Ouch! Everything hurts.

Last Saturday, Nashville hosted the Country Music Marathon and half-marathon. I’d planned to have a marathon of my own to catch up on my backlog of reading. Instead, I went to a street fair on Saturday and did yard work yesterday, as my aching body will attest.

Hubby suggested a bike ride first thing Sunday morning, which I thought was a bad idea with all of the new roofs going up in the neighborhood. New roofs equal random nails, equal flat tires in my book, but I couldn’t convince him. Following our ride we had four intact tires, so I missed the call on that one.

After one loop through the subdivision, detouring into each and every cul-de-sac (bet you already guessed I wasn’t the lead bike), we got close enough to our house that I made a break for it. My thighs were burning and my bottom ached. Now, I tap dance about six hours a week so you’d think my legs wouldn’t hurt after a little bike ride, but they screamed with pain.

When I said that was it for me, Hubby stowed the bikes and decided to wash and wax my car. I fled inside, did some housework and prepared lunch. Okay, I moved the bread to the island, got the mayo and mustard and some ham from the fridge and put it on the counter, but it was lunch. Oh, and I found some chips too.

After lunch, Mr. Energy said he was going to work in the yard. My intention had been to make a dent in the hundreds, now thousands, of blogs I’m behind in reading, but I was overcome with guilt and meandered outside to help.

I found my work gloves, which he’d gotten dirty when he couldn’t find his. I’d had them for years and they still looked like new, but that’s another story. We decided to pull up some bushes—he shoveled up the roots and I pulled. Then, I trimmed the dead parts off of several stands of monkey grass as I thinned it. We put out what mulch we had on hand—only a few bags.

While he was gone to get more mulch I got cleaned up. Mulch is too heavy for me to pick up and reasoned if I’d already showered he wouldn’t expect me to help. Heck, he was surprised when I helped in the first place. The yard is his domain. I stick to potted plants and window boxes which, if I’m completely honest, he plants for me more often than not. I do water (unless I can tell he’s beaten me to it which is about 80% of the time).

This morning I was so sore I could barely roll over to get out of bed. Everything hurts. Everything. I finally found the floor, did enough stretches to function, and crawled up the stairs to write my blog post though even my fingers are sore. I said everything! I brought an ice pack with me and now I’ve moved to heat.

I’ve got to loosen my body up before tap class in a few hours. Only twelve studio rehearsals before our recital!

Any ideas?

~Kay

My Marine

 

We got a copy of this press release and I had to share. I’m not sure what it means exactly, but I know my step-son (on the right) looks good and healthy and will be heading to Hawaii soon to meet his son. Then, in June they’ll come to Tennessee for a few weeks.

 

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Eric Ward (left), 24, from Savannah, Ga., and Staff Sgt. Andrew Elam, 27, from Nashville, Tenn., an ammunition technician and ammunition chief with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, load cans of ammunition onto the back of a 7-ton truck while retrograding military equipment here, April 15, 2012, in preparation for the position’s transfer to Afghan forces. Over the last 16 months, Afghan and coalition forces employed Combat Outpost Torbert as a key location for stabilization and the growth of governance in the once-volatile Banadar region of Helmand province’s Garmsir district. The nearing assumption of lead security responsibility in Garmsir by Afghan forces enabled Marines with Weapons Company, 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines, to transfer COP Torbert to Afghan Border Police, April 20. The position was named in honor of fallen Marine Cpl. Eric M. Torbert, Jr., a 25-year-old combat engineer from Lancaster, Pa., who was killed by an improvised explosive device in Banadar, Dec. 18, 2010. Though COP Torbert is now run by Afghan forces, they’ve honored Cpl. Torbert’s sacrifice by maintaining the position’s name.

The photo was by Reece Lodder. It didn’t say who wrote the story.

And, since I’m in braggin’ mode, here are some pics of the little fellow. Give me credit, I’ve gone ten posts without publishing any, but these should send you into the weekend smiling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think he's tired of listening? I love this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So far, my favorite picture. Such a little man!

