Saturday, January 30, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 136 and 137

Hi Team!

Sorry I did not post yesterday.  I had a very busy day and then went out with friends last night so I did not get a chance to post.  Yesterday was a good day.  I met Coach Alex and we had our workout-walk.  We only did 2 instead of 3 miles because we both had so much else to do for the day but it was a good workout anyway.   I drank 3 quarts of fluid as well.  And I slept very well the night before so I was three for three for Friday, Jan 29th.  YAY ME!  

I met with the Fire Buff Battalion president, Cat and her husband Bob so that they could take me to the fire department to get my ID badge made.  When we went to 9's, where they do that, nobody was home.  Darned fire department chooses to be busy when we are available for a visit!!  LOL   Well, while we talked about where we would go to wait for them, she asked me if I had gotten the fire call the night before.  I had not.  We discovered that my fire phone had serious problems.  Actually all 8 of the Battalion's fire phones were having problems.  Mine, like the other seven, was going off at 3 am for no reason with a busy signal.  When the phone was closed, even when it was on the charger.  Nothing would shut the busy signal off except to completely shut down the phone, wait a few seconds and restart it.  Weird stuff, I tell you.  We took my phone back to Verizon, along with Cat's and she let them know in no uncertain terms how unhappy she was with our service.  The Battalion has had 8 phones for six months and the longest that we have gone without having to go into Verizon to get something fixed was about 4 weeks!  Cat kept stressing to them, we work with the FIRE DEPARTMENT, we NEED our phones to do what they are supposed to do so that we can RESPOND to fire calls.  I think the phones are fixed now.  At least, I HOPE they are!  While Verizon fiddled with our phones, we went to lunch.  After lunch we got our phones and headed back to 9's to see if we could get that ID badge.  We were in luck, they just rolled in ahead of us.  The door was still up when we got there.

We had to try several times to get my picture done.  Digital cameras can be touchy and we had a tough time in the station finding the right lighting and background to make a decent picture.  At one point they asked me to stand in front of a beige door.  I was about to when I looked at the plate on the door.  Just above my head would have been the words, "Battalion Chief".  I laughed and suggested that perhaps that wasn't the best spot to take my picture. =D   They took me in the day room and suggested I sit in one of the recliner chairs.  They are huge, I am not.  I said to them that I might get swallowed up in the chair.  I had visions of me looking like a miniature person sitting on the furniture in a giant's living room.  They decided that didn't look very good either.  Eventually I got my picture taken in front of a white cabinet they found in one of the rooms.  The firefighter who took the picture then inputted (is that even a word?) my picture and my information into the computer.  A few more clicks of the mouse and voila!  I now have an official Tacoma Fire Department ID badge with a darned good picture (W. Spencer did a great job) which is amazing because I don't generally photograph all that well.  Now I can officially respond to fire calls!!  YAY!!!!
Basically, that made me week!

And then there was today!

I got up and got ready to go this morning feeling a little nervous and a little excited at the same time.  In order to apply for the EMT program at the college, I had to take CPR for the Professional Rescuer from either the Red Cross or the American Heart Association.  As I mentioned before, (I think) I sweet talked my way into the class for today.

The class was an all day INTENSE training.  CPR, Rescue Breathing and AED training for professionals is more intense and involved than the basic classes are.  It was a fun, hard, intense, challenging and exciting class to take.  I have to say that I am physically exhausted far beyond any level of exhaustion I have had in a very long time.   I was definitely the oldest participant in the class.  One of the instructors was older than me.  She had been a paramedic locally for quite a while and then an injury forced her to quit.  She then taught with the Red Cross for 17 years and recently took the EMT program again.  She has decided to become a Physician's Assistant.  We bonded instantly because we both decided to follow our dreams late in life!  Anyway, I was telling you about her because, when we started doing practicals, she suggested I get some padding for my knees.  She singled me out.  Not because she was trying to discriminate, she just felt some sympathy or empathy because I have old knees!  She would not take no for an answer and she found me some decent padding.  It's funny though because it was never placed in the right position to be any help no matter what I did.  Medical emergencies are not particulary predictable.  LOL  It was okay with me though because I really did NOT want any special considerations.  In fact, she told us if our wrists hurt we could take it easy, etc.  I told her I would not modify any thing I was expected to do because I would not be able to in real life situations.  She liked that.  She said to remember that in real life situations I would not feel the pain as much, and might not notice it at all even, until everything was done and over with.  Adrenaline has a way of doing that.  She seemed to like that I would not whimp out.    I definitely felt good about it too.  And it showed me a little of what I need to do to prepare for this kind of career too.

Now I am legally considered a "professional" emergency responder.  I am legally obligated to respond to any medical emergency I come upon, 24/7/365 (and sometimes 366) unless someone more qualified is on scene.  That is a huge responsibility.  One that is at the same time a little scary and empowering.  I am qualified to make a difference.  I have a lot more training and experience to get in order to reach my dreams, but this was a good start today and I am proud of my accomplishment and excited to be one step higher on my ladder.  And WOW... am I ever tired!!!

Next step:  Monday morning I will take my information and my money to the college and apply for the EMT program.  I heard from one of the other students in my class that there are 10 applicants so far.  That leaves just 17 spaces.  I hope he and I get two of them.  He still needs the immunizations.

I'll keep you posted.  In the mean time, stay safe.

Hotflash out.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 135

Hi Team!

Things are looking good for me.  I still don't know if I will get into my EMT class or not, but I am looking at all the things that have happened this week and thinking, God really loves me!  First, I took the intitiative to call about the waitlist and found out that everything was a mess.  Second, I scrambled and located the vaccines I needed. Third I located and obtained my TB test. Fourth, I convinced the Red Cross to allow me into an already over crowded class to get my CPR for the Professional Rescuer class taken care of by Saturday so that I can then apply to the EMT program on Monday.  God continues to clear obstacles as he has all along this journey.  If He wants me in the class this time around, I will be there.  If not, it can only be because he has better plans for me.  How can I lose?

I want to thank all of you again for the prayers, encouragement and openness you have shared with me or offered up on my behalf.  I am feeling much more positive, even though I have stumbled a bit.  I feel like today, I could move mountains!

Speaking of today... I have had two quarts of fluids, I slept very well last night and I have had an active day, though it was not an exercise day.  I am three for three.  =D

I also went and got my shots today =(  Both of my arms are sore.  I feel like swiss cheese!  I'm full of holes!  The nurse was amazing.  I barely felt the needle pokes.  Unfortunately, the vaccines that were injected were not so subtle.  They burned and smarted!  But I did not kick the nurse.  I didn't cry or yell even, though for one of them I did say, "Ow, ow ow!"  Before I left, I told her I was glad she had poked me today!  (That brought a laugh, let me tell you!)  Tomorrow I get the TB test site checked and mail my transcript requests.

The first BIG step in reaching my dream is so close I can almost taste it!  Almost.

And I did something fun today too.  I colored my hair for the first time in 25 years.  No more silver bangs peeking out when I'm not looking for them.  I lightened up my hair a few shades from a medium brown to Golden Light Brown which on me is sort of coppery brown.  I have natural red hilights and the red is much more prominent now.  I like it though.  My husband noticed and complimented me almost right away when he saw me.  I didn't warn him I was going to do this.  I was surprised he liked it so much.  He is the type to give his honest opinion so it is really cool that he complimented me on it.  =)  I'll try to post a pic soon.

Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 134

Hi Team!

