Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Today is my Friday, and I'm working my first scheduled overtime. Just two hours - 1:00 to 3:00. My normal shift starts at 3:30, but I have the option of starting at 3:15 and leaving at 11:45. So there's a possibility I can squeeze in a fifteen minute break and still get out at 11:45 PM. There's also a possibility I'll be stuck on a call from 3:00 to 3:30 and not get that break at all.

If this works out, I'll do it again on Saturday.

Monday, February 25, 2019


In Frank Herbert's original Dune books, Kralizek was the "typhoon struggle at the end of the universe." That's the word that always comes to mind on days like today.

Others may consider it "very blustery," but to me these winds seem unnatural. In the past we would have a wind event once every few years, and its effects would be talked about for years. Last year we had several wind events, including one that put a shingle torn off a roof across the street through our front window, and another that spawned a tornado that destroyed or damaged businesses in and around the Arena Hub Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township.

I don't know if these wind events have grown stringer and more common, or if we're just more sensitive to them now. I'm just hoping this one ends without causing too much damage.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Back to work

Well, this was a quick and not particularly brutal weekend. Again, I didn't accomplish some major goals, and some of those really can't be put off much longer.

Our era of easily-available overtime, which lasted through our training and into our first week of being on the floor, ended just after Valentine's Day. We can manage to rack up unscheduled overtime  anytime a call runs past the scheduled end of our shift. Still, I hope additional overtime becomes available soon.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Storm have mercy

So, the storm last night - err, this morning, was....not good.

I put the frost cover on my windshield when I got to work, anticipating some ice. Because so many people had bugged out early, I found a parking spot not too far from the entrance, meaning I would have fewer opportunities to fall and crack my skull when I got out around or after midnight.

I finally left about ten minutes after midnight. The walk to the car wasn't bad, but the car itself was coated in a thick layer of snow and frozen slush. I pried off the frost cover, leaving a clear windshield surrounded by a thick layer of wintry mix. After a few minutes of warming up, I was able to clear off the other windows, and remove as much ice as possible from the rest of the car. Satisfied I was as cleaned-up as I was going to get, I rolled out of the parking lot and onto the access road that leads to the road that goes to the exit that takes me to the road (the same road as the second one on this list, but going in the other direction) that takes me to the highway.

The first thing I saw was a smashed-up guardrail on the side of the road that had been intact earlier. Forewarned, I took it slow and steady the rest of the way. Speed limits on the highway had been reduced to 45 mph, and I did a comfortable 40 mph several car lengths behind a tractor-trailer. No one passed us the whole way to my exit. My exit took me onto a road that might have been plowed at some point during the storm, though it was hard to tell.Eventually I was driving in wheel ruts that straddled the center of the two-lane road. The parkway that leads to Nanticoke was in better shape, and I was able to make the uphill left turn towards home without fishtailing or crashing into any utility poles.

Finally I was home. I parked the car, caught my breath, and stepped out to put the frost cover on again - and nearly fell right on my ass. The street I was parked on was covered in a thick white layer of ice.

This morning I awoke to bright sunshine and the sound of melting snow dripping off the roof. Temperatures were in the high 40s by late morning. By the afternoon the sidewalks were mostly covered in slush that was easily shoveled up before it could get a chance to refreeze.

So what's next?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Snow today, ice tonight

We're expecting one to three inches of snow through this afternoon, followed by a brief pause, followed by ice tonight. So when I come out of work sometime after midnight, it will be to a car that is encased in ice, and fifteen miles of ice-covered roads between me and home. Lovely.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

This guy again

So, non-Democrat Bernie Sanders has once again decided he wants to be the Democratic nominee for President. Last time he and his fanatical followers just had one woman to push out of the way. He failed, but the Busters made it their mission in life to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House, regardless of the consequences - and they achieved their goal.

This time, with numerous highly-qualified women vying for the nomination, he's got more more work ahead of him. But with enough effort, he'll be able to pull off the same thing he did in 2016 - and help put Donald Trump in the White House again.

Sunday, February 17, 2019


I'm fortunate enough to live in an area that has not one, but two local newspapers. The Times Leader is the older of the two. The Citizens' Voice was born out of a strike in 1978 against the Times Leader in the wake of its purchase by a national newspaper conglomerate and subsequent anti-union activity.

I subscribe to both of them. I get the Citizens' Voice seven days a week, while I have a Friday-Saturday-Sunday subscription to the Times Leader. I pay for these subscriptions on a month-to-month basis. A charge is placed on my credit card on the same day each month to cover the next month's papers.

And every once in a while the papers don't show up. I'm sure there are reasons. Delivery people come and go. Delivering newspapers is a low-paying pain in the ass. Weather and other factors interfere with regular delivery.

