close Doppler radar indicated trouble was approaching our home. Hey, when your house is surrounded on 3 sides by fields, weather is an issue. Especially lightning. We’ve lost 4 portable phones to lightning in 12 years.

Weather might have been a factor when, several years ago, hubby bought me a portable color TV with about a 3” screen. Predating iPhone and the like, it was about the size of a walkie-talkie and could be run on batteries. Every year at the beginning of hurricane season, I’d check its batteries and place a spare set next to where I kept my Tiny Friend. You don’t want to run out of battery power just when the weather guy is announcing whether or not you might see Dorothy and Toto fly through the front yard.

Oh all right, so one night we did huddle together to watch the last 45 minutes of “24” when the power went out. Hey, Bauer was trying to talk someone out of something. How often does THAT happen?

The thing is, it wasn’t until the weather radio went off last night and the power flickered that I even thought about my little friend. It was with great sadness that I realized that Tiny T.V., which had seen us through many a wicked storm, will never warn me again.

Today, the signal died.

It doesn’t see fair somehow. My Tiny Friend took such good care of me and there I was, helpless to protect it from my government. Gee, where’s Jack Bauer when you need him?

June 1st was the official beginning of Hurricane Season. So as I go about filling the “spare water” jugs and checking the battery supply, my Tiny T.V. will sit in it’s cubbyhole all alone. In the dark.

R.I.P. Tiny Friend, you served us well in the country.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Today I probably whined to several of you about the start of the Kids' Summer Program. With budget cuts, many of the schools we use as summer sites aren't available. For the first time we've also had to charge, not much but $5 per kid, per week can add up when you have more than one child in our program. We were told our cutoff this year was 75 a building I'm not sure holds 40...and only if those 40 have had duct tape applied to their mouths.

No, we don't do that. Yes. I have thought about it.

The acoustics in that little, cinder block building are horrible! Envision a small square, no windows [except the one in the Director's Office] and the fact those in power believe it's okay to leave 2 adults per shift with that many kids! I ponder the legality of it, much less the safety factor.

Anyway, whether you sent up a prayer or a smoke signal., rubbed a lucky charm or drank a pint out of pity on my behalf...THANKS! When I reported for duty at 3:00 this afternoon we had....11 kids. 19 had signed up all day and most left after the 2:30 p.m. snack. By the time 4:00 rolled around, we only had four.

Now if only those four don't tell the others I colored with them, read to them and explained we'll do crafts later on....I may make it to July 31st. :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Susan's Flash 55

Susan's challenge yesterday was to write a story in 55 words. Period. Dear lord, is that even possible where I'm concerned? See for yourself.

They embraced on a busy street, her head grazing his badge. Playing catch up, they then went separate ways.

The man turned, calling to her. She nodded with a smile.

A disapproving passerby spat, "I thought you were married."

She smiled knowingly. "He said, 'Come see my baby.' Not 'Come see me, Baby.'"

Deaf busybody.

Like Susan's, this is based on a true story. I was walking toward the Courthouse one day when the officer I told you about here, was coming out the door. At this point, I hadn't seen him in almost four years. Happens when you leave a job, even if you live in the same town. I knew he'd gotten married [finally...he was the only bachelor I ever met who WANTED a wife and family!] and they'd just had a baby. About the time I wondered if I should speak, he saw me, sped up and wrapped me in a bear hug so fast I hardly had time to think.

The thing is, when these guys are in uniform, they're all business. I've had officers confide their fears with me, then see me on the street the next day and formally shake my hand because they were in uniform. So to be so enthusiastically greeted while my friend was in uniform was almost funny. It's funnier still if you envision 6'4" him and 5'1" me, his arms around my shoulders, mine around his waist...not just for practical purposes but to keep his weapon from jamming into my ribcage if I'd tried to reach up. We stood on the sidewalk talking for a few minutes, then I had a meeting and he had to answer a call. As he walked away, he did the above. Sadly, one of the office Busybodies, who was a Dept. Head, stopped to scold me on the street as her two henchwomen stood silently smirking. Very pious and yet judgmental, she reprimanded me for some perceived, on her part, wicked act. On the sidewalk? In broad daylight? Except she'd misunderstood what he'd said. And I corrected her. With a smile. As her jaw dropped, I walked away while her two underlings tried to bite back the laughter.

