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almost 19 weeks

September 2nd, 2009 (03:46 pm)

I'm almost 19 weeks pregnant now.  Everything has been going really well so far.  The sickness has been minimal and while I was extremely tired for a long time I'm doing a little better with that now.

Despite being the type of woman who gets fat looking at a cake, I am barely showing.  My boobs have moved up from having their own zip code to having their own area code and I already have terrible stretch marks, but if I didn't tell you I'm nearly 5 months pregnant you probably wouldn't know it.  I've only told my boss at work and no one else has said anything.  I know that I started out overweight but I thought there would be more to show at 5 months.  I've gained probably about 5 pounds, which is good in my case since I started out weighing too much.

Everything has been great at the doctors.  The baby was beautiful and healthy at the first trimester screening and I have passed all those screening tests for abnormalities like a 22 year old.  On Tuesday Sept 8th we go for our anatomy ultrasound where they can tell us the sex of the baby.  We are both very excited to find out what we're having.  We're happy either way but we're excited to know.  We've worked on names but I don't think we'll officially decide till after the baby is born. 

This weekend we're going to go shopping to start looking at baby stuff.  I have been reading books and online about various things and gathered a lot of good information from my sister who just had a baby last year.  I'm looking forward to picking out stuff for baby and at the same time it's very overwhelming.  There are so many things to choose from and everything costs so much money.

I've been working on cleaning out the room we're going to use for the baby and making good progress.  We just have to put some bookcases together for downstairs so I can move the rest of the stuff out of the room.  Then we need to paint. 

colleent [userpic]

it's been a long time

July 30th, 2009 (02:59 pm)

It's been a long time and so much has happened.  I wrote some things intending to start another blog but I didn't get far and didn't share it with anyone.  It's like when you're in the thick of so much that going through it is all you can handle and talking or writing about it is just too much.

So I'll just fast forward to where I'm at today. 

I'm pregnant.

14 weeks pregnant today.

Yes, it was on purpose.  There's no accident about this true miracle of modern medicine.

My husband is excited and couldn't wait to tell everyone.  He told his day the day the stick turned pink.  I just told my mother two weeks ago.

I couldn't be more happy or feel more blessed by this baby.  I worry about how old I am having this baby but so far everything has been great on all the tests.  I'm having a completely routine and normal pregnancy even though it took more than 8 years to get pregnant.  I've hardly puked at all.

We are planning to find out the sex if it is possible in early September.  The current due date is January 28, 2010.

Maybe that's enough to digest for now....

colleent [userpic]

lonely one dog house

October 29th, 2008 (09:31 pm)

I have spent the better part of the last ten years with three big dogs in my house.  I thought we'd never recover from losing Mack in 2005.  Mack was so many things to me and so many things to Dave.  He was an amazing dog, a once in a lifetime family member. 

It wasn't long after losing Mack that my Dad got sick and I spent the better part of 2006 caring for him and then dealing with his death.   When my father died we brought his dog, Abby, to live with us and we had 3 dogs again.   We lost two other family members that year too.  My marriage was in a bad place and I was severely depressed. 

In 2007 when I thought life could give me no more sadness my little Brandy got sick, had a miracle recovery and then got sick again and we lost her.  I fell apart.   Brandy thought the world revolved around me.  She adored me.  She cuddled up to me when I was sad.  Losing her just crushed me.

When 2008 rolled around I was sure we were done with death for a good long time.  January wasn't half over when we lost my Aunt Deena.  Deena was my great Aunt but in reality she was my grandmother.  Losing her was like losing the soul of that part of my family. 

And then, because life likes to kick you while you're down, our dog Ginger got sick in February.  We took her to the vet and thought she just had some kind of infection.  She did start to get better with medications but still had a lingering cough.  Finally a tissue biopsy gave us the worst news, cancer in her lungs. 

She did well for a while, was even playful and happy.  The whole time she was sick we didn't have much of an appetite.   We bribed her with goodies and treats.  She got so skinny.  The vet thought she she would only have a few months but she did better for much longer than that.  In late Sepember I feared the end was coming very close. 

