Friday, December 26, 2008

Unwrapping Rage!

We had to get the "big gun" out!

Wordless Friday - Ready for Snow!

This guy is already for snow. However our forecast is for the 60s today and 70s tomorow. (It went down to 3 degrees several nights ago!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Even the Trees Are Bundled Up!

MTM - Christmas in Kentucky

Even the Town Clock and the County Court House are ready!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

E-Z Pass Caper - Chapter 2

Yesterday the citations came in the mail. Four citations in three envelopes. (It is nice to see that the State of New Jersey is trying to save money on paper and postage.) Now remember I had already been charged $30 by some agency that works with Hertz for them to send my name and address to New Jersey.

The citations each had a picture of the back of my rental car going through the toll I had not paid, due to the EZ-Pass not being recorded. The tolls not paid total $5.75. They also wanted $75 in administrative fees. Thank God two violations came on one form other wise they would have wanted $100 in fees!

As I had fire coming out my ears about the $75 on top of the $30 I had already paid, I turned the pages over to look at the possibilities for disputing these fees. After all I had acted in good faith in assuming that the E-Z pass was recorded. I was VERY relieved to find that there was a provision for E-Z Pass Customers to have the administrative fees waived. I just had to give them my account number and transponder number. I also had to promise to contact my E-Z Pass Customer Service Center and add the plate number of the offending car to my account. Right! Like I am ever going to rent that exact same car again.

Bottom line: $5.75 in tolls could have become $110.75, but wound up being only $35.75!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Constable Training - Update

The training continues and I am close to being able to write citations. In my first post on training I said that I needed to get a Citation Book from "Frankfort". I first spoke to the administrative sergeant at the nearby post of the Kentucky State Police (KSP). That led to speaking to EIGHT people at KSP. I finally got a supply order form where I could order a case of 20 books! That would be 500 citations, which seemed overkill for someone doing only parking enforcement in a city of 8,000. I was finally able to get two citation books from the Constable Association. They came with an instruction sheet, a whole book of accident investigation forms, a book of forms for the Governor's Seat Belt Program and some other stuff that I am sure might be useful. I also picked up a pad of instructions on how to prepay a citation from the very helpful people at the Circuit Court Clerk's office.

To write a citation, you need a special number, called an ORI number. The one assigned to me was "inactive", so someone at KSP sent an email to the FBI to get it activated. I got confirmation on this within just a few days.

I had ordered a cap online with CONSTABLE printed on it. It arrived and I found out the Large/ Extra Large was too small for my big head. I returned it for credit and got one made at EmroiderMe. I picked up the new cap this past Monday.

On Wednesday, the Sergeant at the city police department was kind enough to give me a "citation writing" lesson. He covered what to put in each box on the form and what to do with the FIVE copies of the citation. In this lesson I found out that even for a parking citation I must put down the registered owner's (that's RO in police talk) name and address. In order to get this information I would need a contract with KSP so they can "run" plates for me. This lead to another call to the helpful administrative sergeant who told me that I needed to contact my county dispatch office and talk to the "Terminal Agency Coordinator" (or TAC officer, as I later found out.) Of course the TAC officer was not available, but I was told that if I had my ORI number, they could put me right in the system. I gave them the number, which did not show up as "active". So I faxed them my confirmation letter and I am waiting to hear back from them.

On Thursday I went to the Sheriff's office and had my picture taken for my ID. Everyone there was very helpful and got to meet the Sheriff. So now I can write citations, but only if the offender gives me his credentials and does not run away!

I'll write an update after I actually write my first citation. I'll also let you know the fees I can collect for these activities.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Snowing--No School!

Well actually I am well past my schooldays and in fact most schools are in session. However, as some of you know, Junosmom and I work at the church thrift shop on Tuesday afternoon. I just got a phone call that, due to the weather, the shop will be closed today!

I hardly know what I'll do with this extra time. I am sure Junosmom has lots of things to fill the void. As a mother of home schooled children do you think she gives them the day off when public schools are closed?

Monday, December 15, 2008

MTM - The Deliverers

In my town these are the people who really deliver:

Billy is what has become a vanishing type of Letter Carrier. She delivers along Main Street. She has only four stops where she just drives her truck up to a roadside rural mailbox. The rest of her route is done on foot. In the historic areas of town she actually walks up to the mailboxes that are near your front door. For businesses, she walks into the store to deliver and also picks up any out going mail. She always has a smile and a hello!

Burrell delivers along Main Street. He also delivers to my home where he is greeted by our nine pond dog. She jumps about half-way up the door as he approaches. He lovingly calls her "Killer". If I have a package that needs a signature, he knows where to find me on Main St.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Will I Laugh or Cry?

I hope that my experience with the installation of this is much better than Junosmom's!

