Monday, April 25, 2011

The Saga Of Patrol 1 Continues

For those of you following the saga of Patrol 1, here's the latest update:

A little while ago John got a call from his new supervisor in the Patrol Division in Phoenix. They've changed his schedule all around. Some of the changes are good but some are not. Here's a short run-down of the changes and how it will work:
  • Schedule change which is good for him. He will now have four 10s instead of one 6, one 12 and two 11s. His days off will be Sa-Su-M instead of F-Sa-Su and then he'll work Tu 8pm-6am and W-F 6pm-4am. It's not so great for me because now I have four nights sleeping without him at home instead of three but we don't mention that. :)
  • Route change which is bad. On Tuesdays he'll be working North Patrol, which he's never done before so he'll have to learn it which is no big deal. However, he'll have to drive all the way to Foothills Mall to get his vehicle. For those of you not familiar with the area that's at least a 40 minute drive when traffic is cooperating. Plus it's a LOT farther than going downtown like he will be doing on the other days which isn't great with gas at $3.59/gallon.
  • They will still be doing alarm calls which they were told they would not be handling anymore due to the tightness of the patrol which is not that good. Those will throw them into overtime when they get them.
  • The transition may be a bit rough as he starts his regular schedule tonight and works as he has been through Thursday--well, Friday morning early, actually--and then turns around and starts the new schedule Friday night. So this week he'll work M-early Sa then have the rest of Sa and all of Su and M off. No extra pay though since their pay cuts on Th.
Should prove interesting. We'll see how it goes. Oh, and he should have the new Prius tonight but time will tell on that as well. They said he would have it on Thursday but he didn't and the other driver didn't get it on Friday. I don't know why they're dragging their feet on it because it's just a simple phone call to clear it through fleet.

That's the interesting news from our corner of the world. Hope everyone has a nice week.

Late-breaking info: No new car until Friday when they start the new schedule so he'll still be driving the Cobalt that hasn't been serviced since January 2010--yes, you read that correctly, 2010. Hopefully it will make it through Thursday. LOL

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easters Past

We are not holiday people by any stretch of the imagination. We don't really celebrate any of them to any great extent. It's very different from when I was growing up. Mama was Mrs. Holiday as anyone who knew her can attest to. I'm sure many of her students might remember her witch get-up for Halloween or the Santa hat and vest that she wore during the last week before Christmas break.

Easter was always a big deal for her too. We always decorated several dozen eggs as a family and they hid them for me. I also remember getting Easter baskets every year. I still have the wonderful Pooh Bear that was in my Easter basket in 1968. He was my constant companion (at home) until I was 12. He's even travelled across the US many times as well as to Canada and Alaska. He wasn't allowed to go to the British Isles with us in 1969 though as they were afraid he'd go missing. He had to wait at Aunt Dora and Uncle Joe's house in PA until we got home. I also remember the Easter when I was about 13 or 14 and we were in Tucson for the weekend. We went to services at Catalina United Methodist Church and it was so crowded and hot in there that I passed out right in the middle of singing a hymn and Daddy had to cart me out to get fresh air. After I got married they would always invite us out for Easter dinner and we would go to the lovely buffet they used to have (or maybe still do, I don't know) over at the Holiday Inn on Palo Verde. It was fun.

My fondest memories though are of her Easter dinners. She was from a large family and I think she never quite got used to only having three at the table, especially on holidays. Every Easter that she was home she would invite several of the ladies from our church who were widowed to share Easter dinner with us in our home. She would plan and cook the dinner and we would break out her fancy Wedgwood dishes, Waterford Crystal and sterling silver. I was allowed to set the table with the dishes but I had to be EXTREMELY careful and she carried them to the table for me. The Saturday before was spent polishing the silver--with Noxon's Silver Polish, of course. (That was her maiden name and her grandfather was the one who had invented it, or so I've been told.) It was my job to make decorations for the table. I remember one year making little blue Easter baskets out of crepe paper. They came out quite well, as I recall. We put a little bit of Easter grass and jelly beans in them and placed them at each place. I know there were other decorations that I made on other years but those are the ones that stand out in my mind. I loved getting ready for it because she would be so excited and happy to be planning a special dinner with people over.

