Monday, March 31, 2008

The Amazing Adventures of The Leg, Pt 2

Word spread quietly within the confines of the station of the amazing performance of the departments newest member, recognizing that it's future performance depended on secrecy.

A short time later, one of the station's crews was helping teach new recruits at the fire academy. The class was gathered on one side of the 4 story training tower. Firefighter Jim Pelouse excused himself, explaining he had something to do on the 2nd story. He donned an old set of turnout pants that had been altered to accomodate The Leg. Again a piercing scream of pain, and all the recruits run to the scene. One recruit firefighter was so horrified at the sight, he covered Jim's eyes, screaming "Don't Look!!" The Leg had performed once again, but now the word was out, and it was once again relegated to a warm dry corner.

Having tasted the sweetness of attention and admiration, it couldn't go back to it's safe spot, with just the occasional chuckle and being pointed at. It no longer felt like an important member. It grew impatient and longed to see more of the world. It felt like there was no communication with his former buddies. He felt used.

Finally one day a crew from the Heavy Rescue station stopped by to pick up some paperwork. They had heard the tales, and Capt Don Blagueur was anxious to meet this Leg.

From the time he entered the room, there was an electric connection between the two. Although in hindsight it might have been static electricity from the carpet, they felt a connection. Don understood it's loneliness, stuck in the fire station 24/7 just because it wasn't drawing a salary which would allow it to get a place to live, a cool ride, and chance to travel and see the world.

Blagueur hatched a plot. A diversion was created, and as they left, The Leg was swept away to the Heavy Rescue Station.

They had an engine, the heavy rescue unit and A BOAT! The Leg dreamed of hydroplaning over the waves, lashed to the bow, saltspray dripping off its foot thrust into the air. He would get his sea leg and be able to tell stories to whoever would listen.

But first there was much to learn from Blagueur.


But not here.

HERE! (It's not her kid either)

This is the infamous Drunken Housewife blog, home to The adorable Iris Uber Alles, & Lola/Lucy, The"DH" herself and costarring Anton as Sober Husband (SH)

I'm thinking MsCatCalls has a BUNCH of cool names up her virtual sleeves, Smeagoul, I mean REALLY (You'll have to know how to pronounce it however)

DH loves and rescues cats, rats & books and is currently addicted to World of Warcraft. 3 out of 4 ain't bad.

Give it a shot! What's the worst thing that can happen? She invites you over for dinner then gets violently ill at the sight of you? (Already happened)

The Amazing Adventures of The Leg, Pt 1

Once, in a fire department, not so far away, there was a leg.

To the best of my recollection/imagination, this is it's story.

It's early years are, so far, undocumented. But it's humble entry into the fire department hint at rough years of poverty and exposure to drugs and alcohol on the mean streets.

The Leg was found abandoned in some bushes not too far from a large fire station.

This was a very nice fire station with a 110' ladder truck , a pumper, and a Battalion Chief. There were also two Hazardous Materials Trucks. The crews were very proud.

One day, a passerby rang the doorbell, he had found The Leg in some bushes, and not knowing what else to do, brought it to the fire station. The firefighters, not quite sure what to do with it themselves, cleaned it up and stood it in a corner. Now The Leg was clean, warm and dry and probably hoping that it had found a new home.

The firefighters tried to find a home for The Leg, but no one had reported it missing, no one seemed to have a use for it.

One day Capt (and future Batt Chief) Mouffette felt The Leg needed to earn it's keep. That evening, when everyone had changed out of their uniforms and into t shirts and sweat pants, he slit the back of an old pair of pants he was wearing and laid down on the apparatus floor with The Leg sticking out from one leg of the sweatpants at an unnatural angle. Then he screamed "MERDE!!! I've fallen!" with all his might. The crews came running out, only to see the captain lying there in obvious pain with what appeared to be a severely dislocated hip. The paramedics rushed into action to stabalize the trauma. One firefighter held the distraught captain, trying to comfort him until one paramedic tried to find a pulse on The Legs foot.

The Leg don't do pulses, but he did have a new job in the fire dept!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Memorable CoWorkers

An off blog discussion has reminded me of some memorable co workers. If some of them had a blog, I'm sure I'd be on their list.

#1 on my list was a guy I worked with about 10 years ago. He had the reputation of being a tad eccentric. (I'm sure I had my own reputatation) He had been a sniper in Vietnam, so there was probably a bit of baggage there, but he never talked about it. We bid into the same station, with him as the engineer and me as the Firefighter. Fortunately, I had worked with the captain quite a bit before, and we got along well.

"Dave" and I shared a skewed sense of humor, enjoying "The Simpsons", Bay area sports etc. Per his reputation he would sometimes get very quiet and avoid us. Remember, we're in a small fire station for 24 hours at a time. He was getting close to retirement. After working together for about a year, he was in an unusually long period of isolation, so one day I cornered him, and said, "Listen Dave, if there's something I've done or said, I'm sorry, and I'd like to correct any problem between us" His response was, "I never want to speak to you again". And per his word, for the next 6 months until he retired, he did not speak a single word to me unless it was necessary for the job. (He was also the crew paramedic, so he would tersely ask me for equipment he needed)

We only learned of his retirement and which day was his last, through the grapevine. I wished him well as he left. He never turned around or acknowledged me or anyone else. He got on his motorcycle and rode off never to be seen again.



Finally the chimney cap is DONE!

