Sunday, December 6, 2009

EVACUATE!! Anyone?

When you are growing up, in school, home, etc. Isn't the typical lesson involvong fire safety and emergency, earthquake, to evacuate immediately?? Yeah...thought so. The latest follie involves those, who couldn't be bothered in an emergency. I was working for a neighboring city, covering their station as they had a funeral for a past fire chief to attend. I was in the utility truck, with my best pals Jake and Ryan. We had a slow day, which involved walking to a gas station, and lunch (thank heavens we ate). We were only a few minutes from getting off shift, when a call came in for an alarm involving "water flow." Typically, to us who take everything worse first, this meant a fire. Water flow=sprinklers trying to extinguish. Or, the less emergent..a pipe break, someone smoked by a sprinkler, BBQ....We jumped in our turnout pants and headed to the call. Now being I worked in this city, according to the address, there was only one way to get to the area in my head, which was to go more north and then south because of the way the subdivisions are set up. This was wrong. We circled around a few times, before finally figuring out it was a business, and finally a hotel. We checked on scene just a minute behind the engine, but still I felt like an idiot. We jumped in our gear, and the incident commander gave us our assignment. My partner Ryan and I headed into the hotel. We went through a side door, to a gush of water streaming down the stairs. We propped a door open to allow it out. We climbed the stairs to the fourth and highest floor where the problem occured. Walking down the hall, was like walking in a shallow river. The water was rushing and about 6 inches deep. We made it to the room where the break had occured, and a fridge was pinned against the door, so the pipe broke with so much force it threw a fridge across the room. We did our assignment, and then doubled back for information on the resdients. No one had evacuated them. Alarms had gone off, water gushing, etc. I know if it were me...I'd be gettin' the heck out. My concern, was the power. We were working on getting it shut off, but we all know about water being a conducter of electricity, so if we had an exposed wire or anything, we'd all (including the residents) be toast. We started up and down the hallways, knocking on doors. Now if a firefighter came to my door, I'd first be embarassed I wasn't already out, but second, I'd grab my spouse and get out. We were met with the same non-chalant responses at almost every door..."what's going on?" "I have to leave?" "What about my stuff?" All while they are laying on their beds since the water is licking at the base of the bedding. They have no idea there could've been a fire elsewhere, and no idea of the electricity situation. This became a long...long process, of evacuating four floors of the slowest people I've ever seen. Then, after power shut off, they wanted to go back in for things. Now, to the high point of the story. Finally, some entertainment you say?? you bet. I walked back into the lobby, in one of my trips in and out, and heard.... "OH MY G--! A FEMALE FIREFIGHTER!! I AIN'T NEVA SEEN ONE BEFORE!!" I looked up, and saw a black gentleman staring at me in awe. I said, "hello sir! nice to see you!" and shook his hand. I kept walking to do whatever our next job was. Then, I'd walk out and would hear a roar of banter from he and his family "there she is!! look at her go!! THE FEMALE!! go PG!!" My partner Ryan just smiling the whole time. At the end of our duty, I saw a news camera following me around. If you are on the news, name and all, you owe the crew ice cream. I hid behind the fire engine, put my air tank away and came out, he followed me more. All while the one family stared in awe at the first female they'd ever seen. I decided to record the news, in case I was either buying ice cream, or getting some free :) It showed a small clip of an interview with a lady saying she had to evacuate. And lo and behold, guess who walks past in the background. The fella who was enamoured by the female firefighter. He threw up a peace sign at the camera and walked past. I smiled to myself, that I made his day, but really, he made mine...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

'til the cows come....snort??

