Wednesday, September 30, 2015
I made the rounds to the Cannon, Russell, and Hart Congressional Office Buildings this week. I wanted to register a concern about an incident in Lawtey Florida regarding a speedtrap and an inappropriate comment made by the police officer. My first stop was to Representative Ted Yoho's Office. It was the easiest to reach as it is right next store to the Library of Congress. The three staff were pleasant enough, told me they would make some calls to the district in question, took my personal information, were aware of some of the problems, said they would get back to me, and asked if I would like something to drink midway through - but all discussed in an open space for everyone to hear. Grade? B+. After work I walked over to the Russell Building to Marco Rubio's Office. The young man was very professional, was surprised about what I was telling him, recorded my personal information, also said he would follow up, at least seemed interested, concerned & apologetic, we had a more private interchange but still in an open space for others to overhear. Grade? A-. Then I made my way over to Bill Nelson's Office in the Hart Building. Four staff were standing around, and no other customers were present. They told me the issue should be taken up with the local district, didn't seem concerned or interested - especially when the content of the message was known, didn't say they would get back to me until I asked them to respond. In general, it was a very awkward exchange. Grade? D. I sent follow up emails to the Senator's Offices, but could not leave one at the House Office because I do not live in Florida. Now let's see how long it takes and who actually responds. More to come.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
While on a roadtrip to Florida last week, we were on highway 301 passing through Bradford County. We ended up with a traffic ticket in a well known speedtrap in Lawtey. If that wasn't bad enough, after handing us the citation, the police officer noted we were from DC and asked us - "you're not a senator or anything - are you?" Upon returning to DC I decided to inform Florida local and national elected officials about two issues: a speedtrap (which by the way the Internet is full of stories about it along with the neighboring city of Hampton that was cited for corruption for this very thing) and if there are different outcomes for elected officials. I was embarrassed and outraged by both of these practices. So I walked over to Florida Rep Yoho's office in the Cannon building, and after work made my way to Senator Rubio and Nelson's offices in the Russell and Hart office buildings on Capitol Hill. The same story was told, I left my personal contact information, and requested an investigation in to the matter to help us understand why these practices are tolerated. When I returned home I also wrote follow up emails to both Senators, and sent the same letter to state Rep Van Zant and state Senator Bradley. Now let's see who responds to this query first. Tomorrow I'll tell you which office staff on Capitol Hill was most and least impressive.
Monday, September 28, 2015
Going to work is difficult enough on Monday morning, but even more difficult after being off a week. We were in Florida visiting my mom, and it feels like I've been away a year. This year marks my fortieth year of full time work - thirty-one in health care - and nine as a civil servant. I used to have to get up for the 7 AM first shift while managing nursing units, then it moved to 8 in admin jobs. In the federal government there is flex scheduling that allows for a window of about 6:30-9:30 to begin a shift. I first started coming in for 9:00, but changed that to 8:00 when I worked nine hour shifts. Now that I work part time, I started coming in at 6:30 - because I love leaving at 3 PM! Even though I really dislike getting up so early - it's really not my nature- I like having a longer afternoon and can handle it for three days instead of five. Now the Library is starting to allow telework. I used to telework in Milwaukee one day every two weeks. But since it's easier to just walk a block or two, I'd rather just go to work. The place is so empty on a Monday and early morning. But I don't mind one bit.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Since my dad passed away in June, we made our first trip back to Florida to visit my mom to see how things were going. Here in DC, there are no Polish restaurants. In Rockville, there is a Polish grocery store. In Milwaukee, there were not only Polish restaurants, but grocery stores too. My mom's dad owned a grocery store, and they were very Polish. So whenever we go to Florida, we take her to the Polish deli to load up on kielbasa, pickles, veal loaf and kishka, along with cakes or breads, or whatever else she may like. A few of the housewares were not working, so we also stopped at Target to get a can opener, toaster, and extra coffee pot, along with some other stuff for the house. It seemed strange that this time we didn't have anything to do for my dad, as all the last many visits always did. It seems my mom is doing quite well for her age and her outlook is bright in spite of her physical disabilities. We even found some shoes on line and ordered up a pair, and we took her to the doctor to get a flu shot and fill out some papers. It is difficult to live far away at times like this, but we are glad we are able to get around and spend time with her. She is a real inspiration. Maybe it has something to do with being Polish!
Saturday, September 26, 2015
My grandfather had a grocery store. My mom worked every day in it. They got married on the Fourth of July because Saturday was a work day. Here in DC there is a huge market that has everything from soup to nuts - and our favorite cheese. We don't go there very often, but it is within walking distance. Because we were low on groceries, the Pope was in town, and parking was at a premium, we walked over to pick up a few things. It was very pleasant to wander around and check the goods - just like in the old days. We had our reuse able bags and filled them with fruit, cheese, and vegetables. Even before we moved here we liked it. It's a bit more expensive but every once in awhile it's a great outing. It's been around since Thomas Jefferson's time and withstood fires and who knows what else. Not everyone can boast about an historic grocery store. Eastern Market is one of those.
Friday, September 25, 2015
We haven't driven long distances at night for quite some time. But since we wanted to avoid the DC Pope traffic and congestion, we decided to return home from Florida a day early and do all the driving at once. Somewhere in Virginia, we stopped for a final tank full of fuel, and noticed that we were about to reach the 100,000 mile milestone on our 2004 Subaru Forester. To celebrate, we picked up a Cinnabon - which we haven't had for many, many years - and gobbled some of it down. Somehow it didn't taste right and required a microwave zap, which we didn't have. Traveling towards Richmond the mileage number changed. Such drama! We made it back to DC by 2:30 AM and found a parking space pretty close to home - a great time to arrive in town. We have never seen the freeway so wide open with so few cars. In the end we probably saved a couple of hours just in avoiding traffic alone. It's nice to know we could do it if we had to, but it's taken us a couple days to get back on schedule. I think I prefer the take your time approach - even if it means sitting in traffic.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Whenever there is a celebrity in town, we try to get a glimpse of them if they are in our neighborhood. And so it was this morning. We usually walk on the mall in the morning when I am off. Today was a bit more difficult to navigate because all the streets were blocked off, and we did not have tickets for the main event. So we followed the crowd towards the first gate opening, and took a seat on a bench near the Air and Space Museum. It wasn't at all crowded there, and the big screens were up so we could watch the goings on. There was also a climate change event going on at the same time, which was quite noisy and clashing with the pope's message from congress and the view from the west lawn of the Capitol afterwards. We didn't see the motorcade when we went home, and it was quite uneventful actually. We came back to DC from our Florida trip a day early to avoid the mess and the crowds. For some reason, this didn't seem as bad as they made it sound. Now I'm hoping for things to get back on schedule, although this was an interesting attraction.