In the middle of October I went to Arizona to help my mom finish cleaning out Deena's house and right before I left I knew Ginger wasn't doing well.  I gave her extra love before I left but I really did expect her to be here when I got home.  Unfortunately she took a real turn for the worse and Dave had to rush her to the vet the day before I came home. 

He called me from the vets' office because the vet reccommended that we put her to sleep that day.  Our vet has been wonderful to us and I have always trusted his opinion.  It'a testament to how our marriage has turned around that I was on the phone with Dave crying because he was going to have to be alone with Ginger and he was so sad because I wasn't going to get to be with Ginger.  He held the phone up so I could talk to her and then he stayed with her. 

I came home to our lonely one dog house to a dog that is not my own.  She loves us and we love her but her heart will always belong to my Dad.  She is 13 years old and has bad hips.  I am scared for what may happen to her in the near future.

I just had to go and find her because when you have lived so long with three big dogs in your house having only one feels wrong.  I lived so long tripping over dogs in every room, having to be careful when I pushed back my office chair so I wouldn't run over a dog, getting tripped down the hall. 

My house was full of dogs and I loved it.  I can't imagine filling it with any other dogs, though.  It's now full of the memories of the dogs that we loved and loved us.

colleent [userpic]

A quiz I found interesting.

August 22nd, 2008 (09:06 am)
happy

current mood: happy

 Swiped from elizabeyth who swiped it from </a></b></a>heldincontempt .


colleent [userpic]

a list, a list, a list

August 11th, 2008 (04:22 pm)

I think the easiest thing for me right now is to just make a list of all the things going on that I want to remember.

1.  Ginger is dong fairly well, despite the prognosis.  She is far too skinny but I feed her treats and special food to keep her eating.  She is coughing more than before and it not nearly as energetic as she once was, but all in all I say she's putting up a good fight.  On Saturday she pulled a glove out of the garage and brought it to me to play with her.  She hasn't wanted to play like that in so long, probably since before Mack died.  I grabbed a ball instead and threw it for her a few times.  She really perked up and had fun, I think.

2.  My neice is AMAZING.  I went to see her for the weekend and she is SO fun now that she's six months old.  She's still a very happy baby and full of smiles but now she giggles, blows raspberries and rolls all around.  She's much more interactive and you can't help but smile in her presence.  My sister and brother in law are over the moon in love with her and the sight of it makes me so happy.

3.  I am now the owner of a 1971 Volkswagon Beetle Convertible.  It's yellow and a load of fun to drive.  

4.  One of my very best friends, Nan, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  She is having surgery on Friday.  If you can spare some good thoughts for a really amazing woman it would be appreciated.  She has an amazing positive attitude and I need for her to beat this.

5.   I'm almost afraid to list this and jinx it all, but I need to put this somewhere.  I think there has been a major breathrough with my husband and I want to believe that more hopeful days are ahead for us.  I don't want to get my hopes up too much but think we might finally be on the same page again.  I'll know more on August 29th.

6.  Tomorrow is the anniversary of my father's death.  This hardly seems like something to add to a list, but it's on my mind and in my heart these days.  I miss him a lot.  I'm so sorry he's missing out on knowing Isabelle.

7.  I miss my Aunt Deena so much.  My mother and her sisters are at odds again and Deena was always the one who could bring the peace.  I miss staying up late with Deena talking about nothing and everything.  I miss the way she'd make me laugh.  Even at 89 she had a great sense of humor.

8.  I'm actually making a little money doing photography work.  Not nearly enough to quit my day job, but enough that I'm not sorry that I quit working for the sports photography company.

9.  I miss having spare time to scrapbook, rubber stamp, play golf, and hang with my friends.  Between my job and my fire dept obligations I have been so busy that I barely have any free time.  Mostly it's been my job killing me and my social life.  I was starting to look for a new job but because of #5 I have decided to stick it out a bit longer and see how things go.  

10.  Hmm, I'll have to think about number 10.

10. 

colleent [userpic]

From bad to worse..

June 5th, 2008 (11:30 am)

I feel like I'm living in a bad movie.  Like I'm a train wreck that you watch to see what bad thing happens next.

Ginger has lung cancer.  