I thought I'd post this, since it's so fresh on my mind. It happened yesterday. The whole time I kept thinking...good blog material here. I started the shift with some exercise. Most days, exercise is required in the mornings we work. This day, we played volleyball. I was pretty bad, seeing how short I am. But I talked some good smack, and gave it a valiant effort...notice the photo of my arm... now that's effort. We did some station jobs, and made some lunch. After that, a call came out. Then another, then another. 3 all at once! We went to a car accident and called for 2 other city ambulances to back us. After that we all came back to the station. I was sitting up in our family room with my friend Chase. A call came out for a fire. We ran downstairs and got our gear on. We headed to the address, and did see smoke. Once we got there, we noticed the property owner trying to burn the reminants of an old camper shell. What was interesting, was that he was blocked in on all four sides by other homes. We stood and surveyed for a bit, on how to get the tiller truck close enough, to the fire. Of course the panicked neighbor is waving and pointing "hey!! blah blah blah, blah blah!!" Can't hear a word, but we laughed that he's probably pointing out the fire to us since we were constructing a plan, he must've thought we couldn't see the giant flames licking and the black smoke. My partner Jake and I, went around back to see if we could access there. there was a barbed wire fence and field, seemed like a no go. But the captain told us it was our best option. What that meant, was a lot of hose dragging. The truck came around, and Jake and I grabbed hose and tools. We got to the fence, which normally we'd cut open but there were two cows in the field. Being in the fire department means, if the cows are loose, we'll probably be the ones to have to wrangle them. Jake said he'd help me over the fence,
and he'd hand me the hose, then he'd hop it. Here's the first folly. Me. Wee me. Climbing a barbed wire fence in all my gear including my airtank, which is all roughly 50lbs. The fence would give, and my gear would pull me backward! Jake was pushing my airtank trying to help me over. He'd tell me which leg to kick, but for some reason, I couldn't move easy. Oh BARBED WIRE...that's why. I finally gained the upper hand and got on top of the fence to where instead of a graceful, professional descent..I fell straight to the ground. Of course, fire, ambulance, trucks with flashing lights all draw a crowd. I'm sure people loved the sight of that. My bag carrying my mask was ripped. I then began to drag the hose through the fence toward the fire. Not being a farmer of any sort, I thought cows just stood and ate grass. No, they were wondering what I was doing on their turf. The were walking up to me, sniffing me and the hose. I was trying to do my job, but not get charged by a cow too! I admit I was a bit nervous. We hooked the hose up and put the fire almost out, to which we ran into some water pressure problems. We sat there for a bit as the engineer figured it out. As the last of the fire smoldered, the cows descended on us.
 They must've been territorial, or were embarrased at the sight of their many cow pies, I still don't know. They were screaming at us and snorting and such. They came down the wee hill, and walked right into the smoldering fire. I assumed they understood me, as I was informing them that area was "hot dudes," but they ignored me. What happened next, I'll never understand, or forget my old man wheezing laugh, when both of them stopped, took a potty break, and a poopy break right in the middle of our fire. They turned around, snorted at us, and walked off, I'm sure laughing. That's what they thought of us I guess. There are a lot of citizens that aren't fans of the fire department. Now I know, a couple of cows too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

House Fire...

