31 December 2005

Grubs and Cigarettes: Part II

We started off the day again at West Islip Fire Department. They told us to come by in the morning. Since it was a Saturday and there was a meeting tons of people would be there. We talked with a bunch of the guys, got more pictures, etc. I had never realized what it takes in a volunteer department to run a call. While we were there they got a rescue call for a "respiratory problem." We waited...and waited. About two minutes later they toned it out again. Then the EMS chief pulled in, got in one of the command vehicles and headed to the call. They toned it out again. Then another command vehicle flew by from his own house. After the fourth tone out two people made it in, flying into the parking lot with their blue lights and racing to the rig. It seemed like forever until they got rolling. Thank God the EMS chief was ALS equipped in the command vehicle.

After the usual bull-shitting, drinking coffee and hanging out, we decided we had better head towards the train station to get on our way to New York City. We were told at the fire station that they barricade off all the surrounding blocks to Times Square at 1500-we didn't want to be late. The train fares were ridiculous $32 for the both of us. I guess that's New York prices for you. I got to see a couple of the burrows on the way in. We got off at Penn Station and made our way towards Times Square. It was still really early, but we wanted to get a good spot. We ended up under a marquee on 44th and 7th-practically the heart of Times Square. We just wanted to get out of the way of all the people walking away, but being under the marquee served us well. It started sleeting/raining/snowing shortly there after.

Probably about a half hour later three police officers came to stand under the marquee. They noticed my fire jacket and my friend's Chicago police jacket. We all started chatting and one of the guys said he wanted to do us a favor since it sucked so bad outside and it was still so early. He told us to walk down to the fire station ( about 2 blocks away), hang out with the guys, and then meet him at Smith's bar at 44th and 8th at 2000. He would walk us right up to the front. Awesome. We got the hook up. We went to the fire station and it was unmanned. The crew returned shortly after but they were really busy and didn't have time for visitors. We wandered around for a while and decided that we would just try to get our spots back by the marquee and suck it up. We were too late...the barricades were up. We finally spoke to an officer that let us back through.

We got near where we were earlier in the day, but tons of people were walking away from Times Square. Then police officers started coming out of the woodwork turning people around and telling them to walk down the block. I thought there had to be something seriously wrong because people looked worried and many were walking with a very quickened pace. The first thing that came to my mind was that there was some terrorist threat or incident. I was kind of freaked out. I couldn't believe something was happening. We pulled aside an officer and asked what was going on. He told us everyone has to go down a block to 8th and over to 45th street. There would be a checkpoint-anybody with bags would be searched and IDs would be checked. I was definitely relieved. The people that looked worried and were rushing were only doing so because they feared losing their "spot" that they got there at 0600 to reserve. We decided to get away from the mayhem and sit in Smith's bar.

The bar was rather packed, but we managed to get a table to sit at and chat. It was still rather early, and the officer wouldn't be meeting us until 2000. We had a few drinks, ordered some cheese fries and just sat there until 2000. The bar was already having a cover charge to get in. We went outside and waited...and waited...and waited. It was 2030 and I was sure that we had been had. I was pissed, but realized that even if he didn't show up and we had never gotten the "hook up" we would have been standing out in the sleet for five hours, just to be kicked out, walk two blocks, and wait in line with the other 750,000 people that were there to be checked in.

We asked an officer if there was any way to contact him-I had given him my cell phone number, and we had his badge number and last name, but I never got a phone number from him. The officer we spoke to said he was only a transit officer, but he could put us on the subway for free. We were to get off at the first stop (34th street) and walk down the block to the Midtown South precinct. Of course this was the hard part. The officer had told me to say I was his sister-in-law if anybody asked. The only problem was that if I was his sister in law I should definitely know his first name. So instead, once inside the precinct, we asked how we could locate him-and we gave them his last name. They said, "Oh, you mean Johnny?" I was like, yeah; that's it. They tried and tried but to no avail. Nobody could find his cell number and they couldn't call for personal business over the radio. The officer that spoke to us said that she would spread the word that Johnny's "cousin" was looking for him and to contact me as soon as possible. We got back on the subway and headed back towards Smith's. Sure enough-there he was, waiting for us. He had left several messages on my phone but it didn't get service in he subway. Yeah!

We started our way towards Times Square. We went through tons of barricades with people in the crowd and lines giving us evil looks. The officer took us all the way up to the front right up against the stages and right by where the ball drops. It was amazing. I had really doubted him-but he pulled through. A huge shout out to NYPD!

We got into Times Square around 2100. There were bands playing: P.O.D., Mariah Carey, etc. There was a lot going on and it was extremely loud-but fun none the less. They kept us entertained right up until 2400. I had always thought that the ball was much larger, but it was quite small. Oh well-it was good all the same. I had the worst headache in my life, I was nauseous, and frozen to death. The good news: I got our fire department patches out to the FDNY photo unit :)

We filed out with the rest of the crowd. On our way out we actually ran into the officer and his partner from earlier in the day. We got pictures and talked for a little while. Then we made our way to Penn Station with the monstrous crowd. There were actually police officers lining the way to the Train station. I guess that's for all of us that don't know the city, or just to keep order. There was even one officer yelling over a loud speaker telling people to keep it moving and no standing allowed. Penn Station houses the subway, buses and the trains. So we had to make our way to the opposite side of the station to get on the Long Island train back "home." We got there just on time to take the last train to the island-otherwise we would have had to wait until 0500 in the morning. The train was really bright inside and I felt like I was going to die. We finally made it back to Long Island and back to the apartment. Tony was really talkative when we got there-we just wanted to get to bed. It was 0300 and my head was about to split in half, I had been dry heaving/ vomiting for no good reason for 15 minutes and I just wanted to sleep.

But, of course, we had to hear the stories of the evening. The same "grub" from yesterday was making a scene in the hallway yelling at his grandmother. The cops ended up coming down to fix that. Then he made his way back to complain that he was hungry and "what's for dinner?" After we got back the kid was back again yelling in the hallway. It got so loud that the people across the hall from Tony came out of their apartment. Well, none of them had their keys on them and the doors in the building automatically lock. So that brought about more yelling and screaming (mostly in Spanish). The three people (two guys and a girl) were fighting as to who locked who out. So, Tony, in his drunken stupor starts yelling back. It was actually pretty hysterical-even though we both had such bad headaches. He was yelling, "I can't believe you idiots locked yourselves out." The woman started screaming in spanish and that led to another outburst from Tony. All we could hear was "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" coming from the other room in anything but a nice tone of voice. Then he tells the three that they can spend the night in his apartment and sleep on the floor. That's a great idea, right? Let's just have the entire neighborhood over for a slumber party. We were both already in the bedroom, with the door locked, just listening to all this like it was a good TV show. The woman is yelling, then they are contemplating whether they should call the fire department to "put a ladder to the window" or "bust the door down." It was not completely clear, but it sounded like the police were back again. Somebody kicked the door trying to get it open, and I heard someone yell "knock it off!" We later found out that they jimmied the door open. Tony came stumbling into our room, flipped on the light, and wanted to recap the entire story...we definitely weren't happy about that. So, we outsmarted him and took the light bulb out of the lamp. He came back about 10 minutes later, jimmied the bedroom door open and flipped the switch. All we heard was "ohhh...they shut the lamp off." And he went back out to the couch. Welcome to section 8 housing I guess.

30 December 2005

Grubs and Cigarettes

My first day in New York. Wow. It is pretty crazy out here. We are staying in Huntington Station, Long Island, New York. The town isn’t that bad…I guess. It is like any other town-it has its good parts and bad...we just ended up staying in the bad part. It is the type of place that I wouldn't be caught dead in if I was by myself (at least not without a bullet proof vest).

The apartment we are staying in is in a section 8 building. It was once used as a school for a local church. I thought the area just looked scary because it was nighttime when we arrived. Nope. It was still scary in the daylight. The building is an extremely old brick building. It has gigantic windows and flat roof. On the way out to the car I noticed there were just stumps where bushes should have been and there was a makeshift basketball court surrounded by a few benches. I later found out why there were only stumps along the sidewalk. Somehow they all caught on fire- cracking the windows of one apartment and melting the light on the side of the building (it still works, but looks like it just slid down the side of the building a few inches). This happened quite a long time ago and the bushes have yet to be replanted.

