Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 21

Hi Team!

Happy three week anniversary!!!

Today was an interesting day. On my walk today, my feet went completely numb. They were so numb I could barely walk at times and had to keep stopping to hold on to something and stomp my feet several time to get the feeling back. I have never experienced this before and when my laps and time were completed, even though I remained standing as Coach Alex and I talked, my feet felt fine. This could be explained by a pinched nerve or misalignment of my spine in some way, but I think this is a spiritual attack. I did not let it stop me, though I nearly gave in and then thought better of it. GOD IS ABLE!! Please pray for no more of this nonsense!

Today Pete tells me I walked 14,364 steps! YAY ME!!!

I drank approx. 60 ounces of fluid.

I did not get enough sleep and I can tell you right now, I will not get enough sleep tonight. That is another issue I would appreciate prayers on. That I would make wise decisions with my time and that I would find/make time to get the rest I need. This is proving to be one of my most difficult mini challenges within my ultimate challenge.

On a positive note, not having to do with my climb but having everything to do with motivation, I had a pen from East Pierce Fire and Rescue that I obtained from the Fire Department Open House I attended last friday. I let a parent use it to sign their child out on Tuesday afternoon and that parent inadvertantly walked off with it. It was a FIRE DEPARTMENT pen, and as such, it was special to me. (insert whininess or pouting or whatever seems appropriate here.) I knew it was silly to dither over a silly little pen, but I LIKED that pen. (Yes, I know I said on a positive note, keep reading!) This morning I was talking to one of my staff about it and how silly it is that I was so attached to it just because it was a fire department pen. She was very sweet and tried to make me feel okay about being whiny about it. This afternoon when she arrived at work she told me she had something for me. It seems that she took it upon herself to visit the U.P. Fire Department and ask them if they had a fire department pen they would be willing to part with. She brought it to me as a gift. (insert sappy tears of happiness here!) MY STAFF ROCKS!!! And God even cares about my pens! I feel so blessed and so loved. Really!

Until next time... Stay safe!!

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 20

Hi Team!

Whoops! I was supposed to write this last night. I stayed up too late working on another project and forgot to blog :(

So, when I say "today" I really mean yesterday because it is already tomorrow!

Today was a relatively uneventful day. Nothing spectacular occurred in relation to my climb up the ladder. Pete's buttons got pushed, yet again, so I have no accurate pedometer reading to report. My best guess is somewhere around 7,000 steps.

I drank about 60 ounces of fluid. YAY ME!

I didn't get much sleep, but that is normal. I must continue to work on this. God is Able.

I did spend my morning with another huge supporter. My friend Sunny and I went to coffee together to catch up on old times. I haven't spent much time with her at all in the last year and it was very nice to play catch up. She makes an awesome cheerleader and we have decided to meet every tuesday.

Well, that is about it for now. As always, stay safe!

Hotflash out

Monday, September 28, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 19

Hi Team!

Not a lot to report today. Pete said that I walked 11,439 steps today. I drank almost two quarts of fluids today. YAY ME!

I am still having some trouble with my right knee wanting to give out on me when stepping up or down as from a curb or stairs. I will have to overcome this somehow and strengthen that knee. God is able!

I am not doing very well at consistant sleep times. I got about 5 1/2 hours last night. I must improve on this, although, considering the time of night I am posting this, tomorrows post wont be reporting any better sleep times!

I need to seriously consider adding something to my week as far as exercise and conditioning goes. I knew this would be a big commitment, but the reality is starting to hit. I have a hard time committing to more time for anything. I know I will have to give up some free time to add conditioning and strength training to my routine. I am considering returning to the YMCA's 12 week program. It is a program that gets people started in regular exercise including cardio, weights and flexibility exercises. It is a supervised program designed to establish healthy habits and to teach participants hoow to use equipment and establish routines. Since my husband is a full time YMCA employee, I have a free membership. Silly not to use it!

Well, that is it for now. Stay Safe!!

Hotflash out.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 18

Hi Team!

I hope the weekend was good to you. It definitely was to me. Today was another busy day with Sunday school, church service, choir practice and quiz team practice! All of those obligations involved an awful lot of sitting so when I finished with quiz practice, I came home and took the dog for a walk. YAY ME!!

According to Pete I walked 6,098 steps today. NOt too bad. I would have preferred at least 8,000, but not too bad.

I had seven hours of sleep last night. That was great!

I have had about 60 ounces of fluid today.

Tomorrow I will be adding more stairs to my work out. Currently I walk three miles and do 10 sets of steps. I will begin doing 12 sets of steps tomorrow and if I am still breathing reasonably at the end of my workout on Friday, I will go for 15 sets next week. That is my goal anyway.

I have a challenge for anyone who is interested. I am looking for ideas on how to get my exercise in, in a fun way with little or no exercise equipment, while in Washougal at my brother's home/fire station. It has to be fun because my Coach will not be around to kick my butt and hold me accountable. She won't even be able to reach me online as I will not have online capability while I am gone. I don't want to go out walking because my brother lives in the sticks! I would prefer not to do my walking on gravel roads, or narrow roads along the Washougal River where the drivers routinely go 40-50 miles an hour! If you have any ideas, please send them my way. I have over a month to figure this out. Thanks.

Until later, Stay SAFE!

Hotflash out

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Flashpointz -East Pierce Fire and Rescue Open House

Hi everyone! Today was a very fun day. My neice, Amanda and her two year old son, Jermaine came to my house this morning. Shortly after their arrival we headed out to Bonney Lake to the East County Fire and Rescue 16th Annual Open House. It was scheduled from 1:00-4:00. We arrived at about 1:10 pm and were very glad we came when we did. If we had been late it would have been a mad house for parking and as it was, we did not do everything there was to do!

I had no idea the event would be so big or so well attended. There were people every where! The fire department really did a great job with this event. There were several interactive booths, including but not limited to the Firefighter Challenge, Spot the Tot, Interactive Rope Rescue, Spin the Safety Wheel game, Interactive Firefighter, and lots more. There was a bounce house designed to look like a fire station, Jaws of Life Demonstrations, lots of rescue rigs to look at and get pictures in and around, free popcorn, cotton candy and ice cream and plenty more I have not mentioned. They also had low cost bike helmets and life jackets for sale, custom fittings included.

The firefighter challenge is the one I wish I could have participated in. THey might have even let me but I was too shy to ask. NOne of the other adults were doing it except the occasional firefighter when there wasn't a partner for a child wanting to participate. The participants had to wear a bunker coat, run a short distance and grab onto a "victim" (a dummy in turnout gear with a pull strap attached) and drag the victim back to the starting point (a firefighter assisted kids with that part as needed). Then they had to pick up a charged hose and drag it back to where the victim had been, open the nozzle and spray it at a sign on a stand, knocking it over to "put out the fire."s It looked SO fun. And watching it it suddenly dawned on me, I have not had the opportunity to use a fire hose yet!! Bro- you will have to help remedy that (please??!!)

Jermaine was really cute. He was really enjoying all the action going on around him. He was too short to participate in many of the interactive activities, but the firefighters there were as accommodating as could be. They talked to him, gave him a hat, shared high fives, and gave him the prizes he would have been able to have if he had participated. At the Interactive firefighter booth the kids got to put on boots, bunker pants and coat. Jermaine is so tiny that we stepped him into the boots with the pants tucked down around the bottoms and we couldn't even pull the pants up a little bit. So we put his hat on him and took a picture any way.

At one booth the prizes included a choice of pencils, rulers or fire related erasers. Jermaine got a fire engine eraser. He chose yellow. (He's only two so he doesn't know any better!) We tried to convince him to trade for red but he was having nothing to do with that! Walking away from that booth, Jermaine kept stooping down to the ground and trying to "drive" his yellow fire engine around. He loved it!

We got pictures of Jermaine by the pump panel of a fire engine, standing on a front bumper of a rig, on the tail board of a fire engine with bright orange and yellow reflective paint across the back, and with Sparky the fire dog and Smokey the bear. That yellow and orange reflective paint on the back of the fire engine was brighter than all get out! I don't think I've ever seen anything so bright on a rescue rig before.

At the Spot the Tot booth we discovered that Jermaine could not be seen from the driver's seat behind the "firefighter SUV" (lol, inside joke)until he was 14 feet back! That is a long distance away. I think it was a real eye opener to Amanda.

The Jaws of Life Demonstration was my favorite part of the day. We watched as the four man team of firefighters assessed the scene first then planned how to extricate the "victim". We saw them use several cool power tools to do the job including a ram and the jaws of life. The tool they use to remove the windshield is really cool. It shatters glass if needed, it breaks a small hole in the glass to get another part of the tool into to saw laminated glass and they basically saw all the way around the windshield then lift it out in one pieces. Then they cut the top off of the car and remove the whole thing making it resemble a convertable. Of course, they were sure to tell us that if the doors are removable they would use that route to extricate before going so far as to remove the top. It was a neat demonstration and I took lots of pictures. The men worked together like a well oiled machine, as they should. THey did make one obvious mistake that the crowd did notice. The air hoses to their ram and jaws of life ended up under the front of the car and the extication process could have caused the broken car to cut of their air supply for the tools. When the crowd started murmurning about it, a firefighter who was not involved with the demonstration brought it to the attention of the chief, who was narrating the event. OOPS! The chief moved the hoses without comment and the demonstration continued. LOL Nobody's perfect.

