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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where have all the photos gone?

For the last couple of weeks my camera has been O.O.S. I finally came to terms with the fact that it was probably not going to function correctly again and that I would have to buy a new one. After several days of searching eBay I came upon a used camera that came with many extras. I bid. I won. I conquered. Yesterday it finally arrived. A new/used Canon Rebel XT. The new XTi is just too expensive, maybe its the "i" that makes the difference. I just can't justify spending twice as much on a camera where I can purchase a less expensive one with all the options and mega pixels I need. Now I can go back to taking the occasional awesome photo.

Here is a photo with the new camera. The puppies. They are three weeks tomorrow. Already they are walking around and chewing on each other. Both are absolutely adorable. If you look closely you can tell that one's white patches are turning brown and gray, just like the dad. Also, note they are walking on the new floor in the living room! oh so nice!

This week has been busy. And I really need to pick the blueberries in my front yard before they go by, or a bear eats them. Perhaps I will make a pie.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Weekend

The typical cliche summer weekend:

small town fair
driving the back roads
late nights
good friends
horse shoes

Thats exactly what my weekend was. It was awesome. Between walking around the first of many small town country fairs of the season to ending it with good friends playing LCR around a table while eating pizza and having a few beers. We all had some great moments and hilarious experiences too., including, but not limited to:

- Watching horse pulling for the first time
- Talking to a crazy old farmer at the fair about John Deere tractors
- Getting pulled over just so the cop could check out the mustang
- Tubing and almost dying
- The boat stalling and rowing and being towed over a mile back to shore

All the good things of summer rolled into the last few days. This is what summer is about. Up here where winter lasts half the year and mud a good quarter of it, summer is short and, so far, sweet.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Continuing Education

Since I graduated college I have been seeking out opportunities to go back to school. Just as Shawn did I was hoping to obtain certification as a paramedic. Before graduating college it seemed like medic courses were being offered all over the state. I was responsible and decided to take one thing at a time and finish my degree first instead of tackling an advanced certification program at the same time. When I did finally graduate with a B.S. I was excited to apply for a medic program. Over a year later and many applications, prospective classes, and interviews no class has gotten off the ground. Classes have been canceled four different times due to lack of interest. I am beyond frustrated.

Living way up here, it is not as if there are schools everywhere with classes starting constantly. In fact, paramedicine isn't even a "popular" idea or profession in the state of Vermont. Jobs are few and far between. But that hasn't stopped me from wanting to obtain that "P" next to my title or get that sparkly patch. I have been determined and motivated, despite a serious lack of options and large amount of setbacks.

Recently I began to consider another option... nursing. Vermont is full of nursing programs and jobs. Some of the programs only take a year and are offered at "satellite" campuses that are much closer than the school. Even if I wanted to still take a paramedic course I could do this first, become an LPN, get a better job, and then go to paramedic school with more means and training. If I had this idea a year ago I would be an LPN already instead of in the same position I was when I graduated.

My intention was to apply for nursing school this past spring, but my boss told me to wait. He assured me that there was going to be a paramedic course beginning this fall in a nearby town. He said he was looking into it and heading up the coalition to offer the class. I was excited and decided to put off applying since taking a paramedic course was my ideal education choice. Months later he informed me that the medic class was not going to happen. Another let down.

So today I finally decided to apply for an LPN class. I decided to hell with my working schedule and that I was going to make school work somehow. There is a satellite classroom only 25 miles away so my intention was to go there. It would be perfect. When I went to the website to fill out an online application I discovered a large problem. The nursing program 25 miles from my home was filled. The nearest classroom is over 100 miles away. That's just too far. Now I have to wait an entire year to apply again.

Another year. Complacency. Everything pushed back. I guess I will just hold out for a paramedic class until application time comes around again for the nursing program next year.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Under Construction

Thanks to President George W. Bush and his government stimulus checks that were designed to bolster the economy we are finally putting in new floor. In all his eight years of presidency it is probably the only thing he has done that I appreciated, but I am also pretty sure that the economy is no better, if not worse, from his idea. Regardless we are finally getting new floor!

