Tag Archives: driving

worst of 2019

31 Dec

So from bad to worst here are the least pleasant times of 2019:

 

10. new mck program ridiculousness

At work my supervisor (more on her later) told us our jobs weren’t in danger, nothing was changing, she doesn’t want to see us taking our stuff home out of fear.  I took my stuff home.  Because as a temp, you have zero job security.  You can always get the phone call that says you are no longer needed, don’t report to work…  And sure enough that very evening I got a phone call from my temp agency–don’t report…  I thought my assignment was over.  Temp to hire is a carrot so they can use you when they need you.  But then the lady continued–report to Scottdale (the palace).  So unceremoniously, McKesson switched my program, switched my job duties, and switched my work location from one city to another–as of tomorrow (the day back in March? this occured).

 

And the new program was a relief–new people, better building, better seat where I could see out a window, good cube-neighbors.  Easier tasks.  But less tasks.  So many less.  I went from averaging 110 calls to doing 6 in a day.  And calls were the only thing we did.  Dramatically less work.  And I found out even if you do the job properly, it’s not McKesson leadership’s job to be fair to employees under them–they must cater to these clients that hire McKesson as their middle-man.  However stupid, disorganized, and redundant those clients are–and believe me this client was all those things.  So between just uprooting me with no notice (DISLIKE) and then not supporting me even though I was doing everything outlined in the rules (you should see this email chain, it’s fucking ridiculous), I just didn’t want to do that anymore.

 

9. being cold in the new house

We got out of that mother-fucking horrible, tiny apartment-yay!  Our new house is adorable and (nearly) perfect, but has no insulation to speak of.  And AZ, which is supposed to be warm all the time, has been unseasonably cold now for 2 winters in a row.  I was icy cold and uncomfortable last Jan-March, and now I’m freezing in Dec.  I don’t like it.  I don’t want to pay even more utilities since AZ had 96 days over 100 degrees in the summer and you have no choice but to pay 24/7 AC.  And I can’t find a B-pair of cuddle-duds so these just keep getting bigger and bigger.

 

8. social problems at new job

So I get a new, better job where I did actually go permanent (eventually and finally!) but it’s all weird.  Training is set up for extroverts so I was completely anxious, stressed, and as a result I shut-down.  And my particular class had really super-fast learners, so I also felt like I didn’t want to slow anyone down with confusions or questions.  And I just didn’t really interact, because I never really got to know anybody, and I was really uncomfortable the whole time.  Nervous, stressed out, awkward…

Then my dink supervisor didn’t even introduce me to my new team.  What?!  And when I’m at my cube, I am legit trying and concentrating on the work (and still shy, awkward, uncomfortable) so I never got brave enough to introduce myself to anyone on my team.  So now, it’s been a weirdly long time and it’s too late to introduce myself to my team–so I just literally don’t know most of them.  Like their names or anything.  And that is weird and terrible.  And even though I never got to know anyone from my training class, some of them acted like we go way back, and were mad when I didn’t really engage with them (because I don’t know them either!  We had never talked in training) so they seem disgruntled.

So that’s weird and unpleasant.  And even at McKesson, I had some friends and some acquaintances, because they warmed up and initiated real conversations with me, then I didn’t feel uncomfortable so I felt like I could chat with them and stuff.  Cause eventually I do open up to people, but only when it doesn’t feel forced or strained or superficial.  But so far, no one has made any effort to really talk to me at all here, so it just keeps getting worse and worse socially…  I hate it, but don’t know how to change it at this point either-I’ve been pigeonholed.

 

7. being fat

I lost my metabolic gift when I turned 34.  And now I have to pay attention to eating and exercise in a way I never even had to think about before.  So that’s a bummer.  And all my size 2s are dead to me.  And I put my suits in the give-away bag, and that sucked.  And my Lucky jeans, which were my #1 staple jeans are a 4, and I’m out of that zone now too.  And putting those in the bag, really hurt my feelings.  So I don’t like anything about that.

 

6. parents visit fighting

My dad was shaving his face with an electric razor on my living room couch-what the fuck?!  And I said, “Are you getting whiskers everywhere????”  And he said, “Yeah, so.”  And I went ballistic (of course!  nobody wants stubble all over their living room couch and floor) and told him not to do that-go in the bathroom over the sink–probably with some curse words peppered in.  And then my mom said his shaver collects the hair, it doesn’t make a mess.  So why didn’t he proactively tell me that or answer no when I asked about hair?  Who knows (turns out he hadn’t actually heard what I asked, but bluffed and pretended he had).

Then we went about our business.  I had painstakingly created an itinerary so everyone would have fun and be comfortable and that day was casino and buffet (my dad’s favorites).  And after eating, Dad went to gamble.  And Cool of course had sick belly.  Leaving my mom and I alone at the table.  And that’s always a risk because fights can touch off pretty quickly.  Cool is supposed to be my buffer…  And in 1 min my mom wanted to tell me something.  And I was like, “Don’t whatever it is, you’re going to make me mad.”  But she just has to go there-like always.  And she said whatever it was–I actually can’t remember, but I ended up storming out of the buffet, pissed off.  And there was some loud family arguing on the casino floor (ghetto) and anger all around.  Threats on the way home they would fly out early, and I had had enough so I was actually for it.  And it generally just escalated into an ugly thing that let resentments, grudges, animosities, tiredness, control-issues, and everything negative out from just under the surface, into the open.  Not optimal.

Come to find out, the shaver incident had hurt my dad’s feelings and made him mad.  But instead of telling me, he whined to my mom.  And she has to get in the middle of everything so she confronted me.  But that’s kind of been her thing ever since I was a kid:  Telling me that both of them felt this or thought that as a way to give legitimacy and weight to whatever was her gripe.  Because she always felt I liked my dad more, and listened to him over her–neither of which is true.  Anyway, since she had used this tactic a lot, I just made an assumption she was doing that and blew up at her.  Turns out it was actually my dad this time.  So the whole incident was bad.  I felt bad.  I was upset that my dad would do that knowing my mom and my history, and I’d say it put a major damper on their whole trip.  They’ll never come back.

