Prisoners to wear a uniform for two weeks – do we really care?

I do wonder about the “major shake up to prisoner incentives” published by the Ministry of Justice on 1 November.  Officially “significant” reforms to the Incentive and Earned Privileges (IEP) policy have been brought into force.  So what is the IEP – it is a national policy framework set out in Prison Service Order 4000 Incentives Earned Privileges, which gives prison governors authority to devise their own local scheme to meet the needs of the prison regime.  Yawn….. to you and me, this means that prisoners can have access to:

  • Extra and improved visits
  • Eligibility to earn higher rates of pay
  • Access to in-cell television (paid for by the prisoner)
  • Opportunity to wear own clothes
  • Access to private cash
  • Time out of cell for association

Round about this time of writing I gave up the will to live.  I began to question – what’s on my mind, what’s my beef with the change to this policy.  I researched the background of the IEP, discovered what the regulations covers.  And still was no closer to resolving my problem.  Then, it dawned on me.  It’s not the shakeup to the policy, which is fine and dandy, it’s the attitude of the policy maker – that all those serving a prison sentence are wastrels, are the lowest of the low, are scum living the life of Reilly in a prison cell.

For our Justice Minister to publicly make the statement “For too long the public has seen prisoners spending their days languishing in their cells watching TV, using illegal mobile phones to taunt their victims on Facebook or boasting about their supposedly easy life in prisons” is reprehensible.  What statistics has the Minister used when coming to this conclusion?  Or has he used no statistics but is just pandering to populist opinion?   It’s worth delving a little bit into his statement –  do the vast majority of prisoners have an actual “victim” to taunt – if you are inside for tax evasion, who are you going to taunt?  The poor, quaking Inland Revenue?  You’ve defrauded a company, who are you going to target?  Those fags you brought into the country without paying the tax on….. I could go on.  As I’ve said before, not everyone inside is a rapist, child molester or murderer.

And which of the changes to policy is going to stop “illegal mobile phones” entering the prison estate?  Why not just jam signals so that any phones that do make their way in are useless?

The actual changes, in case you are still with me are:

  • The introduction of a new IEP level – “Entry” – where privileges are restricted.
  • Certificate 18 DVDs and subscription channels banned from all prisons.
  • A national standardised list of items available for each level.
  • An automatic IEP review for bad behaviour, with a presumption of downgrading.
  • TVs turned off when prisoners should be engaged in work or other productive activity.
  • Prisoners who misbehave will lose their TV.

The change most reported on in our newspapers, are that prisoners are going to be required to wear a uniform in their first two weeks of sentence – that’s the “Entry” level.  A quick glance at the incredibly dense PSI 30/2013 document (Google it) asks all prisons to “identify the potential number of prisoners who will require prison issue clothing…..”.  Hang on, isn’t that more expense to the tax payer – we now have to supply grey jogging pants and tops to entry level offenders.  And what exactly is the purpose of two weeks of enforced lounging outfit?  You’ve committed a crime, we are now going to punish you by making you wear an unflattering pair of trackie bottoms….?   Why?  Is that really a punishment or a method of bringing about rehabilitation?  Can you imagine it striking fear into criminals – no, no, I’d better not rob that bank, I’d hate to have to wear a grey tracksuit for a fortnight.

The banning of 18 DVDs and subscription channels – subscription channels only operate in private prisons.  These are the minority of prison estates.  The vast majority of prisons do not supply subscription channels.  18 DVDs were never allowed when my husband was inside (not that he wanted them, he was more interested in watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).

TVs turned off when prisoners should be engaged in work or other productive activity.  What work and what productive activity?  Prisoners in Category A or B prisons, or even C’s for that matter, often do not have the opportunity to work.  They certainly are not occupied 8 hours a day in meaningful activity.  Cleaning the toilets doesn’t take that long and serving pre-cooked food is over in a snip.  Do you think they still sew mail bags?  They don’t.  Many prisons do not have occupations like those you saw on episodes of Porridge.  Gone are the Prison farms and markets gardens, some are lucky enough to be able to work in an “open to the public” café like The Jailhouse Café on Portland but these are the absolute minority.  The flagship Latchmere House had almost its entire population out on work programmes, but was closed by the Government.  It’s not a myth about the length of time a prisoner can be shut up in a shared cell, it’s a fact.

