Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Perils of grazing

By way of background, 90% of Fire dept calls are medical in nature. The reason the fire dept responds on medical incidents is that the response time is almost always much faster. Often the incident is not a true emergency, but the law is that we cannot leave a patient until we have turned them over to an equal or higher medical authority.

So the story I heard was an engine company late at night/early morning standing by with an elderly gentleman who needed to be transported, but the ambulance was substantially delayed. As they are waiting, the captain spots a bowl of peanuts on the nightstand. He's hungry, what would it hurt to have a couple of peanuts? He has a few, then a few more. Soon, they are all gone. Chagrinned he confesses to the old man. "I'm sorry, I've eaten all your peanuts. I just couldn't stop eating them"

The old man is not upset and tells the captain, "That's ok, I know what you mean, but I can't chew them anymore, I can only suck the chocolate off them"

Step dad stories- #1

My Late Step Dad and my late mom dated from when I was in my teens until my mid twenties. This must have happened in the early '70's. LSD had an apartment in a damp heavily wooded area. A common date for the two of them would be for my mom to drive to his "Batchelor pad" (complete with bear skin rug) for a steak and mushroom dinner in front of a roaring fire. There may have been intoxicating beverages served somewhere in there.

At the end of the evening my mom would drive home and call to assure LSD that she had made it home safely. In the interim, LSD would clean up. On this one particular evening apparently on the way from the dining area to the kitchen LSD spotted a stray mushoom sliver on the floor. Never one to waste good food, he bent over and popped it into his mouth and chomped down on it.

Now those who live in damp woodsy areas might be familiar with this denizen. In terms of taste, a mushroom it ain't! As added incentive to NOT chomp down on these there must be a gland that secretes the slime they lay down. Said slime apparently clings quite well to the insides of ones mouth. It sounds as if it resists brushing by toothbrush and must be scraped manually.

This children, is why we don't eat off the floor!

Although there are several more Late Step Dad stories, this one has reminded me of a Fire dept urban legend type story.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Where's Lily?

We didn't think you were going to be home so soon!

Ours is the love that has no name.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Traveling stories- warning! not for the squeemish!

A blog I read had a piece on "Potty Humor" recently. This triggered a 20 year old memory of a trip to China.

Tourism was still a new thing there when we went. The year before, our american guide had had to spend some nights with her group in army barracks because the hotels were not yet finished.

The hotels were finished, but you could not drink water from the tap when we went. You were given a thermos of hot boiled water you could cool and drink. Toilet facilities in the hotels were very nice, but you wanted to take care of THAT in the hotel, not anywhere else. Facilities elsewhere consisted of some form of slit trenches .

About 5 days into our 3 week trip, we were on a scenic boat tour of the Li river. This is famous for the views of the limestone Karsts (sp?). Very nice except for the temp and humidity (both hovering near 100). The trip included lunch which consisted of steamed fish caught fresh out of the river. The same river with the scenic water buffalo pooping and little naked kids wading.

All the meals we had on the trip were lavish, and there was always something on the table we had not had before. Apparently there was a little something extra this time.

Now is the time for the squeemish to bail.

O M G !

The funniest part of what followed was about 3 days later in Bejing. I was NOT feeling well, but here we were, probably never to return. We were scheduled for a visit to parliament, the Forbidden City and Mao's Tomb. As we approached Mao's Tomb, our jocular guides became VERY serious. There was to be NO joking, smiling or disrespect of ANY kind. This was the most reverred site in China. Indeed, the line of Chinese was 5 abreast and about 300 yards long. As guests we got in ahead of everyone. Just about the time I got to Mao's body, with armed, stern looking guards on each corner, bowel control became a major issue. I started sweating profusely, and had to resort to butt cheek muscles to avoid soiling myself. And I'm stuck in line.

When I finally get out of the building I scan the horizen for facilities. The nearest building is the Forbidden City about 500 yards away. With a very funny looking "walk" I scurry for the nearest door. I enter, looking for ANY kind of facility. I eventually find a nicely tiled room with a colorful tiled slit trench with running water, noisy running water. There were "stalls" of a sort, with typical metal dividers, except they were only about 18" high. These turned into my savior. I had recovered enough to realize there was no toilet paper. (But I had brought 2 packs of Kleenex) and more importantly, if I squatted in the usual position I would likely leave the room with pants of a different color than when I entered. (Perhaps a brown paisely)

So I devised a strategy of keeping my legs forward and leaning back by hanging onto the divider.
I'm sure it looked amusing, fortunately I was alone. (The sounds may have warned people against entering)

I ate nothing but rice for a week. The other thing I learned belatedly is that if you take A LOT of Pepto Bismol, it turns your tongue black. It took a day or two to realize the cause (read the box, duh) before I realized it wasn't just another punishment from a vengeful Gob.

I have found that the worst of times make for the best stories.

Hmm, that reminds me of a story about my late step father...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006


This is something I seem to have been learning about since my very first job in manufacturing where I redid a process to be more efficient, thinking "wow" I've done something that will last a long time. It lasted about 3 months after I left.

Years later, I was working at a fire dept with a wonderful old guy, John O'Rielly. He was nearing retirement, yet he was still ONLY a firefighter. There was a lot of turnover in that dept, so I was an Engineer in 2 years. John was happy as just a firefighter. He was happy to work in dispatch, which the young guys (I was one once) hated.

I like to think we were friends. Once, out of the blue, he gave me a paperback book called "Paso Por Aqui" It's a western themed book. John was an Old West buff, even though he had been raised in San Francisco.

I've read it a number of times over the years. It has to do with one's redemption and legacy.

I think the only meaningful legacy one is likely to leave are the relationships we have with people. John died within a year of retirement. I never saw him again after his last day at work, I was always going to drop in, but didn't.

Still, I tried to leave a mark. The picture is of a small "Zen" bridge I built for the backyard of my last station. It was right ourside my window. I'm sure it will only last until it is old, weathered, and no one remembers who made it, then it's the dumpster for sure. Being ok with that is another lesson.

The ceramic FF figure was done by my beautiful bride.