Painful Loss

September 30th, 2006

I signed my paperwork for the house I am looking at buying. It is the townhouse on Clay Court. I am offering full price because someone else is planning on putting in an offer as well. I figured that if I wanted the chance to get it, I needed to offer full price.

As soon as I was done signing the paperwork I went to the fire station. We had our briefing on the football game. I got to the field and I was working North One. It was pretty uneventful for us compared to the last game where the North One guys were really busy.

The Cougs were playing USC. It was a great game, but the Cougs came up a little short in the end. It looked like that a couple different things through out the game would have made the difference, like scoring a touchdown from the red-zone rather than field goals. It also did not help that the refs were questionable in the game. At one point picking up a flag that was thrown and clearly a foul, but decided to not assess it against USC.

The Cougs went for a hail mary at the end and it came up short. After the game the fans all gave the Cougs a big ovation. It was very loud during the game as well.

Following the game I went to my office to get some stuff done on the A-Shift website, but I did not feel like building anything so I just left it as is and went home.

Staying at the Station most of the night

September 29th, 2006

Tonight was not a night we set out to stay at the station, but it sort of worked out that way. Anthony, Tyson, and I were on together. We had to do some parking lot checks to make sure people did not have fires on the ground. Anthony brought in the Fast and the Furious Three. We watched that while going on calls about every two hours. We were first on scene on every call, including one call right after it was dispatched we were about one hundred feet away so we never called en route, just on location.

After midnight we set up the new TV stand and the next DLP TV that the union bought for the station. It took about an hour to get the stand set up and the TV on it. Just when we got done another call came out. We actually ended up getting two calls nearly back-to-back at the two in the morning hour. When we got back to the station the fulltimers were watching something on the TV. We watched it with them. When it was done they went to bed and we all left. It was nearly four in the morning.

One more Look

September 28th, 2006

I wanted to look at both the townhouse and condo one more time. I wanted to see them on the same day. I spent a fair portion of the day looking at them and discussing the pros and cons of each one.

I also spent a lot of time on the phone talking to a mortgage company about funding options trying to find one that would work well for me.

I spoke with my mom at length about them both as well. After a long conversation I decided that I would make an offer on the townhouse and put a secondary offer on the condo should the townhouse fall through. My mom thought that I should make the offer on the townhouse. I am not thrilled about having a yard to maintain, but it would be nice to have a two car garage.

Gary’s Birthday

September 27th, 2006

Today is Gary’s thirty-third birthday. We have been friends since just before we turned seven. We are not as close as we once were because of the distance between us and the fact he has a family and what not. But he is my oldest friend. It is pretty amazing that we have lived so much of our life knowing each other and sharing in so many memories. My turn to turn another year older is just around the corner.

Just when I was thinking that all the cases I could get would be done, I got a call from Pete asking if I could take a case in LaCrosse. So at around six-thirty I was off to LaCrosse to do another investigation. I am getting pretty good now that I am getting so much experience doing them. This one was a natural death with no real issue to resolve except for trying to determine time of death due to the fact that it was clear the deceased had been there more than just a couple hours.

Another Case… Not an Accident

September 26th, 2006

I got woken up by Pete letting me know we have a coroners case. Outside of Pullman. But this one was not a car accident. In the last three weeks we have had five people die within a five mile radius of Pullman. I was on one as a coroner and one as a rescuer.

I got up and went to the scene of this natural death. The investigation did not take but about two hours to complete, but I spent almost as much time doing the reports, printing the photos, and counting the meds.

I am trying to get finalized numbers on the houses so I can see what way I want to go. I am waiting to hear more from Ross. I was expecting a call from him around five-thirty. He never got me until nearly seven o’clock. By then I was in Colfax for fire training.

We pulled out the rural rigs and did hose testing and practiced using the pumps and spraying water. We got through about a thousand feet of hose or so before calling it a night.

I then had to go to the SO and do my coroners report. I got it all documented. I found a book in the office on death investigation. It is huge. No way I could get through that in a couple days. It has nearly a thousand pages. I am going to go through it quickly and find the areas of interest then work on those sections that more pertain to what I do for the coroners office. I also want to get a drug reference program for my pocket PC. I need to look them up and find a good one.

New CPR Guidelines

September 25th, 2006

Today’s OTEP training was the new CPR guidelines that we are now being trained. We are always changing it, and this time it is a thirty-to-two ratio. During the training people got dispatched on a structure fire. I said it would be a BBQ that was flaming high. I was correct.

We got signed off while they were gone and that was about it for the whole class.

Final Week of Softball

September 24th, 2006

This is the final week of the regular season for softball for IM’s. My team is three-and-one. We are hoping to win out and get a good seed in the playoffs.

We had one game we played really well and went on to an easy victory. One game however gave us a scare and in the bottom of the last inning they were mounting a small comeback, but we crushed their hopes and went on to win by one run.

After the game the team went to Cougar Country. We are five and one on the season and we look to have a very strong team. I had picked up one new player off the free-agent list last this week. He turned out to be a very good player. This years team is stacked!

I found out today that there was yet another fatal car accident on one-ninety-five just outside of Pullman. That puts the number for fatal’s up to seven.

Beating up on Stanford

September 23rd, 2006

I spend part of the day listening to the Cougs play against Stanford and then I spent part of the day playing in a poker tournament with Mike. I wanted to play in the Texas Hold’em tournament he was having later on, however, I was supposed to do the cone course with the new Engine Thirty-Three. When I got to the tower Rescue had to leave on a call so I ended up not doing the cone course. I called Mike and reserved a spot at the table to play poker.

I got up there just in time to buy in and get a seat at one of the tables. I did not do very well in the Omaha tournament in the afternoon and I did worse in the Texas tournament later on.

But at least the Cougs beat up on Stanford pretty well. I also did spend some time working on my website for the A-shift reserves. I am working on getting the website set up so I can update stuff remotely. I am making it an ASP.NET solution.