 

Happy weekend, everyone.

~Kay

 

Police Myths

 

Last week I spent a shift with one of Nashville’s finest. If I’m going to have cops as characters in my novels, I’d like to make them believable.

During the course of the day, I asked lots of questions. Off the top of my head, here are a few police myths I can debunk after my extensive one-shift experience.

  • Give someone a badge and a gun and they’re a cop; train ’em whenever. Not in OUR town. After a lengthy hiring process, recruits spend twenty-two weeks in basic training. After graduation, they field train for another six months with full time officers in preparation for solo patrol. In addition, all officers must complete a minimum of continuing education annually (just like doctors).
  • Cops aren’t friendly – They are very friendly; they’d just like for us to be friendly back. Hint: If you get pulled over, a nice, friendly, respectful attitude will go a long way.
  • Cops are allowed to push you around – They can use one level of force greater than you in an altercation. Example: If you push them they aren’t going to pull a gun; they’ll wrestle you into handcuffs. As the fight escalates, they’ll try Taser, tear gas, or baton, in that order. But, if you pull out a deadly weapon, all bets are off. Out come the guns. And, when they are going into an unknown situation, they do so with their weapons drawn. Duh!
  • Cops have a quota of tickets to write – They usually pull you over for one of two reasons: to educate and to see if there is an outstanding warrant.
  • Unmarked cars go to the guys with the most seniority. A lot of the unmarked cars are assigned to rookies. Go figure.
  • Cops can run lights and sirens any time they want — like to go to McDonald’s if they’re hungry. Nope! It has to be a code 3 report (someone is hurt or is in danger) before they can turn them on. If you’re speeding, you’re endangering yourself and others. If your tag has expired, they only do what is necessary to get your attention to pull over, usually just lights.
  • Cops take lots of coffee breaks – Heck, my guy doesn’t even take coffee breaks. Or lunch breaks, He’s too busy working. Working!
  • Donuts. I didn’t see a single donut. I could’ve used a donut!

Do you know any additional myths we can expose? I’m sure there are lots more. Or, is there something you’re not sure about? I’m “connected” now, so ask and I’ll find out.

If any cops are reading, did I get these right? I’d love your comments.

~Kay

Just the facts, ma’am

Last Friday, as part of my Citizens’ Police Academy (CPA), I spent a shift (7 a.m. – 3 p.m.) with one of Nashville’s finest. Don’t worry, they didn’t give me a gun or a badge, but after filling out a form releasing them from liability should I be injured or killed (I wasn’t, obviously), I could follow the officer as close as I felt was safe. After I figured out he locked the doors almost before he stopped the car (I kept getting locked in), I pretty much became his shadow. Had I ever been in danger, I have no doubt he’d have left me in the car or told me how to get out of harms way, but it was a pretty routine day. Almost every call had at least one back-up, sometimes more. I felt perfectly safe, most of the time.

I was assigned to Officer Craig Reese, a six-year veteran who is an ex-marine. Could that be more perfect? I told him all about my Marine, Middle Step-Son (MSS). And, if I talked about MSS, I had to mention our new grandbaby, but at least I didn’t bring out pictures…I don’t think. If I did, I don’t remember it, but it’s become such a habit maybe I showed him one or two or ten and forgot. Craig has a two-year-old daughter and a ten-month-old son and his wife teaches fourth grade. And he drank as much water as me, so we got along just fine.

I’d missed the class where we signed up to ride and my neighborhood prescient was full when I was ready to add my name to the list. I had to therefore go to nearby Madison, which meant I had little idea where we were much of the time. Back roads galore. I saw lots of streets I’d heard mentioned numerous times on traffic reports, not that I could find them again. Most of the day, I couldn’t tell east from west…well, the sun was out, so I could, but you know what I mean.

