--Saturday we practiced drafting and water movement at the fire department. It was actually pretty fun. First, we threw up a temporary pool, made of a folding steel frame and rubberized canvas. It was about 10'X20'X3'. I pulled the lever over the chute at the rear of the tanker truck, and we had the tanker emptied in under three minutes, and 3,000 gallons in the pond. We then practiced drafting water from it through the engine, and had guys practice handline technique, refilling the pond. We also nursed the tanker, and used it like an "engine" to pump to a handline. We were taught to have the nozzle man backed up by a hose man, both leaned forward into what looks for all like a stance for shooting SMGs and shotguns. But it was just a piddlin' 1.75" attack hose, so the guy in back wasn't strictly necessary. (NOTE: The guy at the nozzle gets all the glory, but it's the guys behind him that do the real work. If they're doing their job, the nozzle guy has it very easy.)
--When I got on the nozzle, I asked for more pressure. I had my backup guy step away from the hose. I called to the engineer: "More pressure! MOAR!!" They took me to 170psi (100 foot hose), and I finally felt it feel like it might push me over. I wasn't doing it as a stunt; I really wanted to know how much I could handle on my own. Frequently, we arrive at a fire with nobody much to help. An engine might arrive with one engineer and a hose man. I feel very confident about handling a 100 foot 1.75" hose with 150psi. 170, I could do, but I want a really firm place to stand, and I want the engineer to have eyes on me. More than that, and I'll look like this guy, but not having as much fun.
--I noticed that the round analog gauges showed some space for negative pressure, and showed us somewhat above zero when the pumps were off. I asked why. The captain explained that they showed atmospheric pressure. He snapped his fingers to recall it. I mentioned that it was 14.7 pounds, or about 30 inches of mercury. He said, "Yeah, I knew it was somewhere around 20 psi." Later, in the firehouse during whiteboard talk, one of the young cocky guys looked up from his iPhone and announced happily that atmospheric pressure was 14.7 pounds, unlike what I had said. "You said it was about 20 psi!" He crowed. I found myself surprised at irritated this made me. "Look, you might not have been paying attention in school, but my A's in college physics were earned, you little piss-ant," I began. "I could no more forget SATP than I'd forget the speed of c or the distance of an A.U.!" He scurried off.
--My old college roommate had the cork break in his bottle of MacAllan sherry-casked 12 year-old. He called me over. After we reduced the volume, it was filtered and decanted. What a fine way to spend a Saturday evening off.
--My neighbor has offered to put up the rest of my fence for a case of Budweiser. I bought said case, and learned that he drinks longnecks only. So now I've a case (minus two) of Bud red in cans. Maybe we'll cook with it, or just keep it around the house for friends. Eh.
--My daughter was upset that her tennis coach had told the kids that if they skipped the tournament that he set up tomorrow, they were off the team. This after he had changed the date of it. Lots of kids had planned to go on a trip to see a play with the school, and had a mandatory band practice. I found myself sitting in the office with the principal today, saying, "Look, I refuse to slam the instructors in front of my kids, but can we PLEASE back the pressure off my kid a notch, here? She loves it all." She assured me that this would all be worked out to my satisfaction. This would be the first time that I've ever been in the principal's office on either of my kid's behalf. I really meant it when I said that I support them whole-heartedly. I suspect that that sentence is uttered in that office with somewhat less sincerity by some.
--This week we have a board of review for a new officer, which I am to sit on. I'm picking up my partner to have him sit on the board, too. It'll be good to see him back in the saddle in some way, again.
--Asparagus is shooting up out of the ground in our garden at such a speed that one should wear eye protection while about the garden. I'm only sorta joking.