Gas Leaks Everywhere

September 22nd, 2006

Today there were a couple of gas leak calls, including one up at the CUB. That one turned out to be a big one. The full-timers were on scene with that one for quite a while. Finally they asked us to come up so they could go and get some dinner. We went up there and manned the hose lines and got ready for the worst. It turned out to have nothing happen and life was good.

Overall the night was not too busy and we got some Ice Cream from James because of him being in the paper recently for the fire at Community Hall.

My New Chair

September 21st, 2006

Wow, yesterday was all I could take on my old blue office chair. It was nice for a long time, but over time it was getting worse and worse. Finally I could take no more. I made a trip to Office Depot and looked at many of the chairs they had there. I finally settled on one that was about two hundred bucks. It is a nice chair though. I got back to the office and got it put together.

I finally got information back from everyone about Ollie days and days they would like to work at the station. I got the schedule made for the rest of next month. I am pretty happy about the look of the online schedule, but I think it is nearly time to make it so I can update it without messing with the code all the time. Right now I am sitting on my thumbs so maybe I will take this time to work on such a project.

I was at the office until around eight o’clock E-mailing the shift and getting stuff in order. I grabbed some dinner from Dairy Queen before going to the apartment. I watch some DVD episodes of the Family Guy before going to bed very early tonight.

I guess they all know

September 20th, 2006

Quite a busy day today. I had responded to a couple day time calls but no one else showed up. However, one was a structure fire at Community Hall on campus. A full-timer, Rich, was at the station and went with me in Rescue. We did not get to do much as the fire was out by the time we got there. Finally there was one last daytime call at about five-fifteen in the afternoon. I went to the station but no one showed up. So finally the duty crew showed up around six.

We talked with James about training and about the fire from last Friday night. We had to wash the rig because it was dirty from the crew before us. I was mad about that and sent a nice letter to both crew leaders to give everyone a reminder to wash the rigs because of the bad weather now. I decided not be get into a pissing match with the other crew leader whose shift did not clean the Rescue.

We were nearly done washing it when a call came out. We went to the scene only to get cancelled en route. We went back to the station after a stop at station one and re-washed the rig. This time we were done washing it and were about to back it into the bay to dry it when a call came out. We transported to the hospital.

After that call we washed Rescue yet again, and this time got it dry. We did our rig checks and called it a night. But it was only about ten o’clock pm. Keith and I started to watch Rescue Me when another call came out. When we were on that one a second call came out. I sent Rescue to that one and went to the hospital with the ambulance. As with my lucky it turned out that they used the pump on Rescue for the first time to put out a fire. I missed that one.

While at the hospital John was giving me a hard time about going. He said are you recruiting for your softball team? He said that because they guy was talking softball. Then he said or were you looking for a date. My eyes got big because he was saying that in front of Brad. He then told me that Brad knows and has known for some time about me.

So then we started to talk about how he and others knew. He said it was because of that call a few months back where a guy who was pretty feminine was talking about some stuff including doing drag shows. He said something and I happened to be there, and he insinuated that I knew something, that turned out to be sort of gay.

That got some people talking and asking questions. It was interesting, because I just happened to be there when he said it. Well anyway people asked older PFD members if I was gay, they were like “you didn’t know that?” So the word has gotten around all the full-timers some time ago that I am gay. I really did not want to know that. I was being careful not to let them know. Same with the Reserves. I don’t know if any of newer reserves know. I know some of the old ones do.

So now that I know that they know, it will be different. Now I am the gay guy. When someone happens that can be awkward, it will be twice as awkward because now they know I am gay. And I will be self-conscious because I know that they know, so I will wonder what they are thinking. I really wish I hadn’t found out that they know because my ignorange was bliss. Now I will always have it in the back of my mind.

The thing though is that there were some people who were full-timers who I sometimes wonder if they actually know or not. I have to assume they do. I have to assume everyone at the fire department who has been around a couple years knows, but many times I don’t get the feeling that it is affecting them at all. It seems like I interact with them just fine.

But now it is there. Now they know. Now it will always be a possible issue.

Colfax Computer Fixing

September 19th, 2006

I went to fire training in Colfax today to do training. Today it was testing hydrants. I got pulled off of that and went to work on getting the computer in Scott’s office to work with the new printer. They have been having issues with it since putting on the new printer.

I spent the next couple hours dealing with the old and slow computer. I was able to get some stuff fixed on it, but the computer has some spyware issues that even SpyBot cannot fix. Scott said he is going to order some RAM and then we are going to reformat the computer.

After that was done I went to the Coroner’s office and got the new CD of photos to Pete and turned in an invoice for my work.

I went into the jail for a couple hours and talked with Dale and Perry about everything and anything under the sun, but mostly we were telling war stories.


September 18th, 2006

Today was supposed to be more NIMS ICS training at the fire department, but instead there was a CISD that was being held. A CISD is a Critical Incident Stress debriefing. It is something that people choose to attend after a particularly troubling call. The CISD’s supposedly help control the burn-out that EMT’s have as well as the suicide rate of EMT’s and other public servants.

I was not sure of the indications of whether one should go or not. I was really curious about what one was and how they worked. I know some people have issues about not being able to eat, sleep, or function very well. These CISD’s are made for those kind of people. I have been doing that just fine as I always do.

The only time I had any kind of weird reaction to a call where a death took place was my first call where a dead person was at it. I was new on the department and I had not been on any kind of major call like this. Honestly it wasn’t a major call, it was just something where someone could be dead. A couple of us were playing cards down at the Deuce when the call came in at something like eight in the morning.

We got to the scene and rode the elevator to the floor. While going up in the elevator we learned that a nine-one-one call had come in from that location a few hours prior but no one was sent. I was thinking that could be very bad. We knocked. Someone opened the door. I could see several people in a kitchen area just off of the front door. Across the room I could see someone laying in a hospital bed and they appeared to be grayish-blue and dead. We started to go to the patient and a lady jumped in front of us and screamed that we could not go back there.