The day itself was wonderful too. The ladies that she invited were Annie Huff, Nellie Lantz, and Alma Wootan, if anyone from home is reading this and remembers them. They were such fine ladies. I loved them dearly. I always had to play the piano for them while we were waiting for dinner to finish as Miss Annie had been one of my first piano teachers and she always wanted to hear how I had progressed. I remember sitting on the sofa cuddling with Miss Nellie. I think that was my favorite part as I never got enough cuddling after my grandparents left Willcox. She loved my long, thick hair and she would braid it into the most beautiful, intricate braids. She told me that it reminded her of her best friend's hair when they were children. She had always had thin hair that would barely make one decent braid but she loved braiding so she had learned to braid on her best friend's hair and enjoyed doing mine as well. I remember Miss Alma telling me about her husband who had been a sheep-herder and she told me her first married home was in a cave and she had to learn to cook all their meals over an open fire. They were such fascinating ladies. Miss Annie was a gifted pianist and Miss Alma sang in our church choir and had a beautiful singing voice. After dinner we would all retire to the living room and I would cuddle with Miss Nellie some more while Miss Annie and Miss Alma treated us to a beautiful concert of hymns from an old hymnal that my mother owned. I loved those afternoons and was always so sad when it was time for Daddy to take them home.

Sometimes now I think back on those times and the wonderful people I was surrounded with when I was growing up. That town had so many wonderful people living there at the time. I was truly blessed to know some of the people I knew. It makes me sad that my son doesn't have those types of memories but then I realize that he is such a totally different type of child than I was that he wouldn't enjoy stuff like that. He would want it to end before it even started. It makes me sad but that's just the way life is, I suppose.

Happy Easter to all of you from our corner of the world. Hope you all had a wonderful day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Random Updates From Our Corner Of The World

Nothing earth-shattering, just a few new things since yesterday.

  • As I mentioned, John got his new shirts. They're a pale grey but it's much better than the white. They have patches on both sleeves and on the front, the word "SECURITY" on the back in big, bold, black letters and reflective stripes around the sleeves. Very nice.
  • He saw the new car today. He can't drive it until tomorrow because they still have to put him and the other driver on the insurance for it. It IS marked within an inch of its life. No doubt he's security in this vehicle.
  • Sean had a good day at school today. He got to spend part of his morning helping color the set for their opera. They were going to paint but Teacher decided coloring would be better.
  • Easter Break started when he got out of school today. He's off tomorrow, Friday and Monday. Wish me luck. :)
  • We started clean-up in his room tonight. The closet doors now close. Tomorrow we attack the mess in the center. It probably isn't as bad as it looks but it looks HORRIBLE.
  • The maintenance guy came over today and "fixed" our toilet that turns itself on and runs. It still does it. Guess we'll have to request a return visit. :(
That's about it. Hope all is going well in everyone else's corners of the world. Have a great weekend when it gets here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Patrol 1 Update And Other News

For those of you following the saga of Patrol 1, things are definitely looking up. The patrol division out of Phoenix takes over on the 22nd. The white shirts are GONE as well as the button-down. The patrol drivers are all getting polo shirts. Not sure what color yet as John should be getting his today IF he can get through the downtown traffic and IF he can get through to the office on the phone to see if anyone will still be there once he makes it through the afore-mentioned downtown traffic. All I can say is they better not be white or I'll be throwing a tantrum, complete with foot-stomping and head-banging. LOL Patrol 2 already got their new vehicle which is a sore point with John and his fellow Patrol 1 driver. Theirs is supposed to come from fleet later this week or early next though so they will no longer be sharing a vehicle with the supervisor over at the county. The big news though is that they are combining the three patrols into two patrols. They will be arranging the hits into two routes and taking the two drivers off the defunct patrol and putting one on each of the two remaining patrols. That should cut down on the overtime issue as well. I can't quite wrap my mind around how they're planning to work it but I guess that's why I'm not a router/scheduler. It should be interesting with their supervisors being 100 miles away in another city though. We're wondering if they're going to have a lighted lucite map of Tucson so they have at least a clue of where the drivers are when they have to call in with an incident. Just joking, of course, but seriously it should be interesting to see how that aspect of it plays out as well. Stay tuned. *grin*

And in other news: Sean is excited because he has no homework tonight and tomorrow is his last day for the week and it's early out as well. They have Thursday, Friday and Monday off. He is less than pleased though that he still has to do a book report as he is of the considered opinion that he should have to do nothing for the rest of the school year since the testing is already over. He did, however, like the fact that I read the same Sherlock Holmes book he chose when I was a 5th grader way back in the dark ages.