 

5. worrying about no stability as a temp

Really the worry and insecurity with this is an understatement.  It really impacts your whole life and finances.  Knowing you could be told not to come back at any time is terrible.  Having your work location change cities with hours of notice is awful.  Having to try to be perfect in performance and quality for fear of being let go is stressful.  Not having any sick days, vacation, or time off is exhausting.  No/bad benefits adds insult to injury.  I hope I never have to live this way again.

 

4. felissa hating on me

I thought I was having another situation with the big boss.  Things kept happening at work to make me uncomfortable, and undermine my progress and upward mobility.  Pointed comments were made to groups that I was certain were directed at me.  But my supervisor was kind of a dink-bimbo.  So I didn’t think it was her.  And I had been sent home early by the big boss when I made it known I thought he was sexist toward my work.  I just assumed some sort of retaliation was happening.  I was producing numbers DOUBLE of what they were asking of us.  And I got FIVE 100% quality scores in a row.  The quality guy loved me, because I took pride in my work and made an effort to hit every expectation on all of my calls.  But I was passed up for a promotion.  They picked the top 30 (I don’t remember the exact number now, I think 30) out of like 200 of us in the program for a special project/recognition.  I was not chosen.  But I know I belonged in that group.  And I know for a fact that my work was better than at least 2 people chosen over me.  Not to sound arrogant (and the quantitative data backs this up), but I was absolutely safely in the top 5 of my whole team, and probably if not THE top performer definitely the 2nd best.  But I wasn’t included in this top 30 group.

So I asked my supervisor why.  And she said it wasn’t the ‘top’ people.  But the big boss had said in front of all of us that it was, and I reminded her that.  She said it was productivity.  And I pointed to my numbers that she had just provided me of my performance–and said these are over expectation by a lot.  And she mentions quality.  So I reminded her mine was great.  I really pressed her as to why I wasn’t in the group, because I thought I had been blacklisted by the big-boss, because I accused him of sexism (I was sure this was the reason).  And she told me the people were chosen for their critical thinking skills.  I asked why leadership was doubtful about my critical thinking skills–after all just that week, she had put 4 different people with me as a side-by-side to teach them the job.  If they didn’t believe in me, why the fuck would they have me training people???

And then I was moved to a different program without warning.  No word.  But when I got to the new program a gal from my former program, that had been on my exact team was there too.  But the supervisor had discussed the move with her the week before.  My supervisor told 1 gal–“in a week you will go to a new program.”  And that same supervisor had a team meeting and said–“I don’t wanna see you guys taking your stuff home, nothing is changing nobody is moving or getting fired.”  And that day my recruiter told me–tomorrow you move to a new program/city.  Bitch, please!

It had been my supervisor working against me the entire time, but because she seemed like a damn flake, I had underestimated her and didn’t even realize everything was because of her.

 

3. commuting from scottsdale to here

Having new people around was great, as was working in a palace of a building.  But I had specifically signed a one year lease to be close to work (the former building).  It was within walking distance.  And now I had to drive diagonally through one entire city, and from the very south to the very north end of a 2nd city to get to and from work.  I hate commuting and I know that about me.  Driving through a college town with bad drivers and crazy pedestrians OR taking the freeway that gets bogged down right when I get off work = 2 bad choices.  The drive was eating up a lot of my day.  I was tired all the time.  I started getting road rage from dealing with constant shit-driving shenanigans.  Meanwhile, my new house was right next to a work building that I no longer worked at.

 

2nd.  awkwardness at cmm

I made a pretty awesome training power point.  I gave it to every leader in my program.  Nothing came of it.  Despite people liking it and the fact it was a useful tool, the thing went nowhere.  Fine.  But then a co-worker boy saw the power point.  He loved it.  He said it would have been super helpful if he’s had it when he was starting out.  He asked why it wasn’t in use.  I said I’d given it to leadership but nothing came of it.  He asked if he could show it to them again.  After he showed it to them, my power point was used to help train people THAT day.

I felt like it was discrimination.  It was the exact same power point.  Only difference was that a boy presented it.  I made it known that I was unhappy about it.  And the big boss called me in a private meeting.  He was not happy with my accusation.  He even sent me home from work midway through the day.  I was convinced I wouldn’t be invited back (temp, remember).  It didn’t happen that day.  I became paranoid it was only a matter of time.  Nobody talked to me about it, but it was the holidays so people were on vacation, and things were not running as usual.  I was waiting for a meeting…  No meeting occurred.  But I knew the big boss was unhappy with me, so I figured he was just waiting for me to mess up, so he could site that as the reason for letting me go.  So I became hyper-paranoid about not making any mistake on anything.  And that’s a lot of pressure, paranoia, and fear.  And it lasted for two-ish months.  Every day.  Miserable.

 

1. worst ever:  thinking Goose (my beloved maine coon buddy) might die

Last winter, we moved.  It was also cold.  Goose lost weight, and I know that’s bad.  I’ve seen it over and over, they start losing weight and that’s the beginning of the end.  He was lethargic.  Stopped playing.  Didn’t groom C.L. like he always had.  But when he stopped grooming himself I knew he was about to die.  He has always taken great pride in his coat.  It was so greasy, it became matted, and I had to give him a scraggle lion cut so he had less to maintain.  I was so scared and sad.  We went to the feline exclusive vet.  They suggested a $500+ diagnostic.  I love Goose, but when both you and your mate could get a call any time saying you don’t have a job tomorrow–well, you have to save every penny.  $500 is a lot any time, but when it might be your cushion in unemployment–I just couldn’t spend that much.  Not on anything.  Also, the vet didn’t call with the in-house lab results for 6 days.  Deal breaker.  We went to a 2nd vet for a 2nd opinion.  Except he pretty much reiterated what the first vet said.  And even though we had mentioned the slow communication on lab results as the primary reason for changing vets–the 2nd vet didn’t tell us lab results for 6 days!  I didn’t wanna be that client, but I know better.  So we went to a 3rd vet.  Which seems ridiculous.  And we didn’t tell her about the other 2 vets.  And she put him on blood pressure medication and arthritis injections.  No expensive diagnostics–and he’s doing awesome, I’m happy to report!  So false alarm, but I still felt horrible.