Fortunately, she's retired. But she was a pious piece of work to the very end.

Friday, June 5, 2009

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Rachel has shared a challenge [as has Susan, although I'll tackle hers later]. The rules are simple: post an old photo of yourself and write a short piece [200 words or so] to go with it (written in the present tense). As you'll see, I managed to shift tense half way through. And 200 words to me always ends up just under 300. Oh well, here goes.

I’m almost three here. No, I‘ve never done anything the “normal” way, I've always been um... “creative”. Creative kids think it makes more sense to bring your feet up to eye level than lean down to fasten your shoes.

I remember that table and chair, the only furniture ever perfectly proportioned for my short size. Behind me is the crib, the one thing I’ve proudly outgrown. Besides, there’s a baby sister in it now.

I was the first born, an 8 lb. bundle of joy who welcomed my folks to parenthood via sleep deprivation. Ironic since I grew up to be anything but a night owl. But back then, my parents spent many a night walking the floor or sitting in the rocking chair trying to convince me sleep was good. Now I’m addicted to rocking chairs. Sitting in one instantly calms me. On nights I insisted on staying alert to see what owls actually do after dark, Dad put me in the car and drove around the block. More than once. Car rides put me to sleep faster than the rocker. Which is why I’d fall asleep on road trips by the time we were 30 miles from home.

When I was old enough to get a Driver’s License, Dad was afraid. Very afraid. Not of my driving skills. No, he feared that old lulling motion would make me fall asleep at the wheel. No, I consoled him, the sheer terror of what other drivers do will keep me awake.

So far, it has.

And no, I still don't bend over to tie my shoes. However, my method looks a tad more dignified than that pose.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Lifeline

I witnessed it again this morning. And it never fails to give me a sinking, queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. It took me a while to realize it, but that feeling will never go away. Because I still care.

On my morning commute today, I saw the blue light flashing in the fog up ahead. Yes, my eyes automatically dropped to the speedometer. I was three miles over the limit which, on that road, doesn’t get you a ticket. Whoever had been pulled over was either a wannabe race car driver or had done something very, very bad. Due to the bad weather, I didn’t want the officer worrying about traffic approaching from the rear as he walked toward the car. I not only slowed, I went wide around his car so he’d know he was safe from me.

It’s funny how time can slow so you notice the most minute detail. Although I’ve seen the maneuver done before, today time slowed to the point I could almost hear a clock ticking off the seconds. As the officer approached the driver’s side window, he placed his right hand on the back of the car. For the first time, I actually witnessed the careful precision in the casual move. Fingers splayed out perfectly, the officer’s fingertips pressed onto the trunk’s surface as he solemnly approached the driver. In reality, it took a fraction of a second. To most people it appeared as if he was merely steadying himself in the wet grass so he wouldn’t slip.

He was leaving his fingerprints. As evidence. In case things went horribly wrong.

Reality is, “horribly wrong” is literally a heartbeat away. I know. I use to be the voice on the other end of that law enforcement radio.

It started as a fluke. Or, as my mind originally thought of it, my grand failure. I put myself through college. I worked hard and graduated early. I then watched all my hard work evaporate when there were no jobs available to utilize that teaching degree I now owned. Several months later I married hubby as planned and worked at a job I hated to help pay the bills. One day hubby came home with an application. It was for a position with the state police as a Tele-Communications Operator. Commonly known as a Dispatcher. I laughed. Hubby took me to meet the friend who’d told him about the job. I watched this man, who was my Dad’s age and actually knew my Dad, answer telephones, work three radios with three separate microphones, punch info into a computer and offer it back up to the faceless voices floating about the room. And still he was able to talk with us, smoothly segueing between his tasks. I left thinking one thing:

There is no way in hell I could ever do that.

And yet I did. For almost five years. And I loved it!

I’ve always been a good listener. Turns out that’s the one skill you HAD to possess. It‘s also the hardest to teach. If you have children, you probably agree. I remember the interview like it was yesterday. The Captain asked me to read a paragraph of a newspaper article to him. It was gross…a very descriptive article about an auto accident. When I finished, he smiled. I didn’t ask why until two months after I had the job. Turns out he was impressed with the fact that, although obviously grossed out, my voice had remained calm, my pronunciation easy to understand. Turns out when you get stressed or panicked, your voice pitch rises. On a radio, that distortion has horrible consequences. He then looked me in the eye and said, “I see you have a teaching degree. What if I hire you and later the school calls with a job. Are you going to quit?” I looked him squarely in the eye and replied politely, yet firmly, “Sir, if you hire me, I won’t walk away. Whenever I decide to do something, I stick with it and do it as well as I can.” He smiled. Then he hired me.

