"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

Friday, April 06, 2007

A Good Friday

On Maundy Thursday we woke to about a foot of heavy spring snow, and were glad to have electricity (it went out for a little while at bedtime, but came back on at some unknown hour.) Around the state there were 80,000 without power that night, down to 40,000 by yesterday morning. This morning, just under 10,000.

The girls were happy about the abrupt climate change. They like snow.

I was less enthused during my death-grip-on-the-steering wheel, white-knuckle commute to the capital city to finish off the last of the 400 bills we've been dealing with in the past week as a prelude to Crossover Day, when by law all our House bills must go to the Senate and theirs come to us.

The drive took twice as long as usual, but I left early.

These branches were near my parking spot.

The walkway from our parking garage leads into Eagle Square, looking very wintry.

The scene of the action.

I was in my seat by 10:00 when the gavel came down.

It soon became apparent that we had something less than a full body of legislators. Many had prior unbreakable commitments, others were ill, some must have been snowed in, and not a few left on Wednesday afternoon to beat the blizzard, before the early dismissal and announcement that we must return on Thursday.

Maintaining a quorum was crucial to passing bills, as we learned the first time one failed to pass due to lack of numbers. As people began drifting in, we were okay. But there were times when we had to go into lockdown mode to keep everyone in their seats for voting. It was my first experienced of being forced to stay in place, and a very strange one it was.

Only once did I have to ask permission of the Sergeant-at-Arms to leave the chamber, along with 3 other female reps. A female doorkeeper led our foursome down the hall, past a watchful state policeman, and around the corner to the Ladies' Room. I was the first one out, and the doorkeeper--guarding the restroom door--held up 1 finger to the trooper stationed down the hall. I was then allowed to make my way alone back to the trooper (a really cute one). Would he have whipped out his gun if I'd tried to cut and run? We'll never know, I'm a by-the-rules kind of girl. We exchanged a few words and a laugh at the absurdity of it all, then I returned obediently to the door of the ante-room where I was re-admitted by the Sergeant-at-Arms.

We legislated like crazy. There was some funky stuff: voted down the decriminalisation of marijuana but approved the cultivation of industrial hemp. Voted against a tax on candy, voted against a beer tax (this one came up late in the session, when the very mention of beer made my mouth water!)

The big controversial bill of the day was the mandatory seatbelt law for adults. (It's already required up to the age of 18.) We are the only state out of 50 that does not require adults to wear passenger restraints--Live Free or Die is our state motto, after all. Without a seatbelt, you definitely improve your chances of doing the latter.

The bill passed narrowly: 153-140. I won the pool among us backbenchers. I predicted it would pass by more than 10, fewer than 15.

We finished a bit earlier than the previous night, and I was back at the Lodge by 7:30. Too late for the Maundy Thursday service up the road. The Chap, who'd had a board meeting, arrived fifteen minutes later.

A quiet day, this one, nothing on my schedule except a quick trip to the vet so Ruth and Jewel could have their Lyme disease booster shot (I don't think they even noticed the jab, they were having so much fun with the vet tech!) Tonight there's a Good Friday service--always so lovely, no pomp, no music, no altar flowers, just quiet contemplation.

Remember that Easter Basket the Chap won in the radio station raffle? Here it is, in all its glory.

Lola definitely has designs on it. Chocolate is extremely dangerous for dogs, as we keep reminding her.

No comments: