Posts Tagged ‘shuttle bus’

Jury Duty, My Nemesis

November 28, 2016

Since it’s been 18 months and zero days since my last jury duty, the flimsy white postcard arrived in the mail as scheduled announcing my day(s) off from homeschooling! Yay!

It’s that weird season between Thanksgiving and Christmas when most homeschool mamas are torn between math and cocoa with whipped cream. Grammar and Elf. History and fuzzy socks and a snuggly blanket and a good Christmas storybook. Turning on the heater or playing wii Dance 2 for P.E.

Needless to say, I wasn’t super disappointed to be leaving my children unattended for a day or three. (This will be our little secret, k?) My remaining offspring are 13 and 18 and fully self-reliant… with eating and staying alive. Not so resilient with doing school work unsupervised, but hey, it’s December. (Well in three days it’s December, but close enough to already have Christmas cheer!) And lying cozy and warm in your bed reading a fantastic book for hours IS school! Yep!

The day started off with a BANG! From the short walk from the shuttle bus to the front of the court house, I crossed paths with a very angry black woman who spewed, “White supremacists!” to me and my fellow non-assuming, white, middle-aged, minding-our-own-business jurors. Her words literally shocked me. My mouth dropped open. Turning to the lady walking right behind me I shared, “I have never been called that before!” She hadn’t either. Wow! I felt sorry for the name-calling woman. To harbor that much anger must make life horrible! I thought of singing Christmas carols to bring up the Christmas cheer but she walked off too rapidly for my first tune to commence. Joy to the World would have been top of my chart.

Being a returning expert to jury duty, I arrived on time. Signed in and got my sticker badge. Most of my morning was spent reading two months of text messages and trying to figure out who was the other texter. I lost all my contacts on my phone except those who left text messages… but they were nameless numbers. For two hours I READ texts from September 26 to November 28 and tried to remember who I had that conversation with followed by typing in every blinking name. When would I have had time to do that if not for jury duty? Thank you, Madison Court House!

Finally I sat working at a desk until my name was announced. Dang it. I have heard rumors of people getting the notice and sitting in the waiting area ALL DAY. Think of it! ALL DAY pretty much alone to read or look up papier mache Christmas ornaments on Pinterest or make grocery lists or doodle or nap or knit. Sugary bliss! But no.

My juror number this time, out of 40, was 2. Not good. The chances of numbers 30-40 getting selected, in my vast experience, are slim to none. But I was hopeful of being dismissed just by my explanation of what my husband does for work. The trial involved police, so I was sure to mention that Rick flies for Department of Public Safety… the governor, SWAT teams, prisoner transfers and photography… and has for worked for the State of AZ for 17 years. (So the 17 years didn’t always include DPS but I could have clarified if needed.)

This is not my first jury rodeo! (It’s my second.) So I had a much firmer grasp on my emotions as fellow jurors gave feeble attempts at being excused. There was no rolling of my eyes. There were no bursts of laughter like last time. I didn’t even snicker when an elderly gentleman raised his hand and urgently told the judge, “I have to go to the bathroom so bad I can’t think straight!”

The process of jury selection was much quicker this time around and there weren’t sob stories of abuse that we had to endure, thankfully. We returned from lunch and nine jurors were selected just like that. No questioning of any of us from the attorneys. Two minutes after lunch, the rest of us received our Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card. BAM! Civic service done! Bring on the eggnog!

December 2016 I will look for my $23 fuel reimbursement check in the mailbox!

May 2018 I will look for the little, flimsy white postcard in the mailbox announcing my next half day off!  Whoo Hoooo!

Grand Canyon Travel Advisory!

June 7, 2013

grand canyon

Yes, I’m here as your valued travel adviser having returned from the grandest of canyons a mere three hours past.  Here are my Top Eleven-and-a-half Suggestions for visiting the Grand Canyon National Park in Northern Arizona (brought to you by Hershey’s smooth milk chocolate bars):

11.  Hold onto small children around the rim.  There are not railings everywhere…. I mean, come on… it’s 277 miles long on EACH side.  Safety first, people.  The guide told us that 12 people die each year from falling in.  WHAT?  Yep.