We left the event at about ten to four, and there was still plenty more we would have liked to have participated in, but the event was over and the firefighters were ready to clean up and go back to business as usual. All in all it was a very fun day and I am so glad that Amanda happened to be in town and agreed to go. I'm looking forward to future Open Houses, when Jermaine is a bit bigger.

The only real disappointment was that they were not selling t-shirts or firemen calendars! They did have some cool afghans but they were 40 dollars and I couldn't swing that. Maybe next time!

Thanks a bunch to my assistant at work, Nondre', who let me know about this event.

One more bit of news before I sign off:

In November, during the week of Veteran's Day, I get to take some of my vaction and go back to Washougal, to my brother's house and Fire Station!
I hope that THIS time I actually get to ride along on something!! I'll be counting down the days until my vacation now. I can hardly wait!

Have a good night everyone! Stay safe.


Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 18

Hi Team!

Welcome to my Bro! Today was a pretty decent day. I forgot to clip Pete n until almost noon, but even so, I still clocked 6,472 steps. I am sure I did close to 7,500 or so if you count what Pete did not. Most of my walking today was at the 16th annual East Pierce Fire and Rescue Open House, which I will discuss in more detail in my Flashpointz entry after I finish this one.

My fluid intake today was only about 48 oz, but that isn't too bad. And I haven't given up. I have approximately two more hours to get the fluids down.

I slept about 8 hours last night. YAY ME!!

Today my neice and I took several pictures at the EPF&R open house. I had them processed right away and looking at my pictures even I can see an improvement. My face looks thinner and I thought younger (but maybe that was just me), and my blouse fit better too. I must confess that I weighed myself on a scale I found at the office where I work on Friday. I was extremely disappointed to note not one pound difference from the weight I started this blog with. However, I do not believe what that scale says. Either it or the one I weighed on to begin with lies, or I have replaced fat with muscle from the walking. (I have noticed definite shape to my calves that wasn't there before.) I can see a difference and others, who were not aware that I was working on it, noticed too. Therefore, I am not going to let it discourage me. GOD is ABLE! I will weigh again after day 28.

Well, that's about it for now. Thanks for continuing to encourage me and for reading this. Stay Safe!!!

Hotflash out.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Flashpointz -weekend plans

Last week at work, my assistant, Nondre' came up to me and told me she had a surprise for me. She said she was sorry it was not a fireman but it was the closest she could come to one. (Before any of you worry, I joke about wanting my own fireman with some regularity, but my husband is still the hottest man I know and I wouldn't trade him for all the firemen in the world!) Anyway, Nondre' produced a large postcard with fire apparatus on the front. The back was an advertisement for the East Pierce Fire and Rescue (Bonney Lake Fire Department)'s 16th annual open house, which is tomorrow (Saturday Sept. 26th).

If all goes as planned, I am going to attend this event. I do NOT want to attend by myself because my shyness kicks in at events like that. (Yeah, REALLY! I really AM shy at times. I KNOW you don't believe me, but it's TRUE!) My neice, Amanda, is supposed to meet up with me tomorrow and she and I will take her little boy and have good time. That is the plan anyway. We will see if it actually happens. I am expecially interested in the "Jaws of Life" demonstrations and the Interactive Rope Rescue. (and admiring the apparatus and firemen (-okay fire fighters).

Firemen is used the same way firetruck is used. It is all encompassing. Many of what we call fire trucks are fire engines (and vice versa- there IS a difference)and often times firemen are actually female! It's kind of like "bandaid,""jello," and "kleenex."

If I do attend this event as I hope to, I will take pictures and will report back on any highlights in a future blog.

Remember, have an exit plan adn meeting place in case of fire. Know it and practice it regularly. Test your smoke detectors and change the batteries at least twice a year! Stay Safe.

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 17

Hi Team!

I am in a very up and happy mood! It seems my hero has been reading my blog and posted some kind comments on his own blog, the Engine 17 Project, about it. My brother is so AWESOME!

Today was a walking day so I made 10,982 steps, according to Pete. (That is the name I gave to my pedometer just this moment!) Pete's judgement is off when it comes to distance. This I am sure of because I clocked my walk route with my trip odometer in my car. That means that my stride is not correctly inputted into Pete's memory. Distance isn't that important though. I walked an entire hour and made my 10 trips up and down the steps. Monday I will begin making 12 trips each time. YAY ME!

Coach Alex loves to dance to the beat of a different drum and swim upstream, etc. She wanted to walk our route in the reverse direction on Wednesday. I, being a creature of habit and probably having at least a mild case of OCD, did not. I did it though, because Coach Alex can be VERY persuasive. That is why she IS COACH Alex. Today I told her that I would be into walking one lap one direction and the second the opposite direction, starting on Monday. Then I gave in from there, without any prodding from Coach Alex and we started it today. I liked it! Now we get two different perspectives of the outside store windows and see things we didn't notice as much before. It's all good!

I didn't do so well on sleep, only 5 hours of down time. Not so disciplined there, but GOD is able!

I did well with my fluid intake. I stopped keeping track after two quarts, but it has been significantly more than that.

Well, I don't have much else to say at the moment. Thanks to all who pray for me, all who support me in my goals and efforts, those who kick my ass when necessary (or give me silence if it is deemed more effective!), etc.

I love all of you and appreciate all of you. I am very blessed to have family and friends like you.

Until later, Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 17

Hi Team!

This will be a BRIEF post tonight. This EMT wannabe is TIRED!

Unfortunately I had another case of the stupid little reset button on the pedometer getting bumped. My nearest guess is that I walked approx 7,500-8,000 steps today. When I last looked around 3:30 it was at just under 5,800. Being only a guess however, I have no other associated stats to post.

I did marginally well on fluid intake today, about a quart and a half. NOt terrible, but not great either, especially after yesterday's victory.

I also didn't sleep well last night. I would say conservatively that I got about 4 1/2 hours of sleep. That is not enough!

Tomorrow is a walk day and Coach Alex will be there with her smiling face and Kick Me in the Ass (if needed), take no excuses attitude. YAY ME!! I really do love my coach!! I couldn't be blessed with a better one!

For those of you supporting me in prayer, please pray for the knee to stop acting up and the foot to stop hurting. Thanks for your support. Thanks for reading my blog. Thanks for believing in me.

"It's about hopin'/ It's about dreamin'/ it's about never not believin'/
It's about takin' a walk out on the wire and never lookin' down/ It's about livin'/ It's never dyin'/ It's about spreadin' your wings and flyin'/yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah/ It's all about tryin'" -Little Big Town, "Tryin'"

Until later, Stay Safe!

Hotflash out

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 16

Hi Team!! :D

I am especially up today, though I am not sure exactly why. I just am.
Today was a terrific day for meeting goals!

I Stepped 15,230 steps today. The pedometer says that equals 5.52 miles, but having clocked my walk today with the trip odometer in my car I know I actually walked much farther. YAY ME!! Calories burned from walking equalled 749!

I drank 70 ounces of iced tea, water with crystal light at half strength and plain old water today. And I am not finished. I didn't have to even make an effort today. It was handy and I drank it.

The coolest part of the day is this: When I finished my three miles today, I did the 10 sets of steps (from the old entrance to Nordstroms on the outside of the mall) and I didn't whine or complain or groan or moan about it in the process (and I think I did an extra set, I lost count talking to Coach Alex)and when I was done, I could still breathe!!! I was not totally out of breath!! YAY ME!!! I think next week I will try 12 sets of steps.

I am revising my step goal for the time being. My new goal is 12,000 steps on a walking day and 8,000 on a regular day. When I meet that goal for an entire week, I will be ready to set the next goal.

The only area of concern for today is the sleep department. I had 5 hours for sleep time last night. (my own fault). I need to be reclined with my eyes closed for at least 6 hours (for my current goal) every night. When I consistantly reach that goal I will revise it. God is able!!

Well, nothing more to report so far except that your encouragement and prayers are keeping me going! Thanks so much, team!

Until next time, Stay safe!

Hotflash out

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 15

Hi Team!

Even though this was not an official work out day, it has been a good day for me. My knee is still bothering me a little, although more bothersome is the right foot, but I think I will live and I plan to walk tomorrow either way. (I mean if it hurts or not, not if I'm dead or not! LOL) I believe this is a spiritual attack, so you prayer warriors out there, please pray! Thanks.

My step count today is 8192. That translates to 2.97 miles and 402.6 calories.

I went to bed early enough to get a full six hours last night.

I drank just over a quart of water today. For me that is GREAT! And I will try to get at least another 20 ounces in before 9:30 tonight.

One of my child care parents, the wife of a fireman actually, was staring at me as she approached me when she picked up her daughter today. I felt a little funny as I realized she was staring. But then she smiled and said, "You're losing weight. I really notice it." I was excited! I said, "really, you can see it?" She said she definitely noticed. (YAY ME!!) I thanked her for noticing and commenting and told her that it has only been two weeks since I started working out. She said to keep it up. I told her I needed to lose 51 pounds and she was shocked. I told her that would put me at 150 which was still overweight but I thought it sounded pretty darn sexy. She laughed!