So prisoners who misbehave and lose their TV – in a shared cell – how’s that going to operate?

I just cannot understand how the above actions are going to reduce offending?  Surely it’s just another round of chest thumping to make the Ministry of Justice sound like they are being “tough on crime”, but they still don’t appear to be actively engaged encouraging rehabilitation.  The above changes are further punishments for those already being punished.

And a footnote: I was interested to see that HMP Maidstone had a riot last night – is this being reported on to give the impression that prisoners are already “rebelling” against these introductions?  Question the media – how long would it take for a prisoner to lose the right to a TV?  They’d have to have an interview with a prison officer and given that these actions only came into being as of Friday 1 November, there really hasn’t been time to link these actions to the riot.  I would imagine that the riot was about something else entirely, but it suits our media to start sniffing around to see if they can perpetuate the myth of lounging prisoners cutting up rough at the withdrawal of their treats.  Please, please question what you read in the media.

To err is human; to forgive, divine

Here’s some more prison inside info for you.  When an offender is sentenced, s/he only serves a proportion of their time inside.  In Mike’s case, he was sentenced to three years, will serve one year, one and a half months (who’s counting – me!) inside before being eligible for parole.  He will then (finger’s crossed, he hasn’t had his Parole Board Hearing yet, be allowed to be released back into society “on a tag”, which means he will have to wear a “tag” a monitoring device which will ensure he abides by his curfew times.

I met my friend at the cinema the other day and she was talking about films we could go and see when Mike gets out and I had to stop her.  “You do realise he’ll be tagged don’t you?”  My lovely friend thought he could still go to the cinema, hadn’t he attended when on weekend release?  I had to explain that when Mike comes out for town visits and home leaves, he is trusted.  He can stay out all night (albeit avoiding licensed premises) and generally come and go as he likes.  We can go to the cinema and not get home until 10.30pm.  But once tagged, that trust is gone.  He will have to adhere to a curfew.

I spoke to his probation officer the other day to find out if it was ok for him to return to a local church whilst on a tag so he could play in the band there.  That was fine, I was actually told he’s of no risk to the public, so him meeting with fellow inmates to play in a brass band is ok.  But to stay out late to go, occasionally, to the cinema – no.  To embark upon an Alpha Course (religion alert) – no.  To attend any evening networking events in order to promote his business – no.  For us to go for a walk around the block after I get home from work – no.  He has to be in and to stay in by 7pm.  No going into the garden, I mean right inside the house.  His study, where he will work, is at the back of our house, to access it you have to step outside for about 10 steps – that’ll be out of bounds too probably.  And this will go on until February 2013.

I admit, this did upset me.  I had to sit down and give it some thought.  And then I remembered, I have to be grateful for small mercies.  The mere fact that he is coming home is supposed to be enough.  The trouble is, we think Mike’s paid for his crime already – the fact that all the money was repaid, he’s jobless with a criminal record to boot, everything else chucked at him/us just seems pointless.

We’re desperately trying to move on – but society does not move at our pace, it does not forgive so quickly.

Smuggling Your Own Accountancy Books OUT of Prison (it’s wrong apparently)

A little glimpse into prison life.  Mike due out on a Town Leave today.  I don’t know how many of these he’s had, 10, 15, more?  I dutifully waited in the designated car park for him and tried not to get annoyed that 5 minutes passed, then 10, then 15, oh look we’re heading towards a 25 minute wait, when he strode over.

Apparently he was stopped by an officer when booking out – it’s a prison, you book in, you book out, you book up and hey, you book down.  Says prison officer to Mike “what have you got in the bag” (see through HMP issue plastic).  “Books” says Mike.  “You can’t take books out” says prison officer. “But I’ve taken them out before, why can’t I take a book out with me”.  “It’s the rules, you can’t take books out.  I’ll have to check them”.  I think there were a massive amount of three books, all on the subject of accounting, which Mike is gradually bringing home.  “I’ll have to check them all” says prison officer “and that’ll delay everyone getting out”.  So Mike looks behind him, his fellow prisoner looks sympathetic and in no hurry, so Mike leans up against the wall and says “go on then, check them”. 

