Posts Tagged With: Montgomery County Fire and Rescue

~ Tough Love Competition ~

It is the eve of September 11th.  A sober night for our country, and particularly poignant for My Captain, since he was deployed with Maryland Task Force One to join the collapse rescue effort that morning at the Pentagon.

untitledCCHe would spend the next 7 gruesome days on the ground of the disaster as the Task Force Leader of Maryland Task Force One, leading their effort to find any viable survivors.

They found none.  Not a single one.  Plenty of burning jet fuel and rubble, but no survivors.

One “holy cow” story that came out of his experience that deployment actually happened on 9/12.  A man in a military uniform was brought to My Captain during the rescue efforts because he had a NEED to get to a desk on the exact spot the plane hit.  It turned out that there was a file on that desk about the very man they knew they had to find:  Osama Bin Laden.   The military man needed to get to that desk and find that file.  My Captain feared there was no way the file or probably even the desk had survived.  But they got that man up the treacherously unstable rubble pile, and UNBELIEVABLY the desk was sitting right next to where the building collapsed, and the file was still sitting on it…unscathed.  UN-FREAKING-SCATHED.

No one could believe it.

There are other 9/11 deployment stories My Captain shares.  We’ll save them for another time.  He does share some of them every year with our local middle school on 9/11.

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In fact, he’ll be there all day tomorrow, as he has for the past several years, telling the kids about a day they were not even born to experience.  It’s crazy that those kids never knew the Pre-terrorist America as we did, growing up.

These thoughts were rattling around in my head as I was methodically doing the dishes this evening.   I thought about all of the families that were forever changed in that brief morning, and how all of those people never knew it was coming.  They never got one final goodbye.  One final hug or kiss.  They weren’t ready.

My eyes drifted to this:

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and I smiled.  Several months ago, I came down one morning and saw a note from My Captain that merely read: “I love you dearly.”

I left that note up there because every time I saw it, well, I felt warm, and tingly, and loved.

And then sometime this summer, I noticed that Varmint had added to it: “I love you more!”

And then sometime later, My Captain wrote: “I love you both the most!”

And then my Varmint wrote: “I call loving you guys infinity!”

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It was absolutely juvenile, and disturbing that we can’t even love each other without some kind of competition.

But truly, it makes me smile even bigger than before because, unlike so many of the victims of 9/11, we treat every day in this house as if we will never get the chance to say we love each other again.  Partly because My Captain’s profession is one of risk and danger.  And partly because of the lesson that was that horrible day.

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One we will never forget in our household.

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That’s My Captain in the white officer’s shirt at the far right of this picture.  If you are wondering why they were smiling, it was because they’d been deployed for 7 straight days and they were being relieved to go home…they were about to see their loved ones.  And they knew they were given the great gift to live another day to see those dear ones.

And love them.

Even if it was in an oddly competitive manner.

Categories: Fire and Rescue, Urban Search and Rescue | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

~ Icing On The Cake ~

Yesterday, on My Captain’s 50th birthday, the entire Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Operations Staff were out pounding the pavement for their annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Fundraising Drive.

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In other words, they were trading in their good looks and charming dispositions for the loose change in the ashtray of every vehicle that stopped at the intersection they held up.

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It was a hot, humid day, as always.  Actually, it was a hot and humid 3 days, as all three shifts in the county get to participate.  They actually compete against each other to see who can raise the most donations.  In years past, My Captain’s shift has fared really well on that contest.  I don’t know what they were doing to win…maybe going shirtless and just wearing their running gear pants and suspenders or something.  (Obviously, the female firefighters could seriously pull in the moola with that maneuver).

One year, I offered to stand out there with them. It was hotter than this year, and I, in all of my soft and squishy mama-ness got overheated and nearly passed out.  It was rawwwwthar embarrassing, took time for the guys to get me out of the street and into the shade, and basically was a big pain in the butt for people trying to accomplish something other than dealing with me!

This year I was like, “Hey Hon, do you want me to come hold a boot for a while?” and he was like, “Er…don’t you have a birthday cake to make or something?”

