Monthly Archives: March 2012

~ No Room For The Truth ~

If you are late coming to this show, you need to know I love to tell a good story.

I mean, heck, I’ll tell any story, even if it isn’t good, but I love to tell a good one.

My father used to be a fantastic story-teller. Just to make it more entertaining, he would add and subtract and twist a story around until you wouldn’t recognize it if it smacked you upside the head.  I would call him on it, and he would say, “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story, Brat.”

We were close, my Dad and I.

Last night My Captain and I went out to enjoy one of Burt’s Blue Hawaiians, which was, as always, as close to being in a Florida Key Tiki Bar as I’m ever gonna get.   But on the way, we stopped at the Upper Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Department, Montgomery County Fire Station 14 (Whew…that’s a mouthful!) to say “Hey!” to our friends and My Captain’s co-workers.   It happened to be “A-Shift” and that particular shift’s Captain is one of my favorite people, Adam.

Adam is the most sincere man I believe you could ever come across.  He’s an amazing Paramedic and Firefighter, has worked with My Captain for over two decades, and is a well-respected teacher at the Fire Academy.   Adam enjoys a good conversation and laughs easily.  I like him immensely.  It’s hard not to like him.

That just made me think of the saying I find to be SO true: “It’s hard to hate someone who likes you.”

Sorry, shiny object.

Back to the subject: Story Telling.

My Captain sat down at the kitchen table with the shift, and started telling the story of the previous night’s fire (my version of which you will find in ~ Dinner, Or The Lack Thereof ~) in order to 1) entertain his friends, 2) discuss what worked well and what didn’t and 3) talk smack.

Don’t get me wrong,  My Captain is a good story-teller.  He obviously knew what he was talking about, because he lived it first hand.  There was no question that what he was saying was true.

And yet…

I couldn’t help myself.  My father’s blood started showing.  I found myself interjecting repeatedly, just to color in the story more and more.  It humored My Captain at first, then not so much, and then he started giving me the ‘Stink-Eye’ whenever he heard me take in a breath to talk.

Adam smiled and chuckled and nodded good-humoredly not only at My Captain’s story, but at my constant interrupting.  But I knew I was getting really irritating when one of the guys on Adam’s shift… Pat…was searching for the TV remote control to see if the mute button would work on me. (ouch).  Well, there was that clue and then when he said, “Will you just shut up?!”.

Pat is, if nothing else, blunt.

So I shut it, under duress, and was beginning to despair that My Captain would say anything more entertaining than “The intake pressure in the supply line was too high and the total pressure manager went into second stage of relief and dumped water on the driveway….”.  I mean,  sure, the firefighters listening were probably mildly interested, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say entertained.

But then…

My Captain sat back, looked both ways, and got ready to tell something really juicy.  I know this because whenever anyone has to look both ways before saying something, it’s gotta be juicy.  If you have to check for witnesses, it’s a good story.

Adam understood this.  The consummate kind person, he is not one to do a lot of ‘look-both-ways-before-you-say-something-to-check-for-witnesses’ story telling.  He started to laugh before My Captain said anything and said, “If you have to look around before you say it, you probably shouldn’t say it!”  Ah, Adam.  We love you!

But my father wouldn’t have hestitated, not one bit.

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~ Dinner, or The Lack Thereof ~

Tonight, I stopped by My Captain’s firestation to bring him lunch for tomorrow (He’s working a 36 hour shift).  When I got there, he was not…he was on an EMS call.  As usual, it came as he was just sitting down to dinner.  I sat down to wait for him to come back, and had a nice conversation with Lt. Tom.  I love that guy.  He is SUCH a good cook that we swap recipes. (Firehouses are notorious for their awesome cooks.)

Tom and I were discussing the pros and cons of Pastry versus Potato Hash in Egg Pies when My Captain walked in.  His untouched dinner was still on the kitchen table and he was ABOUT to sit down to eat it when….

….the alarm bells went off again.  This time it was a fire.  And by fire, I mean FIRE.

So off he went, barely having time to brush his lips with mine (***sigh***) as he rushed out the door.

And suddenly I found myself alone in a very quiet firehouse.

Then I remembered I had my camera in the car.  I ran over to the printer in the watch office, grabbed the incident information sheet to get the address, and zoomed off to catch my guys in action.  For years and years I’ve wanted pictures of My Captain on the scene of a working fire, but I’ve never had the opportunity…and then bam!  Here was opportunity knocking!