We got up this morning at 0845. Kind of late, but oh well-we can’t change it now. The elevator was taking forever. So we decided to take the stairs. Yeah, that could be a story in itself. There was tobacco all over the floor. Then I started to see why. There were little crack baggies and bags that had remnants of marijuana littering the stairwell.

First things first-we went to Starbucks. If I could have an accent as I was writing I would say “coffee” like I’m from Long Island, but yeah…it doesn’t work that way.

Then we headed off to the north fork toward Orient Point. We really didn’t mean to go there. We turned around once we realized we passed the road we wanted. There were lots of wineries. I’m sure it is really beautiful during the summer and fall. It was pretty bleak this time of year. We stopped at several scenic points on the way-I got some good pictures. We went to the south fork to Montauk Point Lighthouse. We didn’t realize that it was closed for the season, so we didn’t get to go inside. The view was still beautiful. We walked down to the beach and walked on the huge boulders around the outside of the lighthouse to the opposite side of the beach. It was beautiful. There were even surfers out there-the waves were pretty big. One thing I will never understand about the people out there is how they can stand the cold. I can't tell you the amount of people I saw wearing just a t-shirt or even as far as shorts. I was bundled with long underwear, several shirts/sweatshirts a jacket, gloves, and a hat; I was still freezing my ass off. It will probably always be a mystery.

After we had the grand tour of Montauk Point we got back in the car and we went to Amagansett Fire House. There was only one vehicle in the parking lot. Nobody answered the door, so we took some pictures and went back on our way. We went to Gardner Park in Bayshore, Long Island, New York. My friend grew up out here in West Islip so he gave me the grand tour. He used to take his dog there for walks. We walked the path down to the ocean. It was a wonderful view of the ocean and the Robert Moses Bridge. He told me a story once about when he lived out here. His dog had been running around and was thirsty; the poor puppy didn’t know that it was salt water and took a huge gulp-I guess the dog’s facial expression was priceless. Sorry, off on a tangent again.

I had my very first taste of “real” New York food at “Little Italy“ in West Islip. It was pizza-really thin sliced (actually “pie” as I have been informed) and garlic knots. They were both really good-dripping with grease. I learned how to eat pizza without a fork and knife (as I am used to). I had to fold it in half; weird, but I liked it just the same.

We went to the West Islip fire station after that. It was absolutely amazing. The guys were really nice. We got patches to bring back home, t-shirts, and they even pulled the apparatus out of the bay and into the lot so that we could see it better and take pictures. It is, for the most part, a volunteer department. They have tons of apparatus, and they actually have separate “companies” like Rescue, Ladder, Engine, etc. Their station was huge. I was in absolute awe when they showed us around the station. They had absolutely amazing apparatus, which includes no less than 3 engines, 2 ladder trucks, a rescue truck, 4 ambulances, a hovercraft, two ocean fire boats, some smaller boats for the bay areas, racing trucks (that they race against other fire departments), command vehicles....my list could go on and on. Everything looked like it was brand new.

Then we went inside the actual station. First we saw the different offices according to company. Basically each was a lounge with a huge TV, couch, etc. We then went on to see their "5 star kitchen." Yeah...ridiculous. It looked like a restaurant-everything was huge. They even had a walk in freezer/fridge and a deli slicer. Wow. I was impressed. Then one of the guys said, "it's not much....it's actually rather old. We're getting it completely redone next week." I told them they could ship their old one to Chicago.

They took us by their day room which had tons of couches a massive TV, arcade games, a pool table and more. We then proceeded to the dance hall (disco ball included), and the wet bar. Yeah...I said WET BAR! It looked like a restaurant. They also have three other buildings that they own separate from the station. One is directly across the parking lot from the station, one is behind the station, and one is around the corner. They even have their own training facilities. They then proceeded to tell us that, "Oh...this is nothing. You should see some of the other stations on Long Island...there is one that even has its own movie theater inside." I guess they have it so nice because they are practically 100% volunteer. The only thing they get is a small pension after 5 years of service. Our stations around here are not quite as nice, but we also get paid; so I guess what's fair is fair.

We also stopped at a local mall in Massapequa to try to find a nice gift for my mom. No such luck. I want to find something nice that she couldn’t get anywhere but New York…I’ll try again tomorrow in the city. We did get milkshakes at Hagen Daas…pretty good.

We drove up to Holbrook to visit one of his friends. We just hung out for a little while, talked about work and the new year. We didn’t stay too long because it was already getting late-we wanted to get a few hours of sleep before tomorrow.

On our way back to Huntington Station we made a little detour. We went to see Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center. The place is gigantic. I can’t even imagine how many people they house there (probably tens of thousands). They are in the process of shutting the place down but several of the buildings are still lit up and running. As soon as we got on property the security started following us; we played dumb because we had Kentucky state plates on our rental car, so we took our time roaming the campus. One building was completely dark except for one window on the first floor. We saw a shadow walk by and the light shut off-kind of creepy. The whole campus was pitch black because it is practically in the woods. We got a little lost but managed to find our way back on the highway to Huntington Station.

Once back there was a guy outside asking for cigarettes. We said we didn’t smoke and went inside. He looked like a little gang banger...we found out the rest of the story later. Once I started getting ready for bed I realized that I had left my contact case and glasses in the car. We went back outside to get them, so we propped open the apartment door so that Tony didn’t have to come open it. When we came back upstairs the same guy from downstairs had let himself in and was bugging Tony for a cigarette. He gave him one and that was that. He told the kid to stay away for the night. Then I heard Tony mutter "damn grubs" under his breath ...I wasn't sure what that meant but I went on with my business. About 45 minutes later there was another knock at the door-same guy again back for cigarettes. Our host gave him two and told him not to come back. He muttered, “ god damn grub always pestering me for god damn cigarettes.” I now understand what a grub is and I am going to bed. Enough adventures for one day.

29 December 2005

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Finally-the day is here to go to New York!

I got up at a decent time to finish my last minute errands. I still had to make it to the bank. Yeah, that definitely didn't go as planned. It was all good until I got back into my car. I checked all my blind spots (as always) and started to back up. Thump. Shit! Yep. I backed into some lady's car. She parked just in my blind spot-not in a parking space, but in the actual lot where you drive through. I was pissed because I marked up my bumper pretty bad-hopefully some good old touch up paint will fix it right up. It is really only a few small scratches that could be buffed out and one or two that need touch up paint...no biggie I guess.

I got to my friend's house around 1400. We were dropped off at the train station for our 1535 train. We got out of the car and headed towards the warming house. By this time I had already realized that I overpacked, and that my suitcase probably wasn't going to last. Same for my friend-his luggage strap tore off the bag as we walked into the station; not a good way to start off a trip. We got onto the train. A very uneventful ride later, we were at Union Station in downtown Chicago. We walked the few blocks to the orange line EL train (elevated train). We were both exhausted and we still had a way to go before we could chill out. Halfway to the EL my friend's bag lost another strap. Yeah-hopefully not any premonition as to how this trip is going to finish out.

We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Our flight was on time and rather uneventful as well. I was already wigging out because I hate airplanes. I had a really bad experience when I was 16. I took a flight to Florida and there was a lot of turbulence. I was already convinced by this time that I was going to die because when we left Atlanta the plane started to smell like something was burning. All of the sudden the lights shut off, the captain was yelling over the intercom at the flight attendants, and our oxygen masks came down. I swore I would never fly again. So much for that.

Anyways, I freaked out when we took off and landed. The rest was a piece of cake. By the time we looked at some photos on my laptop and watched 20 minutes of "Ladder 49" we were starting to descend. Yeah! Long Island here I come. We had finally landed at Islip airport.

For some reason when we picked up our luggage my friend's duffel bag was now missing the other strap-the final one. He had to carry it like a hotel pack to get it out to the car. That sucks.