Our current floor is old carpet that is 10-15 years old. The original color is nothing of what it is now. Every time we cleaned and shampooed it you couldn't tell and dog hair seemed to grow off of it rather than accumulate. We decided to go with a different option. Wood.

Wood floor, real hardwood, is actually extremely expensive, hard to put in, and requires treatment and staining before you are done with installation. We also wanted a better quality than linoleum, which they do make to look just like a wood floor. Can someone say wood paneling?? Same idea. ick. So we chose a third option, laminate flooring. Laminate is easy to install like linoleum, but of better quality like real hardwood and actually made of wood. Its also inexpensive. We chose maple. Its fairly light colored to help keep the house feeling light and open. With our cabin there isn't a lot of natural light so we want to optimize what we do get. Dark flooring would make everything look like a cave.

For the last week we have been ripping out the old carpet. Its a dirty and aggrivating process. The padding under the carpet is broken down into dust-like particles that have covered everything. All the furniture has had to be moved. Shelves dismantled. Its almost as if we are moving. Everything has been cleaned out and we are living on the bare subfloor with minimal furniture until Thursday when the new floor is installed.

Bare floor and lack of furniture in the living room.

The Feng Shui of the house is completely disastrous. I've tried to clean and neaten everything, but to no avail. Everything still looks awful. I absolutely cannot wait until the new floor is in and everything is back in its place. Finally we are doing something to improve the house. Next... cabinets.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Real Life Baby Borrowers

There is a show on ABC about kids who think they want to have kids "borrowing" other people's for a few days and seeing what its really like having a baby, toddler, preschooler, etc. Their slogan is "it's not TV, its birth control." and it couldn't be more true. The other day I had my chance to experience my own baby borrowers situation and it was definitely interesting.

Shawn's sister asked me to watch her daughter, my future niece, Harlee. Like every girl my age, I occasionally have a yearning to have a little one of my own and I thought watching her would be a good experience for a prospective parent. Afterall... I am soon to be married, finacially stable, own a home, and in my mid-twenties (ahhh!). As scary as it sounds, having children is a real decision in the not so distant future. So watching a real baby for the afternoon seem liked a learning experience I was in need of.

Drop off. 8am.
Everything went smooth. Shawn's sister brought over more toys than I ever though necessary, along with a jumpee and a walker. Food, diapers, bottles, formula, blankets... I was set. Harlee was smiling and in a good mood. This was going to be a good day.

Mom is gone. Five minutes in and she's pissed off. Its just me, the aunt. I carry her around. Thats what she wants. To be carried. And carried. And carried. I set her down. She cries. I put her in the jumpee. She cries. I put her in the walker. She cries. I give her a bottle. She drinks it then cries. The only time she stops is when I carry her around. But that catch is that when I stand still she cries. She wants to be walked around, to see things. I want to change out of my PJs. Eat breakfast. Maybe do my hair. None of that happened until after noon.

I couldn't carry her any more. My arms were tired. It was time for lunch. Over thirty minutes later liquid corn and sweet potatoes were everywhere, but in her mouth. I then had to clean her up, change a diaper filled with something resembling greenish-black clay, and then carry her around some more. She did not like the dog at all. When she cried the dog howled and then she screamed. It took over fifteen minutes of hushing and rocking to get her to stop screaming at one point.

Afternoon. I had to pee. When I set her down she cried. I had to pee. She cried. I left for thirty seconds and she screamed. It dawned on me that she was probably picked up and coddled every time she cried so she knew that if she cried she would get attention. Sometimes you just have to let a baby cry it out and learn that that is not an acceptable way to get attention. Thats what I did... but the crying drove me nuts.

I found my patience. Somewhere. Somehow. I played with her. I picked her up and carried her around. I did everything I could until she got bored and cried for me to do something else entertaining. It was frustrating. Nothing made her happy for more than fifteen minutes. I had to be present at all times. And most of the things that made her happy required me to tote her around, which made doing every day tasks pretty much impossible. Still, I was patient. She never napped. Still, I was patient. Watching the clock. Waiting until it was 5.

Pick up. 5pm. Finally. I packed everything up and handed her over to mom who bounced her around happily. Babies sure are cute and cuddly, but boy are they also a handful. I was left more tired than when and I started, but still had a full days worth of work left ahead of me.

