Thursday, February 23, 2012

Standing back up again...

I am tired of being knocked down, and hope this time my getting back up will be for good. I am trying to get a job that will be decent, with good pay, and will hopefully make life much better. I just submitted the paperwork that took me forever to fill out. I had to go back 20 years for employment, and 10 for residences. Who really remembers the name of the Supervisor you had back 20 years ago? Oh well. I also have a chance for getting into the PA State Police Academy as a Liquor Control Enforcement Officer. They are the people who make sure that stores don't sell to underage kids etc. I would be a specialized trooper if I do well in my interview. Here's to hoping for me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Shitty situation that I had nothing to do with...

So I get a phone call today from my Supervisor, asking if I had anything to do with the leak of sensitive information to a reporter who posted the info on the Web. Since I work at a place where information is vital, an ASSUMPTION was made by a person in a high position that since the reporter said they had an "inside source" (it could never be the interns, right?) at the place where I work, and since I was a "friend" of the reporter on Facebook, that I was the source. I have never met the reporter, I just liked his reports that he put out occasionally. Since I recently started working my role I started out in again, the assumption was I might have "overheard" some information, then leaked it to the reporter. Due to this vicious personal attack, I had to close my Twitter account, and weed out certain members of my friends on Facebook, many of whom I became real friends with in person. It really bothers me that I was forced to choose between my job or being a member of this group of friends. I am not sure if the steps I took were enough for the Powers That Be, and I hope they were. If not, then I am very seriously considering going to the press regarding the false accusations that were made. I have made some personal friends off of Twitter too, and many of them were members of the Philadelphia press. I am sure they would be interested in why my account was suddenly shut down when I had 9908 posts on it... So now I have to shut my mouth, (which I did already!) and not piss off the high ups... The worst part of it is all of the high ups know me personally. That is the most painful part of all this. They know me, know my passion for my job and the place where I work, and yet they were coming with pitchforks based on a wild assumption that had NO MERIT whatsoever! This really hurt me, and I don't know how to shrug it off...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Catching up on life

Since it is a new year, and it has been forever since I wrote on here, I figured I'd try to be more regular with postings and more short stories. I have decided to be more open about my life, and will deal with whatever headaches that brings along.

So my year in 2011 was a nightmare. Got a job, lost a job, maintained the fun (but bad paying) job. We had a car drive through our playroom while one of my sons was in the room, (miraculously unhurt!) and are still fighting my renters insurance for a check to replace all the toys we lost... and it happened in AUGUST! GRRRR!

The best thing that happened to me was watching the boys grow up. They are some damn good looking boys, and are insanely smart too. It has been a challenge trying to find the 'right' way to discipline them, but I think we are doing a good job of it so far. They are very polite kids, and love their other family members like their cousins and such.

I haven't been writing any for some time now, and I miss it. That is part of the reason I am gonna try to do it here more often. I like the creativity when it flows, and wish I could do it regularly. I am also going to start back up painting. I haven't done it since high school, but I was good then, I just need to refresh my skills. I am going to paint a picture that was taken of my father as Santa Claus, and name it "I Still Believe". So many ideas for it, now I just need to fucking do it!

I am taking the application test for the PA State Police in a week. If I get in I will be thrilled! I won't be a regular trooper, I am actually going to train to be a Liquor Control Enforcement Trooper. I will still be a State Trooper, just a specialized department one. It should be cool. Big 'if' though... here's to hoping!

I know this is a rambling entry, but at least I am writing

More soon!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Next piece of story...

Pulling up to the scene, Jack gave us a clue what we had. “Uh guys, get the Jaws, grab some tarps, and a Halligan bar. This is gonna be a quick and dirty rescue. Mark, you get the trashline ready. I think this thing will light up before we are done. Make sure you are good to go, ok? Let’s go ladies!” He jumped out of the cab and approached the first vehicle. As he looked in, you could see the concern on his face. He frantically started looking around the car, looking about 15 feet away in a circle around it. As I got to the car, I realized what he saw, that freaked him out: an empty kid’s car seat with blood on it, and no kid anywhere in sight. Fran arrived in his vehicle, saw us looking around, and quickly realized what was going on. Mark was still setting up the trashline, so he had no clue so far. I dropped to the ground and checked the last place we hadn’t looked – under the car.

