Rainy Day Plans.

Wednesdays are my day off from the IT job, and there’s no indication of when the new job is supposed to start yet. Usually I fill the empty day in with some contracting work, but we’re in middle of a two day rain-fest that is doing wonders for my tomatoes, but completely demolishing morale in the house.

Mini-Me is cooped up and rambunctious without his older brother to bother, My wife has several Etsy shop orders she’s working on, and I’ve got nothing to do.

The dreary weather forced a decision on me. If I have no commitments today, I’m going to take it easy damn it. My #1 priority is keeping Mini-Me occupied so he isn’t bothering his mother while she stitches her way through the orders she’s got. Thankfully, he’s getting old enough to play by himself a little, so even my main concern isn’t that pressing.

I did pack Mini-Me into the car this morning and make a drive to the store to pick up some soup. If ever there was a day to eat soup, this is it. Gloomy, rainy, and not altogether that warm out, no other food struck me as appropriate this morning as I planned out feeding time.

As I write this, the little guy is happily eating chicken and rice while I long for lunch time so I can eat some new england clam chowder.

Normally a devotee of coffee, I’m on tea today. Again, its just that kind of day. Coffee helps me function, tea helps me relax. A while back I bought some chamomile to help me unwind and get some sleep while I was firmly between jobs. I don’t know if the stuff works as advertised, but it is delicious.

So, that’s the plan today. Soup, kid, tea, and relaxing in the brand new recliner.

There are worse ways to spend a rainy day.

Actual content resumes tomorrow. Probably.

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No More EMT Classes

I withdrew this morning.

Not because I didn’t feel like I could hack it. The more time I spent in class, the more my confidence grew and I began to look forward to it, as daunting and challenging as it was.

No. I withdrew because of an email I got yesterday from the HR department at the college I am hoping to go to work for. The writer wanted me to contact her with some information so I could have a physical scheduled. When I called her back, her first words to me were “Welcome Aboard.”

There have been numerous hints over the last month that the job was mine, but I’ve had rugs pulled out from under me before. I am skilled in the art of snatching defeat from the mouth of victory. I can take a sure thing and turn it into a crushing failure. It’s a gift I have, so I’ve been sort of in denial about having landed it.

When I heard “Welcome aboard” from HR though, the time to deny had ended and I needed to get my other affairs in order. I don’t have a timeline for starting yet, but I needed my bases covered in case the call comes through quickly. I told my boss at the IT job to expect changes, I told my ambulance coordinator that I would be getting the job, and apologized to her for bailing on the EMT class.

Then, lastly….I called the EMT course instructor and withdrew.

I simply cannot split my time between two massive undertakings such as a new job I hope to make a career out of, and an EMT course.

I had to choose, and in the end it was a no-brainer. The job came first. My wife has been pushing me to leave the course since the first hint was dropped about my getting the job, but I refused, thinking that at any time I could lose the offer.

If HR knows me and congratulates me though….it’s time to stop fooling myself.

I might have scored a victory after all.

Robbed of the Weekend.

My wife and I were asleep last night by 9:30. The weekend…wasn’t. The downward spiral started Friday afternoon when my wife informed me that her parents (specifically mother) had invited themselves over on Saturday.

I was working a 24 with the Ambulance, so she knew we weren’t going anywhere and decided to monopolize the day.

The visit was atrocious, and filled with yard-sale purchased toys for the kids (which are neither asked for nor appreciated) and heading off what were, on the surface- attempts at being helpful and good-natured, but were really attempts to be controlling in one way or another.

We spent the day hiding the large box of cookies she brought for the boys, and ducking questions about why I left my job at the police department.

We finally had a weekend where I couldn’t go anywhere, so we might be able to get a little quiet time in, but had to host instead. Everything she does as a ‘favor’ has a motive behind it and at one point she even said “Oh, you don’t have to thank me.” – which means “You should thank me for all I’m doing.” 

