I rode fire trucks, slid down fire poles, wore a lot of red, and made a lot of appearances. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for fire fighters.
When I was little, one of the first things I wanted to be when I “grew up” was a firefighter. That’s probably because my Dad was a firefighter!
It was cool growing up in the fire hall. Often on Sundays, when Dad was working days, Mom would take us there after church to have lunch with Dad. We’d pick up McDonald’s, and he’d buy us pop from the vending machine. While there wasn’t a pole to slide down, there were poles you could climb up…and then slide down! We got to climb on the back of the truck and sit in the driver’s seat with Dad’s hat on, while he whooped the siren or let us beep the horn. I even got to climb high into the sky on the ladder of the ladder truck, and once, ride in an old truck in the Santa Claus parade.
When I was in high school, we’d all watch to see if my Dad was on the trucks coming to investigate yet another false alarm. I felt like a celebrity!
When I was in college, I did my CPR training with the guys. They fought over who got to sit next to me so they could look off my test. They thought it was hilarious to pair me with the largest guy with the biggest beer belly to practice the heimlich procedure. Sadly, all the guys were much older than me and none of them looked like the guys in the calendar!
My Dad was a firefighter for 34 years before he was forced to retire. In many ways, I think he was ready. Many of the new volunteers were more interested in being “hot shots” rather respecting their elders and listening to the voice of experience. Who knows? Maybe Dad was a “hot shot” once upon a time too. But I doubt it. Always patient and calm, Dad was a trusted worker. Even in a small town, he handled dangerous situations. This is my Dad fighting one of the biggest fires the town every saw. It’s the only time my Mom said she was afraid for him.
We saw lots of steam machinery, cars, and trains growing up.
And I think all of his grandchildren got to visit the station too.
It’s safe to say that my Dad’s love of vintage cars and trains also extended to fire trucks, and in that, we share a common bond. To this day I get excited and run to the window every time I hear a siren or see the flash of lights.
Dear Diary – Call me Gladys Kravitz. Just like the nosey neighbour in Bewitched, I keep an eye on my neighbours. I see your deliveries. I see your unauthorized gatherings. This week, I called Fire Prevention Services, twice. (They also hung up on me, twice). You can’t burn leaves (or even have a campfire) within town limits without a permit. I have overlooked little campfires, but when the plume of thick, black smoke rises 20ft in the air, covering the neighbourhood like a blanket, and it looks like your whole house is on fire, I’m callin’ it! The fire department has to catch you in the act and when I squealed called about the second neighbour, they sent a truck. Love those red trucks! So, yeah. I’m that neighbour…
Dear Diary – I have continued with physio torture therapy on a weekly basis. I had no idea that an elastic band could become a feared instrument of torture, or that my posture would threaten the friendly relationship I’m trying to maintain with my torturer therapist. Yesterday she gave me a deep massage by grinding my spine with her elbow! I feel like I’ve been in a car wreck. But on the plus side, I probably won’t have to shave my head because I can put my hair in a ponytail again. I’m still working on putting on my bra like a normal person. Little Guy, who has always been extremely flexible and boasts several double joints, continues to taunt me whenever he sees me doing my exercises. He can pop things that I didn’t know could pop. His body sounds like a haunted house, with creaky doors, squeaky floors and weird thumps in the night. It’s scary!
Dear Diary – While churches remain limited to 10 people on a Sunday morning, our church has elected to livestream services rather than use recordings. While I’m sorry the scheduled musician wasn’t feeling well, I was excited to be asked to join in. On Sunday morning, I put on a dress and high heels, fixed my hair and put on make-up. It felt SO good. I haven’t attended a church service since March 2020! We spread out on the platform and only removed our masks to sing. Which was a challenge for me. I had 2 in-ear monitors and a mic that hooks over one ear, all of which had to be attached under the elastics of my facemask. And every time I removed the facemask, inevitably something would fall off. I never did get the in-ear monitors to stay for the last song. Still, it was wonderful to sing and play in a group again, and most of all, to lift my voice to the Lord (and not worry about who I was irritating in the house).
Dear Diary – I ordered stuff for Hubby for Father’s Day, and after it arrived I realized I probably could have shopped for me too. Missed opportunity!
Dear Diary – Facebook shared another memory this week from Hubby. He wrote: “Here’s a picture of Jenn going up hill. She said that it was so easy for her. Hmmmm!”
It was the one time he took me mountain biking. Downhill wasn’t a problem, but that bridge nearly killed me. Don’t worry – I found the shoe I lost, and a tree broke my fall. Good times!
I haven’t been on my bike since.
Dear Diary – I was really excited to share one of my latest songs with my Intro to Comedy Writing class Tuesday night. I even worked up the nerve to sing it. It didn’t get rave reviews. Maybe I need to ham it up more? Or maybe you have to be a gamer to get it?