Sure enough, there was a small body there under it, but it wasn’t moving. “FRAN! It’s here, under the driver’s rear door! Get me an airbag and some fucking cribbing please?” I tried to grab the child and pull them too me, but they were just too far to reach. I sat up, and ripped off my bunker coat, not caring about the fluids and glass on the ground. I had to reach this kid. Mark saw we were working to get the kid, so he went to the other car. This was the one who was gonna need the Jaws, and the Halligan bar to pop the hood to get to the battery. He popped the hood, and disconnected the wires to the battery. Then he went over and rechecked on the driver. He was still in a daze, but answering the questions Mark was asking him. Mark grabbed a guy from the next engine that pulled up and had him man the trashline. Mark looked to Fran for a quick visual approval to use the Jaws, and went about opening the roof and door to get the driver out. Jack and Fran had gotten the cribbing placed under the rear tires, so when we lifted the car up, they would use the blocks of wood to make sure it didn’t fall on me or the kid. We quickly used an airbag to lift the car gently, and As Jack raised it, Fran stacked the wood to crib the car. I finally got enough room to reach the kid, and ever so gently picked them up and handed them to the waiting medic, who had arrived with all the supplies for a pediatric trauma. He carefully laid the child down, and checked for a pulse. There was one, but it was very weak. The little boy couldn’t have been more than 5, and looked like he had at least a broken arm and leg. But we didn’t care about them yet; we were more concerned with getting the helicopter there to rush him to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – CHOP to all of us who were familiar with it. The bird gave us a two minute ETA, and we got him ready for the flight.

His pulse had started to get stronger, and his color was returning. We gently splinted his arm, and used another SAM splint on his leg. He was so small and frail. All I was concerned about was getting him onto the helicopter. We gave the Flight Medic a quick report, the rough estimate of how long he was under the car (we were thinking close to 18 minutes), and his conditions. His vitals were transferred to his sheet along with the times we took them. The medic gave us a big thanks after securing the little guy to the litter, and gave us thumbs up. He climbed back into the bird and it took off, heading for the best care the kid could receive.

After the MedEvac was airborne, my attention returned to the scene. Mark had most of the roof off of the other car, and the door was already gone. I helped him lift the roof as he made his last cuts to remove it. We got the solid backboard and placed it behind the patient as we lifted them carefully out of the now opened up car. We made sure the neck brace was on properly, and that he was immobilized per protocols. We secured him to the litter and loaded him into the waiting ambulance. He was in a good amount of pain, and said it was his back and his head, but we also noticed he couldn’t feel his legs very well. That would explain the back pain then. We gave the report to his medic, and went back to start cleaning up our equipment. I looked up and saw Fran trying to be subtle and look around at the people who were watching without looking too obvious. I walked over to him, quietly asking “What are you looking for Dep?” He looked down at me, and tried to make it look like he was talking about our equipment. “You see that blond woman over there next to the blue Saturn? She doesn’t look like she is just watching. She looks like she was in the car the kid was pinned under. And did you notice that there is no driver for that car here? PD is still looking for the driver.” I did my cursory glance around like I was still talking to him about what had happened. He was right, as usual; she did look very out of place. She was very pale, eyes were wider than everyone else’s who was near her, and kept looking quickly at the police who were still on the site.

“Hey Stevens, you got a minute?” I waved over the only cop I knew on the scene. I pointed to some debris as I talked to him, trying to give the illusion that I wasn’t concerned with anything but the accident. “See the blond next to the Saturn over there? She might be your missing driver, Fran and I both agree she looks incredibly out of place in the crowd. What do you think? Is there any way to go talk to her by having someone come up behind her so she doesn’t run away?” Stevens glanced quickly at her, and radioed to another cop. They gave him the word when they were behind her, and Stevens started to walk in the direction of the Saturn. She saw him coming and panicked, turning and running into the chest of the cop behind her. They spread out the crowd a little, and brought her on the other side of the caution tape so they could talk to her. She had a lot of blood on her shirt, along with what looked like cuts from the glass shattering on her. I walked away with a smile on my face, and gave a knowing wink to Fran. We got the right person this time.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Part 3 of my story... Please tell me what you think so far!