She's been sick since February with what the vet thought was pnenomia.  We gave her all sorts of antiobiotics and she finally seemed to get better.  She had a nagging cough and a less than stellar appetite but she was doing much better.   She had follow up xrays and they saw some kind of dark spot on her lung still.  The vet was optamisitic.  He thought it might just need time or it might just be a damaged spot from the pnenomia.  At the second follow up xray it was still there so he put her under and did a tissue test and it came back cancerous.  The only possibilities for treatment are invasive and will likely make her even sicker and won't save her.  He thinks she has anywhere from 1 month to 6 months.  There's no way to know for sure.

Right now she's doing pretty good under the circumstances.  She coughs once in a while and we struggle to get her to eat enough but she's happy and playful.  Of course, she's getting extra attention from us these days.  

Heartbroken doesn't even begin to describe how I feel.  She's a stinker, she's a pain in the butt, she's a sweetie and she's our puppy.  We raised her from a little puppy just 9 weeks old.  She's only barely 9 years old.  I'm still struggling with losing Mack and Brandy and losing Ginger too is just too much.  It's just too soon.   

On top of that, Abby is not doing that well.  Her age is really showing these days as she struggles to get up and down the steps.  Getting her to even hustle to get anywhere is a joke.  She's still full of spunk and love but I know the reality is that she doesn't have many years left either.  She's 12 years old now and has lived with us almost 2 years now.  

I can't imagine my house without any dogs in it.  At the same time I can't imagine getting any other dog.  

colleent [userpic]

Slowvannah

April 15th, 2008 (11:54 am)

We had a great 4 days in Savannah.  We wandered the city.  We took a trolley tour.  We went out to the beach on Tybee Island.  We had drinks.  We ate good food.  We laughed.   We watched a funny street performer.  We shopped. 

I took 387 photos. 

To me, that's a good trip.  

In less than 2 weeks I'm going to Arizona.  Originally this was going to be a quiet visit with my Aunt Deena.  I wanted to go over geneology stuff and record her voice and spend quality time with her.  Since she died in January this has turned into a different trip.  It's now a family trip and we're going to work on cleaning out Aunt Deena's house so that we can rent it.   My mother, sister, neice, aunt and cousin are going to be there too.  My sister and I are staying at a nearby hotel for the first 4 days.  She will have her daughter with her and there really will not be room in the house for all of us and the baby.  After our cousin and Aunt leave we will go to stay at the house with our mom.

This may or may not be a relaxing trip.  It could be a trip full of family drama and I am not looking forward to that.  I have enough of my own internal drama to deal with and I don't need to take on any more.  I am really looking forward to spending the time with my sister and my neice.  I hope that we have down time from cleaning and packing to do some fun things too.  I have not been to Arizona with my sister since we were young punk kids. 

I find that I am now a nervous flyer.  Takeoffs and landings are stressing me out more than ever before.  I never used to think much about it but now I think about the plane exploding or crashing or something else bad happening.  Air turbulance gives me knots in my stomach.  

I am looking forward to being away from work though.  It has been extremely stressful at work and I have so many things to get done before I go on this trip.  Too many projects going on at once with constant interruptions.  

colleent [userpic]

another crazy weekend..

April 8th, 2008 (02:35 pm)

I was on my own this weekend.  Husband went with fire dept to a training class in upstate New York.  I have already taken that class but I would have taken it again but Ginger has been sick and someone needed to stay home and care for her.  She got pnenomia when we were sick back in February and we have been giving her various doses of antibiotics since.  We're giving her injections now because she was turning her nose up to every type of treat we tried to give her with a pill stuffed in it.   We think she's on the mend but it's been a long process and she's just not herself.  I'm increasingly anxious and worried about her since losing Mack and Brandy was devastating to us.  

Friday night on the way home I had errands to run and then I stopped by the firehouse to drop some things off.  I ended up staying there a while having a beer with friends.  I just vegged at home after that and stayed up too late watching bad movies.

Saturday morning I had planned to get up decently early and go hiking.  I took the dogs outside and the sky didn't look good and I was afraid it was going to start raining again.  I cleaned the kitchen and did some other things that needed to be done and then around noon it looked better outside and I decided to go hiking at Muscoot Farm.  

