Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Milwaukee and AWS

Wow, so much to tell you…the weekend was a good one. I left work at 11:00 on Thursday and hit the road to Milwaukee at noon. Last year it took me 5.5 hours to get to MKE. This year it took me 7! Can I share with you how much I hate Indiana and the Chicago toll roads? I was barely in IN before I came to a complete stop – three lanes of highway traffic going nowhere. 30 minutes later all of a sudden we started moving got up to 35 mph without seeing a cause of our stoppage. By the time we saw the cop cars on the side of the highway we were doing the speed limit – which in IN on lovely three wide lanes of highway is 55 mph. Better to get money out of all those people just blowing through their sucky state on their way to better places. At one point the speed did go up to 65 mph. Wooo! Don't overdo it. And of course, toll roads? Dear God, but who thought this was a good idea? Sure, in theory the roads are better maintained because of all this money they're collecting, but I have to say that in the Chicago area that I-94 was in better condition when you left the toll area. My car felt like it was going to shake apart on their frickin' pay to drive road. And I have to give kudos to Ohio (something a Michigander rarely does) for doing something right. No, I didn't go through OH to get to MKE, but I drive OH's turnpike at least once a year on my way to Cleveland for the race. And they know how to run a toll road. When you get on, you get a little ticket. You tuck it into your visor and go along your way. When you reach your destination, you hand the little ticket and money to the person in the toll booth. MUCH MORE EFFICIENT than this stopping every three miles or whatever to throw dimes into a friggin' basket. Also, the OH turnpike has lovely "oases" for stopping to pee and get gas and food. The toll roads in IN and IL are lacking in this amenity. I had to pee when I got stopped in the IN traffic jam, but couldn't find a friggin' bathroom until Wisconsin. Sure, there was an "oasis" near O'Hare, but by that time my mindset was "JUST GET THE FUCK OUT OF CHICAGO." It took me more than an hour to get from one side of Chicago to the other. As a comparison, it took me a mere 5.25 hours to make the exact same drive in reverse on Sunday.

And when I finally got to my hotel they informed me that they did NOT have the exact room I had reserved (and already paid for). I could get a non-smoking room with ONE queen-sized bed. "Do you need two double beds?" Um, yes, that's why I asked for two double beds. It was the only room they had though, and they promised to bring in the roll-a-way, so I took it. Thankfully, after spending a night on the floor (since the rollaway bed was not what I would call in the least bit supportive) on the thin foam mattress, they had a room the next day and HRH QE1 and I were able to move into a two double bed room right across the hall.

The race weekend itself was wonderful, but race weekends generally are. Friday it was overcast and a tad chilly, but not as cold as 2003 when we damn near froze to death (40F). I lost the qualifying contest between HRH and myself. DAMN! I had to buy her a beer. After qualifying there was a two hour gap until ARCA qualifying (which we said we were going to watch), so we went down to the infield to hang with the YFDSers, which is a forum to which HRH and I both belong to discuss auto racing with like-minded folk. It was fun to meet people and put names and faces with forum names. I wouldn't have minded staying longer and meeting more people, but ARCA qualifying was about to start and those fuckers are just too damn loud to watch while standing right next to the track. We went to the stands and watched three cars qualify, whereupon I turned to RR and said, "I'm already bored with ARCA." To which she replied, "Me too." We both turned to HRH and told her and she said, "I've been bored." So, we bailed on the ARCA qualifying.

Saturday morning we were back at the track bright and early, to catch Champ Car's morning practice. And then we had a few hours to waste until the race actually started at noon CDT. The race itself was quite exciting. HRH was beside herself because fellow Canadian Paul Tracy (PFT) went from fifth to 2nd in the first turn and then caught Jimmy Vasser on the restart after Ryan Hunter-Reay's hard hit into the wall on lap 5. RHR was fine, but our safety team (best in the business) took their time and got him out of the race car very carefully since he had been complaining of neck pain. Thank God, Ryan just had severe bruising. PFT controlled the race from then on, but AJ Allmendinger (2nd year young American driver – everybody is so concerned about having American drivers) had a great run and was closing in on PFT when the race ended. Would AJ have been able to catch PFT if the race had gone on longer? Probably not, because as we say in racing, It's one thing to catch a driver, it's another thing to pass them. And PFT is not an easy person to pass. And for me, the highlight of the race was Oriol Servia coming in 3rd in his possibly on-off ride in the Newman/Haas car. For those of you unfamiliar with Champ Cars, the Newman in Newman/Haas is Paul Newman, he of the famous blue eyes and Oscar winning actor, as you can see from the picture of Oriol standing on the podium at Milwaukee.