After finally getting out of the station and into my own house, I dropped my lazy bones into the couch. I didn’t even feel motivated enough to get changed out of my clothes. After slacking off for about a half hour, I got up and put on my lounge pants. Glorified pajama pants, but they were some comfortable things to wear. I liked to wear nothing under them, so they were even more comfortable then. I slid back into the couch, and turned on the TV, intending to watch my movies. Instead I saw the news story about another store like Martino’s being burned down. This time the family was lucky enough to get out of the house. “Serial arsonist?” was how the news was reporting it. God forbid it could have been an accident, right? Fucking media, sensationalizing everything whether it needed it or not. I hated the old notion of “If it bleeds it leads!” Stories like this shouldn’t happen until the report comes out – if it does at all – that it was an actual arson. Damn it, now they are showing the footage from the Martino’s fire. Holy shit, do I really look that pale every call? Or was that right after I had upchucked? Whenever it was, it now meant I had to buy a case of beer for the Station. I dialed the number from memory, waiting for the inevitable roar of laughter from the guy who answered it.

“Station 95, Wilkins here. What can I do ya for?”

“Larry, its Kyle. What brand do you guys want? I saw the story; I am just making sure I don’t get the wrong one.” Larry harrumphed in his typical way, and then told me the place to go to make sure I got the right case.

“Eddie knows what it is we all like. Just tell him you need a case for us, he’ll take care of you. See you tomorrow Kyle.” Right before he hung up, I heard him say my name.

“What’s up Larry?”

“Make sure you get some sleep kid. You looked like shit on TV.” I had to admit, I was surprised he said that. He never worries about anyone.

“I will Larry. Stay safe, see you tomorrow.”

Turns out the case they wanted was also one of the most expensive cases of beer I had ever bought. Who knew a case could cost 72 bucks? Insanity, but it was what the rules were. I lugged it into the station, and placed them carefully inside the cold storage room. Had to make sure they weren’t seen by the public. That wouldn’t go over well, some random cell phone picture of alcohol on the property, even if it wasn’t being drunk. You think the media was going nuts about the fires lately? God, I’d be fired with no questions being asked. Having safely hidden them, and delivered my case as required to. One more thing I could cross off my list. If they showed the same clip on the news, it didn’t count this time. Now, if they showed it from a different angle I wasn’t sure what the rules were then. Oh well.

I laid out my gear again, as is my routine every shift, and then decided to start going over all the compartments, to make sure we were properly stocked with supplies. The first thing I always checked was the EMS bag, the First-In bag as it was known. Unzipping it, I started counting the supplies. I knew the proper amounts that were supposed to be there from routine, and knew when we were close to being low it was always better to have some extras then not enough. This I learned the hard way. The accident we discovered we couldn’t simply trust the prior shift to resupply themselves.

It was back in December of ’07, when I was first volunteering for the local ambulance crew out by my parent’s house. We hardly got any snow that year, just tons of ice. No matter how often I salted outside, we were all slipping and sliding everywhere out there. Of course, since we could barely walk, we knew we would get the call on the far side of our box area, and like routine, we got it about 3 hours into the ice storm. It was an early model Subaru vs. a Toyota pickup truck. The driver of the Toyota was dead; the passenger partially ejected in the upside down truck, and it got worse from there. Her car was barely recognizable as a car at all. None of us could tell what kind of car it was from the wrecked front end. She got hit so hard the whole dashboard hit her in the face after her seatbelt held her back. Gruesome, but she was still alive when we flew her out. The issue we had was there weren’t enough trauma pads in the bag. Last shift had spilled some hydrogen peroxide on them, and threw them out, but forgot to replace them. They both were heading to some party, and didn’t care about the details. I had gotten there about 20 minutes before my shift had started, and sure enough, they were sitting around playing Xbox, wasting time until the shift was over. “Anything to report guys? How was the shift?”

