August '6


Crop Art! State Fair!

Jimmy Jingle is no more. Too bad, really. I'll bet Midwest Vending Service's logo isn't remotely as cool as Jimmy Jingle's.



I had the weekend off. I celebrated a friend's birthday twice, went to my first Saints game as part of the second celebration, and actually unpacked some boxes. Maybe more importantly, Kassie and I organized the boxes better so that unpacking will go faster as we get to it. We had planned to go to the Great Minnesota Get-Together yesterday, but we decided that unpacking was more important. I love the fair and I'm afraid that I won't get to see very much of it this year due to everything we need to get done.

I had the weekend off because I'll be on an 8-4, M-F schedule for at least a couple weeks. I took over a group of new part-timers. They'll take their Commercial Drivers License tests Wednesday morning. After they pass, I'll have to get them ready to take their in-service test, which is where they drive in service and pick up passengers with a safety supervisor on board.

I haven't had many interesting stories lately, and this isn't going to do much for that problem.



It rained very hard today. I drove through some of the heaviest rain I've ever driven through. The 11 travels under a railroad bridge in NE Minneapolis. The road was flooded there, but it didn't look too bad... until the front of the bus pushed the water all the way up the front of the bus and over the entire windshield. That was cool. My passengers enjoyed it almost as much as I did. I took that stretch much more slowly on the way back and the water still came up to the bottom of my front windows.

I've mentioned the Go-To Card readers, commonly known as the blue footballs.


I think I had one of the new ones on my bus this evening.


The best part was that several people touched their cards to it, even after they really looked at it.



The full-time instructors had an all-day meeting Friday. I was still scheduled to work for the Instruction Center, so my assignment was to cover for a full-time instructor at East Metro Garage. There are two new full-time drivers there who need to learn all the routes out of that garage. East Metro is in St. Paul. I worked in the shop there when I broke my ankle, but I've never driven out of there. Drop me into most parts of St. Paul and I might as well be in St. Louis. Fortunately, East Metro runs some of the same routes that I know from Nicollet, where I work now, and Heywood, where I spent one summer.

No problem, then. I'll teach them the 21/53 and the 16/50. (In both cases, the latter route is a limited stop version of the former.)

Then the garage coordinator talked to them. Change in plans. They both picked some overtime work on routes that they didn't know. I didn't know them, either. Fortunately, one of the two drivers has been part-time out of EM and the other had been a Control supervisor, so they both know more about St. Paul than I do.

It ended up going pretty well. We missed a turn or two, but we figured out the 71 and the 375.

The added bonus for my day was getting caught up with Gary, one of my friends who went to East Metro and stayed there. He was on call, so he was sitting around waiting for something to go wrong. I haven't seen him for quite a while.

I drove the 46 on Saturday. My time on the 46 is winding down and I know I'm going to miss that work. I picked up a g*d-d@mn fake hippie with fake dreads and a stupid t-shirt at the 46th Street Light Rail Station. He was the only one on my bus. There was a seat cushion in the back that had fallen on the floor. It wasn't moving and not a lot of people sit in the back on the 46, so I figured it would be OK until the terminal. Duuude sat down near the cushion that was on the floor and played with his hair. At one point, I noticed that he had changed seats. That's not very unusual, I guess. Then he changed seats again, and I noticed that the cushion was out of the aisle. I assumed he'd put it back on the seat where it was supposed to go. Cool.

As he exited out the back door, I heard an unusual noise and saw him kind of trip. I closed the doors and checked the right side of the bus. There, on the street, was the seat cushion.


Kassie and I had big plans for the house over the weekend, especially yesterday. We went to a going-away party after church, then we were going to go home and unpack. Instead, Kassie introduced me to a neighbor I hadn't met yet and we hung out with her and her husband the rest of the day. We didn't unpack a single thing.

I'm getting my laundry done today, though. And the oven repair guy just left, so now we don't have to grill everything.



I do not know who this woman is.


In other news, it's Pigskin Pick'em time! Create an entry, join a group. How about joining Little Tooters Band Camp? Password = flute.



Eric got quoted in the Star Tribune.

I'm still singing the same old song. We've been busy, no time to blog, blah, blah, blah.

The electrician has been here the last two days and he's coming again tomorrow. There are things we'd like to do that are nearly impossible due to the age of the house, so we aren't. But I think when the electrician is done, we'll be in pretty good shape.

I spent last Friday at the Instruction Center. Gil, a full-time instructor, and I were the last ones in the building. Gil thought I went home. He set the alarm and left. I was in the computer lab deleting email from my work account. When I left that room and got into the hall, I set off the alarm. Niiiiice. I have a code, so I punched that in until the alarm stopped. But I didn't know how to reset it. So I tried my boss at IC, whose number I have in my phone. No answer. I went back to the computer and looked up Gil's phone number. No answer. I tried his pager. He called back and told me how to set the alarm. And he reminded me to call Control to tell them it was a false alarm. I would never have thought to do that. Then my boss called back. Fortunately, I was able to tell him everything was OK. I went home.