When It Rains, It Pours: April [drive, err 2nd drive]

17 Jun

Yes, yes–another hiatus.  And there will be another (for a week) because my parents are visiting and I won’t have time to do the important things either.

PS-this is my WordPress anniversary, which is cool, but not my blogging one.  I started on Myspace–and yes, I liked it better.

anti-facebook

Anyway, let’s wrap up the moving story already.  I think the posting may be actually taking longer then the move itself. . .

So I had to drive Rusty (unknown vehicle status) a SECOND time from Spokane to Salt Lake City.  And I started out all tired.  Also, my house-sitting job wrapped up on a Saturday night, so it was awkward timing.  Because 2 days prior the lease on my apartment was up.  So I technically had no place to stay in Washington.

My boss (the owner of the house-sitting house) offered my an extra night at their place.  But I thought it would be awkward when her and her husband were home.  So I declined.  And my aunt offered me her house, but then I would be obligated to chat Saturday night, use her dirty bathroom/shower, and they would probably make me late (and CRAZY) in the morning with more obligatory chatting.

I would have to start the drive Saturday evening.  But I’ve learned trying to press on at all hours of the night, not only sucks, but is dangerous.  So I just broke down and shelled out money for a hotel.  But in Missoula–because I love that town!

pow wow and Missoula 031

So I’m driving up this steep, steep hill, pushing Rusty to do 65-70 MPH (normally 50 is my absolute max) not being sure how much Rusty could handle.  Everything is going ok–I’m in between that Idaho and Montana part that’s up, up, up, but fast speeds.  And suddenly, the hood of the car just catches my eye.  I saw it move!  While I was going 70mph!  I abruptly put on my flashers and pulled over in the “emergency stopping only” to check the scene.  Sure enough–the hood was OPEN!  I was so scared.  How long had it been open?  What if I hadn’t noticed?  What if it flew up while I was driving up hill with a lot of speedy traffic?  I could have been killed.  I imagine at that speed the hood would have broken the front window.  Not to mention obscured my vision.

So I closed that and resumed my trip, drama-free, but shaken.

I stayed at the hotel and it was lovely and uneventful as well.  Then the next morning I got an early (I am now a night person, remember) start at 5:38AM.

That drive between Montana-Idaho-Utah is boring.  Sure, the speeds are high, but there is really nothing out there.  And of course my phone doesn’t get reception.  Also making me nervous about potential car trouble.

Rusty is a 1992.  And back then, they apparently did not try to make it a quiet ride.  I could hear all the traffic loudly and the awful wind.  A random storm blackened the sky over me and caused severe wind that made it effortful to stay in my lane.  But it was so, so loud I kept thinking my doors must not be closed all the way.  So I was nervous one might open while I was driving and stuff (maybe me) would fall out in the highway.

The other thing that happened was while climbing a hill.  I was using cruise-control–that did make it a better ride then when I took the Penske.  Anyway, I’m going up hill at 75-80 MPH in a group of cars and suddenly Rusty just came out of cruise control.  Just decelerated at an alarming rate.  And because I was mid-hill I couldn’t get any speed manually either.  I had to quickly pull off.  And I didn’t know how alarmed to be.  Was Rusty done for?  Was this a sign of a bigger problem?  Would I be stuck in Idaho without a car or phone reception?  uh oh. . .

610

There was tons of wind and tons of bugs on the interstates of Montana and Idaho.  I was having to clean the windshield every time I filled the tank, then it would quickly become buggy again.  One time, about 5 hours into my journey, when I was tired, thirsty, had expired from car-slurr, I cleaned the windshield.  It wasn’t 5 minutes and this huge group of bugs crashed into my windshield, covering it with their rust-colored bodies.  It made me disproportionately upset and made the trip feel so loooooonnnnnnnggggg.

But I just used the bathroom, and cleaned off my windshield with vinegar–which boosted my morale substantially.  Vinegar worked better then the gas station cleaners and it was the first time I could see well!  And my car had no further issues.

The end of that trip sucks, because just when you’re the most greasy, tired, thirsty, and ready to arrive at the destination, the traffic becomes thick and the driving moronic.  You have to pay super-close attention and constantly defensively-drive!  So I’m worn out and crowded in speeding cars, having to pay acute attention.

Needless to say, when I pulled up at the apartment, I was DONE!  I was ready for a hug from Cool and a nap in a clean apartment.

But that’s not what happened.  Cool, still being manic, had bought a used futon while I was away.  Which was bigger then our living room.  I was thinking it didn’t fit.  That bed-bugs had probably been introduced.  And how did she pay for it.  Instead of the relaxation, nap, shower, and meal, I would have to fight with Cool, pack up a futon, clean the apartment (which of course she left a mess) and I might as well unpack Rusty while I was at it.

Not the best.

In the end, the futon got re-sold for a $5 profit, I cleaned the house, and Cool got a meds adjustment, and *knock on wood* has been a lot more stable.

captial-sky

And that’s the end of the moving story!!!  Finally.

When It Rains, It Pours: April [house–sHit]

11 Jun

When I was cleaning the OLD apartment, I was dreaming so much of the relaxation of house-sitting for waelthy people.  This was going to be just the vacation I needed after a crazy month of stress and packing and stress and driving and stress and unpacking and stress and planning logistics and.  Stress.

last house-sitting 094This was going to be the restful break, complete with amenities that would rejuvenate me before I had to drive (again) Rusty to Utah.  Ten+ more hours, but by myself.  In a third-hand car with unknown history and not enough maintenance.