All the prison officer did was to flick through each book to check for…… well, that’s what we were discussing on the way home.  What exactly was he hoping to find?  A gun perhaps, that Mike had somehow managed to smuggle in and kept well hidden ready for his next town visit when, suddenly lacking imagination, he decides to just check it out past a prison officer?  Or maybe it was drugs that he had dropped in by carrier pigeon and had sat on them waiting for the price of “sniffy wiffy” to rise and make a killing on his next town leave?   Or maybe it was the dreaded SIM cards that are the fear of every prison officer…. maybe Mike had managed to stock pile the entire prison illegal supply and was going to ship them out en mass in order to top them all up at Car Phone Warehouse, and then try to smuggle them back in for major profits or extra sachets or porridge oats. 

What exactly would you try to smuggle OUT.  In I can understand.  But out?  It’s just another example of the pettiness of prison life, in what is, after all, supposed to be an “open” environment.   Roll on August and we can say with a smile on our faces “he’s out next month”.

What’s life like on the way out of prison?

So I think you get the picture of what life is like in prison – boring.  Plain, simple and boring – and you can get terrible contact dermatitis from the excessively strong chemicals used to clean everything.  But what’s life like as you come towards the end of your sentence, specifically what’s life like for both parties (if your other half has stuck by you).

I think I might have said it before – it doesn’t get easier – and it doesn’t, after 11 months, we still had tears today as I slammed the back door, railing at my husband for incorrectly shutting it.  We got over that one quickly, but it’s an example of the tension going on.  The tables have turned.  My husband was never off the bl**ding Blackberry, always being called by his very forgetful colleague who would go over the same story several times a day. Time off and weekends were regularly interrupted because “I’ve just got to make this call…”, “I’ve just got to respond to this email” and now I find myself collecting my husband and saying the same thing back to him.  On Friday, my head was spinning after a particularly stressful event where I got blamed for the ruination of someone’s overseas holiday because something had gone wrong with her i-Phone – this was ALL MY FAULT!   I’m not the sort of person to walk out one day saying “sorry, I’m on holiday for the next three days”.  I stew over work, it’s important that I do a good job – like my husband – we find it difficult to switch off.  So the first day I couldn’t take anything in, couldn’t relax.  Saturday was good, I officially don’t work at the weekend, so no-one could contact me, Sunday lovely. Monday, well, he’s going Tuesday so mentally I was already saying goodbye.

It’s the same when you work and take a well earned week off.  You spend the first couple of days getting there, stressing over little stuff, the next couple of days are lovely, then you start getting anxious about going home, then you’re back at work!   4.5 days at home with your loved one goes in a nano-second, especially when one of you blows it by being in a strop because the other one is about to go again.  Grrr, I could kick myself.

But seriously, rant over, it is strained mentally, difficult emotionally.  Husband has made that transition now from “doing time” to “coming towards the end”.  He returns after his home leave not willingly, to continue his sentence, but because he has to and wonders what he’s still doing there.  Enough time has passed for him to have contemplated his misdemeanours and to want to start helping me build for our future.  The point is now lost, enough has been repaid to the victim in terms of both time and money.  This is when many a prisoner thinks “enough is enough” and absconds.  I seriously wanted to hold on to Mike today and tell him not to go back.  I need him home with me helping to sort out our life, I’m fed up with carrying the can on my own.  When you think about it, a lot of women in my situation may well have not been working when their husbands went away, they may have children.  Suddenly they have to take control, they are the decision makers, they have to get jobs and keep everything together.  Husband comes home from a life of enforced indolence (yes, we’ve already discussed that) and the wife is none too pleased by the change in attitude.  I have a different routine and it takes a strong couple to work through that.  I’m in such a privileged position where I have an understanding boss who is allowing my 20 days a year to be taken piecemeal so I am at home when Mike is on home leave – I can’t imagine what it would be like otherwise.  Some prisoners do not bother with the home leave feeling it is too much of a disruption (to both parties) to be worthwhile.

So as he comes towards the final two months of his imprisonment, has our tax payer’s pennies been well spent – I’m afraid to say I think neither of us believe this.  You’ve not been safer in your beds because my white collar criminal husband has been locked up.  And the gross employment of prison officers to guard him and his ilk is a total waste of money.  He should have received a suspended sentence, should have been tagged from the word go. We almost succeeded in turning a workaholic into a lounging, swearing, smoking bum – but not quite.  Mike is desperate to get out and to get working.  I am desperate for him to get out so I don’t have to keep taking odd day’s off!

