Thursday, September 29, 2005

Stupid Prank Phone Callers

I hate stupid people who think they can call 911 over and over again and think they can get away with it. For the last two days we had a young male calling into the center almost constantly. He called several times yesterday but today he really went to town. He started about 8:30 am and did not stop. He took a few breaks but mostly it went on all day. He called and told us he was making prank phone calls and he did not plan on stopping.

The prank caller kept dialing in on a cell phone that could only call 911. It was not registered to anyone so it could not be traced. We knew in what general area he was calling from using cell tower locations his cell phone hit every time he called. At one point we were pretty sure he was in an airplane because he went from Fort Pierce to Port St Lucie in a matter of minutes. Stranger things have happened so Karen our supervisor actually called the airport tower. They had no planes up in that area. We discussed the possibilities of UFO's and little green annoying men.

As far as technology goes, our 911 center is having problems with our mapping system we just purchased for the phase 2 wireless upgrade. When it works properly it will give us the location of a wireless phone within several hundred feet but currently it was not working at all. So all we could do was try to tolerate his calls. Anyway, we put up with this punk all day. Sometimes we talked to him trying to bait him, insulted his intelligence, hung up or just let that particular line ring unanswered. It was a long day.

Then Dave arrived!! He works part time and came in for several hours to cover a supervisor’s workshop that my supervisor and I had to attend. While we were absent from the center Dave befriended this young man managed to get his name and date of birth. Dave is a saint and a miracle worker. He was able to find this mans drivers license with his current address on it through DHSMV. By quitting time, police officers where on their way to this incredibly stupid mans house to arrest him. I am sorry I had to go home. I missed all the fun.

He will be the second person arrested in 2 weeks for violating Florida Statute against making harassing phone calls or making a false report to 911 in St Lucie County. This is becoming a large problem at our center. We get phone calls daily from kids playing on the phone and/or people just sitting on their cell phones. I can’t wait until our mapping program works properly. When all 911 centers are finally wireless phase two compliant, it will just be a matter of time before dispatchers all over the country will rise up and finally be able to put an end to the harassment we all receive on a daily basis from adults and children who have nothing better to do then tie up the lines of 911. December 31, 2005 is just around the corner and I can’t wait.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Big Hair Bands Destroyed the Ozone Layer

We sit here at work watching the news on T.V. and listening to a local Houston radio station on the internet keeping track of the damage that Rita has caused. We reminisce about Francis and Jeanne and the compare the similarities to Katrina and Rita. I mentioned the fact that the storms are possibly a natural phenomenon that occur every 35 to 40 or it could be the fact that we are losing our ozone layer and the earth is heating up. We could debate this all day.

Pier (the SO dispatcher) has come to the conclussion that 80's Hair Bands are at fault. We all used massive amounts of hair spray in the 80's and 90's. Rave 3 seems to be the hair spray of preference. All those cans of hairspray we used punched a hole in our ozone layer thus causing massive deadly hurricanes in the 2000s.

We went even further and went back 35 - 40 years to the Aqua Net revolution. There was an increase in hurricane activity in the mid sixties. Auquasol was invented in the mid 1950's.
Makes you want to go hmmmmmmmm.

We had a good laugh.... Gosh if it was only that simple...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

President Beth of SOMS Student Council

I picked Beth up from the bus stop yesterday, she looked upset. I wasn’t sure if she was trying to put one over on me or if she was truly unhappy. I avoided "the" question and asked her how her day was, how much home work she had and if anything interesting happen today. She told me nothing on all counts. About halfway home she looks at me and starts laughing and tells me see can not hide it from me anymore. She won. Her class cheered when the results were read. I was so thrilled for her. Her father was wandering around in the front yard when we pulled into the driveway. He was so funny; he didn’t even let her get out of the car before he was interrogating her. He gave her a big hug. She is so happy.

Now for the hard part, today she was sent to the Deans office because there is a rumor going around school that Beth said tomorrow was a half day Friday and no one had to conform to the dress code. Poor Beth…… Not even President for a day and the rumors are already flying. Not to mention the fact that a boy approached her in the lunchroom and told her she better get the dress code dropped or else. She seems to be taking all this in stride not upset or concerned which is good. We told her she needs to sit down this weekend and outline all her ideas for the dress code and future dances. She needs to get these issues out of the way and worked out with Mrs C. before they get anymore out of hand. I hope its not already too late.

Anybody want to lay odds on how soon Fred will be back at the school defending his daughters honor?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hurricane Rita : An Open Letter to the Houston Area

Rita, she's coming your way. My advice is leave if you can, Cat 4 or higher means evacuate.
Go to a safe place, don’t stay if you don’t have to and pack only those things you can not replace or will need while you are gone. Pictures, birth certificates, insurance forms, deeds, ect...............

You can not take pets to shelters. Crate them and leave. Don’t wait until the last minute to decide to leave. Leave now travel at night or very early in the morning. For some reason people wait until the last minute and then run, everyone taking the same roads out of town and trying to find hotel rooms. Go now stay with friends or relatives when it’s all over then go home. The same mess will be there regardless, the difference is you will still be safe and alive.

If you do decide to stay you will experience many hours of raw terror. I packed my travel trailer with pets and children and left for Francis. I stayed and was awed but Jeanne. I don’t remember being so scared or so memorized. I sat up with the children and listened to it rage all night. We spent several hours in the dark in the hallway listening for changes in the roar of the wind hoping I could tell if a tornado approached. Jeanne was only a Cat. 2, afterwards we surved the damage to our temperary home which thank God wasn’t much we ended up with a leak in the roof, the fence fell over again and a large tree limb fell on the travel trailer damaging it. Jeanne finished off many damaged homes that Francis had not completely destroyed, this included my own home.

NE side of Houston is probably safer than most of the city but why risk it. Even though you won’t get storm surge the flooding will be bad. The wind will take down your fence and most trees. Trees are a great buffer from the wind but I have seen so many fall onto houses. Tornadoes will spawn, roofs will come off and house will be totaled. Not pretty.

If you stay against my advice stock up. Fill your pantry with water and canned goods. Buy ice a lot of ice, batteries, portable radio and candles. Make sure you have a corded phone. Cordless phone will not work with out electricity but it is amazing how often phone lines will work when nothing else will. Walkie Talkies work well. Buy a generator now. Fill your gas tank and gas containers. Don’t forget to fill your bathtubs with water you will need it to flush if water service is turned off. Also be aware with flooding your sewer may back up and will make life very unpleasant and odorous. DO NOT CALL your Utilities or 911 if you are backed up then so is everybody else.

If you stay in your home seek shelter in an interior room like a large pantry, closet hallway or bathroom. Make sure you keep a flash light and a radio close to you. A mattress makes good cover if your roof decides to blow away and its also better than sleeping on the floor if your roof manages to stay attached to your home. Be prepared for the worse make sure you have a plan if you have to leave your shelter to seek a new one. Getting to know your neighbors is not a bad idea at this point. Give them a WT if they dont have one you can keep track of each other during the storm and help each other if you need to.

Be prepared, if Rita misses that’s OK you’re prepared for the next time or you will be very generous during can food drives. My kids loaded up the box at Thanksgiving.
Go to the FEMA site now and print anything you might need. Insurance will not cover everything but there are low interest loans that can be applied for. The Red Cross is very generous and will also help. If you have that paperwork now it will be easier later. Visit your Emergency Management web site they always have good information they will also have locations for shelter sites. Know which radio channels to listen to for information when cell phones and regular phones don’t work radio is the only way people know what is going on. People with phones will bombard 911 and Police lines with questions when they just need to listen to the radio.

If you absolutely can not leave and don’t feel safe at home, go to a shelter. If you are special needs call your Emergency Management Office Now! Do not wait until tomorrow it maybe to late. Texas has 2 maybe 3 days to move people before the storm strikes. It will take that long or longer to get these people moved into suitable shelters. Remember to bring food and water and refill your medication your Doctor will understand if you need an early refill. Let your family know where you are going. Emergency phone lines will be swamped by people looking for loved ones. Keep some cash with you. Some stores may reopen quickly but I can guarantee the banks wont.

St Lucie County had no casualties during our 2 storms. We had a few casualties afterwards; many falling from roofs or other clean up related injuries. Many older folks passed on from just the stress in general. We did have some minor looting including the incident in Port St Lucie when the Mayor ordered City workers to break into Publix for water and supplies. St Lucie Co itself had water, ice and MRE’s supplied to residents in days including the City of PSL. Ice was scarce those first 2 days but after that it was plentiful. My point is our community was prepared and even though there were a few issues they were solved as quickly as possible. We worked together as a community to overcome difficulty. Good communications between City, County, and State is a must, only then will it work between State and Federal.

I’m sure there is more I could pass on but these are just a few things I remember being so important at the time. I am praying for Galveston and Houston, praying the storm goes further south several hundred miles. Stay safe I will be watching the radar.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

My Girls

St Louis Casino Queen: Beth, V & Erin Posted by Picasa
I was playing with photo editor these are my
girls last year on vacation. The one in the
middle is my parttime daughter.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Children do have Civil Rights

The last three days have not been pleasant. I discovered the possiblity that my daughters 1st Amendment Rights were violated. Last night Fred and I searched the internet, studying case law involving children and their rights. Beth's civil rights were not only violated but trampled on.
We actually considered calling the ACLU. It was a brief thought but it was there. We decided that Fred would go to the school today and talk to the principal and see if we could work this out. Beth was refusing to do her speech over again and Mrs C would not leave her name on the ballet if she continued to refuse. We were at an impasse.

Fred had to wait until this afternoon to speak to Mrs. C, she had a family emergency this morning. They were finally able to sit down and talk, and they were able to work out an agreement we all could live with. Mrs. C apoligized to Beth for interupting her speech and embarrassing her in front of the entire school. Mrs. C agreed to go in front of the school on Monday to explain what had happened and then allow all three canidates for President to reread their speeches. However she still insisted that Beth's opening sentence was inappropriate, we will let her have that one. Beth is not allowed to every say the word "sucks" on T.V. again. Both Beth and Fred were satisfied with the out come, disaster avoided, we can all breathe easy again.

Thought for the day. Why isnt "respeech" a word.

Finished Chapter 6 today at work, infact I am writing from work.... another 16 hour day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Near Riot

My daughter almost started a riot today at school. She is an 8th grade middle school student running for Student Council Class President and today she tried to make her speech. I wasn’t paying total attention to her as she worked on her speech but when she stood up and presented it to us last night I really didn’t hear anything that I thought was questionable in fact early in the evening as I listened to her practice I encouraged her to tone it down a bit she was a little to spirited and after all its just 8th grade. She started out with the dress code which if you are a 12-13 yoa it sucks. I can relate. She went on to discuss school dances and after school activities. I thought it was a good speech and thought nothing more of it.

When she came home this afternoon my first question was how did her speech go. She told me the principal rushed out of her office and did not let her finish her speech. Beth was very vague about their conversation other than Mrs. C offered to let her do her speech again tomorrow which Beth told her she didn’t want to she was upset. However on her way back to her class everyone congratulated her and told her she was the one they were going to vote for. She was happy about that but still puzzled by her principals reaction.

About 5pm, I received a call from the Mrs. C about Beth’s speech. She was upset and I can understand her side as and adult and a parent. Her main issue was Beth’s introduction apparently it went something like “THE SCHOOL DRESS CODE SUCKS!” and she went on to say that she was going to try to have dress down Fridays and half days. She was just starting into the part of her speech about school dances when they pulled the plug on her. She was on live circuit T.V. that was presented through out the entire school, so much for a 2 second delay.

