Federal Jury Duty - A classic case of hurry-up-and-wait, then go home.
A few months ago, I received a letter from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama saying that I was being "considered" to participate in a pool of jurors. The envelope also contained a survey that I was to fill out (fill-in-the-bubble-style) and mail back in. Always a studious and responsible citizen, I filled out the survey and promptly mailed it back. Then I forgot about it, until three months later, when they sent me a letter saying I had been "SUMMONED" for jury duty. This new letter also contained a survey. It also said that if I didn't return the survey and/or failed to report to the court house on my assigned date, that a warrant would be issued for my arrest. What do you think I did? You're damn right, I filled out that survey and mailed it off the very next day!
Man, I wish I had made a copy of it before I mailed it off. Some of the questions were pretty out there, for example: Do you or your spouse have any bumper stickers on your vehicle(s)? If yes, what do they say? My answer: Yes! I have two bumper stickers. One says "Mississippi State University Alumni" (hail state!) and the other says "I want to shine for you, I want to sparkle too." I wonder what they thought about that... (Although technically that bumper sticker is not on my current vehicle, it was on my previous vehicle. And the only reason its not on my current vehicle is because I can't find it again.)
So, here's my experience, in a nutshell:
- Monday, report to federal court house promptly at 7:40 am (you know I'm always early).
- Stand in line, in 99 degree, 100% humidity weather for an hour while waiting to get in the building. (They summoned 300+ jurors to pool that day, but they only had ONE metal detector and bag scanner.)
- Sit in a LARGE court room with no air conditioning waiting on the rest of my fellow potential jurors to go through the metal detector for another hour and a half.
- Swear to answer the questions about to be read to me to the best of my ability in the most honest and truthful way possible (or something to that effect).
They gave me a piece of paper with the name of my case and a phone number to call the day before to make sure no schedule changes had been made. Along with a reminder that cell phones/Kindles/tablets/cameras/electronics of any kind are not allowed in the court house. (This is important, keep it in the back of your mind.) They also gave me a parking pass, so I wouldn't have to pay $16/day to park downtown. (That was very thoughtful, parking downtown is expensive and stressful.)
Soooo, fast forward a week and a day, and its my court date. I called the juror hotline to make sure there were no changes, and was told that I needed to report to room 138 at the courthouse at 8:45am. After parking in a gravel/grass lot marked "Federal Court Parking" with no gate (sure, that's secure), I locked my cell phone in the glove box and headed inside. I was pleasantly surprised that there was no wait at the ONE metal detector/bag scanner, and the security guards (after determining that my car key was, in fact, not a USB drive) let me in. Upon my entrance to room 138, I was greeted promptly by the juror coordinator who informed me that they had "just tried to call." (My cell phone is locked in the glove box. Not allowed in the building, remember?) Turns out, my case settled out of court and I was free to go.
And that's it. The anxiety that I had experienced, my imagination running wild with thoughts of "Runaway Jury" scenarios and the defendant putting a bounty on my head if he was convicted...ALL FOR NOTHING.
Quite the let-down, eh?
The Phantom Kidney Stone
I have what may or may not be a kidney or gallstone (although we pretty much ruled out gallstones). We're still not really sure. I went to the doctor for back pain (funky, stabbing waves in my lower right side) and left with an X-ray, bloodwork, antibiotics, and an ultrasound. A week later I had a Hida test to check my Gallbladder, then was referred to a urologist. After more humiliating acts of peeing in a cup, we came to the conclusion that I may or may not have a kidney stone. (I could have told them that.) This whole incident started about 6 weeks ago, and I still have a twinge of pain pretty much everyday, but I've just decided to deal with it. Its not terrible (for the most part). I figure if I do really have a kidney stone, I'll know for sure when it decides to really show off. In the mean time, my vitals are fine, my kidneys are not swollen or inflamed, my lab work is normal, and I am so over peeing in a cup.
Flying to Dubai? Great! Just don't use my debit card.
