Monday, November 30, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 77

Hi Team!

Today was a good day. Kathy, one of the fire buffs, asked if she could join us on our walk so we happily had her meet us at the mall today. We had a good walk and talked up a storm as we usually do!

I drank about 2 1/2 quarts today between water, juice and tea. I slept well last night and Pete recorded 11,993 steps today! Yay me! That makes me 3 for three today. =)

Then I did something that really made my day, maybe the month! On a whim I stopped in to a thrift store. Now, usually it is unheard of to find anything related to any fire department, but without looking for that, I found three items! THREE! The first is my favorite. I found a Firefighter's jacket, the fancy warm kind with the patches on the arms, the inside pockets, etc. THe patch was McChord Fire Department. I tried it on. It was a bit snug but not uncomfortable and I could zip it closed. The price tag said it was only 5.99. And then I heard the most beautiful words. The lady at the register said over the loud speaker that the entire stock was half off today. Then I was looking through sweatshirts and found a Kent Fire Department sweatshirt, my size! And in T-shirts I found a University Place Fire Department shirt! It is a size smaller than me, currently, but I'm getting there. Add to that another shirt and two books, one by Earl Emerson, a Seattle author who writes fire novels and I paid less than TEN DOLLARS!!!

Now, I don't want to masquerade as something I am not. I collect FD stuff and I will wear the stuff I got today, just as when it rains I wear either of the two fire department caps that I own but 1) I am quick to point out that I am indeed NOT a ff (YET) and 2)I make sure I am very careful to mind ALL my p's and q's when I do have on anything with FD logos even if they are clearly marked as Fire Buff and not a specific department. The last thing I want to do is bring shame or ill will to the fire service. 3) I intend to remove the McChord FD patch on the coat and have a custom patch made with the maltese cross and the words "Fire Buff" embroidered in. At some point I will have several items with the FD maltese cross logo which I can buy through the Fire Buff Battalion. What I am really looking forward to is when I can respond for rehab and eventually have my own bunker pants, boots and an orange coat issued. Our fire department has been happy to supply them for us because they appreciate the service we provide and want to keep us protected and warm and dry.

Here is a picture of me modeling my new jacket.

fd,fire department

Well, until next time, Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 76

Hi Team!

I forgot to employ Pete again today. I guess everyone deserves a weekend off once in a while. Being Sunday, I know I didn'g get that much walking in anyway.

I did have plenty to drink but I kinda sorta forgot to go to sleep last night, putting me only 1 for three! I didn't do it on purpose. I was reading a manuscript that an online fiction writer asked me to read as a favor. The main characters are career fd paramedics and some volunteer ff's. HOw could I resist? I really have had a hard time putting it down. When I started to realize that I was dozing between sentences, I looked at the clock and it was 3 am. I had to get up at 7 to get ready for church. OOPS! I haven't even picked it up today, and I am having withdrawals!

I was gone most of the day but I took a break from the quiz team because my ff brother was in town visiting his in-laws and I spent the afternoon at a get-together potluck bbq there. He just put me on his cell phone plan so that I could get rid of my pay as you go phone. It is a lot cheaper for me to pay him the difference from what his family was paying to what he will be paying by adding me, than it is for me to get my own plan. Now I am on the verizon network which is the best coverage available here. Most emergency service providers use Verizon here too. THe fire buff battalion has verizon and all of our calls will now be unlimited and not cost us minutes. I also got unlimited texting which is good because Coach Alex is a text-a-holic! LOL And I can take, send and receive pictures -also unlimited. I love my new toy. My brother made sure that as soon as I got my phone he sent me the sound of the Klaxons to use as a ringtone. I set my alarm clock to it. =) It really doesn't take much to make me happy!

On a sad note: This morning in the next door town to us, Lakewood, 4 police officers were ambushed and executed in a coffee shop. The only information known is that there were two men involved, a caucasian man and an African-American man and that they did not say anything, that there were baristas and customers in the coffee shop that they did not point their weapons at or shoot at and that the drove away, no description of the car. That is all I have heard of it so far anyway. I don't know if more details have been released or not. I am only adding this in my blog to say, please... pray for the families, friends, co-workers and other loved ones of these officers and for the other victims -the baristas and patrons of the coffee shop, for comfort and peace. Pray for those involved to be caught and brought to justice. Please pray for this to take place quickly. And especially pray that no other people are harmed by these criminals. I am saddened beyond words at this tragedy.

It's just about a quarter after 10 so...

Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 75

Hi Team!

I fell asleep and forgot to post day 75 so here it is a day late.

Saturday: I slept very well last night. I forgot to employ Pete for the day, but I can tell you my walking was not remarkable. Probably a little below average for a Saturday. I did however, get plenty of fluids in me today.

My mother-in-law treated us, (her sister, my son, his girlfriend and her mother, and myself) to Christmas Tea at the Secret Garden, a Victorian Tea House in Sumner, WA. This is a tradition we started as a family several years ago and it is an absolutely delightful experience. I was especially good and ordered an Orchard Peach Roobius tea (red tea) which is naturally decaf and had at least 4 pots of tea over our 4 hour visit there. While engaged in conversation I discovered that my son's girlfriend's mom was a huge fan of Emergency! in the 70's! Cool! I promised to loan her the series a season at a time. She was almost as thrilled as I always am when I watch it. Her daugher and my son just rolled their eyes at us. LOL

Well, 2/3 isn't too bad. Nobody's perfect!

Until next time, Stay Safe!

Hotflash out!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Flashpointz -Johnny Rocket's

While my friends, Coach Alex and her hubby John and I were out and about in Seattle today one of our missions was to find gluten free restaurant food for Coach Alex. She is higly intolerant of glutens. THey make her hurt and make her feel very aggressive and make her want to kill the people she loves. Not such a good thing.

Today was a very busy day for businesses in the area. Imagine that on Black Friday. We waited until late to look for food so that we wouldn't be trying to get special service during rush times. We went to Johnny Rocket's in Westlake Center for dinner. Coach Alex surveyed the menu and asked to speak to the manager when he had a few minutes. It took him a little while before he was able to get away, but he came over to us and Alex asked him about a bazillion questions about the menu, how the food was prepared, what was in it, etc. Johnny Rocket's does not have a gluten free menu but the manager on duty, Stephen, was amazing and willing to accommodate in any way he possibly could. Alex ordered a burger, sans bun, with chili on it. We were seated at the counter and could see the cooks preparing the food. They toasted the buns on the grill. That causes cross contamination for those who are gluten intolerant. They wear gloves to handle the food but they touch the buns which is a cross contamination route as well. They also use the same spatula to remove burgers and buns from the grill. They place buns directly on the work counter which can also be a route for cross contamination for glutens.

When Alex explained her health situation Stephen was SO acommodating. He promised to do all he could to make sure her food was gluten free. He make the cooks sanitize the counter, change their gloves, get cheese and tomatoes from the back that had not been touched by gloved hands that had touched buns, get a clean spatula, clean the grill and he gave them explicit instructions, in SPANISH to make sure Alex's food was safe for her. He did all this very cheerfully, with a constant smile, even when he had to direct his cooks to change gloves when they touched a bun from anothe order. He told Alex he was sorry she had to go through all that to get a good bite to eat, he showed compassion for her. He stood guard over the food preparation to ensure no mistakes were made. He then chatted with us willingly for over 10 minutes. He gave us his e-mail address and asked us to let him know how she felt tomorrow because he really wanted to know if the efforts he and his staff put forth had paid off.

When he wrote down his name for us he wrote "Steve" and Alex commented that it had a "V" when his name tag said Stephen. I said it was because
"S-T-E-P-H-E" looked a little funny and was harder to pronounce. He repeated it out loud "Stephe" with an "f" sound. He laughed and said that was really funny and he liked it. He said he would like to have a name tag made up that said Stephe!

In talking with Stephe we discovered that this wasn't even "his" store. He usually manages the store in University Village, right next to the UW. He encouraged us to come by his store and promised that he would always ensure Alex could have gluten free food.

I did NOT order gluten free food. I had the route 66 burger. All beef patty, REAL swiss cheese, and fried onions and mushrooms. It was absolutely amazing. All in all the food was delicious, the prices were very reasonable and the service was absolutely incredible. Please tell all your friends and have them tell their friends to tell their friends!!

Johnny Rocket's is worthy of your business and Stephe is an awesome manager.

When you try it out for yourself, drop me a line and let me know how it went. You'll be glad you went!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 74

Hi Team!

I am feeling great! While I did get very full at dinner for Thanksgiving, the first part of my meal was a huge salad, (a planned event to prevent more calorie filled eating) so I feel pretty good about my holiday eating. I did not have huge amounts of anything else. It was all very sensible. This is something my husband suggested last year and it worked so well that we have decided to make it a tradition to start the meal with a monster salad.

