My day begins each morning at 6:30. I am not a morning person, and so at 6:30, I expect to be settling in for the second half of a night's sleep, not waking up.
All week, I have been strangely exhausted and apathetic. In a way, this is good because I just sort of rotely do things and, thus, things actually get done. It is not so good because the apathy hits at odd moments. Like I ran six warrants this morning, the whole deal: checked that they weren't incarcerated, checked the cover sheets for correctness, checked the addresses on Google, date-stamped them, made copies, scanned them into file, ran CJIS, sent away for photographs, and entered them into the database. And then...APATHY! I couldn't quite bring myself to put the warrants and the files together to send them on to the warrant officers. This involves paperclipping a packet of papers to another packet of papers. Ridiculous.
I have been like this for the entire week. So this morning, my alarm went off, and I was exhausted, as usual. I hit the snooze three times and slept in till seven. To make matters worse, the radio station that wakes me up is doing a charity drive this week for a children's hospital. Now maybe I'm heartless, but I despise waking up in the morning to pleas for my money, especially since the Felagund family gives a significant amount of money and time every year to charitable organizations. It just happens that this one is not one of them ... we can't give to them all. But the reason that I chose this particular radio station is because their routine allows me to wake up to a song, then hear the entertainment news, which is nice and frivolous but enough to ease me out of sleep. I do not like waking up to, "We're not doing anything fun this week because this is more important. Now won't you open your wallets for us?"
Eventually, I got out of bed. I've been neglecting the laundry (see earlier mention of apathy), so putting together an outfit was fun. All of my trousers are dirty and three of my skirts need mending and can't be worn until I get around to that. Once I'd dressed myself, I got Alex together. Alex goes to work with me on Fridays since, more often than not, the only sign of human life at the Warrant Apprehension Unit on a Friday is me, and letting me bring Alex saves Johnny a guilt trip. I packed Alex up, flopped onto the couch, and posted the Back to Middle-earth Month quote for the day for SWG.
Alex, who is also not a morning person, sat opposite me, swaying a little on his feet and just as bleary-eyed as I suspect that I was. "Alex," I said, "your Mommy totally does not want to go into this place today." But it is the beginning of the month, alas, the busiest time for a statistician. Johnny the Boss would not be in all day, so someone had to be there to cover the office, and I had six warrants to run. "I would really like to stay home, Alex," I said, and I think that Alex shared my feelings. "But I really can't."
So off to the WAU we went. Once I got everything packed into the car, I realized that I hadn't packed Alex a bone. Back up the steps I went to grab Alex a bone; good thing I did, too, because I hadn't properly latched the door the first time. Back down the steps--door properly latched and Dingo bone in hand--I went. I started the car and realized that I had forgotten my lunch. "Fuck it," I said. "I am not going back up there." It was pouring rain and miserable. I would go out to buy lunch.
This would come back to bite me, later in the morning.
I got to work and discovered that the manuscript I've been reading was also left at home, so I had nothing to read. Luckily, other than that, the morning went pretty smoothly. The warrants were all ordinary, nothing odd or difficult, and thank Eru, no sex offenders. (We got three sex offenders out of twenty warrants this week. Sex offenders, being a very political issue, require lots of extra work for everyone and are a pain in the ass.) No one really called except for one guy on a three-year-old warrant who wanted to turn himself in. He told me that he'd spent two hours on the phone, trying to get the number of someone (us) who would come and pick him up to turn himself in. Dude, WTF?? No one in Parole and Probation before me could explain to this guy how to turn himself in? He was very polite; like many parole violators, he just wanted to spend his six weeks in jail, clear his name, and go back to living. But no one before me would explain how to turn himself in. (He could have gone to a P&P office or even to the closest police barrack; it's not rocket science, and I can't believe that no one at the Parole Commission was able to explain this. As it is, I set him up with one of the warrant officers to get us a stat for an arrest.) When I explained to this poor guy how easy it would be to have him arrested and taken to jail, he practically fell over himself thanking me for my help. But I guess that two hours on the phone with a bureaucracy only to have an issue solved in two minutes can do that to a person, even if the person only ends up in jail for his efforts.
Anyhoo, I digress.
Around eleven, I was hungry, so I packed Alex into the car and we headed off to Panera Bread. The weather had cleared and it was--and is--a beautiful day: 67F/19C, blazing sunshine, birds singing ... the whole nine yards. It feels like spring. Panera Bread was not crowded, so I got my food and hurried back to the car, since I don't like leaving Alex alone in the car for long. It makes me nervous. Yes, I'm worried that someone might steal him.
Of course, on my way to the car, I was almost backed over by some idiot in a minivan. And with good cause! Who has heard--in this day of driving the car fifty meters to throw out the garbage--of walking in the parking lot? Or walking anywhere? Why that is simply ... pedestrian!*
*Given the sort of day I've had, I will pardon myself for what may be the worst pun in a life of some notably bad puns.
No one stole Alex today, but when I got into the car and turned the key ... nothing.
No lights flickered, no sound, nothing to indicate that I was in a (one-time) operational vehicle and not a toy. "Fuck," I said. Alex panted because it was warm and sunny and starting to get really hot in the car.
On an ordinary Friday, I would not have left my office because I would have brought my lunch. Hauling Alex around is a bit of a pain, and yes, I'm afraid that someone might steal him.
On an ordinary day when I went out to lunch, Johnny the Boss would be back at the office, ten minutes away, just a phone call away. But Johnny the Boss was in a meeting, about a half-hour away, and unable to come to my rescue.
