Monday, March 30, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blog

So, did you participate in Earth Hour on Saturday night?

The Roadie household did not. I forgot all about it. But, since I don't usually sit in a blaze of light anyway, I'm sure that my contribution will not be missed.

I did hear that Al Gore left his landscape spotlights on at his mansion, as well as numerous lights inside. He must've forgotten too. Or else his trees are afraid of the dark.

Saturday was an interesting day anyway - we had storms roll through here with tornado sirens going off all over. Redneck and I went to the flea market on Saturday and were heading for the car when the siren at the fairgrounds went off. We looked up at the sky (dark, threatening) and at the car, about a 1/2 mile away and decided to walk a little faster. We got rained on a little, but not whisked off to Oz, so that was good.

This is a boring post and I apologize, Patient Reader. I'm tired. I feel like I've been in the car for weeks and I'm not getting anything done. I should be working (it's 8pm here) but I'm blogging instead because I just can't wrap my head around doing anymore work right now.

I'm on the road again tomorrow. Wednesday will be a fast day in the office trying to finish up a couple of things before all hell breaks loose again and one of my team members takes a couple of days off while I cover for her. I'm not looking forward to that. Three days of doing her job will have me drinking from a flask in the bathroom. Possibly at my desk by the end of it.

Then, after she comes back, I've got one day before I'm off for a few days, but it's not going to be restful time off. The Outlaws are coming for their annual Easter visit. I love the Outlaws coming. It's Easter that I don't care for very much. It's the dinner that I host every year and I just can't get up any enthusiasm for it.

Did I mention that I was tired? I'm the kind of tired that almost has you wishing you'd get sick so you could stay in bed for a few days. I can't afford that right now.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Equal Justice

Is there anything that will get your heart to pounding faster than looking in your rearview mirror and seeing flashing blue lights behind you? I don't think that there is, unless it's a train bearing down on you while your car is stalled on the tracks (in which case - GET OUT NOW - THE CAR IS NOT GOING TO START FOR YOU).

I was coming home from a friend's house last night around 9:00. She lives about 25 miles from me and I've been to her house a thousand times in daylight and dark.

And honestly, when the lights flipped on behind me, I kind of figured that he was getting ready to swing into the other lane and go after someone else. Why, you ask? Because I was not speeding, I had my seatbelt on, I hadn't been on the divided highway long enough to change lanes without signaling, I was not swerving, I had not tossed trash out the window, and I had not been drinking. My tags were current, my tires were inflated, and all my safety lights (headlights, taillights, turn signals, brake lights, license plate light) were functioning. As near as I could remember, I hadn't mistakenly left a bale of marijuana on the roof of the car or a dog tied to the bumper, the trunk was not open and flapping. You get the idea. I was being a law-abiding citizen on my way home. Hell, the Kid Rock wasn't even blaring at eardrum pounding decibels.

He didn't go away, so I put on my turn signal and started slowing down and edging for the shoulder, waiting until I passed a turn off so that BOTH of us would fit safely on the shoulder without blocking the side road. I put on my hazard lights and pulled out my wallet to get my driver's license. Rolled down the window and waited.

After a minute, the deputy walked up to the window and shined his flashlight on me and said, "Do you know why I stopped you?"

Since I had already reviewed my list of possible offenses (see above), I looked back at him and said, "Honestly? I have no idea."

"What is the speed limit along here?"

"65, sir." (I knew I was going 65 because I have driven this road for YEARS and I had set the cruise control.)

"No, it's not. It's 55. You just passed a speed limit sign."

"Really? It's been 65 through here for at least the last 16 years. I know it drops back to 55 up there by the red light."

"It was changed. There have been a lot of accidents through here."

"I'm sorry. I honestly had no idea and I did not see the sign. I even had the cruise set," pointing at the steering wheel where the little light was indeed lit up, "so that I wouldn't speed. I'm pretty careful about that."

(No need to mention the last speeding ticket I got cost me nearly $200 and 20 hours of community service and was richly deserved but that was a few years ago and I paid the ticket and did my time and we're not talking about that now.)

"Where have you been tonight?"