Ever heard the term "light at the end of the tunnel..." How about, "nudie calendar at the end of a fire..." yeah, didn't think so on the latter. Here's that story. One icy cold winter morning, a page came out for a house fire. Smoke visible. I was at home, and immediately jumped out of bed. I grabbed my shoes and ran out the door. I drove down to the station, as the first engine and rescue drove to the scene. Yep, they confirmed a house fire. I was pulling on my turnouts along with 4 other firefighters at the station. We all jumped on the second engine, and went en route. I sat in the middle of the front with the Lieutenant and Engineer. As we rounded the corner, I saw it. Thick white billowing smoke! We arrived on scene, and immediately checked in with the Captain. He gave me the job of shutting off utilities. Found the power, shut it off. Found the gas, shut it off. As I was finishing, another firefighter grabbed me, and said he needed a partner in transporting a patient. I jumped in the back of the ambulance, and we sped off to the hospital. The patient had some smoke inhalation, but was otherwise ok. We stopped at the hospital for a quick drop off, and headed back to the fire. The initial flare up had been put out at this point, but the fire had crawled all through the insulation. It was the old blown in paper insulation, so it spread fast. Teams went in two by two to search for the existing fire and put it out. I waited my turn.  Captain Jolley came to me and said, "you're going in, get ready.." I grabbed my mask and helmet and went to the engine compartment that held our air tanks, or SCBA's and grabbed one. I put it beside me, and started to take my mask out. What happened next, I will never, ever forget. I had long hair, and felt someone grab my ponytail and start shoving it down my coat. I felt someone else tucking in my hood. I felt someone else pick up my tank and put it on my back. Someone else, zipping my coat. In fire, we are trained to get our gear on and air pack in under 2 minutes. Our department requires 90 seconds. I bet that was 20 seconds. I had 5 different firefighters encircle me and get me situated. I have never felt so loved and taken care of like I did that moment. I was in disbelief that they cared enough about me, to make sure I was suited up right and safe. I grabbed my tool and partner, and as I left them I felt a few taps on my helmet for good luck. We headed in the front door to a smoke filled mess. We had to pull the ceiling down, do find the crawling fire. I grabbed my tool, a pike pole,
and began ripping the ceiling down, oh yeah, ripping it down. There was a section still burning, and one friend told me to come and knock it down. I walked over, grabbed the nozzle and heard an uproar of muffled laughter as all of them laughed at me trying to lift the nozzle above my head to reach the spot I was aiming for. My height mixed with the water pressure, was quite the dance....We all spent the next 4 hours, pulling down ceiling and knocking out the fire. At the end of it all, there was a large pile, about 5 feet or so, of all the ceiling, wall, light fixtures, and everything we had pulled apart. It was a mushy disaster. As we all stood around it, and surveyed the scene, there was something that caught my eye... On the top of this pile, was a poster, or picture of some sort. I spoke up..."Is that what I THINK IT IS??"  To which I grabbed my flashlight that is attatched to my coat, and shined it on the picture. Yep. It was. A naked woman. A naked calendar. Apparently, it was on a wall, and although we had to tear the whole ceiling and walls down, into sheet rock mush, Miss Nude Nellie survived the hose and plethora of fire tools. In fact, she was nestled into the pile right next to the ceiling fan, or what was left of it. After 5 hours of heat, and hard work, I left that scene with the biggest smile I can remember. Was it the donut
I had during my break outside? No. Was it nude Nellie? No. Was it the 5" hose that came apart and drenched the cop from the waist down? No. Was it the brothers I worked side by side with who took care of me, and watched out for me and trusted me to do the same job? Definately.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I'm sure I drew your attention, by the title of this post. A nifty fire story perhaps? Not so... not yet anyhow. This is a story (another one) of embarassment. Hence, the follies. I'm sure most of you remember the beloved 2002 Winter Olympics here, in Salt Lake City. I remember them fondly, but not in a nostalgic, warm fuzzy. More like a cheek-flushing red kind of warmth. 'Tis yet another folly, of karma. Our ambulance was to be stationed at certain places along the torch route, as different people ran it through the city. Our first stop, was by the hospital, where none other than Donny Osmond himself was running past.
We sat there, freezing, and waiting, freezing and waiting. Finally, a flicker or a spark if you will, of what I thought was the torch. YES! I might be done here soon! No, it was a flicker and a spark from Donny's white teeth and rock hard shine spray in the coiffed hair. Still, he carried the torch. Flashes flickered from all angles as all the ladies in Utah County squeeled and photographed him running past. I looked at my partner and giggled, raised a pointer finger into small circles above my head, and rolled my eyes whilst screaming "WHOOOOPEEEE!" No offense, to you Donny fans out there. Our next job was to take the back roads and station ourselves at another stop, where the torch was lit in the city, and then continued on into another. We made it there to a HUGE crowd. There was a band, speakers, the whole thing as a big celebration of the torch lighting. The other ambulance, got a call into the city. We stayed at our post. Of course, someone all excited and flustered from the celebration, collapsed. We ran to the patient, and started care. We found out, this patient had a heart condition, to which we take very seriously. We loaded the patient up and I was the designated driver for the day. The only route out, was the motorcade behind the torch runner. That was the route I chose since all other roads were blocked with the run and parties and such. I turned on my lights, and followed the procession. I started flipping the siren here and there, as a little "woot woot" to alert the motorcade that I needed to get past, or through. Of course, they think I'm part of it, so I flip the sirens on more. Ifinnlay move out and around it and flip my siren annoyingly, to get through. I look to my right, and through all the mayhem, didn;t notice until now, that the torch runner, was right beside me.
Here she is running along, and her backdrop is an annoying lit up ambulance that looks like a 12 year old hijacked it. I stopped and my cheeks were immediately hot. A motorcycle cop finally noticed once running along side the torch chick, that I was needing to get this poor patient going. He rode up and asked where I needed to go. I told him, and pointed to a road on the opposite side that would get me out of the torch mess. So, what does he do? He stops the torch procession, and lets me cut over. I ducked as I drove through it, hoping not to be noticed. By the time I made it back to the station after that, I was known as "woot woot."