So a quiet Saturday was shattered.

Sunday after I came off shift, we had to run to pick up a birthday gift for a party The Narrator was going to, while I took the car to a shop to find out why the hell it isn’t starting without being jumped. I suspected the battery, but the guy tested it and it was fine. The result? Nothing. I’m left with a car that doesn’t want to start by itself (starter and alternator are fine too) and no reason why. When we got home, My wife took The Narrator to his party while I dealt with the little one, who had skipped his nap the day before thanks to the forced surprise visit, and had woken up early that morning. As a result, he was miserable, though refused to nap for me. He ended up taking zero naps all weekend, which made for true hell.

After the party, The Narrator said he didn’t feel well. He sat at the dinner table and told me his head hurt and he felt barfy. This is a standard tactic he uses to try to get out of eating dinner, so I called B.S. and told him to eat.

…..a moment later he was throwing up everything he’d eaten at the party and was sick as a dog. And I felt like the world’s worst parent.

We packed everyone to bed early, and ourselves crashed extremely hard.

The alarm went off at 6:30 this morning and I was out the door for work twenty minutes later. I had to skip coffee at home and get a cup at a gas station, which was terrible.

If ever there was a Monday….this is it, and it had better not be indicative of how the rest of the week is going to go.

“As Long as He’s Healthy and Not Crazy…..”

If you’ve been with me a while, you know that I’m very young into a career in law enforcement. I left my first department a few months ago for personal reasons and started to interview at various other places. One of which quickly became my dream job. The location was close enough we wouldn’t have to move, the community was small, the agency is thoroughly professional, so on and so forth.

Two days after I interviewed, I got a phone call asking me if I wanted to work for them. I very excitedly agreed.

I filled out a ton of paperwork and even drove some back to the place to return it rather than wait for the mail to do it. Then…everything went quiet. No more contact.

Until the other day. I got a text message from the chief at my old department.

“The chief from <Agency Name Redacted> will be here tomorrow for your background investigation.”

Oh crap.

The reason I worried, was because the chief at the old agency- as good as he was- didn’t care for me, and I know this. He told me I was “cocky” “argumentative” and “come off as harsh.” None of these adjectives have ever been used to describe me before in my life. (okay, MAYBE argumentative) We worked together professionally without too much trouble, but there just wasn’t a personal connection there.

Now I have him meeting with the potential new employer who doesn’t know me but for some resume paperwork and a short interview.

I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that things weren’t going to go well.

To distract myself, I spent the day pressing apple cider with my father.

Somewhere around noon, my phone goes off. My wife is calling me.

“You need to check your messages. Right now.”

At one point, my wife was at home and sees an SUV with my prospective agency’s markings on it. We live on a dead end road with nobody else there unless its a weekend, so it wasn’t long before the vehicle was on its way back down the road. This time, my wife was at the door and waves. The occupants wave back, then stop.

The chief himself gets out and introduces himself. As part of the background investigation, he was out looking to interview my neighbors to make sure I’m not a kook-ball. My wife apologized and said we HAD no neighbors.

They spoke briefly and she mentioned I was getting worried because the process of hiring was taking so long. To which the chief replied that ‘yes, it does take a while.’ He then basically told her the job is mine as soon as I receive something in the mail with instructions for my next step, and take and pass a physical and a psychological exam.

He literally told her “as long as he’s healthy and not crazy, the job is his.”

So while we haven’t crossed any milestone bridges yet, I can see them right ahead of me, and the way looks pretty clear.
And on the other side? Something I’ve only been able to dream about. The job I want to do, in the place I want to do it, which provides for my family and grants me a sense of self-worth that I’ve never felt in my professional life to date.

So now, I’m waiting on the paperwork in the mail so I can set up the remaining hurdles I have to clear. But the steps I was ‘concerned’ about- the chief’s meeting seems to have gone my way.

