Dec 18

Cheesy displays aren’t the answer

Yes, Kat, Christmas really is almost here. But, I don’t think the lack of gaudy lights and blowup figures in Oregon are the reason that Christmas has snuck up on you. We have plenty of really cheesy displays here, and more than our share of blow up Santas. The latest craze is the blowup snowglobe thingy. The first time I saw one I thought it was pretty cool. The seventy first time I saw one I wanted an air rifle so I could start popping the damn things.

Picture Christmas lights on FEMA blue roofs. Tacky R Us.

So, anyway, Christmas is right around the corner and I’m only barely getting geared up for it. Actually this year is a somewhat miraculous year in that Jack and I were both actually able to give each other solid gift ideas.

(Ideas nothing. We told each other exactly what we wanted. Heck, we even shopped online together.)

Tonight I’m going to a Christmas party in New Orleans thrown by the writer’s group that I’m hoping to join. It was started by George Alec Effinger and it has a pretty impressive alumni list, so I’m really hoping it’s a good fit. Fortunately, Anna is over her cold to the point that I can stick her with a babysitter.

I’m oddly, ridiculously nervous about this party. I will know no one there. Oh, I know I’ll be fine, but this is the remnant of my adolescent shyness rearing its head.

Dec 17

So perhaps a baked potato today?

Well the potato itself would be the fairly boring task of continuing to clean/paint/organize the little house. I took a bunch of measurements today for blinds and new cabinets, and I’m hoping that tomorrow I can go to Lowes and pay for all of that since tomorrow is the last day of Louisiana’s state sale’s tax “holiday.” Personally, I think it’s a retarded idea (the sales tax holiday), but hey, I might as well buy the big ticket items when I can save a buck or three.

I’ve also decided to take Thursday off of work so that I can finish all the miscellaneous cleanup/fixup at the other house.

Sour cream: Anna is definitely stricken with the cold that is going around. Mostly this has just served to make her unspeakably cranky. Though it was pretty hysterical to watch her wander around somewhat drugged after I poured a bunch of kiddie Dimetapp down her throat.

Cheese: Jack and I told each other what we want the other to buy them for Christmas. We don’t do very well with “surprise” gifts, since usually we tend to go ahead and buy things that we want. It’s just kind of a fluke that this year both of us have something that we want that we haven’t bought.

Chives: Managed to get a Christmas tree up, thanks to my sister. We tried to go find a decent fake tree last week and discovered that we had waited too long and all the decent ones were gone. But then my sister told me that she had one still in the box at her office from last year, and so we now have squeezed yet another aspect of the holiday season into our house.

Bacon bits: It’s Jack’s turn do bath and bedtime with Anna tonight, which gives me time to actually write this entry.

Dec 16

Casserole entry

I’ll be throwing odds and ends together to try and make a journal entry that is palatable.

This week flew by. I worked my ass off getting caught up on reports. Just today I wrote four computer forensic reports and closed out two cases. I have four vehicle burglary reports left which, once tackled, should only take me an hour or so to complete. The homicide will take longer, since there’s so much more evidence to process. On Monday I’ll probably score some overtime since the detectives want to do ALS (alternate light source) on the two cars that have been seized, and that can only be done at night since there’s too much light in our bay area during the day from the doors and skylight.

I brought Mom home from the hospital today. That went well and I only managed to break two laws.

Polyphony 6 opened for submissions yesterday. I have a story that I’ve been letting sit for about a month, and hopefully next wek I’ll get some time to pull it out and start doing some work on it.

Everyone is sick. At home, at work, and everywhere else–everyone has this incredibly contagious cold. It’s not a particularly bad cold–only about three days of real misery–but the only people who aren’t sick are the ones who’ve already had it.

Needless to say, Anna is sick as well. She woke up with a snuffly nose and cough, so I did what any caring, loving, nurturing mother would do: I dosed her to the gills with Tylenol Cold & Cough and packed her little butt off to daycare. This evening my sister gave her a couple of healthy slugs of Dimetapp, which had the added benefit of sending her right off to sleep about six seconds after I buckled her into the car seat to go home.

I keep having to remind my husband that he doesn’t have to watch the commercials if he’s watching a Tivo recording.

I’m hoping to get the rest of the painting done at the other house this weekend. Actually, if I could get it cleaned up and cleared out so that it’ll be ready for Kelly to move in–except for the stupid carpet squares that probably won’t be in on time–I’d be thrilled spitless.

Okay, stick some corn flakes on top of this thing and call it done.