People think of the pin trading, and the famed green jello pin, I think of almost side swiping the torch, and snuffing it out.

Monday, November 9, 2009


During the summer, every city has its celebration. A week of events, set up to celebrte the heritage of the people who live there. Each city's celebration is similar, but there are a few differences in each celebration. Most cities have the carnival, the parade, baby contest, fireworks, the whole 9. One city, had what is called a burnout. It aslo had a car cruise too. No rodeo grounds there, I guess. The car cruise is self explanatory. People with old cars restored and such, would drive up and down a closed off road to show off the hard work. the ambulance I had worked for, would always have an ambulance on hand and medical people stationed at the areas. Quite a few years sadly, someone was always hit. I hated the car cruise for this reason. I love old cars, and like the parade they did, but they would circle around and get all excited a the crowd and speed off to cheers, sadly as a child would get too close to the action and be hit. I tried to always avoid working it, becasue of this. Instead, I chose to help out at the burnout. I had lived there for 22 years, not knowing what one was. I had just come off a call with my crew, and we parked the ambulance in the driveway. The burnout was happening on the same street of the station. I walked over and stood in an appropriate area to watch. For all city activities that week, we were to wear our white dress shirts...
As the burnouts began, I was finally introduced to this, "activity?" I admit, I sat an laughed to myself, for a good long while. For those of you who may not know, there are trucks lined up off to one side. they pull in one at a time, to a wet spot that is made from a garden hose and a gallon of bleach poured there too. the truck gets in position, and on the announcers count, they rev the engine and spin the back tires to emit smoke. That's it. If you add the bleach, more smoke and even colors appear. That's it. The crowd of people on either side cheer, and cheer more. I kept asking myself, how much beer they drank to cheer for something like that. This was to go on for a couple hours. I thought and still think, it is the biggest waste of time I've ever experienced. Well, as I had these thoughts, karma struck. The next truck in line pulled into position. The engine revved up, and the tires spun. Smoke barrelled off them. Right then, I felt a piercing burn and stinging just above my right collar bone. As I jumped and yelled, I felt two more on different spots on my chest and stomach. I turned to my partner... "Tyson, what's on me?" he replied, "Your neck, theres a white spot on it!" I grabbed at my neck, and the "white spot" was my melted skin. It fell into my hand. I felt the other spots sting and my neck was throbbing. A firfighter grabbed me by the hand and took me to the ambulance. I looked in the mitrror and noticed a 2 inch by 2 inch hole in my neck. I opened up my shirt, and foound 2 bits of tar-like spots on my stomach and chest. I grabbed and they were stuck to me. I peeled them off and they took my skin too. The tires when they spin so fast, literally melt, and a piece of melted rubber had hit me right where a normal t-shirt would've protected me, but I had the button up on. I cleaned it out, and really hated the burnout the rest of the time as my neck throbbed. That was my last night of work, as I was leaving to a dance workshop, and then Los Angeles to take dance classes for part of the summer. For my classes, I tried to cover the burn with a bandage, but would sweat it off. It looked like I had a bite there! I always wondered if in class the instructors were looking at me dancing, or trying to figure out what the devil happened to my neck. To this day I have a scar. I tried a procedure in hair school, to tattoo it with a "dry needle", meaning it had no color on it, to try to stimulate the pigment of my skin to come back, it didn't work. I learned my lesson that day. Never work a burnout. And if you do, never, ever, make fun of the white-trash and their entertainment, especially, where bleach is involoved.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Hero...

