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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Highlights of 2008

Boy, this year seemed to end nearly as soon as it began. So much happened that I barely had time to sit back, take a breath, and appreciate what was going on around me. But it only seems fit I try and sum up this incredible year by highlighting a few parts of it.

  • We bought a new snowmobile so we could each have our own.
  • I taught my first real EMS course all by myself and had a 100% pass rate.
  • Shawn wasn't taken off probation after a year of being on the department for "political reasons". He's still on probation and the drama continues.
  • Our house was put up for sale... and is still for sale.
  • I went to Mississippi in the ambulance for Hurricane Gustav relief.
  • And of course, Shawn and I got married!
There was so much more that has happened, including the election, credit crisis, stock market problems, housing market collapse, oil price fluctuations, the snowiest winter EVER on record in Vermont last winter, and so on... Perhaps all these events crammed into one year resulted in it flying by. Even TIME and USA Today have already called 2008 a year for the history books. One can only guess what 2009 will hold, both for the world and myself. I'm excited.

Company Christmas Party

Even though its after Christmas, Christmas activities haven't stopped. The other night we finally had our Christmas party for Rescue. Because of various scheduling conflicts (mostly mine because I am in charge of setting up and coordinating the party) we had to hold it after Christmas at the fire department in town. Either way, its great to have everyone get together and the food was awesome (thanks Dave and Judi from Kerrigan's Market and Deli!!) My personal favorites were the stuffed shells and the fabulous white chocolate and rasberry cheese cake.



I'm about to enjoy a giant piece of that spectacular cheese cake and a "wonder bar".
Don't ask about my vest. Its Vermont fashion, I swear. Besides, I think its awesome.

We also held a "Yankee Swap", which I had never done before. To be frank, I was a little disappointed, mostly because someone swapped with me and I ended up with a puzzle instead of a mound of scratch off tickets. Who gifts a puzzle for a Yankee Swap? All the others thought it was more than amusing that I ended up with the obvious "bad" gift. I guess its good I could at least brighten other people's evening. Next year I will strategically buy a gift to swap that out does that damn puzzle. I can't wait to see who picks it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

And it was gone in a Flash

So the holiday season has passed, unless you count New Years in there, but the gift giving and family visiting is over. In a way I am relieved. Now that I am older the magic of the holidays just doesn't seem to exist anymore, even if you try to create it. Once you are an adult the holidays are just work. Expensive work.



The Maryland State Line on route 301. My official entry point to the Maryland Easter Shore!

I still had a great holiday, though. It was much needed time spent relaxing and seeing the family down in Maryland. For once I did nothing most of the day, napped, read, and played video games. It was great. Then there were family dinners, visitors, and catching up to do. My favorite part of the entire trip, though, was taking my dog for a walk all the way down the field at sunset. It was beautiful, like something out of a Robert Frost Poem, if he had lived on the Eastern Shore rather than in New Hampshire.

Sometimes a little family and a whole lot of nothing is exactly what you need, too bad it was over so fast.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Its that wonderful time of the year...

And much to the chagrin of my husband, we are off to Maryland for two days of travel and two days with the family and then a day with his family when we return. I love this time of year and love visiting my beloved Eastern Shore. The only thing I dislike is my parent's dial-up internet connection. A little break from the internet can't be a bad thing.

So from my small family in my small corner of the North East, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Well the Weather Outside is Frightning!

As Christmas nears I am getting more and more into the spirit. When I here all these Christmas carols mentioning a White Christmas, Letting is Snow, and so forth, I can't help but picture my own front yard. This is, after all, Vermont, and snow is a prerequisite for Christmas that has been more than met.


Yesterday was officially the first day of winter and the darkest day of the year. To usher in the new season we were greeted with intense snow, wind, and artic temperatures. Most of the snow has scooted off to the Greater Nova Scotia area while intense winds remain. This morning I awoke to over a foot, actually damn near two feet, of snow. After the initial little kid's reaction of "ooohh! Snow! Look at it all!" I reverted to adult thinking and began shoveling out my car, which took me the better part of two hours. Even though I was shoveling I was still better off than the kids in town. They had school today. Not even sixteen inches of snow will close school up here! What a stark contrast to where I grew up. I remember days where school was canceled just because of the forecast of snow. Here we couldn't even make it out of our driveway for two hours, but the schoold buses were still rolling.




Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Nor'easter. Again.

Check out this forecast...



Yes, those numbers represent inches of snow expected, and I am stoked! Another Nor'easter only a week after the previous one, the one that produced mounds of disappointing ice rather than snow. I love snow storms and don't have to work during this one! Instead, I get to sit at home (and the husband is off too! -double bonus!) and relax, watch the snow fall, and hum various Christmas carols in my head.

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Two Car Pile Up... In My Driveway

You know your day is off to a bad start when you get into your truck and let go of the gas to roll out of the driveway and this happens...



