Back to back!!

Yea…can ya believe it?? Back to back post! Hey, I know excuses are like a certain body part (or orifice)… everybody has one LOL but no kidding I’m as busy as a cat covering up…ummmm..errrrrr… well…

You get the picture.. it’s my “busy time”. Home / personal stuff, work, the farm… you name it. I’m working all day everyday, come home, go to bed and get up and start all over. Don’t believe me?? Just ask the Buckaroo. We were stuffing hay in the barn the other day and he was really excited about just how much we’ve been putting up. He LOVES to use the front end loader. How high is the hay Buckaroo???

Speaking of the Buckaroo, I mentioned him the other day in a post ( I know.. I mention he everyday I post). I mentioned that I had to find a pair of long britches for him due to it being cool.

Notice I had to roll em up.. and thats what got me ta thinking. You see, basically; my Grandmother raised me during the most “influential” years of my life. Pop was a single (divorced) firefighter / father with 2 boys so he had to do something. Working a 24 hr shift, he had little choice but to go back home (50 miles away, in a rural farm town.. heck.. I can’t even call it a town). But anyway, he commuted 50 miles one way every other day to pull his 24 hr tour while Granny took the blunt end of raising another 2 boys (2 hellions actually). So, with the divorce, distance, the pay scale back then etc. to say the least, times were tight. Now I know this will make me sound “old” (and I’m NOT) but honestly, we didn’t have much BUT didn’t know it. We didn’t know we were “poor”. More than that, and again I didn’t know it at the time; Granny taught me several lessons back then(and continues to today). I grew up wearing 2 pair of socks (2 pair whenever we wore shoes). We wore 2 pair because she always bought our shoes a size or so too big. That way, we could “grow into em”. The idea was that when our feet got bigger and the shoes became tight, just change to a single pair of socks and get a few more miles out of the pair. Good idea but she didn’t account for how fast our feet grew.. guess she fed us too good LOL. Anyhow, I never got to the point to where I could take off a pair and I guess out of habit, still wear 2 pair of socks everyday, today. Britches were no different. We even wore “corduroy” because they held up better for boys.