They barely looked up at me, and Eric replied, “Typical boring shit, nothing good. We have been in here most of the day.” So silly me, I figured when they fled out the door as soon as it was my turn to man the Conn, everything was ok on the truck.

Until we needed the supplies later, that is. It was very embarrassing to tell the Flight Medic that there are extra blood soaked sheets with her because we didn’t have enough trauma pads. That got me a very ugly tongue lashing from the Chief when he got that phone call later that night. I should have checked, it was an oversight on my part. But they both got suspended for 2 weeks for not following written policy. Ever since that day, I trusted only my counting. I didn’t depend on anyone’s ‘word’ or their “Oh yeah, you’re fine!’ comments. I made sure the stuff was there.

This time, everything was in order, as I realized it usually was at the Station. But I still made sure, just to cover my ass if we needed anything. I finished checking the rest of the compartments, and went into the TV lounge to go relax when the tones dropped for an accident. Hearing the intersection, I knew we were heading to an ugly scene.

The world looks different from a fire engine, especially when you are facing the back of the truck. You see the people all coming out of their houses, craning their necks in the cars, all trying to get a glimpse of which truck is going by, and see if they can see the smoke from the fire. Of course, we do respond to things besides fires, but to John Q. Public, we only fight fires. It happens all the time, people want to see, and then cringe when they actually see something they were trying to look for. I never understood that.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Story part two...

Damn, hangovers are the worst. It hurts to open my eyes, and my head is ringing. Wait, that's my cell phone. “Hello? This had better be important.”

The voice on the other side hesitated, but talked anyway. “Kyle, its Amanda. You had better get here soon. I am not sure how long she will keep it up this time. But we can’t get her to calm down at all. I need you here to try to help get her calm down.”

Karen, my sister, is having another manic episode. I am getting used to this happening. It usually happens about once a week, but this time is the third in just the last 20 days. I got some new clothes on, slipped on my shoes, and ran out the door trying to get there so she didn’t cause any damage this time. I grabbed my favorite hat with the logo of the Philadelphia Union clearly emblazoned on the front. She was used to me wearing it, so maybe it will help. I hope.

Mark grimaced as he thought about the horrors he had seen that night. Little Allison Martino, sleeping in her bed, had been burned so severely, they had a hard time figuring out who it was. When they finally did realize it was her, it was only because of her scar on her right leg. There was no denying that. Mark remembered when she had first hurt it; He was one of the ones to respond to the call. She had fallen on the way home from her friend’s house and had landed on a piece of glass. It tore her leg pretty good, and scared her incredibly. He had managed to calm her down and keep her from looking at it while the EMS crew removed the glass and bandaged her. He even went to the hospital with her in the ambulance, keeping her calm and making her mother think he was the greatest thing in the world. He had personally carried her down the stairs, making sure he was incredibly careful. He laid her gently down on the stretcher, arms gently folded over her as best as he could. He didn’t care at that point who had seen him crying. If anyone had given him any shit about it, he would have knocked them out right then and there. After he had gotten it together, that was when he saw Kyle vomit again. He teased him about it, trying to deflect his own grief and sadness. That night he drank himself into a stupor, and vomited in his bed again. He needed to find a better way of dealing with his stress, and needed to save money, instead of pissing it away on booze. He was turning into his Uncle Dave, drunk all the time, and not really moving anywhere in life. The booze was starting to ruin his career so fast; he lost all his favors from old friends in his first year. Turns out that staying in the Fire Department is a lot harder and requires more favors than he wanted. His file was thick, and not with accommodations. He had been written up for everything from sloppy work to causing a serious accident by falling over while carrying a patient down the steps. He was too drunk to find the steps, and she broke three ribs from the fall. He was almost canned for that one, favors or no favors. This was starting to get old quick, and most of the guys and the people they knew avoided being with him after hours. They had seen how bad a drunk he could be. Sadly, he had yet to see it himself. No one wanted to film him to show him how bad it was. He was finally going to get the help he needed… tomorrow.

