Mom’s Afternoon Out

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In general, I tend to have a routine schedule.  My work hours are rather structured right now, and I don’t have many other commitments at the moment outside of work and home; that will change once school starts, and youngest daughter’s dance classes start again.

So when I am not working, I am home with my daughter.  I have a predicable route that I drive to work each day – you won’t see me deviate much from my schedule and the route that I drive to work.  Predictable is a pretty good description of my life lately;  or maybe “rut” is a better one.  :)

But that’s OK, because things weren’t always that way until recently.

Friday I deviated from my rut – I had a dentist appointment at noon, and my shift at work started at 2 p.m.

I was on time for my appointment (imagine that!) and (even more amazing) they were ready for me as soon as I got there.  No problems with the cleaning and exam, x-rays looked good, and I scheduled a 6-month appointment for February.  I was standing in the parking lot by 12:45.  Now I had a full hour before I had to even think about getting to work.  What to do?

I drove down the main drag of town, looking for inspiration from the businesses that I passed.  What should I do with a whole unplanned hour of my day?  Lack of funds would keep me from actually buying anything during that hour, so I bypassed most of the businesses that saw.

I settled on a one-stop “price check” trip to Fred Meyers, and browsed through different departments, from Housewares (honestly, how difficult can it be to find a black and white checkered tablecloth; I’ve been looking for one for about a year) to Pet Supplies (my 2 labs sampled an all-natural dog food that this store carries, so I checked out the price – but at almost $34 dollars for a 13 lb bag, I am not ready to forego my retirement or wipe out my daughter’s college fund to buy it) to the Deli, where I bought lunch; turkey sub sandwich and a bottle of blackberry-flavored water.  Then I walked down the cookie/cracker aisle (big mistake) and bought a package of molasses cookies.  Molasses cookies are my 2nd fave kind of cookie, right behind chocolate chip.

After my wanderings it was about time to head for work, so off I went, feeling very pleased with myself.

So if you were driving westbound on Center Street on Friday about 1:45, you might have seen me.  I was the blonde with the very clean teeth, driving my “solar yellow” PT Cruiser with the windows down (mainly because my AC doesn’t work) with Frank Sinatra blasting on the CD player.  :)

Just call me “Emergency Life Skills Coach”!

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A female caller, wanting to file a report of harassment:

Me – “What exactly are they doing to harass you?”

Caller – “They are texting me, bragging about their new fiancé, and I’m tired of hearing about it.”

Emergency Life Coach Powers – Activate!

Me – “Did you tell them to stop?  And have you considered contacting your phone company to have their number blocked on your phone?”

Caller – “Yes, I told them to stop.  And I’ll have my phone company block their phone number in the morning.  It’s too late to call them tonight.”

Me – (pause)  “So … it sounds like you have the situation under control.”  (Crickets in the background)

Caller – “But I want the police to DO something.”

Me – “What do you want the police to do?”  (Sometimes you actually have to ask this of the caller)  “Is this person threatening you?”

Caller – “No, but they are calling me names.”

Me – “That doesn’t rise to the level of harassment; they can be obnoxious and rude (it’s called freedom of speech) as long as they don’t threaten you.”

Caller – “But they are contacting me on Facebook!”  (That’s what the “unfriend” button is for!)

I again try to explain that what she is describing is not harassment.  She didn’t like my answer.  She hangs up on me, after calling me a few unpleasant names, and lecturing me on how the “justice system” needs to be “working for her.”

????????

See … Mom Is Right Sometimes!

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Both my daughter’s are nuts for books, which isn’t surprising given the fact that I am their mother.  I have always loved to read, and when I was younger would always get in trouble for reading under the covers by flashlight.  I once read the entire book of Robin Hood one summer night while sleeping outside.  So from the time they were little my daughters were encouraged to read.  Trips to the local city library, reading at bedtime each night, etc.

So it’s not surprising that my oldest daughter ended up graduating from college with a degree in English Lit.  She now also has her own blog, called These Dusty Bookshelves.  She is always reading new books, and inspiring me to read  more as well, even though I don’t have as much time as I used to for enjoying a good novel or biography.

