The best times in life are often unscripted..

It is snowing here in New Jersey this evening. We got to leave work early today due to the inclement weather. That was nice. We had a power outage this morning at work and also lost the internet and phones for a short while. I guess the patch job that was done might have a few kinks to be worked out. The linemen will have months more of work after Sandy. My MIL got her power back on yesterday around 5 pm.  She was without power for eight days.  She lives in one of the most densely populated parts of Ocean County. Just imagine how much longer she might have waited if she lived out in the sticks. Yes, there really are “out in the sticks” areas in New Jersey. NJ is not just what you see driving down the turnpike or the parkway.

I forgot to mention that Monday night was the official Halloween Day in NJ. The governor postponed Halloween last week due to the damage from Sandy.  We had many, probably an average year, trick or treaters visit our house. I heard the night ended early. I was of course, off playing lacrosse in the dark.

Tuesday (yesterday) was: A. My DW’s birthday and B. Election Day 2012. Let’s tackle Election Day first. I worked the election again this year. We had to be on site at 5:15 am and ready to rock by 6 am. The polls closed at 8 pm. Then we have to break down the voting machines and do all the “stuff” that ensures that the votes are protected and delivered to the municipal clerk for tabulation. That makes for an easy 15 hour day.  We were busy.  There were 30 or more people that rushed in at 6 am to vote. And the waves of voters kept coming all day.  I worked with a good group of people. We had fun, but I was pretty beat by the end of the night.

After the election was over, my DW and I went out for some wings and a beer (or two). The beer was medicinal. My back was sore and the beer made that problem go away.  At the bar we had a beer and a cider and toasted my DW’s birthday. I’m sorry to say, due to my being at the polling place all day, I did not have a good party planned for her. I will do better next time (or maybe this weekend). While we were sitting at the bar, the bar started to fill up with 20 somethings and a musician started playing music that was appropriate for their age.

The group next to us, four girls and one guy we out celebrating his 25 th birthday. We congratulated him and toasted his and my DW’s birthdays.  A little while later one of the girls went up to the musician requested Happy Birthday. So, everybody in the bar sang to this guy and my DW. I spoke to the girlfriend of the birthday boy and gave her 20 dollars towards his birthday bar bill. She was driving last night. A few minutes later they bought two shots of something they called “Birthday Cake”. A shot and a slice of lemon coated in sugar.

My DW and the birthday boy did their shot and then sucked on the lemon. Everybody laughed and smiled. The bar by now was packed and quite noisy. We, the old people, figured it was time to go home so when we left we congratulated the birthday boys once more and he gave my DW a hug. It was a pretty cool, spontaneous night. We figured a beer and some wings and wound up with a birthday party. Unscripted.

Pictures, pictures. Here are a picture of the snow on my way home from work. Enjoy!

Namaste

Snow in Wall, NJ

Post 460, a departure from the norm..

As a consistent reader of this blog, or a first time reader of this blog, two of the mostly off-limit subjects are religion and politics.  I don’t usually discuss my political views, but I occasionally discuss my religious views. Tonight I will share a few short words about politics and leave it at that.

The headline on MSN this morning  was that the unemployment rate had dropped last month. Now the rate equals the rate when the current president took office. Progress? Then the article went on to say that “they” also adjusted the employment numbers for July and August to show more people finding work. Hmm.. The fox guarding the hen-house, perhaps? Maybe the new numbers are actually correct. Maybe the pundits that gave the win in the first debate to the challenger should give this news some thought? This, in my opinion, is just election year politics. What are the real employment numbers? That would be anyones guess.

As I tweeted today, Magic, pure election year magic. Employment on the rise, feel happy and re-elect the president. They wouldn’t manipulate the number? No way. For the record, as I have stated in the past, I usually vote Republican. My DW usually votes Democratic. So, we cancel each other out on election day. It just seems pretty fishy that the employment numbers are suddenly getting better AND that the numbers reported in July and August were wrong.  I’m just saying. Enough politics for tonight.

Today was a WFH Friday.DS1 stopped by while making deliveries for a bite and the use of the bathroom. Tonight he got out of work at a decent time and joined us for dinner at a local restaurant. It is kinda nice to be able to share a meal and a cocktail with your children. They were real small once.  We (he and I) ordered a beer, my DW had an Angry Orchid cider. Then he ordered a Makers Mark (bourbon) on the rocks.  I figured, what the heck, and had one as well.  We ate and talk, nothing too deep. We found out that his boss is thinking about sending him with the truck and a helper, to Arizona in January to dig up and bring back some Yucca cactuses. The truck pictured below would be his chariot.  Yikes!

Tonight’s pictures are of DS1 visiting today for lunch. A farm boy and his truck. Enjoy!

Namaste

Election board workers meet at post 121..

Off on another Quixotic quest I am. Or, speaking like Yoda might be closer to the truth. The story behind tonight’s title goes like this…  Story Alert!  You have been warned.  As an American citizen it is our right and our duty to vote in the elections. It is an easy statement to make that nearly half the eligible population will not vote in the election this fall. At the last election I voted in, I picked up a card from the polling booth workers that explained how you could become a poll worker. And get paid money, to boot. I sent in the card on a lark figuring that this might be interesting. And if not, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Back in August I got a letter from the county election people notifying me that class would be held on October 27 to train the new workers.  If I was interested, I should mail back their card. I mailed the card back and today was training day. The sign in rooster had 46 names on it. I would guess that maybe 35 to 40 people showed up. I was probably the third youngest person in the room. First we met Chris, he was in his mid thirtys with the beer belly to prove his position in life. (I’m just saying). He explained to us how to set up, close down and use the voting machines.

After Chris was done with his presentation, Suzanne gave her presentation about how to run the check in table. We learned about voters that were registered, not registered, need to produce id, had been sent an absentee ballot and many other possible scenarios that election workers will encounter during their one day of service.  I never thought about all the possible scenarios that an election worker might face. Add to that the presence of “challengers” who can challenge the validity of voters before they can vote. What a crazy system we have spawned. 

My next step is to decide if I am interested in earning 200.00 before taxes for working on election day. The work hours are from 5:15 am (polls open at 6 am) to 9 pm at night. You do get an hour off during the day. I would use a vacation day, so I would actually get paid twice for the day. I think I will call in and offer my “certified” service for this years election. If I can work locally to my house, that would hold more interest than driving 30 or 40 minutes each way. That travel diminishes the pay considerably.  I will report back if I get an assignment. And I can guarantee that if I work, there will be days worth of stories to be told.

DS2 announced today (I already knew some of this) that he was dropping Aural Skills for the semester. He started two weeks late and never got caught up in this class. He was going to fail it, so he withdrew and will take it again next year. He also announced that he was declaring a double minor. The minor studies would be in Psychology and Philosophy. Good for him. He really enjoys school.  We have already started talking about/planning for his masters classes.

Tonight’s picture comes from 2003. It was my DW’s birthday. Enjoy!

Namaste

DW birthday 2003