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Thursday, April 30, 2009

If a tree falls in the woods...

Does it make a sound?

Yes... and it scares the crap out of me as I am relaxing on a few yards away in my official summer time relaxation spot...

I seriously love my deck. It is the best place in the world, permanently shaded by a large white pine (so no need for an umbrella), and even has wireless internet access! Actually the only thing that would make it better is a sweeping view of the mountains or a lake, but really, that's just me being picky.

So I will just sit back, relax, get a tan (or sunburn...), and enjoy what has been hidden and inaccessible for the last six months due to arctic conditions. Burgers anyone?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tourist at Work

While traveling to an emergency call in Vermont you often have a long way to travel. No matter what the emergency it is hard not to notice the surroundings. Argumentatively, we are suppose to be taking careful notice to our surroundings as we respond. Lights blaring, sirens wailing. It all kind of blends in and adds to the beauty of the country side as we respond to whatever emergency awaits us. Or maybe that is only something a flat lander once removed to the North East Kingdom and placed in an ambulance would enjoy? No matter where you are implanted from when you see something like this you have to smile.

That's right... they are plowing the field with horses and a large steel plow! I never knew that people still plow fields with horses that are of the non-Amish/Mennonite faith, but apparently they do! For fun! And in Vermont! I actually love that sort of stuff... that mushy, traditional, old-timey stuff.

On our way back from the emergency call, which we did not transport anyone from, my partner kindly slowed down, rolled down the window, and allowed me to snap some photographs of these hard working people and animals. I felt like a tourist. All I needed was a big hat and a t-shirt with a token village name and a picture of a covered bridge on it.

Sometimes I really love being a flat-lander at heart.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From Firefighter to Homemaker

Some people are just different than others. Maybe there is a little bit of crossed wiring or disconnected circuits. Whatever it is, it is something that makes a few of us think that the dangerous, hard, and impossible are fun.

What did you spend your weekend doing? This is what I spent mine doing...

I have never experienced anything more chaotic, more physically intense, more mentally challenging and there was not even real smoke or fire. The camera angles are awful, but that is only because the camera was mounted to the side of my helmet as my hands were busy holding a 2"1/2 nozzle. I still think that despite the poor video it demonstrates just how crazy it was for all of us in that house. And after we finished, dragged the hose back out, and sulked about how we "killed" ourselves we still all had smiles on our face... well except for the one kid in our group who was puking... it was a little too much exertion for him, but after he finished puking even he was smiling. Deranged isn't it?

The last few days have totally revolved around firefighting... from a real fire to the least informative class ever and then the chaos mentioned above. As fun as it all has been it really is exhausting. I actually had six days off of work and didn't even realize it until today, when I went back to work. That's how busy I am and there is no sign of slowing down.

Today, despite working from home and having a lack of ambulance calls I have done more than enough. I've had several phone calls with my boss, done numerous book keeping tasks for my upcoming EMT course, cleaned the ENTIRE house (except the basement... that is my husband's domain), folded a month's worth of laundry, put away all the winter clothes (so winter better really be gone and not coming back for six months...), and am now getting ready to make a big dinner for Shawn when he comes home from his day shifts. Every once and a while I really get into the mood to act like a traditional housewife (to be frank, most of the time I barely have time to pick up after myself or do laundry and sometimes I wish I could do more.). Its hard to have so many roles... but at least I can enjoy them all, even simultaneously!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


For every season there is a toy and one of my most favorite and family rooted toys finally made its first appearance of the year. The 1968 Mustang was out in force yesterday. I excitedly sat in the passenger seat as my husband drove it all over the north east kingdom. From Canaan to Newport to Lyndonville and everywhere in between. The approving nods, waves, and stares we get from people we pass always makes me smile. And I feel so lucky to be the girl inside the mustang rather than wishing I was her.

Mustangs have been a HUGE part of my family, oddly enough. My grandfather, uncle, and father all have mustangs. When I was very small car shows were the norm. Every weekend during the summer it seemed there was one to go to and at almost every local parade one of our family's mustangs would be present, leading the parade, carrying an important public official, or a princess of some sort. I learned how to look at what was original and appreciate artistic custom touches and ended up marrying a man who shares the same appreciation for mustangs as I do. Its one thing to love classic cars, but its another to love mustangs.

My goal is to one day have my own... a red one. But for now I am happy with my spot in the passenger seat of his (our) mustang.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Return of the Hobbies

This first green thing of the season!