My youngest is now moving from children’s books to “teen and young adult” reading.  We went to the library this morning after a hike at the local state park (we live about 5 miles away) and she asked to check out a book or two.  We had been talking about favorite authors and writes, and I had been encouraging her to start reading one of my favorite authors, Frank Peretti.  Not only has he written adult fiction, but he has also written for the young adult market as well.  I told her we should try to find a book called Hangman’s Curse.  I had read it several years ago (even though I was long past the “young adult” phase of my life) and thought she would enjoy it.

She didn’t seem convinced, until I mentioned that her older sister had read that book recently.  Instantly that become the book of choice.  Funny how that happens – older sister’s taste in literature carries a great deal more weight than mom’s recommendations – even when we are recommending the same book!  :)

So we searched the computer listings at the library for the book and, sure enough, it was on the shelves.  After locating Hangman’s Curse she wanted to get another book to work on as well.  She told me she wanted to find Twilight – just to see what all the fuss was about.  Now, honestly, I could have lived my life happily without her ever encountering that book.  I think there are so many other BETTER books that she could be reading, and I was never one to read a book just because everyone else was raving about it.  Besides, to quote my sister (here’s her amazing blog – The Crooked Fence Blog ) “vampires shouldn’t sparkle.”  But I didn’t say anything, just let her check out both books.  On the way to the car I asked her which book she was going to start reading first, and she replied Twilight … oh well, I didn’t say anything.  She’ll get around to Peretti.

I had to go to the bank before we started home, and youngest daughter was reading while I drove.  We had just reached the bank, and she had read all of two pages, when Twilight landed in the backseat, and as I was walking into the bank she picked up “Hangman’s Curse.”  When I came out a few minutes later, she yelled out the open window of the car, “Thank you!”  I got into the car and said, “You’re welcome.  Now … what did I do?”  She then thanked me for referring her to Peretti and Hangman’s Curse.  SCORE!  :)

 

 

Calls Like This Make Me Love My Job!

In the past I have been sharing stories about funny call that I have taken. And there will be more of those, I promise – hopefully, every Friday. :)
But there are calls every so often that remind me of why I took this job in the first place; calls that make me feel good about what I do each work day. So here is one such call:

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I took a call from a female today in a neighboring county.  She called to say that her husband was drunk and had just hit her in the face.  She wasn’t hysterical or crying, but she had locked herself in one of the bedrooms.  Her husband had drank a half bottle of Crown Royal that afternoon, and was pretty wasted.  There was a shotgun in one of the bedrooms (not the one she was locked in) and a pistol in her husband’s pickup outside.  I started the call, and got the deputies rolling with the basic information.  This particular location was out in the rural area of the county, and it’s always hard for me to be patient until I see that “At Scene” pop up on my screen – it seems to take forever, even though I know these guys are responding Code 3 with lights and sirens.  Trust me, I have ridden with these deputies when they respond Code 3 – they don’t waste any time!

I asked her if she wanted me to stay on the line with her till deputies arrived.  She hesitated, and said there were probably other people that needed my help.   Something told me to stay on the line with her until the deputies arrived.  I told her that she was the one I was on the phone with now, so she was my main concern.  She paused again, then said she would like me to stay on the line.  We didn’t talk much, except for me asking her ever so often if she could hear her husband moving around or did she know where he was in the house.  I wanted to know this for her safety, and also for the deputies safety as well.

We had three deputies enroute to the house, (one of them was my fave deputy from my ride along back in February – you can read about it here ) and before they could get there I heard her say “He’s outside at his pickup.”  I asked for a description of the pickup, thinking that maybe he was going to leave the house and drive off.  Then a few seconds later, her voice became more urgent when she said, “He’s heading back to the house with his pistol!”  I got that into the information as soon as she said it, to advise the deputies we now knew for certain he was armed.  I told my caller to get behind the bed or in the closet and stay quiet – hoping that would keep her “off his radar” and not draw his attention.

I watched my screen as it was updated by the deputies, and was able to tell her “We have a deputy on scene, and he’s waiting for backup to arrive.”  “Now we have all three deputies there, and they are going to approach the house and make contact with your husband.”  I had already asked her where in the house he might be, and put that in the information for the deputies.  In a few seconds she and I could both hear the deputies yelling, as they subdued her husband and took him into custody.  She asked if she should go to the deputies, and I told her to stay in the bedroom until they came to find her.  They knew which bedroom she was in, because I had her describe the layout of the house to me while we waited for the deputies to arrive earlier.  Sure enough, I heard in the background a deputy’s voice as he came down the hall to where she had been hiding.   I told her good bye and hung up so she could talk to the deputy.

