Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Keystone Cops Morning

I had a Keystone Cops morning today.

You know - the kind of morning where everything you touch goes to crap - instantly.

I managed to get up without resorting to the use of the snooze button this morning. That should have been my first warning sign of impending doom. I breezed through showering and shaving without drowning myself or slicing my face off. I got dressed and went out to the kitchen to get some breakfast. This is where the Dawn Gods decided to have some fun at my expense.

Breakfast is supposed to be a pretty simple process. Pour the cereal in the bowl, add milk, pour juice in the glass, get 2-3 glucosamine /chondroitin tablets out of the bottle, add one multiple vitamin to the pile, sit down, eat the cereal, swallow the pills with aid of the juice in between spoonfuls of cereal. When the bowl and glass are empty, place them in the sink. Brush your teeth, get in the truck and go to work.

Most mornings even a diehard non-morning person like me can manage this process without screwing it up - usually. Heck there have been mornings where I swear I have made it through the entire process without even opening my eyes, except for the driving to work part. I try and keep my eyes open for that.

Not today! This morning the breakfast process was a little different.

I poured some cereal in a bowl. Changed my mind and poured it back into the box. Picked a different cereal and poured it into the bowl. Then I stopped and pick up Chaos’s science paper that is lying on the counter, flipped to the back page to see what kind of grade she got. (It was an A for anyone who is interested) I got my pills out of the bottles and laid them on the counter next to the bowl of cereal. Then I hugged and kissed my dear wife good bye as she and my darling children headed out the door. I poured milk on the cereal. Walked into the living room and changed the TV from whatever mindless cartoon was on to the Fox News Channel. Then I stood there and read the scrawl at the bottom of the screen for a few minutes. (Remember, there is now milk on my cereal). I walked back into the kitchen and got glass out of the cupboard and the juice out of the refrigerator. I set them both down on the counter and walk out into the den. I plugged my iPod into the computer so the podcasts could update. Going back into the kitchen, I poured the juice into the glass and put the pitcher back into the refrigerator. I stopped for a moment to check out the calendar hanging on the door to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Then I walked into the living room and turned on the computer so I could check my email. Now, back into the kitchen and grab the bowl of soggy cereal, the pile of pills, and the glass of juice and headed over to my chair in the living room to sit down in front of the TV to eat breakfast. Discovering that I was missing a spoon I set down the bowl and glass, got up and walked back into the kitchen. (I don’t know why I bothered the cereal was soggy enough to drink at this point.) Back at my chair in the living room I sat down and reached over to open Thunderbird on the computer. No e-mail, bummer! Next, I open up Firebird and click over to Curmudgeonly and Skeptical hoping for a morning laugh. I picked up the bowl of mush and took a bite, then set it back down and grabbed the pills and juice instead. Then it was back into the kitchen to swap the three multi-vitamins and the one glucosamine tablet for three glucosamine and one multi-vitamin. Once I was back in the living room, sitting down and checking a couple different blogs while taking my medicine like a good boy – without a spoon full of sugar. While swallowing the last pill when I look at the piles of papers spread on the floor at my feet. TAXES! I hate taxes! Hauling my sorry old rear up out of the chair I stomp back into the den, open up Quicken on the computer there to find how much tax I paid on our cabin last year. I scribble the number on a piece of paper and carry it back into the living room and transfer the number onto a piece of paper lying on top of the nearest stack. Fially I grab the bowl of mush and drink the contents. I barely avoid the temptation to spit the last of it on the tax forms arrayed around my feet. Then its back into the den to get the car registration forms out of the filing cabinet and add them to the taxes paid pile. Wash the mush taste out of my mouth with the last of the juice. Stare at Fox News for another minute. Finally grab the bowl and glass and carry them into the kitchen and put them in the sink. Walk back into the den and unplug the iPod then put it in my hat on the kitchen counter with my badge and sunglasses so I won’t leave without them. Then back over to my chair and pick up the spoon I left laying there. A moment or two to kneel down and separate the two piles of papers I had just kicked into one pile by not lifting my feet up high enough.

