Monday, December 18, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

To be absent or not to be absent

Here's the unofficial timeline from my experiences in order to fill (or not fill) one absence among the many that were called in this morning:

8:15am - Message from Teacher left on our Voicemail: "I need a substitute for today. I am sick. Thanks."
8:32am - Absence filled with Substitute (school starts at 9:10am)
8:50am - I leave work to pick up Deidra and take her to school
8:55am - Message from Teacher left on our Voicemail (I checked voicemail when I got home to pick up Deidra): "I don't know if you have found a substitute for me yet, but I am feeling better and can come to school, so I do not need a substitute anymore."
9:20am - I enter my office and pick up the ringing phone. It is Teacher: "Did you find me a substitute?"
Me: "Yes. We have Substitute probably already at the school. I just got your message. Are you at the school now? Do you still need the substitute or not?"
Teacher: "Well, if you already have a substitute coming in, then I will go ahead and stay home. Thanks!"
9:30am - I pick up another call. It is Substitute: "I just went the job you called me about this morning and they sent me home saying they didn't need me."
Me: "The school sent you home?"
Substitute: "Yes"
Me: "OK, let me call them and find out what is going on, because I just talked to the teacher and she said that she was going to be absent. So now I am confused."
9:35am - I call the school and inquire about the situation:
Secretary: "We sent Substitute home because Teacher called us and told us she was coming in."
Me: "I just talked to her about fifteen minutes ago and she told us she was staying home."
Secretary: "Let me transfer you to her Supervising Teacher and you can work it out." (note: Teacher is an aide in a classroom, so I was transferred to the teacher she works under)
Me: (I explain the situation to Supervising Teacher)
Supervising Teacher: "When did you talk to Teacher?"
Me: "About 15-20 minutes ago."
Supervising Teacher: "Okay, she called here about a half hour ago and said she was coming in, but she must have changed her mind. Go ahead and send Substitute back, if she is still available."
9:45am - I contact Substitute and she agrees to return to the school.
10:00am - I receive another call. It is Secretary: "Now both Teacher and Substitute have shown up and I am confused."
Me: "You're not the only one."

After all was said and done, we came to the conclusion that Teacher had talked to Supervising Teacher after she had talked to Me, so she had made the final decision to come in to work instead of being absent that day. But of course she doesn't let me know. Talk about frustrating! I talked to Substitute and explained the situation and offered her a half-day pay for showing up (twice). Luckily, she was understanding about the situation. Sometimes this job makes me want to scream profanities . . . and, unfortunately, there are days like today when I give in to the urge.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Did I mention that this was my fantasy football opponent:

Yeah, that's right. I lost to a not-quite-one-year-old. But he does look pretty tough, doesn't he?

Ok, maybe he doesn't always look tough. In fact, sometimes he looks just plain goofy . . . But he sure does know his lineman stance. If he wasn't so darn little, he'd make a good football center. Hike, hike!

Yeah, he is a vicious opponent! If you don't watch out, he'll rip you to shreds with his own sharp teeth!

So, Bentley - congratulations on the win. I feel sorry for your next fantasy football victim.

The curse continues!

Week one of the fantasy playoffs is wrapping up, and it looks like my curse of never winning a first-round playoff game is going to continue. I had my best game of the season, scoring 97 points (one of the 10 best point totals for all 12 teams spanning the entire season), which would have beaten any other team in the tournament this week, . . . except the team that I happened to be playing (they scored 102 points). So the curse continues. I kind of feel like the Boston Red Sox right now. I just hope it doesn't take me 100 years to break this curse.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

10 years later . . . a hell of a deal!

A little over ten years ago in July 1996, I was at my job loading and unloading grain trucks in Acequia, Idaho, when I got a call from my dad at home in Declo.

"Chris, I am just calling you to let you know that your mission call came in the mail this afternoon and will be waiting for you to open when you get home."

This was at about 2 in the afternoon and I had to work until 8pm that night. What torture to be working that long wondering where I was going to be asked to serve as a missionary, when I would leave, and what else was contained in that envelope. I called the girl I was dating at the time and told her to call all of our friends and have them meet at my house for the big opening of the mission call (I do not recommend that course of action, by the way). When I got of work, I began the long half-hour drive home. With my mind racing, I raced home eagerly . . . apparently a little too eagerly. About three miles from my house I was pulled over and given a ticket for speeding.

At that time in my life, getting a ticket wasn't a novelty. I had been pulled over for speeding before. In addition, I had been issued tickets for a number of other violations: inattentive driving, left of center, driving on a closed road, etc. And that doesn't even take in to account all the times I got off with just a warning. In fact, a month or so later, I received a letter in mail basically saying that if I got one more traffic violation, my license would be revoked. And since you are required to send a copy of your driving record to the church before reporting for your mission, I was pretty sure that I was going to be walking and riding a bike for most of my mission. But that was not the case. I spent a total of 2 months on foot, 2 months on a bike, and 20 months in a car. Of those 20 months, I was the driver for 18 months.