Sidenote–I knew I should get Rusty’s oil changed and a tune-up before a big trip.  BUT every single time I took a trip in my Jetta, and went to a mechanic prior to that trip they would deliver some awful news of some sort.  Something was terribly wrong, it costs a lot of money, it would push back my leaving date, and if I did pay an extraordinary amount of money (NOW!) my car would probably die on the way Jetta 1there, leaving me stranded.  Every trip this happened.  And every trip’s dates would be set in stone and strapping me for cash.  So I would never be able to have time or money to fix whatever problem it was.  But I would worry the entire time.  Trips in my Jetta were always full of terror because I was always certain I was just about to break down–without a cell phone.  Or any sort of recourse.  And the problem was especially compounded when I traveled by myself (most of the trips) or worse–with pets.

The point is–NOT knowing was better then panicking the entire time, so I did not take Rusty to see anyone.  This was a gamble.  BUT this time I did have Triple A–just in case.  So I was a little worried.

But the house-sitting was going to be a lovely, easy time.

house-sitting 011

Except I forgot that the animals don’t allow sleep.  Dr. Fletcher makes anyone in the guest room (A.K.A. Dr. SLC-all moved in 004Fletcher’s room) miserable by doing power-muffins, licking, frolicking, opening then slamming the door, scratching with (previously done by another owner) declawed paws on anything, etc. . .  There is no night-sleeping.  The other 2 cats begin to meow and fuss and make a ruckus about 5AM when they usually get their breakfast.  This with the stirring dogs and thought of starving horses mandates crack-of-dawn mornings.  There is no napping, because the dogs run amok during the day, the phone rings all day, the answering machine is long and loud, and packages are frequently delivered.  There is too much going on during the day to sleep.  In the evening the dogs are hyper and need fetching until their legs fall off, and the bulk of the chores must be completed.

In short–I was even MORE tired during and after house-sitting then when I started.  I don’t think I ever slept more then 3-4 consecutive hours.

And then I had to drive from Washington to Utah.  Alone.  And for a second time in 2.5 weeks. . .

When It Rains, It Pours: April [arrange, FLY]

5 Jun

So-rry!  I know I’m in the middle of a story, but I’m getting kind of board re-hashing it.  It happened more then a month ago now.  Which–blog lesson–is why you should write things as they happen and as you are excited about them.  It gives the blogger more motivation, helps keep details fresh in the mind, and lends immediacy to the story.  I’m really going to try to be better and put blogging back in my routine.  Right now it feels like a chore, but I used to WANT to do it, and think of posting concepts all the time.

Anyway, I’m in Salt Lake.  But only for a week before I have to go baaaaack to SpoKompton.  My car is there.  The apartment hasn’t been cleaned even a little bit, and I have a house-sitting job that will pay WELL (understatement).  Cool starts work, so I am left alone to unpack and set up the apartment. I’m glad for it, because setting up the new place is the fun part about moving.

When we get to Utah, I think–it will immediately be the warm side of spring, lots hotter than Washington, and certainly less gray.  In actuality, it is still grey, 50 degrees in the morning (and sometimes longer) and pouring rain.  Big, storms that make parking-lots lakes, and last for hours to days.  In short–it’s worse!  We don’t get to explore our new city during the day–so we continue to watch “Friends” as we had in WA.

silvver hearse

So I unpack and organize and Cool works.  Then, I have to fly back to SpoKompton Sunday.  My flight leaves at 6AM–good for productivity, bad for waking up, treadmilling, showering, and driving.  TOO EARLY.  Waking up at 4AM wasn’t good enough, so we were running late.  And of course, it was raining very hard.  And the road to the airport is DARK (get some lights SLC!) so it was tretcherous.  But that didn’t stop the other cars from speeding around.  And the GPS acted up so we missed our turn.

The ride was dangerous and stressful.

I arrived at the airport 45 minutes prior to my flight and it was JUST enough time.

By the time I got through security, I was cutting it close.  I made the first leg of my flight, then had a 40 minute layover in Seattle.  I had wanted to pee (I had to go as SOON as I sat down on the plane, but refuse to use that type of bathroom) and get some caffeine.  Then the escalator to the underground tunnel to take me to my proper gate was out of order.  I had to walk through the ENTIRE airport to get to the other one.  Luckily, I am a fast walker–slow people would have missed their plane.  When I got to the gate on my ticket, it was empty.  And said L.A.  What in the world?  I knew I hadn’t missed my flight, especially by so much they had moved to the next sign.  I went to the counter and asked about it and the woman pointed across the room–my plane had probably changed so we were at a different gate.  Thanks for telling me. . .  And as I suspected, my plane has already boarded!  I gave my ticket to the agent by my new gate’s door and was told my seats changed, I had to go back to the desk to get a new ticket?!  Even though I was running late, I went baaaack to the counter and she printed my new ticket.  I was all ready to fuss about the lack of communication and all the changes, til I looked at my new ticket and I had been upgraded from seat 35 to seat 7.  I’ll take it!  But there would be no bathroom break or coffee for me–much sadness.

I was finally able to board my plane, and found they waited so long because it was a “light-load” meaning there were maybe 28 of us.  Which seemed to me that I should be paying a lot less, and they should probably be using a tiny plane to save fuel, but whatever–I was on my way back to Spokompton.

We had the slowest descent I’ve ever been a part of.  The plane literally stopped several times, poked through the fog, then poked elsewhere.  And I really, really had to pee.  But I made it.  And it was only 9AM, which was beautiful!  It was awesome having the entire day in front of me–even if it was full of obligations and cleaning.

My Aunt had agreed to pick me up at the airport.  So instead of stopping in the bathroom and dealing with luggage, I figured I would meet her first so she could watch my bags and I could go unencumbered.  Except when I greeted her and asked what time she got there she said 10 til (it was 9AM), and I clarified 10 til 9?  No, 8.  Ugh–my Aunt had been standing there for 70 minutes–so I felt I shouldn’t make her wait any longer for me to find a bathroom.  I’d have to wait til we got to her house.

She led us to the parking lot, then stood in the middle of a row, lost and confused.  Are you kidding me?!  [this in my head] She didn’t know where the eff she had parked.  I was really annoyed and had to pee, but just followed her around the many lots for 20 minutes while she looked for the car. . .  Who doesn’t have a key fob to beep these days?  My Aunt, that’s who.