I take my spoon down the hall with me to the bedroom/bathroom to brush my teeth. Since I am now running late, I decided to try and catch up. So while brushing my teeth I walk around the corner and pick up my wallet and put it in my pocket, then back into the bathroom to spit. Around the corner into the bedroom put flash drive, chapstick and knife in my pockets then back into the bathroom to spit and rinse.

Half way down the hall, patting my pockets and taking inventory I turn around and go back into the bathroom to pick up my keys and handkerchief and the spoon that is lying on the counter next to the sink.

Finally I grab my hat, iPod, coat, book and PDA. Then in a flash I’m out the door, into the truck and backing out the driveway while carefully looking behind me to make sure I don’t knock over the trashcan (Don’t ask…). Trashcan? Where’s the trashcan? Why it’s in the backyard right next by the garage door. Where it belongs, except on Tuesday mornings when it belongs out at the curb. So I pull back into the driveway. I hop out of the truck, open the gate and grab the trashcan. Halfway to the curb I realize that the trash can is not full. Great! I have a pile of stuff in the garage that I’ve been saving for days like this. So I grab a couple arms full of junk and top the can off. Then grab the full trashcan and roll it out to the curb. Then I go back into the house and turn off the TV and the computer. Turn off the light, lock the door and get back into the truck. I back down the driveway being careful not to knock over the trashcan, which is really there this time. Then I stop the truck, put it in neutral and set the parking brake. Jump out and run back up the driveway to close the gate into the backyard.

OK, so I’m going to be late this morning. But that is manageable. I just work through a lunch, maybe late one night. If all else fails I can take some leave time. But I hate doing that just for a keystone cops morning.

I get about one mile from home when I get to the first four-way stop of the morning. I need to turn left. But there is a guy walking his dog across the street that I want to turn onto so I have to wait for him to clear the intersection. Right after I come to a complete stop two cars approach the intersection across from me. They are both intending to go straight through the intersection. I am waiting to turn left across their intended path. So there I sit with my turn signal on, and watching the pedestrian walk ssslllooowwwlllyyy across the street. In the back of my mind I start counting – one thousand one, one thousand two one thousand three… at one thousand seven the pedestrian stops while his dog sniffs something right in the crosswalk. I continue counting while wondering why the two morons who are waiting for me to cross the street won’t just go ahead and drive across the intersection. Neither I nor the slow pedestrian with the sniffing dog are in their intended path. One thousand eight, one thousand nine, one thousand ten, I can’t turn, the man and dog in the middle of the intersection would make really ugly hood ornaments. One thousand eleven, one thousand twelve, I point at the pedestrian, one thousand thirteen, I check that my turn signal in on, one thousand fourteen, I wave the other two cars to drive through the intersection. One thousand fifteen, they both look at me, one thousand sixteen, they both look at the pedestrian, who has finally started moving again - slowly. One thousand seventeen, one thousand eighteen another car pulls up to the intersection on my right. But I don’t worry about him, he has to wait for the slow pedestrian and me, and both the other cars. One thousand nineteen, the pedestrian has just about cleared the traffic lane. He is still in the number two lane and has to cross the bike path, but he has cleared the number one lane that I need to pull into. So at one thousand twenty, I ease out on the clutch and enter the intersection when one of the cars opposite me jumps into the intersection. I can either claim my right of way and keep going into an inevitable collision or hit my brakes. Since the other moving car never hesitates I choose wisely and hit my brakes as they accelerate at a fairly high rate through the intersection. Then while this car still has me blocked from turning the remaining car opposite me also starts through the intersection - slowly. So I also have to wait for him to cross my path before continuing. While waiting in the intersection, the car that was on my right decides to also enter the intersection. He pulls into the middle of intersection but then has to slow down to avoid running over the pedestrian’s dog which has turned around and run the length of his leash back into the intersection. So we both sit there, him in the middle of the intersection, and me about one third of the way into the intersection, in a perfect position to T-bone the other car if I get any more impatient. I have quit counting at this point because I can’t count and call people all sorts of unprintable names at the same time. But finally the dog is pulled out of the street, both me and the other car managed to get through the intersection.