Two weekends ago, I was helping Dad with his classroom when I got a phone call from my bank. They wanted to know if I had purchased a $438 plane ticket on Emirates Airline from NYC to Dubai. The answer was most certainly NO. Then they wanted to know if I spent another $280 at a hotel in NYC, $7.83 at a gift shop in Los Angeles, and $6.38 at a Chic-Fil-A. No, No, and yes...the Chic-Fil-A was me. Thank goodness Matt and I keep separate bank accounts and another joint account for bills. Matt transferred some funds into our bills account so I could function until my account got straightened out. (And thank goodness for WiFi in the Gulf of Mexico, otherwise I would have been royally screwed.) Although the bank has cancelled my card, processed my dispute and credited my money back, I still can't use my bank account because my debit card hasn't come in the mail yet.
Now, the first thing Matt said when I told him about the incident was "Its all that online shopping you do." Although he has a good point, I don't typically use my debit card online. So I'm not quite sure where these suckers got my debit card number, but I'm glad to know that BancorpSouth knows me well enough to find my purchasing a plane ticket to Dubai a little on the suspicious side. (FYI: If you ever have this happen to you, and you're a BancorpSouth customer, send me an email or FB private message and I'll give you the name of the super wonderful helpful person that processed my dispute in record time.)
I've also decided that this incident might be a wake up call. Although, as I said before, I don't use my debit card online, I probably do spend way too much money shopping online. (Remind you of an eBay post?) So, with the help and support of another victim of recent online hackers (here's looking at you, JML), I have decided to only buy myself one thing per month (with a spending limit, of course) and use the money I save to pay off my tiny little credit cards that were originally for "emergency use" only, but also helped me purchase a new "emergency" Michael Kors leather jacket last winter. And although it really is not a huge amount of credit card debt, I would fell better pocketing those monthly payments.
Bandit: Gumbo's enemy No. 1
Gumbo is a lover. If you read my last post, you would know that already. But there is one thing that he hates more than anything in his whole wide puppy dog world: Raccoons. Specifically, this raccoon:
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Bandit. Bandit lives somewhere on the Bayou. He is a big fan of Domino's kitten chow, and Gumbo wants to eat him. Every night, when Bandit comes to the front porch, Gumbo goes nutso-correcto.
Now here's my dilemma: I am a huge animal lover. I don't want to trap Bandit, I don't even want him to not eat on my front porch anymore. What I really want is for Bandit to become my tame, sweet-as-pie, pet raccoon. I know that's not going to happen, but wouldn't it be nice?!
Matt and I have decided not to leave Domino's food out at night anymore, in an effort to deter Bandit from beating up on her while she defends her food bowl. (She's a tiny little thing, but a force to be reckoned with!) And I've promised Matt that I won't leave food outside specifically for Bandit. (Sorry, dude. No more rolls or stale chips for you.) He (or she) is on his own. It was a tough decision, but I really don't want to be the crazy raccoon lady. (Crazy cat lady, I'm OK with.)
And finally, remember when I was constantly doing this:
So, one of my first blog posts was about the state of one of our bathrooms and the wallpaper removal process that plagued me like locusts plagued Egypt in the book of Exodus. (Ok, so it wasn't THAT bad, but still...if you've forgotten, read the post here.) And I have finally made some progress! In fact, there is currently no wallpaper in the bathroom and I have started painting! If you don't believe me, there is photographic evidence!
Now, I have a really long way to go, but I am so happy to not be scraping anymore. And a BIG thank you to my husband who helped me put drywall mud over the holes I gouged in the walls while removing the wallpaper. He also bought me a handy dandy little drywall-mud-spreader-tool. He's a keeper.
The trim and doors will all be painted bright white in a semi-gloss finish and I've ordered CUTE guest towels from H&M (that was before my online shopping boycott). I have also decided to make the curtains/drapes, but can't decide between the trendy chevron pattern, or a more classic floral pattern like the towels (both in grey and white, of course). At this point, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and I am motivated to finish.
I should also mention that Matt is still working on his boat. If you missed that post, you can find it here. I'll have an update on that soon, I hope. But he's been in charge of taking pictures of his progress since he does most of the work when I'm at the office, so I can't promise a step-by-step tutorial. (Not that I would attempt a boat building tutorial anyway.)
And that's been life on the Bayou since you last heard from me. And just in case that wasn't enough, feel free to ask me about any of the following:
1. The Great Sugar Ant Massacre of 2013 (They must all die!)
2. Professional Eyebrow Waxing at Home (That's gonna leave a mark...)
3. The Backyard Snake Tally (I've lost count.)