When everything was worked out it was a hospice situation and there was some confusion between the funeral homes and Whitcom. So we didn’t do anything and left. I had been across a room from the dead. We were not there for a long time. It wasn’t my first dead body either. It was my first on as an EMS responder and outside of a funeral home setting.

For the next few days that was pretty heavy on my mind, but there were also a couple other things on the mind as well, so it probably did not help the situation. I was nearing the decision for a job change. So I had some heavy things going on.

I debated on whether to go or not. Because there is the aspect in my mind that if I go I am weak and that I cannot handle my job. Which I know is not the case in the slightest. I have no problem looking at the dead, studying the wounds, and documenting things. I was there for hours upon hours without having a problem. But the curiosity of wanting to see what a CISD was about really pushed me towards going.

Also, I don’t know what the signs are. Like I said some people have all these symptoms of stress. I wasn’t having problems at all. But as one of the people who ran the CISD said, you may not have a problem, but by being there you can be helping those who do have a problem.

So he made it seem like even if you have no bad effects from the scene at all you should go to support your fellow responders. That made sense to me. As the actual event I was at is a closed door session I cannot talk about the specifics at all. But I can say CISD is a helpful event for people. As a crew leader I am going to talk to the guys a little bit about the CISD process and that should there ever be a thought that one is needed not to be shy about it.

I also will watch for the guys on my crew. I was watch there demeanor and if it is off after a rough call, I will help them deal with what they are going through.

For me the CISD gave me a more clear understanding of the incident as a whole. I don’t think I personally had any revelations. I actually held back a lot because I did not want to get into the gory details that I saw.

After the CISD I went to the office and putted around on the computer for a couple hours before making my way to bed.

We Finally Beat Them!

September 17th, 2006

Today was more or less a slow day. A day to relax. A day to rest. I got up around ten in the morning and went to the office. I was invited to go to Ron and Heather’s house to watch football. When I got to the office I realized my picks for FFL had not been submitted. So I posted a message about that.

I went to Quiznos for a sub and then to Ron and Htr’s. Ron spent a lot of time making fun of me over that. We watched the Seahawks win and I also played some Madden football with Jonathan. Htr cooked dinner for a couple people and invited me to stay. So I had some ham and mashed potatoes. It was good food.

Ron also was spending time telling me how his softball team was going to crush mine. I took it all in stride. Last IM season we went to the championship game against them. We ended up losing it.

As it was nearing seven o’clock I went to my apartment to get ready for the games. I made my line up for game one. I have five power hitters in the line up now. I am pretty excited about that. I got to the field after I got my uniform from my apartment.

Some people we getting there just in the nick of time. Bryce was running real late, but he had called and told me that. He actually showed up just as we needed to go on defense. Our first games was against Ron’s team. It use to be called Don’t Care. Now that are called a Bunch of Old Guys. We stayed with them pretty good through one inning, then they built a ten run lead by the fifth inning. It was do or die time for us. We went out there and scored five runs to stay in it. Then we shut them out in their half of the inning. We were now down by five. We scored six runs in the sixth inning, which is the final inning in IM’s. We were up by one run with some of their big hitters coming up. We went up there and got them out one-two-three. We won the game and made them suffer their first defeat since their team started.

After the game the guy from Kelly’s team who reminds me of Brandon shook my hand and congratulated us on the win. Other people had also congratulated us.

Then we go to a second game against a team we should have crushed, but instead we let them lead us the whole game, finally coming back and winning in the bottom of the final inning. We just could not hit like in the previous game. I could not hit at all. I was oh-fer on the day. Ryan said, during one at bat “prove you’re not solar powered.” I laughed, because in the summer time I do really well, and in IM’s I suck with hitting.

After the game a lot of us went to Cougar Country for some dinner and dessert. It was a great night.

Cougs are Two and One

September 16th, 2006

After today’s narrow victory over Baylor in Seattle the Cougs are now two and one. We have Stanford next week. So lets hope this come from behind victory will give us some steam going into next week.

The day was spent partly listening to the Cougs on the radio. Some of the time writing up a two page paper on my experience at the car accident on Friday night. The rest of the time was spent hanging around in the office just surfing the net.

I was looking something up and that would spawn a couple other things I would want to look up along the way, which would spawn some more stuff. Before long it was after four in the morning and I was still sitting in the office. I decided it was time to leave.

A Day of Carnage

September 15th, 2006

After only being asleep for just over an hour my Pullman Fire pager had a second alarm sounding. It woke me up. They were looking for all available people to respond to their station. I also heard Lewiston Ambulance on the radio talking to One-Ninety-Five command. They asked where the two Lewiston ambulances should go. Command said to park behind the other ambulances. So I figured there were at least four ambulances on scene of something big. I listened in some more. I heard them talk about calling out Paul twenty-two and advising Paul sixty-four. So I figured I may be called out to something.

I got up and started to gather my coroner’s stuff. I sat around listening to the scanner and waited by the phone. By around three-twenty in the morning when nothing else was said about the coroner I went back to bed. Before I fell asleep I heard them say that sixty-four was notified and he was going to contact his deputies to respond. I got up and started to get dressed. My phone rang and Pete advised me to go to the scene and what was happening. We had two who had died at a car accident.

I got my camera from my office and got some pop and headed to the scene. When I arrived I asked Deputy Waltz where I should park. He pointed out where I should go up the road a little more. When I pulled up I was parked next to the Chaplin. A couple D-twelve firefighters, including Whetzel, came up to me and started to talk to me. They told me it was not pretty. They said there were “body parts everywhere”. I was preparing myself for a very gory scene.

My typical investigation routine is working from the outside to the inside of a scene. I started by getting my camera and tripod. I set it up and started to take photos working my way into the scene. I was taking photographs of the overall area as I got closer. It was very cold outside. In fact it was about four degrees before freezing on scene. Summer is officially over.