Coming back into the station is tough when you are trying not to show that you were drunk last night, and don’t remember most of it. I tripped over my equipment while trying to tip-toe past Mark. Thankfully I didn’t fall down, just made a ton of noise, which was exactly what I was trying to avoid. I meekly picked up my stuff, and hurried over to my bed. I put my pillow down, and set up my blanket. I might only have a few hours on this shift, but made sure that I was going to be comfortable. I was also making sure that I would have some comfort measures to stay relaxed when I had the chance. This included my laptop, some movies on DVD, and anything else I was able to do to relax. Staying relaxed made life easier, but it kept me out of trouble during work. It helped me avoid the drinking. I was still having nightmares, but would automatically pretend I was fine if anyone asked about the other night. I hoped that no one would be able to pick up on my depression, or realize just how bad it had affected me. I struggled all day, especially eating my dinner that I picked up from Marek’s, the place a few blocks down the street. They were decent, but nothing as good as the Martino’s food was. It turns out that this wound up hurting the most, because it made me think of Connie again, and face the image of her burned body.

This face was a haunting one too. Was it a mix of a smile of contentment, or fear? I couldn’t be sure. All I knew was it would forever haunt me. It bothered me at all times of the day, all times in the night. I needed to see someone, and soon. I just had to make sure that none of my crew knew about it. That was the last thing I needed, for them to think I was so weak from only one fire.

Gathering my gear took a little longer this time than I usually do. I laid it all out the same – boots inside the bunker pants, suspenders resting on top so they could be grabbed right away to put the pants on. Then the bunker coat was hanging on the door handle, so I wouldn’t forget to put it on before I got in the truck. Mask and helmet were in my seat, waiting for me to need them again. Looking at my mask, I remembered the things I had seen while it was on me. I wondered if people cold really see our expressions when we were working. I sure as hell hoped not. They would be able to see the pain we all tried to hide every day.

Tonight wasn’t as hard as the night of the Martino’s incident. We only had a few accidents to respond to, and no one died. Thank God for that. We did get to cut the roof off of a Lamborghini, whose driver thought 55 was only a suggestion for speed, and wanted to double it. Well, it didn’t work out too well for him. Two broken femurs and an insurance claim that will seriously raise his rates later, we all laughed at his stupidity. I could get used to laughing as a stress relief. It was easier on the head the next day than drinking was. But that was my plan again tonight. More Netflix had come in, so my DVD player would get a workout.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Throwing my story out in the public domain...

So I have been thinking about it, and I am curious as to how people think when it comes to my writing. I am going to post sections of my story that I wrote, and see how well it is received. Hope you all like it!

This Vapor rub shit under my nose is not helping any with the whole dead body smell. They warned us in the Academy that our first time moving a ‘crispy critter’ would be one we would never forget. They told us if we put some Vicks under our noses, we’d smell that instead of the roasted body. They were wrong. This is the third time I vomited so far tonight after smelling them. The one thing they were right about at the Academy is the fact I’ll never forget this night.

“Hey Kyle, you have anything left to puke? How many times is this now? 6 or 7? Good grief, kid. You need to get this under control!” Mark walked away from me with a fake disgusted look on his face. I knew he was right, but to be fair, it was my first time in this situation. I had been fighting asking this for a while tonight, but had to finally give in. “Hey Dep, think I can skip on the next body? I need to go find my knees. They are a bit wobbly right now, and stairs while carrying one might not be a good idea right now.” Fran turned and looked over at me and saw me wiping the drool from my chin. “Sure kid, no problem. Just get some water, and you should be fine in a few.”