I slept very well last night, -thank you tryptophan (sp?)- and I drank more than enough fluids today. Even though I skipped walking in the mall this morning (cause I'm a chicken!) I went to Pike Place Market and Westlake shopping center with Coach Alex and her hubby, John today. We darted in and out of the crowds at the Market, exploring and having fun. I found a cool firefighter belt buckle for only 12.95 and bought it. Then we watched the Westlake tree lighting ceremony and fireworks before shopping around Westlake shopping center. I didn't know that one of the big shopping centers has snow at 6 pm every evening this time of year. Coach Alex brought me there to surprise me. It was really cool having theater snow falling all around. It is little sudsy snowflakes! It was beautiful. Anyway, all the walking we did from all of that according to Pete was 9,398 steps! YAY ME!! I'm 3 for 3 today.

Today was really an awesome day for me and a lot of fun.

I hope you all had an awesome, family filled thanksgiving.

Until next time, Stay safe!!

Hotflash out.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 73

Hi Team!!


Pete and I took the day off! We think we deserve it.

Stay safe and THANK you for being there for me!!!

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 72

Hi Team!

I was so tired I fell asleep reading a manuscript an online writer friend of mine sent me for review and therefore did not post my blog for Day 72 yesterday. I feel badly that I fell asleep reading it because I am enjoying her story. I met her on a fan fiction writing website but she has been published as a fiction author and I feel very honored that she asked me to review a manuscript she was considering submitting to her publisher. Anyway, that is my excuse. Please forgive me.

Today (by that I mean day 72) was a good day. It has been a long week, these last 7 days. The last 5 work days were extra long shifts, as I have mentioned and I have been very tired. Tuesday and Wednesday were really good days at work though. I have been in a very good mood -more sleep makes a difference =) I have laughed a lot and really had fun with my school age kids.

One of my boys is a firefighter's kid and because he knows my passion, he thinks he can get special privileges and allowances. I have to ride him extra hard to keep him in line because of it. He isn't a bad boy, just very active and unaware of the "enough is enough" boundary. Today we had blackbean soup, that the kids and I made together, for snack. After all the kids had been served I served the staff and I was fixing myself a bowl. This boy came over to me and wanted to "help". I had chopped cilantro, sour cream, sliced green onions and lime juice to top the soup with. He wanted to put the lime juice in, but had never used a plastic lime squirt bottle before. As he got ready to put some in my soup I directed him to point it downward towards the bowl more, but he was faster than I could give the directions and he ended up hosing ME with a lot of lime juice! Then, my startled expression and the expression and loud laughter of my assistant who was right next to me at the time, and my sharp calling of his name to get him to stop squeezing the lime caused him to laugh so hard that no sound would come out and he nearly fell down. Luckily for him I generally have a good sense of humor and was able to laugh about it. I had a big wet spot partly on and under my left breast on my smock and my lovely assistant informed me that it looked like I was lactating and leaking! And I had to wear the smock because my boss requires it. It was a little embarrassing. But I survived. The same boy cracked me up prior to that when I was serving snack to the kids. I was encouraging them to at least try the soup and the toppings for it. Many would try the soup but only a few would try all the toppings for it. Most kids don't seem to like green plantlike things any where near what they have on their plates or in their bowls. When it was his turn to be served he said, "I'll be brave and try everything because that's what firefighters do!" He can be a real pill sometimes, but he really is a cute kid!

Well, I am happy to report that over the last 5 work days, 3 of them were exercise days and thanks to encouragement from my wonderful awesome terrific team (that's you) I didn't skip any of my workouts even though I was very tired. In fact, for Day 72 Pete logged for me 11,367 steps! No wonder I was so tired when I got home. I drank at least 3 quarts of fluids, not counting my morning coffee. And I slept okay overnight too. That makes 3/3! Yay me!!

Not much else to report.

Thanks for cheering me on. I love my team!!

Stay safe.

Hotflash out.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 71

Hi Team!

I am writing Day 71 early on the morning of day 72, sorry! I was trying to get a chapter ready to post on the site that I write at and time got away from me last night. I decided it was best to get to bed and catch up later.

I slept well last night and awoke refreshed! That is so rare that it is cause for celebration! YAY ME!!! Pete logged 7,035 steps for me today. Pete's doing a great job, isn't he? Maybe that was my problem all along... I just wasn't giving Pete enough encouragement! I drank plenty of fluids yesterday, at least 2 quarts over and above my one cup of coffee (12 oz) in the morning. I sure am a sucker for home brewed coffee with coffemate's gingerbread creamer!! I am stocking up on creamer and freezing it because I can only get it for two months in the year!

Well, there you have it. That is the day. Oh, one good thing to add. I get to back to Washougal over the New Year's 4 day weekend. My company will be closed Thur the 31st AND Fri the 1st. I was scheduled to work the closing shift on Wed. but my boss and the other Site Manager it would affect both agreed to let me switch to the opening shift. I'll be off at noon and can go to Washougal one day earlier! (Super big toothy grin!!)

Maybe this time while I'm there I'll make it to OMSI (Oregeon Museum of Science and Industry! My brother has a membership for his family and my husband has been promising me for 20 YEARS that we would go there. WHenever I remind him he always says, "Yeah, but I didn't say WHEN!)

Well, I have to get ready to go to work.

Stay Safe!!

Hotflash out.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 70

Hi Team!

Today was a good day despite the extra hours of kids at work! I met Coach Alex for my walk today, though I have decided on days that I have to work early we can cut one mile off of our walk. I still walked 12,404 steps today according to Pete! Thanks Pete for working so hard for me. :D

I slept fairly well and I even sneaked in a 20 min power nap today. Coach Alex caught me sleeping in the car awaiting her arrival for our walk! And I drank my fluids today, but admittedly, if I don't sleep well tonight it is my own fault! My secret pal gave me a 1 liter Cherry Pepsi last week. I was planning on drinking it on friday when I would have the whole weekend to sleep if needed. (well sort of anyway). BUt I didn't. I drank it today and it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good! I have been really good about not drinking sodas. Last year I had a 44 0z cherry pepsi every day! Other than one 20 oz bottle in Washougal over my vacation just a week ago, I haven't had any since I was in Washougal over the summer! I've been a very good girl in that respect and once I cracked it open today, it was completely irresistable! Cherry Pepsi never tasted better!

Note to self: on the rare occasion Cherry Pepsi should be made available to me by myself or another party, keep the containers small!!!

What does that make me for the day, 2 1/2 for three? I'm being generous with myself here. :D

Well, it is a quarter to nine. If I wrap this up and finish up the other couple of things I want to do online I might be in bed by 9:30 or earlier!

Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 69

Hi Team!

I am a little less zombie-ish. I got a bit of sleep this weekend but not enough yet. I hope this week will be better. I have not tried the PNT 200 that my childcare parent gave me yet. I might try it tonight.

I had my usual busy day for Sunday and only got in 2,888 steps. Pete did a good job today...THANKS PETE! I drank mostly iced tea and water today, but plenty of it. 3 for 3 again! YAY ME!!

This will be another tough week of extra long days as my afternoon shift will start two hours earlier each day while school age kids get out early for conferences. I am planning on still taking my walks with Coach Alex. (911R, if for no other reason than I don't want to let YOU down. You have been an amazing encouragement and cheerleader to me!)

I have to be brave this week. I purchased a Christmas sweatshirt from the fire department (available to ff families and the fire buff battalion) and I have to go to Station 9 and pick it up. Probably by myself. THis is a good thing. I HAVE to beat this crazy shyness! I am hoping to have time to go on Tuesday. If I don't, it won't be until after Thanksgiving.

Well, it is 20 to ten and I have a few things left to do before bed. I'm going to try and be in bed by 10. Thanks for continuing to cheer me on! I am a lucky woman! Make that a blessed woman!

Take care and stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 68

Hi Team!

I feel a little less zombie-like today. I tried something weird. I slept with my mp3 player! I have a very eclectic collection in it. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Abba, Martina McBride, Jim Brickman, Garth Brooks, Blackhawk, Trisha Yearwood, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Apollo 100, Kenny Rogers, REO Speedwagon, Boston, Chicago... you get the point. VERY eclectic. It is all stored on there at random. Last night when I went to bed I put my headphones on, turned on the music and went out like a light. I won't say that changes in the music never woke me up, because they did. But I went right back to sleep. And I woke up feeling, "REFRESHED", at least in comparison to how I have been feeling. I didn't use caffeine to function today! YAY ME!

I had a slow day though. I slept in a little, caught up some on my e-mail and other internet activities that I an still behind on due to my recent trip, I painted pottery for four hours, did a little grocery shopping and attended my 3rd Fire Buff Battalion meeting (YAY ME!). Pete logged only 2,273 steps today, and I would have to agree that it is likely to be accurate. I just finished my second quart of water. I am three for three today. Woo Hoo!