We didn't reserve a car before hand. Big mistake. Hertz only had one car left by the time we got there, so we ended up with a Toyota Matrix. Not only did we not need a big car-it cost quite a bit more than the smaller cars that are usually available. Oh well. At least our feet were back on the ground. It was rather late by the time we got everything handled and got on our way for real. I think we landed around 2200 CST (so 2300 New York time).

I was introduced to the Long Island rudeness right off the bat. We stopped at a diner to grab a bite before we headed off to where we were staying. The waitress was a real piece of work. And I caught the Long Island accent for the first time. We drove around for a while in my friend's old town of West Islip. Then we headed towards our deluxe accommodations. I had never been there before, but as soon as I saw the building I knew we were in for a real treat.

We unloaded the car and headed towards the front doors. One was broken-sticking out of the door frame. The other was still on the hinges, but propped open. There were newspapers piled up in a corner. There were burn marks in the elevator ceiling. We got off on the third floor. I knew which apartment it was as soon as we got off the elevator. The door had a target on it with Osama Bin Laden on it-all shot up. Home sweet home (for the next few days at least). Tony let us in right away and then went right back to his couch. I looked over at him. There he is lying on the couch. On the top of the couch, propped against the wall-a shotgun. Great... He got up to give us the grand tour. He also had us make note of our room. He lifted up my pillow-another gun-a hand gun. He then lifted up the pillow on the other side of the bed-big surprise-another handgun. Tony said, "I put one under each pillow just in case you want to shoot each other." Really funny Tony.

Then he started with another story-long winded as usual :). He told us about a lizard that he got the day before Christmas from a lady down the hall. Someone got it for her son for Christmas but she wouldn't allow it, so Tony decided to take it in. In the corner by the TV was a wire cage with food and water in it...a little odd for a lizard, but Tony must not be considered the most "normal" person one would meet. He traipsed around the apartment yelling "Egore, where the f*** are you? You son of a bitch!" Okay then... He said not to worry. He'll turn up. The last time he disappeared for a few days, but he woke up one morning and the lizard was sitting on his chest in bed. Great-that's what I have to look forward to.

The whole lizard story turned out to be a stupid joke. The cage was from a pigeon he kept as a pet at one time-but he was really playing it up putting food and water in the dishes. Ha...

We threw both of the guns that Tony gave us under the bed-we figured it was probably better that way. There was some minor ruckus in the hallway (the cops had already been there once today), we unpacked what we could and went to bed. Interesting start, but it can only get better-Right???

28 December 2005

Drivers Ed

I realized today that if all else fails-I could become a very good taxi driver. I think it was "bring your grandma to drive day" because NOBODY on the road knew what they were doing. At one light, the lady in the lane next to me (there were 3 lanes and 2 turning lanes; I was in the middle lane) gunned it when the light to turn (you know, the arrow) turned green. She then slammed on her brakes in the middle of the intersection, making everyone in oncoming traffic stop and go around her to turn.

Then, I pulled into a parking lot to go pick up my cat from the vet. Sure enough there is a guy in the left lane that actually wanted to go right, so he cut me off. Then there was a stupid kid walking around and decided to walk right in front of my car...And he couldn't even speed up his pace so that I didn't have to slam on my brakes again. Grrrr....

I went inside the vet's office to get my cat. I guess he was a complete spaz for them-he even tore at his bed so much that the stuffing was coming out; it took two people to hold him down to get his vaccines. Ridiculous. As I was waiting for paperwork, the stupid kid that I nearly ran over walked into the office. I don't think he recognized me as the one that nearly ran him over...that's good, even though it would have been his own fault anyways.

I still haven't packed anything but my first aid kit for my trip. I had a bad dream last night that made me even more paranoid about the flight. It was like a mass casualty-in a medical sense. There was a woman in labor, and a guy having a heart attack. I finally delivered the baby and she was okay-so was the mom. Glad I had the OB kit with. Then the guy with chest pain went unconscious and stopped breathing-no pulse. (This all happened like 20 minutes after the plane took off). I was exhausted doing CPR, and I used an AED but he was flatline. The friend I was with (also an EMT) helped. I ended up teaching people on the plane how to do CPR because I was getting too tired to continue, and we still had more than an hour left of the flight. What a nightmare. All I could think about while the others were doing CPR was, "I sure am glad I packed that BVM," and "who the hell am I supposed to call for medical control?" Yeah, pretty damn stupid, huh. My brain just likes me to get pumped up. I was the one having chest pain when I woke up in a cold sweat at 0400. Then I realized that I wasn't on an airplane and nobody needed CPR. Whew. Hopefully this wasn't a bad omen.

I leave in less than 24 hours. Yikes. I have to pack light because we are taking the train down to Midway airport. I don't want to have to lug too much stuff with me. If nothing else-I have my first aid stuff. If my dream was any prediction...I would almost rather drive to New York.

I just can't wait for tomorrow. I definitely need this vacation. I am so sick of being off of work. Most of the time I feel like I'm on house arrest. I have read more books (that aren't textbooks) in the past month than I think I have in several years. Either way, I have definitely read some entertaining stories. I just finished reading "Lights and Sirens" by Joan E. Lloyd and Edwin B. Herman. It was rather good. They actually have a total of 5 books that I know of. They are all from the 90s, but they were still good reads.

My roommate is moving out soon. It will be nice to have the place to myself. I just realized that I am definitely done with the whole "roommate" thing unless it is my future husband (or of course a family member in need). There are just too many issues with space and cleaning and just about everything possible. I have a 2-bedroom apartment right now. I plan on finishing out the lease. I will just have a lot of room. I am in the smaller bedroom right now, but when she is done moving I will have the master bedroom. It is going to be really weird because I have absolutely no furniture except what is in my bedroom-bed, vanity, bedside table, and a desk. That's all she wrote.

I guess I will throw my sleeping bag out on the living room floor and use it as a "couch" when I want to watch cable :) Or maybe I will just draw pictures and lay them around the room where the furniture should be. Either way, I will have fun because the apartment has a tendency to echo when it is empty (which always confuses people when they are on the phone with me. Try explaining to someone why you sound like your in a cave when you're actually at home...and it is because your furniture in the living area consists of a sleeping bag and pictures of the furniture that should be there). After a while they will get used to it. Anyways, a year ago I was living in a different apartment and the only furniture I had there was a bed (after the first 8 months of sleeping on the floor). Everyone knew exactly who I was (and where I was) when I talked to them-based on the echo; I call it free caller ID.

27 December 2005


You may have noticed that I have changed quite a few things in my blog. A friend of mine was just fired from his job because of his blog. His supervisors stumbled upon his blog, and because he mentioned specifics about his job (company name) and had his picture posted, they had enough to fire him for it. The day that I deleted the pictures off of my blog he did the same-removing anything that could reveal where he worked, etc. I guess it was too late because his supervisor had printed copies of his blog before it was changed.

I have realized that I must be very careful as to what I include in this blog. I think I have done a pretty good job of keeping my identity a secret since I deleted the pictures. I have also changed my profile to keep my identity somewhat more of a "secret."

Anyways, today was another pretty boring day. I am really starting to get psyched about New York. I really need to start figuring out what I need to pack. I am paranoid, as I stated in my previous post about the airplane ride. I packed my first aid kit that I have to bring with. It includes some stuff like band aids and gauze, a bare-bones OB kit, and a CPR kit including a BVM. I think I am completely overreacting, but I would rather be prepared than stuck with doing CPR without a BVM, or having a woman in labor and not having the essentials. Yeah, I just can't help myself.

So, now that I am completely finished overreacting, I am going to go pack normal things-like clothes :)

26 December 2005

New York, New York

Absolutely nothing to talk about today. I watched Billy Madison. It was good-as always.

I am going to New York City for New Years!!! I am very excited. I leave Thursday night at 2000. I have only been to New York once, and I was only there for maybe 24 hours. I went there with a friend of mine for the Fourth of July. I stayed in the ghetto of East Harlem, walked to Times Square at 0300, and walked practically the whole of Manhattan the next day, visiting Ground Zero, and admiring the different areas of the city. We watched the fireworks and then headed back out of the city for our long drive back home.