The Dental Hygiene Caper

My periodontist has always suggested using an electric toothbrush. I have been using a Braun Oral B for years. It is the type that recharges its batteries when you put it back on its stand.

Things went fine for many years. I even remembered to change the brush occasionally, but I am sure it was way later than recommended. Then the proverbial sh*t hit the fan! The damn think would not turn OFF! I found that it would turn off if you put it back on its charger. Otherwise it ran all the time.

The greatest challenge was to put the toothpaste onto the brush. You know “the hitting the moving object challenge”. But, as I am an engineer, and know about centrifugal force this task was somewhat easily mastered. So the only inconvenience was after I rinsed off the brush and went to put it back onto its stand. Centrifugal force was still at work, flinging little drops of water all over the place, including the bottom of the mirror. This brought unkind comments from my significant other. I do not even want to know what the cleaning person thought.

So I broke down and went to StuffMart. For about $20 I got a new brush. Peace once again reigns in our household. I still wonder if that brush is still running in the trash can, as it was running when I threw it in there. If you are at landfill and hear a toothbrush running, you will know it is mine.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

EZ (?) Pass Caper: Chapter 1

EZ Pass is an automated toll collection system used widely in the northeast (where they have a LOT of toll roads). A device on your windshield emits a low frequency signal to an antenna in the tollbooth. As I now live in Kentucky, I do not use my EZ Pass often but did take it with me in September for a vacation trip to NY, CT and PA. I did not “glue” it to the windshield of the Hertz car. I just had my co-pilot hold it up to the windshield as we went through tolls.

Yesterday I got an innocuous looking letter from a “Processing Center”. The envelope was not even sealed! The letter said that when I rented from Hertz I agreed to let this “Center” supply my information to any agency that had issued a CITATION for the car I rented. They enclosed an invoice for $30 for their services. Even worse, Hertz gave them my credit card number and the “Center” had already billed me.

Further investigation revealed that I had been issued four citations by the State of New Jersey for “Toll Violations”. I checked my EZ Pass statement. While five tolls had been charged during the rental period, the ones in question had not.

I believe that the four “Violations” were for tolls of $0.35 each.

I also think that they were not at tollbooths but rather toll collection stations that have a huge, tall “gantry” above the roadway. You drive through these gantries at a speed of up to 50 MPH. It appears that these devices did not receive the signal form my EZ Pass transponder.

I sent an email to the NJ Turnpike Authority last night, but suspect that I’ll need to wait until I get the citations in the mail before they can do anything.

So now the score is: Tolls not paid” $1.40; Expense "incurred” $30.

To be continued....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

MTM- Street Signs

These two street signs are at the same intersection. There are several other roads in My Town that are sometimes called "Streets" and sometime called "Avenues". I've always wondered why this is.

A Simpler Solution?

Junosmom seems to be getting all the commode press with her I'll have to laugh or I'll cry post. We also had a toilet seat problem. However we opted for a much simpler solution:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dirty or Clean?

It probably does not make much of a difference as in our home the rule is to wash the dishes BEFORE you put them in the dishwasher!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Chuck’s Constable Corner

It is just one month since I was elected constable. In my last Constable post I mentioned that I needed to get a citation book from “Frankfort”, the state capitol. It is now 21 days since I started trying to find out where to get this book.

I contacted the Kentucky Constables Association via email and got a quick response. They had some at their executive director’s office in Louisville, just call for some. A call to this office was answered by the association’s president. He told me to call someone else who could meet me at the office, however this gentleman was sick and evidently not yet recovered, as a message on his cell phone has not been returned.

I was also told that I could order a book through the state police. Two days ago I spoke to EIGHT people in the state police. I was finally faxed an order form. I wanted ONE citation book and an instruction manual. However the form only listed a CASE of TWENTY citation books. I faxed the order back to State Police Supply, with a note asking them to please only send ONE book. Now I sit waiting to see what the UPS man will bring me!

Along the way to finding a citation book, I was told that I need an ORI#. This number is part of a crime reporting system. You can’t write a citation without one. I quickly found the number assigned to my position via a Google search. However a few days later I got a call from the “computer room” at the state police. The ORI# I found was correct but inactive. No problem! He would send an email to the FBI to activate it under my name. This should take “just a few days.”