Life on the way out of prison for your “average” white collar criminal is just as difficult as it is going in to prison.  But maybe I’m a hard taskmaster!

Prisoners taking work away from the Unemployed

Oooh, a hot potato.  Been hearing a lot about this on Radio 4 recently.  Trundle on Ken Clarke who will have a good old bluff and bluster, but I have to say, last time I heard him on the subject, he did talk sense.  I can only report on personal opinions here and from second hand experience but my sentence serving husband works in his Category D prison as an Education Assistant.  For this, he receives payment for services that is extremely low – I can’t remember the exact figure, but I promise you, it’s pence per hour.  With this extra money, he can buy little luxuries – sachets of porridge to eat if he gets hungry between meal times, batteries for his radio, money for his phone card and postage stamps so he can write to me.  I sent him in with money and since that time I have never had to fund his stay, he is frugal, he is an accountant after all.

Last month, the governor of the Sheppey Cluster decided that the prisoners under his care were too well paid and he slashed the wage bill (he did not reduce the prices for the above luxury items).   You have to understand there are two types of employment within the prison service – those working on the inside for the benefit of their fellow inmates (canteen work, laundry, education etc) and those working outside, either completing voluntary work or paid employment.  And remember, 40% of the wages earned by those in paid employment on the outside goes directly to Victim Support.

Since the reduction in wages, Mike now has to make a difficult choice.  Should he continue to Assist in the Business Course run by the prison.  He can only “Assist” as he is not employed by Manchester College who provide the funding for tutors, but he maximises his “assistance” as much as he can to provide valuable information and guidance to fellow inmates wanting to set up businesses on their own once released.  For many, self-employment will be the only means of earning an income.  For others already in business (it’s not only murderers and rapists that get sent away, others on short sentences are there as well) it is the chance to pick the brains of a qualified accountant (albeit a struck off one) without the insult of being robbed by the fees that would be due on the outside.   So should he continue to act as a Classroom Assistant, or apply for Voluntary work on the outside.  The wages are higher, but he will have to forgo one Town Visit per month.   Not the Prisoner’s Dilemma discussed in “game theory”, but a real Prisoner’s Dilemma.  For what it was worth I suggested that, as the last few months of his sentence was dragging a change of scene might make time go faster.  So we wait to see what he will be volunteered for.

So there’s a little inside view of working within the prison system, knowing what you do now, let’s move on to prisoners taking work away from the unemployed.   Not my favourite politician, but Ken Clarke spoke sense when he said that it was highly unlikely that prisoners would undercut workers on the outside.  Let’s think it through.  What occupations are available to prisoners?  Nothing involving technology!  No computers, mobiles, iPads, Pods or Phones, no SIM cards, memory sticks – you don’t want to give them the opportunity to access the outside world.   Which is a shame because there is a lot of work that could be done if you allowed them RESTRICTED computer access.  You could set up some kind of workshop within the prison, but this has many pitfalls, some of which you can read about on the Howard league for Penal Reform’s website – do a search on Barbed to see the problems they ran into.  Their problem involved the wages of prisoners, but I’m thinking of the buildings available for setting up a workshop.  Many of today’s prisons are much older properties that cannot cope with the demands of running a business.  So you’d have to pay for a conversion, costly.  You’d also not expect Prison Officer’s to assist with providing security for this enterprise, no, you’d have to pay for your own security, costly.   There is a rag production line at Stanford Hill – unfortunately even this is closing.  The wages of those operating the production of rags (you feed fabric in one end and get shreds of fabric out the other) is not high – do you really think the unemployed on the outside have stolen this fantastic job opportunity?

When you start to think about it, it’s actually rather difficult to think of things that could be done on the inside without an employer (and that’s who will have to bear the cost) going to great expense – not on salaries, but on provision of work.  And the whole point of the employment of offenders is the idea of a cheap and ready workforce.   So the idea of a business going inside to undercut the unemployed suddenly starts to look like an expensive option.

I hope I’ve offered you a few crumbs of information so that the next time you hear someone arguing that prisoners are taking away work from the unemployed, you’ll ask them exactly how and if they come up with a good, workable idea, you can let Ken Clarke know.

It’s raining, it’s a Bank Holiday…. I’m thinking Windolene

So it’s the Jubilee Holidays and in typical Bank Holiday form, you sweat your pits out in a stifling office for weeks, longing for a break and when it comes along – it rains.  Solidly.  For the duration.