Apparently it wasn’t just Mrs. C that was upset but several other teachers came to her later on and told her that Beth’s speech caused quite a disturbance in some of the classes, “near riot” were the words she described. Infact she thought twice about even calling me at all. Mrs.C likes Beth, she has nothing but praises for her. She knows she is very spirited and passionate. She is opinionated and has a bad habit of telling you exactly how she feels. (I don’t know where she gets that from!). I agreed and she knows we have raised her to be that way. But Mrs. C kept stressing how her speech was inappropriate and how important the dress code is for the safety of the school children. However I have seen the reports from the the SRO’s at that school and dress code is the least of their worries. She made the comment that she felt she may have to take her name off the ballot and I let her know if she did it would crush Beth. This was very important to her and she worked hard on her speech her posters and her ideas. I am hoping it will not come to that.

I spoke to Beth and she was upset that Mrs. C would even think of pulling her name, so I suggested she give the speech again but this time outlining all the other good ideas she had, but she dose not want to do it again. It was live T.V. and she was nervous and scared and just dose not want to go through that again. I then suggested she go to Mrs. C in the morning and apologize and assure Mrs C. she was just trying to be different. Beth agreed. It would be easier to apologize than have to get in front of live T.V. again. I hated having to ask her to do it but we are talking about a school system that encourages free thinking and free speech as long as it falls with in the proper educational guide lines.

I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I work Too Much

It was a very long weekend. I thought it would never end. I worked 12 hour shifts Friday and Saturday and a 15- hour shift yesterday. Sunday was a long day but we all brought in food and ate lunch in. I cooked a ham and Starr brought baking potatoes and we had green bean casserole and Katherine made her pumpkin dessert. I love the people I work with they are great but I was really starting to hate people in general by 9pm last night. I was so thankful when my supervisor finally kicked me out around 9:30. I was home by 10 and in bed by 11 and I can’t believe that I am already up and moving around at 6 a m. Fred’s alarm should be going off soon but right now it is nice. The house is quiet, my daughter’s rats were running around their cage but even they have settled down. I haven’t seen the dogs yet they must be still a sleep in Erin’s room. They are usually standing by the back sliding door just a soon as they see me. This is nice.

Fred and our neighbor Eric were busy Saturday. They cut down 6 of the 8 citrus trees in the yard. Fred let my keep the tangerine and the old grape fruit. The only reason he kept the grapefruit is because it holds a 500lb stag horn on it and it also blocks the view of our neighbor’s back yard from our pool. I had another stag horn on one of the dead trees but they cut that tree down and ended up dragging the stag horn to the curb as garbage. I almost had a cow but I found it a new home with Karen. Her husband came and looked at it then showed up later that evening with a trailer. H e has an oak that is big enough to hold it. It made me feel much better knowing it has a good home. The back yard looks so bare.

All the trees Fred and Eric cut down were old, dieing and/or no longer producing fruit. We plan on replacing them this spring with an oak, tangelo, key lime, peach, apple and a magnolia. Magnolia in the front yard and oak to replace bottlebrush lost in last years hurricanes. We found a nursery in Georgia that sells an apple that grows in Florida so we decided to try. I also found blackberries, raspberries and blueberries that can tolerate the heat of south Florida. I can’t wait for spring next year.

I brought my laptop to work yesterday and I was able to work on Chapter 3. I am hoping to have it completed today. The girl’s cleaned up the house yesterday so there is not too much cleaning to do around the house. I will give them extra hugs this morning. I need to get in the garage it’s a mess. I need to finish painting Erin’s dresser. I need to paint the living room. I need to do so many things. We lost our home last year to Hurricane Francis. Basically we took the insurance money a bought an older home and literally gave the other one away. I love my new home it is much bigger and has a pool. I have a pool guy and a lawn guy but I really need a maid and a handyman.

Uhg…… much to do so little time to play WOW.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hurricane Ophelia

Hurricane Ophelia sits off our coast, I have been watching it all day. See I knew it would be a hurricane by this afternoon. Now we get to see which way it is going to go. It hasn’t rained much today but it is gloomy and drizzling a little. It just seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Fingers still crossed.