So here I SIT. I guess a constable without a citation book (and an ORI#) is like a physician without a prescription pad! But he wants to cure sick people. I just want to enforce parking regulations. It looks like the violators will get a break for a little while longer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

“Come to Your Home” Salespeople

My sister left a comment on my "MTM - a Small Town Insurance Agency" blog. She commented about the insurance guy who came to our home. That put me in mind of several other salespeople who came also.
First there were the bread guys. One was from Bond Bread and I think the other had Silvercup Bread. They each came two days a week, so you had four chances to buy bread, cupcakes, crullers, doughnuts, pies, etc. They would park the truck on the street and then come to the door with a basketful of stuff.
Then there was the egg lady. I don’t remember how often she came, but I do remember that she drove a pickup truck. A woman driving was rare back then, let alone a woman driving a pickup truck!
The milkman came several times a week. Of course he come so early that he was never seen. He knew your regular order, but if you wanted to change it, just leave a note in one of the glass empties hew would pickup.
A less frequent visitor was the “rag man”. His first visits were with his horse and buggy. He purchase used clothing and then I think branched out into other items (or was that the junk man?)
Another man came to sharpen knives and scissors. He had a pushcart that had his sharpening wheel mounted on it. He used “peddle power” to turn the wheel.
If someone needed a new pair of shoes: just call Johnny the shoe man. He knew everyone in the homes shoe size. Tell him what kind of shoe and he would show up with a box or two of shoes in your size and maybe one size below and one above. He brought shoes in different styles and different colors.

Of course we did go out to some stores, but that is another blog!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

We call this a "Crime Scene" at our house. would you believe a nine pound dog did all this?

Monday, November 24, 2008

MTM - a Small Town Insurance Agency

Over the last several weeks I have dealt with a small insurance agency in my town. They remind me of the first insurance agent I dealt with, about fifty years ago. This was of course the one my parents had dealt with. When I got my first automobile policy his advise was that I should never make a left turn. It was better to go around the block and make three right turns!

Back to the agent in my town: I don't think they own even a typewriter let alone a computer. The few documents they have sent me were hand written. They also do not have a postage machine. They use stamps. It is just nice to have this touch of nostalgia.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Picky, Picky

The other day when I bought in the mail, I noticed that three envelopes had been returned, as they did not have stamps on them. You see DW has this system for paying her bills, all of which are credit card payments for her shopping excursions and online purchases. She writes the check, puts it in an envelope and writes the date to be mailed on the outside.

As a good DH I put stamps on the envelopes and posted them at the post office so that they would not be further delayed. When I told DW what had happened she said that the post office was so picky!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Furnace that did not Roar (for me)

I woke up and felt the cold in the bedroom. A quick look at the travel alarm told me that the inside temperature was 61! A look at the time that is projected onto the ceiling told me that the outside temperature was 28! I quickly reached the conclusion that DW was "cold" when the A/C was on and closed the furnace vents in the bedroom. I went to the kitchen to confront DW. A quick look at the digital room temperature thermometer told me that the kitchen indoor temperature was 60! It is a good thing that I saw the kitchen temperature before initiating the confrontation/accusation of DW.

So like a good husband, I called the Heating & Air Conditioning guy. It was 9AM. He would be out "this afternoon". He said of course he would make every effort to get out to us as soon as possible. At least he was willing to take my cell number so I could run "downtown" to the coffee shop and for lunch and not miss missing this guy.

Next we decided to turn on the gas fireplace so that at least the dog has a warm spot to nap. The fireplace did not go on by flipping the wall switch. However a search yielded the manual. DW found a switch under the front grill of the fireplace that when turned did ignite the fireplace.

The HVAC technician comes about 4:30PM and turns up the thermostat to about 100 and says, "yep it's not running". He goes up and down the stairs to the furnace room and out to his truck several times. Then he reports that he went to the furnace, turned the switch on the furnace off and then on and the furnace worked fine! Unfortunately the electronics on the furnace did not store the "error code". If we have this problem again during the night we are to cycle the switch on the front of the furnace. If it happens in the day, call them and ask for Scott to come back. Do you want to bet that it will happen again on Thanksgiving or Christmas and that the switch cycling won't do a thing?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Constable In Training

I was sworn in as a constable on November 14, 2008. I have quickly found out that there is no "Constable's Manual". Sen. Dan Seum has filed a bill in the Kentucky State Senate

"to require the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council, in cooperation with the Department of Criminal Justice Training and the Kentucky Constable Association, to develop a qualification program for constables and deputy constables and to require the basic forty (40) hour training course to be provided to constables and deputy constables at no cost." However with the current budget crisis I don't have much hope of this bill passing any time soon.

I thought that I would get to serve my first civil summons today. However, since I was also one of the complainants, I was advised that I should not serve it. So I paid $38.48 to have the Circuit Court's office serve it on four people via registered mail. The alternate would have been to have the sheriff serve it for $160.

While at the Circuit Court office I got a quick lesson in issuing citations for say, traffic violations or parking violations. Who knew that for many traffic violations, the fine is only $20 but the court costs are an additional $143? For improper parking there is no court costs. For handicapped parking violations there are also no court costs, but the fine is $250!

There is a uniform citation system in Kentucky but you have to get the forms from someplace in Frankfort and must file a copy of any citation written with the clerk's office.

And so it goes...

My First Blog

Junosmom talked me into staring my own Blog. So here it is! I have no idea what I will blog about or how often I'll blog, but I hope the readers will enjoy it.