Muscoot Farm isn't very far from our house and I had been there once before to visit the farm.  They raise animals there and the last time I was there the piglets had just been born.  I decided to go on the hike first and then visit the farm animals.  The place is only open till 4 PM so I wanted to make sure I was back from the hike and didn't have to rush.  I found the trail map, picked a direction and headed out.  The trails were nice and wide and easy to follow.  The landscape was really beautiful -- wide pastures, tall trees and rolling hills.  I was following this yellow trail and I wasn't going to go very far because I was alone and didn't want to overdo it.  I missed the spot where I was going to make a left and head back and ended up running into a green trail that crossed over.  I could have turned back and just went back the way I came but I just didn't want to do that.  For some reason I like to hike out in a circle and not cover the same track of land twice.  In  one area I had to hike pretty far uphill but I just took breaks when I needed it.  Further along I took a different trail down that hill and back to the farm.   I don't know how far I went, probably a couple miles.  I think I was out hiking about 1.5 hours.  Again I took pictures but with all brown trees and no leaves they're kind of boring.  I did get a few interesting ones of the wheat pasture though and one of a pine tree that I think is neat.

When I got back to the farm I decided to check out the animals.  I love animals and zoos.  There were a plethora of baby animals this trip -- lambs, piglets, calves and I think a pony.  The lambs were SO adorable and there were some inside that were born that day.  I took a whole lot of baby animal pictures.  In one pen the mother sheep were being really protective of their lambs and one was giving me and my camera with the big zoom lens the evil eye.  At one point she was stamping her hoof at me.  

When it got close to 4 I knew I had to stop messing around and get home.  On the way out I bought a better trail map so that I can bring Dave back there to go hiking again.  He likes the maps with the elevation data so he can scan them and put them in his pda and do fancy GPS things with them.  I just like to know how far things are so I know what my limits are and what I can do.  

Back at home I was SO hungry because once again I hadn't eaten much before I went out hiking and I burned it all off.  I was smart this time though and brought some trail mix and some nuts with me.  I ate some of them while I was out and that helped.  I wanted to make home made onion straws and I made chicken nuggets to go with them.   Nothing like a big greasy meal after I've been out hiking!

After the meal I did some more cleaning -- there were zillions of dishes to wash after the cupcake fiasco last week and bringing home pots and pans and stuff from the fire dept dinner on Thursday.  I'm not sure if I told the story of that fiasco of a dinner.

Saturday night I finished the taxes while I watched LOST on dvd.  I know, thrilling Saturday night!  It had to get done so it's ok with me.  I stayed up late watching dumb movies again after I was done.

Sunday I slept in a bit and then I did laundry and some cleaning.  I had plans to meet my friend at her new house which is in my town and drop off some stuff to her and see her new place.  She should be moving in fully by the end of this month, which is very cool.  I was there for a couple of hours and then when I got home I had something to eat.  I wanted to do some stamping and scrapbooking for the evening till Dave came home but after talking to my friend Nan I decided that it would be wiser to spend the time getting things together for our trip to Savannah this weekend coming up.  I went though the travel books I bought and picked out possible outings, restaurants, etc.  I printed out maps and figured out how to get from the airport to the place where we're staying.

Dave got home around 10 and I was getting ready for bed when the pager went off for the fire dept for a car accident.  The pager had been really quiet all weekend with just a couple of ambulance calls.  I went off to the firehouse and went on the call.  When we got back to the firehouse it was after 11 and I was tired.  We went back home and as soon as we got in the house we got another call for another car accident.  I headed back to the firehouse but when I got there they were already gone at the call.  A bunch of people were still there from the previous call.  The call took a long while because of some weird circumstances and we were stuck at the firehouse on stand by till like 1 AM.  By the time I got home and in bed it was 1:30 and I couldn't get right to sleep.

Monday was a rough day as a result.  We had fire police graduation last night and I had to rush from work to the firehouse to get my uniform on in time.  Then, instead of being smart and going home early I stayed there till nearly midnight hanging out shooting the shit with the guys.  I don't usually rush home on Mondays because Dave isn't home anyway.  Tonight I have a commissioners meeting and then tomorrow night I have to pack for my trip.  Thursday I leave bright and early for 4 days in Savannah, GA with my girlfriends from college.   It should be a good time and good weather there.  

