I Had a Plan but The Train Was Late

socs badge 2016-17I manage projects all the time. Some go according to plan; others slip a little here and there and still others go off the rails. My plan for today’s blog post was a bit of a project. I was going to end up at the bar with my buddy and Cheryl. I’ve been over there, conducting research, and I had a couple of good ideas.

Then England got in the way.

Not England the country, at least not the whole country, but the small part where Ellen lives. I could just say that Ellen got in the way, but I don’t want to imply that Ellen is large enough to derail a project, even one of an unquantifiable size like a blog post. I have a history with women and size and saying and doing stupid things.

Like when I parked 6 feet away from the Forsythia and told my wife: “I wanted to give you enough room to get in without brushing up against the bushes.

Anyway, Ellen happened and I wrote a comment about the way they name storms in the US – her post was about Storm Doris – She also mentioned the British expression “leaves on the line” as an excuse for the train being late. I was going to comment on that, but I wanted to check with my friend David in England who knows a trainload of stuff about trains. I also wanted to talk about the Mets (hang on), but I didn’t want my comment to be a blog post within Ellen’s blog post. Ellen does quite well on her own.

Then it happened.

I saw the #SoCS prompt and the voices started murmuring about projects and trains and leaves and storms and Doris Day and Alfred Hitchcock and Storm Alfred and “please, please, puuuuuh-leeeeeeze let us out when you write this blog post” and here we are. Off the rails, as it were. Let me try to explain.

It’s ALL Ellen’s fault. 100%.

Well, Ellen and John Evans. John gave a detailed explanation about how leaves on the line – the rail line – make it hard for trains to stop and how that messes up the schedules. You should go read Ellen’s post to get more information on that. I went to my friend David, whose unusually brief explanation: “wheels slip on compacted leaves. Classic excuse in the autumn (sorry Fall)” seems to confirm that theory and illustrate yet another difference between English and English. ,

I’m not buying it.

If there’s any place on earth where wet leaves in the fall (Autumn) would mess up a train schedule, it would be Vermont. Yet AMTRAK’s Vermonter shuttles thousands of people from as far away as Washington, DC, up into Vermont just to look at the leaves. The Vermonter always runs on time…unless it’s late.

As for Doris Day, Ellen mentioned throwing something at her that “would leave a stain” and I thought that was pretty funny. Doris Day could be annoying in movies, because you always knew she was going to sing. She had a good voice, but I remember her singing “Que sera, sera” in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” and it was annoying. People were about to be shot, and she starts singing. I mean, would you want your super-power to be the ability to sing? I would have rather seen laser beams projecting out of her eyeballs.

Ellen was writing about how the British Met is now naming storms. She got off-track because, apparently, there are two Mets in England and one is a police force that typically doesn’t name storms. Of course, Ellen used to live in New York, so two Mets shouldn’t be a problem for her. New Yorkers have The Met (the museum that’s in financial trouble) and The Met (the opera that’s in financial trouble) and The Mets, the baseball-team-poorly-managed-project that’s been underway since 1962 but that hardly anybody ever talks about. If you said ‘the Mets’ in New York, people would probably think “oh, he’s talking about the museum and the opera, and how they’re both in financial trouble.”

I commented to Ellen that I read that we name storms in the US to get people to pay attention to the warnings.

Apparently, if we say ‘a big storm is coming, with much rain and damaging winds’ people think ‘meh’ and go about their business. But, if we say ‘Storm Doris is coming’ people line up in droves to buy bread and milk.”

I think that’s the first time I’ve quoted myself.

Back in 2011. some weatherman dubbed the late October snow storm that plunged us into darkness for 10 days, Storm Alfred. That wasn’t an official name. That storm never had an official name. The guy just probably hated that part of the movie where Doris Day started singing, but couldn’t remember the name of the male lead, but remembered that it was an Alfred Hitchcock movie. It’s better that way. The male lead was Jimmy Stewart, and who would go into a panic bread and milk buying spree over Storm Jimmy?

This post has been part of Linda G, Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday project:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “project.” Use it as a verb, a noun, or both. Have fun!