The patrol car was so cool. It had a computer where the dispatch calls came through, where the officer could look up things, do his report, and I don’t know what all. There was also a printer—a printer—in the armrest. Then there was this gadget, sort of like the thing you use to scan things when you register for wedding or baby presents, only with this you can send fingerprints in to be checked, record signatures, and take photos.

The car was new — less than 10,000 miles on it — but it wasn’t bullet proof or anything.  I think it was a Chevrolet Impala and except for lights, siren, partition between front and back seats, and dash mounted computer, it’s like it rolled off the factory floor. In other words, no souped up engine to make it go faster or anything like that. My opinion: It doesn’t need to go faster.

“We” ran lights and sirens three times! It’s not as loud inside the car as it is outside (thank goodness). Once, as we entered the interstate, Officer Reese clocked a driver doing 80 mph in a 50 mph speed zone. Before I knew what had happened, we were after him. “We” just checked his plates and license and gave him a talkin’ to.

The other two times was to get to situations where someone was potentially in danger. One was a break-in. I was a tad bit nervous when we got out of the car there. There were two other patrols already on the scene, but it was a multi-level house and there was a front door, back door, garage doors and lots of windows. When we found out the guy had run through some woods, we rode around looking for him and talking to neighbors, without success.

The final time we used lights and sirens a guy threw a good-sized rock through the back window of his ex-girlfriend’s car. The kicker here—her two-year-old baby was in the backseat in his car seat. X-BF had an outstanding warrant against him and “we” wrote up charges on behalf of the woman and the child, so two counts. X-BF had left the scene, but when he’s found, his ass will be grass!

We went to criminal court, which had been canceled, but no one had told Officer Reese. What a waste of taxpayer’s money. What if it had been his off day? Four hours minimum of overtime. As it turns out, I got to see the criminal courtroom so it wasn’t a total bust, for me, but still…

“We” only had one arrest during the day—a public intoxication who’d been kicked out of a motel and was exercising his first amendment rights at the top of his lungs while sitting in his wheelchair and swinging his walking stick. When we arrived, another officer and a sheriff’s deputy were already there. When asked what he’d been drinking he said, “Malt 45.” When asked how much, he said, “All there was.” The other officers graciously suggested “we” make the arrest so I could see how the arrest process worked. They were very pleased with their generosity after the inebriated man urinated on himself. (Thanks, Ivey.) We drove downtown where arrests are processed with the windows down, and then brought out the Lysol. But, I got to see a genuine arrest.

Throughout the day, we kept out eyes out for expired tags. We saw one, but were on our way to a call so that guy got a lucky break. Most of our calls were domestic related and Officer Reese verified this is the norm. Home violence. Oh, my! How do we stop this?

My favorite 911 call of the day was when a child reported, “Someone stole my crayons,” and left the line open. All open-line calls (phone off the hook) have to be investigated. Before a unit had time to respond, an adult alerted the 911 dispatcher that it was a false alarm. I wasn’t clear whether the theft or the call was the false alarm. I sure hope the kid has his crayons!

Thanks to Officer Reese for his patience and willingness to answer even the most inane questions. Thanks also to the officers who backed up the calls, especially Officer Ivey who seemed to always on site.

On Wednesday, police myths I can dispel after my extensive one-shift experience with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.

~Kay

 

 

New roofs galore

You may recall we’re having to replace our roof (again) due to an early March hail storm. Unfortunately, the roof was just replaced in February because of a hail storm last summer. Our whole neighborhood was hard hit and a plethora of new roofs adorn our subdivision. Thank goodness for insurance, even though we have a sizable deductable.

As I drove home on Wednesday, five were being laid and shingles had been delivered for the installation of three more. On Thursday, those roofs were going on and more shingles sat in other yards.

Since roofing company signs graced almost every yard, I decided to count how many different companies had worked or planned to work in our neighborhood of just under one hundred homes. I circled back to the subdivision entrance, pulled out my handy i-Phone, clicked my Dragon Dictation app, and started reading the signs aloud. I found thirty-eight signs representing twenty-two separate companies.