I actually hung up from that call with a smile on my face.  I felt so good about being there for her when she reached out and needed someone.  Calls like that make all the other absurdity fade away for awhile.  :)

 

“74 YOF, PREGNANT” … Wait, What?!?!?!

I'm confused!

I’m confused!

 

Yeah, that’s what it looked like when I typed it yesterday at work. Not the “What, What?!?!?!?” part … but the reaction from the dispatcher and the medics was the same. Yeah, it’s time for a work story. :)
Call came in from a female caller that was moaning and groaning, and obviously in distress. I had a hard time getting the address from her, because she was going on and on about having a baby and being in labor.

You know how you get the feeling, in the back of your mind, that something just isn’t quite right …

but you can’t tie it to anything concrete so you decide to just keep going along and hope that it all sorts itself out like it should in the end?

The caller was hard to understand at times, and wasn’t listening to or answering my questions.  This is not uncommon; we often have to exercise patience and help callers focus on what we are asking them in order to get the information we need for the first responders.

I had entered the call right away … you don’t mess around when a baby is being born, and your caller is telling you she is feeling the need to push … and as the paramedics rolled to the address the caller gave me, I was adding information to the call and getting ready to provide pre-arrival instructions for birthing a baby.  I could hear someone else in the background talking to the caller, and the caller referring to her as “Andrea” (OK, I changed the name because I need to be totally generic in this blog when I talk about calls, and in no way identify the caller or anyone involved in these calls. )  As I started down through the list of questions, I asked the caller her age.  “I’ll be 75 soon,” I heard come through the phone.  I didn’t think I heard her correctly, so I asked the question again.  “I said I’LL BE 75 SOON!”  came the reply.

At this point I paused a moment, and then asked if I could speak to “Andrea.”  The phone was handed to “Andrea” and I now heard HER voice on the phone.  I asked what was going on, and was told that the caller was suffering from abdominal pains … and mild dementia.  She had gotten hold of the phone, called 911 on her own, and was convinced that she was about to give birth to her 2nd child.  Turns out “Andrea” was the caller’s home caregiver.

I immediately added “CALLER IS NOT PREGNANT” to the info, and switched gears to provide information on the abdominal pain to the paramedics instead.

And here I thought we might be witnessing a miracle of science!

Nope,  just another day in dispatch.  :)

I Made It Through the Week – Amazing!

It has been quite a week! We began our new shift assignments tis past week; I am now on swing shift. It will certainly be better than graveyard! I admire the people who can do graveyard shift, I really do. Because I am not one of those people. I suppose I could do graveyard if I HAD to – if that was the only shift that was available to me, and I had to work that or my family would starve. But by choice? No. Way. Please.
So I am now swing shift, which still involves a couple of late night/early morning end-of-shifts for me. But it’s not nearly as much of a body-clock-changer as graveyard was for me. So I am pleased with that – because it certainly could have been worse. I (and my other 3 newbies) have no seniority, so we pretty much get the leftovers when it comes to the shifts we get assigned.
The only drawback to this past week was that I was not only starting a new shift at work, but also trying to help run a county fair at the same time. Yup, I am the beef superintendent at the local county fair, and our county fair was this past week. Stress much? Bring it on! :)
It actually went very well – thanks to a lot of prayer, and some pre-planning. And the fact that I have a great group of kids and parents in my 4H club, and in the beef section overall. But my days pretty much went like this for most of the week: in the barn at the fairgrounds by 6 a.m., morning exhibitor meeting at 8 a.m. then kids started showing their cattle around 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. (depending on the day), superintendent stuff right up until it was time to leave for work at 1:30 p.m., start work at 2 p.m. then either an 8 hour shift or 12 hour shift – so some days I was done around 10:30 p.m. (totally do-able) or 2:30 a.m. (ugh!). Then it would all start up again the next morning.
But I survived it! And the kids had a great time at the fair, from what I could tell. So we will do it all again next year. But next year – without the shift work that week. I have vowed that, when we bid for shifts and vacations for 2015 this coming October, I am bidding for fair week off FIRST THING! Work AND fair was fine once, but not something I want to do again. :)