You won’t catch me celebrating until the day I put on a new uniform and start working, but if things continue along this path, that might not be that far away after all.

Random My Ass…..

I have news on the job front, but I’ll save that for a bit later, as things are still transpiring IN MY FAVOR.

Instead, I’ll regale you with a quick story that led me to peeing in a cup at 8am.

One of the EMTs I work with and I have some of the worst luck with equipment. Twice now we’ve had failures of the electronic stretcher, which necessitated manually lifting patients into and out of the ambulance. Once was even a drunk patient with a head wound from falling down a set of stairs. No bueno. Thankfully, that got all sorted out and the stretcher is fine now.

However, one of our rigs has an electrical gremlin, which keeps the radios from turning on when you start it. I don’t know if you know anything about EMS, but radios are pretty damn important. Three times now I’ve started up the rig and the radios are dead. Not on. Kaput. Once, while I waited for my EMT to respond, I even tore the thing out of the dash and checked the connections. No luck. Once, I shut off the ambulance and turned it back on (typical IT trick) and the radios fired up and worked flawlessly.

The other night though, as I pulled out of the bay, no luck with them again. So I switched rigs and texted the coordinator to tell her that the radios were out again.

Her response was shocking. She told me that I was the ONLY one who has troubles with the radios. Literally none of the other drivers have had problems with them. My EMT laughed as we drove back from the call and I swore up a storm. They thought I was nuts. In fact, immediately after I switched rigs and texted her, the guy who does the maintenance on the ambulances went down and tested them….and they worked. Ten minutes after I couldn’t get them to come on.

The next morning I get a text from the coordinator.

“It’s your lucky day, you got selected for a random drug test.”

Random.

Right.

They think I’m crazy.

Productive Day.

Yesterday was shockingly productive for what should have been a lazy Sunday. I was on call all day, so I couldn’t actually go anywhere, which gave me an opportunity to get things done around the house. I pulled the air conditioners out and replaced the screens in the windows. Then The Narrator and I bottled two gallons of home-brew beer that I put in last week. Turns out, the kid’s got a pretty good knack for the chores associated with brewing beer.

After that came the big project, and I wish I’d had taken pictures, but I was too busy.

Three years ago we bought a couch and love seat combination for the living room. When we did, we made three errors.

  1. We bought it from a place called “Furniture Liquidators”
  2. We bought it online, never actually seeing it.
  3. We paid $700 total for both pieces.

These three errors led to a set which barely lasted us these last three years. Cushions sagged, stitches tore, and between the drooling, the various food items, and things associated with small children, they started to develop a funk. They really were cheap pieces. So, my wife decided it was time to get new ones. On Saturday we ended up buying a couch and recliner set which we’re all pretty excited about. I’m a wreck since we paid over TWICE for these two pieces what we did for the original set that’s being replaced…in a time when I’m not making a hell of a lot of money, and the future job is still up in the air.

However our family’s CFO (Wife) has assured me that we had enough socked away for just such occasions. If she says so, I believe it.

The trouble became the removal of the old ones. We left the love seat in the house for now because it was in better shape than the couch, and we needed something to sit on until the new ones are delivered. Getting the old couch out was going to prove a challenge, since getting it IN required the movers to take doors off hinges, and do some creative maneuvering that my wife and I were not capable of.

So I got a hot idea.

Out came the hammer and razor knife.

Inside of an hour the thing was reduced to components and laid out in piles in the front lawn. One pile was the fluff and stuff, which we are going to smuggle into the weekly trash pickup, and the other pile is the wooden frame, which I’ll burn in the fire pit, thus saving us a fair chunk of change on tipping fees at the dump, and I got to destroy something.

And, not a single call came through on my 24 hour shift, so I didn’t end up rushing out anywhere all day. Tethered home, I relaxed a little, and got a lot done at the same time, both great distractions from the impending news about this new job….IF it still comes to fruition.