All the snow we had melted and pooled last week during the ice storm (see previous entry). I thought the water lying in our driveway was an inconvenience, until it froze over completely. Then add a half a foot of snow to disguise the ice and you have bad situation. As soon as I put the truck in reverse and let go of the gas the truck began to roll, and slide, and proceed towards the trees along side my driveway. Thankfully it stopped before hitting anything other than a small snow bank. I ran in, told Shawn, realized I was going to be late for work, and decided to take my car instead. By my judging I figured I could squeeze around the truck and leave it for Shawn to figure out how to move. I guess I figured wrong. Who would have thought that the same thing that happened to my truck would have happened to my car??



As soon as I started my car and let off the gas it proceeded forward. And slid. I aimed toward the other snowbank, knowing I was losing control (or had none to begin with). Either two things were going to happen... I would power house through the bank, around the truck and be on my way to work, or I would get stuck...

Well, I got stuck. So I then proceeded inside, woke Shawn up, and advised him of the situation waiting for him in the driveway, which his loving wife had created. He actually laughed, only because nothing was hit or damaged, unstuck the two vehicles, and positioned my car so I could head to work safely. Once on my way the roads were not much better and my drive took me over an hour. It was one of the worst driving situations I have ever experienced and the only time I have ever had a two car pile up in my own driveway.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shop 'til You Drop!

Yesterday was my "Christmas Shopping Extravaganza Day". Yes, that is the official name. I spent my entire day, literally twelve hours, traveling to, from, and all throughout dozens of stores in search of a multitude of gifts for all my family members.



Normally I have a very easy time shopping. Since I don't have children I have never really been the person that is suppose to buy those "must have gifts". Mostly what I give are smaller things, less pricey, and somewhere near the bottom of the wish list. The expensive and hard to find gifts I leave up to my parents or Shawn's parents. However, being married presents a challenge because now I am officially the number one gift giver for my husband and his big wants and wishes are no longer his parent's, but mine. Normally Shawn isn't doesn't have much of a wish list and the things he does want are usually relatively inexpensive... until this year. And so began my search for the ultimate gift.

The mall was relatively uncrowded. I immediately headed towards a store that normally has Shawn's ultimate gift. In fact, they had boxes of it. Empty boxes. After carrying an empty box to the counter and being embarrassed by a cashier who informed me that they were out of stock I lashed out at their false advertisement by leaving these boxes all over the store. Other shoppers in the store laughed and applauded. The jerk of a cashier then proceeded to lash out at me for waiting until there were 10 days left before Christmas. Jerk. After having similar experiences in multiple other stores in search of Shawn's ultimate gift I used my life line and called my mother. She glowed in motherly awesomeness as she found and called dozens of stores near and far in search of the ultimate gift, but even her efforts were to no avail. Sold out. None in stock. A shipment is coming this week, but we don't know when. Uh oh.... did I wait too long?

In a last ditch effort I once again called upon my mother and relayed a request as I stood in the middle of the FYE music store. She somehow not only located the gift online, but also arranged for it to arrive on Christmas Eve. Mom's really do make everything better, even when you are an adult and married.

My shopping continued. I spent and spent until I realized my wallet was getting light. All the money I withdrew from the ATM was dwindling. My feat ached. My shoulders ached from carrying heavy bags. Who knew shopping could be such an incredible work out. As the sun disappeared and my back seat and trunk filled up with bags my friend, who had endured a marathon shopping experience with me all day, and I decided that we had had enough. Our day ended with a visit to the Olive Garden that was less than stellar. No mashed potatoes and a waiter that I swear thought we were a lesbain couple. I mean, its not that wild of an assumption. This is Vermont.

With a lot of sweat, arguments, aches, pains, and frantic phone calls everything was accomplished. Next year I may start my Christmas shopping earlier, like July. So plan your lists accordingly!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Proof McDonalds is Bad for You.

So I finally decided to clean my car inside and out today...

Whenever we clean we always find things. Sometimes we find things we have been missing for weeks. Sometimes we find things that we forgot we had. Sometimes we find things we forgot to do. And then there are times where we find things that are absolutely disgusting. This was one of those times.

Now look at this photo:



How old does this pie look to you? I know, its a trick question...

I found that pie under the passenger seat, as if someone shoved it under there from the back seat of my car. For the life of me I cannot remember the last time I, or anyone else in my vehicle, ate at McDonalds. The best I can recollect is that I ate there sometime late spring or early summer. How the pie got under the seat is also a mystery.

What is most astonishing is that this pie is the better part of six months old (at least) and has no sign of decomposition! When I reached under the seat and pulled out the telltale red McDonald's pie box I cringed thinking some green or black, fuzzy, moldy, monstrous thing would be poking out the sides and caked on the carpet in my car. Not the case. The pie actually looks just like it did when it was purchased. Disturbing. If this thing can last that long under the seat in my car intact, just imagine what it does to your body!

Now I remember why I rarely eat there to begin with and why it is good to clean out your car more often.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ice Ice Baby!