I have worked very hard today at being active.  I got my three miles in with Coach Alex this morning and I was on my feet much of the day as well at work.  I am a little behind on my fluids but will catch up by bedtime to 2 1/2 quarts.  I got plenty of sleep last night and have felt pretty good most of the day.  Yay ME! 3 for three (I promise to finish the fluids so I don't have to report back about that).

I have had a pretty productive day.  I discovered I could not get my TB test with my immunizations because they are not open on Saturday and that is the day they would need to check it but I was able to obtain it elsewhere today and will have it checked on Friday.  :)   Tomorrow I will be the human pin cushion :(  The best thing that happened today though, was that I was able to convince the Red Cross to let me into an already OVER capacity Professional Rescuer CPR class for Saturday.  I was polite but persistant and even asked what the odds of getting in would be if I just showed up and hoped somebody else didn't.  The lady I spoke with, Catherine, took pity on my and spoke with the instructor about the situation I was in and I was allowed in!  THANKS CATHERINE!!  By Monday, I should have everything I need to go register for the class!  With any luck ( or better yet, divine intervention) I will get in. 

I have also hit a bump in the road.  My recent lack of discipline has caught up with me.  I weighed today, finally.  I regained 5 pounds!  I am back up to 194.  This is my first relapse I think and I can beat it but I will have to be on top of things.  I have to be careful about emotional eating and remember to watch how much junk I eat.  There has been more around the house lately, post holiday stuff so it has been a little challenging.  I was at first very discouraged even though I suspected the outcome.  But then I remembered some kind words from a Crusty Jake that I posted a while back.  I will post them again because they still apply and I find them to be an encouragement. 

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.
Thanks for the lift, brother! (again!)

I'll blog at you later but stay safe in the mean time!

Hotflash out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 133

Hi Team!

It is good to be back and I have a fresh attitude and I am ready to dig in and climb hard!  Last night I slept very well!  YAY ME!    I drank 2 quarts of herbal tea today and I was very active and on my feet for most of the day.  Yay ME!  3 for 3!!

I still haven't heard from the college about registration for the EMT course.  I called them today and was shocked at what I discovered.  Apparently whomever I spoke to in September, or October, whenever it was that I called them, did not know what they were talking about and misinformed me.  I don't know if I ever was on the waitlist or not.  Apparently I was supposed to fill out an application for the program already.  I don't know how long ago the applications for the spring class became available but if I am not one of the first 27 to complete all the requirements and turn it in, I don't get into the class.  *&^$!!!!

The nice lady I spoke to today e-mailed me the application.  I need transcripts, (official ones, mailed directly to this college from the other colleges -which takes as long as two weeks) which I expected, but I didn't know I needed them right now!  I need a whole mess of immunizations, which insurance won't pay for of course: TB test, MMR, Diptheria/Tetanus, Hep B series (must be started to apply for EMT program), Flu shot, H1N1 shot (note from doc will suffice since I had it, I checked on that) and chicken pox!  I have an appointment tentatively scheduled for this thursday at 11:30 (if the doc can get the vaccines in by then) and I will leave there looking like swiss cheese!

As frustrated as I am about the crunch to get this done and be one of the first 27, I have to realize that this was not a suprise to God and trust that all will work out in HIS timing, remembering that his timing is always perfect.  I am doing my best to consider that and keep a good attitude.  Nonetheless, for you prayer warriors out there, please pray for me to get everything in quickly and get into the program this spring.  If I do, I will be hirable by summer and since I don't have a job in the summers with my current employer, that would be especially helpful!

In other news, Cat (Fire Buff Battalion President) e-mailed me today and wants to get together to get my fire department issued Fire Buff ID badge at which point I will officially be designated Canteen 7 (not  6 like I had been told earlier) and be able to run calls when needed.  =D   Yay ME!  We also finally launched the Fire Buff Battalion website.  If you are interested in taking a look it is still under construction but the address is:

Now, I am late on this but as promised, it is time to start meeting the team (for those who chose to participate).  Team, meet Coach Alex:  (Giving me a cheesy smile)
Coach Alex with a cheesy smile

Coach Alex is my very best friend in the whole wide world!  Alex is the kind of friend that can kick your butt and still make you smile and say thanks!  She will not hesitate to administer a good butt kicking when needed and that is exactly why I chose her as my coach.  She is positive and always speaks the truth, even when it is something you might not want to hear (but need to). 

Alex and I met at work at a Christian School where she was the playground supervisor and I was a Camp Counselor in the summer.  She was determined not to like me because I came across to her as a know it all in a meeting when we first met so she kept to herself mostly.  One day, she and the children were out on the playground chasing an escaped rabbit around a small fenced in portion of the playground.  The kids were trying to help her catch it but they kept getting excited and running and shouting.  None of which are conducive to capturning a scared bunny rabbit.  Finally one of the kids said, "Mrs. Hecker, just sneak up on it!" to which she replied, "There's no sneaking in gravel!"   Well, the sing song way she said it sounded exactly like Tom Hanks (albeit with a higher toned voice)  in the movie "A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN" when he said, "There's no crying in baseball!"  and I said that out loud because it struck me as funny.

Alex heard me.  She and her husband had recently had a conversation that only 1 per cent (or maybe it was 3, I never can remember) of the population regularly quotes movies.  Right then she discovered that we were BOTH members of the one per cent club.  We have been inseparable ever since.  We have since discovered that we are so much alike it scares our kids (and our husbands).  They all say when we are together it is scary because it's like having two moms/wives at once.  We laugh so much together that my face often hurts when we spend much time together due to the big smile that attaches itself to me. 

There you have it.  Coach Alex, you are amazing and I love you!

I'm getting off the computer to get some dinner and get to bed at a reasonable time (at least that is the plan) so stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 128-132

Hi Team.

I'm back.  The last week or so has been long and hard, but I am amazed at how much love and support I have received from friends and family, from God, from strangers even.  Today I layed my grandpa, George Blue, to rest.  He was buried with full military honors and Portland Fire and Rescue attended to pay tribute to a wonderful, compassionate man who loved deeply and shared his love and compassion with all he came into contact with.  Grandpa served 30 years in the fire service and never tired of talking about his passion for helping others and of telling great stories about his work.  He was a wonderful man, an awesome grandpa and I will miss him very much.  Rest in peace Grandpa.

I learned something this week that perhaps deep down I knew all along, but now I have to face.  I am an emotional eater.  I eat for comfort.  And when I am sad I eat anything and everything.  I fear I may have a lot undoing to to do.  And I didn't drink enough either.  And because I wasn't sleeping much, I didn't exercise much either, though I DID make my friday workout with Coach Alex.

I realized, too, that I have not fully gotten back into the swing of things since November when I had the swine flu.  I need a swift kick in the axe to get back in the game, and prayers for some strong will power to do what needs to be done, no matter how I feel.  I DO want this for myself.  I WANT to live this dream and I have been letting life drag me down.  It's time to toughen up and buckle down and get to work!  The way I see it, I've been climbing this ladder for four months and I've made progress.  Now I've misstepped and slid down a few rungs but I'm back and it's up, up, up I go from here.

Thanks so much for your support.  You'll never know just how much it means to me.

Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 127

Hi Team.

I just want to start by thanking you all for the tremendous support you have been and continue to be during this hard time I am going through.  I cannot say enough how much I appreciate the outpouring of love and support.  I am SO blessed.

Today was a little better day.  I was a zombie for the better part of the day because I had only about 2 1/2 hour sleep.  I drank 2 1/2 quarts of water and tea today and I was very active at work!  That makes me 3 for 3!  I guess I had better figure out how to sleep under stress or I'll never make it as a paramedic!  Today was an extra long day at work so after the first few hours I was really wide awake and doing much better than the beginning of the shift.  When one works with kids it is kind of a sink or swim kind of deal.  Either I had to pull some strength out of my pocket and get it together or I'd have been eaten alive!  I chose not to get eaten! 