Ship in a Bottle

No, the title isn’t a metaphor for anything, I’m not that creative.
I’m literally talking about a ship in a bottle. You know, these things:

The Narrator decided last week that he wanted to be a detective for Halloween this year. We pieced together the accessories, but needed a trench coat to complete the ensemble. So, while we were out driving around last weekend, we stopped into a roadside antique store since they had old clothes and things on hangars outside. Unfortunately, they didn’t have what we were looking for, but as we walked in, the lady running the shop told the two boys to root through the bin of old toys on the floor, and they could take what they wanted for free.
The kids, of course- dove nose first into the box, and I was now compelled to buy something to repay her for her kindness. (Although I suspect this was entirely her motive to begin with.)

Most of the product I had absolutely no interest in whatsoever, and the place bordered between ‘antique shop’ and ‘junk shop.’ However, my eyes settled on a small box which looked to be about thirty years old. It was a ship in a bottle kit. Complete, with instructions, bottle, and wooden ship parts. All for a staggering $3.

We got home and I took a closer look at the box. “Ages 12 and up.”
“Neat.” I thought, “how hard can it be?”

Now, you guys, I’ve done a few models in my time. Some have turned out pretty good. Others…well, lets say some of my airplanes looked as though they’d already survived a few dogfights, and I don’t even want to talk about the Saturn V rocket I started when I was a kid.

It turns out that there’s a reason this kit has been in a box since the 1980s. (1984 to be exact. I looked it up.) Because there wasn’t a 12 year old alive who could pull this damn thing off.

IMG_20150912_210026Not only are the instructions fairly vague, mentioning things like “Imaginary mast holes” and using legitimate nautical terms which confused the bejesus out of a mountain boy like me, (I had to google a few things) but the scale of the thing is completely laughable.

IMG_20150912_211327The length of the entire ship is about two and a half inches. That’s it. Those two black pieces you see glued to the aft part of it? Those are cannons, and they’re 1/4 inch long. There isn’t a single measurement in the whole kit that comes out to being longer than 1/2 an inch. And, to make matters WORSE…there are other measurements mentioned as being “1/6 of an inch.”
One sixth of an inch? Really? I survived mathematics in school. I’ve worked construction and carpentry, and I’ve done a little modeling (Not the naked kind) but never before have I been forced to measure anything in sixths of an inch.

I’ve already been tempted to rename this thing “Shipwreck in a bottle” and go all hammer-time on the bits, dumping them into the bottle unceremoniously, and cut my three dollar loss.

The Narrator, thinking like his father, has already suggested that we find a way to cut the bottle in half, stick the damn boat in there, and glue the bottle back together.

I’ll keep you advised on how this thing goes because it could be amusing. The project is on hiatus right now, since I’m looking for a #60 drill bit….which I need to drill holes in toothpicks.
…yeah, you read that right. I have to drill holes in toothpicks for the rigging.

My father had one, but immediately upon finding it, he broke it in half taking it out of its case. Gives you a pretty good idea how this whole damn project is going to go.

The King of Sandwiches

On our little family outing this past weekend, we stopped for lunch at a small cafe. I browsed the menu and immediately came to the conclusion that the place we were eating at was going to be top notch. Long, long before I even tasted any of their food.

How did I discern this so quickly? Simple. A single menu item under the ‘Sandwich’ category.

Reuben.

Now, before you get all huffy and tell me “Lots of places have reubens dummy.”

I have to say- that it wasn’t the inclusion of the sandwich that made the place great, it was the description of said sandwich. You see….there was no description. None. It was listed with a single word on the menu with no accompanying text at all.

This means, to me- that the little cafe we were about to eat at knows the truth about these sandwiches. That there’s only one way to make them correctly.
There was no Turkey, pastrami, or corned beef? No Rye, wheat or rye? Or even Choice of dressing?

I assume that patrons could, if they so choose, order a variation of the sandwich, but the restaurant would not demean such a culinary marvel by announcing such cheapening options.