But fortunately, they didn’t really need me and my begging talents.   All the fire stations’ shifts were already out.  This is Engine 732’s crew.  They are the next station over from My Captain’s station.  Their station is shiny and new and big and has professionals to clean the place unlike My Captain’s aging firehouse.  Those things don’t make 32 a better fire shift, but it is something I like to bring up over and over again, just to stir the pot.

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And here is Station 8’s Captain, none other than My Captain’s best friend, (since 3rd grade when his father forced him to play with My Captain,) Ty.

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Ty lets his wife hold the boot.

Well, he kind of has to, since she is a firefighter:

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paramedic/badass:

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at Fire Station 34, who probably doesn’t fall out in a little heat during the MDA drive.

But the point is, she gets to play.

And I don’t.  I mean, geez, you fall out one time and they never let you come play in the traffic again.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, Captain Ty was out in the traffic, too.

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I think we can all agree that Ty is hot.  No, I mean HOT, like, it was stinkin HOT, and humid out.

That, and he’s really good looking and virile.  If you like that sort of thing.

Which Maggie does.

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And she’s no slouch herself.

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I want to be her when I grow up.   I also want to be a Moose.   Like a real Montana Moose.  But that is for an entirely different counseling session, altogether.

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Back to My Captain’s shift.  So they were out playing in the traffic, raising quite a bit of  money for Jerry’s Kids.

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And nobody got hit this year.

Which is nice.

Last year, My Captain had a few near misses.  We won’t elaborate on why people with ADD shouldn’t play in traffic, I don’t care what their rank is.

At the end of the day, the guys counted up all the donations.  I think My Captain’s shift pulled in something like $8,000.  THAT is a LOT of pennies, folks.  Some of them, Canadian.

I think they also received a few Hershey’s Park play tokens, and a few ladies’ phone numbers, but MDA let them keep those.

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But NONE of this is the point to this post. The POINT is that last year, for My Captain’s birthday, I had the time to bake him his favorite Boston Cream Pie.

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It was a real Beaut!

THIS year, however, my kitchen is all torn up, I’m not sure where all of my baking pans are, and I didn’t have time.   It’s his 50th birthday, and I couldn’t even bake him a ding-dang cake, even though he was working all day in the heat for MDA during his shift, AND running emergency calls, AND trying to get administration stuff done.   And I couldn’t even give him a homemade cake.

I suck, is what I’m saying.

But I DID go buy a cake that the shift could share after they got off of the roads last night.  And since I suck, I didn’t order it decorated ahead of time, so I had to write the birthday wishes on it myself.

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I had a little trouble with the icing.

Ahem.

My Captain sent me a photo after they cut into it, to show me how well the icing fared, as it sat in the fire house, for hours, waiting for the guys to finish the MDA  street walking……2015-09-03 15.52.09

Eeeesh.

It’s a damn good thing that My Captain has low expectations in a mate.

Don’t judge.

Categories: Family, Fire and Rescue | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

~ Getting Old In A Firehouse ~

A half-century.

Fifty stinkin’ years.

Most of those fighting fires as a Captain, and saving lives as a Paramedic.

Most of those getting up ridiculously early.

Most of those having sleep interrupted, often several times a night, to respond to 911 calls.

Most of those mentoring younger firefighters and paramedics.

Most of those training and supporting Special Ops men and women in the art of collapse rescue.

Most of those in the front, right side “Officer’s Seat” of the fire engine.

And today, being his 50th birthday, as he came onto his shift at the butt-crack of dawn, he was reminded so very well of exactly how much respect he has earned.

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Firehouse style.

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Happy Birthday, My Beloved Old Fart!  May you have many, many more.

(And may you have an opportunity to get them back!)

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~ Firehouse Feng Shui ~

I was sitting in My Captain’s office for a moment, having just delivered the shift a big ol’ pan of Icebox Peanutbutter Pie, waiting for My Captain to finish his email, and try said pie, when I noticed his desk.

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And I began to look harder at it.

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Eesh.

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What a piece of crap his desk is.  The man has put 28 years of service into Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, and his desk is a piece of broken down trash.