I am feeling very encouraged today and I am looking forward to my walk tomorrow.

For those of you who have been attempting to leave comments on my blog, please try again. I adjusted some settings and I hope the problem is fixed, although I am not sure my settings caused the problem in the first place. Just please comment so I can see if it is working. Thanks so much.

Okay, I am getting off of the computer for the evening now so until next time I update my blog and you read it, STAY SAFE!

Hotflash out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 14

Hi Team!

Today was not a great day for climbing the ladder (but God is able)

I have been sick since saturday but I am feeling better. Today I went to work and my right knee decided to go out on me. I did not walk today. I iced it instead. Wednesday I will return to my usual walking.

Another reason it wasn't such a good day is that I kept bumping the button on the pedometer that resets it. I have no idea how much incidental walking I did today. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

Coach Alex let her silence speak louder than words ever could and did not respond at all to my message of not being able to walk today. We have since spoken and she still loves me. YAY ME!

Need to get more sleep and drink more fluids. Nothing new! LOL

Until tomorrow- Stay Safe!!

Hotflash out

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 13

Hi Team!

Remember yesterday that I said Sunday is a day of rest? Well, I meant it!

I woke up feeling like CRAP and decided to stay home instead of going to church today. I slept in and then spent most of my day reading. I did not make the effort to drink extra water, which I should have, especially feeling sick. I did not go out of my way to walk or exercise. In fact I only walked 1,801 steps today. Tomorrow, weather I feel well or not, it is back to work and not just the job I do for pay. I have a date with Coach Alex at 9:00 for our 3 mile walk and 10 flights of stairs. YAY ME!!

For those of you who have been trying ot post comments for me, THANK YOU! I need all the encouragement I can get. I am still investigating why I am not getting those messages, but please don't give up!!

Until next time, Stay Safe!

Hotflash out.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 12

Hi Gang,

Today has been an up and down day.

I started my morning with the 3k walk to benefit crisis pregnancy centers. That was a nice time and a challening walk with lots of up and down to it. A far cry from the mostly flat terrain I've been walking.

My total step count for the day was 10,387 which was 3.77 miles and 510 calories. I did some other walking but did not have the pedometer on while at home.

I spent a lot of time lying down today, feeling more tired than usual. My stomach is bothering me and I have pretty much confirmed my supspicion that I am allergic to pineapple. yay me!! :(

I drank about 40 ounces of water today which is better than many days, but could use improvement.

Sunday is a day of rest and tomorrow I intend to do just that.

All in all today was not a bad day, but it also wasn't my best.

Thanks for all the support, team.

Stay Safe

Hotflash out

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 11

Hi Team!

Oh boy! I've done it now. Remember how I said one of my goals was to get more sleep? Well there is a very good reason for that. (Besides that that it is much healthier for my to do so than not). Last night, I fell asleep at the computer. When I woke up, slumped over the keyboard, I didn't remember that I hadn 't blogged yet. I remembered that much later after waking up from my "bed" because of a more urgent matter. So, here I am now, upon waking for the next day, writing my blog, sheepishly.

Yesterday, (Day 11) was a really good day:

Right after my morning shift, Coach Alex and I went for our usual walk. We made our three miles in a little less than an hour and did 10 sets of stairs.

My total step count for yesterday was 18,525 steps!! That translates into 6.72 miles!

I drank at least 60 ounces of water yesterday! YAY ME!

Somebody told me, "Wow, you're losing weight, I can see it in your face!"

The PE teacher at the school I work in told me I was doing a great job and to keep up the good work.

All in all it was a day of great successes and encouragement.

Today, (which is actually day 12) is my 4USTacoma walk, benefitting Crisis Pregnancy Centers with Ultrasound machines and training for technicians. It is a three mile walk through Point Defiance Park. It is not looking too promising out there weather wise, but I am going!

Thanks for all the support, well wishes, prayers, encouragement, etc.

Until tonight, Stay Safe!

Hotflash out.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 10

Hi Team!

Today was a great day for me. Just a regular day in the scheme of climbing the ladder but all in all I had a really good day.

I did not get enough sleep last night. I just had a hard time sleeping and then had bad dreams. That is okay because God is able!

I drank lots of fluids today (at least lots for me). At least a quart and a half of water, iced tea and juice.

I am not at all sore from my work out yesterday, which surprises me because I was SO tired last night. But I did push the fluids in the evening so maybe that helped.

Today was not a walking day but I still put in 6980 steps, some of them deliberately! I am looking forward to my walk with Coach Alex tomorrow morning, and to my benefit walk through Point Defiance Park on Saturday, rain or shine!

Well, not much more to report. Thanks for reading, praying and encouraging.

Oh, I discovered that I mis-recalled (Is that a word? You get my drift!) the name of the book that inspired my blog heading. It was actually called "Report From Engine Company 82" still by Dennis Smith. Just a correction in case any one was interested. Not really important to the blog except for the sake of being accurate.

Stay Safe!

Hotflash out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 9

Hi Team!

Are you there? It is me, Hotflash!

Today has been a pretty good day for me and I am TIRED!! I was a good girl and went for my walk today with Coach Alex. Her pedometer was working and we determined that our walk route is just barely over 3 miles. And we've been completing it in 50-55 minutes! Not bad at all! Monday we started throwing in some stair climbing along with the walk. We use the outside steps to the former Nordstrom's Entrance at the Tacoma Mall. Today my goal was five times up and down them, but I pushed hard and completed 10! YAY ME! Oops, I did that in front of, er, along side of Coach Alex. She'll never let me slack to less than that now! What have I done??!! LOL

I replaced my defective replacement pedometer today. I have not had time to program it to my stride, weight, etc. (that's what teenagers are for, anyway) but I did program in the time and it does count steps for me. From the time I got dressed this morning until now, 8:26 pm, I walked 14,238
steps! Awesome!

I got about 6 hours of sleep last night so I can still make improvements there. (God is Able!)

I haven't had enough water today, but Coach Alex has reminded me that I won't be so sore or have the calf cramps I have had when walking if I DO drink my water. I have had about 20-24 oz of juice at work and I have a 20 ounce glass of water that I am working on right now.

I met briefly with the PE teacher at school today and he and I are going to schedule a meeting soon to discuss ideas for building upper body strength at home.

I finally started my list of things I want to change in my life! So far it has on it:


I want to lose 51 pounds
I want to sleep more
I want to drink more water
I want to pray more
I want to be in The Word, daily
I want to build lean flexible muscles
I want to go to school and get EMT certified
I want to procrastinate less
I want to exercise daily
I want to change my self talk from "I can't" to God is Able!
I want to remember and state that "God Is Able" everytime I think of an excuse not to succeed and everytime I experience and recognize a failure.

I will continue to add to this list as the ideas come to me. I know I had other ideas already that are not on this list yet, and I don't remember what they are at the moment. I also have a few things that I could put on the list but prefer to leave private! (but only a few!)

Coach ALex and I originally planned to walk twice this week (Tue and Thur) but THur didn't work for her so we switched to Mon and Wed. Since we did that, we have decided to go ahead and walk Fri as well. Then Saturday is my walk to raise funds for ultrasound machines and technical training for crisis pregnancy centers. I am pleased to be getting lots of exercise this week.

ANother bit of good news is this: I met a female firefighter on a fanfiction web site (where amature writers post their stories) and told her about my goals. She has not joined this blog but she is encouraging me through Facebook. That makes her our newest team member! Thanks Angy!

Well, that is all folks. I am feeling encouraged by today's successes.

Until next time, Stay safe!

Hotflash out

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 8

Hi Team!

Here I am again. I am still determined but it has been a challenging last several days. Lots going on to keep me busy. I still have not gotten my list made. Aaaarrrgggghhhhhh!!! Please keep nagging!

I didn't get time to exchange my pedometer today but the part that does seem to be working is the actual step counter. IF it was accurate, I walked 5,545 steps today, plus at least another 500 that I didn't have the pedometer attached to me for. But for all practical purposes I will count just the 5,545.

I ate reasonably but did not drink my water. Grrrrrrr.

Tomorrow is a day of running. I have my regular shifts to work, my hour walk, plus I have to go in two hours early for the afternoon shift. I think I should have plenty of stepping in for the day. WIth any luck I will be able to exchange the pedometer on Friday. It seems to count steps but the heart rate monitor fluctuates both up and down without my finger on the sensor! (anywhere from 54-98 beats per minute. Hmmmmmmmmm!) Also the alarm on the clock part doesn't seem to work.

Oh, I hate to admit it, but I haven't even attempted the push ups yet. I forgot last night. OOps! 100% honesty is my policy so as embarrassing as it sometimes is, I am telling all. I'll try to do better.

Until next time,


Hotflash out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 7

Hello Team. It's me again. (Imagine that!)