I hope this is the trip that i figure how to pack like a regular person and I'm not the freak with 37 bags.

colleent [userpic]

Lay around and do nothing.

March 31st, 2008 (11:32 am)

 I think I just don't know how to lay around and do nothing on the weekend.

Friday night I mostly laid around and did nothing after work but that was because I was so exhaused from being up half the night on Thursday night going on fire calls.  Thursday night was set off your fire alarm night in our town, apparently.  Ah, the glory of being Lieutentant -- gotta get out of bed for these calls when your company is on duty.  It's so glamorous to find someone taking a shower at 1:30 AM who sets off the fire alarm with the steam.  It's my favorite when you get home from that call and you're just inside the door to have the alarm go off again for a repeat offender with their alarm. 

Friday night I came home to a disaster in the kitchen from my husbands attempts to cook that week and I didn't feel like cooking at all.  I think I threw chicken patties in the oven and made box mac&cheese.  Hey, my husband will eat anything!  We watched tv and I fell asleep early.

It's a good thing I did too, cause at 6:30AM it was another fire alarm wake up call.  After that call I decided to just stay awake so I did some computer things that needed to be done and waited till after 8 to wake Dave up.  I wanted to go hiking and get a somewhat early start.  He agreed but I knew it was going to take effort to get him going.  I actually got him out of the house at a little after 9, which is a miracle on a Saturday.  We went to Clarence Fahnestock state park because the trail map I had printed from the internet looked good.  It's only about a 20 minute drive from our house, which is good too.  After getting a better trail map from the Park office we decided where to head off to start our hike.

We decided on a place where we could make a loop and get back to the car that would only be a couple of miles total hike.  We headed off up an old mine road to find the start of the trail.  It was a bit cold but not terrible if you kept moving.  We ended up making a loop around a big pond and maybe going about 3 miles.  We didn't have our GPS unit with us but we're going to bring it next time so we can map out the path.  We also ordered some better trail maps when we got home.  

The hike was nice and not too difficult.  It did have some ups and downs of hills and we got tired but nothing we couldn't handle with a few short breaks.  The only difficulty was for my husband crossing streams.  We had to cross by stepping on rocks and each time he was hesitant and unbalanced.  The water was maybe 12 inches deep at most but he had so much trouble getting his balance to get across while I was practically tip toeing like a ballerina.  At one point we had to decide if we should hike further out or make a left and do a return loop back to the car.  I thought I could go further but I didn't think we should push it and be too tired on the way back.  It was a good thing we decided that because on the way back we had to climb up and down some hills and get down from some big rocks.  It was also a good thing we made that left cause when we got back to the car I was hungry.  I had long since burned off the waffles we ate before we left the house.  I usually bring some snacks when we go hiking but we were out of pretzels or anything else easy to bring.  

We left the hike and went to the mall for lunch and a little bit of shopping we needed to do.  After a sandwich I felt better and I was already planning our next hike.  We hiked about 2 hours total and I think it was good exercise for us without being too strenuous.  Dave wants to bring the GPS and get all techy about it but that's ok with me.  

I took a few pictures on the hike but they're all pretty boring.  Lake and brown trees in most of them.  Things are still pretty bleak nature wise here despite it being Spring technically.

After we had lunch at the mall and got a few things at Sears I was ready for a nap.  We got home and I crawled into bed and was just saying, Ahhhhhh, when the fire alarm went off again.  This time it was at least a possible vehicle fire but it turned out to be just an oil leak that was making the car smoke.  Oh, well, it was a nice ride in a fire truck.    When I got back home I did get my nap and then I made roasted meat and baked potatoes for dinner.  Yummy.

I futzed on the computer a bit and then I went to bed.  Dave put on The Princess Bride and I fell asleep at the same place I always fall asleep -- right after the climb up the Cliffs of Insanity and right before the sword fight.  

