Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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.

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At Wednesday, February 15, 2012 4:50:00 PM, Blogger Chip said...

I was the slowest most careful driver on our department(all full time guys)because I had a chief 30 years ago tell me, "You don't do the victim any good by not getting there if you get in an accident" Those words stuck with me all thru my career.

At Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:07:00 PM, Blogger Tam said...

"The fire alarm was inconsequential. It was my first run."

You can tell me that someplace under all the seriousness and worry there wasn't a ten-year old Matt who was tickled to death to be RIDING ON THE FIRE TRUCK IN A FIREMAN OUTFIT, but I'll be skeptical. ;)

At Friday, February 17, 2012 1:44:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Nailed it in one, Tam. Don't forget that the lights and woo-woos were running, and that I got to run them. :) (Not as big a deal to me as to someone who hadn't already driven a lot of emergency vehicle time. But still, it's different on the engine.)

At Friday, February 17, 2012 4:01:00 AM, Blogger Old NFO said...

LOL Matt, I've got to agree with Tam....

At Friday, February 17, 2012 8:20:00 AM, Blogger Tam said...

Bobbi just said "Now if Matt can be a sea captain and an astronaut, he will have achieved all the career ambitions of every little boy."

At Wednesday, February 22, 2012 2:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting to this late as I have been out of town mucking out my Aunt's house in Oklahoma.

I've missed a couple of Super Bowls, a couple of Thanksgivings, the end of my son's graduation party, done CPR on Xmas morning (and the guy threw up in my mouth... it was supposed to be a pickup and put back and it was just up the street), and countless other little interruptions.

On my first interior attack, we were crawling down the hall of a house in ZERO visibility, it was extremely hot and stuff was falling down on us from the ceiling we couldn't see that was on fire. I was completely of two minds: "What the fuck are you doing here you big dummy" and "this absolutely KICKS ASS!". I was 38 at the time.

Welcome to the party.



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