"You planned your life so carefully/ but you left out one deatil! The Hidden Hand deals just one round/ and the Winds of Change prevail!"
--Jefferson Starship, from "Winds Of Change"
At 6:20pm this evening, I made my call to the United States Distruct Court Jury Hotline, just as I have been doing for the time starting on May 2nd. Since I was not "called to duty" the past few weeks, I figured that I'd escape without having to serve any time in the barrel.
I recieved the news that I'm supposed to report to the Jury Lounge by 7:30am on the 2nd (in one minute, it will be the 2nd). So, I began to put into action "Plan Foxtrot Juliet Sierra"--phonetic for "Federal Jury Service," by the way. I already had researched how to get from Vista to the Federal Courthouse in Downtown San Diego--and back.
Plan Alpha was to catch the Westbound Sprinter at the Escondido Avenue (now Civic Center Drive, btw) station at 4:27am. I arrive at Oceanside Station at 4:56am, detrain from the Sprinter, and cross under the walkway to the Coaster Station. There, I purchase an upgrade to my monthly Regional Disabled Bus Pass ($2.25 each way, still cheaper than a round tripper for $6.50) and wait for the southbound Coaster (which leaves at 5:18am). I take the Coaster to Santa Fe Station in San Diego, then catch the trolley to the Jury Assembly Room at the Federal Building.
Plan Bravo also entails me catching the Sprinter--but going Eastbound to Escondido Transit Center at 4:29 am. I then catch the southbound 350 at 5:03 and ride to the Lado De Loma Park & Ride (near North County Fair), where I pick up the southbound MTS 20 at 5:34am. I can either then ride this puppy to Downtown, or catch the trolley at Fashion Valley Trolley Station for a straight shot to the Federal Building. The difference--no upgrade fees.
The imperative here is "Don't get mad--get busy!" I realized that I was going to need to make something for my lunch (plus a bite for breakfast). After I grilled my dinner, I had a package of sweet Italian-style turkey sausage. The answer was obvious--PASTA TIME!
So, I threw the sausages on the grill and took stock of my other makings. I had the pasta (penne), the sauce (Prego Garlic and Herb), the meat (the now-grilling sausage, plus some ham I cubed)--but no chese! To me, pasta without cheese might as well be Top Ramen for all I care (not that I dislike it--it makes for a great belly-filler when you drain the noodles and mix in the flavoring packs).
Well, after I grilled the sausages, I cooled down the grill and put it way. I then hopped over to Walgreens, picked up a package of shredded Italian-style cheese (since when does Cheddar count as Italian, anyhoo? Cheddar comes from England!), a box of "pink sweetner packets, " and a 9-pack of toilet paper. Hustling back, I began to get my lunch ready. (Recepie to follow).
My little "twin hot-plate" can be kind of slow to get meals ready, but I had nothing but time. First, I chopped up the meat, put it in the saucepan with the Prego, and popped it onto the right burner to starrt cooking. The pan with water and oil (for the pasta) went on the left burner. I pulled out a large mixing bowl and two mixing spoons, and waited.
The sauce reached boiling point first, so I set it to simmer as I checked the water. About seven minutes later, the water was ready, so in went one pound of American-made penne pasta. I then also put 1/2 of the shredded cheese into the sauce, stirred it, then shut the heat off on the right side.
Twelve minutes later, the penne was ready. I took the pan into my bathroom, where I had set the colander/drainer on the floor of my shower stall (I already had given the floor in there a going over with disinfectants, btw). I poured the pasta and water into the dariner, then popped the pasta back into the pan.
I then transferred the pasta to the large mixing bowl, poured the sauce over it, then mixed it well. I let it sit for ten minutes to "give the ingredients a chance to mingle, then scooped out five servings--three for my lunch box, two in reserve (in the fridge) for tomorrow (if I'm on a case). All gear was washed down, dried, then put into storage.
I also laid out my clothing and gear that I will need for my journey. Besides packing my lunch box (small Coleman cooler, six-pack rated), I laid out my "going to jury service" clothing--steel-blue Dickies workpants, powder-blue polo shirt, black belt and Perry suspenders (you hook the latches over your belt. Great for going to a courthouse, since the whole rig is non-metallic), white socks, and Airwalk shoes. I have my S.D. Padres team jacket ready to go, plus a ballcap and sunglasses for when the sun peeks out.
I also set up my utility pouch. In this, I keep my cash; coin purse; cell phone; emergency medications (Ibuprofen, Benadryl and chewable aspirin, plus 1 Seroquel to ward off any voices that might pop up); credentials case (which includes my bus pass and Medicare card/proof of disability); small flashlight, and pocketwatch. No blades or pepper spray needed for this journey. I usually clip the pouch to my right side belt-loops, but before I go through the metal detector, it gets clipped onto the handle of my lunchbox.
Then comes my messenger bag: two-to-three books, five liters of chilled fluids, and all required paperwork, plus pens and NCTD Sprinter/Breeze/Coaster schedule. All set up and ready for action.
That leaves me a bit of time to relax, catch up on some reading, write a couple of blog threads (including this one), and pop a DVD into my laptop if I feel like it (unlike the DVD player affixed to my TV, I have headphone jack on my laptop). No time to snooze, however--I have to be out of the apartment by 4:00am to make sure I catch my train on time.
I'll fill you all in on how things went, but as the yellow flyer that came with my Juror's Badge told me, I should be ready to spend up to ten days (not counting weekends) if I'm assigned to a case. However, for $40/day plus two-way mileage (paid even to those who used public transportation...nice of them)--it will be time well spent!
I ask that you pray for me, and keep me in your thoughts. Two hours until "suit up" time...tick, tick, tick...