So I continue my Harold Lloyd’s wild adventure in getting to work. Tuesday’s are tight-wad-Tuesdays at my favorite espresso bar, Pony Espresso. Everything is 20% off. So I usually treat myself to a white chocolate cappuccino. As I approach the drive-through I realize that there are at least five cars in line on both sides of the building. Since I’m already running late, I decide not to be even later by sitting in line for another 15 minutes. So I drive right on past.

A couple minutes later I am turning north onto Sandquist Rd. approaching the guard check station to get onto the base where I work. I reach down onto the seat next to me for my badge. Badge? Badge? You know that plastic covered thing with the horrible picture of me on it that I need to get onto the base and that I am required to wear while at work. I quickly look around the seat, and then pat down my pockets. No badge! I swerve to the side of the road, stop the truck and do a through check of all my pockets. I distinctly remember taking the badge out of my hat along with everything else this morning. But it is not here with me now. So I wait for a break in traffic, pull a U-turn and head back home.

At home I find my badge lying on the kitchen counter, right were I laid it down when I took it out of my hat. So I grab the badge, run back out to my truck, back out of the driveway. Yes! The trashcan is still there, right where it belongs. I successfully navigate the various four-way stop signs and traffic lights on my journey back to work.

As I near Pony Espresso I notice that the lines on either side of the place are gone. Since I’m already late, and as a salaried professional I’m not likely to get into the same amount of trouble that I would get in as a minimum wage high school student for being late. (A long story for another time) I decide to grab my Tuesday morning treat. After all, with the morning I’ve had, I need it.

So I pull up behind the sole car at the drive up window. I wait less than a minute and the car ahead of me pulls away and I pull up to the window. The nice lady behind the window opens it and asks “Large White with cream?” Damn, I’m predictable. I smile and say “Yes, Thank You.” She tells me the total and I hand her my scrip card and buy 10 get one free card. She hands me my cup of sweet caffeine goodness. They must have seen me in line and started working ahead because it takes longer than a few seconds to make a large white chocolate with cream. But I’m not going to complain, I’m running late today!

With the drink still in my right hand I reach out with my left and retrieve my scrip and punch cards. I place them back in their cubbyhole on the dash and reach over to put my coffee in the drink holder hanging on the passenger door. I put my left hand on the steering wheel and let the truck start rolling away from the drive-up window. At this moment the reoccurring tendonitis in my right elbow decides to give me a little stab of pain and my fingers start losing their grip strength. In order to avoid spilling my Tuesday morning treat I squeeze the glass just a little harder. That is when the lid pops off the top of the glass just as I bump the glass into the edge of the cup holder and a couple ounces of hot cappuccino spurts out the top and onto my coat sleeve.

I stop the truck, grab the lid, stick it back on the cup, put the cup in the cup holder and then turn around and head back home to toss my jacket in the wash before the coffee stain on the sleeve becomes permanent.

I rush into the house and empty my coat pockets onto the dining room table. I toss the jacket into the washing machine. Then I grab my stuff off the table and head back out the door.

This trip to work seemed like déjà vu. I swear I had done it already today - twice. So for the second time this morning I’m slowing down on my approach to the Sandquist Road Guard station when I realize that I don’t have my badge – Again. I pulled over checked my pockets again. I checked under the seat, then pulled another U-turn and headed home.

Sure enough the badge was lying on the dining room table right where I had emptied my coat pockets. I grabbed the badge and headed out of the house – for the fourth time in an hour.

This time I actually made it all the way to work. So there I was sitting in front of my computer, cup of lukewarm white chocolate cappuccino at hand, too terrified to touch anything.


The Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady said...

Hehehehe. I've had days like that. Once, I actually threw in the towel and called in a personal day. Seemed dangerous to force the issue...

David said...

It will never take me four attempts to get to work again. Next time I have a day like that I will give up after the second or third try and stay home, in bed, reading a book, under the covers with a flashlight.