I don't have a ton to report today as I still don't have a working pedometer, but I am working on it. I actually went and purchased one today that does everything my other one did but also has a light and can take my pulse. It was on sale for one third of its usual price! Unfortunately, this particular pedometer seems to be defective. I shall return it tomorrow and exchange it for another. SIGH

On a positive note: Coach Alex and I had our one hour walk at the mall this morning. It was a beautiful morning so we chose to walk the outer perimeter instead of walking indoors. We even made several trips up and down the steps at the old Nordstrom's entrance to add a little more to our workout. I think I must have picked up my pace from the last few walks because I was a little out of breath this time. It was harder to talk and walk. I also found that my calves were burning half way through the walk today. Nothing else hurt though. And I didn't start out sore either. :D

Never EVER have I truly enjoyed exercise for exercise's sake. But I have to tell you, I kind of missed it over the weekend! YAY ME! I think that is a positive note! Alex tells me that if I keep up a regular routine, I will become addicted to it. I cannot even fathom being addicted to exercise! How cool would that be?

I got about 6 and 1/2 hours in bed last night. (sadly I did not sleep that well, however). I did not drink nearly enough fluids. I have an hour to an hour and a half to get some more in me. I had better get to work.

This is the one week mark. I'm still determined. I'll admit I have had some doubt filled moments, but that is why I am making this so public.

I am feeling quite frustrated that I cannot afford school. I do NOT want to take out loans because with Brian's ongoing medical bills, it is very hard for us to make ends meet as it is without them. But I am very eager to get started. Maybe I will feel better if I begin to research what, where and how much. At least then I will feel like I am doing something.

One last thing before I go for the night: I still have not found/made the time to make my list of things I want/need to change in my lifestyle. I don't know if I am secretly avoiding it or what. SO team... Time to start nagging me. (please).

Thanks. Until next time... Stay safe.

Hotflash out.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 6

Hi Team!

At last report I was mourning the untimely death by suicide of my pedometer. It seems one of my team members has graciously offered to replace mine. THANKS DADDY! Tomorrow I will go compare and price pedometers so that I can once again post stats and have something visual to measure my success with.

Today was a pretty good, though uneventful day. (Sunday IS a day of rest!)After Saturday, I needed a rest! I did get about 6 1/2 hours of sleep last night. Better than some nights, but still shooting for a minimum of 7 1/2. I didn't get much exercise today. I spent most of my day researching for my lesson plans for work. Tomorrow I will be walking for an hour with Coach Alex. YAY ME!

I have been very good about my eating habits today. I had a small brownie for breakfast, with coffee. (I had saved it from yesterday instead of gobbling it when I had the chance.) I had a reasonable lunch and a reasonable dinner, not even going back for seconds! And I am satisfied. I could be doing better about drinking water though. I haven't had any today, now that I think about it. I shall get myself a glass of water when I finish here.

Right after I get my water I am going to attempt a few push-ups. It will be a site I am sure. I am not even sure I can do girly push-ups. I will need upper body strength to reach my goal so I have to try. (please note the red, embarrassed face)

Nothing else to report. Thanks for following along and for cheering me on. I love you all!

Hotflash out.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Flashpointz -First Fire Buff Battalion Meeting

Hi everyone!

Today was the long anticipated Fire Buff Battalion Meeting. Some of you know I was first planning to attend one of these meetings in August but was unable to attend when a family situation occurred. I was saddened by the situation, but I was also very disappointed about missing this meeting.

"I could read your disappointment in your e-mail," said Cat Urbon, the current president of the Fire Buff Battalion as she gave me a big hug. She shared this with me after our meeting tonight. It wasn't what I wrote that she read. It was the tone that came across. I never wear my heart on my sleeves. Never! Just ask anyone who really knows me.

Speaking of the meeting:

When I arrived there were about 8 people there. Ralph Decker, long time member (I think even charter member) arrived right behind me. Ralph is the club secretary and Tacoma Fire Department Historian. He has written a few books. One of which is titled, "100 Years of Firefighting In the City of Destiny Tacoma Washington" (Co-written with Clyde Talbot, who apparently received first billing for it). Ralph is the one who researched my brother's fire engine and determined that it started out its firefighting career in Tacoma as Engine 17, transfering to 9's in the mid seventies and finishing out its career with 10's.) After that it was a reserve rig and later sold to another fire district, and then another, before heading off to a short series of private ownerships. (That info should be lined out in my brother's blog the Engine 17 Project.)

Watch it, I follow rabbit trails! Getting back to the meeting, after I arrived a few more came in for a total of 14 or 15 in attendance. (I cannot remember which).

The meeting was interesting. THe usual treasurer's report, aceeptance of last meetings minutes, etc. Lots of silly barbing of one another and bantering back and forth. (Really fun!) They discussed proposed changes to the bylaws regarding adding corporate memberships or sponsorships. They were not able to vote on this due to lack of timely notice to members, but they will vote on it next meeting. I was a little disappointed because I have a strong contact with someone with Snapple and I really am excited about possible procuring a donation for the club. The Snapple Rep sounded excited about it too. Oh well, unless the rep gets hit by a bus (which I SINCERELY hope does NOT happen) this can wait.

There was discussion about when and where to hold the Fire Buff Battalion Christmas party. Apparently the last two years they have held it at one of my very favorite restaraunts (which shall remain nameless here) but last time were not very satisfied so they will not be holding it there this year. :( It is looking like they will be choosing either Joseppi's (Not a bad choice) or The Hub (who's menu looked great, but it is downtown and parking is, well, you know.)

Tonight was also the night that officers are nominated, but not being a member yet I could neither nominate or be nominated! :( But there is always next year!! :D

Another item discussed was a firehouse cookbook. The club had created a contest for the firefighters to encourage submission of recipes for the cook book. Some categories only recieved one entry, but they received something like 85 recipes in all. The cookbook committee is currently going over them to determine winners in each category from A shift, B shift, C shift and D shift. The biggest part of the discussion was about what the prizes would be and I won't mention any of the plans or ideas here because you never know who might see it. There were a few other mundane items discussed as well that I won't bore anyone with.

Bob and Cat (husband of president and president of club) attended the Northwest Expo at the fire training academy as victims for emergency response trainees. (not official description but you get the point). The moulage (make-up to make the victims look truly injured) was excellent and very realistic. They brought back pictures that were very impressive.

Bob and Cat also passed around pictures of the new Engine 10 that Tacoma is about to put in service. They e-mailed pictures this last week but technology is running faster than my computer and my internet service. It would have taken 45 minutes to download ONE picture so I was not able to. I was happy to see hard copies! This new Engine has more bells and whistles than I've ever seen on a piece of emergency apparatus. ANd talk about shiny!!!! IT is so shiny that you can see images in the paint like it was a mirror, in the pictures. In one picture you see the photographers feet reflected in the chrome! HA HA I wish I could share the pictures with you, the readers of this blog. She is one sweet rig! Tacoma also has a new ladder company arriving any day to replace Ladder 2, but the hard copies of the pictures were not available tonight. Again, I could download them, but 45 minutes is a long time!

All in all I had a great time at the meeting. Bob Urbon especially made me feel welcome and I am grateful for that. I know none of you believe it, but I AM shy and felt a little nervous. He puts one at ease though. THANKS BOB! Cat forgot to bring the application for me to join and the background check so that will be put off another month. Even if she hadn't forgotten it I couldn't officially join yet so no big deal. (that's what I keep telling myself anyway, but I am disappointed!) Ralph thought he might have one in his car but he didn't. All he had was a copy of the bylaws. He actually handed me two copies by mistake. I told him I only needed one and he read my mind. Before I could add something about "even though I DO have TWO eyes", he said to me, "well, one for each eye!" He said it as fast as I thought it. I think I will fit in just fine here! He told me he would make sure an application was available at the next meeting. I offered to e-mail him a reminder and he said that would be a great help, so I WILL.

Ifyou've ever watched firefighting shows (such as Emergency!) on television when the firemen are hanging out in the day room, bantering back and forth and drinking coffee, you have a pretty good idea of what this meeting was like only, we were all adults with out ratings or the FCC involved so the subject matter was often more adult oriented. It really was a lot of fun! I had a great time and the two and a half hours passed by all too quickly. I'm really looking forward to next month's meeting.

Take care all, and Stay SAFE!


Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 5

Hello Team!

Today was another bust, but I am trying not to be discouraged. It seems that the pedometer never recovered from it's sudden leap the other day. It had a delayed reaction, but definitely was successful in its suicide attempt! SIGH

I know I didn't get that much walking in today though. In fact, probably less than a normal day, due to the quiz meet and fire buff battalion meeting. At the quiz meet I was a score keeper so I spent most of my time planted on my fanny pushing a pencil. The fire buff battalion meeting in the evening was another 2 1/2 hours of sitting.

I won't be able to purchase a new pedometer until after payday on the 15th, most likely, so there won't be much here in the way of daily stats until after that.

On a positive note, I DID get 7 hours of sleep last night! (but I still dozed during an "officials" meeting at the quiz meet. (ho hum!)

I just realized that I have not completed my list of things I want to change in my lifestyle yet, so perhaps I will get that completed tomorrow.

Thanks to those of you who have chosen to subscribe to this blog in support of my efforts. Thanks for the comments in my e-mail and on my facebook acct. Your encouragements really make a difference and I appreciate you very much for taking the time to help me with this.