Yep, a week later the school called to offer me a job. I turned it down. Politely.

It wasn’t just because I made a promise to be loyal. Or the fact the school called a year after I applied. It was what the Colonel, the head man of this organization, said after welcoming me on board. I can still see his face and hear his voice when he added, “Your job is to aid these officers by paying attention and providing them with information. In this job, you are the lifeline. With the touch of a button, you have the power to save a life. Or get someone killed.”

Wow. Not your usual first day speech.

At the risk of sounding braggadocios, once I understood the ins and outs of the job, I was good at it. Honestly. I cared about those guys. I knew just from tone of voice if an officer was angry…and if it was at me, his wife or the Sarge. I knew who was having a bad day, who’s wife didn’t love him any more or who’s wicked sense of humor was about to be put in play. To anyone listening in, most of our radio conversations sounded like a group of numbers. To me, listening wasn’t just a job requirement. I literally held their lives in my hands. All I had to do was fail to hear and someone could become a widow.

One day the Sarge gave the guys a speech about staying out of the Radio Room. He didn’t like that they came in to use our 3rd telephone line to make calls...because unlike the other lines, it wasn’t recorded. He said they distracted us and we had to lock the door. Well, it was a half door with a shelf…which they merely leaned on to reach over and unlock the door. The Dispatchers tried explaining to the Sarge that an officer just saying hello during shift change was actually a valuable tool for us. He grumbled if he caught anyone stopping to chat, they’d wish they hadn’t.

And yet they kept stopping to chat. If he wasn’t around. Humans are funny. Sometimes you just need to look a person in the eye to verify they’d back you up…with or without the paycheck. More than once I’d listen, then say with a smile, “You know, if you’d tell your wife what you just told me, she wouldn’t be mad.” But to them, that was against the rules. What happened at work stayed at work. Mostly for legal reasons. In truth, it was because they didn’t want their wives and kids to realize exactly what they saw on a daily basis. “Hey, how are ya?“ was important. Officers are not robots. [Okay, except for the token jerk, but it’s like Murphy’s Law and inevitable]. They have feelings. Flaws. Concerns. Fears they try to hide. Me actively listening reaffirmed their human status. It was a silent nod that being human is okay.

A week after the Sarge’s “Keep Moving” speech, he was standing in the doorway when one of the officers called me. The man said two things: our station’s name [which is how they contacted you] and his call sign.

I sat up straighter in my chair, a chill running down my spine. I didn’t realize it at the time but I breathed out, “Oh hell, he’s in trouble.” As the Sarge eyed me like I needed a padded cell, when I told the officer to go ahead, his next words were “Send me an ambulance. I’ve been in a wreck.”

As I got the particulars of where-are-you-are-you-okay? the Sarge came stumbling into the room, trying to find the officer’s location on the map. He was babbling so loudly I actually told the man to be quiet. One doesn’t usually tell their commanding officer to shut up but it’s allowable when your priority is locating an officer. Especially a potentially injured officer. Sarge shut up. Rolling back in my chair I pointed at the location on the map and never stopped talking with my officer. Turned out that on a very bad 90 degree turn, another car had crossed the line, hit the patrol car and slid both of them off the road. Did I mention it was pouring down rain at the time? Miraculously no one was injured but the crash jammed the officer’s door shut. I had to talk my 6’4” Trooper out of trying to crawl out the other door before medical could evaluate him.

Nice thing about a radio relationship. Only then can a 5’1” woman win an argument with a 6’4” man….without actually arguing.

As Sarge raced for the door, he turned, looked me in the eye and asked, “How did you know he was in trouble when all he did was call you?”

“Because,” I replied with an icy calm which nicely covered my gently pounding heart, “he stops every day to say hello. I heard it in his voice.” It was the truth. Brief though our conversation had been, I heard the ever so slight break in the officer’s voice. The guy had nerves of steel. Something had to be terribly wrong for me to hear that quaver… which sailed right past the Sarge’s ears.

