May '6



I got to the training room this morning and Joel, my boss, asked me if I had called markup (the list of all the work that goes out in a day). I hadn't. I was supposed to be back on my work today, as he had more help than he thought he was going to. So I worked my regular picked work today. I am doing the instruction again this weekend, though.

A lady dragged her big box of Franzia blush on board at Lake and Hennepin this evening and told me she'd be back with her transfer. A couple minutes later, she came back and told me that she had a transfer that expired at 5:44 and she couldn't find it. "You're not part of the André Kole Ministry are you? Disappearing paper." She seemed distraught, so I thought I'd let her know that I believed her and not to worry about it. With my best reassuring demeanor, I said, "It's OK."

"It's not OK!" Uh, wow. I think she's angry. "This is a much bigger issue than paying bus fare! It's not OK!" She's definitely angry, and I think she's angry with me. I don't know why. I gave her a chipper, "Have a nice evening!" on her way out the door, but I think she was still mad. I still don't know why.

I picked up a lady with a baby and an eleven-year-old (or so) kid. When the kid paid for both of them, he used her name as if she were a baby-sitter or sister, even though my first assumption would have been that she was his mother. He told her that he needed to bring his video game system to school because he was going to help his friend with a science project. The hypothesis: playing video games increases test scores.

At first, I thought that was pretty funny. I mean, judging by the way he talked, he was clearly a smart kid, and I'm sure his buddy is a smart kid, too. Then I thought about it. These kids have known nothing but W since they started school and began learning. Hmm... science. It's pretty obvious that science has fared poorly under this administration. Well, hell. Science in America these days is whatever you want it to be. So when W's grandson, José Cuervo Prescott Bush El-Hassan (my, that Jenna is a rebel!), gets appointed president in 2048, the kid on my bus or his buddy will be first in line to be the president's science advisor. So I guess I still think it's pretty funny.


5/30 is having server problems. For some reason, it really annoyed me that their stupid logo is at the top of my page. I wrote one of the meanest emails I've ever written (and apologized to whoever was reading it for doing so). Hopefully that'll go away soon.

I spent Saturday and Sunday riding around in a bus with a new driver who's getting ready to take her in-service safety test. We mostly worked on her speed. She was driving very slowly. Better now. She's going to do well, I think, as she's a very safe driver. It also helps, as far as how the day goes, that she's a very nice, talkative person.

Doing that reminded me to look up the drivers we took through the new driver class when I shadowed Dorothy last winter. Two of the three are already gone. That saddened me a bit.

I did not make it to the wedding reception Saturday night. I was too tired to drive to Faribault and back.

Dan S. came to town. We hung out Sunday night and Monday morning. I told him as much as I could about working for M*tro Tr*nsit. He's entertaining a couple other notions, and I think the Twin Cities slipped a bit in the rankings. Making $15.XX/hr for 30 hours/week (where he'd start) would almost certainly require getting a second part-time job, which is what he's doing now in Iowa City.

Since my apartment is a disaster, Dan stayed at Kassie's condo. She was out of town. When I went over there yesterday to go to breakfast, he discovered that his car had been broken into. It really bummed me out because I should have reminded him to make sure there wasn't anything valuable in sight. He had about 80 CDs sort of hidden in the back seat. Gone. He also lost some tools. Suck.


I went to the new Central Library today. I didn't get to look around too much; I had things to do. I needed to make a copy of our house purchase agreement so I could get out of my apartment lease. I took the paperwork to the apartment office. When I told them I was leaving, I was told that they'd start showing by June 1st. I said, "July 1st?" Nope. June 1st. Remember how I said my apartment is a disaster? I'm not kidding. It's really, really bad. I hadn't completely unpacked when I dislocated my shoulder last summer. I didn't get anything done when I couldn't use my shoulder for a few months. Then stuff piled up around the packed boxes. It never got better. It's really quite awful. I have to go to bed soon. Um, sorry 'bout that, Fair Oaks Apartments...

The children's area in the new library. I like it.

I'm going to do more route training this week, maybe through Friday. And I'm not sure if I have to work on Saturday and Sunday for the Instruction Center again or not.



I spent the last few days teaching people routes they haven't learned yet. It's been fun. I like the one-on-one interaction with new people. It's all gone very smoothly. Until today. I smelled smoke, but thought it was a truck next to me until the guy who was learning the 17 mentioned the smoke in the bus. It was inside and outside. Then the LOW HYDRAULIC FLUID light came on and it got difficult to steer the bus. So we pulled over.


A mechanic showed up with a new bus for us. He looked at the engine, started it, shut it off, closed it up, jumped on the bus, started it up again and drove away. We followed him all the way back to Nicollet. Huh. I would have thought there might be some concern about the brakes, but I guess not.

Wyatt may have led the Shock Monkeys to only one victory so far this year, but he sure looks good out there.


And finally...

Popular with breeders, too!