Still, I'm paying for these papers. This is a dying industry. I'm supporting it. In exchange for my money, I'd like to get the product I've paid for. Sometimes when I call I am told a replacement paper will be on its way. Other times I am told I will get a "credit."

This weekend the Times Leader was delivered on Friday, but not on Saturday, and not today. Yesterday I called the "missed paper" number and spoke to a human who told me that re-deliveries are not done on weekends and I would get a "credit." I asked her what this "credit" meant and she told me that it meant that it would push out the expiration date of my subscription by a day. I pointed out that my subscription renews each month and my renewal date has never changed. This can therefore only mean that all the "credits" I've earned will pay off at the end of my subscription - that is, after I have said I no longer wish to receive the newspaper, I will continue to receive the newspaper until the "credits" are all used up.

I wonder if there's a tally of how many "credits" I've earned over the years? It must be several dozen, at least. I should be able to cancel my subscription and continue to get the paper for several months, assuming it is still delivered on a Friday-Saturday-Sunday basis. But I really don't think there is any such tally being kept. I really don't think if I cancel my subscription I will continue to receive a newspaper. And eventually, this paper will fold, and all my accumulated credits will fold with it.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Here we go, here we go, here we go again

So here we are at the start of another work week. Just five days this tie. Doesn't seem so bad compared to last week's ten-day marathon. The weather is much nicer, so the commute should be a bit easier.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Mission semi-accomplished

Today I got done most of the things I meant to get done yesterday. I picked up a new hydration kit for Thor, consisting of a bag of Lactated Ringer's Solution, an I.V. drip line, and some needle tips. I also picked up three and a half months of comic books from Rubber Mallet Comics in West Pittston - the last time I was there was the day before Thanksgiving. I bought a variety of cat food from Pet Supplies Plus using a 10% off coupon. I bought mostly non-essentials from Walmart and paid for them with a $25 gift card my sister gave me for Christmas, plus a dollar and some change.  I did a grocery run and kept the bill to just over $105.00. I bought some half-price day-after-Valentine's Day chocolate. I changed my door decorations from hearts to shamrocks. I made this week's oven-fried chicken lunches and did several loads of laundry. And I read a bunch of my comic books.

I didn't get an overdue oil change, nor did I return the empty bottle from eggnog I purchased during my eggnog shake quest to Hillside Farms. Those can both wait until next weekend.

And today Donald Trump declared a NATIONAL EMERGENCY because he didn't get his way. Fuck that guy.

Seriously, fuck that guy.

Thursday, February 14, 2019


Ten consecutive days of work - well, the last five days of training, on the 11:00 AM - 7:30 PM shift, followed immediately by my first five days of actual work, from 3:30 PM to midnight - have left me exhausted. It didn't help that the last two nights - err, early mornings - had me driving back in snowy, icy conditions, puttering along at 40 miles per hour for much of my nearly 15 mile commute home, or that I didn't get out of work until 12:49 this morning because of the complexity of my last call. But the alternative was to take one day off, work five days, take another day off, and work another five days. I think it's better this way.

I had plans for today. I didn't get most of them done. We'll see how things go tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A song of snow and ice

That's pretty much what we had Tuesday into Wednesday: light snow, coated with sleet, sealed in with freezing rain. Fun times.

The all-hands meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning is postponed, so I can sleep in a bit. Then I have to haul out the garbage, shovel, and head in for day ten of ten.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

St. Joseph's: demolished

St. Joseph's, October 18, 2018

St. Joseph's church was demolished today.

Demolition photos courtesy of Ann Emelett.

See also: St. Joseph's: Another church is coming down

Sunday, February 10, 2019

February 26, 2019: Poems at the Pub featuring Laurel Radzieski

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 will see the return of Poems at the Pub at Dugan's Pub, 385 Main Street, Luzerne, PA. The readings are held in the upper room and begin at 7:00 PM, and the feature will be Laurel Radzieski, author of Red Mother!

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Here we go

I'll be leaving for work in a little bit. Won't be back until at least 12:30 in the morning. First time I've done a shift like this in over five years. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, February 08, 2019


I worked from 11:00 AM to 7:30 PM today. Tomorrow, and for four more days after that, I will work 3:30 PM to 12:00 AM. I will have Thursday and Friday off, and then continue on the 3:30 PM to midnight shift.

I went grocery shopping after work. I had a fairly huge list, and added on a few things. As I packed my purchases into the car, I realized I had forgotten something. I went back in and bought it, and more than twenty dollars of additional groceries.