The biggest reason, I chose to do this job, was my dad. He was in the first 100 EMT's ever in Utah. He worked for American Fork Ambulance, for 11 years. Growing up, I was (and still am) a daddy's girl. There wasn't anything he could do wrong in my eyes, he is my hero. I remembered hearing the stories, of car accidents, and plane crashes by Utah Lake, that he would respond to. He had the funniest stories and fondest memories he'd share, and he did it all volunteer. I would listen and not realize all that he did in this job, but think that he was the biggest hero I had ever known. He quit eventually, after a lot of them thought it was wrong to be paid. It was also stressful on my siblings. I have no doubt, he'd have done it much longer. Now the biggest fear I always have had, is responding to family. I would have nightmares that I would go to an accident scene, and a parent was trapped in the car and I had no extrication equipment to get them out. In June of 2002, my nightmare became reality.
I was working the ambulance one sunny day. A call came out, for a motorcycle vs. a car. I drove to the station, and took my place as driver of the ambulance. I flipped on the lights and siren, to which the police told us not to come in "code 3" meaning, no lights and siren. My mind went to, an obvious fatality, or the motorcyclist is ok. I drove to the scene, and as I was pulling around the police cars, and accident wreckage, I noticed that one policeman and one firefighter, looked me straight in the eye and had deep, sorrowful, looks in their eyes. Never, has that happened. I pulled around, and saw my worst nightmare. My dads bike. I remember, throwing the ambulance into park so fast, I don't know how I didn't break something. I screamed, and immediately began shaking and sobbing. Through the windshield, I saw him. He was looking at me, smiling and waving, to let me know he was ok. As he was waving, I noticed a large chunk missing from his hand. I flew out of the ambulance, and ran to his side. I hugged him, for what seemed like 5 seconds, but was probably mintutes. I kept asking where he was hurt, and in my panic, was going in and out of the ambulance to get supplies. I remember my legs feeling like jello going up and down the stairs. I never could get any supplies, because I couldn't remember where anything was. That ambulance was the back of my hand, yet at this moment, it was foreign to me. Finally, my partner grabbed me and told me to sit down. He said he'd take care of supplies, to just stay with my dad. The big burly fireman, and policeman came and hugged me. I knew now, what their eyes were trying to tell me. As I sat there crying and shaking, I noticed a few things.
 First, a stripe of paint on the corner of the curb, the color of my dads helmet. Next, a large scrape and chunk out of my dads helmet. Third, a piece of my dads bike, across the street on the lawn of a business. And finally, a large dent and bend in the ramming bars on the front of the truck that hit him. Of course, I cried and shook even more. My dad was hit, thrown, and tumbled a few times before hitting the curb with his head. He remembers his helmet spun around, and he kept himself from going unconscious.
The week prior, I had responded to a similar looking accident. The motorcyclist had no helmet. He hit the curb the same way. We fought for him in the ambulance long and hard, and passed him over to a helicopter waiting at the hospital. He passed away. He had no chance after suffering severe head trauma.
My dad didn't regularly wear his helmet. Today, he did. I am thankful everytime I see him, that he chose too.
My partner cleaned his wounds, and I took him to the hospital after the nightmare was over. His arm was three times its normal size, from hitting the ramming bars.  He also had major road rash. We went to the emergency room, get his arm x-rayed, and his wounds cleaned out. To this day, he still has limited feeling in his fingers, on the arm that was hit. I can honestly say, that was the worst day of my life. I will never forget it. My mind has twisted the ending into so many "what if's" that I drove myself into major anxiety. To this day, when I am called to a motorcycle accident, my stomach drops, and I instantly have to calm myself into not vomitting on the spot. I understand however, it is what he loves, and it makes him happy. He now wears his helmet everytime. After the hard work he has and still does everyday for my family, he deserves every happiness, and he will always be my hero...