We finally got in the car and were chatting on the drive out of the airport.  Then she changed lanes and so severely cut off a car in that lane that the other driver had to swerve all the way into the median–which luckily, was wide.  My Aunt’s reaction to almost having caused a car accident, “Oh I think she’s maaad at me-she flipped me off.”  She was worried she had angered the other driver–not that she could have killed us or totaled both cars.

She tried to chat with me again, and I was like, oh no–you need to concentrate on driving.  My Aunt is a very $hitty driver.  Sunday morning traffic is light so I was glad for that.  But I made a mental note never to ride with her again.  And I was VERY happy about my decision to take my car keys with me.

We finally got to her house, and I had to do the forever pee.  I wanted to leave after that to take advantage of the 3 hours of empty stores to get some Spackle and groceries.  On Sunday mornings people are either at church or hungover, so it’s one of the few times the grocery stores are bearable.  Also I wanted to take a nap and clean, but they pressed me to stay so I was forced to chat for politeness.  I hate that!

They mentioned they wanted to “move my car up” yeah sure, I thought.  I knew they would have been driving Rusty around had I left the keys.  My car was flush against the trash cans they had told me to park in front of–it was unnecessary to move it.  And they kept me til 11:30AM, so I lost my empty grocery store times >-[

Next I’ll tell about the condition of the apartment, house-sitting, and my 2nd trip to Utah.

When It Rains, It Pours: April [moving-drive-1st leg]

28 May

Let’s see, driving long stretches is mostly boring.  But a few key things are worth noting.

-Going on a Sunday was genius.  Traffic around cities was a lot less.  And bigger then that, the construction was on hold.  So we still lost time to slow speed limits, but we never had to stop in a line for workers or anything.  Any other day would have taken a LOT longer to get through those zones.

-Cool had fairly bad behavior for the entirety of the planning and execution of all of the move.  She was the bad kind of manic:  Unfocused, irritable, all over the place, no common sense or concentration.  So mostly she provided stress upon the stress.  BUT the one amazing thing that she thought of–and followed through to completeion–was walkie-talkies.  I wasn’t all about them–I figured they’d be fun if we had them, but not having them wasn’t a deal-breaker.  Let me tell you:  Walkie talkies and 2 vehicles are THE way to go if you have to drive a moving truck.  I drove the 16 foot Penske, and Cool (and the cats) followed along in her HHR.  This was great, because she could monitor my blind spots.  If I wanted to switch lanes, we could just beep each other quickly on the radios.  No cost of cell phone minutes (though using Boost, we both have unlimited talk, text, and data anyway) and no one-handed stuff.  We could also easily communicate which speed we wanted to go and when we had to stop for gas, bathroom, food, or rest.  The walkie-talkies made driving the Penske EASY!  Awesome job, Cool!!!

-We got started around 2PM, and drove 5.5(?) hours to Butte, which was about 2 hours past my point of fatigue.  Having long-hauled many road trips before this, 2 hours isn’t all that bad–relatively speaking.

Big Sky Country

-The cats rode in the car well (I’m told).  Usually Goose is good, quiet, and still during the car ride.  Choco-Luv likes to scream and yell the entire trip.  But sans drugs, they did pretty good–maybe Cool just tuned them out with loud music though.

-And the hotel seemed magical when we got to stop for a real shower and bed and TV.

-The cats fussed a little–they do the opposite thing at lodging that they do in the car:  Goose is usually a horrible, terrible noise-maker and pacer in hotels.  He kept us all awake the whole night in Boise, and when when my dad and I took him from Missouri to Nevada for the final time, Goose was so angry with me he peed on my hotel pillow.  He yowled a little, but not incessantly and we could still sleep.  I think it helped that we didn’t drug them at all this time.

-Splitting the trip into 2 days helped bunches, and the next day we just had to drive 7-ish(?) hours to Salt Lake City, instead of a whole 10.5 hours.  Which I think 10.5 is a low estimate from Google, it might have been more like 13 in real conditions.

-Montana and a nice high speed limit, and I always feel at home under it’s big-sky.  Idaho is full of nothingness, but at least they also have an extreme speed limit.  I just kept driving the Penske because it was going well.  And I think switching off would have made everyone more nervous.  Unlike Rusty, the Penske had cup holders, and you don’t realize how important and nice those are until you’ve lived without them.  It was also nice having a clock, which Rusty does not have.

-The only thing about the Penske that was bothersome, was my accelerator-foot got tired.  The speed tops out at 70 mph, but with a speed limit of 80 mph, I wanted to push it as fast as it was willing to go.  But it made the truck roar and shake, and I had to mash the pedal all the way to the floor.

-Utah drivers are awful, and it made it a little difficult that we had to finish the drive like that.  You’re at a point where you’re tired and just want to get there–it’s no time to have to employ a bunch of defensive-driving techniques.  But we did.  And all 4 of us made it in one piece and without very much fatigue or headache.  Also–this is of course relative to past trips.  We were all very tired of sitting in a car, sleepy, and wanting to be home.

-We got to the new apartment at 3:30PM.  I needed a shower.  I was fatigued.  I was SO done with moving!  I just wanted to shower and chill.  But alas, the parking situation was tight, so in order to unload the Penske in the vicinity of our unit, I had to park in 3 neighbor’s spots.  Needless to say, there would not be an afternoon/evening of rest.  Not even a meal break.  We had to immediately unload the Penske in order to move out out of the way before people got home from work and had no place to park.

welcome to utah- t-rex

Next episode:  Unpacking.

LaZY DAVE Saturday [3rd post of 4]

11 Sep

Sorry for the delay!  It’s been a busy coupe of weeks shifting into all my new schedules.  And I already have a test next week!  And I’m having to go to work (4 hours) extra for obligatory training.  So blogging has been low on my priority list.  But I’m waiting to go into work for an hour–so here it is:

SATURDAY:

We didn’t get tiks for Saturday. Because they’re too expensive, we’d be too tired and dirty, and the crowd is over the fratty line for us.