I felt like an ambulance chaser…only they were firetrucks…and tankers….and ladder trucks…

I’ll share some of these pictures.  I’m no photographer, and my camera is cheap and crappy, but if you have got nothing better to do, enjoy!

When I first drove up to the incident, I had to find a place to park that was not in the way, not going to block anyone in, and not illegal.  That took a few moments.  Annoying I may be; obstructive, I’m not, if I can help it.

My first plan of action was to find Station 31’s crew.  I had to use my zoom lense for everything to stand well away.  My Captain, as all officers do, wears a white helmet.  So whenever I saw a white helment, I looked to see if it was my guy.

Nope.   Here is where a different firehouse is establishing and maintaining a water supply.   Joe, from my Captain’s shift, was on the first due Tanker and had already supplied the first round of water. It’s up to the next arriving fire crews to bring more.  The nearest hydrant was a mile away.  It took some work to get that water!

In order to do this, they have to set up some Folding Tanks (which look like oversized kiddie pools).  The tankers dump water into the Folding Tanks, and then the engine pumps it up to the fire.  And this has to happen:  1) Very Very Quickly,  2) without anyone getting hurt, and 3) effectively!  A firefighter without water is, if not helpless, then at the very least, not happy!

Here is Tanker 14, from the station up near where I live.  On a box alarm, many fire crews come from many firehouses near the area.   That is a Folding Tank you see in the foreground.

Folding Tank with guy running in front of it.

More Folding Tank.  You get the picture.

But where is My Captain’s crew?  Come to think of it…where is the fire?  I see a lot of smoke, but no fire.  I asked one of the men.  He pointed up the hill.

Way.

Up.

The.

Hill.

There in the distance, through the darkness of the trees, I saw more firetrucks up a steep steep steep steep hill.

As in, serious incline, man.

So I started hoofing it up the hill…while 1) staying out of the way of the guys running up it (in full gear, mind you…and that stuff ain’t made of anything lightweight) 2) avoiding stepping on hose and 3) trying to look nonchalant….. the minute the guys see a camera, they all scatter.

And then I turned a corner of heavy woods to find this.   Ay Carumuba.  I still had to find My Captain’s crew.  I asked a firefighter standing on the sidelines if he knew where 31 was and he pointed over to this:

ACK!  My heart lept in my throat.

I VERY CAREFULLY advanced to a safe spot, engaged my zoom lense to its fullest capacity, and found my guy.  The love of my life.  My Captain.  RIGHT UP IN THE INFERNO.  (And they wonder why I drink.)

There he was, white helmet and all,… this strong, smart, talented hero…. but he was…SITTING.   The guy was just sitting!  What the Heck!!

But zooming in from a different angle, I could see he was sitting ON something…the hose.  He was keeping the hose from snaking around in all the pressure it was under while his firefighter, Brett, aimed the water.  You can’t tell from this picture, but they are right ON the fire.  It’s literally a couple of feet from them.

That’s my guy.  Yeah. The one sitting.

Oh, I am sure he was directing and whatnot, and apparently he and his crew had put a dent in the fire before anyone else was able to get there.  They had made what is called a “stop”.  They had stopped the fire from spreading any further. VERY IMPORTANT.

When the other companies got there, they took different positions and at the point of this picture, they were in the mode to put it out.  That’s Ronald in the back ground, to the left of My Captain.  We love Ronald. They’ve known eachother since they were schoolboys.  There is a lot of family here.

Eventually the fire was controlled enough, and My Captain’s crew had been on it long enough, that it was time to switch out with another company.

So off My Captain went.  They are supposed to go to the Rehab sector at this point to get their heartrate checked and drink water and basically try to reset their tired bodies.  But My Captain has other things to do first….check with his Master Firefighter who is manning the engine pump,

Check with his guys to see that they are doing ok (Here’s Brett.  We love Brett.  He is the guy who had been manning the nozzle of the hose My Captain had been sitting on.)

Give a little more instruction.

Talk pumper strategy.

And THEN go to rehab.  And when he did, he found a very sweaty Ronald.

Tired, sweaty Ronald.

And Lt. Tom, who hates the camera more than I hate salad.

And will avoid getting his picture taken most comically.

So they sat and rehabbed and caught their breath.

And waited their turn go get into it again.

Ronald, meanwhile, had found a toy….

No, really he was moving the burned debris around.  They have to do that to get all of the remnants of the fire or else it will start back up again, and that is very embarassing.