God bless you all and please, STAY SAFE!

Hotflash out,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 4

Hello Team! (Welcome Coach Alex. You ROCK!)

Today was sort of an epic failure. To start off with, I did not get to bed early last night. My goal is by 9:30 on work nights. My husband didn't get home until after 10 last night and after decompression time, It was around 11:00 I finally hit the sack.

The morning started off well. I had no eating issues today. I've eaten moderately and made mostly good choices. I was doing well on the stats with the pedometer this morning, but unfortunately, at about 4:50 pm, it fell off and when it hit the floor everything went blank on it's littel screen. CRAP!


Today I walked who knows how many steps.
I've no clue how far I walked
your guess is as good as mine as to how many calories I burned doing it.

Did not score so well in the water drinking department either, but I still have almost 2 hours to catch up on that! :)

Well, tomorrow is the first quiz meet of the year. (it is a scramble, sort of an introduction to quizzing. The first REAL meet will be later. Our church is hosting the scramble so I will be working that all day. Then the reward for myself this week is in the evening. 6:30 Tacoma Pierce County Fire Buff Battalion Meeting. WOO HOO!

Thanks for cheering for me.

Hotflash out.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day Three (3)

Well, I woke up quite sore this morning again, but a little less so than yesterday. Today I get to torture myself all over again. YAY ME!

I am proud to report that I got to bed by 9:45 last night. That 6 hours and 45 minutes to rest! What bliss after three nights of four hours each on average!! I still found myself quite tired and nodding during more sedentary moments today, which isn't surprising.

I thought I did well with my eating habits today. My worst moment was a splurge of an unportioned amount of sesame rice crackers. My dinner got delayed for an emergency (at least in my son's mind) trip to the bookstore and I was HUNGRY so I brought them along. Otherwise I made good choices today.

I met my goal of at least 1 quart of water today other than meal times and I was actually closer to two quarts.

Here's my favorite item to report for the day though. My goal was 10,000 steps today. According to my pedometer, from the time I got dressed until 8:00 pm tonight, minus a brief stint when I undressed, showered and redressed after my walk, I took 13,696 steps, which translates into 3.68 miles and burned 856 calories doing it! YAY ME Some MORE!!!

Okay, here is the part I promised to report but really don't want to post. I took my measurements this evening so that I will have a way to measure progress in the future. Here they are:

upper arm 14
thigh 25
hip 54
waist 48 1/2
bust 48

Tomorrow I have no specific plans but would like to at least try to start on some upper body exercises. Saturday I will have to figure out how to get some kind of walk in, even if less extensive than the last two have been. I will have a busy day with the quiz meet at church and my first Fire Buff Battalion meeting in the evening on Saturday. I am very much looking forward to both of these events. I am hoping the Battalion meeting will have hard copies of the new rigs Tacoma is about to put in service, Engine 10 and I believe it was Ladder Company 2. (don't quote me on the second one). I have been sent copies via e-mail but they must be mega-super-duper pixeled because one of them by itself said it would take 45 min. yes MIN. to download. I don't have that kind of time. Bummer for me 'cause I really wanted to see them.

After a week or so of recording my steps and related stats, I will determine a new goal for same.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day Two

Hello Team!

Today is day two. I have discovered that I have muscles that I didn't remember having! I am sore on the outer side of my legs at the hip where the leg bone is connected to the hip bone! (yes I know they are called femur and pelvis!) Yesterday's brisk one hour walk must be doing some good. Tomorrow I will do it all over again. Yay me!

One thing I realized and had to really face today is that 4-5 hours of sleep a night isn't nearly enough! DOH! I guess that "get a reasonable amount of sleep each night" will be on that list I am making of lifestyle changes! I have had roughly 12 hours of sleep in the last 72. Granted the first night of only four hours was due to insomnia (and I'd had less than one cup of coffee with breakfast that day so it wasn't due to caffeine!). The second and third night of four-four and a half hours of sleep were due to poor choices on my part. I am guessing one would not make a good rescuer when one needs to be rescued from oneself. Enough said on that!

Today I weighed in at 201 lbs. As awful as that is for a 4'10" woman, I am pleased because the last time I weighed myself, (and I don't even remember when that was) I weighed 210 lbs! My current long term goal for my weight is 150. That is heavier than is recommended for a woman of my height, but it sounds pretty damn sexy to me right now! And more importantly, attainable.

According to my handy dandy pedometer, from the time I got dressed this mornning until now, 7:12 pm, I walked 6,318 steps today. That translates to 1.7 miles based on my average stride and 395 calories burned. With that bit of knowledge at my fingertips, or rather my waistband where the pedometer is clipped, I will set my first walking goal of 10,000 steps. This may change rapidly as today was not one of my walking days. We will see.

I have eaten relatively sensibly today. FOr breakfast a slice of cheddar cheese and a can of V-8. Delicious! (no I am NOT being sarcastic!)

For morning snack I had a small handful of roasted cashews. YUM!

For lunch, another slice of cheese and some pasta salad containing frozen mixed vegetables and garbanzo beans. I should probably have had a smaller portion, but the idea is that I am not dieting, just choosing to eat healthier items and working on portion sizes. At least I am half way there today.

For snack this afternoon I had about a cup of pineapple chunks.

For dinner I will be having a salmon patty, some sort of vegetable but I am not sure what yet, and an 8oz glass of nonfat milk.

I am proud to say I did not have any soda today and I had two cups of coffee, but only one with creamer.

What I could have improved on today was to 1) take a nap when I had the chance,
2) drink more water. I am terrible about this. 3)I did not intentionally exercise to day. My intent was to do some upper body conditioning, but I did not do it. I am feeling extremely tired, (gee I wonder why?) and therefore did not have the self discipline or motivation to do it. But I am just starting out. It just means I have some room for improvement.

Summing things up for Day two:

First Weight loss goal: -16 lbs to 185
First Step goal: 10,000 steps
First Exercise goal: 1 hour brisk walk twice a week Sept. 6-19 and 3k walk on 9/19.

Plans for tomorrow:

Get at least 6 hours of sleep tonight (hey, I'm a night owl and have to get up at 4:30- this is going to take some adjusting!)

Walk one hour

Take and record upper arm, thigh, waist, hip, and chest measurements.

Drink at least 1 quart of water, not counting meal/snack times.

We shall see what happens!


Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day One

Hello everyone (all two of you so far! -Welcome John)

Although today as I write this it is really day two,(I was too tired to do it yesterday) I am going to write it as though it was day one.

Today is the first day of climbing my ladder to reach my goal of becoming a certified EMT. One thing I discovered before making the decision to do this is that apparently, in the state of Washington, one has to be essentially sponsored in order to hold an EMT certification. If one is not serving under some agency or organization that necessitates having and EMT certification, *Presto* certification is pulled. That means that somewhere along the way during this journey, I shall have to find a place to put it to use and be accepted by whatever organization I find that wants me before I can actually receive the certification.

At the moment, I cannot afford to go to school. This is only partly an obstacle. There are other things that I need to do to reach the top of my ladder, not the least of which is to drop a minimum of 50 lbs and get in shape, build muscle strength, stamina and endurance. This is the direction I am going to start with.

I have not intentionally exercised since college in the late 90's. EEK! There! I've admitted it. I will need to break into this slowly. My best friend, Alex has graciously agreed to help me stick to a plan to make things happen. I warned her that I will make every excuse in the book, and some of them will be REALLY good ones that would be very difficult to argue about. I told her I needed supporters that would love me enough to drag me KICKING AND SCREAMING and insist I follow through. SHe said something to the effect of "Oh, that's easy! I'll just tell you, 'You DO NOT want to be an EMT! If you did you would DO something about it, etc.'" I told her that no words would work. Literally dragging me, (kicking and screaming) is what I need! Therefore, those of you who choose to be my supporters and cheerleaders, I want you to have fair warning: This is a huge commitment. We're friends now, but there may be times that friendship pushes the boundaries. I can be whiny and argumentative at times. (Be quiet Alex, I know what you are thinking!) If you need to remind me to put my big girl panties on, so be it. Please know that no matter how trying I am at times, I do love you and appreciate you and I thank you for all of your love and support.

Another thing that I need to do is to make a list of all the things I want to do to make permanent lifestyle changes. I know that if I try to change everything at once it can lead to "epic failure". I need to start small but strong and work my way up.
I will try to have the list by Friday, but I am committing to posting that list by Monday.

Some of the things that will be on the list include:

I need to buy a scale and take and record some measurements. In the meantime, I will have to make sure I stop into the YMCA this week and weigh in. It's nice to know you're base weight and be able to weigh in regularly to track one's progress!

I need to remember to stop into the Y today or Wednesday evening and weigh myself.