The next day the Sarge said it was okay for the guys to speak as long as they didn’t linger.

I am the lifeline. It became my personal mantra at the beginning of every shift. And if I fail, they will die. It wasn’t fatalistic, it was an acknowledgement that there is reason for protocol. One city learned the hard way when they failed to stick to the simple 10-codes used every day. There’s a reason you have a code…so the bad guy doesn’t know what you’re saying. An Officer pulled over a man for speeding and made the usual request that his dispatcher check to see if the car was stolen. He did so using the 10-codes. He and the Dispatcher had worked together for years. While that can be a good thing, being too comfortable can make you lazy. In our business, lazy was another word for stupid. Both individuals were excellent at what they did. Except that day. That day they both failed. When the car came back as stolen, the Dispatcher called the officer and said, “Yep, it’s stolen.” The officer had failed to advise he had the man sitting in the front seat of the car with him. The man, a convicted felon, heard those words, reached over, grabbed the officer’s gun and killed him. And it all could’ve been prevented if they’d simply stuck to the code system.

I left at the end of five years because we changed shifts every week and that gets old. Plus it’s bad on your body physically. The day I left, the Captain who’d hired me looked me in the eye and said, “You’ll be back. Because you’re good at what you do. You care. And when you care, it gets in your blood. And it never leaves.”

I didn’t go back. But he’s right. It never left me. That’s why when I see a cop carefully plant his hand on the trunk of a car “just in case”, my stomach flips and my heart skips a beat. As I drove on, I hoped his Dispatcher was listening. Really listening. And I hope they started the day off by exchanging Hellos.

Monday, June 1, 2009

It's Not Over Til the Fat Lady Sings

There are 6 neatly tied stacks of newspapers against the front door. This happens twice a year, when I'm not around.

Um, we aren't a recycling center. However the Mom-in-law will add them to her donations for the SPCA, who do accept them. I'd stay thanks [or STOP!] but I don't know who you are.

The answering machine is full. 9 out of 10 people say to someone in the background, "Sounds like she's not there," as the machine proclaims we're closed until June 1st.

The aunt in the nursing home wishes me a fun vacation. She then launches into a 10 item list of things for me to handle on her behalf.

A group, angry with my Boss' decision to close us on Thursdays, calls to say they will not be here for the summer to play cards. Another of their group calls to add that they are so incensed about the situation they are now canceling their Tuesday card game here as well. But it's not your fault, they coo lovingly, we like you. We really, really like you. The boss didn't fair as well. Finally, another card groupie calls to cancel their cook out event as someone has offered their private home, complete with pool.

We have 5 acres of grass out back. Can't exactly compete with a pool.

Two ladies turn up this morning for a non-existent Yoga class. It use to be on Monday nights. But the Instructor had a baby. She swears she'll be back to teach again. Soon.

It's her first baby. I doubt I'll ever see her again.

I do explain that we now have a Monday morning exercise class. The ladies smile. Then I have to tell them the Instructor is on vacation and won't be back until next week.

They frown. But they don't threaten me with bodily harm. That goes in the PLUS column.

The Weight Loss group wasn't happy that they couldn't weigh in while I was on vacation. The gate was locked. I sent them a note a week ahead of schedule to let them know. They received it the day after their meeting...6 days later. It only had to go across town. My mailman has a bad habit of ignoring that flag on the box which means STOP-You've Got-Mail-To-Pick-Up. He likes to stop only if he has something to put in the box.

Perhaps I should let the Weight Loss Ladies weigh in on him. Literally.

Today I will turn in my Monthly Report, leaving with the knowledge I will once again hear the Get-your-numbers-up-or-else speech from the boss. {Sort of like the scholarly version of Publish or Perish}. Budget time makes folks at the top of the ladder cranky.

But how do you fight irony? After all, the Boss messed with my Center's hours, then invited those card players to go play somewhere else. Her place. To increase her numbers. Good thing she can't repossess my sense of humor. It doesn't have one of their inventory numbers stamped on it.

At least the card players declined. Point to me for this round.

It's official. Vacation is over. Wonder if I can hide under the desk for a while?

And not even a fat lady here to sing the blues with me.