Oh, and I'm only about a month late to send you over to my future brother-in-law's page at the MS Bike Tour site. Give him a little pledge love!



I am route training this week. That means 8-4/normal-people hours.

I have to be on call as a relief instructor for the Instruction Center three weekends every year. I was not paying attention when I chose this coming weekend as one of my weekends. Sure enough, my services are needed. I'll be riding along with a new driver, in service, all day on Saturday and Sunday.

I'm going to go to Faribault for a wedding reception after work Saturday. (I'll miss the wedding itself.) Dan S., a guy with whom I worked at Cambus in Iowa City, is coming to visit as well. Fortunately, I think he's visiting other people for the most part, so it doesn't matter too much that I'll be busy. I'm looking forward to visiting with him, though.

And the result of all that is that I'll have Monday and Tuesday off next week.



5:00 AM. False alarm. Sweet.



I know it might seem like I'm dwelling on an unsavory topic, but $3 for a BJ?!? I think that lady was underestimating her abilities. And the market. She needs to read this article. So. Who wants to pass these words of wisdom along? 34th and Portland. Go!



I drive the 46 on Friday from 10:06 AM-12:06 PM. Then Jow* relieves me. I get in my car, drive to Fresh Wok, get lunch, go home, eat, take a quick nap and drive to the garage to catch Jimm* on his 1:59 pull-out to the Uptown Station. I sit in the drivers' room and chat with Kurtiss* and a newish driver whose name escapes me, but who I'll call Glen, then I drive the 6 from 2:23 until 8:16.

Not today.

I pulled up to 47th and Nicollet, ready to get in my car, drive to Fresh Wok, etc. etc. but Jow wasn't there. He's always there, and he's a reliable individual, so I waited three minutes, not wanting to call too soon and get him in trouble. There wasn't another driver for miles. I called Control and found out that Jow had called in sick.

The Control supervisor asked me if I wanted to get some overtime and drive until 9:00 PM. I pointed out that I had to do a second piece of work. He asked me if I could finish the westbound trip I was doing and drive the eastbound trip, then pull in from St. Paul. No problem. (There goes lunch and my nap.)

I thought about it and realized that, as long as I wasn't going to get a break, it would be easier on everyone if I just did Jow's work. So I called the dispatcher at Nicollet and offered to finish the day on the 46. That gave him a couple hours to fill my afternoon work and he didn't have to scramble to fill Jow's work immediately.

I stepped off the bus at 8:56, nearly eleven hours after I started. I know people do it all the time, but that was a record for me.

I have to get up early in the morning and get right back out there for eight more hours on the 46. I will be sick of that 46 by 3:30 tomorrow afternoon.

*names have been changed to protect the frail and innocent



When I get home from work, I always wash my hands. This evening when I got home, I washed my hands. And my arm.

When I left the garage, I stopped by Sullivan's Super Valu for some dinner. On the way back to my car, I saw a woman wandering around the parking lot with no shoes on. It rained today and it was cooling off outside. She was wearing a t-shirt and jeans. "Can I get a ride? They took my shoes!"

Well, I think you know about my bleeding heart. She needed to go to 34th and Portland. It wasn't very far so I agreed to give her a ride. "Oh my god! A white man who's not afraid! A white man who'll help me!" (She was African- American.)

WARNING: The next sentence is rated R (I think) for adult situations.

So on the way to 34th and Portland, she asked, "Can I give you a blowjob for three dollars so I can eat?"

OK, back to family-friendly goodness.


She was relieved when I declined her offer. "No one's gonna believe me that a white man helped me! And a bus driver! I'm glad I didn't have to do something bad. Thank you!" I gave her a few bucks (yeah, yeah, I know...) and an emergency transfer so she could get to KFC and get some food. At least that's the story I got. Whatever. On her way out of the car, she tried to give me a big hug and kiss, but got as far as my arm. So I washed it when I got home.



What are you doing Saturday? Are you going to ride the bus and/or train free with your Minneapolis Library card? Will you go to the Central Library Grand Opening? It's a brand new library. You should probably check it out. I suppose this should be the biggest excitement on this blog ever, given, you know, the name...

I might even see if Kassie wants to go check it out. She's not much for crowds, though, so I doubt she'll want to. Sounds like the library is pretty nice, even if I think it looks like it would fit in better in the middle of an office park in Eden Prairie housing an insurance company and a clinic than in a metropolitan downtown housing the past and future of the world. (Yeah, yeah. Nice sentence, I know.)

I can't remember the last time I used my library card. I think I owe Hennepin County about $40 in fines. And I guess it didn't make the cut when I downsized my wallet.



Is there any reason on god's green earth that traffic (and by traffic, I mean six cars) has to move at 20-25 mph on Franklin Avenue at 11:10 on a Wednesday night?!? It is true that tonight I was not one of the most courteous drivers in one of the most polite driving cities. But I didn't swear at anyone. I just asked very loudly why we couldn't go the speed limit.