I was quite happy with Oriol's podium finish as he finished ahead of N/H regular and 2004 Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais. If N/H does not keep Oriol in that car until Bruno is able to come back I'll be PISSED!!!

I know most of you have left by now as you're bored spitless by my Champ Car talk, but let's see…oh yeah!!!

As most of you know, I've been lucky enough to work four ten-hour days for the past two years. Well, that came to end starting June 1 thanks to the loser/fuckhead/dickweed/asshole/shitface/dipshit in the Oval Office. You know, Dubya/Shrub/Weed/incompetent moron and the OT bill he shoved through into law last year. You know the one that takes OT away from more people, but somehow managed to change my job classification to one that now is supposed to earn OT, but at my company you need to have all OT pre-approved (i.e., the week before, and you have to be 100% committed to very special projects to get it), so essentially, I'm now considered to be hourly (I was salary before June 1), so any time worked over 8 hours in a single day is considered OT and this all means that I’m no longer allowed to work four ten-hour days, under threat of termination. And trust me, there will be no OT in my future, so essentially I'm just screwed.

Now, I don't understand why HR and Dubya should care if I want to work ten hour days and enjoy a three day weekend every weekend, but they did and I no longer can. I know, some of you are thinking, "Like I care, I've never had the opportunity to work four tens, and had Friday off. Join the rest of the world, Kathleen." Yeah, I know, but it pisses me off that it was taken away for such a stupid reason. If my dept. had decided that they really needed me on Fridays that would be one thing, but since it's just a bureaucratic piece of crap ruling, I object. Not that it matters. So, I left yesterday at 2:00, went to the gym, and was home shortly after 4:00 p.m. and back to sitting outside to read my book (as it was cooler outside than it was in my sweatbox of an apt. – damn fucking black tar roof). And this means that unless I feel like bring my workout clothes to work with me and changing at the gym, showering and returning to work, that there is no more Friday lunchtime yoga for me. PISSER! I was really enjoying yoga. There's a Thursday 5:15 p.m. class that I can take, but that would mean going back to the gym getting done with my workout around 4:00 p.m. I guess I'll figure it out. *sigh*

I called my doctor last week because I need him to send in a new prescription for me and you know how hard it is actually to talk to a doctor. I forgot what the woman said to me, but I had to suggest to her that she take a message for me. She even said, "Oh, that's a good idea." I'm sorry, but you're the RECEPTIONIST!!! Why do I have suggest that you take a message? She was very nice, but really!!!! And then even though I explained things very succinctly, she didn't write everything down, so the doctor called me back with a question for clarification, but it was something I had told the receptionist at least twice. It's mind-boggling that there's a 7% unemployment rate in this state, but this woman has a job. I'm pretty sure there are other people out there who would know that the job description of RECEPTIONIST includes TAKING MESSAGES!

Ah well, I guess the important thing is that I'm going to get my preventive inhaler prescription in the mail in a few days – so I can start breathing a tad more easily.


At Tuesday, 07 June, 2005, Anonymous albannach said...

I would NEVER say a bad thing about Mr. Bowie. You are right. Mankind cannot get any better!

At Wednesday, 08 June, 2005, Blogger Jason said...

"the loser/fuckhead/dickweed/asshole/shitface/dipshit in the Oval Office. You know, Dubya/Shrub/Weed/incompetent moron" ...come on...tell us you really feel. ;) The description of Dubya is a little tame, for you, isn't it?


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