I am so eager for the world to "pretty up" so I can take out my camera, drive the back roads, and run around all willy-nilly taking pictures of everything. I really miss doing that... There are a ton of things that I miss, actually, besides photography that I haven't had a chance to do lately;

Fold laundry ...ok I don't want to do that, but its definitely been neglected (again).

I've been doing plenty, in fact I've probably been doing too much. Between deciding to keep a fourth puppy who we affectionately named Higbee (10 points if you get the reference.), to working 60+ hours a week, getting all my school stuff in line, attending firefighting class, maintaining the house, keeping up with my exercise regime, and attempting to see my husband I have about zero time left for self indulgance.

Ok, I do self indulge, but its time to do something other than watch TV. Television is getting old and I've definitely been watching way too much... enough so that I managed to watch the entire first two seasons of "The Tudors" in just three days. Thats about 20 hours of episodes... yeah... too much? Definitely. Its time for something a little more productive, for sure.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another Kind of Season

The snow has officially retreated except for a couple patches in the deep shady parts of the woods. This weekend I saw robins for the first time poking around the yard. My husband has awoken from his hibernation and become a yard work fanatic, dreaming up all sorts of ideas to transform our yard and forest into a professional looking landscaped lot with his bare hands and our newly purchased chain saw. All the while, reminding me how much more he could accomplish with a tractor... nice try.

If you haven't noticed, in Vermont we don't have normal seasons like the rest of the world. There is Hunting Season, The Holiday Season, Ski Season, Mud Season, Brush Fire Season, 4th of July, and Foliage Season. Right now we are entering Brush Fire Season, one of my most favorite times of the year. When all the snow and mud dries out it leaves behind a dead, dry, and crusty mess that is easy to ignite and quick to spread.

Doesn't it look pretty? Nothing is green... just a brown, dead, dried out mess. Even a cigarette butt carelessly thrown would be enough to ignite a several acre fire in these conditions. These fires will happen, they are inevitable, and I love fighting them. After hours of pounding ground, digging, raking, and spraying water you come out smell like a camp fire. When you finally get back to the station you feel accomplished and strong. Actually after any fire you feel like that, probably even more so after a roaring structure fire, but those don't happen that often in my little town (which isn't a bad thing unless you are a firefighter...) Brush fires are far more likely to occur. And hopefully when they do I am there, busting my behind and enjoying it the entire time.

At least there is something to look forward to in all this brown deadness before the May flowers and green grass return!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Even the Professionals get it Wrong... Very Wrong.

When the "Big" TV station comes all the way from Burlington to your little corner of the North East Kingdom you expect professional and impressive work. We were all extremely excited to hear that we would make tri-state news coverage for something other than a call. They came April 1st... and the story did not air until yesterday. You would think with ten days of time to edit and write a seemingly simple story that they would check their facts and grammar. You would also think that the pictures they choose to post would not be some extreme action shot of me getting out of the ambulance where my hair is going crazy. See for yourself...

Lyndon Rescue Receives Top Honors

Lyndon, Vermont - April 10, 2009

Top honors for the rescue crew in Lyndon. Lyndon Rescue has been named 2009 Vermont Ambulance Service of the Year.

Lyndon Rescue was started in 1972 on the campus of Lyndon State College by a group of students. Since then, the ambulance service has expanded and now has one of the state's largest coverage areas-- more than 560 square miles.

"We finally made our mark and got the recognition that we have wanted to get. Very honored, it's a very big honored and we were very surprised," said Dave Kerrigan of Lyndon Rescue.

Lyndon Rescue helps provide coverage in all of Caledonia, Essex, Washington and Lamoille counties-- as well as half of Orange County in Vermont.

Darren Perron - WCAX News

I guess they stick true to quoting people exactly, if you didn't notice the little grammatical error in my crew member's comment. But that isn't the part that made me laugh for a full on five mintues and most of you may not catch it, or even find it half as funny as I did, but I will share anyway...

The last paragraph starts out correct, but after the tenth word becomes completely false. We do, in fact, cover most of Caledonia and Essex counties, but do not cover ANY of Washington County (Montpelier and Barre area), any of Lamoille County (Johnson and Morrisville area), and certainly not any of Orange County (Wells River and Bradford area). The little photoshopped image to the left shows the area we really cover (green) versus the area they depicted we cover in their story (gray). We cover a large area to begin with... the 560sq miles is correct... but certainly not 1/4th of the state with three ambulances, two crews, and two stations!

