Monthly Archives: August 2016

Jury Duty…Why Not Me?

So jury duty. It is probably the one thing that most people fear and try to get out of, but not me. Nope, I want to get selected for jury duty. When you register to vote, you are eligible for selection for jury duty. I have always been fascinated by law and the judicial process. I wrote before that at one time I wanted to be a lawyer. In college, I took legal and criminal justice courses. One of my classes required us to sit in on open court cases as a part of the course work and write a paper on the different areas of the judicial process. I enjoyed watching the way things were presented and the back and forth between the lawyers and the judge.

One of my previous jobs was a very short stint working in the office of a county attorney in Kansas. You might wonder why it was a short stint and the answer would be that the pay was horrible and I became disillusioned. One day, I arrived at work to find a large box, approximately 3 feet high and 3 feet wide filled with the files of third or greater DUI and drug cases. This meant that each individual case in the box represented a person that had been arrested and charged for their third or more DUI (driving while intoxicated) or third or more drug offense. And there were hundreds of files in the box. I was told that I had to prepare letters stating that the County Attorney was declining to prosecute. The reason they weren’t prosecuted was that the statute of limitations had passed. Or in simple terms, the county attorney’s office had waited too long to go to trial.

The letter that went to the defendant, and the victim if there was one, was signed by the Assistant County Attorney. The letter that went to the police officer that made the arrest was to be signed by me. Once the letters went out, the office was overwhelmed by calls from the victims. We never heard from the defendants. And as for the police officers, well, they worked in the same building as we did, so they made personal visits to the office, angry and frustrated that they had done all the work and the people were not being prosecuted. I understood that their anger wasn’t really towards me, but I was bothered that the judicial process appeared to be broken. So I began looking for another job and left as soon as I could.

That experience didn’t stop me from wanting to be picked for jury duty. One day, several years later, I received my notice that I was selected for jury duty. In Kansas, you have to call the night before the date you are scheduled to appear and see if a trial is expected and you have to appear or if the trial is canceled and you don’t have to go. I called in and was told not to come. The same thing happened to my husband, so no jury duty for either of us.

When we moved to Maryland, we were registered to vote when we received our Maryland driver’s license. My son also registered to vote for the first time. And I waited to get selected for jury duty. After being here for about a year, I received a jury summons from the Federal Court in Kansas. Hmm…that meant a big case. A federal case and I now lived in Maryland. The directions said to go online to answer the jury questions. I couldn’t get past the first one, which asked which county in Kansas I lived in. The online form didn’t give you the option of “I no longer live in Kansas.” I had to mail in the form. One of the questions was how far do you live from the court house. My answer was 1,013 miles, one way. I received a letter back that it appeared that I lived too far to commute back and forth for a trial. They asked for a copy of my Maryland driver’s license and then excused me from appearing.

Last year, my husband received a summons for jury duty. He called the night before and was told that he had to appear the next day. He then spent most of the next day waiting with about 80 other people to see if they would be needed for a trial. He also spent most of the time sending me text after text of what he was going through and amusing stories of what was going on around him, mainly the people who were complaining about wasting their day. He ended up being release after 6 hours and getting $20 for his time. A few months later, my son received his summons, but was told not to come when he called. Yesterday, my husband brought in the mail and began swearing up a blue streak. Yep, he got called up for jury duty again for the second time in a year. As for me, I’m still waiting and waiting.

Happy 25th Anniversary

Anniversary

It’s Hard To Believe It’s Been 25 Years

I Love You More Everyday~~Thank You For The Memories We Make Together!!!

Oh No!!! He’s An East Coast Driver Now

I have always been an obey the rules kind of girl. And when it comes to driving, I pay attention to the speed limit. If it is 65 mph, I go 65 mph. I don’t go 75 or 80 mph. I stay in the right or middle lane and let those that want to speed go around me. Living in Kansas, the roads were not as congested as they are on the east coast and the drivers were better behaved. Moving here four years ago, I pretty much left the driving to my husband. I occasionally remind him that the speed limit is 30 not 35 and he smiles and tells me he is going 30 mph. He knows how I feel about speeding and always does the best he can to stay at the speed limit when I’m in the car. Do I think he does when I’m not around? No. But it is different when I am with him.

Traffic CongestionOr it was different. Once he began commuting farther for his job, he has adopted the east coast way of driving, which is scary. If you have any doubts about east coast driving being considered one of the worst in the country, you can read more here. Now, when I drive with him, I always make sure my seat belt is secured, there are no projectiles that may go flying if we have to suddenly stop and I find myself closing my eyes so I don’t see the speedometer. It seems that the only way to drive on the Beltway is defensively. Fast. And pray that someone is looking out for you as you try to get from Point A to Point B. 65 mph is 80 mph. Too fast for me, but apparently too slow for those hurtling down the highway around us. If you have five feet between you and the car in front of you, someone will take the opportunity to pull their 10 foot vehicle between you. Conversation is virtually impossible as words such as a&%hole and stupid f*#k are uttered quite frequently to describe the latest near miss as we attempt to navigate our way around town. I have learned what white knuckled truly means and have learned not to eat anything heavy for fear of getting sick if we will be in the car for longer than a few minutes.