And only a couple of sliced up fingers! ( Sharp edges on sheet metal, GLOVES? for wusses!)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Storm/contractor update

Back in January we had a pretty good storm which resulted in the loss of our chimney cap. High winds + rusted bits = "What's this laying on the ground?"
So chimney guy is called, yes he can do it, 4-8 weeks for the cap and oh by the way you REALLY need to have the chimney repointed. (replace morter for you non chimney owners). I kind of knew that, but had been ignoring it til now. So masons were contacted, chimney was repointed for a slight phenominal fee, and we waited. and waited....and waited. A call is made to chimney guy, whose response could be summed up with "HUH?"

After about a week of lies, it hasn't come in, it's here someplace, what's your phone number again? It was NEVER ORDERED!

I went on line, found the same cap, ordered it, a week later it's here, installed in 30 minutes. It would have been faster but I was being careful and deliberate.

Ah. but NOTHING is THAT simple.

I ordered it with a 1" mesh sparker arrestor screen. I got a call a day or two after I ordered it and was advised that 1/2" was mandatory for California, but that it was the same price. No Problem!

Except that the cap which arrived Friday, that I installed today (sat) has NO arresting mesh. However, I looked around the neighborhood, and there are several of the same style caps around and NONE of them have spark arrestors! Check UPDATE at end

That was Fri-Sat. Today (mon) UPS dropped off the screens (with installation instructions) Also when I got up ,after typing in the original post, my back went into big time spasms. I have been mostly bedridden until this morning. I think the spasms have ceased and I'm just left with muscles that have been working overtime. Thanks, to a regular local reader/friend who may or may not have loaned me some muscle relaxants. (I slept REALLY well)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

An "AW" moment

I had some business on the coast this morning. Late morning, when I was done, I realized it was a low tide. So I went to Miwok beach. Why? Because that's where I like to go for Me Walk!

You think I'm kidding about the name?

Seriously though, I usually take a plastic bag with me and pick up garbage while I'm there.
So I'm walking around the tide pools, picking up crap and enjoying the rest of the scenery. When I get as far up the coast as I feel like going, I get back to the beach for the return and to pick up trash enroute. I had not seen anybody else, but I had not really looked back towards the beach. When I got to one spot that had a nice wide sandy area, someone had taken a stick, and written "THANKS!" in the sand. It took me a second to realize that it was probably for me. Awwww

BTW, almost everytime I do this I find a golf ball (have we forgotten the lesson of Kramer?) and an "applicator"

Gentlemen, when you go to the beach hold onto your balls!

and Ladies.....use biodegradable "thingys"

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Keystone Kops forensics

I've always been fascinated with how things work, how they go wrong, how things break etc. In hindsight, if I had the IQ, I should have gone into a career in Failure Analysis.

Moonrabbit, the woman I have tricked into marrying me and staying married for 30 years, loves CSI type shows. For some reason, me, not so much. But by osmosis I have seen and heard plenty of blood spatter theory.

Several weeks ago, a plastic bottle of liquid car wax fell off a shelf in our meticulously clean garage. OK, maybe not so clean, but anyway, the top split open and a small amount of wax spilled out. Yesterday, I was thinking that I should put the remainder of the wax in a new container so it doesn't dry out, since my waxing a car is a sign of the apocolypse. I carefully poured the remnants into another plastic wide mouth jar. I was holding it by the lid, and as I was walking to put the jar away, the jar fell off.

Here's where the fascinating and humorous forensics comes in. The jar hit the ground, and ALL the wax splashed up, all over my face, hair and shirt, but despite dropping at my feet, there was not a single drop on my pants or shoes!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Been tested?

Most People Diagnosed With Celiac Disease Show No Symptoms 02/18/2008 - A greater awareness of celiac disease, coupled with better and more accurate tests for celiac disease have helped to bring about a situation where most people currently diagnosed with celiac disease show no symptoms at the time of their diagnosis.

Currently, most people diagnosed with celiac disease do not show symptoms, but are diagnosed on the basis of referral for elevated risk factors. This finding has caused doctors to call for an adjustment to screening procedures for high-risk populations.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Grzegorz Telega recently surveyed medical records of people diagnosed with celiac disease at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin from 1986 to 2003. The statistics showed that the number of celiac disease diagnosis rose from a single case in 1986 to 93 cases in 2003. The total number of cases during that period was 143.Before the mid-1990’s, more than 85% of children diagnosed with celiac disease were under 10 years old, with the average age being just over 5 years old. After 1995, less than 50% of children diagnosed with celiac disease were under 10 years old, and the average age at diagnosis had risen to about 8.5 years of age. Children diagnosed before the age of 3 years old usually complained of classic celiac-associated gastrointestinal symptoms, such as malnutrition, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating, while children diagnosed at older ages had less pronounced symptoms.

One of the important conclusions made by the research group is that the possibility of celiac disease should be strongly considered in people with other autoimmune disorders, even if those people do not show gastrointestinal symptoms traditionally associated with celiac disease.

The research team called upon primary care doctors to adopt a practice of celiac screening for all people with elevated risk factors, including people with a family history of celiac disease, people with Addison’s disease Down Syndrome type 1 diabetes, thyroiditis, Turner syndrome, and type 1 diabetes. The team also called for screening of patients with short stature, iron deficiency anemia, and high transaminase levels

.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2008;162:164- 168.