Ok... maybe its not THAT funny to everyone, but personally I think its hilarious that our once in forever news making accomplishment was so fubarred. And that we are depicted as a super service that covers so much of Vermont!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Financial Aid Follies

Getting accepted to nursing school was a big milestone. Once the initial happiness of the acceptance letter wore off I came to my senses and realized that I was facing a very large expense to make my ambitions come true. I was staring down a monumental task of applying for financial aid, this time without any help or work from my mother. Little did I realize just how much work she had done so I could go to college and earn my Bachelors Degree... she really is amazing and made it seem easy. Just a simple behind the scenes effort where money appeared and my tuition was paid without any real effort on my part. Piece of cake.

But of course I would not have an easy go of it undertaking the task by myself...

I ran into problems from the beginning. It all started with my acceptance letter, which was wonderful in itself but a few lines down spelled out a very large problem, naming me as an "Out of State" student. After two weeks of talking to admissions, filling out forms, and proving I'm not a dependent and truly a Vermont resident, I managed to become an "In State" student, thus cutting my tuition for the program in half.

Then came FASFA... How my mother filled out FASFA year after year for me without throwing the computer was beyond me. I have never experienced a bigger bureaucratic headache before this. I ran into a very large problem quite quickly too... since I was married only a few months ago my name had changed since I last filled out a FASFA form, but the government remembers all your information by your SSN. So every form I filled out FASFA only recognized me by my maiden name. It also refused to let me file independently from my parents because all my former FASFA forms were as a dependent. I had to email, call, and mail tons of forms to and from my parents, Vermont Tech, and FASFA. In the end I still couldn't change the form so my married name is on it, but was able to make myself independent of my parents.

And of course, VSAC. Once you fill out FASFA for the government you must file for a loan through the state (aka VSAC). Same problem. I already have existing loans and an existing account with VSAC because of my previous collegiate endevours so I had issue with the whole married vs maiden name thing. In fact, I couldn't even log into my account because I made up the username and password when I was 18 and my secret question was "What is your favorite band, actor, or performer". For the life of me I can't figure out what my answer was. I guess it was a good secret question. So I had to call and spend a good hour or two on the phone explaining first my FASFA problems and then my name change and then my general frustrations with applying for financial aid. Poor "Dave" on the other end of the phone had to listen to my sob story and then successfully solved my quandaries. He informed me that my financial aid applications, despite my name changes, were all in line and he was going to notify VTC. What a nice guy.

And today, finally, I received a manila envelope in the mail from Vermont Tech financial Aid Department. It was a loan approval! About 3/4 of my tuition is now funded by the US government through a Stafford Loan. The rest is something that Shawn and I will be able to swing on our own. The biggest obstacle in the way of school has been overcome. Now all I have to do is complete two online summer prerequisites, get a physical done, and rearrange my work schedule so I can work 48hrs a week and be a student four days a week. Am I insane? Yes. Am I excited? Of course. Is this a great thing. Absolutely!

I am going back to school...its really going to happen.

Friday, April 3, 2009

And The Winner Is....

The 2009 Vermont Ambulance Service of the Year is.... Lyndon Rescue!

To some people that's already old news that they might be tired of hearing by now, but I still don't get tired of hearing it! We've been on the college news station, the local news, in the newspaper and on the radio. Out of 90 ambulance services in the state the service I have worked and volunteered at for the better part of six years. Since I've moved up here Lyndon Rescue (or just plain "Rescue" as we call it) has been the most prominent fixture in my life. Through college, graduating, buying a home, getting married, and everything else. Many of the squad members were also members in my wedding party! If they weren't they were guests. Heck, I wouldn't have met my husband if it wasn't for Rescue. It really is so much more than a rescue squad... at least to me.

Despite it being my job Rescue is more like my second home and second family. I know that the day may come, but I really don't want to imagine leaving the squad...maybe full time, but hopefully never part time. When I am at work it usually, doesn't seem like work. All the time I devote doesn't seem like a big effort, but instead its fun... like a hobby I guess. I never seem to mind all the sweat, aggravation, and time that I put in because to me what I get out of it is really so much more. You just have to do it to understand.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Food Frenzy

Five week old puppies in all their glory (minus one):

Feeding them is an adventure in itself and cleaning up their mess is even more exciting. It takes them about 0.2 seconds to send food and water everywhere. I am not sure exactly how much it they actually eat, but they are getting fat so I am assuming at least a good bit. It is some what cute at first, but when you realize you have to clean everything up the cuteness is fleeting.

All three have pending home. They will be with us only for another few weeks before being handed to their new owners. We are ready to downsize from six to three dogs again.