I know I should get out of bed and do something constructive, on my lonesome, but I just don’t have the heart and compunction to do so.  Kind of reminds me when I was single (I married later in life) and I would go places on my own.  It’s amazing how fast you can get around a stately home when you are only looking at things you want to look at.  I eventually decided it was a complete waste of money.  Almost I came, I saw, I buggered off double quick and didn’t get my money’s worth.  You can’t linger on your own – well, I didn’t think I could.  There’s safety in numbers sitting on a bench licking an ice cream.  On your own you just look…. suspicious, weird, plotting?

So I find myself on a soaking went Bank Holiday Monday wondering what to do.  And that’s how I got to thinking about Windolene.  You just don’t see it these days.  In the olden days (I’m talking about 5-10 years back) pre-DIY shows times, you didn’t WANT people to see the complete hash you were making transforming your front room into a state of the art lounging area.  So whilst slopping distemper and whitewash everywhere, you’d wipe a layer of Windolene over the windows and it would dry out thus making it gloomy and difficult to paint on the inside and suspicious looking on the outside.  Then you had the fun of being able to scratch little messages or smiley faces in the layer of dried Windolene (that was pre-computer game fun for the kiddies).  You could even carve out a man with a big nose looking over a wall and write “what no Watney’s”…… that was adult pleasure.

Why did they do that?  The Windolene, not the “man with the big nose”.   I think it must have been so that when you did slop paint all over the place, the paint would not stick to the glass, you could just wipe it off, plus have the added bonus of gleaming shiny windows to set off your new decor.   But a flick through the interweb and I have seen comments like “to stop people seeing the mess you make when decorating”.  Eh?  Who gives a monkeys!  You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.  Do DIY SOS cover up their windows?  No, I don’t think so.

So, that’s Windolene for you.  I wonder what they put in the stuff to make something so basic (water and possibly vinegar) so complex.  I can’t even begin to think of the manufacturing process involved in making Windolene – what exactly is in the stuff!  No wonder it’s not as popular.  I remember using it once, stopped half way through the cleaning to have a chat, or do something more compelling and returning to the windows to find the wretched pink stuff had dried out and would only come off with a scraper.  Horrible stuff.  And then mum insisted we clean our windows with scrunched up newspapers and a bit of spit (no, the spit is poetic licence, she would say a splash of water).  Apparently it was something in the newsprint that brought them up shiny.   Life’s too short.  Nowadays, for those who might possibly be interested in how I clean my windows (no not of interest to the majority of readers of my blog who are spammers) I use water, sometimes if I have any left, with a splash of window cleaning washing up liquid type stuff.

I’m really bored now.  Not as bored as Mike will be because access to the gym is restricted today due to “sports day”.  Apparently three people had signed up to compete in the sports day.  Coming on the back of an arbitrary pay cut, I’m not surprised at the lack of community spirit.  The Sheppey Cluster has decided to revisit the pay structure of those working within the prisons and Mike, who assists in the teaching of a Business Skills class (not allowed to teach, that’s down to the professionals) has had his pay drastically reduced.  Contrary to popular belief, prisoner’s wages are not huge.  Mike will drop down from something along the lines of £7.00 a day to £3.00 a day (I can’t remember the exact figure).  I’ve never sent a penny into Mike since he went inside.  And he doesn’t want me to start.  He’ll just have to make compromises like I do on the outside.   He has decided that although he enjoys and finds it worthwhile teaching fellow inmates how to run their own businesses after leaving prison, and let’s face it, when you’ve got a criminal record, sometimes it is the only way you will be able to find work, to work for yourself, he’d be better off doing voluntary work on the outside.   So rather than do voluntary work with inmates on the inside, he’ll do it for those on the outside.  No, it doesn’t make sense, but that’s what being in prison is all about.

Laugh, Talk, Eat

I haven’t blogged for a while, haven’t felt like it, nothing really to report.  I have been meaning to discuss the effect on having a “part time husband” though.

Since May, Mike has enjoyed “Town Visits”.  After I met with his social worker, she advised me that he would be able to come home on his Town Visits, but Mike being Mike, wrote for official confirmation that he wouldn’t be in breach of any rules and regulations by returning home.  Receiving validation he came home for the day last month, returned for the night, then came back again on his first Release on Temporary Licence.