My assistant (the rock of my staff) was out and will be all week because her grandmother is very ill.  My substitute is a wonderfully nice person but pretty much useless.  She takes no initiative and when given directions and asked if she needs clarification or assistance with anything she says no.  She talks as though she understands what is expected and then does nothing!  I'd almost rather be a staff person short and over the legal ratio of staff/kids than have to deal with that.  The kids are always rowdy and squirrelly when they get out of school early so that can be challenging and today was no exception.  On top of it, one of my 4th grade boys really slammed his thumb in the door (heavy metal school doors).  He had a small cut or puncture, hard to tell which, on the outer thumb next to the thumbnail and it stubbornly bled.  I applied pressure for about two minutes and checked it but it didn't stop.  It finally took about 10 minutes of pressure and elevation to stop it.  It wasn't a lot of blood but it didn't want to stop.  He got upset and started to get nauseated and a stomach ache, pale and generally not looking so hot about the time I got the bleeding stopped and a bandage on his thumb so I took him inside and had him lie down, elevated his feet, kept him warm,  I got an ice pack for his thumb and I talked to him as I monitored him for the next 10 minutes.  While I dealt with the minor medical emergency my childcare program fell apart and my teacher and the sub did not communicate or effectively handle the 28 kids that were there.  Now the teacher is a good teacher and works wonderfully well with me ordinarily, but she was trying to deal with the group with the sub as her back up and nothing was happening.  I could see it all falling apart but I could not leave the inured boy.  It was very frustrating.

After monitoring the boy for 10 minutes he seemed to be doing better.  His color was back, he was talking and animated but still not his usual self and he insisted that his stomach still really hurt and he felt like he would be sick.  At this point I managed to get the staff to get all the kids inside from the playground so we were all in the cafeteria.  I had the injured boy away from the group and mostly out of site of the kids.  He was visible enough that I could monitor him while assisting my staff in getting control of the group again, which I did.  Within the next 10 minutes, my injured boy was smiling most of the time he was talking and he was telling me about his dad's previous injuries of having impaled his arm with some part of a broken bicycle one time.  I figured this kid would be okay now.  Somehow during all of this I had called my boss to inform her of the situation and called the kids' parents.  Sadly, mom's work phone went straight to voicemail and the home phone and dad's cell phone, (which were supposed to be emergency back up numbers) gave me a recording of having been disconnected!  It was another 40 minutes before his mom called me back and I filled her in.  I let her speak to him and it was decided that his dad would come and get him and they would go home.  By the time he got picked up he was complaining to dad that he wanted to stay and have a corn dog for snack!  It was a very long day!

Once home for the evening I discoveredt that My grandpa's service will be on Monday so I will be taking the train Saturday to the station nearest my brother and will stay with him for the weekend.  My husband will drive down on Monday, attend the services and bring us both home. I also found out, however, that my sister, whom I haven't seen in probably 10 years, will be coming from Nebraska and staying with my mom for a week -a mile from my home.  I am so excited and happy that I will get to see her.  My mom is happy that she will have all her children in one place for the first time in decades!

As I said, I am doing a bit better for now.  I'll try to keep current here as much as possible.

Stay safe.

Hotflash out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 126

Hi Team.

Simple report is all I have the energy for.  I am not really sleeping but I have remembered to drink my fluids.  I was busy today and therefore pretty active so I guess that is 2 for three.  Just functioning at minimal levels today.  Sorry this post is such a downer.  I'll climb back out of this hole after I've had a few days to deal with things.  Thanks for caring.

Stay safe.

Hotflash out.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 125

Hi Team.

Sorry no exclamation point, it has been a rough day.  It started out well.  Coach Alex and I did get our walk, our butts have officially fallen off!  (Well, we can wish, can't we?)  We got to walk outside today! YAY US!!  I SO needed the sunshine and fresh air, it was great!  Sadly we had one small casualty though.  Coach's hubby, John joined us today and was rudely attacked by the curb which threw him to the ground, banging up his knee pretty well.  (OUCH!)  Kinda takes the reward out of walking, doesn't it? :(  We got him seated inside the mall with his knee elevated and rounded up a bag of ice for it as he insisted we continue our walk.  He seems to be moving around okay for now.  I bet tomorrow's gonna be pretty tough though.  Say a prayer for him, please.

Before I forget, I got plenty of sleep last night and I have had about 2 1/2 quarts of fluids today so I am 3 for three. 

It got a little rougher after that.  My stomach decided to revolt and I have been dealing wtih digestive issues all day.  Good thing I did not have to work today and could stay close to the necessary facilities.  I spent some time writing my "fan fiction" story which was good because I haven't written for a couple of weeks.  I had really bad writer's block.  I was glad to post another chapter.  And I discovered that my friend (that I met through the writing web site I go to) finally joined facebook so I can keep up with her a little better and she can see all my pictures now!  YAY!  She has been a tremendous encouragement on this journey but does not have regular internet access and therefore does not follow this blog.  She still ROCKS though!

It got even rougher this evening.  I was sitting at the computer getting ready to post my chapter when I got a text.  It was my brother's facebook status.  This is what it said:

"(my brother's name) lost his last grandfather today."

I was shocked and dumbfounded and horrified to read it.  Then I was angry to have read it.  THen I lost it and cried like a baby.  Then I called my mom because I didn't want her to find out from facebook.  Upon calling her I found out that she had called my brother and told him.  Not me.  She said she knew I came home from work late so she hadn't called me yet but was about to.  It was 7:23 when I talked to her.  I get home around 7 so that made sense.  Except I didn't work today.  And finding out from a text really sucked!  I am not mad at anyone, it was not intentional, it just happened and it really sucks.  I know my bro will be horrified when he finds out that I found out that way and I hope he will not think that I took it personally.  I hope he will not kick himself because he really thought I already knew.  While talking to my mom I made sure that she would call my sister in Omaha and I called our other sister in Portland and made sure her grown daughter knew too so that they would not find out through facebook.

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Grandpa.  He is the one I spoke of in an earlier post, the one I saw two weeks ago.  I never imagined he would go now.  I thought he was doing surprisingly well and had a few more years left in him.  I am thankful to have seen him and to have at least said goodbye, even if I didn't realize it was for good.  God is amazing and faithful and so loving.  Yesterday at church, a young woman came up to me and said, "Last night I could not sleep even though I was really tired.  I prayed and God told me to pray for you so I prayed that he would lift you up and show himself to be very real to you." (My tears just started flowing again).  He loves me so much he had me lifted in prayer before the news came!  That ais so special and so overwhelming!

15 years or more ago, my grandpa died.  He was revived miraculously but he remembered being dead.  He told us he went to hell and that he hadn't even believed in hell before that.  He said he went there and it was awful and he was frightened.  I do not know if Grandpa ever gave his life to the Lord after that, but I pray that he did.  He was a good, loving and compassionate man and I hope that he gets to spend eternity with our Lord and that I will see him again. Not knowing is hard, but I have to trust that God will not let me think about that and worry about it because it is too late to change it now.  I talked to Grandpa a few times about God and being saved but I just don't know what he finally decided.  I just hope he is in the big firehouse in the sky shooting the breeze with the firemen and family that have gone before him.

Please forgive me if the next week or so is sporadic as far as posting goes.  I will try to be on it because it is good for me but I don't know what this week holds and how strong I will be.  I am too sad right now to think about anything more than the moment I am in. 

