"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Extreme Cold and Exhausting Activity

Yesterday morning on leaving the Lodge for the State House, our household thermometer was at -2. I found the legislators' parking garage totally full and had to park in the overflow Chamber of Commerce lot--way, way over by the disused railroad tracks. The winds were blowing at about 30 mph, heaven only knows what the wind chill was...I climebed out of the car and started walking. Luckily, the shuttle van was pulled up by the garage, waiting for me, and I hopped on.

Yesterday's legislative calendar was very full. After our party caucus, we were in session from 1 pm to 3:30. At which time I bravely--and swiftly--walked across to the diocesan offices for a 3:30 to 7 pm committee meeting. We had a fun and productive time. During dinner break we demolished pizza and Girl Scout Cookies, and somebody made me laugh until I nearly cried.

One of the staff members was accompanied by his 9-week old black lab puppy.

I was one of many adoring committee members who snuggled him.

After we adjourned, a different staff member very kindly drove me to my car, which was acres away by the railroad tracks. It was dark, and still windy, and the car thermometer was -2 with an unknown but dreadful windchill factor.

March is being a real Lion this week.

When I arrived back at the Lodge, the girls detected that I had been Cuddling Another Dog.

They gave my coat and all my garments a serious sniffing. Especially Ruth.

This morning, we had a party caucus at 9, and the House session started at 10. I made sure to be there in time to score a spot in the official parking lot. The temperature was a couple of degrees above zero (woo hoo) and no wind.

Today was the deadline to act on bills that are referred to a second committee, and we had a ton of them. Lots of bills on our consent calendar had been pulled yesterday and moved to today, or postponed till today because of expected length of debate. We knew that we'd be at work all through the day and possibly into the night.

It took hours to dispatch two bills. Both were controversial: repeal of a parental notification bill (when a minor seeks an abortion) which last year the US Supreme Court declared unconstitutional, and designating a portion of the rooms and meals tax to the Fish & Game department.

At 1:20 we took an hourlong lunch break.

We returned at 2:20, and carried on till 7 without a break. Tedious. Informative. Frustrating. Divisive. Occasionally amusing. Dehydrating. No food or drink is allowed in the hallowed, historic chamber, so I had to nip out to the anteroom whenever I needed to sip from my water bottle or devour a candy bar.

We endured numerous time-consuming roll-call votes, on bills and on amendments. Everybody panicked when vote-tallying apparatus (which is old and temperamental) broke down, or seemed to. Fortunately, the technician who was called in was able to fix it promptly and we carried on...otherwise, I'd probably still be there.

Made it home just in time for the American Idol ladies. They saved the best for last--Melinda!

I look forward to watching tonight's newscast and reading the morning paper to find out what exactly I was doing today. I confess, I'm so buzzed and weary that memory is but a blur.

No doubt I'll be pressing "red for no" and "green for yes" buttons in my dreams all night.

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