"At my friend's house."

"And where are you going?"

"Home, sir."

"I'll need to see your "

I already had my license out the window.

"and your registration and insurance. This is your car, isn't it?"

"Yes, it's my car. Let me get those for you."

"Any tickets or problems that I need to know about?"

I considered telling him my problem of having too much to do and not enough time to do it, or about the difficulty in getting my new kitchen blinds installed, or how sometimes the power cord on my laptop seems like it's not working right.

"No sir."

So, I proceed with the digging in the console for the envelope with the registration and insurance information in it. Since it was buried under CD cases and maybe a couple of Nintendo DS game boxes, it took a minute.

I handed it over and made sure that he could see that the insurance was current. (Auntie Roadchick's helpful tip o' the day: Use a highlighter to mark the effective date and expiration date on your insurance card if it's paper. It saves a lot of time.)

He went back to his car and I sat there. And sat there some more. I sat there for so long that I thought about calling my friend to let her know that I had a lovely evening and oh, by the way, the speed limit on the by-pass has changed, did you know that?

He got out of his car and came up between our cars. I heard a cell phone ringing. It was not mine. It was his. He answered it and proceeded to stand there and have a conversation with who knows who, but eventually making plans to meet up for dinner or whatever.

I waited some more. I waited long enough to start planning my defense in court.

"Your Honor, while Officer What's-His-Name had me pulled over, he stood between his car and mine and conducted a personal cell phone call while standing on the side of the road, detaining me." (This probably would not make a bit of difference especially since I was GUILTY.)

Finally, he hung up and came back up to the window.

"Well, your record is clean and I'm not going to ruin that for you so I'm letting you off with a warning."

"Thank you - I really do appreciate that."

"You pay attention to those signs and be safe."

"Yes sir, thank you."

I stuffed the paperwork back in my purse, turned off the hazard lights, put on my turn signal, checked my mirrors, and merged back onto the road, paying very close attention to the 55 mph speed limit.

A minute later, he caught up with me again and passed me in the left lane. I was obeying the speed limit. He was not. (He had dinner plans, remember?)

I glanced at the cruiser as it went by and grinned.

A few minutes later, we were both at the red light and he was next to me. I rolled the window down and waved until he rolled his window down.

"Sir, I hate to tell you this, but your taillights are out. Would you like me to follow you back to the station for safety?"

(I had debated yelling "Citizen's arrest! Citizen's arrest! just like Gomer Pyle but had wisely decided against it.)


"I'm serious. You have no operational lights on the back of your car."

"Pull over up there."

"Yes sir."

The light turned green and he hung back until I was in front of him, then he flipped on his blue lights again. We pulled over. He got out and walked behind his car. He was back there for a long time before coming up to my window. He didn't look happy.

"Ma'am, I appreciate you telling me that. The station is not far from here, so if you wouldn't mind following me back there . . . "


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

So, it's St. Patrick's Day and I'm at work.

Not working, but at work.

This morning, I had a court hearing for one of my clients. Normally, this is not a big deal - it's an appeal over a service that the state has denied or reduced but we feel is needed.

I do these hearings all the time.

I've never been to a hearing where only one side (the state) gets to speak and then it's over. Decision rendered.

Very confusing.

I contend that I did not lose because I did not speak.

I'm thinking that a nice big GREEN margarita for lunch might be just what's needed.

Have fun & stay safe, y'all.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Redecorating with Roadchick

It's Springtime, when Roadchick's fancy turns to redecorating.

For some reason, when the weather starts to get a little better, I always get the urge to do something to the house. Last year, Redneck and I remodeled Rockboy's bathroom. Since his bathroom is also the guest bathroom, this was a wise choice. It went from white walls and a white vinyl floor to coffee-with-cream colored walls with a dark brown/green/gold vinyl tile floor. It's easier to mask dark hair fallout with a dark floor.

This year, I really wanted to do my bedroom, but figured the dining room should be done first since I host the annual Easter dinner for about 20 people. They were tired of looking at scuffed white walls and a damaged chair rail where the floor guys slammed into it with their pneumatic hammer.