Thanks for all the support you all have been to me and that I know you will continue to be.  I feel blessed to have such good friends.  Take care and stay safe.

Hotflash out.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 123 and 124

Hi Team!

Sorry I did not post on Saturday.  I spent most of my computer time trying to get some pictures uploaded.  I was having problems.

Saturday was a good day.  I slept about 9 hours and then had a nap later in the day for about 2 1/2 hours.  YAY ME!

I drank all my required fluids (about 3 quarts) but did not get a lot of exercise.  I still don't have a new pedometer and it will be at least a couple of weeks, most likely, before I do.  Again, if anyone knows where I can find an ankle mount pedometer, please tell me.  I know they have them for medical research purposes but I don't know if they are available to the general public or if they are affordable.  Pete took quite a beating on my hip though.  (RIP, Pete!)

Saturday night was my monthly TPC Fire Buff Battalion meeting.  I always look forward to our meetings.  I was voted in as club secretary!  YAY ME!!  I also was issued my official membership card, a fire coat with liner and an official club fire phone!

I'm official!
TPCFBB SecretaryIFBA/TPCFBB MembershipPhotobucket

Me in my fire coat.

A close up of our patch (this one is giant sized on my back)
tpcfbb patch

I can't run fire calls yet though.  I have to wait until I get my official ID badge from the fire department.  I'm so close I can smell the smoke!

Sunday was a typical day of rest.  I have had my fluids, only 2 quarts, but that qualifies.  I had plenty of sleep but I didn't do much else.  2 for 3 for friday and for saturday is all I can claim.  Tomorrow should be better though.  I am meeting Coach Alex in the morning and we are going to walk our butts off! =D

Until next blog, stay safe!

Please, say a prayer for the victims and for the rescuers in Haiti.  That was so cool seeing the Haitians singing praises to God despite their hardships!  We could learn from that.

Hotflash out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 123

Hi Team!

It is with great sadness that I announce to you the demise of Pete.  Pete was a nice little pedometer with a great sense of humor and a penchant for tomfoolery but he was a good buddy, always by my side.  He went with me nearly everywhere I went and loved just hanging out.  He passed quietly and apparently without much suffering.  His ticker just quit on him.  (sniff sniff).  Although we gave each other a hard time, I will miss the little fella!

Well, I guess I cannot tell you how many steps I took today either.  I do know that I sat maybe 20 minutes of my entire shift at work today and that usually adds up to as many steps as a "walk" day, which today would have been if I hadn't had a funny shift today.  And I drank LOTS of tea (herbal) and lost count it was so much.  Coach Alex knows about a lot of it though because it was at the tea shop she works at.  That makes me two for three.  We won't even talk about sleep.  Suffice it to say I need to get some and it needs to be a priority before something bad happens.  I didn't go to bed as planned last night either but I will get good sleep this weekend!!

I had a super special awesome birthday.  Tons of people sent me electronic birthday wishes and that was fun.  My relief came in and sent me home a half hour early today! :)  Coach Alex served me a lovely afternoon tea and gave me a red tea pot with three kinds of tea and a hand crocheted tea cozy!  Then my hubby took me to dinner at Royal Thai Bistro! YAY ME!!!  He kept thinking that he didn't like Thai food but he let me order and he liked most of it!  Then we went to Cold Stone Creamery for dessert.  I was too full to eat much of it though.

Well, I am going to end this post because my sister just called and I don't like to type and talk.

Thanks for the birthday wishes everyone!  I had an awesome day!

Stay safe!

Hotflash out

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 122

Hi Team!

Day 122 already? LOL  Did I ever tell you I was 29 twice?  I guess numbers are not my thing! LOL   I am quite sure I will really be 41 tomorrow though.  I was born in 1969, so that makes me 41!  It shouldn't be so hard for me to keep it straight.  (I blame it on blondeness.  I have brown hair now, but until I was about 7 I was blonde and in the summer I have a lot of blonde (and red) highlights).

Well, I just checked on Pete to see what my progress was.  According to Pete I walked 502 steps today!  No wonder I feel so drained! LOL  I was on my feet and busy all day.  Pete is just being tricky. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)  I drank about 3 1quarts today so that was at least a good part of my day.  Sleep I definitely bombed on.  I was having some computer issues last night  when I was also watching Rescue Me and being disgusted and disappointed, and got involved in trying to straighten things out.  When I got to a good stopping point it was after midnight.  OOPS! >.<  So I think in all fairness I would say I got two for three today.

Tomorrow I work from 6:15 to 12:15 and then I am going to the tea shop (where Coach Alex works) to relax.  Later, when my husband gets off work, I don't know what we'll do.  Maybe I can talk him into the Royal Thai Bistro, one of my favorite restaurants.  Or maybe we'll have  a family game night.  Or maybe both.  Or???  Who knows.

Well, I'm VERY tired and I'm going to bed so stay safe and I'll blog at ya'll later!

Hotflash out.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 121 (addition)

Hi Team!

I don't know if any of you read my original post for day 121 but I have edited it about 1/2 hour after originally posting it.  I had originally talked about watching Rescue Me but I just want to say for the record  IT SUCKS!  It is rude, crude and pornographic.  Do NOT be tempted if that sort of thing is a turn off to you because it is gross!  Enough said!

Stay safe.

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 121(days 118,119, and 120 are hidden)

Hi Team!

Guess what???

For reasons which I will explain in a later post, I have been going over previous posts and discovered something interesting.  I have two posts titled day 92, two posts titled day 93 and one post not titled at all!  That means that today is really not day 118 but day 121, hence the crazy title to this blog!  I guess I really DO need to get more sleep! LOL

Speaking of sleep... I slept fairly well last night but still did not want to get up.  I drank my two quarts today, and so far not an ounce more but I'll be up another hour or so, so we'll see.  I did not exercise today (Pete logged 3,876 steps), not because I didn't want to, but because I had a smal personal crisis.  It seems that I forgot to enter some debit purchases into my check register at Christmas time and it caught up with us.  I had to go to the bank and make sure everything was straightened out.  I am fortunate enough to have payment protection on my account so they paid the checks out, but charged me four 25 dollar fees.  They were really awesome when I went in today though and reversed all the charges.  Luckily I had the money in another account to cover the mistakes!  God is SO good!  Ok, so I am 2 for 3 today.  I want to be in bed by 10:00.
Gotta go!

Stay safe.

Hotflash out

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 117

Hi Team!

I'm still in kind of a melancholy funk, but it feels a little less gripping.  Your encouragement has helped quite a bit.  I still hadn't found Pete this morning so I have no steps to report but I did drink my water and herbal tea today, 2 quarts and a little more but I didn't keep track of it.  I did sleep well last night and did not feel the urge to crash today as I have been.  That makes me 2 for 2 (since I can't really count 3 without the means to do so).  Good news though.  A few minutes ago I found Pete!!  He was hiding under a box of tissues on my desk next to the computer.  Funny thing is, I asked my son if he had seen Pete and he told me exactly where to find him.  And he say's I put the tissues there after asking him to get them for me a few days ago.  I have NO recollection of that.  That of course does not mean it didn't go down that way, but I am not claiming what I do not remember! :)

I still have not made it to mom's to weigh in.  I'm sorry about that.  I will try to get that done by the end of the weekend if not sooner.  I really keep meaning to do it but some of my work stuff has had me a bit distracted.  For example, with the theme, "underground railroad"  what kind of art projects (3) does one come up with for k-2nd graders?  Not only do I have to come up with these projects but I have to make them so my boss can have examples.  In two days of racking my brains I have thought of "some kind of lanterns" and making the little and big dippers (paint on paper with marshmallow "stars" in the constellations and glitter on the North Star.)  Pretty lame, huh?  None of the themed websites offer any help for crafts for that theme.  I do not teach school, I teach a recreational and social skill building program aka before and afterschool child care program.  Education has to be through play and discussion during play.  Reading and writing are not activities that the kids generally choose to do after school.  And I am supposed to provide fun things to do.

