Journal Entry: October 14, 2008

Friday was my Regular Day Off, and yesterday was Columbus Day (which, for some reason, Federal employees get as a holiday). I was home both days, and I was busy, so here’s a long catch-up post for you.

Thursday night I went down to Norman to hang out with Toby and do some programming. He’d actually called me while I was driving up to Julie’s wedding the weekend before to ask if I was free, and Thursday night was the earliest we could actually manage.

He’s been working on a game all by his lonesome, and he took the opportunity to show me what he’d managed. I was impressed. I may join in, after the family writer’s conference this weekend, if I can find a spare minute here or there. On the other hand, I might just renew my own solo programming project, because it’s been nagging at me lately.

We wrapped up the programming talk around 9:30, and I realized with some surprise that even with the forty-five minute drive home, I was going to be getting in at a reasonable hour. So I suggested we watch an episode of a show he’d recently mentioned (Venture Brothers) and which I had checked out a year earlier but mostly skipped over. It was hilarious, so we watched three. Then we sat in the living room talking for another hour, and it was 11:40 when I finally left the house.

I was exhausted on the drive home, and dreading my early morning on Friday, and honestly not paying a ton of attention. I missed the exit that would have taken me west to Hefner Parkway, but I was able to just stick with Broadway Extension north to Hefner, and take that west to our house.

About a mile away from home, I drifted into the right lane anticipating my turn, then noticed as I did so that a cop had someone pulled over in that lane up ahead, so I drifted back into the left lane — no hurry. A moment later, blue and red lights flashed in my rearview.

I pulled over, desperately hoping this guy wanted to go assist the stop up ahead, but no such luck. This eighteen-year-old walks up to my window and asks if I know why he pulled me over, and I perfectly honestly answered him, “No.” He said I’d changed lanes without signaling (and at that late hour, I know that that had probably said to them, “drunk driver,” especially since I immediately changed lanes back — must have looked exactly like swerving).

So, okay, I caught a bad break. I wasn’t driving drunk — hadn’t had a drink in a week — so no big deal. Nobody’s going to write me an actual ticket for failing to signal. Then I realize this fresh-faced kid has a superior riding along for training, and I realize it’s probably going to happen after all. Second time in as many years I get pulled over by a cop in training. Last time I got stuck with a “10 miles or less over the speed limit” for driving 29 in a 25, and I have strictly observed the posted speed limit (no matter how stupid) ever since.

Anyway, by some strange turn of events I had an expired insurance card (another offense that caught me by surprise), and he generously wrote me a ticket on that instead of the lane change (which would have been a $172 fine). All I had to do for the insurance ticket was show proof of insurance at the court house and it would be dismissed.

So, after a thirty-minute stop, he finally let me go, and I drove extra-careful the half mile left to my house. I dropped my keys and citation on the kitchen table, stumbled to my room, and fell into bed with a mumbled account of the event to T– (who was too asleep to care). It was after 1:30 by then.

Then, just as I was about to drift off to sleep, I hear a thunderous pounding on the front door, enough to send me sitting bolt upright. I said to T–, “Can you think of a single good reason for me to answer that?” I was thinking someone with a broken down car was looking for assistance, and I didn’t want to open my house to a stranger at this time of night. I glanced out the window and saw a glowing tail light.

Then the doorbell rang, and I realized if I didn’t answer the door, the bell would probably keep ringing until AB woke up screaming. Anyone who is willing to ring a doorbell at 1:30 in the morning is willing to do it repeatedly. About the same time, T– was looking out the window and she said, “You know, I think that may be a cop car.”

So I went to the front door, yanked it open, and found that same fresh-faced cop with an idiot grin on his face. He said, all embarrassed, “Y’know, I lied to you when I said your copy of the ticket was in the envelope. I forgot to give it to you.” And he held it out to me, still grinning like this was the funniest thing in the world. At the end of the walk, by the corner of our garage, I saw his superior peeking around the corner, watching everything.

I took the slip, and closed the door. I turned the lock with a loud, “Thunk!” as my only sort of protest, and went back to bed. Ugh.

Then on Friday, even though it was my RDO, I went in for a few hours in the morning because of an irregularity with my timesheet (something to do with my travel hours the week before). Whatever. I got done around 11:00, but before that Toby called to tell me he had my laptop — I had taken it in when I got to his house on Thursday, but never cracked the case, and forgot all about it.

So we met for lunch in Moore, at the Freddy’s by the new Warren theater. We had a good lunch, then I headed home the same way I’d gone the night before, stopping this time at the Byron’s to pick up some liquor for the evening’s festivities.

Then I got home and spent a while negotiating with the State Farm website (and finally exchanging emails with my agent) to get a copy of my proof of insurance, so I could take care of the ticket. Even though it was a “Fix It” ticket, I had to take care of it within 48 hours or I’d have been stuck with $88 in court costs.

So I finally got the forms, printed them out, then drove downtown and found the courthouse, and by the time that was done it was 5-ish, so my day off was over and done. T– was busy for the evening, taking AB to a pumpkin patch for pictures, so I had K– and Jeff over for some Rock Band. We played with the music up loud until T– got home around 9:00, then we turned it down to something reasonable and played on until after midnight.

Saturday morning we headed over to K– and N–‘s place at 11:00 for the OU/Texas game, grabbing some Taco Bell on the way. The game was fantastic. We lost, but the game was an incredible one. If I’d been able to believe the polls would treat OU fairly (which they did, by some miracle), I would have had a great time just watching a fierce contest. As it was, though, I was in a pretty bad mood to see the loss.

Then we spent the afternoon helping K– and N– rearrange the furniture in a couple rooms so they could set up a nursery. We accomplished a lot in a short time, and then N– served us all some delicious chili by way of thanks.

T– and I left right after supper, because AB was ready for bed. I was also expected Toby to come up and try out Rock Band, as we had arranged over lunch on Friday, but he had to cancel. That worked out okay, though, because on the drive home from K– and N–‘s, B– called to ask if I wanted to come over and watch the guys from MST3K riff on 300. I called D– to join me, and we went over to do that.

And, as I so often do at B–‘s place, I drank heavily. The movie was hilarious, and we stayed up way, way too late afterward talking and enjoying each other’s company. Then D– drove me home, and I fell into bed around 3 in the morning. I didn’t make it to church on Sunday.

I slept until noon, then took care of some chores during the early afternoon, and dedicated my later afternoon to watching a heartbreaking Cowboys game with a much more terrible aftermath than the OU loss. Romo is out for four weeks with a broken finger, and we’ve lost our (phenomenal) punter for the rest of the season. Also, our team looked terrible, so even without the injuries, it was a bad day.

We watched some Get Smart to lighten the mood, and played some Rock Band, and it was an okay evening.

Then, as I said, Monday was a holiday, so I had it off. I spent most of the day working on clerical chores in my office. T– and I watched some Get Smart, and I watched some Venture Brothers, and I played Rock Band with T– and tried to teach AB how to drum, and it was a day that kind of just faded past, but pleasantly.

Then in the evening D– brought us some Mazzios for dinner, and we watched Chuck and How I Met Your Mother and Heroes, and then I got to bed early, because I was exhausted.

That’s my long weekend. Apart from the football, it was a good one.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

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