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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Boy it has been a week...

All last weekend was gorgeous with summer-like weather to boot. Spring cleaning was in full swing, along with fishing, BBQ, and walks at sunset along the dirt roads. I learned that you can rake your yard in the fall, but it doesn't matter because when the snow melts you will still have a ridiculous amount of leaves caking your the ground. For the first time in years I bought a fishing pole and went fishing. In true tradition I didn't catch a thing. ...nice to know nothing has changed when it comes to my fishing ability. I also learned how to properly shoot a shotgun in preparation for turkey season. Apparently I am no slick shooter, but I consider how I do shoot pretty darn good for someone who has never really handled a gun at all for twenty three years. And the walks at sunset may sound romantic, but their real purpose were to just look for turkeys in nearby fields. Très romantique.



The latter part of the week has turned out to be completely different. Not only the weather changed, but so did the tempo. In the last two days I have been on 18 ambulance calls. Some interesting, most not, and only a couple were serious. I'm now tired and cranky and my eating habits have taken a beating. When you spend so little time at the station what you end up eating is impulsive, simple, and usually not good for you. Lately Butterfingers have been my crutch. Did you know they make yogurt where you can mix pieces of butterfingers right into it? Oh yes, they do. So besides my unusual eating habits we also had a most unusual call yesterday. We were called for a vehicle that had went off the interstate and was in a "ravine". After about a half hour of searching we found the vehicle. It had apparently gone off the roadway, gotten some air, and traveled over 100ft. It was quite the site. After attending to the driver we later returned to the scene when they were towing it out of the ravine, which was more of a steep hill in the median. The scene was also enriched by the fact a state trooper overheated his vehicle and spewed antifreeze all over the roadway. Despite cops and EMTs being on the same "team" we find it amusing to laugh at each other's mishaps.

And the antifreeze arrives...



Not only is Roland a renowned tow truck operator and vehicle extricator extraodinairre he also does the occasional public service and refills coolant systems. He spectacular tow job of the accident can be viewed here. I still have no idea how the vehicle didn't tip over.



Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mud Season

When you think of spring you think of flowers and birds and leaves returning... unless you live in Vermont. There is no such thing as a spring in Vermont. When winter finally ends somewhere around mid-April a wonderful thing happens. Mud Season.

Mud Season is the time of year when the snow begins to melt. Sometimes, like this year, its a tremendously long process. As the snow melts the ground finally begins to appear, but it is soaking wet to an extreme level. No unpaved road or driveway is safe. Sneakers are useless in the thick, sucking, wet mess. Nothing turns green here until the end of May. As soon as Mud Season ends we head right into summer.

Unfortunately waiting for the snow to melt is the worse part. Everyone knows that the roads are going to get worse as more and more snow melts. Its just something you deal with. If you live on a Class IV (unmaintained) road such as myself you are up to you own devises when it comes to keeping your road passable. My poor car is swallowed by the ruts and mess that has become our road. Much of my afternoon was spent with my "muck boots" an ax and a shovel breaking ice and moving slush so my car can bomb through the mess and hopefully not get stuck.

This is Mud Season in Vermont as I experience it...


Standing at the corner of my road and the "main" road.


My road and my driveway and my yard still full of snow!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Firefighter's Wife

Have you ever heard of that show "army wives"? Its about the cliquishness of the wives of soldiers and all the drama that goes along with their lives. Well firefighter's wives are quite similar. Its a clique that you only have entry into if you are the wife or meet the standards of a long term significant other of a fire department. Yesterday I got my induction.

Shawn had to go to a Firefighter Union Charity Event. Several professional departments from across the state were all getting together to bowl and raise money for Muscular Dystrophy. A lot of firefighters were there and many of them brought their wives. I had never been to function with the fire department that also included the member's wives. Now you are probably thinking... big deal... they're like any other group of wives. Not so. Firefighter's wives are different. Each wife seems to parallel an attitude that reflects her husband's seniority/title on the department. If the woman is the wife of a 20 year captain then by God you can tell. She'll be the one coordinating what the women are doing, leading conversation, and handling all the introductions. I, as a first time attendee, of course got an introduction. "This is Firefighter Hannux's girlfriend, Jen." Was how it went. I was peeved at the emphasis on girlfriend and lack of mentioning the fact we were engaged. It was clear the other women who were wives viewed me as different because I was not married. A girlfriend is clearly not the same as a wife to them. There is a line.

We ended up being the "cheering" section. Each department that came had some women that came with them. Brief introductions ensued, but nothing further. Firefighter' wives stick to their department. There is no sisterhood, like the brotherhood among the men. The men also perpetuate the behavior of the women. Fire departments are very traditional. Women are wives and mothers. They sit on the side lines, support their men, and are shown brief periods of affection when appropriate. They cook for functions, make sure uniforms are clean, and most importantly, feed their firefighter. A lot of the talk centered around all these things.

Initially they asked me a lot of questions about myself. After a while they drifted off to other talk of things I was unfamiliar with. Gossip in a circle I was new to. I ended up adding in bits and pieces to the conversation, but thats it. When you are new its obvious you can't just jump in and be bubbly and converse. I wasn't even a "wife" yet anyway and could easily just disappear from their group if our relationship ended, although being engaged carries a little more weight. Its complicated.

Just like firefighters have to go through some form of probation so do firefighters wives. Overtime I am sure the women will get to know me and I will assimilate in just fine, but right now its seems a daunting and unnecessarily complicated feat. Socializing outside of highschool is completely different. You don't just become friends with girls you see everyday in class. Now you have to have a common cause and prove yourself to it. In this case, I have to prove myself to be a good firefighter's wife. Quiet, pretty, charming, a good cook, and parent. Its not as simple as standing by your man as he runs off into a burning building. Thats not enough, but it is the common thread that brings us all together.

Here's the guys that were there yesterday... Its about 1/3 of the members on the department.