I like the teaching part, when I teach kids to solve problems and deal with differences effectively my job ROCKS!  When I teach kids to express how they feel with words instead of fists my job is amazing.  When I help a parent figure out how to resolve her child's social issues at school, home, and soccer practice, I feel great!  When I get a kid who can't seem to make or keep friends and watch him or her blossom into a social butterfly with lots of friends and new found confidence, I can't believe I get paid to be a part of it.  When I teach parents how to discipline with love and logic and not be door mats and not be mean to their kids I know that I have made a difference and I love doing it.  When I have to spend hours looking for some craft project tha will thrill my boss to fit a theme I think is stupid ( for our purposes anyway) and had no say in choosing the themes to begin with, I want to slam my head in a door a few hundred times.  Sometimes I just get overwhelmed and frustrated when I have to put so much into something and I don't like the outcome myself.  It isn't that I'm planning things that the kids won't enjoy on purpose, it's just that sometimes I cannot find the resources to  find something that will be fun AND make the boss happy because the theme doesn't lend itself to it.  And then my finished product doesn't make me happy either. OK, rant over!  I just needed to vent.  Sorry.

On a positive note, I get to work out with Coach Alex tomorrow, my birthday is Friday and I have a Fire Buff Battalion meeting on Saturday.  Lots coming up! =)

Until next blog, stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Days 115 and 116

Hi Team!

OOoops!  I kinda forgot to post yesterday didn't I?  Sorry.  I'm a little embarrassed about that one.  I really took yesterday (Sunday) off!  I was so tired from the rest of the weekend and I am still up and down with something... I'm not quite sure what!  I can report that I slept enough (8 hours) which is highly unusual for me.  And I drank plenty of fluids 3 quarts or better.  I just didn't exercise but Sunday is a day of rest so I am not counting that against myself.  That really is all I have to report for Sunday.  Oh, except for the fun part.  That's the part when Gigaherz texted me with the following message: ... Everyone loved the cookies.  Send more! LOL             I LOVED it!  I'm really glad the guys enjoyed them.  I had a great time visiting!

OK, now for today, Monday.  I had a terrible time getting out of bed this morning.  I went to work and then, even though my strongest desire was to go to bed, I went to meet Coach Alex.  While I was waiting she texted me that she would be late due to "personal issues" which I won't go into detail about.  I asked her if she'd rather skip and promised I'd walk anyway but she said she'd still come.  She is SO cool!  We walked even though neither of us particularly felt great.  Then my awesome friends really encouraged me when they saw my updated status' on facebook that said, "back to the grindstone" and "I'm fixing to start my walk even though I feel like going to bed" or words to that effect.  Thanks ladies for continuing to encourage me!  You are all so awesome!  I have the best team of supporters and friends a ff/paramedic wannabe could ever ask for.

I am still concerned about depression trying to sneak back in to my life.  I am having fun so I don't think I am truly depressed.  I never had fun no matter what when I was really depressed.  But at the same time, the dreary darkness of our overcast days is really affecting me.  I can definitely feel that and I am craving light!  For all you prayer warriors out there, THIS is what I need prayer about.  I do NOT want to be depressed again and I do NOT want to go back on medication for it.  I know this is a seasonal issue and that  it is very common in the northwest.  IF that is what is making me feel so icky, please pray it will all go away.  And if that is NOT what is making me feel so icky, please pray that whatever IS causing it would go away. Thanks.

Let's see, I got enough sleep last night, I drank about 2 1/2 quarts of fluids today, but still feel like I need more and I walked today, though Pete seems to have been misplaced since Saturday night.  Hopefully I will find him soon and hopefully he will be well rested and ready to work hard when I do.  That makes today 3 for 3 for me. YAY ME!

I know I said I was going to start featuring team members here starting today, but I am putting that off for at least a day or two or three.  Sorry.  Some things came up and I don't have time right now.  But I will do it soon.  I promise.

On a sad note, Cat, the Fire Buff Battalion president is dealing with the loss of her sister as of earlier this afternoon.  Please keep Cat in your prayers too.  She and her sister were very close and at least Cat knows what Shirley wanted as far as a memorial and such goes.  And Cat knows that Shirley isn't suffering any more, but that does not diminish the pain of the loss of a loved one and she needs all the prayers and lifting up she can get.  Thanks.

Ok, now it's off to bed at an almost reasonable hour!

Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 114

Hi Team!

Today was an awesome, albeit LONG day!! I got up at about 20 to 6 this morning (that was really sleeping in compared to a work day!) and I have been busy all day up until right now! It is 11:25 pm.

Ladder report first. I slept very well even if it was a short period and it probably wasn’t any shorter than a normal day, lately any way. I’m taking 1 for that. I drank plenty of fluids, in fact I have been unable to slow down on that. I have been fighting headaches and a feeling of thirst. I know what that means, but I am denying it. I am NOT getting sick! That is 2. I can’t claim 3 but it’s not from laziness. I just was too busy. My day of scoring the quiz meet had me sitting from 8 am to 4 pm with a few stretch breaks and a lunch break. Then it was 4 hours of driving to get home! Not much room for exercise there. I’ll happily settle for the 2 for 3!

Now for the fun parts! After the meet, I stopped at the Soutwestern Polk County Rural Fire District main fire station, just outside of Dallas, Oregon to meet a friend who goes by the name of Gigaherz and tour his fire station. He was SO friendly and nice and gave us the grand tour. We got to see in the compartments of all the trucks and he explained everything to us in some detail. It was cool to note that their rigs had front mount pump panels, something I’ve never seen before. We got to climb into the trucks and see how the air tanks fit into the seats so that firefighters can strap them on on the way to calls and arrive ready to go. It looked kind of tricky but he said with a little practice it becomes easier, of course. My husband was with me so he got to see a lot of stuff he hadn’t seen before and asked some questions that I knew the answers to but he didn’t. He seemed to take some genuine interest in it all, which was way cool for me. I learned some things and I had a wonderful time.
Southwestern Polk County Rural Fire Protection District Main Fire Station, Ricreall, Oregon

Gigaherz told us about a large picture of a little girl that was hanging in the fire station.  The girl's name was Sabrina Harustak. Apparently, before Gigaherz joined the department, this little girl had a terminal illness. The fire department rallied to help her out and made her an honorary firefighter, gave her and her friends rides in the fire engine and generally took her under their wings. She has since passed away, sadly, but her name is in the roster of official fire fighters in their district and she is listed on their firefighter’s memorial statue and placque in front of their station. I think that is just absolutely awesome!  There was also one firefighter, a young guy, who died unexpectedly in his sleep from some kind of a seizure.  His dad is still a captain for the department.  He is included in this memorial and  his picture still hangs with the rest of the active duty firefighters inside the station.  Nobody wants to take it down.  That tugged at my heart a little.  What a sad thing to have happen and I know it must be hard for his dad, especially.  The young man was given a firefighter's funeral.  His name was Brian Rocha.

Firefighter's Memorial Statue  The little girl I mentioned has her name inscribed here, as does the young firefighter who died in his sleep.