Sunday I had to be up early to go to the firehouse to do some secretary work with the Chairman of the board of commissioners.  That took about an hour and then I had to go grocery shopping and do the recycling.  I made $10 recycling my diet pepsi cans and bottles.   I don't know why, but grocery shopping took forever.  I'm usually pretty quick but for some reason I was in there a long time.  I did have to get some baking supplies that it took a while to locate but that shouldn't have added on too much time.  

I was starving when I got home because I'd forgotten to eat before I went to the firehouse.  Bad plan cause I get cranky when I"m hungry.  Dave made us sandwiches while I put away groceries and got ready to do my baking.  I need to bake for my coworkers birthday and I wanted to bake some dessert for the fire dept dinner on Thursday.

I don't know why, but I thought making cupcakes from scratch was a good idea.  The recipe didn't seem difficult and I thought I could handle it.  Of course, if you're going to make cupcakes from scratch you can't use icing from a can so I had to make that took.  Wow, that took forever!  And I messed up and didn't put enough sugar in the chocolate ones.  Sometimes, I'm really dumb and I think 3/4 cup and 3/4 cup will add up to 2 1/2 cups.  Duh.  They turned out ok anyway.  Edible anyway.  The vanilla ones are really good but a few of them don't look so pretty on top.  It's a good thing I covered them up with frosting.  The vanilla frosting was a major pain to make and I'm not even sure I did it right.  The chocolate was pretty easy though.

All in all, I'm not sure they're better than Duncan Hines and they took a million hours longer to make.  Because it took so long I didn't have time to make the fire dept dessert.  I have to make dinner for over 60 people on Thursday night and they know I always make dessert.  Good thing I picked up a few boxes of Duncan Hines cake mix and frosting :)  They're not fussy, they'll never know.

I also made lasagna yesterday.  I mixed it up and put it into four bread sized loaf pans so that I could freeze three of them and we could eat them for dinners in the future.  We're eating bad because of lack of time so I think if I can get some things in the freezer that we can just pop in the oven and eat that will be good for us.  I'm glad I did it too cause I popped one in the oven after the cupcake disaster and we had a good dinner in my kitchen full dirty bowls and baking supplies.  

I'm going to have a busy week this week.  I'm on call for work all week too.  Tonight I have fire police class, tomorrow I have to do the shopping for the dinner.  Wednesday we have an officers meeting and I need to whip up the cupcakes for the meeting on Thursday.  I could just make cakes but these guys are terrible at portion control and there won't be enough for everyone if I don't take care of it.   

Friday I might just lay around and do nothing.

colleent [userpic]

I always wanted to be ...

March 26th, 2008 (12:52 pm)

When I was young I wanted to grow up and be a policeman.  My mother was, of course, completely against this idea.  As I got older I had my doubts as well.  I mean, I've never been fond of guns and the idea of getting shot at sounded a bit scary to me.  I started working with computers when I was in the 6th grade and I liked it.  In high school I also wanted to be a chef but my mother didn't think that was a great plan either.  I know she wanted the best for me and wanted me to have a good financial life but I think I gave up things I liked for finanical security.  Now that I'm 37 and deep into a career in Technology I do wish I had gone another route.  I'm good at what I do and I do like it, but I think I would have liked other things more.

I joined the fire department in November 2001.   When I joined I really didn't have a plan of what I wanted to do.  I wanted to do something good in my life and do volunteer work to help my community.   I had no idea where this path in my life would take me but I just knew I wanted to do something after September 11th.  My husband joined at the same time and the first thing I noticed is that there weren't many women in the department and that women weren't that highly regarded.   At the interview with the incoming Chief he barely looked at me and mostly spoke to my husband. 

We were assigned to the EMS company and started learning about the ambulance and going on ambulance calls.  We also started a basic firefighting class pretty soon after joining.  I liked both things but I noticed that most women in the department gravitated towards the EMS company and weren't really firefighters.  I only had to put out one car fire to know I wanted to be a firefighter.  

At the same time I joined, another woman joined but she was much younger than me, just graduating from high school.  She's a lot like me, though, in that I would say she's not a girly-girl.  Neither of us is afraid to get dirty or to do our fair share of the work.  We don't show up to work at the firehouse wearing fancy clothes and shoes and we do not whine about things that need to be done.  Some women join the fire department to hang out with the boys but you don't get respect if you act like a bimbo.  