When I got home and transcribed the list, I compared the it to the stack of business cards, brochures, flyers, and letters stacked on my kitchen counter. At least eleven additional companies have contacted us. I’m pretty sure even more correspondence went straight to the recycling bin.

During our afternoon walk yesterday, Hubby and I counted the homes that already have a replacement roofs–forty-five. Forty-five! And I know several of the houses on my street are in the same situation as we are–in need of a second roof.

Now, I’m confident most of the roofing companies are reputable and just doing business as usual, but I’m also sure some are storm chasers.  It seems a few are good ‘ole boys who were sitting around drinking beer, talking about the high rate of unemployment and how easy it was to get credit at Lowe’s and Home Depot when Billy Bob or Rickie Bubba decided roofing couldn’t be that hard. After all, they already had some hammers and ladders in the garage. But where will they be if there is a warranty issue?

I was bummed because our roof was only a month old when the storm hit, but then I heard of one neighbor whose roof had been completed the day before the storm. Ouch! At least we all have homes to put roofs on top of! It’s that glass half empty/half full thing. My glass is definitely half full.

The insurance company has approved our claim and we’re busy getting quotes, checking references, doing due diligence. Hubby wants to wait until the spring storm season has passed before proceeding (and I admit there is wisdom in that) but I want it finished. So, one day soon, I’ll have another convergence of men on top of my house for a day complete with all the noise that brings.

But not this weekend. Have a good one! Until Monday…

~Kay

 

 

Spring Fever

I guess I’ve got it. Spring fever, that is. It’s the end of the day and I’ve yet to post today’s blog. Oh, my!

Ideally, I’d write posts and schedule them ahead of time, but that seldom happens. More often, I write my musings in the morning of my thrice-weekly blogging schedule. Occasionally, like today, I simply don’t get around to it.

I spent much of my morning scouring airfares. When Middle Son returns to Hawaii from Afghanistan in a month, we’ll want him to come home to Tennessee as soon as possible. If that means bringing his wife and their now three-week-old baby with them, so be it. We’ll suffer through it somehow.

After my eyes and brain recovered from the random world of travel mania, I had a couple of appointments which threw my schedule off. Then, I went to tap class where one of my buddies reminded me I hadn’t posted my blog today. Thanks, Joanie!

My intention was to come home and post it first thing…but, children were playing in the cul-de-sac. So, I visited with their moms. Then, some other neighbors came out and we had a mini-block party. One couple had recently purchased three wheeled bikes, a hit with all. The grown-ups took turns riding them with the kids following on bikes, trikes, and scooters.

By then, Hubby had gotten home from work so we went for our evening stroll through the neighborhood, visiting with those out in their yards. By the time we got home and had dinner, the day had slipped away from me.

I’d say to heck with it and skip today completely, but (1) I’m compulsive as hell and (2) I really like those dashed-boxes around every MWF on the calendar on the right side-panel of my blog page. It’s so symmetrical and I’m all about symmetrics.

But, it is way past my bedtime so I’m calling it a night. I’ll take two aspirin and hope my lethargy goes away before Friday.

‘Til then,

~Kay

 

Does your writing need spring cleaning?

It started simply enough. I was going to move my winter clothes upstairs and bring my spring and summer clothes downstairs. Then, I decided to do a major closet overhaul and conned enlisted Hubby’s help. We spent the entire day traipsing up and down stairs with arms full of clothes.

When youngest got married late last year, he stripped one of our guest bedrooms of its furniture. Instead of replacing it, in a stroke of genius, we decided to turn the room into a flexible closet.

Hubby assembled five clothes racks on wheels. One for my dance costumes and two for each of us for out of season and infrequently worn clothes. The costumes were immediately relocated and it made packing for our last performance a breeze. I rolled the rack out, went down the check list, removed what I needed and wa-la…easy breezy. It worked like a charm.

The room has a walk-in closet as does another bedroom upstairs, so we relocated clothes from those two closets to the portable racks. We carefully went through them, culling items we’d realistically never wear again…size 8 jeans. Seriously? The Goodwill pile was as tall as me and we hadn’t begun sorting our shared master closet downstairs.