We woke up at our secret camping spot (feathers) which is a GORGEous location to wake up and I’m not sure why so many people pay big bucks to party on top of each other, when this is a few miles away, quiet, FREE and relatively empty (4 caps Friday night) but I’m glad they don’t.  It’s lovely to have it to ourselves.  I ran my obligatory mile.  I didn’t notice anything awry on the way out of the camp site, other then loose gravel on the road that was a little slippy for my liking.  But on the way back, I found that it was UPhill all the way.  And against the wind.  Needless to say, I got my sweat on.  But it was one of the most beautiful runs ever, overlooking a canyon with bay salt walls, with windmills in the distance.

SEATS-the gorge 023

We take pictures at this beautiful scene each year we attend the concerts.  But I should have done it before my run, because I look sweaty and windblown and none of the pics are suitable for Facebook.  Then, we ate more of our wonderful snacks and smoothies on the way to River Road where Cool’s friend lives.  We had wanted to visit her for several years, but 2.5 hours proves to be a bit too far for school, and 2 different work schedules to manage.  Mostly, we’re locked in Spokompton–which is why this summer was special with only a few hours of my time scheduled and just Cool’s job to work around.  Anyway, we did plan on seeing Cool’s school pal this time. I was excited for a shower, Cool was excited to go to the lake and sleep in a real bed. And we were ready for a BBQ (having brought brats, dawgs, and chips from home). But our host had a migraine and was out of commission.

Which ended up working out OK, because we were tired, and recovering from our fight from the night before. So we showered, napped, watched TV (we’re now hooked on “Criminal Minds” on Netflix) and vegged out all day.  But then our host’s father (who was supposed to BBQ) needed stitches so those plans were also off.  But Cool’s friend started feeling a little better.  I had asked Cool when we arrived at 10AM if she had her pills, and she said she didn’t.  Cool finally LOOKED to see if she brought some Rx migraine pills, and turns out she did, so her friend got a pill around 4PM.  We got to chat a little, and went to bed relatively early, missing Saturday’s concert as planned.

SEATS-the gorge 032

And of course (as is our luck), fans are calling Saturday the best show of 2014. The setlist we’d die for occured.  Here’s some stats from AntsMarching:

Fri:

= 16.7% Away From the World

= 4 star rating

= rarest song is Rapunzel

= rarity 7 of 42 summer concerts; overall = 26.32

Sat:

= 20% Remember Two Things

= 4.5 star rating

= rarest song is So Much to Say-Too Much tease-into Halloween!

= rarity of 8 of 42 summer shows; overall = 24.76

Sun:

= 21.7% Under the Table and Dreaming

= 4.5 star rating

= rarest song is Loving Wings or Steady As We Go (played once during the summer tour)

= rarity of 2 of 42 summer shows; overall = 26.19

I have no complaints about our setlists, but you always want what you don’t have I guess.  I had put “So Much to Say”-tease-closer on my setlist wishlist and that would have been amazing to see.  And obviously, we were devastated Brandi did a duet with Dave (only on this night). I heard rumors Brandi did a meet & greet Saturday.  Of course.  Because that’s my luck.  If we had gone Friday and Saturday, this would have occurred Sunday.  If we had gone all 3 days, it wouldn’t have happened at all.

But we got clean and rested and did some visiting Saturday so we had a good time and didn’t yet know what we had missed.  Next up–Sunday, the final concert!

I’m Sick. And Grumpy.

20 Aug

Last night I started feeling worse and worse.  Normally when I feel something coming on I go to bed super-early.  But I will have to work til midnight really soon and my body is already going to be shocked.  As such, I HAD to stick it out until 9:30PM.  I felt so bad that I turned off my alarm clock (I never sleep to the alarm, but I’d be too nervous if I didn’t set it–just in case) for cleaning the vet hospital in the morning.  I try to go there every other day and had gone Monday, so was set to do it today.  But I had called Monday to make Rusty an appointment–and of course Wednesday was the first they could get me in.  And they were very explicit that I should drop off at 7:30AM.  So with the (impending) sickness, I didn’t think I should get up at 3-4AM, drop off the car, and be unable to nap.  If I get in bed after 5:20AM, I CANNOT sleep no matter how hard I try.  Anyway, so I decided I would clean work Wednesday night and still get it done on the every other day.

I slept fitfully because my body is trying to get sick and out of guilt for not cleaning–even though it’s a flexible schedule and I just have to make sure and go 3x/wk.  But I felt bad anyhow.  In the morning (the cats woke us up at 5:30AM, so I didn’t get tons of sleep), we went to drop Rusty off.  And–he had written that I called on Monday, but neglected to put me on the schedule for today.  So skipping work and dropping off was unnecessary because he put me on the very bottom of their full schedule.  Annoying.  And I felt icky so I almost said something about it.

At the track, I had intended to run a record 400m today.  I thought maybe if I warmed up slowly it could still be done.  Because I’m not completely sick, I can just tell it’s coming on.  But there is still time for preventative sleep/warmth/Zicam/vitamins/fluids.  But as soon as I started jogging I instantly felt TERRIBLE.  Everything ached, I felt tired, my muscles were stiff.  It was unpleasant.  I changed my mind about any speed work and just did a slow 2 miles practicing switching long strides and quick strides.  

When I got back to the apartment complex, the trashy-trashy, white-trash trashy lesboz that park next to us were over the line half in our spot.  So I had to squeeze in very tightly.  And when I opened the door, I was confronted with their barf-covered passenger door.  Who pukes on their car??!  Disgusting.  Cool wrote a note, but the tone was annoyed.  And I am all about feeling annoyed, but hesitated to give it to them, because, trashy people have no boundaries and who knows how they might retaliate.  But Cool put it on their barf-mobile anyway.  Fast-forward:  Next time I went to the car, theirs was gone, and the note was crumpled beside Cool’s car. . .