This shopping trip has to cover the rest of the week and beyond. I've gotten used to being able to pick stuff up as needed when I'm on my way home from work. But there are no longer any stores between work and here that stay open past midnight. The Walmart in Pittston is open twenty-four hours, but going there would involve a ten mile detour. Until I can come up with a better plan, I'll need to get any shopping done on Thursdays and Fridays.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Grim anniversary

In a week it will be Valentine's Day.

A year ago, a bunch of high school kids were looking forward to the day, doing whatever it is that is done by high schoolers for Valentine's Day these days. But someone else had other plans. And Valentine's Day was changed into something else entirely for the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

You could fill a calendar with commemorations for the victims of mass shootings in America.  Virginia Tech, April 16. Columbine, April 20. Santa Fe High School, May 18. Pulse, June 12. Aurora, July 20. Tree of Life, October 27. Borderline Bar and Grill, November 7. Sandy Hook, December 14. Some of the days would commemorate multiple mass shootings.

And the hits just keep on coming. We thought after a white male U.S. citizen walked into and elementary school and shot a bunch of children, that would be it. Nope. When a white male U.S. citizen opened fire with a weapon converted to semi-automatic mode with an inexpensive plastic accessory opened fore on the crowd at a country music festival, surely that would move people to action? LOL, no. What would it take for Congress to act, someone directly opening fire on a bunch of members of Congress? It happened, June 14, 2017. (The shooter was once again a white male U.S. citizen.) And still the puppets of the N.R.A. in Congress did nothing.

There's a new Congress in town. A House of Representatives dominated by Democrats. more diverse and less beholden to the deep-pocketed gun lobby than ever before. Will things be different now?

We'll find out.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Third day

Wednesday. Once upon a time, this would have been "humpday," but today it's just day three of ten. Two more days of training, and then we hit the floor for another five.

As a bonus, right after we began training, payday was moved to Wednesday. Today's pay is already in my account. Time to spend it. Most of it, anyway.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Rescheduled Writers' Showcase, Saturday, February 9

REMINDER: The rescheduled Winter 2019 edition of the Writers' Showcase will be held this Saturday, February 9, 2019, from 7:00 - 9:00 PM at the Olde Brick Theatre, 126 West Market Street, Scranton, PA. Admission is just $4.00 for an evening of poetry and storytelling from Kimberly Boland, Aurora Bonner, Rachael Hughes, Laurel Radzieski, and Alyssa Waugh, hosted by Brian Fanelli and Dawn Leas.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to make this one - my new schedule has me working every Saturday evening, and I'm not yet in a position to schedule time off. But if you can make it, you should definitely check out the Writers' Showcase!

 You can find the event page on Facebook here.

Monday, February 04, 2019

So it begins

The new shift started today. My "before work" hours rapidly filled up with things that needed to be done. Traffic was lighter going to work, but the parking lot was more full. I left work in the dark for the first time in a while - though when my old place closed at the end of September, it was already getting pretty dark at the end of the work day.

The new training class started today, and there are at least two people in it who used to work at my old place. I keep telling my co-workers that if they ever need travel advice, there are over a dozen of us there with experience in the travel industry.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Lunch time

I'm about to start a run of ten consecutive workdays. The first five will be my last week of training, while the next five will be the first week of my regular shift, which will run Saturday through Wednesday. Today, for the first time since leaving my old job, I made up a supply of lunches for the week. Just five, because I only had five chicken thighs set aside in the freezer. I'm all out of cracker crumbs, so I made a modified version of my oven-fried chicken. I incorporated some stuff from a recipe I found online, which suggested initially frying the chicken in an iron frying pan on the stovetop until it is brown on both sides, and then throwing it into the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for fifteen minutes. We'll see how it turned out.

What I'm going to do for lunch the last five days of this run, I'm not sure. I may stop and pick something up sometime before I switch to the later shift. There are very few places - possibly no places - around here that are open past midnight where I can buy lunch ingredients. This was always a problem when I last worked this shift, nearly six years ago. We'll see how long I stay on this shift.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Adezzo, one last time

I went to the Be Daring Open Mic at Adezzo in Scranton this past Wednesday, possibly for the last time for quite a long time. My new shift has me working late every Wednesday night, so unless I take time off, I won't be able to make any more until my shift changes. Hare are thumbnail-sized versions of the photos I uploaded to Facebook.


The Be Daring Open Mic is held the last Wednesday of every month at 6:30 PM (signups begin at 6:00) at Adezzo in Scranton, PA. Check it out if you can!

Friday, February 01, 2019


This work week is finally over. After this weekend we move on to a five-day transitional week, followed directly by a five-day work week on my 3:30-to-midnight shift. I need to get a lot of things done this weekend that I won't otherwise be able to do until Valentine's Day and the day after.