I’m A Gamer
verse 1 I can’t shoot stupid people, but in a virtual world I can get lots of satisfaction I get to be the hero, I am never a zero I’m a gamer and I rule that world
chorus: I’m a gamer, I’m a gamer I’m a gamer, and I rule that world
In the real world I am no one, but in a virtual world I’m a fighter with lots of passion I am strong and fierce and sexy, don’t ever mess with me I’m a gamer and I rule that world
bridge: I can be a spartan like masterchief A battle angel bringing both mercy and grief Laura Croft, or a grand car thief A master builder, an Olympic athlete
verse 3 My children ignore me but in a virtual world They have reason to fear me plenty They no longer think I’m lame I wish the real world was the same I’m a gamer and I rule that world
I’m a gamer, I’m a gamer, I’m a gamer and I rule that world I’m the Queen in that world I wish it was the real world
Dear Diary – Our house is being patrolled. On Monday, I noticed a large bumblebee hovering over our back porch stairs. I wondered if it was admiring our lilac tree, which is in full bloom, just as much as I was. Or maybe, he was meeting someone he met online. Or he was blind and he could smell the lilacs but a misguided sense of direction kept him from them. Whatever the reason, I watched him for a while and discovered there was a flight pattern, and he was chasing anything with wings.
I don’t have wings, but I didn’t know if he’d chase me. I wanted to plant the herb seeds I ordered. Maybe he’d go away after awhile?
Hours later, he was still flying his beat. I tried simulating rain with the hose, but he’d just fly out of range of the water and hover, confused. I went on with planting, careful to avoid him as much as possible. He only bounced off my forehead once.
I looked it up. Our bumblebee is a carpenter bee and he’s guarding a nest. Carpenter bees burrow into wood and lay eggs. The female will feed the babies while the males patrol. Though aggressive, he has no stinger, but he can still “bee” annoying for most of the summer!
Every breath you take Every move you make Every bond you break Every step you take I’ll be watching you.
It was a horrible, high-pitched, “fingers running down a chalkboard” kind of sound that sent Hubby running for the stairs…again. I ran for another window, gritting my teeth and blinking rapidly. The smoke was getting in my eyes.
There was no fire…just lots of smoke pouring from my oven. I was cooking fish – salmon to be specific – and it wasn’t going well. I don’t eat fish because I’m allergic to it, but every now and then I cook it for my guys. Tonight was less about cooking and more about trying to recreate a scene from Back Draft. Fortunately Hubby was home to deal with the smoke detectors. I can’t reach either one, and by the time I haul a chair up the stairs to reach the one of the top floor, the fire department would have been here. As much as I adore firefighters (my Daddy was a firefighter), this is not the way I want to meet the people in my neighbourhood. It could have been worse – I could have killed it…I will never forget the time my Dad came home from work to find the broom and smoke detector lying in pieces at the bottom of the stairs… (It wasn’t me…)
I drove through 2 constructions zones to buy this stupid fish, after driving to the paint store because my can of primer was…painted shut! I would have posted this morning, but the internet crashed while I was working on it. And then I got smoke in my eyes…Let’s hope that tomorrow will be a better day…
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire! And when that smoke is on my street, the fire trucks come! In fact, 4 fire trucks came, along with a number of police cars, and a whole bunch of cars filled with gawkers to clog up the street, and make life difficult for the emergency personnel.
I feel like a kid every time I see or hear a fire truck, but I think I come by it honestly…my Dad was a firefighter and I spent a lot of time hanging out at the hall. (And, no! It wasn’t to check out the hot firemen because most of the firemen in our town had significant middle-aged spread… I felt cheated and I’m still very bitter about it!). Growing up, every time we heard a truck, my friends and I would crane our necks to see who was in it. For a brief second, that sighting of “Jenn’s Dad” made me “popular” (when I was little and shy, and often overlooked, that moment was magical)! I don’t know any fire fighter fighters now, but I still crane my neck – life-long habit?
It was a longer trip home from my parents but we beat most of the holiday traffic. I was helping Big Guy pack his car (including his hamster who had travelled with us), when our neighbour pointed and yelled that “the house down the street is on fire”. We could hear sirens in the distance so Big Guy tossed the last of his belongings in the car and left in a hurry so he wouldn’t be blocked in. I didn’t even get a hug (he came back later so I could hamster-sit while he went out for dinner with some friends so I snagged one then. I wonder what the police officer blocking the street thought about this kid wandering by on foot carrying a hamster cage? Of course, the officer left after Big Guy was back in his car down the road…). I ran in the house to get Little Guy because I thought he would be excited to see the fire trucks in action on our street but it took a solid minute to convince him to leave his Xbox game (what’s happening to our kids?)
From our neighbour’s porch…before it thickened and started blowing over!
Since the fire was on the same side as our street, it was hard to see much beyond the thick plume of smoke, so I took Little Guy’s hand and we crossed the street, and tiptoed a few houses down across our neighbour’s grass. Who has time for shoes? By now, we had several groups of 20-somethings huddled along the edge, so we invited ourselves onto one of our neighbour’s front porch for a better view. Our view was obscured by the smoke…that blew in our faces and made our clothes smell. The only time I want to smell “campfire” is in the Fall when the leaves are changing and the days are sunny and crisp. Little Guy quickly lost interest and we had to tiptoe back across the grass, which tickled our toes.
The next “wave” waiting to go in. View from our porch.
I spent the next couple of hours chatting with various neighbours on our street. None of us were oblivious to the fact that a few families’ lives had changed forever, or how easily we could lose what is most precious to us. At the end of the day, the fire was out, the trucks were gone, no lives had been lost…and that is what mattered most.
…but, I have to say, there is something about those red trucks and flashing lights that bring out the kid in me…and that’s something I hope I never lose.