Rewind:  I went home and Cool made a wonderful huckleberry waffle breakfast.  I was feeling so crummy that the impossible occured and I actually was able to nap for 30 min.  But it wasn’t enough and I still felt like crud.  I get, for lack of better word, annoying sickness.  There’s no outward signs, but I feel feverish and fatigued.  Standing in the kitchen to make a frozen drink for Labor Dave about did me in, and I felt really crummy.  So I look a-OK, but feel ick-scum.  If it does come full-on (it hasn’t yet) I’ll get a fever and a head-cold.  Not cool times for public or for sitting in class.

Anyway, I didn’t get a call until 1:30PM asking permissions and pricing.  So I should have gone to work, and Rusty will not be finished today.  Which is super-annoying, because now Cool goes to work and I’ll have to clean at 3-4AM tomorrow–sacrificing more sleep when I’m (getting) sick.

That’s all.  I’ll work on my graph blogs today since standing up seems too much.  That reminds me, there are just 5 days til school starts and I have a HUGE list of things to do before then.  I’m mentally going insane, but my body won’t cooperate–it’s going to be a low productivity day when I need to kick it into high gear >:-[

My Newfound Hatred for Traffic Cameras

4 Aug

The City of SpoKompton royally pi$$ed me off today.  Like red-hot searing anger.  They mailed me a traffic ticket.  It seems that when I was coming home from work the other day, I was caught on camera making a right turn on red.  Without coming to a complete 3 sec stop.  There were time-stamped pictures, my license plate, and a video clearly showing I had broken the law.

And believe me, readers, do NOT comment on this post that I was in the wrong so I should indeed have to pay the $124 ticket.  I will come unleashed.  I’m that belligerent about it.

Why I’m so mad:

-It was at 5:12 in the morning.

-There was NO other traffic.  Even the video showed I approached a clear intersection, slowed down, turned, and what followed was a clear intersection.

-You could also see in the video clear crosswalks and sidewalks = no pedestrians.

-Not know the letter of the law is not an excuse, but puh-leeze.

-I think the law needs to change to make sense.  When nobody is there are you’re making a right–why force a 3 sec stop?

-I could see paying a ticket in the very maximum amount of $50.  I can understand that–and I would pay without fussing to the authorities (though you better believe I would fuss on here).  But charging me as if I blew through a whole intersection during a red light?  Nonsense.

-This particular intersection is notorious.  So much so that when I am driving during any sort of daylight hours, I take the (longer) back way–just because the scene is so terrible.  You see, I have to turn left from my residence–and there is no left turn arrow.  And the preceding stoplight of traffic going the opposite direction (coming toward this intersection) is timed so that just as this infamous intersection gets a green–the cars race up the road going straight.  Negating a left turn.  You could sit through 3 or 4 cycles (I have) before finally getting enough time and room to dart quickly to complete a left.  And I have–many times.  Most people that end up in the left turn lane inch into the middle of the intersection, then finally just go.  It’s either block the cross-traffic or run the yellow/red.  So they are forced to wait all day or go either on yellow, or after the light has already changed to red.  There are LEGIT failure to stops making it dangerous.  So DURING HOURS WHEN THERE’S TRAFFIC it’s a dangerous intersection.  BUT have they put in an arrow?  Do they place police there to watch?  Do they change the timing of the lights?  No!  They don’t really care.  Nothing changes to fix the problem and make notorious intersection any safer or user-friendly.  I’m mad about my ticket because the above factors tell me my ticket is not about safety, but money.

-I see way worse offenses go unticketed at this intersection then my right on red.

-They only give you 2.5 weeks to pay the full amount of money.

-What’s NOT to be mad about?

Here’s an article talking about how other people are also angry:

Rolling Right Turns

Rolling right turn violations have been proven to have very little effect on driver safety. In fact, a review of US Department of Transportation statistics shows that an average motorist could drive a billion miles — the distance from Earth to Jupiter and back — before being involved in an accident that resulted from a motorist making a right-turn-on-red. Even these few crashes involved failure to yield the right-of-way; previously stopping, or not stopping, were not the primary cause of these accidents.

Cities with ticket cameras sell the cameras to the public by explaining that they’ll help prevent right-angle crashes. However, the majority of tickets given out inevitably end up being for minor rolling-right-turn violations.

According to the LA Times, Los Angeles officials estimated that 80% of their red-light camera tickets are for rolling right turns. And according to the Chicago Daily Herald, rolling-right-turn violations have accounted for 90% of the tickets generated in several Illinois communities. These tickets are often given to drivers who actually stopped safely but were inches over the line.

Drivers have long interpreted the “Right Turn On Red” law to mean that they must yield to other traffic and to pedestrians before executing a right turn when they confront a red signal at an intersection [my emphasis]. As noted above, this interpretation has worked out extremely well from a safety and traffic movement perspective. Strict enforcement of provisions that require the driver to come to a complete stop, at a specific spot, did not occur until the advent of red-light ticket cameras.

Consequently, while almost all motorists observe the “yield the right-of-way” requirement, they do not always come to a complete stop before executing a right turn on red. National accident data clearly indicate that coming to a complete stop is not necessary, and possibly undesirable, if it causes rear-end collisions.

The NMA believes that the best course of action is to change the law so it is in sync with the way motorists successfully comply with the concept of “Right Turn On Red.” That means removing the requirement mandating coming to a complete stop and replacing it with language that further emphasizes a right turn on red can only be executed after yielding the right of way to all other vehicles and pedestrians. All states, not just those that permit the use of ticket cameras, should make this change in their Right Turn On Red law.

That’s what I’m sayin’!  And from another site:

At The Ticket Clinic, we have seen many red light camera tickets for making a right turn on red.  The red light camera laws state that a red light camera ticket cannot be issued if the driver makes the turn in a “careful and prudent” manner.  While Florida law requires the driver to come to a full stop and a police officer can issue a ticket in person if the driver does not come to a full stop, the red light camera tickets have a lower standard.  Yet, because of the vague language cities are taking a liberal reading of “careful and prudent” and issuing red light camera tickets if the driver does not come to a full stop.  Many individuals are unaware of this distinction between and chose to simply pay the red light camera ticket because they think they must be guilty.  But as long as a pedestrian, bike or oncoming car, a rolling stop when making a right on red that is made carefully should not be a citable offense.