My biggest fear about this whole trip is the flight out there. It really has nothing to do with 9/11. I think I have had this fear for as long as I can remember. Now I not only fear the airplane ride itself, but the possibilities of things that could happen during the flight. For example-somebody having chest pain and coding on me...a woman going into labor (premature labor would be the worst) or someone having an asthma attack. Every possibility has run through my mind. I decided that I will just have to pack my carry on very carefully. I plan on having my CPR mask for sure. I have a pretty compact OB kit that I will most likely carry also. I hope the airplane has an AED and other first aid supplies on-board. I may even ask the flight attendant before we board the plane. I think I am completely overreacting, but if I don't bring these things along, something will happen. So, I figure if I bring my first aid stuff with, it will be a nice, quiet flight. :)

This time, I am going with a friend that used to live in Long Island. We will be staying with one of his friends there. He knows the area pretty well.

You should all watch for us at Times Square when the ball drops. We are planning on wearing our turnout gear so that we don't freeze our butts off. We shall see. If you see two drunken people in turnout gear being obnoxious, that is probably us....yeah. Good times.

I should probably start making a list of things to bring so I don't forget anything....

25 December 2005

Christmas Day

I woke up this morning pretty late. It was about 1000. I was woken up by my phone-it was my mom. We opened presents together while we talked on the phone. It's not quite like a usual Christmas, but it's the best we could do. We were kind of rushed because they needed to be somewhere at 1100 for brunch. It was enjoyable all the same. I got a nice book, a video about firefighting, and some miniature fire trucks. A good Christmas for the most part.

After that I went back to bed for a few hours. I was just tired and kind of bummed that it was all over. Around 1500 I went over to a friend's house to hang out. We had a few drinks, watched part of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Backdraft, and Ladder 49. I came back home around 2100. I didn't do much after that. I sat back and admired my Christmas tree, did some reading (I am currently reading "Lights and Sirens" by Joan E. Lloyd and Edwin B. Herman. So far, so good).

Enough of the holidays for me. I'm finished. Hopefully next year they will be better :)

24 December 2005

The Grinch

I almost forgot it was a holiday today. I finally managed to get my tree up. I had to tie it to two tables in a corner so the cat can't take it down when he pounces it. Me: 1, Cat: 0. It looks really nice. I tried to take pictures so I could post one, but I couldn't get a good one that showed all the lights, etc. So much for that. Basically, for those who didn't read the previous post about the tree-it has red, white and blue lights, 4" American flags all over it, blue ribbons, red, silver, and blue baubles, and firefighter ornaments. The tree skirt is made of material with the memorial for 9/11 on it. It really is beautiful.

I haven't done much of anything today-especially not holiday related. I did laundry, swept & mopped the kitchen and bathroom, cleaned the living room and my bedroom, and vacuumed the entire apartment (minus the roommates room). I stripped my bed to wash everything-I even flipped the mattress; and baked cookies. This is just ridiculous. I'm just trying to keep my mind off the fact that it is indeed a holiday and I am, indeed, alone. Oh well.

I spoke with most of my family on the phone tonight. They all went to church together and passed the phone around once they got back home. Then they put it on speaker phone and all yelled "Merry Christmas" to me before they hung up to eat dinner. I sat on my bed and cried. I had my little pity party and now I'm done. It just doesn't seem fair that I couldn't spend the holiday with my family-biological or at the fire department.

I feel like the Grinch stole my Christmas already (and it's technically not even here yet). I was supposed to go to midnight mass tonight but that fell through too. Oh well. I might go tomorrow morning. One of my friends that works at an ambulance company in the city gets off around 0800, so we might go to mass together. That would be okay.

Then I plan on being a drunken mess for the rest of the day. We are going to watch movies and drink...that's all. Good times. I guess it's better than thinking about what my family is doing-sitting down to brunch together, opening presents, talking about the "good old days" and having a huge Christmas dinner. My Christmas Eve dinner was Ramen noodles. It will probably be the same tomorrow. Maybe I will be in better spirits (ha, ha) after a few drinks with a buddy tomorrow. We always have a good time hanging out together-he's like my big brother. Always watching over me...that's good.

Well, I'm going to go stare at the dryer until it stops :) Or maybe I will find something constructive to do. Who knows. Merry Grinchmas...

23 December 2005

Not Quite Christmas

Holidays-almost over. Yeah! This year they just seem all around disappointing. I'm not excited about them coming, and it always seems to be a let down when they're over with. I just can't win. Maybe next year. We'll see.

The weather has actually been rather nice the past couple of days. It was 41 degrees today. I was asked today whether I still believe in Santa. I thought it was an odd question, but it gave me something to ponder for a while anyways. This time of year used to be so magical-so perfect. There was nothing that could ruin the season. It seems like it was never too cold, there was always snow for Christmas, Santa always brought the right toys, and family was always there.

I guess this is what happens when you grow up. Losing the magic sucks. There is nothing to look forward to in the holidays anymore but too much traffic and too many people in line at the store. Yeah, so if you haven't noticed I'm still kind of "bah humbug" about this whole holiday thing. Things can only get better.

Happy holiday's to all! It's almost Christmas Eve...

22 December 2005

Bah Humbug

Yeah, as you have probably noticed I haven't posted in several days. I think I am just getting depressed about the holidays- seeing as they are right around the corner. Oh well. I plan on going to midnight mass with my guys from the fire department, so that will be my Christmas celebration.

I haven't done anything interesting at all. I've been reading a lot of books. I have even watched some TV. I know I'm bored when I start to watch TV. I will be happy soon-hopefully.

All I want for Christmas is a WORK RELEASE!!!

Well, Happy Holidays to all!

19 December 2005

Cabin Fever

Why can't I just go back to work tomorrow???

I am so bored. I actually got some stuff done today so I guess that's okay. I went to a uniform store in downtown Waukegan to get my National Registry patches sewn on. They look much better than my other patches. Yeah!

I have been burying myself in books all day....and surfing the internet. I think I am finally done with Christmas shopping. I got an online order "shipping" confirmation for an order I placed a couple of days ago. The only problem with it was that one of the items that was on my "order" confirmation wasn't on the shipping form. Damn it. It was a really cool present for a very special person too :(

I can't believe it's almost the new year. My resolution for now is just to get back to work. I'm so bored being at home-I am completely and utterly non-productive. I get less done when I'm off work than when I'm working. It really doesn't make any sense, but it's true.

I think I will watch "Mother, Jugs and Speed" tonight. Everyone keeps telling me to watch it, but I still haven't, and it's two years later. I guess now is as good a time as ever.

On a side note, if you have been keeping up with this blog you may have noticed some changes. I have removed almost all of the pictures that were previously posted-just a precaution. I have heard about a lot of people being fired from their jobs because of things in their blogs and I don't want it to happen to me :)

17 December 2005

Let the Good times roll

I have done absolutely nothing today. Yeah. I have absolutely nothing to talk about....um.....

Oh yeah...I watched Reno 911. (This is really stupid, but whatever). One of the guys on the show said, "Two words: Plumbing." Yeah, I just started laughing like I belonged on the psych ward and my friend that was visiting just gave me a look like, "yeah, refresh my memory...why am I over here?"

Anyways, I need to go get ready for my big night out on the town. Tonight is a Christmas party in the city for an ambulance company that one of my friends works for. I didn't even go to my own company Christmas party (that's probably because they didn't have an open bar :) ).

We're taking the train down, so it could get interesting. I'll give an update tomorrow at some point. It will probably be late...I plan on sleeping it off until at least noon.

16 December 2005

Christmas Shopping

I will be so relieved once the holidays are over. I think I am finally done shopping. Thank God. My mom left to go back home today. It seemed like she was only here for a couple of days even though, in reality, she was here for almost a week. Hopefully I will be able to find a way to go home for Christmas, but it is looking grim. Oh well. It's just another day. I have a Christmas party to go to tomorrow, so that will be fun....Yeah....nothing good is happening here. Maybe tomorrow will be more exciting.