  1. OK, so here is my longer take about leaves on the line (David here btw). When there were steam engines travelling the rails, vegetation too close to the line would catch fire so the railway (railroad) companies had to keep up a determined effort to try everything back away from the rails. Since the advent of diesel and electric locos, there hasn’t been the same need to cut back so, guess what, to save money they ( the famous “they”) decided that they could cut back on the effort and let the trees and bushes grow closer – now they get leaves on the line. My guess is that, because the autumn (Fall – I can keep this up all day!) and winter are much bigger things in Vermont than in the UK, Amtrak (or whoever has responsibility for the track) has to make a better effort in keeping the vegetation back from the lines – thus The Vermonter isn’t plagued by “leaves on the line”. That’s Railroad 101 over for the day, students!
    David – in the UK but a US rail nut.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I knew you knew more than that one-liner ;-) Now that I think about it, our tracks are pretty clear of trees. Of course, most of the line I ride is overhead wires. The diesel-powered section has trees a lot closer but the rail beds are clear. I’ll give you full credit for this. Thanks.


  2. Please, head to the bar and have a beer. You need one after this. :-) I think the naming of storms is ridiculous but then the way they have elevated weather to ‘news’ annoys me. When I look out and see snow, do I really need two people in the studio telling me it is snowing and one standing outside picking up snow in his hand to show us what snow looks like. In SC, they call the weather report ‘First Warning.’ We need a weather ‘warning’ every single day? :-)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Judy. I’ll continue my research later today. My personal weather useless-favorite is the poor slob standing next to the sea wall in New Haven so we can see what wind-driven rain looks like. I get it! And, no, we don’t need a daily warning. For crying out loud, it’s weather!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s totally crazy. Storm Doris sounds plenty serious to me. Ellen’s post was inspiring. I could have gone on even longer if I had followed her lead on the partial implementation of the metric system. Thanks for stopping.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great post! I laughed my head off at the lasers coming out of Doris Day’s eyeballs, and the Mets still a work in progress since 1962. Keep writing so I can keep reading, Dan. Many thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ellen did that to me too. Her same post mentioned “wheelie bins” (two wheel trash carts) and I just had to write a quip about motorizing one…..then I thought, “how exactly would one do that?” and there went my day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dan, so glad the storms will take on the wrath of a man’s name and not the rage of a woman scorned! Trying to be funny and I also feel music should be working in a film with the plot not just placed there to entertain! (Re: Doris Day singing!)
    I had a terrible, horrible day yesterday but it had a bright spot with the grandies.
    (Accident at work, am on “light duty” and car broke down.) Will come back and read this week’s worth of my friend, Dan, very soon! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a delightful post. I find it interesting that I just read another blog that had pictures from somewhere (I thought a museum) with tons of Mets memorabilia. I didn’t even think about any other type of Mets than the baseball team. You gave your wife 6ft to get into the car!?! Yes, I do think it’s a good thing to blame England and not Ellen. I can imagine many people, living where you do, blamed England for all their troubles a few hundred years ago.😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. 1. People are about to be shot and Doris Day starts singing? Would you want your last experience in the world to be Doris Day singing “Que Sera Sera”?

    Okay, that might reconcile me to impending death. I’m arguing against myself, aren’t I?

    2. I left New York in 1965, give or take a little. I never really accepted that the Mets (that’s the baseball team) existed. I also never really accepted that the Dodgers left. Mind, you, I have (and had) a serious sports allergy, so I’m not sure that proves anything.

    3. I kind of lost track of what your friend David said about the leaves on the line, Does he agree with John’s argument?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for weighing in, Ellen. Not that you weigh much. I do think you argued yourself out of shooting Doris Day. You raise s good point though. I would not want that to be the last thing I heard

      The Mets were only 3 years old when you left. If you were a Dodgers fan (or a resident of Brooklyn) you’re entitled to ignore the Mets.

      David agreed with John, but if you look at his comment today, he thinks they could do s better job of clearing the track.

      Thanks so much for the inspirational post.