I enjoyed seeing their trophies from competitions they have participated in (like cart races propelled by firehoses!) and their “wall of shame” commemorating mistakes that they give the “perpetrators” a hard time for and use as a teaching tool. ( for example, memorialized was what remained of a shattered helmet that had been left in a compartment of a truck, but the compartment hadn’t been closed properly and the helmet had fallen out and been smashed to bits.)

He shared with me some of his experiences in learning the ropes as a firefighter and a rookie mistake, and talked about the terrifying feeling of being inside a fire (I believe it was a training burn) in some of his earliest experiences. He told me a few tips for being more organized with one’s gear to save time and be more prepared and he showed us some of the personal equipment he has purchased for use in firefighting like his LED helmet light and his Houdini tool (seatbelt cutter, glass punch, etc) that he particularly likes over other similar tools. He showed us a patch collection from other departments that he or others have visited and traded patches with.

I didn’t have a patch to give him, though I would have brought him one if I had access to one from our local department, but I gave him one of the "Brother's Town" Fire and Rescue mugs that I got from my brother. I wanted to do something nice and show my appreciation for his time. He gave me a patch from his department. =D I of course gave him the cookies I baked for his station. He took a few and left most for the rest of the guys, much as I thought he probably would have.

I especially appreciated that he took the time to offer advice about how to fit in with the guys and gain acceptance when I do get more involved and closer to my dream. Advice about developing a thick skin, being able to take the jokes, course language and general roughness of hanging out with firemen and being willing to learn and WORK.  Things I have read about and only experienced small bits of while hanging around as a civilian and heard of from my brother.  He was very encouraging though, and I really appreciated it.

Before leaving, he talked about meeting up again sometime, perhaps in my brother’s neck of the woods and all going to lunch or dinner together, (his wife included too =D). I would love to do that! Before we left he gave us some driving instructions and tips to help us get home more easily. They were very helpful tips that we would not have had a clue about. He told us to call him if we had any problems and about how far he could go to help if we did need anything. And then he contacted me by text as we traveled to check on us. What a sweetheart! We kept in touch during our trip home and when I let him know we made it safely, he reiterated that he would like to get together again.
Dave "Gigaherz" Fox and Me

Really, this was a perfect day!


Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 113

Hi Team!

I have absolutely no idea how many steps I took today because Pete reset himself several times. In any case, I was sitting in the car for 5 hours of my day (counting going from home to work, work to home, home to church and church to Dallas, Oregon). Then I sat down to dinner and then sat through almost 3 hours of scorekeeping. I would have to say I did NOT get much physical exercise today.

Fluids were not readily accessible most of the day for me, but I seem to have made up for it while scorekeeping. I drank pretty much the entire 2 quart pitcher of water that was on the official’s table. That combined with sporadic fluids through out the day probably put me at close to 3 ½ quarts! Amazing, and still I feel thirsty! I hope that doesn’t mean what it usually means.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that I slept much either. I kind of got sucked into a really good story that one of my friends is writing and I couldn’t stop reading. At 11:30 I realized I had to be up in 5 hours and I went to bed! Oops! I guess that makes me only 1 for 3 this time. Amazingly, I didn’t fall asleep in the car during all that traveling either.

Remember in my last post I said I had made cookies? Well, I baked them anyway. They were pre-mixed, pre-measured cookies that I bought from a fund raiser. I had baked and packaged up a bunch for my Crusty Jake friend, Gigaherz, but this morning I ate one of the leftovers and it was AWFUL! I threw the sugar cookie/M&M’s cookies away entirely. Bravely I sampled the oatmeal raisin cookies. They were not great. But I figured that most firemen would at least eat them so I didn’t toss them. =(  I had more in the freezer and I baked them -the m&m's ones came out a little better with less bake time, but not great still.)  It just so happens that another Crusty Jake friend, Superchef, posted a cookie recipe last night that I happened to read and they looked easy to make. On the way home from work this morning I stopped at the store and picked up a couple of ingredients I needed for them. I mixed the dough, following Superchef’s instructions then I tasted it and thought it a bit bland so I embellished a teeny bit. It made a big difference!

The cookies smelled scrumptious as they baked. When I finally got to try one, I knew Superchef had posted a winner! Vanilla (or White Chocolate) Orange Cookies! DROOL!! OMG! I thought they were amazing. I packaged some up for Gigaherz and another package for “my guys” at station 10- the busiest house in our state. (Remember I claim the entire fire department, hence the “my guys”) On the way out of town, I stopped by 10’s to deliver their treat. Not surprisingly, but sadly, the barn was empty. I left the cookies in the newspaper tube with a note on the door for when they return. My guys don’t really know me yet, so I hope they will brave enough to eat them! I did call my friend, Joe, who works in the department and left a message asking him to give 10’s a call if he could and vouch for me. Of course he wasn’t in and I had to leave a message. And now I have asked him for a favor and it involved cookies so I am obligated to bring him some too, soon. :D

Here’s the recipe for you, my team mates, should you want to try these fantastic cookies:

Crusty Jake Orange Vanilla Chip Cookies  By:  Superchef

2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1 Tbsp grated orange zest

1 cup vanilla chips*

*you can also use white chocolate chunks/chips

preheat oven to 350F.

In large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. set aside.

In large bowl, cream butter with sugars until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg and mix well. Add flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in orange zest and chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. leave several inches between cookies for expansion. Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on sheet for 1 minute then remove to rack to cool completely.

makes about 2-3 dozen cookies


Coach Alex, if you convert these to gluten free, please let me sample them! You do amazing work!
The rest of you, if you try these, let me know what you think of them so I can give your compliments to Superchef!

All right. It is late (as it always is after a quiz meet) and I am tired. I’m going to bed!

Stay safe.

Hotflash out.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Days 111 and 112

Hi Team!

Sorry I am behind one day.  I have been feeling really crummy.  Nothing specific to put a finger on, just generally icky with "almost" dizziness and intestinal discomfort.  No temperature, not sick enough to stay home.  But no energy either.  I have been pushing the fluids, a minimum of 3 quarts yesterday and today with NO caffeine included.  Whenever I think I am starting to feel better I make the mistake of getting hungry and eating.  Then I feel sick again.  I hope it passes soon.

I forgot to reset Pete this morning so what I have for you is a two day total.  17, 298 steps for two days.  The sleep is the real challening part.  I have had lots that I need to do lately and I can't seem to slow the mind down at night.  Then yesterday and today I was exhausted during the morning and afternoon.  UGH!
I would say realistically I am 2 for three for both day 111 and 112.   I did not get to go weigh and measure today, I didn't get time and I don't have a scale at home.  It will likely be Sunday or Monday before I will be able to at this point.  Sorry.

I am leaving town in the morning for Dallas Oregon to go keep score for the Bible Quiz meet at the Dallas Alliance Church.  After the meet ends on Saturday, I am going to go meet Gigaherz, a fireman I have chatted with a few times at the Crusty Old Jakes web site.  I am looking forward to meeting him and touring his station with my husband.  As I write this, I am baking cookies. (Oatmeal raisin and Sugar cookie/M&M cookies) I would never show up empty handed to visit a fire station!  (admittedly I cheated and used  pre made/pre measured dough from a fund raiser I participated in because I didn't have time to do it from scratch.  Otherwise I would have made sugar cookies with my firefighter cookie cutters.  I hope the firemen there will forgive me for that =D ) I will arrive home VERY late Saturday night so I will have to catch up the blog later.