Hubby took a break to wash and wax the cars (this is relaxation for him–go figure) and while he was outside, I completely emptied the master closet. Everything. On our bed. I thought he was going to have a cow when he came back in. I sent him out to wash the other car to give me time to at least get my clothes hung back up so he’d have room to work on his when he returned.

While he tried on clothes and decided what to keep and what to discard, I emptied all of the socks onto the bathroom floor to make sure they were matched correctly. It was mid-afternoon and there was good light–the best time for this project because his dress socks have minute differences in colors and designs. He has three wire drawers of socks in our closet: dress socks, sports socks, and wool and holiday socks. I have one large wire drawer with my sports socks, dance socks and dress socks all mixed together. All of these socks were dumped together on our white tiled floor.

It quickly became obvious I needed as system. I emptied four trash cans to use as sorting bins and went to work. For the most part, the sorting was easy until I got to the end and had twelve dress socks and twenty-two sports socks left over. What to do?

All of the laundry had been done, but there were other drawers yet to be cleaned out, so some might yet turn up. I didn’t dare throw any dress socks out. The sports socks, on the other hand. I threw away pretty much all of the strays and about half the matched pairs (of his) because they either had holes in them or the elastic was too worn to be any good. He’ll never know. It’s a good thing he doesn’t read my blog. Usually.

Our closet looks fabulous now. I’m so excited to have the space to spread out and actually see what we have. I’ve still got the dresser, chest of drawers and armoire in our bedroom to conquer, but walking into our closet should be all the motivation I need to knock that out.

The emptied walk-in closets (upstairs) have been repurposed. The one in the “closet room” is now a gift wrap closet where I store bins of gift wrap, boxes, ribbon and gifts as I accumulate them throughout the year for Christmas and birthdays. I slap sticky notes on the presents, throw them neatly stack them on a shelf until time to wrap. Then they’re out of sight until needed. The near-empty walk-in closet in the guest bedroom holds our dressy clothes (tux, suits, gowns, glitz) and up stairs linens. It’s mostly empty so guests will have a place to hang things when they visit.

Just as we did a major spring assessment with our clothes, I need to do the same with my writing. I need to clean out my inbox, read the gazillion blog posts on my reader, catch up on my critiques, get rid of the clutter so I can have breathing room to create. I need to move some things, keep some things, get rid of some things. I need to straighten up–freshen up–and get re-energized and motivated to work.

What about you? Do you get bogged down and need to spring clean your writing before you be productive?

~Kay

 

 

 

Watch out! I can shoot now.

My Citizen’s Police Academy class had the opportunity to take an optional class at the shooting range of the Metropolitan Police Department of Nashville and Davidson County (MNPD) on Saturday. Of course, I was first in line.

Real recruits. Not MY class. From Nashville.gov website

My personal disclaimer: I don’t own a gun and probably never will, but I had a blast learning about them and how to shoot.

First, we had a couple of hours of classroom instruction which seemed like ten minutes. Then we headed to the shooting range, where targets stood at the base of a hillside which would stop any stray bullets.

What did we shoot? (I think I have these right, but reserve the right to be wrong…as always…)

  • The Glock Model 22 .40 Smith and Wesson Caliber Pistol. This is the issue firearm for the MNPD and the officers’ primary weapon.
  • The Remington 870 tactical 12-gauge shotgun. This is the issue shotgun for the MNPD and is used as a back up firearm.
  • The Colt AR-15 is a semi automatic .223 caliber rifle that looks like the M-4 carbine used by the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s lightweight and magazine-fed.
  • The Sig 551 Rifle was probably the most versatile of all we shot. It could be fully automatic on one end of the scale or it fire a single round or three round bursts. Cool, huh?
  • The Thompson .45 caliber Submachine gun from the 1920’s — I think they only use this for training purposes because of it’s cool factor.