Today I rode around with a woman who will take her in-service road test tomorrow. She'll be fine.

Tomorrow I'll go back to IC.



This NFL season, Cincinnati Bengals fans will be able to report obnoxious and dangerous people in the stands around them by dialing 513.381.JERK. Do you know my phone number? Yeah, that's funny. (Thanks to Wyatt for the late-night phone call to keep me informed. I hadn't been sleeping. That was Unibroue plus Deadwood, dude.)

I had 522, the slowest bus ever, Friday afternoon. The CHECK ENGINE light came on and I had to shut it off for a while. It made it through the rest of the evening, but it put me in a relatively foul mood. I hate it that the bus I am driving can dictate my mood, but they often can, way more so than the passengers can.

Then, Saturday morning, I found that my lift didn't work on the first bus I was given. But getting the buses to pull out on time is M*tro Tr*nsit's cause du jour so I pulled out at 7:27 and made half a trip with it and got a bus change. The second bus featured a faulty alternator, so by 9:16 I was on my third bus of the day. The door wouldn't close for a minute after I used the lift on that one, but I sure wasn't going to bother anyone about it.

Today I went out to bus 523, which, given my experience with its sister bus on Friday, I wasn't too excited about, and found that it had a flat tire. Sweet. I got a good bus and still pulled out on time.

My day was pretty uneventful, not counting the two people in wheelchairs who put me ten minutes behind schedule. But I was in a delightful mood today and didn't even care. The best part was that I made up the ten minutes and still caught up to my leader. I feel sorry for that poor guy. I often catch up to him traveling to and from St. Paul. He's got an excellent attitude about it, though. "I figure 9:00 rolls around one way or the other..."

I spent my weekend unpacking, moving furniture and installing things in the house. They are getting to know me at Ace Hardware down the street. In other house news, the mice keep eating the delicious, delicious d-Con and I am thoroughly used to the sight of centipedes.



This just in from Empire Bowl, Sioux Falls, SD thanks to KT:

Does that apostrophe show a contraction or possession?



My schedule, 9/9/6 - 12/1/6:

Sunday, Monday - off.
Tuesday, Wednesday - 10:34 AM (r) - 1:10 PM (r), 17 line; 2:00 PM - 7:16 PM, 11 line.
Thursday - 12:33 PM (r) - 8:22 PM, 18/554 lines.
Friday - see Tuesday, Wednesday.
Saturday - 8:09 AM (r) - 4:04 PM (r), 2 line.

It's not horrible. One thing I find troubling is that it's getting harder for me to pick something different every day. We can't break more than one M-F block of work, and every pick there are more and more unbroken blocks when it's time for me to choose work. So I'll do the same piece of work three of my five days. Ugh. I hope it's OK.



Kassie and I did not attend our neighborhood's National Night Out festivities. We hate our neighbors. Well, OK, we like our neighbors. We did not care to go out in the heavy rain.

At least the heat finally let up.

Speaking of the heat, thanks to some total suckers very good friends, my stuff is out of my apartment and into our house. We made the move Sunday and it was very, very hot and humid. Fortunately, Kassie and I bought a new air conditioner Friday night. It's a 15,100 BTU unit, which was the biggest one we could find. It cools the main floor nicely.

I spent Monday morning cleaning my apartment and getting the last of the stuff out of it. I'm not sure if the Health Department would approve or not, but I think I did a pretty decent job of getting that place cleaned up. I loved that apartment; it's too bad I never really unpacked and got to enjoy it.

Now all we have to do is unpack here. I got rid of a lot of stuff before the move and I'm quite sure I need to get rid of a lot more.

I've been driving the bus, too. There hasn't been a lot of action on my buses lately.

One day a guy got on and asked me to wait for him to sit down before I started moving because he was worried about falling. No problem. That's not an unusual request. As he exited the bus, he turned to me and shouted, "HAVE SOME BELGIAN WAFFLES!" That was an unusual request.

The Weeble rode my bus again the other day. She got on and immediately asked if anyone had change for a dollar. (She pays $.50.) That was exactly what she was doing when she was wandering around the bus and I had to brake hard, which made her wobble, but not fall down. There was a lesson to be learned there, Weeble! Anyway, there was another lady on the bus who was clearly going to a Red Hat Society gathering. The Weeble was confused, though. She kept saying "purple hat." Good lord, Weeble, those clothes are purple, but THE FREAKING HAT IS RED!

I pick work for the next pick tomorrow. I already know that someone took the beautiful Saturday piece on the 46 that I've had the last two picks. I'm sort of bummed about that.



July '6