I've had my paint colors picked out for about a year so I went to Lowe's and went shopping. Wall paint. Check. Trim paint. Check. Brown paper to cover the floor. Check. Blue painter's tape. Check. Check. Check.

Redneck had been asking me when we were going to paint. I figured that meant he was onboard with the project. Wrong.

On the Friday evening, I started clearing out the dining room. Pictures off the walls, knick knacks in boxes, as much furniture as possible out of the room.

On Saturday morning, I started putting down the brown paper to cover the hardwood floor. The bottom half of the hutch was in the way. The table was in the way. I shoved the table into the hallway, blocking the living room doorway. Fortunately, there is another living room doorway. I shoved the hutch through the doorway into the kitchen, mostly blocking that doorway. I continued papering the floor.

It's a lot harder than it looks on HGTV. There were many taping accidents. There was bad language when there was a strip about 5 inches wide angling down into nothing that had to be covered with a whole extra sheet of paper. The dining room is either NOT square or my papering job was off. Either one is a possibility, and probably both are true.

And then I started taping off for the painting. And I taped. And taped. And taped some more.

FINALLY, it was time to start painting.

The ceiling.

I hate painting ceilings. It's painful, it's awkward, it's boring, AND you have to watch out for the light fixture so you don't paint it white or speckle it with paint spray from the roller.

I was in pain by the time it was finished.

I dragged the rickety ladder in and started edging the wall. And then I painted the wall. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Then I looked back at the first part of the wall and realized that the paint was not covering completely and I was going to have to go back over it - just a little - to cover the little speckles where it didn't quite cover.

Retouch. Retouch. Retouch.

Halfway through, I ran out of wall paint. I bought another gallon, because I wanted to do the little hallway outside Rockboy's room. There should be enough.

I will not continue to regale you with every single pass of the roller and brush, but I will tell you that it took me exactly ONE week, an hour or two at a time through the work week, to get the whole thing finished, including all the blasted crown moulding, chair rail, baseboard, and doorway trim.


Redneck assisted for exactly 23 minutes on Sunday evening and I later had to go back over all of his "edging" of the wall because the color was not even.

But, it's finished and it looks nice:

I started the hallway on Sunday. I papered the floor, taped the edges, painted the ceiling then started the walls. It's a short hall. Should take a day, no more than two.


I ran out of ceiling paint and had to get more.

I forgot to factor in drying time for the massive spackling job that I had to do on one of the walls, where Rockboy's fist "accidentally" went through it.

And, when you're up on a ladder, close to the ceiling, you can really see the places that you missed when you painted.

And, apparently, after so much time spent inhaling latex paint fumes, it makes you paint like a drunk monkey and get green paint all over the freshly painted ceiling that you didn't completely paint the first time. This was not an issue in the dining room. Not ONE spot of green on the ceiling. Not ONE. And no bald spots on the ceiling either.

At one point on Sunday, I also managed to somehow step on the edge of the roller tray and flip it upward, spatter-painting the leg of my jeans with ceiling paint. And some of the hardwood floor not covered by brown paper. And possibly the cat. (It's easier to get paint off of a hardwood floor than it is to get paint off of a black cat who is trying to bite you.)

And then, to add insult to multiple neck, back, arm, and hand injuries caused by repetitive stress. . .


I got the first coat on and needed to go back and "cover" all the places where the paint didn't cover well the first time. And fill in the edges. I used what little paint was left in the can to get the edges.

I resorted to scooping paint out with the brush, into the roller tray and diluting it with as little water as possible, desperate to get the damn walls done so I could touch up the ceiling and paint the trim.

I'm going to Lowe's tomorrow to buy one quart of green flat enamel paint. And another roller, since I trashed the one I was using without thinking. Time involved? (Minus 2 evenings off due to other work-related commitments) ALMOST ONE WEEK. The hallway is approximately 8 feet long and 3 feet wide. ONE WEEK.

I think I'm over the painting bug for this year.

Redneck asked about painting the living room. The living room with 14-foot ceilings. And carpeting. Because we could rent a scaffold and do it in no time.

Bless him.