Due to a need to keep somewhat anonymous, most of my team does not seem to be interested in being featured in this blog, and I can totally understand that.  However, for those who don't mind, I will begin featuring them next week, starting with Coach Alex!

Take care and I'll blog at you all in a few days.

Stay Safe!!

Hotflash out.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 110

Hello Team!

I don't know about how it is where you all are, but here it is dark, dreary and drizzly out and has been for two days straight.  It feels kind of, dare I say it?  Depressing!  No wonder Seasonal Affective Disorder affects so many people around here.  It's gloomy and cold and doesn't show any signs of letting up.  So here's a request:  EVERYBODY THINK "SUN"!

Okay, my report:  I slept well last night though I could have used about 24 more hours.  I drank 2.5 quarts today on the nose, so far.  And Pete logged 5,155 steps but I caught him playing Tarzan at least 8 times today so I know I did better than that!  If anyone knows where I can find an ankle strap pedometer, let me know, please!

Coming events:

*Thursday is the next weight and measurement day! 0.0  Right after the holidays!
*Friday the 8th/Saturday the 9th I will be out of town and away from the computer to attend a Bible quiz meet in Dallas, Oregon.  Hopefully I will meet Gigaherz while I am there.  Gigaherz is a fireman that I sometimes talk to on the Crusty Jakes website.  We are hoping it will work out for us to meet and for my husband and me to tour his fire station before coming home.
*Next Friday is Hotflash's birthday!  Yay, I'm officially getting older!  I guess that it beats the alternative, right?!  I don't have any plans as of yet, but I have an idea for some.  If it looks like the idea will pan out I will mention it in the blog.

Well, I can't think of  anything else to say so STAY SAFE!

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 RE: Day 109

Hi Team!

In reference to the biographical blurbs and photos I requested, photos can be of you or of whatever you would like to represent you. (for my anonymous friends) and blurbs do not have to contain anything incriminating.  Just whatever you are comfortable sharing about yourself.  If you choose to participate, my email is and please remember to put flashpointz in the subject line.  Thanks =D

Stay safe.

Hotflash out.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 109

Hi Team!

Not much to report today.  I walked 8,565 steps by 10:15 this morning then I changed my clothes and accidently left Pete sitting on my bed so I have no idea of my actual count for the day.  I drank right on two quarts of water and tea today, but I intended to drink 3+ quarts because I was really feeling dehydrated when I walked today.  I will have to make a concentrated effort to do better tomorrow.  I slept just okay last night and should have gotten more so I am only giving myself 2 of 3 today.

Other than that, I have nothing to report so here's an idea.  If each of my followers/team members would send me a picture of themselves and a little biographical blurb by posting a comment (which I will then reject when I moderate the comments so that it does not post for anyone to see), I will feature each one of you on my blog at some point in the near future and you can all meet the rest of the team!  Please do not procrastinate! (Says the pot)

Until I blog again, stay safe!

Hotflash out

Report From Ladder Company 40 -Day 108

Hi Team!

Ah, Sunday!  Sadly, I had to leave "Brother's Town" today.  I love it there.  "Brother's Town" is beautiful, the Northwest at her best!  And Station 6is a great place to hang out.  And my bro and his family are amazing!  I will miss them until the next time. =(

I slept in after going to bed earlier than any night the whole trip.  I got about 9-9 1/2 hours of sleep!! YAY ME!  I barely made two quarts today between buttermilk, tea, coffee and water!  I didn't concentrate on it too much.  I also didn't have time for much walking so we'll go with 2 for three today.

After sleeping in, My bro and my sister-in-law and I sat around playing cards and drinking coffee for several hours.  It was cutthroat triple solitaire, Peanuts or Oh Hell, whichever name you choose, at it's finest.  It was also a very stereotypical firefighter sort of thing to do! LOL  We forgot to cook a pot of chili though. =D

Sadly, no calls came in today so I didn't get to go on any runs.  After the disappointment of a working fire that we didn't get to go to yesterday, I guess I can live with that.  No calls beats not going to the action that IS happening!  Sigh.    Well, I guess that is all the more reason to go again soon!

Even though our calls were just to move up or cancelled before we got there, I had a great time, as usual and I am very glad I went.  I can't wait to go back, though I suppose I will have to!

Oh, and before I sign off for this post, I just thought I would say, it is kind of cute to see a firefighter on the floor in the kitchen of the firestation, coloring!  See below a picture of my brother, coloring on the new calendar! LOL  And the picture after that is my brother with the Christmas present my mom sent him... Firefighter Monopoly!  I'm hoping for one for myself for my birthday -even if I have to get it for me!  LOL
(That's his three year old, Joe in the picture!)

Stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 106

Hi Team!

I slept well, even though I did not go to bed until 4:30 in the morning. My brother went to bed around 1:00 but then Wendi and I got to talk and I learned so much about her and we shared experiences and mother tips and all kinds of stuff. She is so sweet and always seems so put together. I really admire her strength and determination in life. She is such a wonderful mother, wife and friend (and sister-in-law!)

Two stations got called out for medical calls at the same time today so we had to take squad 6 and move up to another station to cover the area better. When we got to the station we were sent to we prepared to wash the squad. Before we even pulled a hose for the job, the dispatcher requested we move to another station as one of the crews was already on their way back to the barn. So we did. When we got to the next station, we did indeed wash the squad. She was very dirty. Of course, being the goofball I am, I was thrilled to be washing the rig. I mean, that’s what firemen do, they wash the apparatus and keep it shiny. While I was hosing her off before scrubbing, my bro was on the radio to the chief. The chief asked him if I had been able to ride along with him and he told him I had and that I was washing the squad and loving it. The chief laughed and told my brother, “Way to delegate!” It doesn’t take much to amuse me or please me.

When we were released to return to station 6 we took a small side trip. "Brother's Town" has a major motor cross race track and holds national events. Today there was an event in progress and BTFR mans  the event in case of injuries. We pulled in with the squad and were waved through. Because the fire department has official business there, they are considered staff. As such, my bro was able to take me up in the tower, where the ESPN announcer would have been had this been a national event today. From here you can see most of the track, and the general public never  gets to see this view first hand. It was kind of cool to be able to do that. It sure was MUDDY!!! Of course we did this AFTER washing the squad. When we returned to station 6 we hosed her down again. She looks all shiny and pretty right now.  Sorry I can't include pictures from the motor cross track.  I apparently erased them accidentally.  =(

There really wasn’t anything else exciting fire department-wise. My brother talked to us at dinner about some new department procedures and policies that will be very good for the citizens of Brother's Town Fire and Rescue’s district and I was very pleased to hear of these changes, as was my brother but I am not going to go into detail here about that. 

I guess I should get down to the actual report for the day. I barely made my two quarts today. And because my day started with jumping into my clothes and running out the door with out combing my hair, to cover another area I didn’t have time to put Pete into service today. It is all good though since today is a national holiday. I guess I will give myself one for being a holiday, one for drinking my fluids and one for sleeping. That makes me three for three unless one of you takes issue with the freebie for the holiday in which case it is still 2 for three. I was having such a good time visiting with my bro and the kids and Wendi and her mother. The adults spent a few hours playing quadruple solitaire. The game is affectionately called "Oh Hell", or "Peanuts", among other things. It is a cutthroat game and we had a ball playing.

Later my brother and I spent several more hours playing Lego Star Wars again. We are really wasting a lot of time, but we are having such a blast spending time together and playing that I don't care about the wasted time. I am so glad he is only a few hours away and I can break away for a short periods and come see him.

Bro, you and your family are amazing!!!!

Until next time, stay safe!

Hotflash out.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 107

Hi Team!