Quit laughing! Now, weather it was corduroy or wranglers they too were bought a size too big. We simply rolled up the cuff until we grew into em. My point here is not that Granny was “frugal” or “cheap”, actually; she spent SMART. She bought what was needed to do the job. She took what we had and put it where it was most needed and would best serve a purpose. My rolling the buckaroo’s britches up the other morning got me to thinking… how did we (as a culture / generation) get away from responsible thinking? All the big “talkers”.. the key lecturers etc talk about firefighter safety these days (and I agree.. and will talk on that some here in just a bit as well) BUT.. BUT.. they are talking about size ups, go or no-go, risk analysis, building construction, etc. We, nor these folks aren’t dumb. We all know the risks and the fact that “NUMBERS” is a key factor in keeping us safe. Hey, stuff is going to burn, people are going to be trapped and firemen are going to be called to respond. You can do everything right but the job at it’s roots remains the same.. DEADLY. I would love to hear one of these lectures say point blank to these Chief Officers / administrators etc… lack of staffing kills firemen and it’s your job to assure that there are enough men on the rig to perform their duties as safely as possible! Yea.. set the blame / responsibility right in their laps. Ray McCormick had it right (it was just presented wrong). FIRE is what’s killing us. If we put the fire out (and put it out as right and SAFELY as possible), there’s nothing left to hurt us. That said, all we need now is the manpower and tools to do so. Cities are spending MILLIONS on “downtown renovations”. Multi-million dollar “art museums” and “up scale, downtown housing”. Hundreds of thousands to “consultants” to develop a new city “logo”. Another million or so for a “food court”! All this to draw “visitors” to the city in hopes of bringing in revenue. Hummmm?? Guess where the money comes from? Fire / EMS departments running short. Under staffed, under paid! No raises in years while the cost of living and insurance continues to jump by leaps and bounds. Who’s gonna protect all those people if they ever come? I’m no rocket scientist but I believe the word is “infrastructure” and I would hope that if you’re running a productive city, Public Safety would be a BIG part of that infrastructure. What does your department spend a year on uniforms? How many pair a year does a member of your company receive? Did he / she REALLY need that extra $40/pair of duty pants? How many members have been on out of town “conferences” or training classes in the past year? What was spent on that? Were the cheapest tickets / hotels etc purchased? Does your Department not have competent instructors? We just received a “grant” for a fire safety house. There’s an idea! We’d better teach these kids how to get out on their own because before too long, there aren’t gonna be enough available companies for a fireman to get there in time to make the rescue. Now don’t get me wrong. Fire safety and Public education is a huge asset to our profession (the numbers are there to show it). And, these “safety houses” are great tools ( our Local already owns one that has been shared with the Department) BUT I’d rather see a grant for 1 more fireman on duty. Then, I’d go to that school on my day off and teach the kids about smoke detectors, staying low, stop drop roll, not hiding from the firemen etc. As a fireman and a father, I put more faith in that brother / sister than any training aid! Department “X” just received a grant for however many thousand feet of brand new 2 1/2″ hose. I’ll bet they’d rather have 2 more members to stretch the hose they already have .. I’ll guarantee they’ll make that sacrifice and assure the hose they have now will make it another year or two. Is it the Departments fault or those who issued the grant? Are we putting our money in the right place? Are we spending like “Granny” taught us to? I don’t pretend to have all the answers.. hey, I’m a high school drop out on a blog rant so what do I know? I will say this though… I don’t know a single brothe
r or sister on the job in my department that would bitch if told “hey, we’re not gonna approve this or that class / uniform request etc because we are putting those funds towards hiring another body” or “hey, we need you folks to take the best care of and make this bed of hose last because we’re putting off buying new in order to hire”. Think about it. Are we (you) doing your part and then, are our leaders / administrators doing theirs? Ok.. enough of my rant!
I have a little personal and some humor real quick and then you can get back to your Cheetos and porn. I mentioned the other day my being off on funeral leave. First, thanks for the comments etc (even though I didn’t post em). Secondly, there is always some good that comes out of these situations. In this case, there were 2. As hard as it may be for some to understand, my uncle is no longer suffering. The second positive is that even if it is for circumstances for situations as this, it brings families together. You guys have seen bits and pieces of my family and I guess will continue to. In all, I have a brother and 4 sisters. Most are local but, my baby sister (the youngest of the lot) Jessie came in from California. I get to see her about once every 5 or so years now. Now, if you guys can behave.. here’s a shot of me, my sister Marci (whom you’ve met from NC) and Jessie.

I am back to station work by the way.. or I was (now I’m off on vacation again). By the looks of things upon my return to the station, the boys have kept themselves busy. We have a table and picture mount in the development stages and the boys from “A-shift” completed a work bench for the bay.

Now the bench turned out “extra special nice” but my boys of C-shift are not ones to be out done so, they found another type bench / stool to assist Lt. Rhett Fleitz in retrieving his coffee cup in the mornings (and yes Bill… it’s a Geezer mug).

I don’t know who keeps putting his “sippy cup” on the top shelf but plan on launching an investigation LOL. Alright, I’m gonna try to wrap it up for now. I do want to clue you in on the next post which will include discussion on the “Rules of Engagement Poster” and some of the fellow bloggers etc that I was fortunate enough to meet a few weeks back while in Chicago. To end, I will reply to a few of the comments left on some previous post. Apparently, someone doesn’t know or understand why I sign off as “Captain Wines”. So here it is. The word “Captain” to me had always been one spoken with admiration, aspiration and pride. For the most part, I’ve had good ones and always called em Capt or Captain. Call it respect or whatever but in my eyes, I’m sure they earned it. Now, that’s not saying that I think I have.. I can’t speak on that but I will say that everyone who has worked for or around me calls me Capt. or Captain. I don’t know why but I hope it’s because I’ve earned that title ( I know I’ve worked towards and in hopes of that goal). The guys from Pop’s day in the Department called us “Big Willie” and “Little Willie”. At home, I’m “Paw-Paw” or Bo. In court, it’s “William” and in bars it’s most likely asshole. Either way, today; at the station the members call me Capt. When I started blogging (and following Rhett’s ordeal) I decided to always sign my post / comments. I didn’t figure Schmoe or a brother from anywhere else would know who “Bo” or “Little Willie” was so I signed the everyday, on the job name “Captain Wines”. And weather or not the commenter thinks or believes so… I’m pretty sure I’ve earned it! Thanks again for following.
Captain Wines