As promised in my Day 67 blog, I looked up the information on PNT 200, by Immunotec. The web page for the product (for anyone who is interested) is:

Basically what I found out is that:

PNT 200 contains an active peptide from the milk protein casein. This unique ingredient has been studied to help naturally diminish the effects of both mental and physical stress in both human and animal studies. PNT 200 is believed to work by binding to GABA receptors in the brain. Substances that bind to these receptors send a message to the body to relax.

Medicinal ingredient per capsule:
Milk Protein Hydrolysate (cow's milk)112 mg

Non-medicinal ingredients:
Sodium caseinate and vegetable gelatin.

The child care parent of mine who recommended this product spoke very highly of it and said that she personally has recommended it to many nurses who now take it regularly and love it. She gave me two capsules try. I think I will try them. I will get back to you at a later date with my impression of them.

Now that all the business is out of the way, tonight was my third monthly Fire Buff Battalion meeting. It seems there has been a huge upset in the leadership. Our longest standing member, one of the club's original founders and the current secretary/treasurer resigned between last month's meeting (the third saturday of the month) and the end of October.

To put things briefly and diplomatically, the current President of our club, after trying to resolve issues through the proper chanels by involving someone from the International Fire Buff Associates (of which our club is an affiliated member)was given a crapload of paperwork from the last decade or more, all mixed up and in no discernable order. Bills, statements, legal documents, receipts, tax info, etc. are all mixed up. Nobody knows when our tax date is, what mess we might be in concerning our non-profit status, etc. (Though it is believed we are not in an irreparable state in that area). In addition, this recently resigned leader kept our canteen unit in his garage, (Covered storage) and plugged in, as is normal for emergency vehicles. Now it is being stored outdoors behind a locked fence at the local firefighter's union hall because it does not have a home. If the fire chief calls us in to do rehab and the vehicle is frozen over it will now take us much longer to respond! It is also the time of year that our firefighters receive service awards and our group is a part of that so there is a lot of work to be done concerning that while we are still trying to sort out the mess, and getting no help from the former person in the leadership position that left us this mess in the first place. Goody, Goody! I sure picked an interesting time to get involved! And until my background check comes back from the Fire Inspector, I cannot help or get involved other than attending meetings. I cannot even help them sort out the mess!! That former leader and his wife, who also resigned, were primary responders in the rehab canteen. We will still have to keep up without them and I can't even fill in because I am not official. Fewer people responding in the busy season is what that means. Can you see I am frustrated? Please pray for God's blessing on our club and that we would be able to meet our primary objective of taking good care of our local firefighters. THat is the purpose of our existance as a club. Pray that our tax exempt status would not be put in jeapardy and that all other problems would be quickly and efficiently resolved.

I am thinking that this could be very good for our club. New blood in the ranks. At nearly 41 years of age, I may be the youngest member! (well, if I WAS officially a member, anyway)

I did notice that the atmosphere was very different this meeting and much lighter and fun. We laughed a LOT! For those of you who have watched Emergency! on television, our meetings sound an awful lot like the banter in the day room at the fire station some times. There is a lot of good natured ribbing going on, some seriousness and some day to day humdrum stuff. But the comaraderie is also very similar to that of what you'd find in fire stations. It is all very cool to (almost) be a part of!

Our Christmas party will be held on December 4th and I am very excited to say that God has helped me get out of my prior commitment and I will be able to attend the party! My dad is coming with me! And maybe even my bro! (too bad hubby and son will be hunting and that they have no interest in this whatsoever.) I could tell the president's husband was disappointed that he would not be meeting my hubby.

While this recently rekindled passion in me was no surprise to me, it certainly seems to have blind sided my hubby. He still says silly things to me out of the blue. "I never knew you liked fire." Um... yeah... because that is what floats my boat. Not the job and challenge of firefighting, emergency medicine, the comaraderie of emergency personnel, the thrill of the fire engines racing lights and sires down the street, etc. Just fire.

In saying that, I don't mean it as a slam to my hubby. He's a wonderful man. He just truly does not understand this. He is trying to though, because he loves me. <3 He is at least supporting me on following my dream to the point of attending EMT school. He has talked about how he is excited that I want to better myself and our financial standings. Sadly Paramedicine is not a hugely high paying job. It is an extremely underpaid profession. It may be a step up for me though. Either way, God has taken amazing care of me, and has cleared each path so that I may pursue this dream of mine.

Okay, well, I feel like I am falling asleep at the computer. Good night everyone and stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 67

Hi Team!

Sorry I did not post this yesterday (the day it refers to) but when I got online yesterday my computer was acting strangely so I opted to run a few different virus scans instead, which of course, takes hours! I am happy to report a clean bill of health for the computer however! :D

Okay, so I have been a walking zombie. One of my child care parents told me about a naturopathic supplement that she has sold to many nurses and others who work crazy rotating shifts that helps the brain slow down enough to sleep without side effects.

Under ingredients it says, "vegetable proteins, contains milk products" and gives no other information. That seemed a bit odd and ambiguous. I'm going to look this stuff up on the internet on Day 68. I think the company name is Immunotech and the product I believe is called PNT 200, if my zombie memory serves me well.

I seem to go through cycles where I have these crazy sleep patterns and this is the worst one I can recall in years. My doc has put me on sleeping pills twice and both times they were different medications. Neither of them worked. One was Ambien before it was decided that it was very dangerous and I don't remember the other one. I am desperate enough right now to try almost anything if it seems safe.

If anyone has any suggestions, other than the usual (and lame) 'best times to (or not to) exercise, best times/things to (or not to) eat or drink, etc. I'd love to hear them. I'm getting pretty difficult to live with about now and it isn't fair to my hubby and son!

On a positive note, Pete and I had a great day (even while in Zombie mode) and his official count was 13,325 steps!! Yay Pete! Yay ME!!! It is so nice to be walking again with Coach Alex. And entertaining too. She is a hoot and a half. At least! And, when we stopped at Starbucks after, we found these beautiful Red ceramic coffe mugs! I lost control and bought us each one. We both LOVE red!! And they were pretty. I couldn't help it. The zombie in me made me do it. :D Unfortunately, I paid with a Bennie (which it is extremely rare that I even have one of) and they had to call me back to the counter to take my change. Yes I am THAT sleep deprived! YIKES!

I'd like to say my fluid intake was good but while I drank a lot of fluids yesterday they were not all good. Before noon I had quite a bit of caffeine. This is not my usual m.o. Usually I have one cup of coffee in the morning, 12 oz, regular coffee maker coffee at home. That is pretty much all the caffeine I take in during a normal day. I did drink water and juice in the afternoon but I didn't really keep track of how much. I just know I probably had about a quart of the caffeinated stuff in the morning. I was really good though. My secret pal at work gave me a LARGE bottle of Cherry Pepsi, (one of my favorites, just ask my bro) and I did not crack it open yesterday! I could have sucked it down to survive the afternoon but I didn't. Yay me!!

Okay, I've covered the basics in today's report. Now one more thing is very imortant.

THANK YOU 911R!! Your encouragement over not cancelling with Coach Alex the other day kept me from doing so the rest of the week, even though I really wanted to take the time to sleep. I got all of my scheduled work outs in this week and I owe that at least partly to you! I am very glad I went each time. I haven't weighed, but I am sure I gained back some of my weightloss (if not all) during the two weeks I was off schedule. I am not going to take my monthly weigh in and measurements. I decided because of that set back to wait until the next one is due. That way the numbers won't be there to discourage me. So I will have to work extra hard until week 12,Day 84!

That's all there is for now. Stay Safe!

Hotflash out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 67

Hi Team!

@_@ I am becoming a zombie. I need sleep!!!

Tonight's report will be bare bones basic.

Pete was fooling around today and says I walked only 5,586 steps. Fat chance! Today I had two extra hours on my shift and I spent most of that time facilitating co-operative games with the kids in the gym. But Pete, it's okay. Just try harder tomorrow!

I had no problem drinking enough fluids today because I carried a water bottle with me all day and kept iced tea packets in my pocket.

Sleep is elusive. I can't seem to wind down at a reasonable time and then even when I do go to bed the wind around here is keeping me awake or waking me often. I am guessing I have slept perhaps 12 hours in the last 72. I am operating on caffeine and will power. I don't think I can keep this up much longer. I am having a harder and harder time thinking. I couldn't name the suits of the cards properly when playing card bingo with the kids today. I'd look at hearts and say 6 of clubs! Multiple times I made this kind of mistake.


Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 66

Hi Team!

This will be short. I am seriously sleep deprived this week. Ever since I came home from my bro's I can't seem to sleep. Maybe it is too calm and too quiet here after being with all of his kids! I love those kids, they are AMAZING!

Pete was awesome today! He logged 11,340 steps! YAY ME!! I drank lots of juice today. For some reason I was craving it. I've had about three quarts of fluids between the juice, coffee and water. Yay me again!