Dec 15

First line of the first entry of each month meme

I think our next door neighbors must have spent well over five thousand dollars on fireworks. Yep, America’s Most Wanted is filming in our crime lab today. Anna is 10 months old, and I still haven’t lost all of the baby weight. I really should know better. The other night Jack and I were getting ready for bed, when suddenly Jack said, “What was that!? Something’s flying!” I have found that when I actually have interesting stuff to talk about, I have little or no time to sit down and do a journal entry about it. We had this camera lying around forever, so the pictures on it span several months. I was working on costumes at the theater with my sister and Kat, when my phone gave the beep that told me I had a pix message. All of my family is safe. Telling a 17-month-old to “hold still!” while I try to get her shoes and socks on. Well, it turned out that our neighborhood was pretty attractive to a lot of trick or treaters, which was a good thing since I seriously overbought on candy. My energy level, that is.

Dec 15

The dog ate my homework?

Well, I was on a roll with the holidailies goal of posting every day, and I even had an entry ready to go last night, but then we had a gigantic thunderstorm which played havoc with our internet, which rendered posting impossible.

Oh Well. I’ll just post twice today.

My goal at work right now is to Work My Ass Off and get all my shit caught up by the end of the year. Yeah, I know, you’re supposed to work your ass off every day anyway, right? Yeah yeah yeah. I’m a hard worker and I get my normal workload done in a reasonable length of time, and I get good results and positive feedback. But this double workload has the potential to totally kick my ass if I don’t stay on top of it. Fortunately my Lt totally understands, and he even told me that he was really pleased with how well I’m staying afloat after being slammed last week. He must have told me six times, “Call weeks aren’t usually that bad! It won’t always be this overwhelming!” I think he was afraid I would go postal. :) But, really, as a “training” week goes, I couldn’t have asked for a better week. It was a major crash course where I was thrown into the deep end, but I now have a solid comfort factor in my ability to handle pretty much anything on my own now. The only case I havn’t handled is a rape, and I’ve already told my Lt that if I get one of those the next time I’m on call, I’ll just call him out to come help me. [g]

After work I dashed over to the Slidell house and managed to get all but one section of the floors painted. Unfortunately I have this sinking feeling that the carpet squares that I ordered are not going to get in on time. Kelly is moving in on the 23rd, and I think they’re going to arrive the week after. Bah. Only good thing is that with the carpet squares it’s not the total end of the world if the furniture is already in the room when we go to install the carpet. We can just shift furniture around as we work, unlike regular carpet where everything has to be moved out of the room so that the carpet can be kicked in properly.

I’m also still on the hunt for some sort of handyman to take care of some simple maintenance issues. Oh, and I need to get a AC/Heater repairman out to get all of that stuff working again. I know that the AC unit is going to have to be replaced since it took 18 inches of water. Hopefully the issue with the heater is a minor one and will not require replacement of the whole damn thing.

I also need to go see how much new cabinets would cost, since the ones that are in the house now are seriously butt-ugly.

Yes, that sound you hear is me beating my head against the wall.

I went and visited Mom in the hospital yesterday. I think she’s going to be getting out on Friday.

I still have done absolutely Nothing for Christmas. We have no tree, no decorations, no presents. I have not taken Anna to get her picture taken with Santa. I have sent no Christmas cards. I have not even cleaned my house to the point where people could come over. I have done absolutely Zero Christmas shopping. And, I am sick of people saying, “Oh, do it all online!” Yeah, well that still takes a certain investment of time. These entries are written in fits and snatches of stolen time. Plus, I’d have to stop and figure out just what to get people.

And, someone close to me (not my husband) is a selfish, self-centered, insensitive, stubborn clod. I know I shouldn’t let it get to me as much as it does, but it does.

I’m tired. I’m blue. I’m frustrated. I’m ready for this year to be over.

Dec 13

Barely staying awake

Today is one of those days where, if I was not doing holidailies, I would most likely skip posting an entry. I’m still incredibly tired, and even though I’m not getting called out in the middle of the night anymore, I’m still not getting caught up on all of that lost sleep. I still have a million and three things to do.

Last night Jack and I went out to see the lates Harry Potter movie. Loved it.

Today at work I continued to process evidence from the homicide over the weekend.m And then I went to my niece’s school and spoke to the eighth grade kids there about internet safety and various computery things. The kids were great and seemed to genuinely enjoy themselves.

Oh, and my step-daughter-in-law had a baby boy today, 8lbs, 9 oz. I forgot babies come that tiny.

I’m going to bed now.

Dec 12

Short and sweet entry

Quickie post just to say that I somehow managed to survive my Call Week Of Hell. I did not get called out any more last night, and if I’d had the energy to stay awake I would have cracked open a beer at 12:01, but instead I decided to celebrate the end of my call week by being sound asleep.

