The day before Thanksgiving, we saw our first snow storm. It wasn’t a surprise, we all knew it was coming. We prepared to hunker down and ride out the storm quietly and comfortably.
Then the phone rang. A few moments later, after I hung up, I was gearing up for work. 3-11, right through the worst part of the storm.
When I got to the station, the day shift worker was filling out paperwork on five accidents she had dealt with. While my own shift ended up being largely uneventful, it was cold, and the roads were a disaster. Every time I had to go anywhere at all was nerve-wracking. Especially since I had elected to take the brand new fleet car. Messing up in the snow would have been bad enough, messing up with that vehicle would have been the end of me.
This should give you an idea of how much of the night went:
Although, admittedly, while I watched the tow trucks (yes, it eventually took two to get that guy out) sliding across the road towards the ditch as they tried to winch him out, I was in the car with the radio on and heat blaring, so yeah, all things considered- it could have been worse. But still, by the time I got home at close to midnight, I was exhausted, even if my call volume wasn’t that high. Snow storms are bad enough, made worse when you’re the guy expected to be out driving in it.
Thanksgiving the next day was another adventure, we planned on having dinner with my parents at 2, since I had to be back on for work at 3 again. Since nothing ever goes as planned though, we didn’t sit down at the table until 2:30. I bolted thanksgiving dinner, eating far too little far too fast, and headed out the door again. I was able to go back and hang out after I came on, but I was at technically at work, so my ability to fully enjoy my favorite holiday was somewhat hampered. I still very much enjoyed it, but I was slightly distracted.
I got home and went to bed around 1am, making sure to turn the ambulance pager on before I did, I was coming on at 3am, and running for a straight 39 hours, until 6PM tonight, so technically, even as I write this I’m still working.
Being on call with the ambulance is sort of a win/win. I’m either out on a call and getting paid, or remanded to my house in case I GET called which almost forces me to slow down. I didn’t get any calls yesterday, so I was able to get a little bit of down time. At The Narrator’s urgings, I took him out and we played in the snow for a while, and broke out the plastic tote full of Christmas decorations and started untangling the lights. I even managed a catnap or two on the couch, and headed to bed sort of early last night. So, I am rested, honestly rested for the first time in a long while.
December promises to be a monsoon of activity. I’ve been scheduled for six night shifts with the PD, my usual 8 ambulance shifts, eight days worth of (paid, woo hoo!) training, and the day job….all before adding in the mandatory holiday travels and obligations.
So I had nothing to do yesterday, and exactly as much to do today. I have a weekend.
And, to be honest, the time is not only giving me the opportunity to nap, but to reflect on the meaning of this season. I spent yesterday thinking about what I am thankful for. My family is at the top of my list. Happy, healthy, and my drive to constantly do better. There’s a little plaque on our wall that says “We May Not Have it all Together, But Together We Have it all.” – and its true. With these three in my life, I may have rough days and plenty of concerns, but I am happy. I can’t imagine life without them, and every day is a chance for another adventure.
I am also thankful for my work. Not only because I HAVE work, but I have been blessed enough to finally find the job of my dreams. I hope to get into it full-time one of these days and make a real career out of it, but in any capacity I get to do it- I love it. The year plus of training and preparation for it was well worth it. And, since I get in the car every shift and think to myself “I can’t believe they let me do this job” – I’m right where I want to be.
I am a lucky man, regardless of what looking at my calendar might tell you. Yeah, I spend more time out of the house than in, yeah, I worry about when I’ll be able to pay for what, yeah, my sleep cycle is scarce and unpredictable, and yeah, right now it is winter and I am at the height of grumpiness and misery…..
But I am lucky. I have a ton to be thankful for, such as a family I love and who supports me, a job I adore, a past full of memories, and a future full of promise.
There are also so many little things I am thankful for. Such as the fact that the plow driver who does our road is a fellow driver for the ambulance, and clears out the end of the driveway for me, slashing my shoveling time down exponentially. Finally, I have to be thankful for the plethora of internet strangers who for some reason find it necessary to wade through my posts on a semi-daily basis. I can’t figure out WHY you all come back here, but you do, and I am thankful for it. Without you, this blog would be akin to a strange man standing on a street corner muttering insanities to himself. Having a crowd to mutter insanities to makes one look a little less strange, so thank you all for that.
Now. If you’ll excuse me, There is a second cup of coffee calling my name, a National Lampoons-esque tangle of Christmas lights that needs my attention, and two little boys that have their daddy home for an unheard of second day in a row.
COMING SOON: AD GETS TAZED.