He has to carry with him at all times a lovely little card, very Blue Peter-ish, upon which his photograph is taped (professional job) and details of his temporary release dates are recorded, signed, stamped and counter stamped.  It is a standing joke that wherever we go, the card comes with us…. Just in case a policeman approaches him and asks to see it.

I’ll take a step back here – I could never understand the wives of businessmen (no sexism intended, it is invariably businessmen) who would say “oh I love it when my husband is away”.  I used to hate it.  Mike frequently travelled overseas when he worked at SBS and I hated it.  I’d badly miss him.  Other wives would enjoy having their husbands away, but I could never understand this, I almost thought that I would eventually elevate to this position once we’d been married a few years, but it never occurred.

I miss our conversations.  My big sister once told me, and I’ve never forgotten this, of an occasion she and her first husband were sitting in a pub chatting away.  During the evening, she watched an older couple who were oblivious of each other, who spent the entire time in their own worlds, disengaged from each other, drinking in silence.  She vowed she would never get to that point.  And so it is with me. Mike and I never have nothing to converse about, even if a conversation flags, we’ll bring up whatever is in the news and test each other’s opinions.  I loved our evening meals – not for us sitting in front of the TV, dinner on laps – we’d be at the table, disseminating our days, expressing any concerns and worries – laugh, talk, eat, the way it should be.  I hate silence between people, a throwback to my childhood experience of mum and dad, mid separation, having Sunday tea with the kids to put up a picture of normality, but not speaking to each other.  I used to get ribbed and called “toilet roll tongue” because I desperately tried to fill in the pregnant, poignant.  I could tell something was wrong and was desperate to obliterate the heaving silence.

There is a major difference in two people “just being together” enjoying one and other’s silence.  That quiet time is precious and quite different from longing to have your husband out of the house “for a bit of peace and quiet”.

And so it is that I now find myself with an absent husband, desperately wanting to return home, but with me having to drop everything and entertain him.  And of course, I now have to share him with others who want to experience his temporary release as well.  To extend the time allocated for the Town Visit, I travel to collect him, we return home and then he has to go through “decompression”.  Returning to a messy house (hey, I work all week, Saturday is my housework day) it takes time to get used to the idea of not being under lock and key.   The first weekend was spent hiding from well-meaning neighbours, pleased to see him out for the day.  He feels the stigma of being a prisoner and anticipates everyone else sees a huge sign over his head.  We killed time around the house, he wanted things to be “normal”, but it’s far from normal checking your watch every five minutes to make sure he’s returned on time.  He gets until about 5.30 and then we must head back to Stanford Hill for checking in prior to 6.20.  We are terrified of being late and thus ending future town visits. Indeed the first one was marred by a flat tyre on the car – thankfully it was his car and we were able to get back using mine.

And then his first ROTL arrived.  This was better.  He got two nights at home, but a return time of 3pm!  Apparently Prison Staff can’t cope with too many offenders returning at the same time.  For him this was two blissful nights in a comfortable double bed with fresh, clean bedding.  No-one woke him during the night to check he was still there, but I think I spent the time worrying how I would feel after he had gone again.  I couldn’t appreciate the moment.  I know he had his first taste of freshly prepared food in 9 months and that was a treat for him, plus, of course, homemade lemon drizzle cake.  All he wanted was a taste of normality.  To sit in an arm chair in the front room and gaze at the green field opposite.  For the cat to sit on his lap, to vacuum the carpet, to wear something fresh and clean, to go for a long walk.  You may believe that prisoners “have it easy” inside, and certainly it would appear that some do.  But there is a community within prisons who genuinely regret their crimes, who know they are there to “pay their due to society”, but who bitterly wish they were back home with their families.  For this community, prison is a double sentence – one on themselves and one on their family.  I am not surprised that a lot of wives leave their husbands.  You get used to living alone, to earning your own money, paying bills, coming and going as you chose, to surviving alone.  You begin to think “why am I waiting”.  And then when the ROTL comes along, it is disruptive – he’s there, then he’s gone and you go back to missing him again.  I personally find it very disruptive.

But I know I have adjusted to an awful lot of things, I can make this last adjustment.  As I write, I am anticipating his next ROTL, we move up to three nights at home and this time I am going to enjoy them for what they are – a long, relaxing weekend at home with my husband.