What I did today:

Today I met Alex at the mall for a walking session. We spent almost a full hour walking today. Alex started us out at break neck speed and I kept up for a while but then she let me set the pace and later, slowed to my pace when I gave up on hers. I can't help it if I have much shorter legs than she does! During our walking session, Alex coached me on planning, setting goals, rewarding milestones and changing my self-talk to be positive. I am feeling encouraged. Alex and I have agreed that we will meet tuesday and thursday to walk for an hour at the mall. Next week we will meet Monday and Wednesday. The following two weeks will be three days of walking. On Saturday the 19th I will be walking in the benefit at point Defiance. This benefits crisis pregnancy centers by providing ultra sound machines and training for technician to use them!! The walk is supposed to be 3k. My husband, son, son's girlfriend Morgan and several members of our church are involved in this walk or other related events . So, we will have a good time and get some good exercise in while doing a good deed. My kind of plan. Beginning the week after the benefit walk, my plan is to walk at least 5 days a week. While at the mall today, I bought a new battery for my fancy pedometer. Tomorrow I will start wearing it and keeping track of my steps, distance and calories burned.

I spent the remainder of day one working and then came home to catch my blog up to my current point in time. It has been a lot of work and a lot of typing, but it is good to be caught up. -Hotflash

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A New Chapter Begins

To this point, this blog has been kind of a historical account of how I became passionate about firefighting. For the past month or two I have seriously been considering making some changes in my life. Big ones!

Seeing as I turnd 40 this year, some people may think this is just a mid-life crisis I am having. I don't think it is. I don't really care what other people think it is, either.

When the bug hit me like a ton of bricks earlier this year, I realized it had never really gone away. I had just locked it up for so long I had forgotten it was there. Once it broke out I realized, I can't bear the thought of ever locking it up again. This passion I have for becoming a firefighter is not going to go away. If it could have, it would have. I believe that God put his passion and desire in my heart for a reason. And it is entirely up to me to do something about it.

One thing I learned by accident this summer is that Tacoma has Firebuff Battalion. They are a volunteer organization that responds to fire department calls to offer canteen/rehab services to firefighters and rescue personnel. THey are part of a larger organization called the International Fire Buff Associates. When I learned about this I decided I had to get more information and that I would like to get involved somehow. Through the Tacoma Fire Department website I made a contact who provided me with a contact to reach this group. I contacted Cat Urbon, the current President of the Tacoma Pierce County Fire Buff Battalion. Cat was really nice to me and gave me all the information I needed through e-mails. I was all set to attend my first meeting in August. Unfortunately, my grammy passed away rather unexpectedly and I had to miss the meeting because I was out of town as a result. Cat was very understanding, as I expected she would be. My only concern was that now I had a whole month to stew over meeting everyone for the first time at the next meeting. You see, although none of my family and friends believe me, I really am shy. I find large groups to be very intimidating, especially if I know very few of the people there. When Cat realized I was anxious about this she arranged for us to meet and have lunch: Cat, her husband Bob, a friend and fellow Battalion member, Deb, and myself. This broke the ice and made things a little easier for me. I had a very enjoyable time with them, chatting about what this is all about and what it entails, how it is funded, how the firefighters truly appreciate it, etc. This just seemed like the next best thing to my original dream to me, so I am gung ho to get involved. Bob was gentle about telling me that first I had to attend three monthly meetings and submit to a background check, and then the members of the Battalion would vote me in or not. I felt a bit deflated, not because I was worried about being put to a vote, but because I want to start NOW! Patience! Patience is a virtue. Okay, whatever! Well, the wait for my first meeting is almost over, and I have so far survived! This saturday it will happen!

Continuing with the rest of the story:

During the last two months I have also considered getting out of child care and becoming a 911 operator. I really wanted to look into becoming a fire department dispatcher, but at least in our neck of the woods, that position is entirely filled by seasoned fire fighters! Oops. I can't qualify for that one. Okay, the next best thing would be 911 operator. Of course that is run through law enforcement, not the fire department. Still, I think I would do well at it. My friends and acquaintances agreed and encouraged me to go for it. Except my friend Addie who laughed and said to me, "You can't do that! You'd LAUGH at them!" (referring to stupid calls) Well, I probably would (INWARDLY) but never in the moment!

As I determined that to be my goal, I started thinking more about it. I knew in my heart it was kind of like receiving an honorable mention when you've done your very best work and had hoped for the amazing super duper top prize. I'd probably be great at it. I might really ejoy knowing that I made a difference. But it wasn't going to satisfy that need in me to be hands on, in the field, helping people and making a difference.

Recently I had "met" (and I use that term loosely)several fire fighters on-line through various avenues. A fan fiction writing site and Firefighter Nation were two of them. Firefighter Nation is a social network site intended for use by firefighters and rescue personnel. A lengthy application must be filled out to join. I was allowed to join, probably because my brother is already a firefighter but as a non firefighter my membership is subject to review and removal. I can live with that. The last thing I want ist be thought of as a pain in the a** by the very people I admire most. I also have served a firefighter's family in my job as a child care site manager for several years now. His daughter is so cute. She even had her hair cut to be like mine! These firefighters that I have chatted with have been incredibly encouraging and nice. One recommended I pursue an EMT certification. The thought had already crossed my mind. It was kind of like confirmation to me over the next week or so as I heard it a few more times from different sources.


I have officially decided to climb the ladder to live my dream. This is my mission. I intend to pursue that EMT certification. My blog will now have a dual purpose. I will continue to use it to tell stories of my passion, or just to yack about anything I feel like. I will title those posts "flashpointz -(fill in the blank)". The other purpose will be to document my climb up that ladder to reach my dreams. I will title those blogs "Report from Ladder Company 40 -(fill in the blank)" I chose this because a) this is a going to be an uphill climb. b) I am starting this adventure at 40 years old and c) the name is a take off on a great book written by a firefighter, Dennis Smith, titled "Report from Engine Company 82."
(If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it!)

My hope is that I will have many supporters subscribe to this blog to see my story. They will be able to see my struggles and my successes, my ramblings and my rantings. I hope that they will use this information to help me help myself live my dream. I need encouragement. LOTS of it. I need people who will hold me accountable. If I am supposed to drop 50 pounds, (and I am!) then I want someone to know what I am doing to reach that goal. To cheer me on or to gently admonish me when I screw up. Don't let me off easily my friends. I need you now more than ever. That is YOUR mission, should you choose to accept it.

I started my climb today. Today is day one. It is too late to document it tonight but tomorrow I will post for day one and day two. Thanks for reading and stay safe!

Beginning to Live the Dream Part 2b

Saturday, July 25, 2009. The day some of my dreams started coming true.

Jamie and I had so much fun on our quest to pick up what turned out to be Engine
10 (at least for part of it's Tacoma Fire Department career). It is really hard to say what the best part of the day was. I nearly kissed the fire engine when we first saw her! Aside from her pale color, she is a beauty! SOME of the best moments of the day were:

the looks of awe and adoration we received from children, many adults
(we literally could watch them turn their heads and stare at us as
their mouths dropped open when we drove past -I am NOT making that
up!) and even some firemen who were busy collecting for MDA in a "fill
the boot" campaign.

When we first dumped my Explorer after arrivng in Tacoma, I discovered that my son and his 16 year old girlfriend were ready to be picked up from a party they had been at. My husband had been just leaving to go pick them up. I had the evil idea to pick them up in the fire engine. They could ride in the jump seats. I knew my son would either be mortified (EVIL GRIN) or thrilled (GLEEFUL GRIN). It was a win-win for me! I was happy to discover that he was thrilled.

After picking the kids up we went to Station 2. It seems that Jamie was under the impression that there were some retired rigs stored in the basement there and he wanted to see if any of the 1970 ALF sisters might be there. When we pulled in to the rear driveway, the chief had just pulled in as well. We received a friendly reception from him and carried on a pleasant conversation, reminiscing about our childhood memories from station 8 and the firemen we knew then. He was able to tell us where some of them are now and that was pretty cool. Unfortunately station two did not house the retired rigs anymore and we were not able to see anything there.

From there we headed off to visit the fire station we grew up four houses away from, good 'ol station 8. We knew that it had been sold (sadly) to a private party who now lives in it and runs some sort of chocolate factory in it. Still we had to park in front of the former station for pictures. Jamie couldn't park it on the apron because the owner had a vehicle parked there and we didn't have permission anyway. He just pulled up in front of the station on the street and stopped for a picture. The fire engine completely blocked the view of the private car in the driveway. The picture shows me in the passenger seat!

For nostalgia's sake, we had to make a "run" down 43rd street to "M" street as we had seen and heard Engine 8 do so many times as children. To make it more authentic we needed the sound of the siren. The real siren would have been illegal to use and was missing anyway, so to appease our fantasy I vocally blasted the siren as loudly as I could. Not a bad imitation if I do say so myself!

We decided the next stop would be to see our mom. As of yet I had not driven the fire engine and my brother asked me on the way from station 8 to mom's house where I would feel most comfortable doing so. I have driven 72 passenger big yellow school buses so this was not something that would be hard for me to do, but I hadn't driven any thing that large for a number of years. My awesome brother knew I would be nervous at first so he wanted to make sure I was in a place that I would be comfortable with before I drove it. I told him a large parking lot would have been great, like the one at my church which we had driven by when we went to get the kids. He acknowledged that it would have been a great place but of course it was too late for that now. We still ahd plans for the evening that neither of us could weasle out of. We turned onto the street my mom lives on and he abruptly stopped. "Chinese Firedrill" he told me. I didn't have to be ordered twice!