When I got closer to the main part of the scene, I was not hit by what everyone was saying I was see. In fact they had been exaggerating. I don’t believe it was on purpose, but it was not as bad as they would have had me believe when I was being told about it.

Pete was on his way as well. It was still very dark and I was not getting all the photos as good as I would want them due to the scene lighting. But after Pete arrived I told him what I knew about the scene and the car accident. He went up with his camera and started to take photos. By the time we were ready to do the removal of the bodies it was light enough to get some better pictures of the scene. We cleared the scene a little after six in the morning and went to the funeral home where we did a more indepth look at the bodies. We did our normal stuff at the funeral home. But it was taking a lot time because we had two bodies.

A state trooper came to do his stuff. I assisted with what he needed. But it was really starting to get later in the afternoon. I told Pete I had to call it a day. It was past ten o’clock in the morning and I had been working this whole thing for nearly eight hours.

I went to the office and worked on getting Kim’s picture for the picture board and website updated and put up. I also got the photo board at the fire station fixed.

I went back to my office and got some information for Shawn at work that he was looking for. He is working on fixing the issue with the E-mail problem. As we were getting closer to three I realized we did not have our weekly dev meeting, because we had changed it to bi-monthly. I wrote up my normal weekly update and sent it in E-mail to Chris. Then I went to the fire station again to sign my PAF for my new position and pay raise. I went to city hall to get my pay check from last month, and then I was off to the Deuce for training.

Erik, Tyson, and I were going to take out Engine Thirty-Three from some pump and drive time on it for me. I got a primer on using the pump. It is a lot easier to use than the one on Engine Thirty-One (the old green engine). We only pumped on it for about forty minutes but I think I had it figured out. It was a lot less work to run that the old green one.

We then did drive time until five-thirty. We got back to the station, lifted the cab on it and went over the places where the oil and tranny fluid dipsticks were located. Erik left, and Tyson and I each went to get something to eat. We were going to be working the Pullman high school football game.

Walker got Reed to cover for him, so Reed showed up and Tyson showed up. We did our daily check of the Rescue and we were off to the football game. Pullman High school did not dominate like last year, but they played a good game and won it. Erwin from D-Twelve was there and chatted with us for a little bit before making his way to the stands.

When the game was complete we left to go back to the Deuce. We were all staying there for the night so we could get first on-scene to some calls. We were watching some TV and trying to stay awake. I was dragging because I have been up since really early and running on a small amount of sleep.

It was almost eleven o’clock and even the cops were quiet. I was a few minutes of going to sleep when a call came out for a structure fire on Larry Street. We checked the map and took off for the scene. Engine Thirty-two rolled when we did. We were following them into the scene. When we got close to Larry I saw the flames on the building. I knew we had a real fire and we were going to be fighting it. I got out and packed up. Reed and I reported to Turpin. Wilcox was with us. Turpin had us put out a dwelling lay. I asked him if he wanted us to put some water on it from the outside as the desk and part of the outside of the building was burning. He said to lay the line around back and then come up and put water on it.

I did that and got water. I sprayed the deck and wall as other units were arriving. I got the fire on the outside put out. I could see into the attic through a couple in opening. I was able to spray water inside the opening. I knocked down the fire. Then I waited a few seconds. The glow grew a tiny bit so I hit it again. I did that a total of three times, then we were ready to go inside the building. Reed and I were made into the backup line. Gollnick and Fritzke were on the entry team. Wilcox helped up hump hose inside the building. We went back to the bedroom where the fire was and pulled down the ceiling. We found the fire was pretty much out. We found some hot embers from time to time, but I had pretty much put it out.

After we were relieved by a second crew we were assigned to find the cat that lived in that unit. We could not find it, but the homeowner did. She got her cat and I put them inside the PL at the direction of the chief. The homeowner and her friend went inside. The homeowner asked to come out for a minute. She told me she thought she knew what happened. She said her friend who was with her may have used a planter on the deck as a ashtray. She did not want to say that in front of the friend, because the friend felt really bad.

Rich got there right afterwards. I told him what I had been told and went back to the staging area. Medic Thirty-one was back in service. D-Twelve was on scene and their guys were helping out.

While things were really starting to wind down we got dispatched to a roll-over accident where the car was on fire and someone was inside. I asked James if we should go. He released us and we took off. D-twelve was go as well. We were cruising out to the scene. I was thinking of the worst. We were about three miles out Medic got on scene and said there was no fire.

D-twelve and Rescue pulled up. I parked next to D-Twelve’s rig. They had people on patient car. Erwin was pulling out hose for fire protection. I asked if he wanted help. So I got the hose and had Tyson help me flake it out so we could get water. I had them charge the line and bled the air. I was holding the line when
Reed yelled that we needed to do extrication. I told Erwin I had to get going on that and left the line. He had two of his guys get the line and got the tools with Tyson.

We got the tool set up and going. The cutting was slower on the combitool than the old cutters we had. It also has a smaller bite. I went to work cutting the A, B, and C post to roll the roof down. The guys doing EMS were yelling to hurry up. I was going as fast as the tool would let me.

After some work on it, we got Colfax’s cutters out for the final parts of the cutting because it was going to be faster than our tool. When we finally got the roof cut we rolled it down. I backed up and let the people who were ready with the backboard and other equipment to step in and do their thing. I got the cot from the ambulance with Tyson.

I also drove the ambulance to the hospital. We went in code-three. When we arrived I helped get the patient out and took C-spine. We got the patient into the ER where the trauma team was waiting for us.

We spent about twenty minutes cleaning the ambulance and equipment. We also spent some time making sure Rescue was back in service after the fire and car accident. I was surprised that it was pretty much ready to go. We needed air in the bottles and we needed to close the cutter blade on the combitool, but that was about it.