But what to do?  Unfair, ridiculous or not–I have the ticket and I’m now responsible for it.

I was am also really stressed out because I absolutely cannot spare over a hundred dollars.  So I looked online trying to find a way out.  It was obviously my car based on the clear pictures and close-up license plate number.  I obviously did not stop for 3 sec before completing my right turn.  The video shows a red light.  So I did irrefutably break the (stupid, pointless–gerrrr) law.  There was a letter on the internet that Cool gave me that did get the charges dropped for someone two years ago:

To Whom it May Concern,
I received a letter claiming I committed a violation of a speeding law in the District of Columbia on 04/21/2012. As per the instructions, I am writing to plead ‘not guilty’ to this charge. Although this option is said to result in this matter going to court; it is my suggestion that the charges simply be dropped. This suggestion comes out of respect for tax payers, and my request that their hard earned money not be wasted in such proceedings. As there is no evidence of my involvement with this alleged ‘crime’, as well as the fact that I am not granted my 6th amendment right to face my ‘accuser’ (a camera); I see no way the government could prove my guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I also see find no legal requirement for me to implicate someone else in this process, as it is the government’s responsibility to prove a person’s guilt. It is also my 5th amendment right to remain silent on the matter.
If it is the government’s decision to move forward in this matter, I would request copies of any evidence the prosecution may have of my involvement in the “offense”; as well as, all maintenance records for the camera(s) involved.
Sincerely,

But I thought the cities are now savvy to that.  They have proof in the form of 3 pictures, a video, time stamps. . .  I am desperate though, so I perused the internet further:

Argue the Reliability of the Camera

When in traffic court to fight the ticket, ask whether the camera was indeed working properly at the time it generated your ticket. Cameras are machines and they can malfunction. If the prosecution cannot decidedly prove that the camera was working properly, they do not have a solid case proving that you ran the red light. Also, those reviewing the pictures can make a mistake in deciding on the accuracy of the picture. Question if they are absolutely certain the picture proves that you ran the red light.

Witnesses at Trial

The red light camera manufacturer is supposed to appear at trials regarding red light traffic tickets. A representative from the camera company is there to testify whether the camera was working properly and when it was last maintained. If no one shows up to represent the camera company, you can argue that no one is there to verify whether the picture is accurate.

Hearsay

One can try arguing that the photograph is hearsay and is therefore inadmissible under the Sixth Amendment. It is hearsay because you cannot cross examine the photograph or the camera. The Sixth Amendment gives defendants the right to confront their accuser.

In summary, it is best to have a traffic attorney represent you. If you are not familiar with traffic law, you will not be able to mount your own defense in court. Without knowing the law or how to prepare a defense, you will likely lose your case.

This seemed like some good ideas, but I in no way want to go to court, but what other choice do I have, right?  So I looked at the evidence again and noticed you don’t see the driver in the pictures or video.  It can’t be proved that I was behind the wheel at this particular time.  So I’m going to try to fight it based on that, and hopefully I can avoid paying the city’s bills for them.

And because this is so stupid, expensive, and a huge pain in my a$$, I’m making some changes:

-I will avoid that intersection–even in the early morning hours when no people are around.

-I will vote down any legislation regarding use of traffic cameras.

-I will talk (more) trash about SpoKompton.

-I may or may not remember to fully stop for 3 seconds at any right turn regardless of the traffic/pedestrians even though it seems like complete over-kill and money-making schemes to me.

Upstream

8 Jul

Both the pedestrians and the cars are stupid here in SpoKompton.  The drivers are really terrible tail-gators, aggressively following too close most of the time.  They will abruptly change lanes (cutting off other vehicles) when someone is turning in front of them, instead of waiting for 2 minutes.  They NEVER slow down in snow.  There are several other annoying driving behaviors, but you get the gist.  

The pedestrians cross the street anywhere.  Even if a crosswalk is less than a block away.  And they’ll just dart out in front of cars–even if there is a mile gap behind the car.  They don’t wait.  Worst of all, the people out after dark tend to wear BLACK.  They don’t know about white/light/reflective clothing for night strolls.  So drivers really have to keep their eyes peeled.

As a result of this combined stupidness there are tons of hit & runs in town.  I can’t even count them.  One guy at the end of our road, was crossing in a dark area that specifically has a road block and signs that say “do not cross” (probably wearing dark clothes and maybe on substances) and got run over.  Well, when all was said and done, the man was hit by 4-5 drivers who then left the scene.  He was killed, of course.

So that’s the bleak side of it, here’s a little firsthand story that might lighten the mood:

I was driving down a main road after work one night (last summer?) after dark.  I saw something shine in the median and immediately slowed down.  It was a wheelchair bound person crossing the street about 2/3 block from the stoplight and crosswalk.  

in the street–jaywalking or is it jay-rolling? 

I saw they intended to cross in front of me–though I was the only car in sight at the time.  But I also saw that since this was not a crosswalk, there was a curb on the side of the street.  This wheeler was obviously not paying attention to that because they proceeded to cross the dark street.  

Meanwhile the light from the intersection behind us changed and a group of cars came speeding up.  Seeing me stopped, they all went to change lanes to pass me.  Unfortunately, the wheelchair (remember it’s dark) had made it to the outside lane and I held my breath thinking they were sure to be hit.

Luckily, at the last minute the front car slammed on its brakes seeing the impediment in their lane.  But the wheelchair couldn’t get out of the road because of the curb.  There were 2 choices:  Either drive along the road to the next light or go the opposite direction of traffic upstream in the lane) and go to the next road where there would be no sidewalk.

Obviously, the person in the road had a mind to do option number 2.  And sat waiting for the group of cars to reverse enough so they could pass.  So there were 4 or 5 cars reversing so this wheelchair person could go opposite of traffic and find a low spot to go over.

 That’s the kind of thing you get here.  I was just glad no one was hurt and relieved I wasn’t a witness to anything.