Fran is the resident Deputy Chief. He has been doing this since before I was born. He is an incredible role model for all of us newbies. Ever trying to impress the right people, I was doing my best not to disappoint him tonight. Hope asking for a break wouldn’t ruin my reputation yet. Looking around this place makes you realize how fast this shit can happen to anyone. I was just here 5 hours ago, before the shift started, getting my regular lunch from Martino’s café. Mrs. Martino always made sure she would have her daughter Carrie make my hoagie, and get everything else I needed. Now all of them were dead, killed by what looked like a bad wire in the front chilling cabinet. How fast did it go through the house that they couldn’t even get out of the bedrooms? This is the hardest thing I have ever done, carrying out the bodies of the people I had known for years. I was one of their first customers, and now fittingly one of their last ones too. Kicking some debris out of the way as I made my way back to the truck to take a few minutes to get my wits about me, I couldn’t help but tear up a little. This was the reason I never wanted to do this. I was afraid that someone I knew would die, and I would have to carry out their body. My first shift and I have it happen right away. What shitty luck.
“Hey Carl, we got any more water bottles in the box?” If anything was in this truck, Carl knew what it was, and where it was. He could literally find stuff blindfolded. I learned my trucks, but damn, that is impressive. “Third door, second shelf there should be some. We’re into our emergency spares now, I’ll call Engine 23 and have them bring some more down for us.” Nodding, I thanked Carl as I took one and gulped it down.

I looked over at Mark and wondered how bad he would crack tonight. I knew this was tough for him too, but he hasn’t slowed down yet to let it sink in. He was here almost as much as I was. He was trying to impress Fran too, but I think it will bite him in the ass if he didn’t slow down some.

“Kyle, can you believe this shit?” Mark finally realized what I had been thinking, and came for some water. Running a hand through his hair, he wiped at his eyes too. God, I hope I didn’t leave black streaks like that on my face when I wiped my eyes. “I can’t believe they died. Now where the hell are we going to get our food from?” He tried to crack a smile, but it was too soon. “C’mon Mark, really? You have to ask that now? You couldn’t wait until tomorrow, could you?” I playfully slugged him in the arm. We both knew we wanted to cry, but neither of us will do it here. I stood up, and walked back over to the door. Connecting my chin strap, I took one more breath of fresh air before heading in to carry out another member of the Martino family.

Three hours later, I finally got a chance to shower and get the Vicks out from under my nose, and sat down to eat the food I had gotten at the café. Carrie knew how to make my hoagie just the way I liked it- extra cheese, light lettuce, no onions. She was always so nice to me and such a damn good looking girl too. This was going to be tough to shake off. I kept seeing her face as I saw it a few hours ago, instead of how I saw it for the past few years. I take a bite of the hoagie, and enjoy it as best I can. “Jack, can I get some new gloves? I tore mine with that last load of trash from the store.” I flexed my hand where the nail had scraped the glove up. Thankfully, it only rubbed me red, and didn’t cut my hand. I filled out the whole incident report, making sure that I had nothing that anyone could complain to me about. I made sure that I had always crossed my T’s and minded my P’s and Q’s. Spotless records showed true concern for your image professionally. I wanted mine to be spotless, unlike Mark’s. He has only been here for two years, but his file folder was almost an inch thick. I hope my career runs better than that. “Try to let these gloves make it through the whole fucking shift this time Kyle, ok?” Fran tossed them at my head, and scored a winner, because I was looking the other way. Lucky shot, old timer. The new gloves needed to be broken in, so I went into the bathroom to get them wet. Out of the corner of my eye, I swore I saw Jack sneaking a shot out of a flask. Not my business, not as long as it was only one or two. With him driving us there, I would be a bit nervous if it was more. But I can relate to the needing a drink. Only a few more hours and then I was going to get plastered. I need to get these faces out of my head. I need to make sure I don’t go crazy thinking about how bad a scene it was.

Walking out of the store with the bottle and the skinny brown bag, I hoped I didn’t look like a sad drunk. Why couldn’t they give people regular bags, and simply lay the bottles down sideways? Did they have to draw attention to the fact that you had alcohol? I walked into my apartment, locking the door behind me in a fluid motion. I can’t wait to get the hell out of here, but that won’t happen until I make enough money to save up some too. Here’s to hoping to that can happen soon. Plopped down in my ratty couch, and opened the bottle. I need to learn to get some harder stuff to drink. This vodka stuff is getting old. Plus if I am going to spend some money to get drunk, then damn it, let me find some good stuff to do it on. Some Grey Goose would be better, but again, I need money to get it. The first drink is the sweetest, and then it all goes downhill from there. I found the re-runs of Third Watch, got a blanket to cover up with, and settled in for a long night. I don’t remember the next couple of hours, except for a big long blurry timeframe.