He doesn’t seem to notice it.  He’s got things to do.  Places to go.  People to save.

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Then I looked at Lt. Tom’s desk.  Its legs were totally rusted.

Then I got up, walked down the hall to the Watch Desk (where emergency information is received) and immediately noticed it was a little worn as well.

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And chipped.

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Of course Mr. Ward doesn’t notice it, because he’s got work to do, places to go, people to save, that kind of thing.

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And just outside the door into the engine bay is the shelving unit that holds things to be repaired.  It looks about as good as I feel some mornings.

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What the heck, man?

And just down the hall in the kitchen, right smack dab in the middle of their eating area is this beautiful view.

0516151720aI found myself wondering why the county allows this station to fall to rack and ruin.  It’s bad enough ANY firemen would have to work in this kind of environment, but that the cream of the crop, the Special Ops team, should be housed like this blew my mind.  Why aren’t we taking better care of our heroes???

Turns out they tend to take care of themselves. Like here in the laundry room….the guys needed shelves for their air cylinders,

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and also for other gear.

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Did they wait for the powers-that-be to find the money, approve the money, and begin the ordering process?  Nope.  They just built what they needed themselves.  ‘A ‘shift did, in fact (the shift after My Captain’s shift.) They have no time for bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo.  They have a job to do, and so they do what needs to be done.

My Captain tells me that, while the men wouldn’t mind a station upgrade, on the whole they are too busy to be much effected by it.  The money they’d need to fix up the place gets slated for other priorities, so if they can’t make it themselves, they shake their heads, and make do.

And even then, when you’re running out the door to go help someone in a fire, or someone having a heart attack, the state of your desk isn’t high on your priority list.

In other words, they’re too busy getting it done to notice how good it all looks while they’re doing it.

I understand that, I really do.  But I just wish that the people in charge of taking care of these guys would crack open a Better Homes and Garden magazine every now and then.  SOMETHING.  Something to show the love, for Pete’s sake. Matching pillows or mood lighting for crying out loud.  Maybe a lovely center piece on the watch desk, or some nice textured artwork.  Bring in some Feng Shui….

or at least desks that aren’t falling apart.

Categories: Fire and Rescue | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

~ Come Home Soon, You Big Dork ~

My Captain is thousands of miles away from me as we speak…in some strange land known mysteriously as “San Diego.”   He and two of the other Task Force Leaders of Maryland Task Force 1 are out there for some kind of super-secret cyber training.   I think they are learning some cheats for Mine Craft or Angry Birds.

I begged him to send me some pictures, since I have never been to San Diego, and don’t know if I ever will get the chance.  I BEGGED him, even though I know he is busy and carries a much greater purpose than to serve my whims.

But I try not to remind him of that fact.

So he sent me this:

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A picture of how perfectly he parked the rental car – to the centimeter – and to the consternation of his fellow Task Force Leaders.  These are men who specialize in tight space rescues.  These are guys who KNOW how hard it can be to be SO precise.   So when My Captain successfully parked in a space his peers were sure he could not, he took a picture.  And THAT is what he sent to me.

I was not impressed.

So the next night, I again asked for a picture of San Diego, so that this homebound Mama in Dickerson, Maryland, could see what the rest of the world looks like.  He sent me this:

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I bitched about the lack of perspective to THE CITY.  So he sent me this:

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“LOOK,” I whined, “Send me something other than your amazing parking jobs, you big dork.”

So he sent me this:

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Obviously my man needs his sense of humor tweaked.

I changed tactics and asked him to send me maybe a picture of where they are taking their classes.  So he sent me this:

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***Sigh***

Okay, Beloved, you win.  How about just a picture of a handsome mug?  (I never get tired of looking at my man’s face.)

So he sent me this:

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ARGH.

While I am happy to look at the handsome mugs that are John and Bob, I really just wanted to see my Honey.

So I told him, “Look, I appreciate your sense of humor, but Love, you know what I’d really like to see.  Cut the crap.”

So he sent me this:

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What can I say?  The man knows me well.  Maybe TOO well.

Now hurry up and come home soon, you big Dork!!!

Categories: Urban Search and Rescue | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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