On a normal day, I would not have Alex, so I could have gone into Panera Bread and eaten my lunch; gone to Wal-Mart and bought a book; just waited until someone got around to picking me up. It was a beautiful day, so I might actually have liked this. But having a five-month-old Golden Retriever at my side throws a wrench in those cogs.
I took my phone out of my purse. I despise phones and so mine tends to die without me knowing it. It was dead.
"Fuck," I said again.
Luckily, Panera bread is in a shopping center, and there was a Wal-Mart. I could see pay phones outside. In my wallet, I had a handful of pennies, a quarter, two dimes, and a nickel. Fifty cents! Enough for a phone call!
So I left Alex again and schlepped over to Wal-Mart, luckily without almost getting run over this time. I called Brian, one of the warrant officers and second-in-command after Johnny. Of all of the warrant officers, Brian watches out for me the most, and he also lives only five minutes from the office. Once again, he came to my rescue and told me that he'd be there to get Alex and me as soon as he could.
When I got back to the car, Alex was really getting warm. I brought him up front with me, opened the door to let in some air, and let him drink some of my iced tea. Alex isn't usually allowed peoplefood, but in the circumstances, I figured it better to give him some iced tea then to leave him for another five minutes to go back to Panera get him an ice water. We waited for a little while, then I hauled him and my food to the front of Panera to wait for Brian. Alex behaved remarkably well; I was very proud of him. And within ten minutes, Brian was pulling up to take us back to the office. Alex made a pain of himself in the car, because "OMG we're in a strange car with Mr. Brian who always plays with me in the office and what is all this new stuff back here to sniff and wow look at the window is open a little bit and--" That's a Golden Retriever's outlook on life. :)
Brian stopped back at his house since I wasn't sure if Bobby had jumper cables and lent me his. And then we went back to the office, and Alex crashed, and I finally got to eat my lunch.
Naturally, they forgot the croûtons for my onion soup and gave me the wrong sort of bread. This Panera Bread never messes up, but of course, they would today.
On a positive note, I'd never had their whole wheat baguette before and rather enjoyed it. Also, it seemed something that Bobby would enjoy, so I stored that away for future reference. Bobby likes soft breads while I like the kind with crust so hard that I practically break my teeth on it.
Alex, having had more adventure in an hour than he usually gets in a week, promptly fell asleep behind my chair.
But despite all this, perhaps the most annoying thing today is this:
Today is the last day we have to cancel our Bermuda trip for a full refund.
So if our passports were not in today, then we would have to cancel our trip. It is simply not a chance that we can take; the trip is not expensive, but Bobby and I cannot throw away a couple thousand dollars to gamble on the State Department getting their act together in time for our departure.
Bobby checked the mail when we got home. The passports were not in.
"Two weeks or less guaranteed," they told us ... that was a month ago. Yes, we are getting a refund on the expediting fees, and yes, we will be able to go when Erin gets out of school, but that does not cancel the disappointment now of thinking that, three weeks from now, I would be enjoying tropical climates and scuba diving on coral reefs and giving my sister-in-law the best birthday present ever. I keep trying to think positively, that come the end of May, I will be glad that we delayed the trip because--rather than being past tense--we will be enjoying it then, but I am still disappointed. I feel sorry for Bobby, who will have to break the news to Erin. Erin does not travel like Bobby and I do, so this trip has been the center of her attention since we planned it a few months ago. And she has her passport because she went that magical one week earlier than we did.
Despite all this, the day was not a total wash, and so I will end on a positive note. Because I despise the thought of becoming one of those negative people who looks at life and only sees everything that is wrong.
Bobby picked me up at work, and we went to look at my car. He opened the hood, tinkered with a few cables, and it started. So that saved any expensive repairs or having to be towed, when I hope to be getting rid of the car in a few months anyway. He also showed me what he did; I will admit that I am a stereotypical "girl" when it comes to cars. I don't like cars, and I don't know the first thing about them. But now I know one thing to try if this ever happens again.
We may not be going to Bermuda in three weeks, but we will be going to see Jimmy Buffett in concert on 28 June! I "waited on line" for tickets online this morning and got them. Whee! Jimmy Buffett tickets are very hard to come by around here.
Alex behaved exceptionally well during the snafu today, much better than I would expect of a dog as young as he is. Also, several instances today proved to me that he knows all of his basic commands. No, he is not perfect yet, and we still have a lot of work to do, but it will happen. He is still testing the waters to see what he can get away with with me. He understands what I expect of him; now it is just a matter of shaping his behavior until he's perfect ... or as close to it as one can reasonably expect. :) And so we will begin to move on to much more fun training exercises now, which I suspect is a relief for both of us.
My short story "Cold Hands" was up for critique on Critters this week. I will admit: I was nervous, afraid that people would either 1) tell me to scrap the story or 2) no one would read it at all. But I have gotten two critiques back already, and both were fantastic! Both were very encouraging but also made excellent points about where I might focus during the final revisions. It really reminded me of the value of a good critique and the importance of learning to write better critiques, just as I work to write better stories.
Tonight, Bobby and I are going to Rocky Run for supper for Meryth's birthday. He is going to be twenty-six next week. We'd decided to go to Rocky Run first, and since Rocky Run is Meryth's favorite restaurant, I figured we might as well justify it as being for his birthday. Yes, Meryth is a muse, but almost everyone likes to be remembered on his or her birthday, and Meryth--though he may be "imaginary"--is no exception. I will draw the line at trying to explain Meryth to our server and getting a free dessert out of it, however.