Guess that about catches everybody up with life in our corner of the world. I hope everyone has a nice Passover or Easter, depending on which you celebrate and that all is going well for everybody.

Late-breaking news: The polo shirts are...........................GREY!!!!!!!! YIPPEE!!! It's a light grey but at least it's not white. Hallelujah! Thank you, Lord. (Yes, I've been praying that they wouldn't be white because I don't like sending my husband off to work in stained clothing.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

AIMS Testing Is Over, HALLELUJAH!!!!

I am so grateful that it finished today. Now I don't have to hear about what a waste of time tests are and how much Sean hates them for another year. YIPPEE!!! Tonight he actually said to me, "I really don't mind tests, Mom." Yeah, sure, now that they're over after you've done nothing but complain about them since Sunday. LOL I have to admit that I pulled out the old, "When I was young we walked to school 10 miles uphill both ways" deal when he was complaining. I spoke nothing but the truth though. He was truly amazed when I told him that we did all of our testing in two days. Started in the morning at first bell and finished just before last bell and had NO snack break. His response, "That's unfair. No snack. I bet you were upset about that, huh?" Nope. Food wasn't allowed in our classrooms so the thought never even crossed our minds. It also never crossed our minds that it was unfair that we didn't get out early on Wednesday during testing week since we never did anyway which absolutely boggles Sean's mind.

This kid is too smart though. Now his question is "Why do we have to keep going to school until the end of May? It's already over since they've already tested us." I tried to explain to him about the laws of having to go to school a certain number of days and I had to reiterate that it is NOT over and that he must do his homework for the rest of the year because it counts towards the grades. I don't know where he comes up with this stuff. It's certainly not from me. I was one of those crazy kids that liked school for the most part and just did what was asked of me mostly without question. With this one it's a constant struggle even though he can do it and is bright. Definitely a cause of tension between the two of us sometimes. He's doing better though and so am I. It's still a precarious dance but I wouldn't trade him for the world.

Not much else going on in this corner of the world. Hope yours is going well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"I Love The Taste Of Asphalt At 8PM"

Just the words you want to hear on the phone from your husband. If you'll recall in the last post I mentioned that Patrol 1 does not have a vehicle of its own at the moment. In addition to that, the vehicle that they are using has NO company logos on it anywhere and the windows are very highly tinted, probably to the point of being barely legal. Just what you want in a vehicle being used for patrol at night. On more than one occasion John and the other driver have been stopped in the HOAs by sheriff's officers who had received reports of a suspicious vehicle in the area. Well, tonight was the topper. Are you all ready for this? Yes? Okay, here goes:

John was doing his door checks at Copenhagen and found one open. As per post orders he called the FSM and the owner. He inquired of the owner if he wished him to call an officer and wait for him to check the premises. He was advised to simply secure the door and write in the report that they had left it open as the alarm company would show up if it were going off. Okay, fine, no problem. He secured the door and returned to the vehicle to write the report. Less than five minutes later two sheriff's officers show up with lights and sirens blaring, one in front of him, one behind him. "OUT OF THE CAR!! ON THE GROUND ARMS TO YOUR SIDES!!!" So here is John lying on the ground in the position with an officer at his head and an officer at his back both with guns drawn and aimed at him. He told them he was a security officer who had been checking the building and was sitting in the car writing his report. They told him to roll over so they could see him. When he rolled over they could see his uniform and they allowed him to get up. The first question they had was, "What the H*** are you doing in an unmarked car?" The second question was, "What on earth are you wearing white for?" LOL After they realized who he was they felt really bad. The one officer was even dusting him off and offered to pay for cleaning his shirt as it is no longer anywhere near white. A scary situation that turned out okay but he will be putting in the report that he was put on the ground at gunpoint by sheriff's officers due to being in an unmarked vehicle. He called his FSM back and told her what had happened and reminded her that they had both warned the office that something would happen with them driving an unmarked vehicle. She told him that they will be getting their new vehicle on the 22nd and that it will be marked within an inch of its life so it won't happen again. Still, that's 10 days away. I'm just glad he's still in one piece.