10.  Take your camera.  This may seem like a DUH!, but I didn’t have one with me as ours landed on the ground too many times.  My friend brought hers and hopefully she will share her pictures!

9.  Engage those around you.  We met delightful people from Utah, South Africa, Maine, Germany, Pennsylvania, South Korea, South Carolina, India, China and even California!  There were plenty of elderly folks who love to chat.  They asked to see our paintings, asked to take a picture of my drawings, asked if all these kids were mine and visited about lovely information of their experiences from their homelands.

8.  Stay until sunset at least once.  The colors are unbelievable, incomprehensible, and awesome!

7.  Plan an extra hour for every event you want to attend if you are taking the free shuttles.  Yes, they are free.  No gimmicks.  The only place in the USA where FREE isn’t a catch word for “sucker”. Thank you, U.S. Government, for providing free shuttles in the park.  At the beginning of the week, I thought the bus drivers were grouchy and mean.  After four days of witnessing what they go through with wild American kids that can’t sit in a seat for the love of God, and ALL the lovely foreigners who just needed more help with the maps, the schedules, the standing-in-the-white-space-by-the-door law, the back door and front door loading and unloading rules, the no eating and no drinking rules and the back-away-from-the-curb-when-bus-is-approaching guideline….. I realized I would probably be grouchy too, or supremely sarcastic, which is usually over foreigners’ heads and would cause MORE confusion.

6.  Go inside Kolb’s Studio.  Downstairs they still play the original moving pictures that the Kolb Brothers showed to visitors in the 1930s.  The artwork in the studio is outstanding!  Well worth the time, it’s air conditioned and the historic photos are the BEST of these two renegades, even at the age of 93!

kolb

5 1/2.  Drive all the way to Desert View Point and climb the smelly tower all the way to the top.  The views of the Colorado are supreme.

desert view tower

5.  Bring your own food from home.  And solid blocks of ice, if you are camping.  Prices inside the park are astronomical….. seriously from outer space. A 2 litre pop was almost $4.  If you are coming from Northern Alberta, that is a reasonable price, I understand.  But you can go to Walmart in Flagstaff and fill up on 2l pop for $.99 each on your way.  One trip I purchased 1 bag of charcoal, 2 bags of ice, a lemonade, a greeting card and 2 packs of gum….. guess how much….. go ahead….. guess…… higher…… higher….. yes, $30.26.

4.  Camp!  Ok, I know you hotel-cushies just rolled your eyes and I lost ya, but seriously, to stay at least four days and not spend your children’s college funds, camping is the way to go.  You will never forget the stars in the night sky!!!  Amazing!  No bugs.  Hot showers.  Or rent an RV and use the microwave.  Be somewhat cushy.  The camp sites are only $18 per night.  The CHEAPEST room in a lodge on the rim is $169 per night/low season/2 people.  Or stay at a motel outside the park and use the free shuttle every day.

3.  Carry your own lunch.  This is from experience, people.  Take responsibility and pack in your own food.  Mine “accidentally” got set down at a shuttle stop somewhere… and I had to beg for 1/2 sandwiches from my sons.  Some lucky soul is now carrying a bright yellow lunch sack with Linda Crosby written across the bottom.  If you see him/her, please tell them you read my blog.  It looks exactly like this:

yellow lunch sack

2.  Plan at least 4 – 5 days to see everything.  There is SO MUCH to see!  We stayed five days and I still didn’t get to tour the insides of the historical buildings or hike down a bit of Bright Angel trail (you know, just to say “Yeah, I’ve hiked Bright Angel.”)

and the NUMBER ONE Suggestion for visiting the Grand Canyon is….. (drum roll, please)…. WEAR SUNSCREEN!  Learn from my mistakes, people.  And take it from me, if you think your facial make-up has sunscreen, you may be fooling yourself.  Mine used to… and stopped including it without my knowledge…. and my face got toasty roasty… but not as bad as my red v-neck burn.  Say no to skin cancer and wear sunscreen…. waterproof sunscreen, because you will sweat.