Apologies for 3 months in between posts. But in the interest of total transparency, it’s all Gene’s fault. Now that I’m full-time (and more, depending on the week), it gets to be around 7 pm and he starts to bellow that I’ve been hogging the computer all day. And he’s not wrong, so in the interest of compromise and fairness I go sit on my butt in a different room, and stare at a different screen. But since we only have one computer… ya, blame him.
So, to catch everyone up on the last few months around here…
The Vermin Wagon is mouse free (knock on wood). The dryer sheets totally worked! I don’t know why they don’t advertise the pest control aspect in commercials, that would probably triple sales, at least around here. I even have a tagline – “Yo, vermin, it’s time to Bounce.” (You’re welcome, Proctor & Gamble.)
It’s cold. So very, very cold. But I had to laugh, I was down at my parent’s yesterday (more on that in a minute), and the nightly news anchors were going on and on about the polar vortex that’s hitting Minneapolis and bringing “Historic Cold” (their voices implied the capitalization.)
Then they said the low would be -20. Seriously? That’s called “January” around here, and I don’t recall us getting mentioned at the top of the hour. There’s been at least a week where -20 was our high. We need to buy a new thermometer, because the one we have routinely runs out of mercury because it’s that cold. So ya, I was parading around the Twin Cities all day saying, “Wow, it’s so warm here!”
But we have had a few days this month where it was over zero, and on those days I bust out a heated pool for the geese. It started with bringing them a bucket of warm water so they could dunk their heads in, but when Higgins tried to climb into the bucket I insisted Gene take me into town to buy them a proper tub.
It was a huge hit! He wouldn’t let me go back and buy two more, though, he said they could take turns. But he did keep filling it up with more warm water as they emptied it, so he’s not totally heartless.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we were supposed to get a ton of snow this year. We probably would have, too, if Bess Bess hadn’t come to stay for 2 weeks during the government shut down.
While it barely snowed a single flake, she did have fun playing pioneer. She hauled wood into the house, kept the fire going, baked fresh bread for Gene, and had a great time snow shoeing with Ceri. She had ample opportunities to practice standing up after a fall, thanks to Ceri’s penchant for stepping on the back of your snow shoe just as you’re picking your foot up.
But it hasn’t been all fun and games around here – I spent the last week being rather stressed out. It all culminated this morning – with my court date.
Let me back up… on Christmas Eve, I was headed down to my parents as I do a couple times a month. And as per usual, I was exceeding the speed limit by just a bit. Only this time, the trooper who stopped me wasn’t impressed with my credentials, which I keep helpfully, and obviously, displayed right next to my driver’s license.
So ya, I got myself a big fat ticket. He walks back up to the car, piece of paper fluttering cheerfully in the breeze, and I’m all… so this is how it feels. He then proceeds to act like he’s doing me a huge favor by *not* writing me for going 90 in a 70. He only wrote it for 80. As it turns out, he was actually doing me a favor. That ticket would have been twice as much, although not accurate. I’m positive I was only going 85 when I dynamited the brakes upon seeing I was about to blow the doors off a trooper’s car. Sigh. Did you know they have radar out the back end too? Where was that when I was a cop?
At any rate, since my driving record was spotless up until this point, I called the district court to find out if I could go to traffic school or something so it wouldn’t go on my record. And that’s when I found out speeding tickets are criminal citations in Minnesota, not infractions like they are in Washington. A measly 10 miles over the limit is a petty misdemeanor in this state – that’s the big leagues! So Gene’s been walking around the house ever since I told him that, humming (or outright bellowing) the theme to COPS, and talking about “my record.” Sigh.
So I requested a court date to see if I could go in and talk to the prosecutor about options. So of course the letter they sent with the court date is emblazoned with “official court use” and all that – they should have just addressed it to “The Felon Residing At…” It would have been more subtle. I used to deliver the mail – I know how it goes. Now everyone in town knows about it. That’s at least 5 people.
And today was the big day. I was stressing about it all week. What to wear. What color nail polish says “I take court seriously, but not *too* seriously.” Which tier of haircut to get – I sprung for $10 higher than I usually pay, since it’s an investment in my future and all. Then the car battery picked this week to die, because of course it did. Gene had to go and buy a new one, since I was freaking out that if it wouldn’t start I’d miss my court date, it would go to a warrant, I’d get arrested and terms like “prison wallet” would become part of my daily vocabulary.
But everything turned out fine. The court house was 3 1/2 hours south of us, but only an hour north of my parents’ place. So I spent the night there, got up at 5 am, and was lurking in the parking lot by 6:30, even though I didn’t need to be there until 8:30. I have to say, the court process itself was pretty interesting, having never sat on that side of the table before. You check in, tell them if you want to speak with the prosecutor first (who wouldn’t?) then sit and wait until they call your name. It took less than 60 seconds for her to check out my driving record, then offer a “continuance for dismissal”, meaning if I don’t get another ticket in 12 months, it’s like it never happened. I didn’t even have to bust out my “There’s $100 in my wallet… or maybe there isn’t” line.
Then you go before the judge, she accepts the offer, you pay the court fee (which is essentially the same as the ticket price) and it’s a done deal. Now I’m relegated to grandma driving, and have the cruise control set at the exact speed limit. On the way home, I got passed by a semi towing another semi. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. A snow plow flashed his lights at me!!! But whatevs, I’m not getting another ticket. Besides, I have to say the New Andie never arrives anywhere about to Hulk out. Not worrying about the constant battle of getting ahead of the tool in front of you is very freeing – because now I’m the tool in front of you. Plus there’s time to notice all types of details – fat hawks sitting in the trees watching for mice, a pheasant in the tall grass, a porcupine ambling along the treeline, an ungodly amount of roadkill, and an entire outlet mall just north of Forest Lake! Who knew? Driving is a much more Zen experience now, so I will thank the Trooper for that.