Back at the pumper, My Captain was talking to a different Brett.  One he has known a long time.  This Brett’s father was one of My Captain’s mentors growing up.  I tell you, Firefighters tend to run in the family.

By then, my camera was running out of batteries,  my feet were hurting,  I smelled like a bonfire, and I had to pee.  So I went back down the hill towards my car.

Where I found the Folding tanks were full and happy.

Wait…what is that thing in the water to the right of that firefighter?

A DUCK???

Nope.  A duck decoy.

And a basketball.  Ok then.

(I found out later that they float those things because they help stop problems when the water starts to swirl and drain. )

Oh there’s Joe!  Remember, Joe brought the Tanker.   Hi Joe!  We love that guy.

Joe had had a hard night.  And he was hungry.

Oh wait!!! My Captain never did get his dinner.

With that very very sad thought, I went home and fell into bed.   It was near 1:30 AM.  When I awoke 7 hours later, I called My Captain, who was still at work (remember, 36 hour shift) and asked him how long he had been on the fire.

He had hit his bunk at 5:30am.

And had to get up at 6:30am to start the next part of his shift.

My Captain had one hour of sleep, no dinner, and was still at work.  My heart aches to hear that.  Here I have gotten a full 7 hours of sleep, and he is still hard at work.  He does this because he cares about his community, he loves his job, and he strives to take care of his family, whom he loves with all of his heart.

God Bless Him.

God Bless all the caretakers and heros out there.  And may we never, ever take them for granted.

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~ A Worrisome Trend ~

I started the day worrying about whether or not my kids would make the school bus on time.

They didn’t.

Then I worried over the laundry, and the enormous, unceasing quantity of it, and if I would ever get it done, and if, in the process, I would ruin yet another garment.

I did.

Then I worried about My Captain, who is working at the fire station today and could get hurt, maimed, or killed, as he could on any given work day.  I texted him to see if all is well and so far he’s still alive and kicking.  But then I worried that my frequent checking in on him was annoyingly distracting and maybe even insulting.

It was.

Then I took a break to check some emails and catch up on my Facebook friends, wherein I became embroiled in a community discussion about after-school care that became heated and stressful and I worried that my opinions would offend friends and neighbors.

They did.

So I went back down to the laundry and started ironing.  And while I ironed, I listened on the radio to the broadcast of the Senator Stevens Judicial Inquiry, and Department of Justice’s watchdog proceedings on ethics, specifically Henry Scheulke’s questioning, …..and that dwarfed all of my other worries completely.

Apparently the subjects of my worries are increasing in severity.  If the only direction to go is up, then I should soon be worrying on a universal, theological, spiritual level.

I think I’ll start worrying about the purpose of life and whether or not the Universe will be imploding within my children’s lifetimes.

It would, after all, be about as useful as all of the OTHER worries I’ve committed my time to today.

I need to find my “So What?” attitude, and fast!

…before the Universe implodes.

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Mama Boe

There is an old saying that I’ll mangle as I share it with you:  If you want to know how good a friend someone might be, don’t look to their current friends, look to their enemies.    I had to eat a few rumballs to fully understand it, but now that I do, I feel very esoteric and superior to my pre-rumball, mangled-saying self.

Anyway, I got to thinking that there IS something to be said about the company one keeps.  It is a direct reflection of ourselves.  A mirror, if you will, of who we are, or who we would like to be.  We are drawn to those kinds of people, and repelled by those who either remind us of parts of ourselves we don’t like, or are just plain Dicks.  (I’m pretty sure that is in Carl Jung or maybe Friedrich Nietzsche.)

I think of my husband, Troy’s, friends…all…

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an oldie, but goodie.

Mama Boe

These here are our cats, Moose and Gracie.  They are both Boys, but Gracie is the non-dominant one.  It’s difficult to explain.  He’s constantly grooming himself, too.  It’s a little weird, not that there’s anything wrong with itThe cats are a huge component of the glue that holds this family together.  When we rescued them as kittens, Garrick announced in his glee that we are FINALLY a family.  …He was 7 years old at the time.  Should I be concerned that it took the better part of a decade to make my BIOLOGICAL SON feel like part of a family?

Needless to say, since they are THE reason, according to Garrick, that we are a family, I have to be careful about how I talk about them.

I don’t mind the litter box cleaning…the kids help with that when I ask.  I don’t mind the cat food, or the vet…

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