I had a pretty decent day on the bus. In fact, it was so decent that my only note to myself is about the billboard at Franklin and Hennepin. It was an ad for Jimmy Fogel, "The House Doctor," for a very long time. Then, a couple months ago, Kevinn Tam scored the sweet location. But now, it's all about Jimmy again.



Got up, drove to the flower shop, my parents' house to leave Mom the flowers, to the bank, then back to my apartment. Caught a bus and a train to the Twins game (), met Tina and Kassie there. Kassie left sometime in the middle of the game. Was on my way to a happy hour somewhere when Kassie called.

Her condo went on the market today. There were already two showings this evening. Kassie picked me up and we went to her place and finished cleaning it. Went to Peninsula () for take-out, saw Bongo and Genevieve. Came to my place, ate. Kassie left. I don't feel like cleaning my place or doing laundry, which is what I should have been doing today.


I'm done with Trans Am. We had a potluck on the last day. I was going to bring cornbread. The night before, I had all the ingredients in my basket at the grocery store. Then I walked by the baked goods and heard 12 corn muffins screaming at me. That was much easier. Overall, Trans Am was OK. I don't knock my fellow drivers very often, but I have to admit that I was often quite frustrated by many of my classmates. There was a lot of interrupting, and there were a lot of side conversations. It was kind of strange, really. And plus, we took a quiz and on one question the answers were lettered, but for whatever reason the letters jumped from a,b,c,d,e,f,g to j and I pointed out that I was pretty sure that the Canadians (the material comes from Canada) used the same alphabet that we do, so what was up with that, and everyone looked at me like I was an idiot. I know, I shouldn't hold it against them for not thinking I was as funny as I thought I was, but I kind of did...

A fiftyish lady who announced to her sister and mother as they boarded my bus that she spent her ripped $1 bills on Alizé at the liquor store responded to my hello with a very loud "MEOW!"

Sometime during the day on Saturday, the city of Edina picked up the large dead beaver that was in the gutter on 50th Street near Highway 100. I think that was a roadkill first for me.

Meanwhile, in South Dakota, Huron University was for sale and didn't sell. My alma mater, the University of Sioux Falls College, played Huron in sports when I attended there. It's the second school we played regularly which has closed. The other is Westmar. That has to be tough on those towns.



Wanna buy a condo? 9XX square feet in the highly desirable Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. New carpet in the bedrooms, hardwood floors in the dining area and living room. Purple bedroom, Vikings fans! Buy it so Kassie and I can afford to get married. ha.




I hung out on Nicollet Island yesterday for about seventeen minutes. Those were some nice seventeen minutes. The 4 isn't very stressful at 10:00 in the morning, but the walk on the island is still quite relaxing.


My bliss was interrupted by Mother Goose hissing at me; she had a couple goslings in tow. I failed to take a picture. I thought I'd just move on.

Speaking of mothers... After my narrow escape from the angry goose, I headed south. A very pregnant woman got on at 8th Street. I had to ask another passenger to boil some water, just in case. I felt bad for the pregnant lady, though. My bus was wrapped in a giant advertisement for McDonald's. When the buses get wrapped, the windows get locked to prevent people from peeling the wrap off. It was too cool for the A/C and that lady wanted some air. I had every vent open that I could. She never said anything to me, but I saw her fanning herself. I read how to deliver a baby in a book once, but fortunately, I didn't have to try to remember how it goes.

I picked new work this morning.

My schedule, June 3 - September 8:
Sunday, Monday - off.
Tuesday - 8:44 AM (r) - 11:11 AM (r), 11 line; 1:37 PM - 6:52 PM, 21/53 lines.
Wednesday - 11:24 (r) - 1:24 (r), 4 line; 2:23 (r) - 8:16 PM, 6 line.
Thursday - 10:48 AM - 1:08 PM (r), 21 line; 2:31 PM - 7:48 PM, 11 line.
Friday - same as Tuesday.
Saturday - 7:27 AM - 3:33 PM (r), 46 line.

It's not too bad. There's more 21 than I like, but I'll trade that for getting done before 7:00 in the summer every time.



My nice, peaceful, predictable life has suddenly gotten crazy.

In addition to the stress generated by leaving bachelorhood behind, Kassie and I made an offer on a townhouse. The owner countered and then our counter offer was accepted. We close July 5.

(these are from the realty website linked above)

We're tentatively planning to get married on Friday, September 29. The wedding will be very small, with our parents, siblings and grandparents attending. Then, on Saturday the 30th, we'll have a (smallish?) open house reception at our house.

I'd like to apologize to my friends and family if you're hearing about any or all of this right here and not from me personally. For some reason, I'm feeling completely overwhelmed and totally calm at the same time. But either way, I feel like I should be making more phone calls and emails than I have.



So yeah, Kassie and I are engaged. To be married.



I got my Evil One Electric bill yesterday. You know where this is going, right?





April '6