I am SO glad I did not cancel with Coach Alex. She informed me during our walk today that her husband prayed with her before she left to meet me that she would be an encouragement to me today. She always is, but today I was in special need of encouragement and just her telling me that they prayed that for me made a huge impact on me. I had some personal issues heavy on my mind today and was able to talk about them and she encouraged me so much when I did. THANK YOU COACH ALEX AND JOHN! (I'm yelling because they live a bit far from me and the wind is howling outside. I wanted to make sure they could hear me!) And 911R (I was omitting the R before by accident) has been praying for me and for all emergency personnel and dispatchers everywhere. I know it makes a difference and I thank you on behalf of all of those you pray for. You are amazing!

All of you who have been supporting me and encouraging me are amazing! Thank you SO much! I know I am babbling but I just have all these warm feelings from all the support you all send my way on a daily basis. I feel SO loved and blessed. I want to offer up a prayer too.

Dearest Lord,

Thank you for all the wonderful, caring and encouraging friends you have put in my life. Please be with all who lift others up in prayer and encouragement and bless them in return. Please be with all who work in emergency services in any capacity and bless them for what they do to help those in need. Guide them, give them wisdom and keep them safe, Father. May your love be reflected to those they serve and may you be glorified through their actions. Please protect them from burnout, from danger, and from discouragement. Please show them the difference they make in the lives of others. Thank you. In the name of our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Please, tell your family how much you love them and Stay Safe!

Hotflash out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 65

Hi Team!

I don't have that much to report tonight. Pete says I walked 5,036 steps. I know he reset once this morning so there may be another thousand or so steps, who knows? Maybe one day I'll consistently hit 10,000 steps a day. I keep trying. Pete's very trying too. But he's at least making an effort to be good, I think.

I had plenty of fluids today but very little sleep again last night. If this keeps up I will have to take a nap between shifts and I dont' really have time to do that. But all work and no sleep makes Hotflash a very grumpy girl! And doesn't do much for the skin either. Bleah! Wrinkles! Balance. It's all about balance.

Today my arm is still sore from wrestling the fire hose. (I Love saying that!) It isn't as sore as yesterday though and I managed to skip the motrin today. Sadly, part of me kind of likes the soreness as it reminds me of the fun I had. (Oops! Did I just write that out loud?)

After two weeks off from exercising I am glad to be back into it again. It occurred to me that it is a difficult time to start back up however. Starting thursday I have to be at work 2 hours earlier for my afternoon shift every day until Thanksgiving break. It would have been easier to start back up after the holiday. As I thought about cancelling with Coach Alex (and facing the wrath!! LOL) I thought, two weeks is a long time and another two weeks would effectively kill any momentum I had gained. No matter how inconvenient it is and how little personal time I will get from now unti then, I am NOT cancelling. I will exercise. I will smile while doing it. I will enjoy it. (Usually I do, surprisingly!) and I will not do it grudgingly. I will remind myself why I am doing it and remind myself of what physical tests I will have to face and pass if when I get to the fire academy some day. It will all be worth the little sacrifice of my time now for the dream to come true in the not SO distant future.

OK, I really have to go to bed.

Stay safe and please say a prayer for all the emergency personnel on shift when you read this to stay safe and go home at the end of their shift.


Hotflash out.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 64

Hi Team!

I am in an especially happy mood today. I think it is because I am still glowing from all the fun I had at my brother's this past week.

Thanks 911 for your enthusiasm for my adventures and my welcome back!! :D

Well, we'll start with the boring stuff. I drank my fluids today mostly in the form of water and juice. (Althought I did treat myself to a grande gingerbread latte from Starbucks! YUMMY!!) I started exercising again today but because of my work schedule today I could only do two thirds of my work out. (2 miles instead of three). Still Pete logged 12,903 steps today! -GOOD Job Pete. You worked hard and didn't reset! Hotflash is proud of you! I cannot say I slept well last night but it wasn't for lack of trying. I think my house is too calm after staying with my brother. Also my dog wouldn't settle down and we were having a wind storm, which seems to be continuing tonight. Sigh.

Ok, now for the dream stuff! I had so much fun playing with the fire hose yesterday and was surprised I wasn't sore when I got home in the evening or when I woke up this morning. Well, let's just say I had a delayed reaction. My left arm, the one that was wrestling the fire hose, is REALLY sore this evening. I tried to tough it out, but it became a motrin evening for me. I think I better get to working those arms and the rest of my upper body!! :D

Also, today I got brave. I told my boss that I cannot take the EMT course in the summer and therefore have gotten myself on the wait list to register for April classes. I explained that if I managed to get in I would begin classes then and I would have to leave work an hour early two nights a week from then to the end of our school year. She was very supportive!! YAY ME!!! Thanks so much to all of you who encouraged me in that area and for all the prayers that my boss would be reasonable about this. God is able and He is SO GOOD! Everytime he opens a door for me he shows me he is in control and sends me little affirmations that I can do this! I feel SO blessed! I am on cloud 9 today. I am so happy I am all wound up!

I am also working on a power point presentation of the Burn To Learn that I attended on Saturday and told you all about in an earlier blog post. I have never used power point and I am being taught by someone who knows something about it but is not proficient in using it. This could be challening. So far it is. Once I complete it I will try to figure out how to link it here so you can view it. If that is possible. I have no idea because I really don't speak computer. ^_^

Well, I've gotta go to bed now. Stay safe!!!

Hotflash out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 63

Hi Team!

I am HOME!!! Yay me? :(

Is that confusing? I missed my family a lot, but I had so much fun in Washougal and I LOVE staying with my brother and his family. I wish I could move there! Does that explain the mixed message above?

Today was another good day. I slept in until about 11:00. That was great. Then I had breakfast with my sister-in-law and my nephews and youngest niece. My brother was sleeping because between work and the Burn to Learn he had been up twenty three hours after coming home from a full shift at work and having one hour of sleep. He was a TIRED fireman.

After I ate I spent some time packing and did a little reading. I spent some time just chatting with my nephews and talking with my sister-in-law. I played hide and seek with my three year old nephew for a while. I was glad to do it because for most of my trip there he informed me that he didn't like me! :( I think it had something to do with not letting him eat candy when it was dinner time!

At 2:00 my Sis-in-law woke my brother so that we could go play with the firehose! This is something I have never had the opportunity to do before and I really wanted to! We drove the squad out to an open part of the property and he pulled the hose out. He hooked it up to the squad and then walked me through starting up the pump. When I did some things wrong, he just let me. Then he talked me through figuring it out. He didn't outright tell me what to do. I attached the nozzle to the hose after he told me how to properly unroll it. There is kind of a trick to it to quickly unroll the hose when responding to a fire. He said I did pretty well for my first time. It only unrolled about half way. We were using a 1.75" diameter hose. It is pretty standard size used for a basic exterior attack, I guess. He finished unrolling it, demonstrating the technique he had talked me through and he was, of course, much more effective at it than I but he has just a few years of experience.

My bro gave me his helmet to wear in case I let the hose get away from me. It would have gone flying everywhere if I had and those big nozzles can really clonk you in the head if that happens. He put me in his turnout coat, although I couldn't close it. I am larger around than he is. He gave me a pair of gloves and then I took hold of the hoze and nozzle while he charged the line. I watched as the hose bulged all the way from the pumper to the nozzle, untwisting the hose as the water charged through. I didn't have the nozzle open yet which was a good thing. Those hoses are pretty heavy when they are charged and difficult to maneuver. He warned me to open the nozzle slowly to a) get the air out of the line and b) to determine the spray pattern before I opened up all the way. It can go from a long straight stream to a wide fog pattern. It was not set to straight stream when I started but it was close.

Ordinarily, two firefighters handle the hose. One controls the hose and the other aims and sprays. He let me try it on my own. It was a challenge! I had it tucked under my left arm and used my right hand to open the nozzle and control it. When I opened up the pressure caused the hose to slide back through my left hand and I had to use my arm to hold the hose against my body to keep control. I experimented with different spray patterns while my brother instructed me on the proper stance to best control the hose. He took several pictures of me playing. It was only in the upper forties or low fifties outside and my crazy nephews were out, one in shorts and a rain coat, running under the spray like they were running under a rainbow. Crazy boys!!!

When I had used probably three fourths of the pumper's capacity of water, my bro and I decided to wrap it up. He made me figure out how to shut down the pump. I tried to get hime to tell me what to do, but he is a teacher by nature. He would only tell me to remember what I did to start it and to read the labels. He did give me a hint here and there. Then he showed me how to properly drain the hose and how to roll it up the right way. There is a right way and a wrong way to roll a fire hose! He asked me if I knew why and when I said no he told me to look closely at the hose and figure it out. Eventually I did. The end that the nozzle goes on should be on the inside of the roll to protect the exposed threads! Conveniently this also makes it so that when the hose is unrolled the correct end is nearest the pumper and the other end is nearest the fire!