But since that fateful day in July, 1996, I have had a clean driving record. I may have been pulled over a time or two, but I have not received another ticket during that long time period . . . until yesterday. On my way home from work (having left work a little earlier than usual), I turned east from 200 East onto 400 North and proceeded normally. A little while later, I look in my rear-view mirror to see the flashing lights of a police motorcycle behind me. A looked at my speed, which wasn't excessive, and pulled over a little confused. The conversation proceeded as follows:

Officer: Good afternoon. Do you have any idea why I pulled you over?

Me: No, not really.

Officer: Do you know what the speed limit is?

Me: 40?

Officer: Well . . . do you know how fast you were going?

Me: Um . . . 40?

Officer: I clocked you at 38. The problem is that you just came out of a school zone during the posted school zone time. The speed limit in the school zone is 20.

Having left work a little early, I neglected to remember that I would be driving home during the approximate time that school would be letting out at the nearby elementary school. I apologized and explained my situation. He nodded understandably and asked for my license, insurance, and registration. After handing him the requested items, he returned to his motorcycle and I was left to ponder the fact that my fate was completely in his hands. Did he believe me when I told him my story? And if so, does he even care? He's just going to issue a warning, isn't he?

The longer he stayed at his motorcycle, the less hope I had of getting off with a warning. In my former days, I had learned that the time an officer spends back at their vehicle is directly proportionate to the likelihood of getting a ticket. Then I started thinking the worst. Is it more of a fine for speeding in a school zone? I was going 18 miles over the school zone limit. That probably has quite the hefty cost attached to it.

Then I see him approaching the car. He hands back my license and registration and then proceeded: Mr. Hartwell, I am giving you a hell of a deal today. First of all, I am giving you a ticket for speeding. But I am just issuing the citation for 9 miles over the speed limit, and I am just issuing it as a normal speeding ticket. Speeding in a school zone, especially 18 miles over the speed limit, can really do some damage to your insurance. So I am going easy on you because I really believe that it was unintentional. In addition, I have checked the box for wearing your seatbelt, which will give you a $10 discount on your ticket.

I have no idea how much the ticket is. I have to contact the court in "no less than 5 and no more than 14 days" to find out. I would rather just pay it and forget about it.

I guess I should be happy that I got off easy, but I was a little disappointed. I used to go back and forth with Deidra about our driving skills. She heard about my previous driving record, so she would give me a hard time about being a bad driver, saying that she has never received a ticket. In response, I would counter by saying that, even though I received a number of tickets when I was younger, I had not received a ticket since long before she even started driving. Well, so much for that argument! I guess she wins.

Yeah, it's really a hell of a deal.

Stories of note from the Christmas party

Deidra went through the basics of our recent ward Christmas party, but as she has delegated it to me to tell a funny story or two from that night, I don't want to let her down:

1. We sat eating dinner with a couple of other couples from our ward. The conversation eventually came to Christmas and getting presents for your spouse. One particular husband got really excited and smiled from ear to ear as he told about how he had the greatest present that he had purchased for his wife and that she was going to be so surprised and excited when she opened it at Christmas. His wife smiled and nodded in support and seemed genuinely to be anticipating this wonderful present. But when the husband left the table to refill his drink, she turned to us and whispered in a rushed, serious tone: "I found my present the other day. He had left it in the trunk of the car and I accidentally came upon it. So I took it out of the trunk and hid it in a spot where he might think that he had hid it. So I don't even know if he knows where it is right now. I think I saw him searching for it recently. But don't tell him I found it - it would break his heart if he knew I found it." It was so funny! Deidra and I (and the third couple at our table) were chuckling hysterically and had to get our chortles under control before her husband returned to the table.

2. During the Newlywed Game that Deidra was discussing on her blog, the most hilarious moment came when we first asked the wives what their husbands most annoying habit was. One wife responded: "He's going to kill me for saying this, but I would have to say that it is when he clips his toenails and leaves them on the floor." Which is kind of nasty in and of itself. But when we had the husbands return to the room and it came time for them to answer the question, her husband replied: "She would probably say my most annoying habit is leaving things lying around." My response: "Well, kind of . . ." to which there was a little laughter from the audience. His wife was muttering to him: "You're going to kill me when you hear what I said." I was about to tell him specifically what she said when he loudly proclaimed: "Oh, I know what she said! She said it's annoying when I leave my snot rags around everywhere." This elicited a roaring laugh from the audience, as well as from Deidra and me. It took us a while to regain composure. So beware of offering too much information to your friends and peers. Now we know two of his worst habits. Let's hope there's not many more. :-)