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I have to admit, that most of my absolute favorite patients ever, are from the older generation. "Blue hairs" I like to call them, or you medical buffs, geriatrics. Funny, funny people. They live the simplest lives, although they have so many ailments as time goes on, its heart breaking. They have the frailest, fragile bodies, and I love to be able to come and help them take care of whatever they need. Some of my most rewarding calls, come from the sweet little lady who has fallen out of bed. Of course, as the call is coming in at 5am, I am groggy and bothered that I have to get out of my warm bed, but then realize what a blessing it is to get in and out of bed on my own. We get to her, place her back in bed, pull up the covers and depart. I sometimes have to catch myself, from a kiss on the forehead, as I feel for these poor souls who are awakened by hitting the floor! Now, on the other hand, come the old timers with the funny attitudes and potty mouths. Love them. I know that any call with this type, I typically leave smiling, after the slew of profanity for hurting them, bothering them, or telling them what to do.

One lovely day, a few years back, I was working for a specific city ambulance. In this department, for some reason I was not required to wear a uniform at all times. Jeans, cowboy boots, whatever. I had always worn my EMT pants, for the many useful pockets and the somewhat professional appearance they had, but on this particular day I had a red zip up hoodie on. My captain at this establishment, couldn't get my size figured out for whatever reason, and my jackets were always about 6 inches too long on the sleeves. Nothing like an extra long sleeve to drag around in someones blood, or attempt an IV in, please...
On the front of this hoodie, was the word "ANGEL" in cursive writing. We were called to transport an older gentleman, from his home to a dialysis lab in another city.  The trip would take around 20 minutes. We got him in the back, and I sat next to him on the bench. My partner that day, who was also female, sat on the other side and was filling out our paperwork. Our patient laid there and we talked the entire way down. He wouldn't answer my partners questions, only mine. I continued to monitor him and we conversed the whole trip, and I could tell he was comfortable with me. As we pulled in to the lab, I told him we were going to get ready to take him in. To my surprise, up came his arm, and it went right at my chest level, from one side to the other!! He said, "What's this say? ANGEL?...I've been touched by an ANGEL!!" as he um, brushed his hand across my goods. I grabbed his hand, and put it down, and we dropped him off. At that moment, yes I was a bit stunned, and laughed it off... But I know now, he WAS comfortable with me. Too comfortable...Needless to say, I will never own another piece of clothing with 'ANGEL' written on it.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Over the past 10 years in this job, I have acquired many a nickname. A few to list, are Shorty, Short stuff, mini me, Skippy, Nitroglycerin, Lou, etc. Only a few have lasted the duration. One in particular, comes with quite the story to back it up, which will be this week's post. This nickname, is Wednesday....a few of you are already laughing (assuming a few actually read this) because you have already hear this classic tale of medical call follies.

    One late summer evening, while working at Sundance, I was sitting in my office. The safety office. Had only been an EMT for about 4 to 5 months. A call came out, for a hiker who had fallen while climbing Stewart Falls. I grabbed my car keys and headed up the road to where we jump on the trail to get to the falls the quickest. Once arriving, I grabbed my oxygen bag, and my medical bag and headed up the trail, or so I thought. After hiking in shoulder length stinging nettle for about 20 mins, I realized I must have taken the wrong trail, or no trail at all. Having never been to this are before this, I sort of panicked. I heard the water streaming down, and figured the path was by it. I got to a chain link fence, and climbed up and over it WITH the bags. By this time, I was exhausted, covered in mud, and my arms swoleen from stinging nettle. I decided, to drop my bags and find the trail. In the meantime, the entire Search and Rescue team, had made it to the patient, packaged the patient and were getting ready to descend down. I climbed and crawled through more foliage, and finally stumbled upon the trail. I looked up the trail, and saw the stretcher with the Search and Rescue, coming down, so I walked in front of them all the way down. I got to the bottom, where I met up with them, the ambulance, and my boss, Kenny. After shooting the breeze for a bit, where I kept my head down from embarassment, I admitted I had dropped the bags to find the trail. We then set out to find the bags. Back through the mud and stinging nettle. It was getting dark. Luckily, we found them and I though my ordeal was now over. I wanted to crawl into a hole. We made it down, and by my office my boss said, "Let's go in and get you some dinner," I said, "ok" and started walking towards the kitchen. He said "wait a minute, put this on," handing me his fire brush jacket. I declined, saying I was fine, and wasn't cold, my arms were just red, swollen, and bumpy from being stung. He insisted, I declined. He insisted, I declined, then, his face went bright red. So I asked, "what!?" to which, his response was..."you have a giant HOLE in the back of your pants," to which, my top half turned to catch a view. Now normally, oh ha ha, a bit embarrassing, but whatever. But this day, I had chosen to wear, school bus yellow day-of-the-week underwear, with the word WEDNESDAY across the back. My friend Chris, had bought them for me as a joke on a trip to New York, and I just showed them to all rescuers on the scene, the patient, my boss, and all the creatures on the mountain. Ever heard of wearing clean underwear in case you get in an accident? Well, never wear bright yellow Wednesday under things either, even if you are the rescuer in the scenario...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Turnout, to Turnouts!