After we loaded the hose back on the truck and stowed my bro's firefighting gear, he showed me some of the different couplings and nozzles. He also showed me a combo spanner tool, used for disconnecting fire hoses that have become too tight to unscrew by hand and also used to shut off gas meters and various other tasks. He showed me how the tool was used. It was very interesting. If you're into that sort of thing like I am. :)

When we were finished browsing equipment, we took the squad "back to the barn" and my bro backed her in place. Then started the task of refilling her tank.

While the tank was filling we went inside to have some of my sister-in-laws amazing rhubarb crunch (like rhubarb crisp with the crisp both under and over the rhubarb!) and ice cream. YUMMY! Then I said my goodbyes and headed home.

That was my very fun day! I didn't get much exercise but I had plenty of sleep and plenty of fluids. There, now my report is complete!

My trip to Washougal was amazing and I got to do every fire department related thing I wanted to do this time around. YAY ME!!!

Tomorrow I go back to my routine of walking and stair climbing 3 days a week! I've missed that. (very surprised look on my face)

Until we meet again... Stay Safe!

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 62

Hi Team!

Today was an awesome day!! I’ll start with the boring parts. I drank plenty of fluids today, I got plenty of exercise, even though I did not put Pete in service today, and I slept a reasonable amount last night. That makes me 3 for 3 today. YAY ME!

Now for the fun stuff! My bro arrived home around 6 am this morning. He left for work before 5 last night so he was pretty tired. He got me up, as requested and then he went to bed. I had a little bite to eat and a shower. My bro got up an hour later and we left for the Burn to Learn that his fire department was putting on for the day. They usually try to do at least one of these a year. It is an opportunity for less experienced firefighters to learn and gain experience and more experienced firefighters can still learn a lot from them too. I was thrilled to find out a few weeks ago that this event was planned for a Saturday when I was going to be here!

We arrived at Station 93 before 8 am so that we could get information as to where my brother was supposed to be and because the parking at the event was at a premium. This meant that only fire apparatus were allowed so everyone had to meet at the station then ride in on department rigs. My brother and I were assigned to bring in Air 93. This vehicle carries some tools but mostly it is around for filling air bottles.
Once we arrived at the burn, I was assigned to rehab. My bro was assigned as a pumper operator. Poor bro, no fire time for him. :( There were a ton of new guys and they needed the fire time. Apparently there was a fire academy class that just finished up. This burn was their final test.

While the firefighters had their meeting and were briefed on the plans for the day, I helped the rest of the rehab crew set up. We put out awnings for cover, a table to work from, chairs for firefighters to rest at, and put out water, snacks and equipment for taking blood pressures and temperatures. Our job at rehab is to monitor firefighters as they came in from the fire. We helped them out of their gear; checked blood pressures and if necessary, temperatures. We made sure they hydrated during their breaks, and we also filled the empty air bottles, wiping the soot off and checking for any significant gouges or scrapes in them.

One of the things I wanted to do on this visit was to learn to take blood pressures. I had asked my bro about that and he said we would get to it before I left, if all went well. It is hard to make absolute promises when you work the hours you do, spend the rest of your time on call for the fire department and you have a family (wife and six kids!). He does his best to deliver though. My bro is absolutely awesome and amazing!

Well, the rehab boss, Rick, put me to work willingly. Then when the first crew came in for rehab he said that somebody needed to take blood pressures. I said that since I had never done that before and didn’t know how it wouldn’t be me. He jumped on that. He said, “Oh yeah. You just come right on over here. You’re going to learn.” He handed me the stethoscope and the blood pressure device. (I know what it’s real name is, I just cant spell it!) The firefighter I was to check was an EMT. No pressure though. He was actually very nice. Another firefighter who works the rehab unit showed me how to properly attach the cuff. She told me to pump it up. When I asked to what pressure, the EMT and she did not agree as to how far to go, but I went with the EMT’s recommendation. I did not know what to listen for so they told me, as I was trying to listen! I pumped the pressure to 180 and slowly released the valve, listening for the pulse.

When you first hear the pulse what ever the gauge reads is the systolic or top number. Then you continue to listen until you cannot hear the pulse. That is the diastolic or bottom number. It was very difficult to hear as both the rehab firefighter and the EMT firefighter were talking to me while I was trying to do it, but as best I could tell the reading was 120 over 70. That is a normal range so I felt pretty confident with that.

Rick then took his blood pressure again with an electronic wrist device. Our readings came out a lot different, but that is not surprising. Blood pressures can vary from arm to arm (I used the left and he used the right), and we used different methods which can also make a difference. They said that I did very well for my first time taking a blood pressure. The firefighter EMT thanked me and I thanked him for being my guinea pig. He said to me, “Any time, and I’ll be back.” That made me feel good. Firemen are such nice people!

After that I got started learning to use the cascade system. That is the system used to fill the air bottles. I filled a lot of air bottles today. And I enjoyed it. It is a very important job which is part of what made it fun. We tried to help the firefighters out of their gear as much as we could when they came to rehab and the one time I tried to remove an air bottle for one of the guys by myself I happened to get a really tall guy. I am a really short girl! That was kind of comical. He bent over for me so I could slide the bottle up his back and out of its harness, but even bent over, I could not quite reach to do it. He ended up squatting down for me to do it. It was kind of amusing. And the guys were all very good natured about everything.

When we ran out of air to fill bottles with, the crews were winding down the interior attacks. At that point it became a necessity because we couldn’t refill their bottles. This meant it was time to let the fire really burn. I got a great spot to watch the fire from. Actually I was free to roam within boundaries but I got amazing views. I took lots of pictures.

One of the fire pictures I got was a shot inside the window of a home. I couldn’t get close but when I zoom in on the picture I took I can see what it is that made me want to take the shot to begin with. It was a shot showing the flames rolling across the ceiling. It was like waves of flames rolling in layers. It truly looked like a monster in there.

My camera has a short delay so action shots are very hard to get. I missed the collapse of part of the building through the lense, but I got to see it with my own two eyes and it was amazing to watch. From 75 or more yards away the heat from it was intense! I think I could have roasted marshmallows from that far away!

Another shot I was trying to get was really cool. There was a thin tornado of flame and smoke that appeared several times. It was really awesome to look at. I snapped several pictures trying to capture it but the pictures did not do it justice. It was so cool though.

The department even hooked us up with lunch! They put burgers on the barbecue for us and they were not skinny little mystery meat burgers either. They had all the trimmings, and also chips and sodas. There were a lot of happy firefighters there!

I was pleased and excited to see three female firefighters there. There were probably more of them but I met three. Two of them were built very much like me, only a shade taller. Not too much taller. The third one was my height, but she was skinny and strong. She was very nice, too. I really enjoyed getting to meet her. She let me take her picture when she was in rehab having her blood pressure taken. I didn’t get to be in the picture because I wasn’t the one taking the blood pressure, but I wanted photo documentation of the kinds of things I did today.

I really had a good time working at this fire today. The crew at rehab was really awesome to talk to, work with and get to know a little. I really hope to be able to come back and do this again some time. I know it is silly, but I was happy to come back smelling like smoke. Just another way to keep the memory of what I got to be a part of today.

Thanks Bro for your part in getting me involved so I could play. Thanks to the department for allowing me to participate. I am very grateful.

Well, that is all that I have to report. Thanks to all of my team for supporting me and for continuing to read this blog. Your encouragement means so much to me.

I don't have time to load and figure out how to post photos of my trip, but I will try to get some posted in the next week. If worse comes to worse, I'll post them on my facebook and leave the link here in my blog.

Until next time… Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 61

Hi Team!

Today was not a particularly interesting day as far as my climb up my ladder or anything to do with the fire service goes. I did not put Pete into service today so I couldn’t tell you how much walking I did. I would venture to say, not much. I didn’t feel all that well today and I was on my own most of the day while the fam was out at Friday school and my bro was sleeping. If there had been a call we’d have gone, but there wasn’t so we didn’t.

I did drink plenty of fluids. That’s about it. I don’t have anything interesting at all to report today. Wait till tomorrow! The day of the burn!

Until I write again… Stay safe!

Hotflash out

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 60

Hi Team!

Today was a pretty good day. I stayed up way too late again last night. As I have stated many times before I am a night owl. When I don’t have any specific reason to be in bed early, I don’t have the discipline to go to bed at a reasonable time. I fell asleep about 1:15. I woke up briefly when my niece was getting ready for school. I don’t know when that was, maybe 7:00-ish. I moved all of my stuff from the “school room” (my sister-in-law homeschools the kids, except her high schooler) to the living room and crashed again on the couch. I didn’t wake up again until 12:20 (Sheepish look on face). The point I am making is that I did at least get a good amount of sleep!

Pete actually cooperated with me today. Maybe when I showed him the squad (that ran over my sister-in-laws cell phone -twice!) he got scared! Anyway, he says that from 1:00 until 9:00-ish I walked 4,687 steps. Since I am on vacation and didn’t have anywhere to go, that is probably accurate. I have had no problem getting the fluids down either.