Several times in the first few months I got told that "women didn't belong in the fire department".  I just smiled and went about my business.  Did it hurt?  Sure did.  Did I let them see that?  No chance.  I figured out who was an asshole and who was skeptical and who was open minded fairly quickly.   I kept my mouth shut and did my part to learn everything I could learn.   I think people could see that I was different from most women they knew.   I rolled hose, I cleaned floors, I washed firetrucks.  I made a lot of friends the night it was time for my company to cook dinner and I put out a great meal with dessert.  After that, maybe women weren't all so bad.

They rotated us through the Truck company and the Engine company and I decided I liked Engine company 1 best of all.   Dave decided that Truck company was the place for him and it's probably better in the long run that we made that split.  I had to grow my own wings and find my own place.  

People learned slowly that I was different than most women they knew.  I could take a joke, I was not offended by foul language or anything else they did, and I wasn't afraid to work hard.  During our first Department Inspection I worked really hard on the engine and I think people took notice.   When parade season came around and I was willing and able to march in parades I made a few more friends.  The night I had a beer in each hand after the parade and they were both mine and older member said, "Are they for you?" and I said "Yup" and he said, "She's all right."    I became one of the guys, an exception to the rule, an accepted member of their clan.

It hasn't been easy and there have been setbacks but joining the fire department has been one of the best things that happened to my life.  Even after they accepted me into their clan I still was not completely trusted.  After my second year I tried to run for Vice President but I barely got any votes.  I was made Engineer of a engine when the Engineer moved to another station.     Dave and I tried to make friends with people but it was hard to break into their cliques that they've had since they were kids.   People were nice to us but we were more acquaintences than friends.   We didn't really get invited to do things and people didn't really seek us out to ask for our help.  

Around the fifth year things started to change.  Dave got involved with the Fair committee and I became more involved with my company.  I think people started to recoginize our value as members.  Early last year I was asked to take over as secretary to the Board of Fire Commissioners because the current secretary was going to quit.  He didn't end up quitting but did end up getting fired a few months later and I took over the position.  I know, Woman = Secretary, and all that but I was sort of honored that they came and asked me to do it.  It involves being party to information that is confidential and I saw it as a show of trust in my committment to the fire department.  Before that I was asked to help write the Ethics policy for the department.  The person that asked me to help was someone who emphatically told me that women did not belong in the fire service.  He said he asked me because he thought me to be fair minded and intelligent.  

Late last year when it was getting close to election time I was being asked to run for several positions.  More than one person came to me and asked me to take over a spot as a Commissioner.  I politely declined as I had already promised to be their secretary.  Other people wanted to know why I wasn't running for Vice President or Lieutenant of my company.  Our Captain was going to move up and run for Chief and our current Lieutenant was going to run for Captain.   I thought about it for a while and then thought about the other person who was going to run for Lieutenant and decided to run.  I really wasn't sure that I could get elected.   Despite the hearts and minds I had changed I still wasn't sure a woman could become a fire officer.  Plently of women had been EMS officers but no woman had ever been a fire officer in the 90+ years of history of the department.  Women have only been permitted to be members for about 20 or so years.

I heard from a lot of people that they were going to support me but the thing is, people blow smoke up your ass around that place.  They'll tell you one thing to your face and then do something entirely different behind your back.  The crazy thing is that I did win by a fairly large margin.  The other crazy thing is that I don't think they all voted for me just because they didn't want the other guy.  

It's a little scary being the Lieutenant and I'm working on getting used to it.  There have already been some down sides and I have felt the back stabbing already and that part hurts.  It hurts to think that people who you thought were your friends are talking bad about you behind your back for no good reason.  And some of the things they are saying aren't even true statements.  This is just crap I have to deal with now.

So to bring this back full circle, I am finally going to be a police officer of sorts.  I am in the middle of Fire Police class :)  I wasn't going to take the class because I didn't really have an interest in being a Fire Police Officer because really all they are is glorified traffic directors but all of the other officers and chiefs are taking the class and it's the right thing for me to do as well.  

And the other woman who joined the department at the same time as me?  She's the first female police officer in our town.   I guess we're both bucking the system.

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