Oh, just FYI, their new vehicle is going to be a Prius. LOL Any of you who are familiar with the Tucson area during monsoon season know how well that tiny little vehicle will be doing in the outlying areas where they patrol. Many hits will not be made during the summer due to running washes.

So that's the news from our corner of the world tonight. Hope things are a little calmer in yours.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Better Late Than Never

For some reason I just haven't been in a writing mood this week even though I wanted to share about Sean's concert on Tuesday. So I'm finally getting around to it all this time later.

Tuesday was the Spring Concert at Sean's school. It consisted of 4th grade violins, 5th grade orchestra (read lots of violins, 3 cellos and 3 violas LOL) and 5th grade band. Sadly, John wasn't able to go as he had to work so Sean and I took the bus over and then got a ride home with his best friend. I thought there were going to be issues with getting there but it worked out okay. First thing, Sean didn't want to tuck his shirt in. He complained that it made his stomach look fat. It was touch and go for a few minutes but finally I looked him square in the face and told him that he is a VERY good-looking young man and he better not let anybody tell him differently. I also told him that his jeans look nicer when he has his shirt tucked in and so he finally did it without giving me any grief. Next issue was that we had to leave the house an hour earlier than the time he needed to be at school because I couldn't take a chance on taking the later bus because if it was late he would be late as well since there was only a 5-minute cushion. Gotta love Tucson public transit. *grin* I apologized to him as we were walking to the bus stop. I explained to him that I do the best I can and that I didn't want him to get in trouble because we were at the mercy of the buses. I almost cried at his answer because it was so un-Seanlike: "It's okay because I'm with you, Mom. It doesn't matter if we're early because we'll get to spend more time together." Talk about a great Mom-moment.

The concert itself was fine. It opened with one of the 5th grade GATE girls playing two songs on her viola. The first one was Danny Boy which is one of my favorite songs and she did well with it. Then the 4th-graders were up. They sang their songs about fractions that they wrote in OMA. They didn't actually write the music, just wrote words to the tunes of other songs. One class did a Justin Bieber song and I can't remember who the other class's song was by. It wasn't music that I'm familiar with as Sean doesn't listen to the stuff that's popular with the kids. Then they played their songs. It was basically the same concert that Sean was in last year as they do the same songs year after year since those are the songs that the man who endowed OMA wrote for the program.

Then the 5th grade orchestra was up. I called John on the phone and held it up so he could hear it as best he could. I was in the front row so it couldn't have been any better but it still wasn't that good. He did hear it though. I actually couldn't see Sean as he was in the third row but I finally did find his foot. I can't tell you all of what they played and I wouldn't have been able to even if I had written this on Tuesday night. The teacher didn't announce any of the songs. I do know that the first one was Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and the second one was Jingle Bells. I remember the first one because he did announce that one and he called it Twinkle Little Star. The second one was a joke because it's been so hot and he said he needed it to help him cool off a bit. After that there were a lot of duets and trios by the GATE kids in between the songs they all played as a group. I have to admit it got a little tiresome watching all the GATE kids playing and not a single "normal" kid chosen to play anything except the group songs.

The band was last and that was just as bad, if not worse, with regard to the GATE solos and duets. Their teacher announced their songs two at a time and also each time the GATE kids played one of them announced as well. At one point during the band performance Sean turned to me and said, "Aren't they out of GATE kids yet?" Nope, there was one more left. LOL Sean's best friend is the only percussionist in the band and he is quite the showman up there. I was telling John about it and we figure his father must have taught him or else he just learned by growing up around it. I was getting a kick out of him. He would raise his arms like in a victory sign after a song finished and sometimes between songs he would hold his arms up and twirl his sticks. Totally at home onstage and a total ham. The teacher introduced him and said how percussionists sometimes get overlooked a bit by the teachers because they have to spend so much more time with the other instruments on fingering and such and so the percussionists wind up having to pick their stuff up on their own but that Lawrence never seemed to be bothered by that. It was nice that he got introduced but we're kind of thinking that it happened because Teacher knows who Lawrence's dad is. LOL

That's about it for the concert. They had one more day of class just to make sure that all the instruments that belonged to the school were accounted for and that's it for the rest of the year.