I jumped into the driver's seat, he jumped into the passenger seat and I drove her the few blocks to my mom's. I remembered a certain feeling I got when Mike Stoker sat behind the wheel of Engine 51 on Emergency! and gripped that giant steering wheel. I had that same feeling again as I gripped the wheel of this nostalgic fire engine that now belongs to my brother. I savored the moment with my hands spread far apart gripping either side of that wheel. YESSSS!!! I LOVE it!!! We had called ahead and said we were coming a few minutes earlier so my step dad, Nate was standing outside in front of the house when I drove up. I thoroughly enjoyed the look on Nate's face and the surprise in his voice when I pulled up
in front of mom's. I opened the door and his eyes got wide as he recognized me and he said, "YOU'RE DRIVING IT???" He said over and over during the ensuing short visit, "I can't believe YOU'RE driving it!" Apparently it wasn't until that day that Nate realized or learned that Jamie is a firefighter largely due to my original passion for it.

After mom's house, it was time to make our evening engagements, but we still hadn't made it by Station 10 so she could feel like she was truly home. Jamie drove me home and I left for my party while he zipped off to mass. After mass he picked me back up from my party. I had made an appearance and I had warned them that I had an important errand to run in the fire engine and therefore would be running out on the party and returning again later. Being the wonderful group of people that they are, they all let me just babble and babble about my adventures. They even pretended to like it! When Jamie picked me back up in the fire engine, we of course showed it off to all who wanted to see it before heading off to station 10. I was thrilled that so many of them seemed to genuinely want to check it out and was even happier that I was able to knowledgeably answer some of their questions about the fire engine without having to refer them to my fireman brother!

When we arrived at Station 10 we parked across the street from it and walked across and knocked on the door. When Firefighters Karen and Brent greeted us we explained what we were doing there. we received a very warm welcome from both of them and they insisted that we park her ON the apron for the photos. Jamie was concerned about us being in the way if their engine was to be called out and they just said, well, yours runs! If we get a call, MOVE it! LOL The icing on the cake was that, before we left Station 10, Firefighter Karen ran back into the station and came out with a small gift which she presented to my brother as she thanked him for bringing the fire engine by. (Yes, THEY thanked US and they were the ones who did US the favor!) These two firefighters were not around when Jamie's fire engine was in service in Tacoma!

It was an absolute thrill driving through Tacoma that day, seeing our
reflection in windows on building fronts. Jamie and I would seemingly
take turns pointing wildly and saying "That's US!!"

Quite honestly I can only describe it as having the excitement
that a 7 year old little boy would have on his first tour of a
fire station, only it lasted all weekend, and still continues to thrill
the hell out of me! And the very, very, VERY best part is that MY
BROTHER is living HIS dream, and that I had a large influence on him in chasing that dream, and he continues sharing it with me so that I
can live MY dream too.

Words truly don't do justice to what a special day this was and what a
special time I got to share with the brother that I love more than I
can possible say. Not only is he my hero for the way he lives his
life -honestly, fairly, compassionately, etc., for the way he loves his family and
especially his wife, for serving the greater good with his two career
choices, for understanding and accepting me completely for who I am (and giving me affirmation) even when most people think I am certifiable, but also for what a loving and caring brother he is and how humble and modest he is about all of it.

I cannot belive how much I have already lived in this lifetime! I am
SO lucky.

This happened in the end of July. I spent four days with my brother in Washougal at his fire station/home in mid August. I also spent another five days towards the end of August. During this time, my wonderful brother got me authorized to ride along during my entire visit. Of course in the nine days I was authorized (combined)
my brother did not get ONE call!!! I think the residents of East County Fire and Rescue owe me some kind of insurance premiums or something!! The night of the day I went home my brother had three calls in a row! All were non-event calls as he called them, but I would have had the opportunity to ride with lights and sirens had I been there! One major hilight of my visits was going to drill with my brother. It was not an exciting drill night. It was the scheduled "meeting" type where all they did was talk about stuff. It was kind of interesting but not exciting. However, the firefighters I met were awesome. Jamie introduced me to a female firefighter who's day job is as a major airline pilot! VERY COOL. One firefighter in particular made me feel very welcome. I think his name was Chris. The chief was awesome! He made sure to add my name in when he listed rig assignments on the board. I have picture proof documentation of the list on the white board where the chief officially assigned me to Squad 96! (and he even spelled Myers right!!)

During my Washougal visits I got to drive my brother's personal fire engine for the better part of an hour! That was SO fun. He even took photos of me from the passenger seat while I drove, and a small video. I also got to try on SCBA gear and feel and see first hand how it works. And he showed me how the pump operates on his squad. And I got to see how to fill the water tank and he let me do it.

I slept in a fire station, I cooked in a fire station, I cleaned a fire station. I lived in the fire station!!! I changed baby diapers in a fire station!! I sent out a page to the entire department! Oh the list of cool little things I did just went on and on. I even went on a date with an awesome fireman. Ssshhh! Don't tell my husband! (LOL) For those of you who might be worried about that, don't be. We had a chaperone. My brother was a perfect gentleman and our chaperone is the most awesome and amazing woman I know and a wonderful sister-in-law!

There! Now you have the prequel to the story that this blog will be telling from now on. I will explain in the next post! Thanks for reading.

Beginning to Live the Dream Part 2a

When Jamie decided to buy the former TFD fire engine, I of course volunteered to help with logistics. The fire engine was located on Whidbey Island. We made a plan for him to ride the train from the Portland area to Tacoma on a friday night. I was to pick him up at the train station and he and I would go pick up the baby bright and early Saturday morning. Both of us had plans for the late afternoon/evening that we could not gracefully bow out of, even for something as monumental as this!

When Jamie arrived on Friday evening I was there to greet him at the train station. Anticipation was making me jittery. I was SO excited a) to be seeing my brother, whom I don't spend nearly enough time with, and b) knowing that this was the beginning of a great adventure! As soon as I spotted him I called out, "There he is! How is my favorite fireman?" I wanted the whole world to know how excited I was to see him and how proud I am of him for what he does. We embraced in a giant bear hug and then without further adieu headed for my car.

We arrived at my house a very short time later, having made plans to go out to dinner. My husband declined going because he didn't want to miss his favorite routine of settling in for the weekend, watching wrestling and enjoying an ice cold beer. (Definitely NOT my thing, but hey, he likes wrestling and I like all things firefighting!) No problem.

We had already decided where we were going: the infamous Engine House 9! This is an OLD fire station converted into a bar and grill. It is filled with firefighting paraphernalia and is somewhere I have wanted to check out since I was 13! Jamie has wanted to for just as long so after 27 years of "wanting to see it" we finally did!

Our fine city was suffering an almost unbearably hot spell that August and I am guessing that is the reason that the place was fairly quiet. We were told it was usually a pretty busy and "hopping" place, especially on friday nights but there were only 3-5 small groups of people there when we arrived near 8pm.

The first thing we wanted to do, of course, was explore. The staff there were very obliging and encouraged us to look around and take our time. They allowed us to go upstairs to a section that was currently closed. Upstairs we took pictures of me haninging onto the pole, as if I was about to slide down. Too bad the stove pipe from the level below was only a foot or two away from it! We took a few other pictures then headed down to order some chow.

We chose a seat outside in front of the place and we both ordered the mushroom swiss burger and substituted onion rings for fries. Neither was all that surprised that we found the same things to be appealing. We enjoyed a delicious, ample meal at a reasonable price and lots of good time chatting and catching up and gushing about our excitement over the new fire engine. Our waitress actually sat at our table with us and encouraged us to tell her all about the adventure we were about to embark on. She at least pretended (convincingly) that she was interested and asked us to be sure and bring the engine by sometime. We were having such a wonderful time that the time passed very quickly. It was much too late when I dropped Jamie off at his in-laws house for the night. The plan was to pick him up bright and early in the morning and head out to Whidbey Island. On the ride home, it suddenly hit me! I felt heartbroken for a moment, but tried to get over it. You see, I had suddenly realized that I was going to help Jamie pick up this very special fire engine. YAY! But... when we picked her up, I would have to drive my own truck home! I wasn't going to ride home in the fire engine!! We discussed this fact for a bit and tried to figure out who we could convince to go with us to drive mine home, but it wasn't to be. SIGH, Sniff, sniff! It was much too late when I dropped Jamie off at his in-laws house for the night. The plan was to pick him up bright and early in the morning and head out to Whidbey Island.

When I got home I was so wound up that I could barely sleep! I could hardly contain myself, I was so excited. I felt like a little kid! Finally I managed to sleep somehow and I woke up completely amped up for the day. On my way to pick up Jamie I stopped for Starbucks goodies for both of us.

We had a good time on the ride to the ferry and enjoyed chatting with each other about what ever it was we chatted about. While waiting for the ferry we walked the dock, took pictures, etc. When we finally boarded the ferry we took pictures of me by a "fire station" on the ferry and sent it via telephone to my best friend. When we arrived at Whidbey Island a short time later, we had to meet the seller in town. We located him and followed him the short distance to his property.

