According to the law, citizens of the city cannot use fireworks of any kind. Though, if your fireworks spell out, in dazzling colors, a sincere apology for using fireworks, your fine will be lighter and worded far more courteously than if you are simply setting off fireworks unapologetically.
Me: Medic Unit, be advised that your patient is reporting that if he does not drink 5 gin and tonics VERY FAST that his arm will go numb. He is currently attempting to consume approximately 1 gallon of alcohol prior to your arrival.
Medic: I hate when that happens. Copy additional, arriving on scene now.
The Life Support Ride is a fundraiser for Headquarters Counseling Center, where I am a volunteer counselor
HQ provides 24/7 ”life support” phone counseling on a variety of issues to the residents of Douglas County, KS and in addition to that they are the ONLY crisis center in the entire state of Kansas that answers the two National Suicide Prevention Hotlines.
Headquarters is truly in need of funding right now, and so I’m asking the following of my friends:
If you’re local to Lawrence KS or the Kansas City area in general and you ride a motorcycle or a scooter, please consider riding.
If you know people who ride who are local to the Lawrence/KC area who might be interested, please reblog/pass this message along
NOTE: I might or might not be considering making a ridiculous trip on my scooter (bigger and badder than my ride last year, and this time with live action blogging over on my other blog Tis Zerself) as a ploy to raise money for HQ. Any donations made at this time will be honored by me as pledges toward that ridiculousness later on, if I leather up and make it happen.
The reality is that suicide and depression are things that touch all of us, touch the lives of people we love. Headquarters is one of the oldest 24/7 counseling centers in the nation. Please help them keep the proverbial doors open and the phones on.
Regardless of whether you ride or give, thank you for reading. I appreciate it greatly.
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”—
- Woodrow Wilson
A colleague long ago printed this quote out for a staff something or other and it has hung in every office I have had since…
Some nights talking to people feels like slogging through wet cement.
Tonight I wonder if it’s the high winds getting people riled up and anxious, and thus short tempered. I can feel irritation vibrating through the phone on call after call, despite the fact that I’m saying the same words in the same tone I always use; warm and calm.
Some nights it feels as if we’re speaking different languages, as if suddenly we’re not drawing from the same vocabulary list.
When this happens with my boss, I refer to it between the two of us as “Swahili moments” and we know to just stop talking to each other. It usually takes a couple rounds of us each repeating ourselves before I realize that nothing is sinking in on either end.
Tonight it’s Swahili with every caller. With an hour left to go I find myself savoring the closest thing we have to silence…the hum of computers, the click of my keyboard, the random noises and alerts, the occasional radio traffic.
I never dare to think about the phone not ringing, it’s just not reasonable in a jurisdiction as large as ours…but I found myself hoping, just one more hour.
The last hour of night shift however is always the one with a particular landmine we all dread, and my shift mate just hit it; a SIDS call.
I’m currently reading a book that talks about addiction; Beautiful Boy by David Sheff.
I’d like to say that I’m reading it because the social workers have started to take over my brain, but since I found the book in the sharing library at the 911 center that kind of nullifies that particular theory.
Regardless, this struck me:
In his suicide note, Kurt Cobain wrote, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” He was quoting a Neil Young song about Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. When I was twenty-four, I interviewed John Lennon. I asked him about this sentiment, one that prevades rock and roll. He took a strong, outraged exception to it. “It’s better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out,” he said. "I worship the people who survive. I’ll take the living and the healthy."
A couple of years back, I decided I should learn how to put food in jars.
One of my first large endeavors was making Sauce from Actual Tomatoes (and other actual foods). This image is from that culinary adventure, in which a handful of my friends and I tried to put enough tomato based things in jars to last us through until tomatoes were once again in season - we were actually largely successful.
It’s spring, albeit LATE spring, and so I’m pondering what projects I want to embark on this year…and figured this was as good a place as any to put such musings.
Another submission from one of my dispatching compatriots out in the world. I keep telling her she should be writing my blog, but I’m always grateful that at least she lets me share her adventures with all of you too.
Thanks for being awesome and funny my friend…you are fantastic. I’m posting the Bach thing, and the pinata thing at some point- just so’s you know.
Often, a cell phone will call 911 from inside someone’s pocket. Either the owner doesn’t leave the key guard on, or some phones will allow you to call 911 even with the key guard on.
Last night I answered one of these calls. All I could hear was something going on in the background, possibly some kind of disturbance. I listened for awhile and eventually determined the “disturbance” was probably the television. In addition to the TV, I could hear what sounded like a group of college-aged males laughing and bragging to one another.
Some of the conversation was difficult to understand and and I still couldn’t confirm that there was no actual help needed. Eventually the closest voice said: "DUDE! I just found a huge hole in my pants! My dick has been hanging out this whole time!" to raucous laughter in the background.