15 December 2005

Early Morning

This morning sure rolled around awfully early. I don't think I even went to bed until after 0500. I was helping my mom fill out online applications for hospital jobs in the area.

I was woken up about an hour later by my pager. It was a 10-50. Then they called for a general alarm for a second rescue call. Then another general alarm for a medic to the scene. About 45 minutes after that they got another rescue call and a true alarm. I think there may have been another rescue call or two in there after that also.

Either way, they were super busy. I think they had a total of seven or eight calls today. That is crazy for our department. I wish I would have been working. Oh well. I will be soon enough I suppose.

My cat's appointment went well-except that he has gotten rather fat (16 pounds!!!). Oh well. What can you do.

No more plans for the evening. Hopefully a quiet night and some relaxation with my mom before she has to go back to Wisconsin.

14 December 2005

Bathtime Fun

Yeah. I really have nothing interesting to say about today. I finally decided it was time for my cat to have a bath. He has to go to the vet tomorrow for a comprehensive exam so he might as well be clean.

The poor cat had been tortured all day. I had to show my mom our stupid games like "spin the kitty," "Cat-a-polt," and "cat in a bag." Yeah, just so you know, no animals were harmed in these games :). Then it was bathtime. I climbed into the tub with him and soaked him down, and started scrubbing away. By the time I got the shampoo on him he looked completely defeated. He just sat there with his ears back-all upset. Oh well. Then I had to cuddle him in warm bath towels until he was finally somewhat dry. Good times. (Pictures below). He also had to be tortured by the toothbrush. He definitely didn't like that. I guess I wouldn't either, the toothpaste is "malt" flavored. Yuck.

Other than that I have absolutely no good stories. I'm currently reading "EMS 2: the life of your job" by Devin Kerins. So far it is pretty good. I already read his first book "EMS: the job of your life" which was very good. I would definitely recommend it to EMS personnel and their families-the lay people as well.

Crazy Kitty

Poor little Cinders after his bath

Cinders again

13 December 2005


I can't believe it's true. I'm finally a real live firefighter!!!

I got to the fire station around 1815. There were already a few other recruits there helping to set up chairs, bring out the flags, and get the computer set up for the slide show. Our instructors ushered us all into the training room to talk about the ceremony.

Seeing as we all love diagrams, and my instructor is especially proficient at drawing them (this one's for you Aleisha :) ). She showed us how we were to walk in and where we would sit, etc. The recruits from the other department got their badges....we weren't quite so lucky. No badges for us tonight. There weren't enough to go around. So, basically we still looked like recruits, only now we had a button up shirt. Oh well.

We lined up in reverse alphabetical order (as if normal alphabetical order isn't hard enough). I felt like I was lining up for recess in kindergarten. After a few quick words from the Chief we were on our way out into the bay-where our graduation was being held.

The ceremony was like any other; a prayer from one of our Captains and the pledge of allegiance; words of wisdom from our instructors, the chief, etc., and then they called us each up individually to receive our certificates. After that we watched a slide show from the class-pictures from trainings and stuff. It was pretty good; the end of the slide show was pictures of us individually. They were basically a bunch of mug shots because they felt it necessary to take these right after we completed our Mod C & Hazmat classroom exam.

After the ceremony we all mingled with family and friends. My mom, and two of my close friends went out for drinks and appetizers at TGI Friday's. Good times-right? Yeah, until you hear what my mom put us through (one of my friends graduated with me). She said she was going to the restroom. In reality she was talking to the host and waiter-telling them that we were new graduates from the fire academy ("new firefighters") and would like them to announce it to the restaurant. Let's just say it was a little embarrassing...but we got a lot of claps and cheers- and congratulations as people passed our table.

I got some spiffy graduation presents. I got a really nice figurine from my mom-it has a female firefighter with a little girl and her doll. I also got a fire truck and ambulance-both of which have horns, sirens, play music and talk ("ETA 3 minutes..." "Let's roll..."). They also can move. They have enough power with the push of one button to cross my entire kitchen floor and make it to the carpeted hallway-I'm impressed. I also got a "firefighter kit." It had a bunch of cool stuff; a fake axe, radio, whistle, fire extinguisher, etc. Good times. Maybe I'll bring that axe to my first fire. You know what they tell you in the academy, "Never get off the apparatus without at least one tool in your hands." I don't think my officers would be too impressed. But it might be worth the laughs (so long as it wasn't a real fire).

Tomorrow will be my first official day as a firefighter (as far as my fire department is concerned). I still have to get my state results to be completely official, but I'm allowed to go on engine calls now. Yeah!!!

12 December 2005

Magical IV

I overheard a really stupid conversation today that I thought would be worth to share. I was at the acute care center getting a shot for a migraine when I started to hear commotion in the next curtain over. The lady had really high blood pressure-180/120, so they wanted to start a line on her. I was listening to the nurse and the patient:

Patient: "what do I need that for?"

Nurse: "we need to give you some medicine for your blood pressure."

Patient: "Can I just get some water....would that help? I can't go to the hospital-I have things to do."

Nurse: "No...that's not going to help-you need an IV. Let me see your arm."


Nurse: "I don't see too many....I can feel one, but you can never use those, they always roll....that one looks good. A little poke."

Patient: "With that needle??? That's a big needle."

Nurse: "Little poke 1...2..."

Patient: "Ow!!! (explicative, explicative)"

Nurse: "It's blown."

Yeah...talk about a stupid nurse. I'm sure she was going for the smallest little nonexistent vein in her hand, while she probably had a huge AC or vein in her arm, but you know-since you can feel it, you can't use it. Wow. They never told me that in medic class....I should really stop feeling for veins and just go for the ones I see :)

The rest of the day was uneventful. I got to pick up my class B uniform at the station for graduation tomorrow. I can't believe it's already time. Yikes. I look really professional in it. I don't think it has completely kicked in yet, but after I tried on my uniform today it started to sink in-I'm a firefighter now!!! Well, as of tomorrow anyways.

I go for my second epidural tomorrow at 1330. Then I have just enough time to recover before graduation. I am just really psyched. I'm so glad my mom is here to see this. I am actually almost proud of myself-and okay with that.

My time is finally here! Tomorrow is the big day. I will post pictures soon!

10 December 2005

What do you mean- Mod "M"???

I think I slept for two hours last night. I woke up at 0530 all twisted in bed and my neck was killing me. I took a flexeril and went back to sleep. I then woke up at 0700 to get ready for the exams.

I carpooled with a really good friend of mine-we've been carpooling for all the exams since we started class. The ride there was uneventful, just more "low traction" warnings from my car. We got to the fire station around 0830; the test started at 0900. We studied for a few minutes and went in. There were tons of people there...I'd say at least 70, waiting to take a test, whether FF II, FF III, Vehicle Ops., etc.

I was sitting one row from the back of the classroom (it's a big classroom). The proctor was handing out exams; he handed them out according to what exam you were taking, and then by alphabet if there were a lot of people taking that test- such as Firefighter II Mod C. He handed out a few sporadic tests and then started with the Mod C exams. He went in sections:

He called out "A through D......E through M...N through U....T through Z...."

Normal procedure; I'm just waiting to get my damn test so I can get it over with.

There were two guys sitting behind me and one next to me that were completely dumbfounded as the proctor was calling out "A through D......E through M...." I knew one of the guys from medic class- he happened to be one of the adjunct instructors when I went through it. Anyways, I caught part of their conversation. Here it is:

"What test are they calling out for?"

"I don't know, I think firefighter II"

"Well that guy over there is already a firefighter II, why does he have a test?"

"Because he got his test when they were calling out for instructor I, dumbass"


In the background, the proctor is saying, "is there anyone else for firefighter II, E through M?"

One of the guys said, "Wow, when I took firefighter, there was only firefighter I."

One of the others said, "When I took it, there was firefighter II, but we only had mods A, B, and C. I'm glad I got through the academy when I did....Only three mods....now there’s a mod M???"

The guy sitting next to me turned around and said, "No....um...I think they are just calling out for alphabetical order because I definitely didn't take a mod M last semester."

