Monthly Archives: September 2013

~ Still Relevant ~

Today, the anniversary of the September, 11, 2001 attacks,


My Captain spent his morning at our local middle school talking to the tweens about that day, and terrorism, and rescue.  He talked about his role as the Task Force Leader of Maryland Task Force One’s, Urban Search and Rescue team.  He showed slides,


and gear,


and told stories…the real ones, not the ones spun by the media.  For the second year in a row, he spent his personal day off on this anniversary, trying to teach the up-and-coming generations some of the lessons our generation has learned.  Why?

Because he doesn’t want to repeat that kind of collapse rescue.

Desperately, he doesn’t want to repeat it.

He did the same thing last year, and the local news came and reported on it.  Here’s the link to that if you want to see My Captain on video:

It’s hard to convey to the next generation how our generation mourns the loss of innocence of America.   After all, they have never known an America that wasn’t constantly aware of the threat of terrorism.   How do you teach a group of people who are numbed by the violence in movies, television and media, that senseless acts like those of 9/11 are supposed to be rare?

Yesterday was My Captain’s normal shift at Fire Station 31, and in the late morning, he was called to a ‘bombing’ at our County Police and Fire Headquarters.

He and his crew spent a long hot morning essentially babysitting the area as the bomb technicians did their job.  Apparently a juvenile had set off an explosive device.   It didn’t hurt anyone, and by all accounts was fairly small.  But it was a bomb!  A stinkin’ bomb!  We’re not talking Mentos in a bottle of Sprite, either.  We’re talking a meant-to-hurt bomb.

When My Captain mentioned it to me later in the day…in an off-hand way…I was floored!  Why wasn’t this ALL OVER THE NEWS?!  The kind of mentality it takes to intentionally bomb a place…I can’t wrap my head around that anymore than I could wrap my brain around the events of 9/11.

But regardless of the ‘whys,’ and the ‘hows,’ and the ‘what-the-heck-was-the-kid-thinkings,’ one fact sticks glaringly out at me.  Here we are, a dozen years after that catastrophic loss of our country’s innocence, still dealing with this kind of thing, albeit on a smaller scale, right here in our backyards.  My Captain’s job as a rescuer is just as relevant now, as it was then.

And I fear, it always will be.

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~Herringbone Pattern~

Geesh.  Some people are SO prickly to work with.

My Captain had reached the part of his walk-out basement/brick patio project where he could actually start laying the brick.  It is not a job that many people can do together, as it starts in a small space and goes out very specifically from there.  So in the beginning, all I could do was wait and watch as he got started.  Now see, this is how you do it:

You get a couple of rods to use as depth measures.

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You get yourself two tons of sand and move it, using your incredibly delicious biceps and forearms.

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Oh yeah.

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Yeah, just like that.

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You spread it evenly.

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And then you lay the first brick and your wife makes it a big deal and adds much pomp and ceremony to it.

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And then you lay the second and third bricks, and  your wife makes it a big deal and adds much pomp and ceremony.

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And then you lay a bunch more bricks, and your wife makes it a big deal….you get the drift.

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And then your family stops by and tells you what you’re doing wrong, which you REALLY like a whole lot.

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And then you throw everything down in a huff because your wife isn’t really lightening the work load as you had hoped, even though she is entertaining herself immensely.

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Don’t you just love family projects?

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~ Changing of the Mat ~

Every season I place a different accent rug by the kitchen door.  I don’t know why the heck I do that.  It might be because I get bored easily.  It might be my ADD needing to be stimulated.  It might be my way of acknowledging the ever passing nature of time and season.  It could be my weird need for traditions.  But whatever the reason, I’ve always done it.

And it’s time to do it again.  Summer has gone; It’s time for my autumn rug.

But I’m having a hard time saying goodbye to her.

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Just look at her.  Ain’t she purty, Melba?  (Is it okay if I call you Melba?)

Sure, she’s a little worn, but she screams “Summer!” as loudly as she ever did.

I suppose she doesn’t make much sense in our kitchen, though.  We don’t live at the beach.  I don’t own a bike, much less a red one, and frankly I would never put a basket on my bike if I DID have one.  A moose-shaped bell, probably, but never a silly ol’ basket.