This IS me. Note the instructor is well behind me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my classmates. His instructor doesn't seem as tense. Go figure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most interesting to me was learning about the taser. One trainer said, “The taser is the best use-of-force tool we’ve ever had.”

We didn’t get to shoot a taser (ourselves) but a sergeant demonstrated by firing one (law enforcement caliber) into heavy cardboard. That cardboard didn’t stand a chance! The police issue taser looked sort of like a gun and the blast lasted about five seconds, long enough to subdue and handcuff the bad guy. (They don’t normally use cardboard.)

I don’t know how I thought the electricity got to the suspect–I guess I’d never spent any time pondering it–but it’s transmitted through thin line, like fishing line, with a sharp, thick needle-like barb on the end. It sticks into the clothing of the intended victim (if your aim is good). The line comes out in a spring coil, like a Slinky.

We had two trainers and both have teenaged daughters who carry the civilian model taser. Did you know you can buy one at Sports Academy? Well, you can if you pass a background check similar to the one used to purchase a firearm.

Our instructor recommended models by Taser International located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The civilian unit costs between three and four hundred dollars and requires activation with background check. It looks like an electric shaver or fat cell phone and has a blast that lasts thirty seconds. Our trainers’ recommendation was to hit the target, place the taser on the ground, then, if you could get to safety within thirty seconds, to remove yourself from the situation.

The cartridges cost around $25 each. Stored behind the probes, are small round discs with a micro serial number on them. These are called AFID’s or Anti Felon Identification Discs. These discs are spread like confetti any time a cartridge is fired and the probes are deployed, making it easy to trace the cartridge and the owner.

This was a half-day class. It could easily have been a week. Recruits get twenty-three weeks of training. Of course, it’s lots more than weapons.

Oh, I hit the target every time. Great instructors! Thanks, guys!

~ Kay

 

Where does the time go?

“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” ~Lewis Carroll

Since I “retired” a few years ago to write full-time, I’ve gotten less and less organized. But somehow I’ve managed to stay one step ahead…usually. Then, our grandson was born a little over two weeks ago. We spent a week in Hawaii rocking him and another week recovering from the trip, and I can’t seem to get back on my game.

My online writing critique group has two cycles per month. We’re They’re (everyone but me) almost finished with one and about to begin another while I have a stack of submissions ready to critique.

My Google reader is so full it has stopped counting. Really! I carefully chose the blogs I follow and don’t want to miss anyone’s posts so I save them via Reader. But, I’m over 1500 posts behind and may never catch up. Reading them late is a bummer because any comments I might want to leave aren’t timely and discussion is likely over. Contests have frequently ended, and announcements are old news. Of course, many of the posts refer me to articles I want to read…lots of great links I’ll bookmark for someday. It never ends.

Got to catch up. Got to catch up.

I’m behind with my personal reading; I haven’t started a new book in weeks. Needless to say, I need to write. I NEED TO WRITE! I have my Nano story itching to be finished, and yesterday the beginnings of a sequel to MOMR popped out…on paper. Oh, it’s going to be such a fun book to write…when I have time.

And I need to query MOMR, but who has time. There’s that word again. Time. What’s is it?

Oh, now it’s time to go to tap class. I’ll be back Friday with a post about my adventure last weekend with the Metropolitan Police Department of Nashville and Davidson County. Don’t worry, no time was spent behind bars.

~ Kay

Spring has sprung

I can’t remember when we’ve had a prettier spring in middle Tennessee. It’s mid-April and my grass is already green and lush. Last year our yard looked like whole-wheat spaghetti until July.  Temperatures are perfect with highs in the 70’s and lows in the 40’s.

We almost got the bikes out yesterday afternoon but decided to shop for outside plants instead. Since we have to replace our roof (again), we’re holding off on the flower boxes and bedding plants until after they’ve finished slinging nails and shingles. We can bring potted plants inside.

Here are some of the ones we got. Pretty, huh? Has spring sprung at your house yet?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Kay