Tonight I am going out with my husband. He has been absolutely marvelous this entire week, taking over full care of Anna when I’ve been called out without a hitch. He told me that he’s arranged for a babysitter for tonight (one of his daughters needs some spending and we’re going to see a movie, probably the new Harry Potter. He’s such a keeper.

Work is still insanely busy, but it’s a good busy where I’m learning all the details of processing all the evidence that we recovered. I learned how to fume evidence with superglue today, which was pretty cool.

But now I’m going to try and clean the house which has been grossly neglected (and I do mean gross) for the past week.

Dec 11

CSI is such a load of crap

Saturday night–my last full night of being on call.

1:45am the phone rings. “Hi, this is the radio room. We have a signal 100F out on… oh wait, I’ve just been informed that it’s not a 100…it’s a 30.”

A 100F is a hit and run fatality. A 30 is a homicide.

I pulled on my long johns, threw on my uniform, and by 2:15 I was looking down at a bullet-riddled corpse. (Okay, it wasn’t exactly bullet riddled. It was only 3 bullet holes. Just how many holes would constitute “riddled?”)

See, now, on CSI I would have been wearing high heels, full makeup, some sort of stylish coat, and I would have hot coffee at hand. Instead, I was bundled up in very non-glamorous garb, (thanking all the gods that I’d bought longies earlier in the day!) wearing essentially no makeup, had my only partially-combed hair pulled back in an awkward ponytail, and I was unshowered (I slapped some deodorant on and brushed my teeth, for the sake of my teammates). Oh, and my nose was running like a faucet and I had half a dozen used kleenex stuffed into my pockets.

The victim was lying on the side of the road, and had been discovered by a deputy on patrol. In fact, the first time he’d passed it he’d thought it was just a pile of debris. (There’s still debris everywhere from the storm.) But when he came back he realized it was a person. Then, it was first thought that he’d been hit by a car, but then the deputies on scene saw the bullet casings, and that pretty much changed everything.

I was on the scene from 2am until 10am, then I spent another hour taking the evidence I’d collected to the lab and securing it. CSI doesn’t show how exhausted the techs get, or how grungy. They don’t show the female techs dealing with the very real problem of having to find a place to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night in a residential neighborhood when there are no businesses open. (Another pain-in-the-ass side-effect of the storm: Nothing is open at night. ) Fortunately the PD’s HQ was not too far away, so the female techs all piled into a car and made a quick trip there while we were waiting for the coroner. We were all starving by 4 am, and we had to wait until 6 for anything to open. CSI also doesn’t show everyone standing around doing nothing (except for trying to stay awake) while someone is off writing a search warrant for a house nearby. I think four hours of our scene time was spent just waiting. We utilized that time to make another potty run, and then go to the now-open McDonalds and get food for all the crime scene folks.

Everyone in the lab agrees that my call week has been utterly insane. I told them that it wasn’t safe for me to be on call again. Too many people die! My bodycount for the week is 4. Two naturals, one accidental, and one homicide. And then I also had two business burglaries, and five car burglaries. I’m going to be writing reports until the end of the year. (Yeah, they don’t show all the friggin paperwork on CSI either.)

I now have four hours left of my call week. I’m not going to relax until 12:01.

Dec 10

Sleeping in

I went to bed a bit after 9 last night, and I slept until 5:30am!

I know, this doesn’t seem all that late to most, but my usual wake up time during the week is 5am, and this week I had wake up calls from Dispatch at such wonderful times as 3:30am, 2am, and 4:30 am. 5:30 was heavenly late.

Unfortunately, the exhaustion of the rest of the week coupled with having to be out in the freezing-ass cold weather most of Friday morning pretty much finished off my immune system, and the cold I’d been fighting off finally got through and has taken up eager residence in my sinuses.

My call week ends at midnight on Sunday, which means that at the time of this entry I have 28 hours left. Not that I’m counting.

I went over to my house in Slidell today and spent most of the day painting. Every time the phone rang I cringed, but fortunately none of the calls were from the radio room. However, the house is slowly starting to take shape. There are still a number of renovations that I would like to do, but I only have two weeks until Kelly moves in. My next priority is to get the carpet and flooring in. Once my call week is over it’s going to be easier to get stuff done. And sleep. Oh yeah, sleep.

Dec 9

When head meets pavement and truck, and other stories

Disclaimer #1: If you’re easily grossed out, you probably shouldn’t read this.

Disclaimer #2: The only reason I put Disclaimer #1 up there was because I have readers from Holidailies popping in here and I don’t want anyone to freak out. Regular readers of my journal probably know by now that I sometimes post some weird shit that isn’t totally suitable for the kiddies.