We left the hospital and got our air bottles filled and cleaned the SCBA regulators. We went back to the station. I was talking to James about my experience with the combitool when we got toned out for another call. This one turned out to be a non-transport. We cleared the scene and went back to the station. It was nearing four in the morning and we were ready to get some sleep. I made my way to the bed and conked out.

Tender Man Again

September 14th, 2006

I told Ralph that I could take the Tender out to the fire again today. I planned on being down at Colfax around eight in the morning to take it out. I was going out with a new Colfax guy. We got on scene and pulled a couple one-inch lines form the Tender. We spend over an hour spraying the water on hot spots as Gelespie was stirring around the grain and we would cool it with the water. When the truck ran out of water we went back to the station and filled it up and headed back to the scene. We were there for what seemed like a shorter period of time. Once that one was empty I had to call it a day because I had to get to Pullman.

I putted around at the office. I called my insurance company about getting the prescription for the medicine that the doctor had prescribed for me last week when I saw him. They said they still needed to hear from the doctor. I called them and had them contact the insurance company. I had an appointment to help Jay with his wireless Internet at his house. I got his wireless working and made him very happy about it.

I went to Rite Aid to see if I could get my pills. Sure enough it worked and I was able to get my prescription for Provigil filled.

I went back to the office and called Russell. We talked on the phone for about thirty minutes when he suggested I sleep a little because of how tired I was. I told him it was only six in the afternoon, too early to sleep. But I was on my big comfy chair and I reclined back. Within no time I was asleep. I slept until around ten o’clock. I got up and started to play on the Internet until almost one-thirty in the morning. I finally went to my apartment to go to sleep.

Driving the Tender

September 13th, 2006

This morning while getting ready for work I heard the pager go off looking for someone from Albion, Diamond, Steptoe, or Colfax that could drive a rig to the grain bin that burnt in the fire last month. I called and asked if I could help. I asked what rig I would be driving. I was told Eleven-Zero-Three. With is the big twenty-seven hundred gallon water tender. I have not driven that one before. Ralph asked if I have had EVAP. I told him I had. I also said I have driven some larger rigs as well, just not that one.

I went to the station. He gave me a quick tour and I went to work. I drove out to the grain bin. They were using a backhoe to stir up the grain and get it cooled to the point where it could be transported away. We got to work spraying water and the grain was moved. When the railroad track, that had been covered by about one foot of grain over the last few weeks, was exposed it was so hot that when putting water on it, it would boil off and dry immediately. I reapplied water for a little bit until it did not do that anymore. That was a good indication of what we would find through out the rest of the morning.

I was talking to the guy running the backhoe and he had mentioned that he was a volunteer in Pullman for twenty something years. I ask him his name and he told me it was Jim Gelespie. I have heard of him. I told him I work there as well.

After that tank of water was done we took the rig back to the station and filled it up. I had to get going after that so I zoomed back to Pullman. I had some new bugs assigned to me and I wanted to work on some of them. I got underway with one that was opened to undo something we did in this current release. Then I lost a lot of steam to get going on the bug. I actually did a build on my box and got the new Capella build going.

I went home and got into my Pullman fire uniform and make my way to the station around four in the afternoon. I started to read my ICS stuff that I missed due to the calls on Monday. I also had some dinner and shined my boots.

My crew arrived a little before six. We got loaded in the rigs, did some quick rig checks and went to station one for training. Just like last week we got sent out on a call. It was a pretty short one. While at the hospital I was going to put both rigs in service. While I was talking on the radio John came up behind me and grabbed me. It made me jump and mess up while I was talking on the radio. Everyone got a huge laugh out of that.

The second day of ICS class was fun. At least the scenarios were more fun. My eye was really starting to hurt. It was causing me enough discomfort I was not able to get back into class from a break at one point. So when I did get back in Chris saw me and gave me some Visine and an egg to roll around the eye to help it feel better. Within about fifteen minutes I was able to get back into class and finish it from there.

When we went back to the Deuce following the class we washed Rescue because it got dirty in the rain. But then I remember the air bottles that needed to be filled. We went to station one, again, and started to fill there. We have ten bottles below four-thousand PSI. Some of them were below three-thousand PSI.


September 12th, 2006

I was making plans on going to Colfax for training tonight, but I heard about HazMat training. I did not know what it was, but I decided that I would go when I told Erik on the phone that he would see me there.

I was responding down to the station through out the day for day time calls. Of course no one else was showing up. Finally around two in the afternoon a call for a structure fire goes out. I knew people would show up. I was right. We went en route and about half way there we heard the fire was out. I debated on downgrading our response. I guess I should have been more decisive and done it.

Heston heard us coming and asked us to downgrade. Then on scene he asked me if I had heard the fire was out. I said “yes.” He asked how come we did not downgrade. I said I thought IC would have us downgrade if that is what they wanted. He said many times IC will forget about that stuff and we need to listen in and downgrade when it sounds like we should.

That sort of put a black cloud on the call. I am a brand new crew leader and as small of an issue that is, I still hate making mistakes public like that. I can also say that I am happy I have the crew that I have. I think overall they are the best guys around. They want to do this job. They try hard. I saw some of the other side, and right now knowing what I did, I cannot say I am perfect, but some of the real elementary things my crew does right, even the new guys, some of the guys who have been around longer are not doing right.

I showed up to station one for training at six. I found out we were taking the rigs out to Andrew’s hanger and moving stuff from one rig to another getting some of the stuff in service. I spent a lot of the time out there removing old decals from the ambulance because it is not an ambulance anymore. That was some crappy work.

My First Day as Crew Leader

September 11th, 2006

I will forever remember the day I became crew leader. It is “the day.” September Eleventh. Five years after the terrorist attacks on America.

QDoba and ZFun provided a free meal to the public safety workers at station one. I went down there around noon to have lunch. I put my pop on a table. It turned out to be the same table as Heston sat at. In fact he sat next to me. All the other guys were going to a different table. They were making fun of me as being a brown noser.