Okay, so fire department stuff is next. Today, was a long slow uneventful day as far as that goes. However, late this evening my brother and I left in my car to go pick his daughter up from a party. Of course that is when a call came in. His station was not first due, but he would have gone to the call had he been at the station or had the squad with him. We decided to stop by another station and pick up the rescue squad there and head to the call. He called dispatch to report and got the go ahead. It was night time so I could see the flashing of our emergency lights from inside the cab as they reflected on the road and trees and such. Sadly, the call was so close to the fire station that we had no need to use the sirens!

We arrived and the ambulance was already there. It was a call involving an elderly man trying to maintain some dignity in dealing with the final chapter of his life. There was a nurse in the home and the man was set up in a hospital bed in his son’s house. I won’t go into the specifics of his needs in order to maintain privacy but the time came to decide how to proceed. The medics were talking to the nurse and the family about weather or not they ought to transport the man to the hospital. The family was rather reluctant to put dad through the rigamarole of doing that and kind of hemmed and hawed about it. But when one of the medics asked the patient what he wanted to do, he indicated he wanted to go. That settled that.

As an observer, I felt a little obtrusive. I felt like I was standing around with a houseful of rescue personnel and I was standing off to the side to stay out of the way, but the family just sees me as someone standing around not doing anything. They didn’t know I was praying for them but I am not sure that they would have thought of that as doing anything anyway. However, once the decision was made to take the man to the hospital, my brother went out for the stretcher. Another of the rescue personnel started to follow him out but he looked at the man and said “She’s with me, we’ve got it,” as he pointed my way. I got to go out and help bring the stretcher in. I got to be useful on a call! Yay me!

When they had the man packaged to go, I got to help carry equipment out of the house. I know it might sound a little silly being excited about that little bit of “action” but I got to be a part of it and that was cool for me! I am happy that this trip I actually got to go on a call, but I hope there are others and that we’ll get a chance to run with sirens. (Yeah, I know, I’m still like a 7 year old boy on his first tour of a fire station.)

After we got home from that call, my brother and I were discussing how these types of calls always get to him a little. It is sad to see someone who has lived a long life and done lots of things and who has been independent for so long now have to deal with the final chapter and try to maintain some dignity. The saddest part is knowing that someone will be left behind. I can’t really put into words what I am trying to explain, but some of you may know already. It makes one face one’s own mortality, and that of their loved ones. I hope that when I get to that point (where the man from the call was) that the caregivers and emergency personnel will have that same kind of compassion for me and for my loved ones that I will leave behind. The whole thing was kind of an affirmation to me that this IS what I want to do with my life. I want to show compassion to others and hopefully make something a little less scary and a little less unpleasant for them. I want to make a difference.

Stay safe my friends!

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 day 59

Hi Team!

First, I want to say, “Thank you veterans for serving our country. America can never show you enough how much what you do or have done for us matters. I for one, appreciate you.

Now for today’s report:

My brother has a ringtone on his phone that he has set as the sound the phone makes in alarm clock mode. It is the sound of the klaxons going off from the seventies era television show, Emergency! That was largely responsible for the widespread development of the EMS in the United States.
For those of you who don’t know, the klaxon is a system of tones that sound with different pitches. Specific combinations of tones are assigned to each fire station so that when a call comes through the system, the personnel know if the call is for them or for another station and can start getting ready to take off as the dispatcher relays the specifics of the call.

This morning my brother was scheduled to work days. He works rotating shift schedules with the power company that is his primary job. He had to be at work at 6 am. My brother uses his cell phone as a back up to his alarm clock because he has six kids and sometimes alarm clocks in his house have been known to magically walk off between the time they have been set and the time they are supposed to go off! Last night my brother was so tired that he left his cell phone in the living room when he went to bed. When it went off at twenty to five in the morning I found it very amusing. I had only been in bed for an hour and ten minutes after having been up twenty three hours. (Yes, I know, BAD Hotflash!) For the first time in my life I woke up from a dead sleep, in a fire station, to the sound of the klaxons! Nice! After being embarrassed and apologetic that his phone had caused me to wake up, my brother was as amused as I was about it. Another “fire station first” for me. Yay me!

Pete was feeling especially rebellious today. He refused to stay clipped to my waist band most of the day and when he WAS there, he kept getting his buttons pushed and reset. Grrrrrrrr!! I currently have access to heavy emergency apparatus that could put Pete out of my misery if he isn’t careful! Of course, I wouldn’t really do that but I’m not telling Pete that! In any case, I have no idea how much walking I did today, but I know it was a lot. I spent several hours at Powells Bookstore which is an incredibly large and amazing new and used bookstore in downtown Portland. While we were there I found an EMT Basic exam prep book with a cd rom that contains anatomy charts and practice tests. It was only $16.00. Nice. Now I have two great resources to prepare for my EMT course with.

I had plenty of water and iced tea today so I’m well covered on my fluid intake. I’m still amazed at how easy that habit was to form when I have had issues about not drinking enough fluids all of my life! I guess that puts me at 2 for 3 for the day. Exercise good, fluids good, sleep –not so much!

I also attended drill night for my brother’s fire department. This department holds weekly drill nights but once a month it is a business meeting. Last time I visited drill night was the monthly meeting. They aren’t very exciting. You can see where I am going with this, can’t you? Tonight I got to go to drill and you guessed it, it was the monthly meeting. YAY ME! Although, unlike last time I attended, there was actually some drilling as well. The firemen pulled out their power equipment, chain saws, generators, fans and the hurst tool,(AKA the Jaws of Life). They had to take the equipment out, discuss how to turn it on and use it properly, safety procedures and precautions when using it and proper storage of the equipment when they were through with it. They discussed it and they demonstrated it. That was kind of cool. And at one point in the evening a fireman addressed the others giving them a talk about the generators on the rigs. He used the abbreviation AO and I saw a couple of guys seemed to be confused. I heard one of them ask the other quietly what an AO was and the other said, “I dunno!” I hadn’t heard it before but I knew the answer. You see, he used that abbreviation after he had been talking a while and I remembered him saying something about the “apparatus operator” a few minutes before. Therefore I figured out that AO was just that. The rookie got brave and asked what AO meant. I was doing my own little happy dance in my head that I knew the answer to the rookie’s question. (Sorry Rookie if you ever happen to read this. It is not a slam to you. In fact, bravo for being brave enough to ask what you didn't know!)

Well, now that I have typed your eyes out, that’s about all I have to report for today. We’re still praying for a real call- but we don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone. Even a false alarm would be okay –or a BS call. (One where the fire department isn’t really needed but they get called out anyway because it makes somebody feel better that the fire department responded.) Either way, it would still send us out lights and sirens to a call, but no one would be hurt and nobody’s property would be destroyed!

Until next time… Stay safe!!

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 day 58

Hi Team!

Today has been a good day. I worked my early morning shift then came home and packed. At 10:00 am I left for Washougal –to my brother’s house/fire station. I made good time on the road. It is usually a three hour trip, and my GPS also indicated it would be, but I made the trip in two hours and forty minutes. Traffic was very good to me but then again, It was mid morning on a work day.

Pete was in service most of the day, but since I spent a good portion of my day driving, he logged only 4,836 steps. Fluids were not a problem for me today though. I’ve had nearly 3 quarts of water, herbal tea and iced tea.

My fire department fun for the day was:

1) I signed the release authorizing me to ride a long in the squad and agreeing that I will hold the fire department harmless if I should die or become injured as a result of something that happens during my observation period. Hopefully this trip I will actually get to go on calls! The last two trips I’ve had here did not produce a single call! Seriously!

2) My brother took me out to the squad which has a pump and small water tank. He told me that if he had to use it it is helpful to have another person to monitor the pump while he puts the fire out. (His squad is manned only by himself and is used for small fires such as small brush fires, rubbish fires, etc. He is the only fireman at his station.) He said if he had to use it while I am here, he would pull the line and start the pump but he showed me how to charge the line and monitor the pump and how to make adjustments if needed and how to operate the emergency shut off if a hose should burst or something, so that I have something useful to do if he gets a call. That was so cool of him! My brother rocks!

My brother also did something else cool. He has produced for me his textbook from when he took his EMT course. He gave it to me to study and get a head start for my own EMT training. If I am fortunate, I will be able to register and start my EMT course in April. The head start he is affording me will be good.

I am hoping to have the opportunity to discuss with my bro this visit just exactly what to expect in the class. Today was not the day to discuss it, he is too tired. Ne needs sleep and he crashed shortly after coming home from work. It’s all good though. I still have several days to get my questions answered. I am here until Sunday.

That’s about all I have to report today. I am very glad to be in Washougal, in the fire station and with my brother and his awesome family, but I miss my computer. Writing my blog out longhand is a drag and I miss my friends on the Crusty Old Jakes website!

Until I write again, Stay Safe!!