Shortly thereafter the line disconnected, and per our policy, I called back to confirm no emergency assistance was needed. The conversation went a little like this:
Dispatcher: This is 911 emergency, I just received a call from you cell phone, do you need help? Caller: Hey! I just got in a huge brawl. Dispatcher: Where are you? Caller: What? Dispatcher: This is 911. Where are you? Caller: Who? Dispatcher: This is 911. WHAT IS YOUR ADDRESS? Caller: Wait, who is this? Dispatcher: 911, Your cell phone called me. I’ve been listening to your conversation for the past five minutes. WHAT IS YOUR ADDRESS? Caller: Oh, dude, I thought you were my friend, I was totally kidding. Dispatcher: So you don’t need help? Caller: I called 911? Dispatcher: YES. So, you don’t need help, there’s no brawl? Caller: No dude, I was only joking with my friend. Dispatcher: OK sir, you should probably be more careful with your phone. And you should probably do something about that hole in your pants. Have a good night. Caller: ……………..
One of the most apt descriptions of dispatching that I’ve ever heard is that it is often long periods of boredom, punctuated by intense periods of activity.
Tonight, we started off with activity. A storm bringing all of the calls that come with them. Power lines down, transformers on fire. Injury Accidents (car wrecks to you), various medical calls and investigations of assorted things.
And the storm blew on, and the calls wrapped up.
In the last two hours, we’ve run only 2 calls…and the one of them fairly bogus at that (a gentleman calling to complain about pipes shaking).
So, I had a 2am snack of peanut butter, and I’m sitting back down at the console with a bad cup of burnt coffee and a nearly equally bad book. I’m hoping the book will turn around - although I’m looking forward to the book club meeting for it regardless.
It’s not all lights and sirens. Sometimes it’s just hours until shift change, and being a body in a chair waiting to see if anything happens thought the quiet of the night.
As a completely unexpected surprise, I found out recently that if you volunteer with a non-profit organization, you can deduct the mileage you drive there and home as a charitable expense. This is FANTASTIC since Fight Club (aka the counseling center) is a 45 minute drive from my house.
So, like the good detail-oriented human I am, last night I went poking about on the IRS website to make sure I know what I have to have documented to make this fortuitousness happen come tax time next year.
I was staring at this document, when I came across the following:
"Necessary and reasonable whaling expenses" are tax deductible as a chartiable contribution.
$10,000 worth of Whaling deduction for charity.
It’s been going on 24 hours since I stumbled on this, and it’s still hurting my brain.
For one of our last counseling center training sessions, we were supposed to share a “gift” with our fellow trainees.
I told them that in my travels I picked up a mascot for us from the nice people at Here is a Heart …
So, my dispatcher’s heart became Heart Dude, our official class mascot. Here’s HD and me hanging out on the overnight shift at HQ (the counseling center).
He’s the one in the pen jar. I’m the one in the reflection in the window behind him.
Our class graduated training officially on Friday, and that means that we’re not hanging out every Sunday anymore. In fact, since we’re all newbies, we’re not working with each other either. Instead we’re paired with some of the fantastically awesome experienced counselors.
Since I’m up in the wee hours, I decided to start a game to keep us in touch with each other…and just sent all my new grad fellows the following message:
Here is a Heart
I have hidden “my gift” to all of you, our Heart Mascot, somewhere in the HQ office. He’s a Sneaky Heart, hiding around counselors, I know.
In any case…
Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and you should) is to find him.
When you find him, snap a pic, or write us all a note on FB (since we’re all here) to prove that you have found him in his elusiveness…and then help him find a new place to hide.
I figure this way, even if we don’t all see each other…we’re staying in touch, and staying silly. I want to try and do my best to make sure that we’re making Andrew’s goal of leaving shift in a better mood happen…so, I hope you play along and are having wonderfully awesome new shifts.
PS: Feel free to make up new rules as you see fit…
Thus begins the next chapter in the adventures of a Heart…
Near the end of my shift yesterday, at approximately 0630, I noticed that NPR had posted the following on their facebook feed:
Attention shift workers — If you work the late shift, we want to know how you cope. What is your job? Are naps allowed? Please make sure your Facebook settings allow us to send you a message — your comment may be used on air on Morning Edition
I stared at it, blearily, for a few moments.
Here’s what I wish I had been awake enough to say:
Really, NPR? You’re going to ask me this at the END of my shift?
I only have 3 working brain cells at the end of my 12 hour night shift…although the rest of the neurons will wake up if needed, they’re mostly dormant since I haven’t fed them any caffeine since roughly 0200. But, you nice folks are starting your day and this is when you want to ask your question I suppose…
People are going to give you a bunch of stock answers. They try and eat right, drink lots of water, drink lots of coffee, don’t drink lots of coffee. Maintain a set sleep schedule, keep the lights dim, exercise. blah blah blah blah blah….