In other news: Those of you who are following the saga of the nosebleeds, they're getting better but haven't stopped completely. He's on Claritin several times a week as the nosebleeds are worse when his allergies are acting up. He can't take it everyday as his body is sensitive to medicines of any sort and it is too much for him. He did have one the other day on the way to school. I offered to go in with him to the nurse but he didn't want me to. He said he'd just go to the bathroom and if it wouldn't stop in a few minutes he'd go to the nurse. He wound up at the nurse for about five minutes but made it back before the class had gone in so he was glad about that.

Those of you who are following the saga of the boy's temper. That is getting better as well. We've stopped him from drinking anything with caffeine in it and he seems to be doing a lot better. No fights in the mornings before school and very few in the evenings. It's helped me as well because I know for a fact that my pulse rate has dropped 20 points now that I'm not constantly waiting for the other shoe to fall, as it were.

Those of you who are following the saga of John's work. That is NOT getting better. They still don't have their own vehicle and half the time have to wait to get one which gets them started late. Then yesterday, just to add insult to injury, another hit was added to their patrol. A well. Nobody from the office has been out to this well and the directions to get to it were lousy. John was out where they said it was and it's in a gated tech park that belongs to the university and there was no guard in the shack so he couldn't even get in. So much for the hits on the well last night. If they get it figured out to where they can get in it will cause them to have to have overtime every night because the schedule is too tight as it is and they're run-and-gun without the well on top of it. I know you may think overtime is a good thing because of the money but it's not. It's not a good thing to be driving 13 or 14 hours overnight. 12 is bad enough. There are changes going on though. Their supervisor left several weeks ago and soon they will be starting a patrol division that will be managed out of Phoenix. Also supposedly they will be getting a new vehicle and possibly even a third driver so they can break it up a little better. Not holding our breath on any of it though.

That's about all that's going on in our corner of the world. Hope everyone had a good week and will have a great weekend.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Stuff My Nightmares Are Made Of

Boy Falls From Roller Coaster

Hug your children a little closer tonight. This is so scary to me. When Sean was 4 years I rode with him on the Sea Dragon at a carnival up in the Safeway lot. It went higher than we thought and he started to slide and would have fallen under the safety bar if I hadn't wrapped my arm around him and held on for dear life. Thank God I was holding him or we wouldn't have our son either. I have periodically had nightmares about this ever since. My heart goes out to this family. Please pray for them as they struggle through this hardest time of their lives.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Fool's Day

Hope everyone made it through April Fool's Day without getting got. I didn't even try to put one over on John. I've only gotten him once in the 24 years I've known him. Sean almost had us convinced that there was an Angry Birds cartoon premiering on the WB tomorrow at 7am but then he started laughing. He's gotta work on his poker face. LOL

We got Sean's school assignment for next year. We were hoping he would be able to go to Alice Vail Middle School but he won't be. He'll be going to Utterback which is the home school. He didn't want to go there for several reasons but I think he'll actually wind up liking it as it is a fine arts magnet. He didn't want to go there because his girl and many of his other friends are going to Vail. Also he didn't want to go there because it's right across the street from the school where I used to work so he is familiar with that neighborhood. He doesn't know of anybody who is going there as the kids from  his school mostly go to Vail or to Naylor which is the home school for the area of the school where he currently goes. He isn't in the home school for where we live now as we crossed the line when we moved but kept him in the same school. His best friend is going to a completely different school that wasn't even on our radar. We're actually kind of glad they are getting separated. We like the boy but he is the root of much upheaval in our household. We just recently realized the extent of it and now Sean is starting to see it too. I think it will be good for him to have a fresh start. It's definitely a different environment than he's used to but he'll make friends. The school itself is very good and is one of the best-funded in the district so that's a good thing.

Not much else going on in our corner of the world. Time to get off here as it is quite late. Hope everybody has a wonderful weekend.