As soon as we saw the first glimpse of the engine, I took a picture from the passenger seat of my moving Ford Explorer. Both of us cannot stop thinking about how nuts this is that Jamie is buying a fire engine and that I think it is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. We are nuts! We are nuts! We are nuts!

We drove back quite a way towards it before coming to a stop. Jamie tried to be non-chalont as he sauntered up to her, but I nearly kissed that beautiful old girl! (Nearly!!)

Jamie and I climbed in and on it, walked all the way around it, looked in the compartments and commented on some of the missing features (we were not expecting it to be complete, of course!). We did all this as Jamie explained to the seller the significance of this particular fire engine to us.

Here is how Jamie described it in his blog:

I've been holding a slight hope that it was my 'home' rig, Engine 8, but we quickly spot the '10' on the back. That's cool, it is still one of the eight sisters, and 10 is a busy house adjacent to 8's first-due that shares nearly all its fires with 8, as 8 often did with 10. She was missing her Q siren and all of her original warning lights, only a slightly modernized roof warning beacon remained. She was missing several of her intake and discharge caps as well as her Stang water cannon. A couple of rolls of hose were all she had for equipment, hosebed and ladder rack bare bones empty. But that can all be fixed later.... this is one of the eight sisters.

Jamie was ready to buy it, but the seller refused his money until we took her for a spin.

When Jamie started that engine, with the two of us sitting in the cab, a sense of excitment and familiarity came over both of us so strongly that we both had to comment on it. (Excitement is WAY to bland of a word but I don't know what else to use!) Immediately I reached for the cord to the air horn. BOY did it sound sick!! Oh well. I honked it again.

Again, Jamie's point of view from his blog:

Then, he started her up.

Oh.... that SOUND! I remember it well, and a lot of memories came right back. Hearing that old familiar Detroit Diesel roar to life was.... well... amazing. Inside I am all... 'Yessss!'

I also was all... "Yessssssss!!!"

Then Jamie put it in gear and stepped on the gas! Oh that wonderful sound! So nostalgic and romantic! We took her for a spin to appease the seller, came back and handed over the big bucks. It was completely painless for me because I wasn't the one shelling out, but I gladly would have if I could have!!

After politely chatting for a lot longer than either of us had wanted to, we started the journey back. Our first stop was at a hardware store. It was necessary to purchase some plain white contact paper to cover the markings she still bore from the last agency she worked for, Grant County Fire District #13. We covered the markings on the door and the unit ID markings in various places. I used a permanent marker to clearly mark the engine as NOT IN SERVICE. Jamie was conscientious of the fact that if we happened to pass an accident or other emergency situation, the general public would not be amused to see a fire engine roll by and KEEP GOING! They would not notice the fact that it was devoid of hoses, missing parts, etc. He also covered the now-invalid Washington State "Aid Car License" in the windshield and the warning light on the roof.

Here is Jamie's take on it from his blog:

"You see, I had no interest whatsoever in being waved down by someone in distress. I anticipated having no equipment, and although it turned out to have a little bit of hose aboard, a pneumatic actuator was not functioning and she would not go into pump gear, nor was a nozzle to be had. I admit I did bring my turnout gear and a very nice first-aid/trauma jump kit, but I hoped to not need it. I deliberately avoided wearing anything that would made me look even remotely like a firefighter on or off duty."

Several men, mostly older, stopped to admire my brother's new toy. They were aware it was a toy and not a service rig, but they were envious, you could tell from the look in their eyes and the conversations that were carried on while we got her ready to travel. Jamie was cool and invited the men to look, touch, feel and climb on, if the liked.

Again, Jamie's point of view:

I think we talked to five people in the parking lot of this small hardware store on Whidbey island who stopped to look at her, realizing it was a privately-owned toy. Mostly older guys. Yeah, they had boats and stuff... but you could tell they suddenly (if only temporarily) had Fire Engine Envy. This continued all day.

We also had to fuel up the sadly yellow/green but formerly BRT (fireman speak for Big Red Truck!). It seems one of it's former Fire Department owners was well intentioned but misguided and painted over her beautiful red body with that embarrassing yellow/green stuff! Poor baby!

At the ferry terminal, we both thought, after he had already paid for the fire engine and lined up, that I would not make this same run. We were both sweating that one privately from our own vehicles but finally I was able to go to. Jamie forgot to pay my ferry fee because he was so excited but I didn't mind. Lucky for us both that I had my Visa card on me!!

Once on the ferry, he got out to look for me, as we were not in the same line in our vehicles. I got out and headed straight for the fire engine, even though I knew he was looking for me. I marvelled at what other passengers must have thought. The guy in front of me watched me get out, walk past his car and another and approach the fire engine. Then, as if I owned it, I opened the passenger door and climbed in. I wish I knew what he must have been thinking!! He had no way of knowing that I belonged there, sort of. When Jamie and I connected (cell phones are wonderful inventions) he knew I was having a little bit of a hard time. As he wrote:

"Sister had the roughest time... she wanted to be in the fire engine, not following. Darn all the luck, I swear she would have sold that Ford Explorer to the first person that offered $100 just so she could ride back in the engine, but no one came forward in time."

How RIGHT you are, Bro!

I will again print Jamie's words to describe wht happened next:

"The ride back to Tacoma was uneventful, except for the part where I spoke inside the cab while approaching the Tacoma Dome on I-5 as if old Engine 10 could hear me.

"Welcome home, baby. Welcome home".
*Note, we knew from visible marking under a thin layer of silver paint that this rig had at one time served as Engine 10 while in Tacoma.

As soon as we got it back in town we dumped my car and had lots of adventures in the fire engine.

I have to get ready for work and this is already a long post that I am not finished with, so... I will post "Beginning to Live the Dream Part 2b" later.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Beginning to Live the Dream

From my previous posts, you now know how I came to be obsessed with all things firefighting. Now comes the next chapter in my life.

After watching the first two season's of Emergency! I realized that I still have the "bug" and I have it BAD!!!! It hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks! It has become almost a constant thought in my mind, awake and asleep. I have long realized that I cheated myself, as women are wont to do when they grow up and fall in love, get married, have kids, etc. It isn't something we consciously do. It isn't like we wake up one day and say, "I'm going to forgt all the dreams I ever had about what I should do with my life and just see what happens." But, most women do fall into that trap. Perhaps it is the same for men, but not being one, I cannot speak to that.

When I started into the child care world, I thought, in the beginning, that I might one day pursue the original dream. However, as the years ticked by I thought less and less about it until I all but forgot it. Seeing my old pals, Roy and Johnny on TV brought back all the excitement I always felt and all the desire to be a part of it. In about January of 2009 (Around my 40th birthday -hmmmmmm...) I decided I wanted to do something different with my life. I began to question weather or not I could picture myself in my current line of work 20 years from now. -Not really!!-

By early July, I "knew" I wanted to find a way to get involved in emergency services. I doubted that it would be as a firefighter, since I am a 40 year old, 4 foot 10 inch, 200 and a few pound woman! YIKES! I decided to pursue a career as a 911 operator. I wanted to be a dispatcher for the Fire Department but discovered upon very little investigation that the position is filled entirely by sesasoned professional firefighters, at least in my neck of the woods. 911 operator was the next best thing I could think of. Sadly, it is run by the Law Enforcement Support Agency (LESA). I started to tell people of this idea, knowing full well that the more one talks about it and shares it with others the more likely one will be to follow through with a plan. I got good responses and encouragement from friends, family and acquaintances on this plan. The more I thought about it though, the more doubts I had.

Then came the next ton of bricks! I was working on a personal hobby/project of mine and needed to know (to have a clear picture in my head) what the fire engine I grew up near looked like. I knew it was likely an early 1970's model American La France pumper but that was all. I started looking online, in books at libraries and for books in book stores so that I could see a picture of one. I couldn't find what I was looking for anywhere. Hmmmmmm......

I said to myself, "Self? Where can you find this information? What resources do you have available to you?" Then my self said, "Duh! If you know anyone that can find you a picture and tell you the exact make and model, it is your just as insanely obsessed as you brother, Jamie! (Frank to all but the siblings he grew up with and our parents!)

SO... I wrote an e-mail or facebook message (I don't remember which) to my brother to inquire about the make, model, etc. and if he knew of where I could find a picture of one and or could he send me a picture that he might already have?
Very soon after I sent that message, he sent me back the information I needed, and a picture (on the internet) of what I needed. It was during this time that he himself had been considering buying a fire engine to restore as a personal hobby. He actually had a specific one in mind and had nearly sealed the deal when, in the course of trying to fill my request for information, he found the REAL DEAL! On Craig's List he found a fire engine identical, year, make and model, to the one we grew up near and I had inquired about. Not only was it identical, it had belonged to "Our" fire department originally. Tacoma Fire Department apparently purchased 8 of them all at the same time and this was one of them. That meant that this fire engine for sale on Craig's List might actually BE the one we grew up with. Well, we both knew that was a long shot, but it didn't matter. It was less money than the one he had been looking at buying and was much more romantic! After speaking with the owner of the fire engine, he decided to buy it.

Stay tuned for Beginning to Live the Dream Part 2 in my next posting. I will try not to wait a month between postings this time. I have a lot more I want to catch up on to get to the present!