Jack Kerouac had a much better response…
I stay up through the wee hours, a feat that as a teenager used to be something you did as a dare to yourself, with the sunrise as your reward.
Now, it’s just a pattern of being. Meal times are odd, sleep times are in a different place and rhythm than is common.
Friends and family never really fully wrap their brain around when an appropriate time to call you or make plans with you is. You have to remember that your first day off is largely for sleeping.
Sometimes, I maintain a night schedule all the time. Sometimes I flip back and forth. Sometimes I really like being a night creature. Sometimes I’m just tired and cranky a lot.
I don’t cope. I work the night shift. It’s just different.
On each other’s birthday’s we post something in tribute somewhere on the internet, usually including an embarrassing picture - perhaps of us as children.
However, this year for Don’s birthday, I was in DC and on A LOT of narcotics. So, I didn’t post anything…because I was stoned out of my gourd. Seemed like the best choice at the time.
HOWEVER, it’s almost a month later and I have still failed in my cousin-ly requirements. This is completely unacceptable and will be rectified, NOW.
Preface out of the way…let me introduce you to one of the best human beings I know:
He’s the dude on the right with the hair, and without the breasts. This is us from when we had moved into our first apartment together in NY. It was a motley little place with broken furniture, decorated with sharpie marker on the walls and an overgrown plant named Binky.
14 years later we own a house in Kansas. We pretend to be adults most days. Binky, although smaller, still resides with us.
… and Don is still one of the best people I have ever known.
I came to an important realization this year…which is that this image is actually the best summation of our relationship:
He’s the bear on the right, driving the car to god knows where.
He is the Fozzie to my Kermit, bad jokes and all. The one who is loving and awesome when I am freaking out because it’s all gone terribly terribly wrong. We make things up, and we end up on bizarre misadventures, and I can’t picture a better friend to have along the way.
"Life’s like a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending…"
Thank you man…here’s looking forward to the rest of the ride…glad we’ve got Shannon and The Dog along for the adventure too. Even if The Dog is a damn hose jockey…
One can wake up abruptly in an unfamiliar station,
get on an unfamiliar unit,
with a partner you’ve rarely worked with,
go to an address to which you’ve never been,
in the dark,
on the morning of Daylight Savings Time reversal,
and have a disheveled man yell “she’s over here” from across the parking lot where the police aren’t.
But then you hear a familiar voice on the other end of the radio, and you know everything’s going to be OK.
Thanks for being there
The note above was sent from one of our paramedics to my supervisor, when I was a brand new dispatcher - I’ve kept it ever since.
This is one of the big reasons I love what I do…because I can be that voice on the other end of the radio that makes everything OK.
(On a lighter note, as I posted on FB, I will accept gifts of stickers for my scooter in honor of the week. Since it’s also National Volunteers Week and I am a freaking volunteer, I will accept double the amount of stickers.)
I found your tumblr through a 'separation anxiety' search. I'm dealing with it with my dog too. I just had to change my work hours and am starting him on Prozac tonight. I hope it works. Hows your dog doing??
Good luck with your dog!
The Dog has been having some improvements in his general state of badness, because my housemates have been diligently working with him and a trainer from the place where they adopted him.
Additionally, I have come to an important realization about The Dog. The other day Don and Shannon were hanging out with said canine, and there were some fire trucks responding to a call in our neighborhood. Apparently, The Dog began to try and “sing” along with the sirens…not howling, but making a very siren-like noise.
I’ve decided that he is likely a reincarnated Firefighter, who just doesn’t like listening to Dispatchers…hence the nature of our current relationship with each other.
I asked The Dog if he was a hose jockey, and he came over and tried to pick up my hand with his paw. I’ll take that as a yes. Apparently I live with a firefighter trapped in a dog’s body. The universe is a funny funny place…
You know, there’s something to be said for being able to call the landlord and say “Yeah, this thing? It’s kinda messed up. Can you call someone to deal with it?”
When we bought the house we’d noticed that someone in their not so infinite wisdom had left a piles of old doors and construction debris in the crawl space. Like all the other stuff that has needed doing, I’d been meaning to crawl under there and get it all taken care of for awhile now.
Today is free large pick up day on our side of town, a phenomenon that only comes once every year and a half or so.
These two facts plus a giant heaping dose of procrastination led to the fact that I just got up at 0630 hours on my day off to climb under the house and hoss nasty rotting junk out of a small dark space.
I also discovered, at about 0645 that the crawl space is no longer “dry”.
At 0710 I made a further discovery.
I am either too damn old for this nonsense, or there’s something unfortunate of a toxic nature happening under there too…because I spent about 10 minutes or so lightheaded and nauseous sitting on the lawn concentrating on breathing and not passing out.
Instituted the buddy system as a house rule regarding anything to do with the crawl space, and now I just need to figure out what the hell to do about it.
Sometimes, the fact that we call the house The Happiness Hotel is really entirely too apt.