I feel like I am so far behind. Having been gone for two weeks I had a lot of things I had to do to get caught up. I spent a lot of the day running errands and doing stuff on the computer just to catch up. I had to meet with James and Rich as well. I was planning on meeting with the crew on top of that.

I went to the deuce at four o’clock in the afternoon to meet with Rich. We need to get something set up for housing complaints to expose the process to people via the Website in hopes to reduce the number of E-mails about it.

I then met with James. We talked about his expectations of me being a crew leader and how we can work together. I want this to be a positive experience. I also want to be a good crew leader. After our meeting I wrote up the notes I want to cover at our crew meeting. But with the ICS training tonight we would have to do that late.

We went to training and we all had to do introductions. I introduced myself and I did not mention that I was a crew leader. George said something about it and got everyone to give me a round of applause. John loves to call me Mr. Crew Leader all the time. He loves to see me blush about it.

During the class we got back to back calls so we missed nearly half the class which meant we would have to read a lot of the stuff ourselves before the next class on Wednesday night.

When we finally got back to the station we had our meeting, but it was not like I was hoping, I had to skip some stuff because it was so late and people wanted to go. Over all I got some good feed back from people. But there is more I want to discuss.

There is going to be a lot of work involved to keep up with everything and be able to answer some of the administrative questions that I can foresee people asking. I am excited to be a Crew Leader.

House Hunting

September 10th, 2006

The alarm clock seemed to go off early this morning, because it was. It was a little before six in the morning when it was buzzing. I got up and started my day by getting ready to work at the fairgrounds. I stopped at Rosauers for breakfast.

I got out to the fairgrounds. I was working with Jeff and Max. We did not have keys to get inside so we sat outside for about fifteen minutes until a fair worker came by. We asked him if he had a key for the building. He did and got us inside. Max had donuts. We had some of those and sat around talking. We were there two hours before the gates even opened so there was nothing going on at all.

Closer to nine in the morning we went outside and Rob was at the Sheriff’s Office command post vehicle which is always next to our first aid room. We were talking about working loss prevention and having a donut when a ten-six-seven military guy from across the path from us asked for a donut.

Ron was going to give a Sunday sermon at the fairgrounds. I went to that and listened in. It was about fighting the terrorists and what the Bible says about standing up for what is right and fighting wars.

I was scheduled to be there until noon. I left and went to Pullman because I had to go house viewing at one in the afternoon with a real estate agent, Pam, from Associated Brokers. We were going to view about nine houses on the day. We started a little after one in the afternoon. We went to house after house. Some of them were nice, and other ones were not very good.

The one I was hoping would be nice had a bar in the basement, but it had some issues including needing work on the paint, the deck, the yard, and it had no garage. Another one that was really nice was on Janet street. But it was father than I wanted to be from the fire station. It seems to be in a nice neighborhood, but they wanted a lot of money for it. I went and looked at Charlie Drake’s old house as well. It is a large house and was very odd. It only had a wood fireplace as its heat source. It is owned by WSU. I assume Charlie left it to them when he died. Inside it seemed to have no square corners. All the walls were at different angles. It is like someone tried to do something different with the house.

When the time was done I found that there was no house on my list that would fit exactly what I was looking for. There were some houses that were close, but I decided that I need to be strong and hold on to my determination that I will not buy the house unless it is just right. I was told of one house that is two doors way from the fire station. It is not on the market yet, but when it is the real estate agent is going to get me into it. That would be a great place to live because it also has half an acre and lots of room to park.

When I was done house hunting I went to my office and wrote up some stuff on the houses. Russell and Nick came down to the office. I worked on his hard drive for the next few hours. We started a process of getting the hard drive scanned by Windows XP. There were a lot of orphaned files it was working on fixing. Thousands upon thousands of them. I had to leave before it was even done.

I had my IM Softball team playing tonight. I was worried about Duane and Seiler not showing up so I had picked up Nick from the Tax Dodgers to play with the team. It was a good thing because Duane and Seiler did not show up. We played the first game with only nine guys and lost by two runs. We could have won that game, but we did not. The second game Michael B had to leave and we only had eight guys. We fought hard on that one, and actually won it in the bottom of the last inning. The other team had taken a lead in the top half of the inning, but we buckled down and went out there determined to win it.

After the game Ryan and I went to Cougar Country to have some dinner. I was not feeling very hungry, so I just had a small meal and talked with Ryan for a while. He came down from Spokane to play. I had a horrible day at the plate today, I got one hit, which was a triple and three sac flies. That is already a team record as the most before this was one sac fly for the whole season, I had two in one game, and one in the second game.

After the time with Ryan I went to my office and working on copying data from Russells hard drive to my computer so I could burn his data and try to save it from destruction.

Cougar Football Saturday!

September 9th, 2006

Today is Cougar Football. It is great that it is back to Pullman. After last weeks loss it will be nice to beat up on the Vandals and feel a little better. I got up early for some reason and I don’t know why. I got ready and went to the office for a while. I called down to station one to see if they needed any help or if I needed to bring anything. They said they were good. I did go to the Deuce to shine my boots.

It was getting closer to ten in the morning so I finally went to the station because the brunch was going to be ready soon. People were milling around. We were talking. It is Chucks last real day at the fire department. He is going to be leaving us officially, but today is the last time he is going to do anything. After eating we had our meeting to discuss our plan of action and where people were to be.

We loaded up in the different rigs and drove up to the stadium. I had been taking some Advil because I know my ankle was going to be hating life. Tyson and I were working together at South Two. At first I was going to be in the first aid room. I was not happy about that, but at least being out where I could watch the game I was more happy. From the time the game started and on the Cougs dominated. They kept scoring and scoring. Even the second string playing much of the second half kept scoring. We even made it to the third string quarterback.

When the game was done Tyson and I went back to the ambulance to get back to the station. When we got back we loaded up our bag with the supplies that we used, which was mainly band aids.