If that is what having kids is like then I do not want to have them any time soon. I got absolutely nothing done all day and have no idea how people who stay home all day with their children accomplish anything. The idea of a baby is cute, but I very much enjoy relaxing and watching TV on my days off, or perhaps going for a job, or even accomplishing a little house work. Not possible with an infant. Basic needs can't even be met. No food, toilet, or shower without caring for the baby first. It must be something great to be able to be so selfless and put another being before you every minute of every day. ...I just don't think I am ready for that. I'm still selfish (at least I admit it).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New Arrivals!!

Yesterday Shawn and I had planned a trip to Maine for the day. I was excited, as it was the first time since I lived there for a summer that I would be going back. Maine is gorgeous and I love the rocky ocean coast-line. However, when we woke up in the morning it was clear Bonnie was in labor. So instead of going to Maine we made sure everything for her and her impending puppies would be all set. Sometime in the mid afternoon she had her puppies. There was quite a bit of time between the puppies. She only had two, just as the vet said. Two is a good sized first litter. Small and manageable. One girl and one boy. We haven't thought of names yet.

Of course I took some photos...

Bonnie is doing great. She is a very doting mother, and does not mind Shawn or I near the puppies. The other dogs, however, is a different story. They won't open their eyes for another week and a half to two weeks. Until then you can't really handle them that much. We most likely already have homes for both puppies so I am not going to advertise them or even sell them this time. Next time, probably in a year or so, if she has more I may sell them. For now, I'm proud of my little baby beagles!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Independence Day!

The big day for such a small town came and went. For Shawn and I it was a 20hr day which began with us getting up with the sun and making an incredibly long drive to pick up the fireworks. Once we finally returned to Island Pond with a truck full of enough explosives to classify us as terrorists we then began getting ready for the parade. Most of the trucks were already washed and polished. I added some flags and ribbons as a finishing touch. Then changed into my dress uniform. I was going to march on foot while Shawn would drive a fire engine. Marching was great. I love all the clapping and cheers we receive as we seriously walk in a row carrying flags and axes past spectators. This year the parade was longer than the last few years and the crowds were large too. After the parade we headed down to the lake where we would spend most of the next 10hrs. On the lake shore we set up a grill and many chairs where we had a revolving picnic. People came and went grabbing burgers (complete with moose meat!), chips, and hot dogs, as they hauled equipment and began setting up. Mid afternoon a bunch of us went around to neighboring camp grounds to ask for donations to help cover the costs of the fireworks display. The fire department pays for and sets them off all on their own with only the help of donations. This year we made just enough to break even, but what more could you ask for? Once we got back most everything was set up, except the raft, which holds part of the finale and is shot off in the middle of the lake. The raft was put together and then we donned our turnout gear and began loading in the explosives. A guy from the paper showed up and took a photo of me and another firefighter to put in the paper... I will look for it in tomorrow's paper where it should be if it made it in. Once it got dark the show finally began. It was a lot of running, yelling, and ground shaking loud noises. The whole show took 20 minutes. I taped the very end of it after I finished my job of handing out the extra fireworks that had to be loaded once the ones in the tubes were shot. It was a great finale and I still maintain its one of the best shows I've ever seen. After we cleaned everything up Shawn and I went out to the local pub, which is kind of a dive, but what else would you expect in Island Pond? Once I got a few drinks in me it didn't matter. I danced with a bunch of friends and mostly enjoyed the music because I was drinking. Either way. I had a blast. The whole day, tiring and hard, but so much fun and worth it.

Here are the photos taken throughout the day:

And here is the video of the last few fire works and the finale:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

4th of July!

Tomorrow is the big day. Independence Day. From 5am to 1 or 2am the next day I will be awake, working, driving, lifting, marching, building, fund raising, picnicing, socializing, shooting (explosives that is), cleaning, and finally drinking. Its a whole day of fun and energy draining efforts to hear 3000 people clap and cheer at the end. To be one of the few inside the ropes with deadly explosives being lit at your fingertips. Exciting.

Everyone have a great fourth of July! I'll post this weekend of my small town big deal celebration.