But overlooking all of that, this rug perfectly depicts our life in the summer.


But I don’t want to pull out the autumn rugs yet.  I’m not ready for pumpkins and colored leaves and silly ghosts and witches.

And I’ve always hated change.

Mostly because I’m lazy.  But also because I’m sickeningly sentimental. And hey, if time passes, that means I’m getting older and my children are getting older, and my mother is getting older and my cats are getting older…. (You’ll note that in none of the above examples, did I use the word “MATURE”)  It’s hard, this ever-aging life we lead.

Oh pretty Summer Accent Rug, please don’t leave me!  Don’t leave me, my little red bike that is nothing like anything I’ve ever owned!  Don’t leave me, pretty little beach and stupid wicker basket!


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~ Man’s Work ~

My Captain, a man of considerable talent and ability, has taken on a project of gigantic proportion.  It has to do with building a walk-out basement and brick patio in the Little Cottage.  The gigantic proportion part has nothing to do with the structural engineering of the retaining walls…he could do that in his sleep.

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And it has nothing to do with the construction and earth moving aspects.  He’s got that nailed.

2013-09-06 13.57.58And it’s not even the time-consuming aspect of laying the foundations for the brick pavers, and ultimately laying the pavers in a Herringbone pattern.

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The gigantic proportion part is that he is teaching Critter to do all these things along the way.

Critter is a ten-year-old boy who is like a mix of Bugs Bunny’s wit and the Tazmanian Devil’s energy.  He’s bright…dangerously bright.  He’s quick….dangerously quick.  And he’s energetic.  ASTOUNDLINGLY energetic.

Plus he’s ten, which means his impulse control is nil.

And he’s a boy, which means anything worth doing in his world starts with the phrase, “Hey, ya’ll!  Watch this!”

Now, take all of that, wrap it up in a bundle of gorgeousness, and you have my Critter.

Not that I’m biased.

If you were to put the potent mixture that is a Critter and add it to gasoline powered tamper,

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a literal ton of gravel and sand,

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and two full pallets of brick pavers, and you’d have a handful.

Which is exactly what we had.

Oh, don’t worry, My Captain didn’t hand him the sledge-hammer or the Sawzall to start out with.  Rather, he wisely gave him the job of water-tamping, and hand-tamping.

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Now, you might wonder how difficult a task that could possibly be.

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And you might wonder if it is really necessary to micro-manage such a simple task.

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And you might question how much trouble Critter could possibly get into with just a hose and a tamper.

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But if you have noticed by these pictures, My Captain is with him every step of the way.

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Partly because he is in ‘teaching’ mode, and he is a very, very, very conscientious teacher.

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Partly because he loves the boy and wants to be with him as they work together, not just give him a task and forget about him.

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But also because he’s, well, CRITTER.

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A Ten-Year-Old Boy.

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With “man’s-work” type tools in his hands.

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And ALL that that implies!!!!

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~ Tricking The Fireman ~

My Captain had his 48th Birthday yesterday.  We had a small dinner party for him at Goggy and Papa’s house, and Goggy made My Captain’s favorite childhood dish, then dubbed and forevermore thusly known as:   “Chicken in the Black Pot.”

It was yummy.

And I made a cake!  A Chocolate Éclair Cake!

And I made it sugar-free!  I substituted Xylitol for every instance it called for sugar.

It didn’t taste half bad.


But the candles were the part I wanted to share with you.  I got the dorky re-lighting kind.  I love to do stuff like that.  Call me Mephistopheles.


But dagnabbit!  That man knew right away what kind of candles they were just by the way they were burning and sparking.  He didn’t even TRY to blow out the candles. He just started snuffing them out with his fingers.


Which, by the way, OW!

He thought he was foiling my plot!  But ha-ha!  Not so fast, there Skippy!


It ain’t so easy, there Bucko!


Whatsamatta, little boy?  Candles won’t stay out?



That smile on My Captain’s face?  It’s more valuable to me than chocolate.

And THAT is saying something.

Grandma Jane got My Captain something as well……



(It gets re-gifted everywhere)

What?  Doesn’t everyone have one?


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