Hotflash out.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 56 and Day 57

Hi Team!

I didn't get to my blog last night, sorry. I was just too wiped out by the end of the day. Pete logged 8,049 steps for me yesterday. I drank my quota of two quarts. I went to church for various functions all day and then I came home and crashed!

Today, I went to work for BOTH shifts. And since 4:30 this morning Pete has logged 699 steps. Pete is at it again! It's hard to find good help these days!!

Well, I don't know how many steps I took today but I do know that I barely sat down! And I still have loads to do before I go to bed so this will be short.

I want to remind everyone that I am leaving in the morning (11/20/09) for Washougal to go spend 5 days with my brother in his fire station. THink happy thoughts for me because the last two visits he hasn't gotten a call for me to ride along. I WANT to go!!!

I will post my adventures when I get back but I will not have computer access while I am gone. Therefore, it will be several days before you see a post from me. I will try to be good and write them out long hand so that you get the fresh material, not just what I can remember later, when I do post for days 58-63.

Also, I know I said way back that I would post about my second Fire Buff Battalion meeting and I did not. I don't have a lot to say about it though. I will say it was frustrating not being an official member yet because they were making motions and voting on some issues I felt very passionately about and I was not in a position to vote on them or even speak on the subject! By the time I am official the decisions will have all been made and voted on to confirm. Grrrrr. Bob, the President's husband reminded me, My day is coming! That said, the next meeting is on the 21st. That will be my third official meeting and I don't know how it works exactly but after the third meeting the group is supposed to vote weather or not to admit me. I hope they do! Then I will pay my dues and be able to vote!! Of course board elections are this month so I will miss this year's opportunity to have a say, or to even run.

Anyway, ironing and packing have to be done. I will write when I get back. Thank you all for supporting me and for reading my blog and holding me accoutable and encouraging me in every way. You are truly awesome!

Stay safe!!

Hotflash out.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 55

Hi Team!

First and formost: YOU WON COACH ALEX I WAS WRONG!! Coach Alex knows all about what that is for. Santa is right where she said he'd be!! Suffice it to say, I was wrong and she won! I'm sure her little happy song and dance in the middle of the mall freaked out more than a few innocent patrons. And I'm positive that losing her family was a planned event, on their part, when she did it. But I still love you, Coach Alex!

I am feeling a little stronger and more myself today. I am still not at 100 percent, but getting closer all the time. I put Pete in service today before going grocery shopping. From about 11am to 6 pm he counted steps for me today and logged 8,354! That's more steps than I usually log on a saturday. And I usually wear Pete from the time I get up to the time I blog late at night. I guess that's what happens when you do minimal shopping for groceries for two months and then have to make up for it in one day. No wonder I came home absolutely exhausted and spent!

I have been incredibly thirsty today and have probably had close to three quarts of water/tea/juice. I slept well and got plenty of it last night. I'm doing everything I am supposed to be doing except exercising and Pete puts up a pretty good arguement for me that I AM exercising! I guess that is all I have to report today.

I just watched the movie: The Guys with Sigourney Weaver and Anthony LaPaglia. It is about a fire captain with FDNY who has to deliver the eulogies for 8 men lost in the 911 tragedy. It was a very touching movie. Not an action movie. Just touching. I recommend it. It will make you think, you'll feel sad all over again at the losses of 911, but I think it will make you feel good too. It did me anyway. Just thought I would share that.

Until next time... stay safe! And the next time you see a firefighter or other first responder, say thanks!

Hotflash out.

FLashpointz- Honest Scraps

Honest Scrap Award

I received an award from one of my favorite bloggers -911 This Better Be Good Check out her blog-

Honest Scrap Award

So I am supposed to tell you 10 honest things about me and then pass this along to others. So, here goes!

1. I am a terrible procrastinator. I'll tell you all about it, LATER!

2. I'm a packrat. And I'm not happy about it. I can't seem to get rid of things that I might be able to use later. Or I bring things home that I obtained for little or nothing, like a good game, for example. (not the electronic kind). Or Books! I LOVE books!

3. I read and write fan-fiction. That is stories based on television shows. (I can't believe I am admitting this in a public forum!) And I have two stories (one complete and one in progress) posted on the internet.
It's one thing for perfect strangers to read it, quite another for people who know me and what I look like and where I live and that I have to face on a somewhat regular basis.

4. If I HAD to choose between going blind or going deaf I would choose to go blind. Either would shatter my dreams so I hope I never have to choose, but I don't think I could live without music. When all else goes wrong there is always music to sustain me. Music either enhances or lifts my spirits in any given situation. I need to be able to hear the music.

5. It scares me beyond belief and words to even consider trying to live life for even 15 seconds without God. There are not words to adequately elaborate on that so I will leave it at that.

6. I love to sing! I sing in the car, the shower, the house, where ever I can. I love Karaoke. Although sometimes I get shy and don't want to get started, once I'm singing I'm in my own world.

7. Firemen make me nervous! (Women don't be offended, they are all firemen to me and when I obtain my dream one day I'll be a fireman too). I don't know if it is because I want so badly to be one or what but I guess I am just afraid to sound silly or like I don't know what I'm talking about when I'm around them. And it's silly because fireman are some of the most kind and accepting people I have ever met in my life. Yet still, they make me nervous.

8. I am very competetive. I don't like to lose. I love to win. I find a good challenge hard to resist, so long as I feel relatively capable in the challenge.

9. I have an odd sense of humor. I love dumb jokes! I love to get a laugh or a rise out of anyone. Actually, I am quite the goofball. At work I *live* for the exasperated sound of "MRS. MYERS!!" from my kids or staff. It makes my day!

10. I am a creative person. I love to make jewelry, write, or create things in general. If I don't have a creative outlet in my life, I get very depressed.

Whew! That was harder than I thought it would be. ANd I revealed a little more than I ordinarily would have. I hope I don't regret it later (that's the worry-wart in me that I didn't mention before.) Oh well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Nothing here isn't true so why regret it?

Thanks 911 for the challenge!

Well, I put off going grocery shopping to do this. Now I have to go shop. My hubby is hovering waiting for me!

Take care and stay safe!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 54

Hi Team!

I am almost ready to admit to being a member of the land of the living! Work went better this afternoon. Of course I didn't have to do anything brainy today so that might have made some difference! But I wasn't as tired today either. And music is starting to make sense again. It is really eerie to listen to music and have your brain try to convince you that the lyrics and the tracks are not synchronized! Especially when you are listening to a CD you've listened to a hundred times before!

Pete did his thing today. Being as I am still in recovery I didn't work him (or myself) hard today. I put Pete in service at about 12 noon and just took him out of service at 8:00 tonight. During that time I logged 5,184 steps! Yay me!

I could be better on the fluids for the day though. I think I have had about a quart is all. I will have to remedy that before bed, starting NOW.

I got a real shot in the arm from my Crusty Old Jake friends today. One of them left me a post regarding my story of my passion and interest in the fire service and EMS:

nwfdcap26-respectdajob wrote:

Having a dream is the same as having a goal. Accepting that it may take some uneven roads, and a few bumps, and maybe even a wrong turn or two are just part of the journey.

I had a dream too. I dreamed it everyday. Conscious and subconscious thought. Day was all-consuming. I hit a few snags along the way too. But in the end, what I thought was almost impossible became a lifestyle that I KNEW I wanted, but wasn't sure I would obtain.

Now, sometimes I have to look back at it all to stay grounded, and realize what it took to get here.

You'll do fine. If it was so easy it wouldn't be worth it.

This week has been really hard for me and the ugly doubt monster has been hounding me, big time. This post from one of my new brothers really gave me a lift!

Not much else to report for now.

Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 53

Hi Team!

I DID IT!!! I survived going back to work today. Sort of. (sort of survived and sort of went back to work!) I went back for only my pm shift. And my brain would not engage. I had to do the month end paperwork that I would have completed and turned in Monday morning had I been there. I spent my entire pm shift doing nothing but the paperwork that normally takes 20 minutes and tallying the fundraiser. 53 items were sold in our fundraiser. The paperwork should have taken 1/2 hour, at the VERY most. I spent 4 hours on those two small tasks and then stayed an hour after work to finish it. I guess I wasn't quite ready to go back. On the way home from work I realized why the paperwork had been so hard.

I was listening to my favorite song, "It's Not My Time" by 3 Doors Down while I was driving home. Not ony was driving difficult, the song creeped me out! It was like the words didn't go with the music, like the timing was off. My brain could not handle it at all! It was very weird. No wonder I couldn't handle the paperwork!

I can sleep in tomorrow. I am going to work, but again only for the pm shift. And I won't have to go to a meeting first like I did today. And I won't have ANY paperwork to do. It is a good thing I have such an AWESOME staff!! They really held things together today, and while I was gone too.