The first Nor'easter of the '08-09 season. What was initially forecasted as snow began as snow, but them changed to a torrential down pour for the last few hours of the storm. The rain resulted in a thick coating of ice. The roads were trechourous as I headed into work. As I listened to the radio in hopes of hearing some good tunes on my drive I instead heard a monumental list of school closings. Most of the day the rain poured. Trees slowly began to look sad and droopy, sagging into the roadway. I sat at the rescue squad eagerly waiting two things; trees to come crashing down with the weight of all this ice causing wide spread power outages, or people to go sliding off the roads needing our rescue. None of the above happened. With everything frozen solid one would thing more disasters would happen. Since when did people learn to slow down and use common sense? I must have not gotten the memo.

On our various other ambulance calls, unrelated to the weather, we came across a few icy scenes, as well as a random unoccupied vehicle off the road. They must have not got the memo either, but manage to avoid injury any how. Of course I took photos...






Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Accidents happen

This time of year there are always various hazards in the back country of Vermont. Everything from wild life to road conditions as well as the completely bizarre. All of the above happened yesterday in a relatively short period of time.



With the crappy weather we experienced yesterday I should have known something was going to happen. All the roads were snow covered and icy. Just as Shawn and I headed out of town to do some Christmas shopping we heard the ambulance and fire department get toned for a car accident. We turned the car around and headed back since we were only a few miles outside of town. Just as we turned around we came across a moose that was trying to cross the road:



After a brief encounter with wildlife, which I haven't seen much of in the last couple of months, we were back on our way to the fire station. Upon our arrival at the fire station we found a man across the street yelling something to us and other members of the department. I only heard "the town is going to have to pay for this!" but paid it no mind as I went into the station, got into my turnout gear, and headed on my way in the fire engine to the accident. One we arrived we were immediately canceled by the chief. Nothing special. Go figure.



When we returned to the station I figured out what all the yelling was about, which is now a well known story through the small town (it doesn't take long for news like this to get around...) Apparently before we got to the station a couple of other firefighters were there and pulled out our rescue truck and let it idle in the parking lot while they finished getting on their gear. As they were dressing the truck somehow slipped into or out of gear, rolled forward, down the hill, and into a house across the street. Despite the horrendous public perception that creates I couldn't help but laugh. Our firetruck hit a house?! I couldn't believe it. I mean, what the hell, does that ever happen in real life? ...apparently. No one was inside the rescue truck either, when it decided to take a joy ride across the road and into side of a house.



There was some damage to the outside of the house, exposed insulation, and damage to the window. I do not know the extent of the damage inside, but heard the wall was pretty hurt by the impact. You can see the tracks the truck took as it careened down the hill... I still can't help but to snicker when I think about it. Is that bad? There was no damage to the truck, and of course the town and the police are investigating.

Random. Rediculous. Hilarious. What a day.
And we did finally get to go Christmas shopping.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Excuses

So I haven slacked off on my posting the last week or so. Nothing terribly noteworthy has happened, except the fact that I redeveloped that horrendous cold I had a few weeks ago that seems to be receding now, once again. Hopefully for good. I've worked excessive amounts of hours with relatively few calls and even fewer that were interesting, except a guy who sang to me in French (at least that's what language he said it was. Who am I to argue?) and called me sir all the way to the hospital. He was blissfully senile, or just loopy from some medical problem I am unable to diagnose in the ambulance. Now I am finally getting some down time at home where the temperature has turned brutally cold... it reached a whopping 6 degrees as a high temperature today. I have yet to do my Christmas shopping, any of it. In fact, I have no idea what to get most of the people on my list. There is just so much going on this season. Hopefully things slow down so I can enjoy the holiday!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Decorating the Tree

Just another sign that Christmas is near...




The St. Johnsbury Fire Department's tower is putting up holiday decorations on a tree in town. Seeing the fire department decorate the town reminds me of when I was little and the volunteer fire departments used to do the same. Its nice to know that towns still do that.

Monday, December 1, 2008

'Tis The Season

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over the month of Christmas begins. I refuse to acknowledge all the Christmas nonsense until I am stuffed with turkey and pumpkin pie. Now that that has been accomplished it is full speed ahead.

Today we went out and bought our Christmas tree. I really should have taken photos because the process of us getting a tree really is a good old fashioned hike up half a mountain browsing the hundreds of trees growing freely off rock ledges and then cutting it down and dragging it all the way back to our truck. The fellow that owns the land where we get our tree is exceptionally nice and always gives us hot chocolate and home made sugar cookies when we are finished! I can't wait to take my future kids own this adventure. It definitely has all the making of one of those sweet family holiday traditions.

When we came home, hours ago, we commenced to setting up the tree. As usual, we struggled with the placement of it in our oddly laid out living room space. Once we finally agreed on a spot, set up the tree, took it down to cut more of the trunk so it didn't hit the ceiling, put it back up, ensured it was straight, we then began decorating... that is, until there was a little problem.



As you can see, of course, half of our Christmas lights are nonfunctional. Shawn and I have gone through the rigmarole of testing each bulb and replacing fuses, but to no avail. Since I am such an obsessive compulsive person about unfinished projects I absolutely cannot have this half decorated tree sitting in my living room. Shawn, being a great husband, went to his parents, and then to his sister's house in search of functioning colored lights so we can finish the tree tonight. He has just returned, successful in his journey. All this work to create a little Christmas cheer, but so far it has only created a little Christmas frustration.