Random Wednesday Thoughts. Day after V[F]D.
--I'm older than I've ever been. And now I'm even older.
--There was a "BuyCot" yesterday, as you may have heard. Folks wanted to boycott Starbucks on Valentine's Day for going hands-off on gun-carriers and refusing to impose more restrictions than the state laws already did. Gunnies around the web decided to show support for Starbucks by giving their business. When I went in to get my wife a Great Big 'Un* coffee drink and myself a pound of coffee, I noticed a couple of middle-aged guys sitting about the place wearing vests, and unwinding with their coffee. I'll bet good money that I wasn't the only armed guy in the joint. While Starbucks reports their shares were "flat" yesterday, I'll bet that their revenues for the day took a little jump. But I don't expect them to volunteer such information. If I were Starbucks, I'd be of the exact same position that they've been taking, lately: "Look, we make and serve coffee. Don't drag us into that battle." That's all I want.
--Valentine's Day was yesterday. I heard more backlash over it ("It's just a corporate-induced holiday to sell things and make the fat cats money!", "It's a damned quid pro quo by the women, who expect the man to do something for them if they expect the women to be physically affectionate!") than I ever had before.
--My 13 year old daughter came home with two carnations yesterday. One was from her girl friend, but another was from a boy. She insists that he's "just a friend," and it's true that he hangs with her circle of girl friends a lot, but still, it's her first flower from a boy. She reported that another one of her friends received from her boyfriend a necklace with a diamond and ruby pendant on it. These kids are in 8th grade. I explained to my daughter that if she received such a gift from a boy, she would be returning it.
--My 13 year old had made home-made chocolate truffles in four flavors to give to her friends at school. She then made cute origami boxes with separators and lift-off lids to give them in. That kid's got skills.
--My 9 year old daughter made dinner last night. She pulled out her Mollie Katzen cookbook the other night and reported that she was making the meal, and we were all expected to attend. So, after school yesterday, she set about to making a hearty soup (she modified the vegetable soup to be vegetable beef soup, because she likes meat), a Mediterranean salad, and a rich chocolate desert. She then set our table thusly:
That kid's got skills, too**. Very good soup. I am told that the soup was better this morning, but I was not left so much as a bite.
--I didn't get to finish my bowl of soup. I got a fire page during dinner. It was an alarm at an apartment complex, and those can be nothing, or very, very nasty. I got up and said, "I'll probably be right back," I said. "No, you won't," my wife said. "But go, anyway." She smiled at me. I got there in time to gear up and jump on the engine. This was the first time that I had ridden in what is traditionally the Captain's seat, front right. As I got in, the air horn went crazy. The driver mildly informed me that I was stomping on the horn button on the floor. I moved my foot off in a hurry. The mechanical siren cranked up, LOUDLY, with us still in the firehouse bay. I had moved my foot to another button. How many buttons were there, anyway? (Three, it turns out.) Given the size of my fire boots, the best thing for me to do was to try to tuck my feet up under my seat, which is how I rode to the call. At each intersection, I called out traffic conditions to my side, and tapped the air horn briefly. It was only as I arrived on scene that I realized that I had forgotten to put on the headset.
The fire alarm was inconsequential. It was my first run.
--After going home and getting the girls to bed, I got toned out for another pair of calls. I went back to the station, and found that most of the apparatus and all of the crew were gone to the calls. I checked in on the radio, and was advised to stand by at the station, in case we received another call. I hung out with a lonely brush truck for an hour, while the other guys worked a wreck several miles out of town, and staged for a police call just out of town (but in our fire district). Here I was: a guy that barely knew where the bathroom was (literally, I had to ask last week. I just hadn't needed to use it before, there), and yet I was the sole guy with the penultimate piece of apparatus in the city (there was also a tanker) there to answer fire calls. I laughed at myself (I know I've got a LOT to learn, and don't take myself too seriously). But it made me feel good to be there for the city, if something DID happen. Like a gun of minor caliber ready in a closet or a drawer. Not ideal. Probably not even adequate. But serviceable, and a hell of a lot better than nothing. This is why I volunteer.
--If you're shocked to read that a rookie volunteer firefighter would be given such a responsibility, don't be. That's how lots of volunteer fire departments are. By area, most of our nation's land is served by VFDs
--I've made a vow to myself to be the slowest, most careful apparatus driver in the department.
--I'm waiting for the mail. I have a small paper presentation due in class today, and the text book that I'm referencing for it, which I ordered a week ago, hasn't arrived. I know that it's been en route for two days. If it doesn't arrive by the time I finish this post, I've got to download it on my Kindle, and effectively pay for the same book twice. That galls me. My fault, though. My class starts in three hours. Better hurry, Matt!
--Just checked the mail again. The book has arrived. (And Matt is again rewarded for procrastination, which might not be best.) Got to run.
*I refuse to use their silly terms for size. A big iced mocha is served in a cup that is closer to a quart than to twenty ounces, so "vente" is just stupid. As a bonus, I got to watch the barrista flinch when I said it. I liked it so much, I ordered a second one. Damn, but those things are tasty. My bride liked her afternoon coffee pick-me-up more than the two dozen tulips that I brought to her office.
**Yes, I see the error in the place setting. No, I didn't see it last night. Not sure I would have said anything.