 From about age 5 and on, I danced. I started as a ballerina, and from there tried all forms. Ballet was an interesting thing for me. I learned a lot of discipline, and great dance technique, however it came at a price. It was insanely expensive. It was also, insanely hard and hard on me. I quit around age 14, when I decided that instead of ballet everyday right after school for 2 hours, and Saturday mornings, I longed for some form of social life. I also did not have the ballet body type. I am short, stout, and muscular, not long, graceful, and lean. I was weighed weekly from age 10 on up. Kind of hard on a girl....
Now, the humor in this, is a big part of ballet life, is what is called, your turnout. The way your hips turn your legs out, so that your movement is accurate. If a ballerinas turnout was off, everything was off. In the fire world, the bunker gear we wear into a fire, is called "turnouts." Ironic you ask? No. Both require dedication and discipline, however, it has taken me a while to find my true turnouts. What made me think of this, was my testing a few days ago, for Paramedic school. I had flown in the night before, from Phoenix. Of course I woke up late, and ran around the house finding all of my dress uniform gear. After speeding to my test site, I jumped out of my car and tried to take some deep breaths as I walked over to the building. But something caught my eye...I noticed on the building next to it, a ballet poster. They always suck me in, I want to know what is showing, who is performing etc. I look up at the buildings sign, and notice it is a ballet school. The director of the ballet, school, was a girl both myself and my sister danced with. After dropping my chin, I saw myself in the buildings reflection. No leotard and tights, but a blue dress shirt. My gold badge and name tag flashed in the sunlight. I gave myself a smile, knowing that I was headed into the building that truly made me happy. So what if it wasn't ballet. I absolutely love dance, I always will...but it no longer holds my heart.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Must be this tall to ride....

Recently, the department I currently work for, purchased a custom built tiller truck.  A large ladder truck, that has a separate encasement in the rear, for a "tillerman" to drive.  It is such a monstrousity, it requires 2 separate drivers. What is funny about me, and this truck, "Tillie" I call her, is yes...the size difference. I am, just over 5 feet tall. this beast, is 66 feet long. I can stand up inside the cab.  I have been learning what tools and toys are in the compartments on the outside. What's sad, is I can't reach a lot of them!! During my last training, one section was modified, (so I like to think) for me to pull a bucket out of the lower compartment, to reach the higher one! It's quite comical, that in a world of "safety first" and on a large edifice like Tillie, with more ladders than any vehicle this side of the Mississippi, I use a bucket to reach the goods. The first time I met the creature, I stood next to her, and circled her many times looking for the height requirement. The dorky wooden creepy animal with its hand risen "just so" yeah, just so I can't ride it. Luckily for me, there were none around... I got my first ride in it, and for the intimidation it is, I could've easily mistaken my seat for a plush recliner. She truly is a spacious gem. Now, getting in and out, is another story. Good thing I took years, of dance training, little did I know my high kicks and split leaps would come in handy in the career of my choice. As for now, Tillie and I get along just fine. Her tires just about pass me in height, but hey, I like a good pair of heels myself. Needless to say, I feel like close to a million bucks riding around town.