Coach Alex became Doc. Alex for a time today. After chatting with me this morning about how I was doing, she called me back to tell me that althought he weather looked pretty ominous outside, the wind was warm. She prescribed a "big, hot, handsome..." (I thought she might say fireman LOL -just kidding)"...cup of tea" to take outside and sit on the porch with and take in some air. I took a nice hot cup of tea and a big hot handsome hubby with me instead! HEAVEN!!! It was wonderful! Thanks DOC!

I took Pete to work with me today. He went in service at about noon and just went out of service at 9:15 tonight (five min. ago). He logged in 4,115 steps! Not too bad for someone who spent most of the afternoon doing paperwork! Good job Pete! Thanks for behaving today.

I have had my two quarts of fluids today, mostly in the form of tea. I did not purposely exercise, because I am still recovering but I am looking forward to when I can get back into my routine. I miss it. ME! I MISS exercising!! Can you BELIEVE it? I can't! I am AMAZED!

On another positive note, the boss and I talked and I AM taking my vacation as planned! YAY ME! God is SO good!

I'll write at you again tomorrow!

Stay Safe!

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 52

Hi Team!

Well, I am officially on the mend. I feel about 85% human. I no longer wish that somebody would run me over with the tiller, (though I am still a little disappointed that nobody stepped up when I needed it!)

I am still pretty weak and my chest still burns sometimes. THere is still some congestion but no coughing, sneezing, runny nose or fever so I am going to go to work this afternoon. (Today is really day 53- I am posting a day late again).

Thanks to those of you who sent encouragement and prayed for me. Please keep my son in your prayers as he is still a VERY sick boy. We spent most of day 52 fighting fire -the fire that was his fever of 103.6!

As of 10:30 last night his fever was down and it has stayed down since, Thank God! Mr. Hotflash is staying home with him this afternoon so I can work a few hours.

I have to say, my blog supporters and all my "family" from the Crusty Old Jakes have really sustained me and kept me going through all of this. They have been very supportive and kept me surrounded in comic relief. It is the best medicine I know. In fact I have my son watching Jerry Lewis in The Disorderly Orderly right now. :D

I will try to post Day 53 (which is really today) before I go to bed tonight.

Until later,

Stay well and stay safe!

Hotflash out

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 51

Hi Team!

I didn't really feel like the ! but I am putting it there anyway. Sorry I didn't post this yesterday. I felt too crappy. This swine flu is a strange beast. For a while you think you're going to die. Then you're afraid you won't. Then you start to feel better and think you might live. Then you feel crappy again and wish someone would put you out of your misery and the cycle starts over again. At least that is how it has been for me, and for my son. My mom said that was what it was like for her too. Frankly, I'm ready to be done with it.

The good part is that during each cycle of feeling better, I have felt better than the previous cycle of feeling better. That sounds kind of confusing as I read it out loud. I don't know how else to put it though. I really want to go back to work. Tomorrow! I don't know if I can, but I don't really have the time off to take and I'm not coughing any more. I have been fever free for at least 12 hours now. By the time I would have to report to work it would be over 24. I work splits so maybe I will try to convince my boss to let me try the afternoon shift tomorrow and see how I feel.

One frustrating thing is that with my son so sick as well, I am not getting as much rest as I need. We are both sleeping in the living room. He didn't sleep much at all last night because he was coughing so much and had so much phlegm. That in turn kept me up. I got about 3 hours of sleep last night. It is a good thing I slept half of the day! I am kind of worried about going back to work and leaving him alone to take care of himself. He is a big boy (almost 17) but he is a SICK boy. At least it would only be a few hours at a time and both my mom and my mother-in-law live within about a mile of my home. As I write this I can hear Coach Alex saying "God is ABLE!" Yes. He is. Okay, it's in His hands.

Well, not much else to report. Pete is enjoying his vacation and keeping his distance. Might as well keep his distance. He hasn't been doing a very good job of keeping mine! LOL Serously, I think he's eager to get back to work too.

I guess I'll keep pushing the chicken broth and tea and keep trying to get some sleep. Until later,

Stay safe and stay well!

Hotflash out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 50

Hi Team!

(Look the ! is back.)

I feel a little bit human, at the moment. The fever is at bay thanks to motrin. I went to the doc today and he agreed that the pigs have landed. He took a swab to be sure, but it doesn't really matter> Either way I feel like death warmed over. (and chilled, then warmed, then chilled...) Glad to be getting it out of the way now, though. I leave for Washougal in a week. Sadly, my vacation and sick time are all rolled into one measly package and being sick means my pay in June will be cut because I am salaried. I don't have the time to take vacation this month and to be sick. I built in a little leeway but with the time off I have to take for quizzing there isn't much slack. SIGH I don't care. I am NOT giving up my trip. I want to play with a firehose! Oh yeah, and see my brother and his fam, my sister, my grandpa, my neice and grandnewphew, OMSI and make a trip to Powells Books, and whatever other trouble I can get into while I am there.

Well, obviously, I have been too sick to exercise. In fact I have been told in no uncertain terms from both the Doc and Doctor Mom not to push myself AT ALL. I am ordered to lots of chicken soup and lots of sleep. Also I've been ordered off work for 3-5 days and never to take guifenisin again! (SUPRISE) Now due to allergies and strange and scary reactions I am extremely limited on antibiotics, painkillers and cough medicines that I can safely take. I had just better develop the super power of extreme immunity to pain and infections.

Pete is enjoying a leisurely vacation.

I have had 10 12 ounce cups of tea today. I have slept off and on all day. That's all I have to report.

Thanks for reading and thanks for encouraging me.

Stay Safe.

Hotflash still down and out.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 49

Hi Team...

First, a warm welcome to PS911dispatcher! I am very happy you have joined my team!

That said:

The bad news is I'm not dead yet. The worse news is I am afraid I won't die. Even worse, I know people who drive fire trucks and even they won't drive over me and put me out of everyobody's misery! Help a sister out, would ya?! A tiller ought to do the trick. If not you could always go around the block and give it another whirl. Or maybe I could dig in and burrow myself under an emergency fire shelter in a forest fire. It might help me get warm. God knows nothing else is working; silk long john tops and bottoms, comforter, thermal blanket, hat on my head, tube sock stuffed with dry rice and heated up behind my neck, body heat from the weiner dog in my lap and a cup of hot tea. Hell, just set me on fire!

I told pete to take a flying leap today. He took the hint and will probably be back in a few days, if nobody runs me over with the tiller.

I've been doped up on motrin, sudafed and I have tried guifenisin (generic version of mucinex) because my cough isn't producing anything, but that sh*# gives me heart attack like symptoms sometimes. A half hour after taking it I had an episode with tightness in the chest, some shortness of breath, pain in my left arm and left jaw, pain in my back and nausea/stomach pain. It is scary as hell. It went away after five minutes. I was home alone and almost called 911. I know I should have, but that is another story. I think the tiller would be less uncomfortable! This has happened before but does not happen every time I take the stuff. Needless to say I am not really eager to take it but I don't know how else to feel better once that effect wears off.

I have been pushing the fluids though. Lots of hot tea. Some water. I ate some today too. A couple of pieces of pizza, a cupcake, whatever I could find. Nothing tasted good or felt good after I ate it. Not real hungry now, even though Brian fixed one of my favorites, corned beef and cabbage. Sigh. Right now when I think about that all I can think is "ICK!"

Okay, so if you haven't figured it out, Hotflash doesn't *do* sick very well.

Hotflash down!

ps stay safe! And well! Wash your hands often! Don't touch any public surfaces if you can help it! Use sanitizer when you have to touch things and cannot wash! Get your immunizations! Avoid public gatherings as much as possible! Don't touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth! Get enough sleep! (yeah, don't remind me!) Drink plenty of fluids! Eat well! Pray for health! See how well it worked for me?

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 49

Hi Team.

(Notice no exclamation point?)

(I am posting for yesterday, technically).

It's official. I'm Sick @_@

I had my flu shot two weeks ago, but have not been able to get the H1N1 vaccination as I am unable to locate any place that has any in stock!

I had a tickle all day that would not go away and I felt tired. (I am posting for yesterday, technically). I had a pretty low key day. I wasn't feeling sick, just tired with an annoying tickle so I spent several hours painting pottery at my favorite studio. I've been working on two little cows in turnout gear. I intend to have them drilled and make salt and pepper shakers out of them. I find painting to be very relaxing so it was kind of therapeutic for me.

When I came home from that I took a little nap and then it was off to the harvest carnival at church where I promised to work the craft booth. I took hot tea with honey with me to try and calm the tickle. A little cough was starting to develop and an occasional burning sensation in the chest. I made it through the two hour shift and came home. By bed time I was feeling pretty lousy. The sinuses were getting plugged and the achiness of stuffed sinuses was becoming more apparent.

I've been taking vitamin C, pushing my fluids and getting extra rest, but I fear the creeping crud has caught up with me. I think I will go crawl back in bed now.

Stay safe, stay well, get your immunizations!!

Hotflash down and out!