You see folks, if you’re going to have a reuben sandwich, there’s only one acceptable way to have it. Corned beef on toasted rye. Sauerkraut, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese. Should any of these ingredients be removed or replaced with a lesser option, you have ruined the sandwich and should be ashamed of yourself.

I mean, just LOOK at it….why would you tamper with that?

Whenever I go to a place for the first time, I order a reuben and will judge the place forever based on the quality of it. If I see a menu which lists loathsome options such as ‘turkey’ for such a meal, I am immediately revolted. If you want a turkey sandwich, order a turkey sandwich. There are plenty of good turkey sandwiches out there. Just don’t you dare call it a reuben. It’s like ordering a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and swapping the peanut butter for olive oil and calling it by the same name.

Small, hole-in-the wall cafes and restaurants seem to get it. No variations in the description of the sandwich on their menus, No explanations because explanations of properly done sandwiches are not needed. You don’t see the section of the kids’ menus populated with: “Hot dog: hot dog served on a bun.” Because we damn well know how a hot dog needs to be served.
Reubens are the same way. Know it or get out.

A well-crafted reuben is truly an art form. It needs to be full without falling apart. It needs to be weighty without being heavy. It needs to be juicy without being soggy. If you find a place which can make one to meet the demands for a good one- keep that place and go back as often as you can. If they can craft a reuben perfectly, odds are they do other meals just as well, so if you ever decide you don’t want one, you won’t lack for other satisfying options.

Incidentally- I was right about the cafe. The sandwich was excellent. A little small perhaps, but fantastic.

I do of course realize that several of my readers who are more inclined to eat healthy and do that exercise thing have possibly keeled over and died at the idea of eating something so laden with grease, and I will honestly miss them, they were wonderful to interact with.
I do think though- that there is another portion of my readership who may just be salivating at the idea of having one of these as soon as absolutely possible. In fact, I like to believe that someone who started reading this hasn’t yet finished it because they’re already off trying to figure out how to get one.

To them I say…if you manage to find one….make it two and meet me for lunch.

Now….We Wait.

Twelve days ago I had a job interview.
Ten days ago I got a phone call that went something like this:

“We want to thank you for taking the time to come out and meet with us. We want to know if you’d like to come work for us. This is an offer of employment.”

I immediately agreed and asked what the next step would be.

“We’ll be in touch.” I was told.

Four days ago I get an email with a packet of paperwork that needed to be filled out and returned. Routine stuff, but I still had nothing more concrete than a verbal offer on the phone.

Three days ago I drove the completed packet out to the office.

Here I sit now, waiting for the next move. I’m anxious as all hell because, as I said- there’s nothing more confirming that I got the job than the phone call. I haven’t signed anything, met with anyone…nothing.

I do, of course realize that this isn’t like going to work for your local grocer. “You’re hired, you start Monday.”

I know that the wheels of the machine grind slowly, and for good reason. Nothing needs be left to chance, nothing needs to be done improperly or incompletely.

But while I understand all that, I don’t like it. Given everything my employment ride has put the family through the last year and a half, I’m still terrified that the offer will be withdrawn and I’ll be right back to square one. I don’t believe it will be, but I can’t help but worry. Of course, the longer it takes to hear from them, the more I am convinced that there will be bad news. I have no idea if this worry is justified or not, but its how I’m thinking right now.

Every email notification I get makes me jump. Every voicemail I get quickens my pulse. I cannot wait to start. I NEED to start. Two and a half years of work and training, and I’m back to babysitting computers to pay the bills, hating every second of it.

Readers, I’m literally at the point where I need to get back and start doing one of the most stressful jobs on the planet so I can stop being so damn stressed out about not doing it.

So, here we are. Day 12 from initial contact. No word yet, good or bad.
Its a good thing I don’t chew my fingernails….I’d be down around the third digit by now.

Good things come to those who wait.