Disclaimer #3: For the holidailies crowd, I didn’t want to put the “Adult” label on it because that seems to be the “This is a BDSM blog” label… and this blog sure as hell ain’t that.

Okay, on with the gross stuff:

I got called out yesterday evening to a signal 29–a death. The dispatcher advised me that it was a accidental death, and then advised me of the manner of accident. “Some guy got his head crushed by a FEMA trailer.” “Ew!” I replied.

I arrived on the scene to find several police cars, an ambulance, and a large area in front of a house that had been taped off with crime scene tape. In the driveway of the house was a FEMA trailer, with a Penske truck in front of it. I said Hi to the deputies on the scene, went back to my car to put my liner in my jacket because the temperature had dropped and it was getting Friggin’ Cold, then exchanged some more pleasantries with the deputies, since it was my old team and I’d known these guys for years. (They were all baffled as to why I was there since I normally do just the computer stuff. I had to explain to them this whole cross-training thing.)

“Yeah, whatever, Diana… get to the gross stuff!”

“Sheesh, fine.”

Okay, the gross stuff:

I went around to the other side of the trailer, and in the gap between the trailer and the penske truck was a man lying on the ground. Actually, I couldn’t see that it was a man at first because the MORONS WITH EMS HAD COVERED THE BODY UP WITH BLANKETS. Good God. Some people watch too much TV. You never cover the body up before it’s been processed, because you effectively destroy any trace evidence on the body when you do so. Fortunately, the coroner on the scene had a “meeting of minds” with the EMS guys and ’splained how things were done over here. It didn’t make a difference so much in this case since it was clearly accidental, but it’s still just a Bad thing to do.
Those readers of this journal who are writers, if you’re trying to be realistic, please don’t cover up your bodies. Er… in your fiction, I mean.

“Ahem… the gross stuff?”

“Oh… yeah… all right.”

I went ahead and took the scene pictures, and then the pictures of the body still covered up–documenting it exactly as it was when I got to the scene. One thing the blanket didn’t cover was the large viscous pool of congealing blood that was spread out beyond the victim’s head. There were several irregular lumps in the pool–whitish-grey lumps that looked like clots of soured milk, then some hard jagged clumps. Wasn’t too hard to figure out what those were. Then we pulled the blanket back to expose his head and face. There was a significant dent in the side of his face and head, and a large mass of blood and lump matter coming out of his nostrils. Congealed blood also was pooled around both ears, and the entire shape of his skull was oddly misshapen. His skin was white and doughy-looking, and his eyes were closed. It wasn’t hard to figure out that when the back end of the truck had come down on the guy’s head, it had essentially squished his brains out of the top and back of his head, as well as out his nose and ears. (Actually, it might not have been brains coming out of his nose, but that’s what my first impression was.) He’d been down for only about an hour by the time I started taking pictures, so his skin didn’t have the strange waxy quality that occurs after all the blood has settled, however it was cold enough that it was still pale and somewhat yellowed.

What seems to have happened was that this guy and his partners were delivering a FEMA trailer to this lucky family. However, when they attempted to get it unhooked from the hitch on the truck it got stuck. Well, this guy decided to lie under the back of the truck (which was very heavily loaded with conrete blocks and other equipment) and bang on the hitch with a hammer to get it unstuck. Well, it came unstuck, and when it did it came down.

Herein ends the gross portion of today’s entry.

So, of course I feel sorry for the family of the victim… but man, do I ever feel sorry for the people who were planning on living in that FEMA trailer! Gah!

Anyway, that was last night’s call. I got home cold and tired and went straight to bed.

At 2am my phone rang. “God hates me,” I said. 20 minutes later I was once again freezing my ass off in a parking lot where someone had decided to burglarize several vehicles. Fortunately, I’d had a moment of sheer brilliance and had put running tights on under my BDU pants. Unfortunately, my moment of sheer brilliance was not really a moment after all and more like 12 seconds, because I did not put on a long sleeved shirt under my uniform shirt, nor did I bring a hat along. When I got out to the parking lot it was Cold. And Windy. Did I mention Cold? Holy Fuck, it was cold. Wind chill was in the low 20s, and yes, to you Northern Types I am sure you are chortling into your hot chocolates right now, but I am most assuredly a Southern Girl, and I deeply fucking hate being cold.

By the time I got home I was frozen, exhausted, and it was only half an hour until my normal wake-up time. I took a blazingly hot shower to try to warm up and wake up, and then did my usual morning routine of getting the rest of my family up and out the door.

Only good thing is that my paycheck is going to be sweeeeeeeeeeeeet.

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