I just didn't quite know what to think. These guys are supposed to be "firefighters" and have passed the classes, and are there for an advanced test. Yet, they can't figure out that when the proctor is calling out "E through M" that it is in alphabetical order since there were over 50 of us taking the same test. Yeah, definitely scary that they're out there protecting and serving the public :) I mean, come on, use your common sense. Maybe they had just gotten off shift, or had a long night, or whatever, but talk about being stupid.

I took the Mod C test first. I didn't think it was really too bad, only a few questions that I really had to think about. Yes! One test down. I walked up to the proctor, turned in my test, signed the testing sheet, and received my other test-Hazmat. This one I can't really say whether I did well or not. I know I didn't ace it, but hopefully I passed it.

After the test, we headed towards home. The guy I was carpooling with was going almost 60 in a 45. I knew the area and how much it was patrolled from when I go around there in the ambulance. I was like "slow it down a little. There are cops everywhere around here; you're going to get us pulled over." We pulled off this stretch onto another road and sure enough a cop pulls up behind us and lights it up. Shit. Everything possible is running through my mind "....it's my car, he's driving it...I've never been pulled over before...I don't even know what my registration is....insurance card I think is in the glove box....what do I do....does he need my license...god do I look like a jackass...I hope I don't get a ticket...wait, I wasn't driving...etc, etc."

The cop came up to the window: "license please....do you know why I pulled you over...you were going 59 in a 45...I'll be right back." About two minutes later the cop came back, "the best I can do for you is give you a warning; try to slow it down a little, okay." Whew....that could have sucked. I was freaking out. My friend was cool and calm like he'd done it a thousand times.

I have a feeling why he didn't get a ticket. I have everything planned out with my car just in case I get pulled over. On the back window there is my fire department's sticker, and a separate fire/rescue sticker. On my bumper there is a NREMT-P sticker. I keep a jump bag, small first aid bag, and fire gear in my trunk. And I keep my trusty ERG in my glove box, which also contains some first aid stuff such as a CPR mask and gloves. I also have all my certifications (EMT-P, PALS, ACLS, BTLS, CPR, NREMT-P, my department ID card, and of course, my badge- in my wallet. I win. This time anyways.

If I had been driving I know the situation could have turned out different. Since I have never been pulled over, I wouldn't have known what to do. I probably would have been crying and would have just handed the cop my wallet and the full contents of my glove box, seeing as I have no idea which piece of paper is my registration. So, all in all, this was quite a lot less embarrassing than it had the potential to be.

Tomorrow we are at ComEd in the burn tower. Good fun. It is going to be really cold though because it is right on lake Michigan. Hopefully it won't be a long day-especially considering I have to be there at 0700. Not a good time for me.

09 December 2005

Definition of Success

I'm bummed out about my Mod C & Hazmat test. I just can't come to terms with a grade in the 80s. I really just need to get over myself, but oh well. I think I set my standards too high.

I read a quote today that stated "Success is whatever you think it is. No one else's definition is worth anything. Only you can decide whether you succeeded." It made me think long and hard. A lot of times I do base my success off of what other people think of me. It is nice to get a pat on the back; and every once in a while I can accept the praise. Other times, people say "good job," but all I can think of "it wasn't that great" or "I definitely could have done better." I'm not sure what I can do to make myself realize that I'm doing okay, that I'm still new at this job, and nobody can be perfect all the time. I'm always really good at reassuring everyone else, but I'm not so good at doing the same for myself-something to work on I suppose.

Things happen for a reason. I will do the very best on my exams tomorrow that I can. I am really wigging out about them right now. I have been staring at my ERG (Emergency Response Guidebook) for about an hour now: trying to learn all the placards, the hazard classification system (and the divisions within each classification), the different ways to identify railcars, trailers, and tankers, the container types for different classes of materials.....I'm exhausted. I think the only thing I can remember for sure is the number to call in case of a hazmat emergency: 9-1-1, use the thumb rule, then 1-800-CHEMTREC. Damn. I wish I didn't have to take both these tests tomorrow. I've definitely got the thumb rule down-can I just test out on that? I promise I'll put a pair of binoculars in my car.

Mod C is another hassle, another story. I have a zillion NFPA codes to remember- I still have to go through the chapters covered in this mod to be sure I definitely know the codes covered. Other than that there really wasn't much to this mod. That is kind of the scary part. The less material-the more detail you need to know. Basically we covered: Fire prevention/pub ed, incident command, alarms/communications, ropes & knots, and terrorism awareness/ FF survival. Way less material than either of the previous modules. I will probably be up all night studying.

There once was another quote that I lived by, but today it is not making my situation any easier. "The problems of today will only be solved when we resolve ourselves to focus on tomorrow." The only problem with that is just that....today's problems are tomorrow!!!

I should probably stop jibber-jabbering and study, but I probably need this break so that I don't completely freak out and end up walking around the apartment complex, in the snow, naked, reciting NFPA codes....ha, ha. Very funny.

Not to worry-I will just light some candles and try to relax, read a book (not a school book) for a few minutes, and then get back to work.


Yeah, so I just tried to light a candle and almost burned my finger off. Ouch. You know, those candles in a jar, that you have to reach an inch inside it to get to the wick....yeah, I tried to use a lighter (a mini-lighter at that) and totally burned my thumb. I think I'm getting a blister :( What an ass.

So much for the relaxation. The candles are lit though, as is my finger, and I believe I have finally wasted enough of the precious time (now only 10 hours until my exams) messing around and procrastinating.

I do have some good news though....I stayed in a holiday inn express last night.....No. Actually the good news is this: whether I get an 80 or a 100 on the exams tomorrow I will still be a firefighter when this is all over with. As they say: whether you graduate at the top or at the bottom of your class, you still graduate as a firefighter. I guess that's true. The count down to graduation is now four days. Wow.

We have one more practical before graduation. We are having live burns at the ComEd facility in Zion on Sunday. We will just be burning pallets and hay, etc. in the burn towers, but fun all the same.

I'm still not even sure I will be able to get my car unstuck to get to the exam tomorrow morning...shit. Hopefully I will, considering the test is an hour away in Mundelein. And I sure hope we don't get anymore snow tonight to slow my progress anymore. Okay, now that I'm done being completely pessimistic, I'm gonna go study :)

08 December 2005

Traction Control

Not too bad of a day. I guess I'm kind of saying that sarcastically. I didn't accomplish anything. The weather channel said we were supposed to get 1-3 inches of snow today. Okay, I can deal with that. It looked horrible outside by 1500. Great. Just what I wanted to drive in to get to class tonight. It just got worse as the evening progressed.

I tried and tried to study- or at least look over my quizzes, etc. for my Mod C and Hazmat test for tonight. I didn't get very far- I kept getting queasy and running to the toilet before I vomited all over myself. I'm not sure if it was about the test or maybe the flu, but thank God I'm feeling a bit better now.

Driving to class was ridiculous. Tonight, since it was a test night, the class was held at a neighboring department. (This department sends their recruits to our academy) I'm glad it was so because this station is much closer to my apartment than my station. I think it took me 20 minutes to go 3 miles- no joke. None of the roads seemed to have even been touched by a snow plow.

I got to class just on time. We waited. And waited. My instructor forgot that class wasn't at our station tonight-so he was late. Isn't that funny. We got through "review" and took our test. I had a really bad feeling once I turned mine in that I didn't do well at all. Then I waited about 15 minutes for the rest to finish. Our instructor gave us another lecture on how "chiefs have their monthly meetings and talk about everybody" and about things previous students got wrong on the state Mod C test. Good times. Not. I was just ready to go home and go to bed. Shortly there after we got our scores- mine was above an 80 so I was okay. Most of the others didn't fare quite so well. As long as I can pull that off on the state test on Saturday- I'm good to go. We shall see.

