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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Who brought the new kid?

A great deal of my job deals with teaching. People don't learn how to do what I do without hands on experience. Every once and a while we have a new person who becomes old enough or decides to join and needs to be taught basic ambulance related job skills. Working in the ambulances can be looked at as two parts, both equally important: working in the back and driving. Personally I would much rather work in the back. That's where it all happens. It is where you take care of people and get to see and do all the cool stuff. Driving is exciting in its own right. There is nothing more adrenaline pumping than driving down a crowded road up the yellow line with lights and sirens going. Just seeing traffic part like the red sea gives me an idea what Moses might have felt like. Ok, not really, but its still pretty cool.

So today we had a guy who had just been approved to begin driving. Those who have never driven a large vehicle or any other emergency vehicle (i.e. firetruck) has to take baby steps. This guy was going to start by driving back from the hospital to the base after a call was completed. No patient in the back, just one of us sitting back there giving feed back on the g-forces we felt. He had all the normal beginner's faults you expect; not enough breaking distance, taking corners at too less of an approach angle, stopping and starting uneasiness, as well as general speed control. Nothing serious that couldn't be correct with time behind the wheel. The second time the guy drove back from the hospital I sat up front and watched his driving. Everything went smooth. We got back to the base and he went to back into the garage bay like normal. I thought nothing of it and watch him back up when all of a suddent I heard this... WHAM! And the ambulance jerked violently. I knew immediately what had happened... he had smashed right into the building!

The poor guy turned white as a sheet. I looked at him and then at my partner who was in the back of the ambulance. We just started laughing hysterically, which didn't help, but was all I could do. When I got out of the ambulance this is what I saw:

It looked bad, but after hours of hammering and replacement 2x10s it looks good as new. The poor guy almost cried, but already it has become more of a joke. He is not the first one to hit the building, but no one has hit it quite as hard and caused as much damage as him. I, for one, got a different ambulance stuck in a snow bank and when it was pulled out had the bumper ripped off and the siren ruined. Everyone does something.

Just another day... besides the three ambulance calls and transfer we went on.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Spring is officially here. While the rest of the country is ushering in Summer with the kick off of Memorial Day Weekend, up here in Northern VT we are mowing our lawns for the first time and planting gardens. Leaves are finally on the trees and apple blossoms are everywhere. The next five months are my absolute favorite months out of the whole year. Its worth having six months of winter and one month of mud to get a such a horticultural reward.

Despite Vermont lagging behind several weeks in seasons it does not stop us from having cookouts. This weekend we having one of our own to usher in the next few months of spectacular weather. It will be your standard summer cookout with some BBQ, hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, beer, and various lawn games. All that possibly followed by a bonfire.

Meanwhile, I have been taking advantage of this beautiful weather by renewing my fondness of photography. When I am not working, which lately seems like all the time, I have been driving around and wandering around looking for picturesque scenes. I don't think I will ever get tired of the gorgeous landscape.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Joys of Homeowning

When you buy a home the first thing on your mind is general up keep. You're thinking about where furniture is going to go and how nice it will be to sit on your deck or relax in your back yard rather than maintenance. Eventually it sneaks up on you and instead of sitting on your deck on you are forced to spend your days off doing hard labor. Today has been one of those hard labor days. After a friend began talking about septic tank problems Shawn and I realized we haven't had ours emptied since we bought the house (something that should be done when you purchase it) and that the former owners hadn't had it pumped since 1993. Usually you have your tanked pumped every 6-10 years. We are going on 15 and figured it was only a matter of time before we begin to have problems with it. So we decided to schedule an appointment to have a local guy come and clean it out. No big deal, couple hundred bucks, and no nasty smelly yard. we thought.

Well unless we wanted to pay almost $1000 we would have to uncover the tank ourselves. So now we had to dig, but there was a problem. We had no idea where the tank was except a general description of a vague space of lawn. Finding a septic tank is harder than it seems. We had to get some rebar and pound it into the ground until we hit something hard. That proved difficult with so many rocks in our yard. Eventually we hit something. We hoped it wasn't a rock and began to dig. After two hours of digging, hauling rocks (let me not underestimate the amount of rocks in our yard!), and getting in arguments about the relative direction the tank was situated underground, we finally found the septic tank lid. Once we uncovered it we opened it and looked in. For those of you that have never looked into a septic tank I'll describe... it looks like looking into a porta potty. Disgusting. And ours is definitely close to being full. At least now we know where it is and 6-10 years from now hopefully we can find it a lot easier!

Not all the aspects of being home owner are pretty.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Busy Bee

The last week has been "one of those weeks". Just a lot going on every single day. Even my days off turned into chores and errands rather then relaxation and enjoyment. I actually intend to remedy that soon as tomorrow night I am going out to the bar with Shawn and many friends. We aren't just going to a bar, but THE bar. When I say "THE" bar I don't mean the cool or hip bar that everyone wants to go to, but the ONLY bar that everyone goes to. Its the only place that doubles as a club because of the size of the dance floor, pool tables, and alcohol. Up here you can't be choosy. If you want to go out and drink you only have a few choices or else you just stay home (another very popular option). I haven't stepped out in a while and am looking forward to a night of booze and friends. ...something every 23 year old should enjoy. I also have the benefit of Shawn being the DD and also willing to start intravenous fluids if necessary to avoid a hangover if alcohol consumption gets out of hand. Its a perk of the job.

This is what I have been up to:

And this is what appeared in my backyard yesterday:

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Where's Tom?

This past Thursday was the opening day for turkey season! For those of you who have never had wild turkey (no not the whiskey) it is the best thing ever to eat. And to hunt them is fairly exciting. You can call to them and they actually answer back! Its neat to hear. The only downfall is waking up at 4am to get into the woods before daylight. At 4am it is the coldest it will be all day. Surprisingly camouflage clothes do not keep you warm at all. The warmth is all in the layers. I learned that the hard way the first day. Despite a valient effort I have yet to do more than hear a couple turkeys gobble back to our call as I sat in leaves and twigs hidden as best as I could be with my gun ready. Apparently turkeys have excellent vision and hearing so you have to stay very well hidden and not make a sound. I have a hard time doing both, mostly because I am the whitest person ever and my face sticks out like a sore thumb in the forest, plus I am just a naturally clumsy and loud person. Shawn was with me every time I went. I imagine for him it was like youth season and he had an eight year old with him, but he was a good sport. However, this morning I elected to stay in bed and sleep rather than go out in the rain and hunt. Sleeping proved to be the better choice since Shawn went alone and still came out empty handed. The season goes until May 31st so there is still plenty of time. I want to find a nice big tom and shoot him. ...not only because they taste phenomenal, but also because I want to be able to show off my kill and brag about it to the guys. Sexy is different depending on where you are and up here there is nothing sexier than a woman who wears camo, hunts, and hunts successfully.

With the puppies before the hunt and then tired and exhausted in search of those turkeys!
Yes, I am really holding a gun! (its a 20ga semi-auto shotgun)

And as always... I still act like myself and take photos of the scenery instead of taking hunting seriously. I'll never get over how gorgeous it is up here!