I was dragging. I was at the office and Russell called and invited me over for dinner. I had dinner with him and I looked at his computer which was having some problems. I was not able to fix it, so I told him that we could try to put his hard drive in another computer and see if we could get the data off of it.

I was so tired I finally went to bed around ten thirty in the morning, but I had to be at the fairgrounds at seven in the morning, so I had to get some sleep anyway.

Friday Night at the Fair

September 8th, 2006

I am finally back in Whitman County! It took nearly two long weeks, but now I am back and I am happy. I got to work around nine-thirty after getting my table and chairs loaded into the back of my truck.

Chris, Ricky, Noah, and I went to Crossroads mall for lunch. That is the first time we went there as a team. When I got back to the office there was a bug waiting for me to fix, so I worked on it and checked it in. Then I just sat around waiting for our meeting at three. But an e-mail went out saying it would probably get cancelled. So finally around two-forty-five it was cancelled. I got my stuff, locked my computer, and took off.

I filled up with gas and got some pop for the road. Just as I was merging on to I-Ninety I got a phone call from Heston at PFD. He said that he spoke with the Lt’s and other Crew Leaders about the next Crew Leader. They said that it should be me. He wanted to know if I was interested. About a year ago I told him I did not want to be a Crew Leader, but in the last few months when the realization was hitting that Chuck may be leaving I started to really give it some thought. I talked with Michael a lot about it and I am more comfortable about what Crew Leaders can and can’t do. I was afraid a Crew Leader could never go on Rescue. I was told that was the Crew Leaders’ choice not to be on Rescue.

I accepted the position and my first day as Crew Leader is going to be September Eleventh. That is a day I will never forget getting that promotion. I just got that Engineer crest on my helmet and now we will have to replace it before it even got broken in.

I was flying, compared to normal. I usually will sit around seven over the speed limit the whole way, but I got with another car and we were doing about eighty to eight-five the whole way.

When I got to the fair I was only a couple minutes past the time I had hoped to get there. Keith was already there. I went inside the booth and just hung out. Keith and I chatted with some of the other EMTs. Jamie was also working. We watched a bit of the rodeo and walked around the fairway for a tiny bit. We were working until close which was around eleven o’clock pm.

When I got back to Pullman I got my table and chairs unloaded and put into the apartment. I also got all my clothes taken inside.

Last Full Day in Renton

September 7th, 2006

Today is the end of my long two weeks in the Seattle area. I am looking forward to going back to Pullman. There have been a few things to happen while I was here. There was a bad car accident where someone died near Pullman. I was called to respond but I was unable to. Yesterday someone drowned in the Snake near Wawawai Landing. I suppose if they find the body while I am over there I will get a call, though I am not sure that is one that would be one I want to see.

I had lunch with Jon at the Three Pigs. That is our normal place to go to lunch. We talked about SVN and how his company recently went to that as their source control.

At the office I helped get the final part of LP certified. We had to do some magic on my computer to get it done. I also got a bug that I worked on and closed out. The borrower template for template number six has been a thorn in my side for the last few days.

I also had my follow up appointment for my sleep study finally. I kept having to put it off. It was done today and I got a prescription for Provigil which should help me feel less sleepy at times. I also got a prescription for a new CPAP that has a memory card so they can get data from the machine about my sleep patterns and usage so we can study it. I will not be able to get that for a few weeks because I don’t have the time to get it today nor tomorrow.

I spent several hours after work getting a budget set and a spread sheet that will help me keep track of spending and money flow. Maybe this will help me see where all my money goes and help me start to save some money instead of living month-to-month like I do right now.

Four Hour Lunch With Matt

September 6th, 2006

I was looking forward to lunch with Matt today. I left the office around one to get to the Crossroads Mall. We went to Chili’s. Our waiter was a ten-six-seven. That, however, was not too much of a distraction.

We started with the normal small talk. How we have been. What has been going on. Who is doing what from our high school class. Then the conversation started to get a lot deeper. We started to talk about religion and life choices. Matt has known that I am gay since the Rose Bowl trip in ought-two. He is really the only one from high school that knows.

He has always wanted to have a long conversation with me about it. I am not really comfortable talking to friends about it if they’re not gay because I feel like I am inferior to them. That I am less of a man. I mean how can a real man have relations with another man. He can not be fully a manly-man. It is hard to explain my exact feeling, but I don’t feel like I am as much of a man when I am around other guys who have relationships with women. I also don’t like the feeling of knowing the person I am with knows, and wondering what they are thinking about me. It is always in the back of my mind. It is like I cannot be totally myself while I am around them.

We talked about how Matt found out I was gay. More or less I was dropping hints to him on the trip. I had wanted to come out to him several times. But then finally he asked on the last day if I was gay. I told him I was. It was all the clues I dropped that he figured it out. I did not really want to talk to him about it there because I did not want the other guys to find out.

That was around four years ago. So here we are in a public place talking about my homosexuality. He asked me some questions about pretty personal things, but for the most part we talked in generalities. He is okay with gay people, but what is interesting is that he will not share a bed with a gay guy. When we were on the trip he said that if he had known I was gay he would not have shared the bed with me in the hotel.

I found out his reasoning was the same if it was another girl. It would not be right, even if nothing happened, but by keeping the distance there is no worry about something happening. He said sometimes alcohol can cause people to do things they regret later on. So even if there were no intentions of something happening, with the proximity of a gay person or a girl so close something could happen. That is not to say Matt is gay. He has no desires to do anything, but to make sure nothing does happen you use separate beds.

I talked to him about how I see the gay community as sort of a cult. The closer you get into it the more you get sucked in. The more you do with it and the more you get sucked in, the harder it is to leave. You start to believe all the things you are told. So even if you feel like you want to change you will not try because it would be futile. You would be a self-hating gay. You don’t want that. Plus anyone who tries to leave will be an outcast. They will be worse than Satan himself. They will be the spawn of evil who is full of lies and hatred. It is amazing how you can be loved by all in the community until you try to leave.

