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Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring Fever

I am exposed to sick people all the time and never seem to catch anything. My working theory is that all this exposure in small doses results in a jacked up immune system where I seem to be able to fend off most communicable diseases. Its not the sick people that make me sick, rather the normally healthy people that get sick.

All weekend I was around hundreds of fellow EMS workers. We were crammed into class rooms and auditoriums learning about various health and logistical topics of our field. For hours we sat in chairs, armpit to armpit, listening to people jib-jab. Some topics were really interesting, others, not so much. Out of all those people I always manage to sit close to someone who has the sniffles or "is just getting over something". This weekend was no different. At least the fella was nice enough to inform me of his preexisting battle with the plague. By the end of the conference I started to have a little tickle in my throat. No big deal, right? Maybe I just needed some water and some fresh air. Well this morning I woke up with more than a tickle and now its blown into a complete chest cold. The aches and pains are developing. I have a feeling whatever this is has just begun. I'm going to go self medicate and take a nap...the only good thing about being sick at work.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chocolate Phone

I've been needing to get a new cell phone and have been looking into several different kinds, including the "Chocolate". However, I didn't think that the name could ever be taken so literally.

Last night I was out the majority of the night on numerous ambulance calls. In the daze of the early-morning hours one of the nurses was pawning off his Easter candy. I vaguely remember taking some. My intent was to eat it as we headed back the the station, however that's not what happened. Hours later my shift finally ended. I headed home and reached into my pocket for my cellphone. My phone was covered in chocolate from the Easter eggs I was given at the hospital. I had put them in the same pocket as my phone. After a couple of hours they had melted and the end result was a "Chocolate" cell phone.


Monday, March 24, 2008

The hidden benefits of wood heat

The piece-de-la-resistance of the living room is the wood stove. Every log cabin should have one. There really isn't anything better than wood heat. Ask any real Vermonter and they will tell you that it "warms you to the bones". When the power goes out the house still stays warm. And there isn't anything better than a snowy winters night spent sitting and watching the fire dance through the glass door of the stove. Ahh... romantic. But there is also other hidden benefits I've discovered.

After spending the last six months filling the wood stove I am reaping the benefits of the daily strength work out. Down in the basement is where we store all our wood. This winter we have gone through about 3 or 4 cords of wood. Every day I go down stairs at least a half a dozen times, pick up an ax, and split a few pieces. Its actually quite satisfying. I feel more rugged than ever as I swing the ax over my head and slam it down forcefully into a piece of wood. When I split a piece in one shot it makes me feel even more rugged. Like..."I'm a real Vermont, splitting wood in one shot right here in my basement!". Besides that... have you ever gone and swung an ax at a piece of wood when you are mad? There is not a better stress and anger reliever! Just go swing an ax and you will feel better.

Ahh the benefits of living the simple life.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In persuit of higher education

So among the millions of other things that wrecked today this one tops my list...

I have been waiting for YEARS for a paramedic class taught by ALSI to begin. The last two scheduled classes were canceled due to lack of applicants. ALSI (advanced life support institute) wanted 10 people and only had 7 so the classes were bagged. Since then I have been aggrivated at pushing back my life plans and stressed that once again a class date was up in the air... unknown when to be offered in the near future. Until today...

I got an email this morning for ALSI. There is going to be another paramedic class. Yippee!!... right?

Absolutely not.

The emailed included a lot of information about the course, general information about the logistics of the class. One of the biggest things it mentioned was where the class is to be located, Manchester VT. Now, first I thought to myself "where the heck is Manchester, VT?" which was followed by "If I don't know where Manchester is that means it is really far from here." I have an uncanny knowledge of surrounding towns, or at least what towns are around here, and even not so around here. Manchester did not fall in either category so I went to in hopes to take advantage of their "directions" feature where it would give me a time estimate and a little map of where in the world this town is. A few seconds later, after typing in and sending information, I found out something horrible. The class is probably the farthest location I could have to travel from Island Pond...

Now most people think of Vermont as a small state, and it is... I mean its no Texas or even a South Carolina, but it still takes a long time to get from one corner to another, especially with mountains in between. In this instance, Manchester VT is over 3hrs from my house. Picture VT like a rectangle. I would be in the very very top right corner. Manchester is in the very lower left corner. In total, from driveway to driveway it is 166 miles ONE WAY ...kind of a problem. Add in a class that probably starts at 8am, meaning I would have to leave my house around 4:30am--in good weather--to get to class on time. And, of course there is more, the class is Saturday AND Sunday. I would have to stay over because the class ends around 6pm and then begins at 8am the next day. With all the traveling I wouldn't be able to make it there and back. That adds the expense of finding a place to stay and the stress of being away from home for at least two days every other week.

So perhaps I could go to another school right? Wrong. The next nearest school is in Manchester, NH (oddly enough), and takes 3hrs to get there... a supposed 10 minute time differences according to Map Quest. It costs about $3,000 MORE and is once a week, rather than every other week. Not exactly a better option and its not taught by the people I want to be instructed by.

I don't know what to do...
There are a lot of decisions to make. It may be another two years or more before another class is offered and that may not be any closer than this one. Who knows. Do I want to put off my life more or undertake some outrageous traveling obligations and expenses? Never did I imagine trying to get an education like this.

Monday, March 17, 2008

We're not here right now, but please leave a message

Last night I decided to finally erase all the messages on the answering machine. Its a pet peeve of mine when they add up and are never erased. We were up to 24. So I undertook the drudging task of listening to all 24 messages in case any were important. They went all the way back to mid December. Somewhere in the middle of the messages I heard a familiar voice... It was Shawn's gram.

"Hey Shawn, just seeing what you were up to. Talk to you lata!" was all it said.

Then it hit me. Thats the last time we are ever going to hear her voice. Never again is she going to call us just to check in on things. This was it. A recording on our machine that will erase whenever the power goes out or we unplug the machine.

I didn't have the heart to erase it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Today I ventured into the world of Ebay. I've bought a couple things before on Ebay, but never have I sold anything. A good chunk of my afternoon has been spent making a mediocre listing that I am not to optimistic about. But if you need a button hook then you don't have to look any further! Just go HERE .

Actually the Button hook is something that belonged to Shawn's grandmother. She passed away a week ago and now his family is going through her house. Shawn's father gave it to me to see what it was worth on the internet--a kind of test item. If this one sells well than maybe more will follow. When you are going through someone's things after they die you learn a lot about them. You learn what they liked and collected. How financially responsible they were or weren't. Even preferences of daily living. To Shawn's grandmother her house probably had a theme and some sort of layout that made sense. Everything she kept was for a reason. Now, as we go through her things, we don't know why she kept certain things or put things where she did. Its interesting to think about... and I wonder... when I die what are people going to think when they go through my things? (like, why the f--- does she have all these moose?!)

So how does this tie into Ebay? I guess it does only in the vague since that the button hook was just something so random she kept. Actually, she probably forgot she even had it, but at one point she either purchased it or was it was given to her. Now her button hook is on Ebay. Its probably the first of several items that will end up on there, or else join the hundreds that will be at a yard sale this spring. All her things that, for one reason or another, she kept and probably meant something to her.

In all honesty its just a bunch of stuff that Shawn's family just doesn't have room nor want for.

...the bidding starts at $1.99