Today is the last full day I will be in "Brother's Town" for a while.  My bro woke me up around 9 am with a run to a chimney fire.  I got dressed as fast as I could and ran out to the squad just as my bro pulled it forward to the front door of the station, which was closer to where I was than the squad's "bay" which currently is just a covered car port.  I jumped in and we raced away!  We are in a rural area so sirens are not necessary unless approaching intersections and hazardous areas so we ran with just lights until we got to a busier road with a hairpin turn off one road and onto another.    We were flying down the road when the word came... NO FIRE!  Yay for the home owner.  Bummer for me.  Seriously, I am glad there was no danger, but I can't help but be disappointed that I still haven't gotten to observe a working fire.

We went to see Grandpa shortly after returning from that run.  It was so good to see him.  I think it has been about 10 years since I last saw him.  At least 5 but the years all blend together after a while and I really couldn't say for sure.  (guilt,guilt,guilt)  Grandpa was sleeping when we arrived and we debated about waking him up or letting him sleep.  Finally my bro and my sister and I agreed that if it was one of us, we would want to be awakened so we did wake him.  Grandpa seemed very glad we did.  I am amazed at how sharp he still is after such a long full life and a pretty serious stroke.  He is still quick witted and thinks a lot.  He was thrilled to talk shop with us.  (once a fireman always a fireman!)  I think it really did him some good to have someone talk fire with him.  He kept posing all kinds of questions about water pressure in certain scenarios needed to get the wet stuff to the red stuff.  My bro knows how to figure out the math and such to do it, but he is kind of rusty in the kinds of questions grandpa was asking.  See, grandpa was a large city fireman.  My bro is a small rural area firefighter.  Grandpa was asking about multiple story buildings and my bro rarely sees anything other than a two story house.    I think grandpa was enjoying making my bro think about it.  It felt like grandpa was really wanting to bestow some great firefighting wisdom on my brother, to pass it down so to speak.  He clearly is proud of my bro and talked about how much my brother knew about pump operations and the engine long before he ever became a fireman.  He said usually that info is kind of a secret, learned on the job.  It impressed the hell out of him how much my bro learned ahead of time. He enjoyed the pictures of my bro's personal fire engine and the stories of when we picked her up.  He also enjoyed the pics of me playing with the fire hose and wanted to know how I held that hose on my own.  My bro told grandpa that if he would like, he would try to arrange to come pick him up and take him out in his pumper.  Grandpa seemed to really like that idea.

When I was a teenager and told grandpa what I wanted to do with my life, he was SO supportive... an old school fireman who was encouraging and excited that his granddaughter wanted to follow in his footsteps in the early 80's!  I didn't know then how rare and amazing that was.  I was appreciative at the time, but I wish I had known what a big deal it was then.  He is the best grandpa a kid could ask for.  I remember telling him of my dream back then and the excitement he showed.  He told me it would be hard but he encouraged me anyway and after I told him he said, "Come on!  Let's go see some of the guys."  He took me to one of the fire stations and introduced me to some of the guys telling them why he brought me.  He got them to encourage me too.    After that  I heard him on more than one occasion bragging that his granddaughter wanted to be a fireman.  I know he won't be around when and if that ever comes to pass, but I hope he sees it just the same.

After seeing grandpa today, my bro and his family, Wendi's mother and my sister and niece and I all went to dinner.  After dinner we took my sister and niece home while my bro's wife took the kids and her mother home.  We were headed back to Station 6/Home when the real call came in.  Structure fire.  We wouldn't have been first due but had we been home we would have gone.  We got back to the station as fast as we could and reported immediately to cover Station 4 which is where I am writing this from.  Right now we are it for most of the district.  This time it is a confirmed working fire and we have to be here!  I'm sad again.  I mean, covering a fire station to help protect the rest of the district is a very important job, but it is not where I WANT to be!!!  I know this is typical life in the fire department, at least in this rural area.  I'm glad to be here.  But I sure want to go see the guys in action!  Sigh!

Okay, I guess I should get to the accountability report.  I have had right about two quarts of liquid today.  Truthfully I haven't focused on it too much.  Pete has been playing Tarzan so much today that I can't give you any kind of account of my steps and I can guarantee that I have not had enough sleep in the last 24 hours.  I guess that makes me about 1 for three!  Some days are just like that. =)

Well, we could be here a while but there is nothing else to report.  I will wait to post this until I get back to my home town because I have to post day 106 first and I want to add some pictures before I do. 

Stay safe.

Hotflash out.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Day 105

Hi team.

Today was a very laid back kind of day. We hung out at the house/station today, hoping for a call that never came in. Good for the residents of this fire district, not so exciting for me. Though I could never claim not to have had a blast!

I gave my sister-in-law, Wendi, a set of the firefighter cookie cutters like the ones I bought myself. The 6 year old, Mark, wanted to make cookies, of course.

My sister-in-law’s mom is staying here too and she took the boys to see the Princess and the Frog movie. We kept little Belles here with us and I rocked her to sleep while chatting with my bro, reminiscing. Wendi took a much needed nap in a rare quiet moment in the house. She was sleeping my bro started to make the cookies with Mark and Joe, the three year old wanted to help too. I took a couple pictures of the boys making cookies! They were doing okay until it came time to roll the dough and cut the cookies out. My bro, having little to no experience decided to sweet talk Aunt Hotflash to help.

None of the plans we tried to make for the day worked out. My bro was trying to make arrangements for us to see our grandfather during my visit. He recently suffered a stroke and is still in a rehab facility. He will probably be moving into an assisted living facility soon along with grandma. Grandma is 95 I think and Grandpa isn’t far behind. Amazing since Grandpa was a fireman OLD SCHOOL style. Way back when eating smoke was standard and getting into SCBA gear was considered a waste of valuable time. Amazing he hasn’t been taken out by cancer! I for one am glad. If all goes well we will try to see him on the second of Jan.

My sister Nancy and her adult daughter Mandy want us to come see them. I am looking forward to seeing them but we are trying to coordinate seeing them with seeing grandpa since they don’t have transportation and would love to see grandpa too. At the same time, we are trying not to schedule too much of our time away from the station because if we do it will guarantee an amazing and important call will come in for Squad 6, and we won’t be here! If we hang out, it will remain quiet as far as calls go. SIGH

I guess I should get to the actual report part of this “report.” Pete logged just under 3,000 steps today for me. I realized at 3:40 that I had only had 16 oz of buttermilk to drink for the day and so I made a conscious effort to fix that. I can honestly say that I have had 2 quarts of tea and 12 oz of apple juice since then, so I am at about 2 ½ quarts of fluid in addition to the buttermilk. I also got enough sleep last night even though I stayed up until the roosters crowed. (not really, but almost!) I slept in until I felt like getting up.

We finished the night by watching Bones, Season 1 on DVD as we waited to ring in the new year. Oh, but that was after I let my brother talk me into trying to play Lego Star Wars on the game cube. That was FUN! I haven’t played video games with my brother since I was 13. That was on the old Atari system. If you’ve ever played the games from NAMCO Museum, DIG DUG, Pole Position, Galaga, PacMan, etc. those are the games we played back then, when they were new! I even had one that was a firefighting game! LAME-O graphics and not really an exciting game to play, but I did because I was just as nuts about all things firefighting back then as I am now! LOL

Well, it is time to wrap things up and get some sleep so we can start all over. I’m still hoping for some action with Squad 6. Hopefully something minor and not to traumatic for the people we go to help. But hopefully more than a ride with flashing lights!

Until next time, stay safe!

Hotflash out.