Driving home was even worse than coming. I think we probably got six inches of snow by now. My car wasn't designed for the snow. I drive a Chevy Cobalt...not good traction. I warmed up my car while I brushed off the snow. My car almost got stuck leaving the department right as I was pulling into the road; my tires were spinning. My car has a little computer thingy that tells the temperature, mileage, etc. on it. I also discovered several weeks ago that when it drops below 33 degrees it says "ice possible." Tonight, as I slid onto the road, it said "low traction." I was just like, "No shit, Sherlock." My car was all over the place. I rode it in second gear all the way home, and currently I think it is stuck in the parking space I put it in. The butt of the car was sticking out about three feet because I couldn't pull up any farther because I was stuck...oh well. I'll let the maintenance people deal with it tomorrow.

I see some good R & R happening now with some hot chocolate...mmm

06 December 2005

No IV? No Problem!

I just had a fleeting memory of a call that I thought I should share. A few weeks ago, my partner and I were called to a local nursing home for something....can't remember what (maybe hypertension, vomiting, maybe a nosebleed). Anyways, we did our normal assessment get our stuff together, package the patient and get him out to the rig. It had already been a horrendously long day and both of us were pretty spent (both physically and mentally).

Once in the rig, I started doing my paperwork as my partner did vitals etc. The guy's B/P was around 200/120- definitely something to note. His blood glucose was around 365. Great. We tried multiple times to get a line and couldn't get one. We couldn't help out his blood pressure because we couldn't get a line to give him any drugs; and we couldn't give him fluid to help his glucose because his pressure was so high. My partner, out of the blue, was like, "Well, it doesn't really matter if we get a line. We can give him glucagon IM." I actually had to think for a few seconds. She is the "senior medic" and all, but I wasn't sure if she was serious or if she was testing me. I thought, maybe she knows something I don't (was I asleep for that part of class?). I gave her a strange look....she gave me one back. Yeah, she totally didn't mean to say that. I guess that's what a long day will do to you. We both had a really good laugh about it, and then headed out to get some more coffee. I'm laughing about it now :) It may not seem that funny, but I guess you had to have been there.

Tonight I taught for the EMT-B class in Waukegan. It was their final night for testing out on practicals. I got assigned to medication administration: nitro, epi-pen, and inhaler. I tested out probably 20 students when one of the lead instructors came over the radio and asked me to come to his office (uh-oh). I was just being switched stations. Medical assessment was getting backed up, so I tested about 15 students out on that before the night was over. For the most part the students did well. A few barely made it, but I didn't have to fail anyone.

It is crazy to think that there are so many students going through this class each semester. There are three classes per year (fall, spring, and summer). Each class I think graduates an average of 35 people. That seems like an awful lot for half of the county. I don't know where all these kids go after they're done with class. There certainly aren't that many job openings around here. They must go further south or just take the class for the education-not to practice. Strange.

I can't believe just how cold it is getting outside. We probably have about six inches of snow on the ground now, and it is about 10 degrees. Yuck. I am not the biggest fan of the cold. I had absolutely no desire to leave the house today- I was ultimately forced. Some days I have to wear so many layers I can barely walk properly. The good news is- if I happen to slip and fall on a patch of ice, I will be well padded- although I probably won't be able to get up without assistance. I guess that's why god made cell phones :) "911....I've fallen and I can't get up....I'm not injured I just um...yeah....can't get up." That would be embarrassing. At least I'd be warm while I waited for them.

05 December 2005

Trapped in a High School

Got tons of stuff done today. Yeah!

I got everything figured out with my doctor about my back. You know, bills, appointments, stuff for work. Then I went and scheduled all my classes for next semester. It took forever. I went back and forth, back and forth between advisors, admissions, and registration. Transcripts. Yuck. Somehow they didn't get transferred properly so now all my prerequisites aren't on record at the new college. Damn. I got it settled now though. Thank god. I got all the classes I wanted and I can't wait to start. Bring in on! :)

Class was actually quite interesting tonight. The guy that came to teach was from Abbott laboratories. He has something to do with hazmat, but is also a part of the lake county bomb squad that I guess also has something to do with terrorism. Anyways, we went over all the basics that I have already learned; suspicious packages, secondary devices etc. This is the third time I have taken a terrorism awareness class- but I still enjoy it. The instructor showed us slides and clips from demonstrations he did at training- with letter bombs, pipe bombs, and some even using the same chemicals they used in the Oklahoma City bombing. We also talked about the world trade centers (the first bombing and 911).

A lot of the things that we talked about are kind of scary. If I wasn't the type of person I am I think this probably would have creeped me out a bit. I mean, if you think about it, we study what the terrorist does, and thinks, etc. They show us videos on how to make pipe bombs, letter bombs, and teach us the ins and outs of what these people do. It made me look twice at the people that were in my class. These types of classes are the perfect opportunity, for a person that wants to do this sort of stuff, to learn the "right" way of doing it. Scary.

I finally got my application off the IFSI website for winter fire school last night. The site was just updated with the new schedule and registration forms. I signed up for an SCBA hands-on class. Hopefully I get into it. It seems rather basic, but you can never be too proficient with your SCBA. There were some other interesting classes that were offered, but most were geared toward officers. There is also a lecture on the first night about the tragedy in New Orleans, speaking about what went on, what we did, and what we could do better next time. I think it will be quite interesting.

Lots of bullshit at the fire station recently. Since I'm a girl it seems like I can never be friends with a guy without rumors flying. Most of the people at the station don't have a problem working with a girl. But, of course, there are the select few that feel they are superior to me, even though we have the exact same training, etc. They have that attitude like "know your place" and I can't do the job. I must admit, one of the guys was a complete mistake to ever befriend because he has an abnormally large mouth and spreads rumors about anything he can get his hands on. It just doesn't seem right. I feel like I'm back in high school. Actually, it's almost worse than high school. Oh well. I just want to be treated like any one of the guys- because that's what I am. I don't want to be treated differently or given any leeway because I'm a girl. But I guess I will just move on. There are bigger fish in the sea to fry-or something. He's just another idiot that thinks he knows everything and is going to get himself into trouble in the long run. Another abuser of the system- using the department to get his FF II to move on to a bigger department and leave his behind. People just don't seem to have the same morals anymore.

To me, the first department you get on is like your family. You can't just leave them for something better. Yeah, I plan on getting on a full time department as soon as I can, but I certainly won't be leaving my current department behind. They have supported me and helped me to get where I am and where I am going-you just can't forget that. People seem to- all to easily- forget where they came from. I, on the other hand, never plan to forget. I will give back to my community as long as I am able, and plan to stay involved as a poc/ part time even after I move on to full time. I owe this department a lot for training me and supporting me in my decisions as to where I want to go in life. I want to make them proud.

04 December 2005

You Know you're a Medic if....