Today is my only day off this week. I went to a CJIS Region 4 meeting in Orlando yesterday and it was informative and I did learn a few things. Pete our IT guy was also there and we beat him up over our DAVID Certificates and how they are constantly erased from our computer terminals. The meeting was held at the Orange County Sheriff’s office. It is a huge building and security was tight but there were plenty of people to guide us through the building. Karen, Marie and I went in the County vehicle and we made Karen drive. Marie and I claimed she had the most seniority. We had a good time. We don’t get to talk that much at work on day shift it is just too hectic and the phones are always ringing or someone always needs something. We talked all the way there, during the meeting and all the way back. I was home by 4 pm but it pretty much ruined my chance of getting too much done at home. We decided it was pizza night. Yeah!!! I was in bed by 8:30 p.m. I was wiped out. Have I mentioned I work too much?

I was up early this morning and I started playing WOW. I played until 6:45 a.m., got the girls up, I got dressed and took them to school. I played a little more until Fred got up. Fred is my husband of 15 years lucky guy. We watched a little T.V. together and talked. No kids around yeah!!!! When my son Warren came home from his morning class, he and his father took off for Vero to shop. Fred finally conned me into letting him buy a new monitor, a 19 inch flat panel that he has been drooling over for a while. He is so spoiled. Anyway they left so I played WOW until I died then swept the floor and started laundry. Then I played WOW until I died then I cleaned my room and bathroom. Then I played WOW until I died then I cleaned the Kitchen. This was basically my day until Fred and Warren came home. I think I have had my fill of WOW today but I am still doing laundry and now the kids are bothering me about what’s for dinner.

This is a typical day off for me and I wonder why I never get anything done then just basic house work. I have Microsoft Word up and running and my manuscript is there but I just have not felt like writing today maybe this evening after dinner.

Oh Shit! I forget to clean off the back patio. I let the dogs out there this afternoon and they left presents for me. And I have to get my daughter Beth to make Brownies for work tomorrow. She is selling baked goods to help pay for her band trip next year and the girls want brownies again. Maybe I won’t get any writing done tonight after all.

TS Ophelia

Now Ophelia sits off our Coastline, it will be a hurricane by tonight. It hasn't decide which direction it wants to go and that scares me. It has rained for the last 2 days and we have had some minor road flooding and lots of standing water. I just love mosquitos. Hopefully Ophelia will head out to sea with Nate and Maria. I have my fingers crossed.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hurricane Katrina


What can I say, she was the mother of all storms. She missed Fort Pierce, thank God, but we felt the feeder bands days after. What a monster. I have been watching T.V. almost non stop and I cry a lot. At work I have to turn off the T.V. because I find myself becoming angry listening to the pathetic people who call 911 over the most trivial annoyances. We survived 2 hurricanes last year. Francis and Jeanne made a mess and we are still repairing and rebuilding, but neither can hold a candle to Katrina. We suffered no casualties. The deaths from this storm will be counted in the thousands. Just in Gulfport alone the count is unbelievable.

We have a radio team that left last Wednesday and arrived Friday morning. They were lucky they made it, there was no gas to be found anywhere west of Pensacola. They will be there for a week setting up the portable radio trailer and trying to get radio communications back up. We sent 3 men up there and they are miserable. When we do hear from them they describe total destruction and they told us there are still many dead that are trapped in the rubble of there homes, there ran out of body bags days ago and had to request more. There are refrigerator trailers set up to receive the dead. I can’t bear to repeat how many are already full.

My husband volunteered to go but they have decided to send officers that are single and have no children. I am relieved in a way. I do not know what kind of man would return to me after witnessing so much destruction. I pray every day for the people who are still suffering. I can not imagine the horror they have been through. Fort Pierce had a small taste of what mother nature can bring to mankind and I pray that hurricane season passes quickly this year. I hold my breathe and wait.