  8. I <3 Ellen. Glad you read her, too.
    Had a huge LOL at this: "I think that’s the first time I’ve quoted myself."
    As regards leaves on the line: it happens. At least once a season (autumn, to be precise) hubby's train would be delayed. The combination of just the right grade and fallen foliage = Bartender? Another round, please.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Okay, Dan, so I tried to read your post early this morning when I had a screaming headache and it made no sense. Now that the headache is gone, I’m reading again and not making a lot of sense of your post about…. trains, Doris Day, Ellen (at first I thought you were talking about Degeneres), England, weather, Alfred (not Batman’s butler), snow, etc. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard you ramble this much. Is there a point to it? ;-P

    Liked by 1 person

    • A point? A point? Mary, I barely got back to the theater before Doris started singing. How could there be a point? I’m sorry if I aggravated your headache. At least I didn’t include any math :)

      Maybe it would have helped if I had introduced Ellen’s post earlier. I just got carried away.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Dan, this was a riot! With your comment about leaving your wife enough room, I immediately thought about the comment you wrote about with Faith: “You are not short.” Yeah….your history with women and size…..I repeat–what a riot. Imagine if you had written this after you had been to the bar….!!


    • Thanks Lois. Yeah, I have a history with size. Height, width, it doesn’t seem to matter. I’m glad you enjoyed this. I’ve tried to write like this at the bar, but it never works without editing…lots of editing.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is fantastic SoCsing, Dan! Round and round we went in your brain :)
    I call BS on the leaves on the rails as well. It’s complete nonsense.
    The Doris bits cracked me up, because although Doris Day has a pleasant voice, she makes really ignorable background music.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Whoa this is a bowl of consciousness soup where everything edible has been thrown in -here I thought you were an organized person … I guess am changing my mind!


  13. The final picture of the tracks is so good. I don’t need to tell you how crazy I’m about trains. I will be covering some museums on my travel website in the near future.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well, that is a very good question. Honestly, I haven’t shot or clicked pictures inside the museum ever. However, the last time I did saw a board saying that you can take pictures if you pay Rs. 500 (US$ 7.49). So, if they are willing I will pay them and take pictures.


  14. Now, now, now, y’all. As I remember it, Doris broke into song specifically as a way to find her kidnapped child, or to signal her whereabouts to her rescuers or sumpin like dat. Not gratuitous, but somewhat irritating, nonetheless. Not a very carrying song for the purpose. She should have chosen Indian Love Call, maybe. A good, hearty, “WhenI’mcalling YOUUUUU-OO-OO-OOOOO-OO-OO-OOOOOOOU,” would have had bands of wolves scrabbling at the door.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, yes, she as trying to find her son, but I thought the guy was getting ready to shoot. anyway, I remember that scene as a low point in the movie. I think the bands of wolves would have been cool :)


  15. Are you now de-stressed? How I laughed and just about choked laughing so hard as I kept on reading. How you manage to keep all your subject matter straight and then tie everything together neatly blows me away! Your mind is brilliant, Dan! Just loved this post and oh how I thank you for the belly laughs which were sorely needed. Stress major this week my way. And you only know a wee part of it. 😂😂😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Amy. I hope the amount of stress in your life goes way down. In like a lion, out like a stress free lamb. Keep finding peace and beauty, and I’ll keep
      Letting my mind wander.


  16. Speaking of projects that don’t go according to plan, I have been involved with a certain project for 7 years. 7 years, Dan. Imagine that. It consists of 336 housing units. It was to be done in 3 phases. Phase 1 consists of 106 housing units. 7 years later, those 106 units are not complete! It lags and lags and lags. The Finance people are too reluctant to support it. And it is no longer profitable for any of the consultants. Even the contractors are complaining about inflation in material costs. I have a meeting there tomorrow Tuesday) morning. I’m so not into it, man!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny you mention the differences between English and English. I was going to go there too, and then I noticed how many words I had written and tried to find the end.

      My career has been building information systems, so projects going off the rails is something I am familiar with.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Twas fun following your mental ramblings Dan and to discover we were both a little irked by Doris Day: you by her need to sing at inopportune moments and me by her eternal, damnable perkiness. Whew! I feel better having revealed my dislike of Doris after all these years.

    Liked by 1 person

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