1) Discussing dismemberment over a gourmet meal seems perfectly normal
2) your idea of a good time is a full code at shift change
3) you find humor in other people's stupidity
4) you believe in aerial spraying of Prozac
5) your idea of comforting a child is to put him in a papoose board
6) you believe that "shallow gene pool" should be a diagnosis
7) you believe the government should require a permit to reproduce
8) you believe chocolate is a food group
9) you believe that unspeakable evils will result if anyone says, "Boy, it sure is quiet around here."
10) when you're out in public and you compliment a stranger on their great veins
11) you have ever referred to someone's death as a transfer to the eternal care center
12) you hate working nights that there is a full moon
13) you think a referral to Dr. Kevorkian is appropriate for this patient
14) you have ever wanted to give a seminar on "Suicide: Doing it right the first time"
15) you have had to leave a patient's room before laughing uncontrollably
16) you think coffee should be available in IV form
17) you have ever tied someone to a bed and it was NOT a sexual experience
18) you believe that "too stupid to live" should be a diagnosis
19) you have referred to a paramedic as a "shit magnet" or "angel of death"
20) you believe that valium should come in the form of salt licks
21) when you mention "vegetable" you aren't referring to a food group
22) you've been exposed to so may x-rays that you say, "No I don't have to be concerned about birth control"
23) you've heard someone state " I have no idea how that got stuck up there"
24) you have all your weekends marked and planned for the year (what weekends)
25) you encourage an obnoxious person to sign AMA just so you don't have to put up with them
26) you make bets with your partner that you can make the next patient sign AMA
27) you use your status to get out of a speeding ticket
28) you use your status to get into the movies free or get a discount at a restaurant
29) you use the word "Gomer" in a sentence more than once in a shift
30) you know what "Gomer" means
31) you believe you could have flown around the world 1000 times with all the frequent flier miles your patients are racking up
32) you have ever bet on someones blood alcohol level
33) if you've ever won the bet
34) you ask a completely intoxicated patient how much they've had to drink and they say "two beers"
35) you see a coworker outside of work and you say "I didn't even recognize you with your clothes on" or "So, that's what you look like in clothes"
36) you can eat a full three course meal in less than 5 minutes
37) you have reheated that meal more than 3 times before you actually got the five minutes to eat it
38) you need lube and it's not a sexual experience
39) you have said "give me more pressure" and it's not a sexual experience
40) you enjoy working a full code because its a "good workout"
41) you compare the vomit in a full arrest to the exorcist
42) you have MRSA of the everything
43) you've ever been told you look like a prison guard
44) your uniforms take up more room in your closet than your street clothes
45) you own more than two pairs of steel toed boots
46) you have a window punch, seatbelt cutter, cpr mask, and gloves-all on your keychain
47) you actually have a good time with a psych patient
48) you actually believe that sleep is overrated
49) you can only identify where you are by what your wearing
50) you have partial hearing loss from the sirens
51) you wake up every two hours thinking you have a call- even on your nights off
52) you know the McDonald's menu from memory
53) the gals at Dunkin donut's know what you order and have it ready for you when you arrive
54) you run errands on duty to make use of the "fire lane: no parking" so you don't have to walk as far
55) you know what a GI bleed smells like
56) you think of gangrene and necrosis every time you use bleach
57) you critique shows and movies such as ER or Ladder 49 down to the last detail of what they did wrong
58) you actually enjoy pressing the "shock" button because it gives you power
59) CPR is a game: who can make the biggest wave on the monitor
60) you do anything to your patients like the cops do on Super Troopers....right meow???
61) you get so used to your bed at work you have a hard time sleeping at home
62) you believe CTD (circling the drain) and TDN (taking a dirt nap) should be approved abbreviations
63) you enjoy pushing narcan because it's like bringing back the dead

Good times. I keep adding to this list I keep in my journal at home. It has actually gotten rather long. Not much excitement today. I just can't wait to get back to work. Hopefully in the next week or two. Tomorrow I finally sign up for classes for next semester-yeah! Anyways, I need to get back to my busy life of nothing, so I will write more nonsense tomorrow.

02 December 2005


Just a note- I may change my settings so that only blogger.com or registered users can comment. I have had some ( actually 1) unwanted/unsolicited comment(s) recently and would prefer to keep the comment section related to my life regarding my work. My personal life is just that-personal, and I would like to keep it that way. I started this blog to express myself through my work, and I think I have done a pretty good job of that. The only personal things that have started to leak into this blog really aren't all that personal. And basically the only reason these have leaked is because I am out of work due to a back injury-which you would know if you have kept up with this blog :). I just want constructive comments, etc., you know what I mean-okay? Otherwise I will have to set some guidelines regarding who can comment and what will actually get posted in the comments section of the page. More later.


I also added a guest book at the very bottom of the page-please sign and add your blog address if you have one-if I like it, I just might add it to my links.


Pretty boring day. I have gotten some relief with my new meds for my back. (Thank God!) The only bad thing is that I feel so toasted it is hard to do normal daily things. I'm just ready to get off all these meds and get back to work. Good news-my cat still hasn't knocked over the Christmas tree. Yeah! I can't believe it. Hopefully this is a good sign that it will actually last after I get all the ornaments on it too.

It has gotten really cold. We even have a small amount of snow on the ground. When I went out today I think it was 17 degrees. I don't know what the wind chill was, but it felt really cold.

I tried watching the movie National Treasure, but I couldn't get comfortable enough on the couch or chair to sit through the movie. Oh well. I'll try again another day.

I have class tomorrow: Ropes and knots. I wish I would have been practicing my knots the past few weeks because I'm really not the best at them. If I don't practice every once in a while I totally forget how to do them. Class starts at 0800- hopefully we will be out by noon. I need to study my Hazmat stuff too. I hope we don't have a quiz on it tomorrow because I haven't looked over the placards or anything yet.

Only 11 more days until graduation! The lady from the department that does the uniform ordering called for our sizes yesterday. I'm just so excited. Most of my family won't be able to make it for my graduation since I live so far away from everybody. My mother is the only one so far that is definitely coming. Oh well. I really wish my grandfather could be there because I know this is really important to him. I will now be a third generation firefighter in my family. That's pretty cool.

01 December 2005

Another ER visit

My day started out shitty. I definitely should have stayed in bed. Let's see. The first indication: breakfast. I was sitting there just minding my own business, eating my cereal. Then- here comes the cat. I picked him up to move him off the counter so he wouldn't try to drink the milk in my cereal. That was mistake number one. Do you ever get that feeling that as soon as you do something you know you shouldn't have-only it's two seconds too late? It happened all too fast. The cat's foot went into the cereal bowl and knocked it down. The milk and cereal spilled down the side of the counter, all over me, down the wall and all over the carpeting. Great. I sat there for probably 45 seconds before I could actually clean it up-and change into different clothes. At least it got me into the shower quick. I have continued to drop almost everything I have picked up today. Great-just don't give me anything fragile-or anything that I can spill.

Finally made a good dinner tonight. I made pork chops, mashed potatoes, applesauce....mmm. It was good. I also watched the Blue's Brothers. It was pretty good too.

Class was relatively uneventful. Tonight was Hazmat part B. Yeah. We learned about placards and using the ERG (Emergency Response Guide). Good times. That is one of my favorite past-times for car rides...especially long ones. Last summer I went to Manhattan and looked up all the tankers etc. along the way. It's pretty scary what is on the road with us. I knew when to speed up and get upwind :) I think I messed up my back even worse tonight. More later.


Yeah. My back is really bad. I just got back from the ER. Now the pain is radiating down my right leg, my left leg goes numb every once in a while, and I have pain in my hips and into my abdomen. This just sucks. I thought for sure I was going to get stuck being admitted but they were pretty generous to me-seeing as I am a medic :). I drove myself so they really couldn't do a whole lot for me. They gave me a shot of Toradol and a Valium (as a muscle relaxant) for the road. Then I sat at Walgreen’s- well more like wandered around because it hurts too much to sit for very long- for 45 minutes waiting for my prescriptions. The ER doctor gave me Oxycontin, more Norco, and Valium until I see my doctor again. I'm not supposed to see him until the 13th, but I have a bad feeling I will be seeing him much sooner. Dammit.

I am finally home and ready to just relax. I plan on watching "Paramedics" on Discovery health channel and doing some word find puzzles. I might even play Snood for a while or look over my Hazmat stuff. I can't believe I graduate in 12 days. Wow.

It's almost kind of scary realizing that I am going to be a real-live firefighter in less than two weeks. Crazy in fact. I really just can't get over this. We take our Mod C test and the Hazmat Awareness test on the same day. That will probably suck a little bit. Oh well.

I'm really getting excited about next semester. I plan on going back to being a full time student (along with working full time). I signed up for several classes already. I will be taking two online classes: Intro to Sociology and United States History to 1876. I will also be taking classes on campus: Intro to Ballet I, Jazz Technique I, Abnormal Psychology, and Mythology and Fairy tales (English). It seems like a lot, but I figure that the dance classes really don't count because they aren't really classes. They are more just for fun. I pray that my back will be recovered by then. I will need to work really hard in physical therapy to be ready by January 18th when classes start. I think the dance will help me a lot with my poise and balance-maybe make me feel a bit more like a woman-which I think is very important.

I love to indulge my feminine side. Believe it or not I get my nails done every once in a while-tips and all with a French manicure. It does sometimes prove to be a pain after training or a messy call because I'm a little obsessive compulsive about the cleanliness of my hands (and nails). My bedroom is even painted pink, and all my decorations are girly and flowery. I guess since my job is so masculine I need somewhere to express myself (my other side I suppose).

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