But last weekend, when another car pulled out from a parking lot and apparently didn’t see the 4 cars in the lanes next to them and proceeded to aimlessly drive towards us, we were saved a serious accident thanks to the quick defensive driving of my newly crowned King of East Coast Driving husband that saved us and the people behind us from getting hurt. And let me tell you, if they had damaged my new car, they would have seen a 5’ 2” Italian, Scottish, English, French (and the numerous other ancestries in my background) woman bring a case of whoop a$$ down on them that they would never forget. And I have a picture of your license plate. Just saying. 🙂

Ahhh…The Sounds of Nature…When Did It Get So Loud

Growing up, my family lived in a large city for the first 14 years of my life. We always had our windows open in the spring and fall. I can remember waking up to the sounds of the birds singing and going to sleep to the sound of the crickets and locusts. I used to listen for the patterns in the sounds and wonder what they meant. Were they calling for their kids to wake up for school or to come home before it got dark out like my father did by whistling for us? When we moved 30 miles away to a much smaller and rural town, I didn’t notice a change in the sounds. We still had the birds and the crickets and the occasional squirrel who was hanging out around the big walnut tree on our corner, but that was it in terms of nature.

GatorWhen we lived in the south, especially Louisiana, we often were a little too close to nature for me. I remember reading through the information given to us by the military base housing office that told us to be on the lookout for snakes, which were usually poisonous, and armadillos, which could carry leprosy. I didn’t think I would have to worry about armadillos, but hmmm I was wrong. They loved the bulbs on rose bushes, so whenever we planted some, they would be pulled out of the ground by the next morning and the bulbs would be missing. When a neighbor mentioned that he had seen an armadillo tugging a rose bush down the street, we stopped planting roses. When we traveled around the state it wasn’t unusual to see signs that said “Alligator Crossing” and “Do Not Get Out of Your Car if You Break Down. “ Which really meant “Hey, you might get eaten by a gator if you get out of your car.” We even have pictures of a small river along the road and what looked like a piece of wood in the water.  It was actually the eyes of the gator watching the road. Okay, message received.

In Kansas, there were hundreds of deer that lived on the military base. Going into work in the morning, the deer would actually line up at the crosswalk and the guards at the gate would stop traffic to let the deer cross. It truly was a sight to see. The base was also a stop for Canadian geese and they would cross the road by the thousands several times a day to get from one pond to the other across the street. If you were late getting to work because of the geese, you wouldn’t be written up because it was normal. There was a little red fox that would come out of the woods at the end of our street hunting for food. One day, returning home from work we discovered the fox had dined on a bunny and left the remains scattered throughout our yard. Mmm okay. He needs to eat, just wish it wasn’t in my yard.

red_tail_hawk

(Not the same hawk, but you get the idea.)

In Maryland, we live close to the water. We have the Chesapeake Bay and at the end of our street, there is a section of a river that runs into the Bay. This is the closest that I have ever lived to water and it brings us even closer to nature. We have the usual birds such as the doves that sit on the chimney and coo for one another and the cardinals and blue jays that squawk back and forth and chase one another from one tree to the next.  But one of the sights that we often see are seagulls, hawks, blue herons and both bald and golden eagles.  These birds are huge, and while beautiful, they are also rather scary when they swoop down low in their search for food. And when they find it, you have to hope they won’t drop it, which was the case with the hawk that had a black snake in its claws and dropped it in the neighbor’s driveway. Yep. Right in the driveway. I watched from across the street and the snake slithered away, so the hawk missed out on dinner.

At the end of the street, where they are building new houses, I saw a wire in the road and drove around it. After I passed, I worried that someone might drive over it and it could puncture something under the car. I decided to toss it to the side of the road. I turned around and as I was driving back, I realized the wire was moving. Yep, the wire was another black snake about 5 feet long. At least it was going in opposite direction from my house. But still, too close for me.

At night, I have to keep an eye out for the frogs who somehow show up in our back yard. I don’t want our pug to think it is a food source, been there once and do not want to go there again…shudders at the memory…tries to think happy thoughts 🙂 Anyway, stepping out on the deck, the sounds of the night are almost overwhelming and just plain spooky. I’m glad I don’t know all of the animals and bugs making the sounds because I would be even more spooked, but when did things get so loud? You hear all of the crickets and locusts, but then you add in hundreds of frogs and who knows what else, and the noise level is unbelievable. It is unlike anything I have heard before. If the weather is cool and you want to sleep with your windows open, there is no way you can do so with the amount of noise you hear. And if you add in the steamy heat from the humidity and rain which often makes steam rise from the ground, it also looks like something out of a horror movie. Let’s just say I hurry the pug along on his evening potty trips and get back inside. I really don’t want to see a river monster (think 1950’s horror movies) making its way back to the water.

 

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