After the lunch finished it was after five in the afternoon. I went back to the office to find Brian had left, so I will have to catch up to him tomorrow to finish getting LP certified. I figured I would work on the code to get it done so we could at least be ready to go for tomorrow.

I was at the office until around seven. I did not have a lot to get done other than the certification for Brian. I did do some testing on the E-mail pager system. I found the E-mails are being generated however they are not being received. I am going to give up on it until Shawn fixes the stuff with the E-mail system.

Home Alone

September 5th, 2006

My parents went on a trip so that left me home alone. After work I got some pizzas and ice cream and then went home. I made my pizza and watched House. It was the season premiere. I watched some more TV but I was pretty tired through out the day. At work I was nearly falling asleep.

I entered the Horserace again this year with the NFL. I hope to win it all again. I won it all two years ago, but lost last year. I was one of the final teams last year.

I decided to go to bed really early… well early for me. It was about eleven in the evening when I finally went to sleep.

Happy Labor Day

September 4th, 2006

With staying up as late as I did I slept in quite well. I don’t think I started the day until almost two in the afternoon. Then I helped Bill get my plowblade moved into the shop.

Most of the day I spent just hanging around the house. I thought about going to Fry’s for their Labor Day Sale but I did not like the idea of spending money and driving down there and fighting the crowds. I figured the things I wanted I could get another day when they go on sale.

It was pretty much a tame day today. Nothing was done except hanging around the house.

Big Day in Whatcom County

September 3rd, 2006

Todays plan was to go to Whatcom county and ride with Joe. I planned on sleeping in as much as I could, but I got woken up early and I did not get to sleep in like I had hoped.

So I sat around the house watching some TV and relaxing for a while. Then I went and took a nap before getting up to head to Joe’s. I did not sleep very well, but I went up and I was all excited to get there.

The day was pretty uneventful for most of the night. We dealt with a drunk guy who would not give a phone number of someone to call to come get him, so they ran his name only find out he had a warrant, so we no longer had to get ahold of someone we only had to take him to jail.

Following the jail trip I told Joe I was ready to call it a night. I was about three in the morning and we were in Bellingham. Within a few minutes of that statement we got gas and Joe was driving to his house when a car chase came out. We hit I-Five doing nearly one-thirty on the way up there. It was crazy. When we got up there however the guy had ditched the car and went on foot. We had border patrol and other cops help search the area, but the guy got away. When we started to process the car some drugs were found.

It was getting really late now and we got sent to a burglar alarm that went off, but while going we found the stores’ owner went there and found there was a break in. We flew to the store and Joe and one other cop did a building search. We found that someone had laddered the back of the building and went in through a mechanical area to get to the back room. From there to the front of the store. The thief took money and a whole bunch of meds that people use to make meth.

After that was finally done I got to go home, but it was after seven in the morning. I was so tired when I did get home I walked like a zombie to my room to get some sleep.

Cougar Football Season!

September 2nd, 2006

I decided that I wanted to stay up as late as I could to get ready for my ride along with Joe tomorrow. After spending the day waiting for the Cougar game to start I went to Jon’s to watch it. I had dinner over there and then we started to watch the game. It did not start out well with the sacks of the quarterback, but it got better when the Cougs held Auburn to only field goals and when the Cougs scored to take the lead, but that was about it. Gary Rogers showed some signs of spark for the team, but it did not get close. They only played Rogers on one set, but he marched the team ninety-two yards for a touchdown. After that Brink was back in. Probably wanted to avoid a quarterback controversy.

After the game I went to Diamond Lil’s. I wanted to play cards and I figured that if I played conservatively I could be there for the whole night. I brought two hundred bucks and went to work. I was up and down all night long. I never really held on to any real chip lead at all. Finally I was down to three bucks so I bought in again. That went a little better for me but it was not great. One guy was there as long as me, but he was raking in nearly every pot he stayed in on. He would stay in on garbage and win the pot on the river. I started to call say he had the golden touch. He ended up leaving when I did, but he had about six hundred bucks with him.

I lasted until about three in the morning. By then I was really hungry so I went to Jack in the Box on the way home. I ate dinner and did stuff on the computer until around four in the morning. Not as late as I wanted to be up, but I figure I can get a nap in tomorrow.

Hitting the Movies with Dave

September 1st, 2006

I have been cruising along at work. I am excited for tomorrow is the Cougar season opener against Auburn. I hung out at the office for some time getting some bugs fixed and talking to Barb some more about home loans. With the second house off the market now I am left to look at other options which could include building a house or maybe buying a duplex and renting out half of it.

Dave and I decided to see Wicker Man. It looked like it could be a good movie. I went home to have dinner before getting ready for the movie. I was showing my mom some of the houses online. I set up my computer and I was going to use the GPS navigation on my Streets and Trips to see if I could figure out how to use it.

It worked pretty well. It would give you warning about turns and it would update your progress. But I was bummed out that it did not recalculate your trip if you went a different way than the directions showed.

The movie was one that I was really waiting for it to get scary and see where it was going. The only surprise was the ending… Spoiler here… When Nicholas Cages’ character was captured by the people. They did not show him getting his legs broken, but it made it sound like that is what was happening.

Then they put him in the top of this really big wicker man. It was going to be set of fire as an offering to the gods. I was waiting for his backup to get there and save him in the nick of time. But as the fire got close to him and then started burning him I realized that he actually died in the movie. Not what was expected there.

After the movie Dave and I sat in my truck and talked about the houses I looked at. He suggested that the price of one duplex that was under two-hundred-thousand looked pretty good and included a two car garage.

I was also showing him the GPS stuff. That is when I found a way to have it recalculate on the fly. You have to press a button, it does not do it automatically. I thought that was really cool. Now I am happy with the GPS and Streets and Trips I got.