Lenovo Yoga Book

We finally cracked and bought our daughter her first real tablet, a Lenovo Yoga Book. She first had a Leap Pad. Then an Amazon Fire for kids. 

So far we are impressed with it. The keyboard can flip all the way backwards. It is also a touch screen keyboard that can be changed to a blank drawing pad with the touch of an icon. It is lightweight and has great screen quality. It runs on Android which I also love. 

She LOVES to draw. And for some reason she loves to draw anime. Not sure who’s kid she is, but I still love her. Ha! The Yoga Book comes with  what they call a “real pen”. It is used in a variety of ways including draw on a special pad of paper that transfers the image to the tablet screen. 

She has pestered us since she was 8 for a cell phone. What??? Crazy kid! Now that she has her Yoga Book she doesn’t say a word about a cell phone. She is able to use Google Hangouts through her email to talk to her friends….and I can see EVERYTHING. And I don’t have to pay for a phone line or data. WIN!!!

If you have a child who loves to draw or write, check out the link below and give the Lenovo Yoga Book a look. So far my daughter loves it. And Amazon Prime had it at our door in two days! 

Parenting win….so far…..

Cool, calm, and collected

In emergency services it is a gamble whether you get a full meal, a fresh meal, a hot meal, or even a meal at all. Yesterday was no different. Lunch was cut short for a possible apartment fire.

Someone called and said his apartment was on fire when, in fact, it was not on fire. We of course didn’t know that so six firetrucks, myself, a medical unit, and three patrol cars responded with lights and sirens….to open his door.

Yep. He just needed his apartment door open.

I still remember how it is to respond on a firetruck. Adrenaline starts pumping when you hear “apartment fire”. You get your turn-outs on as fast as possible. You strap on an SCBA. You make sure you have your mask, helmet, gloves, radio, flashlight. As the officer who’s truck will arrive first, you begin to formulate a plan of action. Who is going to catch the hydrant? Where is the closest hydrant in the first place!? Is there a possibility of entrapment? What if fire is going through the roof? Where will I tell trucks to stage? Who will be RIC (Rapid Intervention Crew)? What additional resources do I need to request?

Then you pull up to the address and you got NOTHIN’.  No smoke, no fire. Nothin’. Just a guy standing on the sidewalk wanting his apartment door open.

This is actually nothing new for us. It happens often for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is just because someone is lazy or just a total jerk. Other times….a majority of the time…it is someone who is a mental health consumer, has little to no resources for help, and/or they are just clueless to how things work.

 

“Lord Help Me”!!!  That is literally what I have to say when I exit my vehicle and I know I’ve got to keep my composure. It is very easy to lose your cool when your adrenaline is suddenly thrust into overdrive. VERY EASY. Immediate thoughts pop into your head like “What an idiot” or “What a jerk” or “He needs to go to jail”.

But this man was a mental health consumer. Testosterone was high when I walked up. Frustration was clear, not only for responders but for the man as well. I knew overwhelming him with accusations and anger might make things worse.

Not everyone has the mental capacity to understand that what they did was wrong. And people’s perceptions of their situation can be totally different from yours. I’ve learned through trial and alot of error, that your approach makes a huge difference.

A co-worker said something very simple and poignant one day while we talked about how people approach situations. He said “It’s not that hard to be nice for like 5 minutes.” Even if you have to fake it, try “nice” first.

I’ve noticed over the years that if I take a minute to gather myself before I even have a chance to lose my cool, then I myself am less stressed. Not that I’ve never lost my cool. I’m far from perfect. But it really is simple to be calm. I just remember not everyone thinks like I do. Not everyone functions like I do. Some don’t even know right from wrong.

A confident but calm approach doesn’t, by any means, say you are weak. If anything it says you are strong. You can easily manipulate a situation by being confident, controlled, and calm…even if you have to fake it. And others will follow your lead. I’ve seen it. I’ve used it. I’ve had success with it.

So if what you are doing when dealing with people isn’t working, change it up.

Be calm, cool, and collected.

 

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes love me. Especially the pterodactyl kind. Every summer for the past several years has been miserable. I even said “forget it” to gardening, something I love, thanks to those blood suckers.

I’m serious people. The mosquitoes in our yard are like….carry-your-kid-off huge, Pterodactyls…..

Around March of this year I decided that I should finally follow my mother’s advice (it’s only taken about 42 years). She’s always said to  take B vitamins every day for stress and jaw-clenching… something I was experiencing.

I noticed a difference in the jaw-clenching immediately. Stress is an overwhelming thing if you don’t get it under control. Everyone has different ways of doing that. I added the Stress B Complex to my stress-reducing methods and am thankful I did. Little did I know it had an extra benefit.

That benefit: Being less attractive to mosquitoes. I continued taking Stress B-Complex once a day. When May rolled around and it was gorgeous outside I decided to take a chance and do some yard work. I thought for sure I wouldn’t last 10 minutes.

I spent hours outside and never got a single mosquito bite. None. Zero. I knew those suckers were there. I saw them…. remember, ours are pterodactyl size. They even landed on me!

In the back of my mind I was curious how it was possible I wasn’t getting bitten but at the same time didn’t put much thought into it as long as they weren’t biting the life out of me.

Then one day, scrolling through Facebook, I saw an article about vitamin B-1 and how it deters mosquitoes. You know how you read a gazillion ‘cure’, ‘DIY’, ‘the answer to all your problems’, posts that are garbage? Well this one wasn’t. I had tested out the theory before I even knew about it.

So…. B-Complex is now a daily thing. For me and my kids. I get the kids some multi-vitamin gummies with B vitamin in them. They seem to work so far.

Warning though…..B-Vitamins stink. Like, don’t carry them in your purse even in the bottle because your child might tell you your purse smells like a butt. They should also be taken close to meal or snack time. If not you may get a little burpy. 

Here are some links to the products I buy off of Amazon.com. Easy Peasy!

For me:

Nature Made Stress B Complex with Zinc Tablets, 75 Count

For the kids:

Sundown Naturals Kids Star Wars Complete Multivitamin, 60

Cheapest mosquito preventative EVER!! 

One more product I will throw in here for pets:

If you are looking for a GREAT flea and tick collar for your dog or cat check out what we use, Seresto, in the link below. 8 months of protection!!

 I love the convenience of Amazon, especially Amazon Prime! It is worth not having to go into a stinky pet store.

Seresto Collar Dog Large 70 cm by Seresto

Make a decision

This cracks me up every time I read it!

www.powerofpositivity.com

I just got a phone call from one of my officers telling me that they had been dispatched to go sit at a private company and babysit two propane tanks while the fumes were burned off. 8 hours for each tank . 

Um…No. The officer knew he needed to run it by me. I, on the other hand, don’t have to run it by anybody. They pay me to make those type of decisions. So my response was…”Tell them I said “no” and that I said we don’t do that. They can call and hire a private company for that.” I know my officer is tactful and I knew he could handle the situation. But just in case, I added, “If they give you any trouble let me know. I’ll head that way.”

Know your people. Trust them, if they have earned it. Have their backs.  Even when they make a decision that isn’t the best choice. Back them for at least making a decision. Remember it could ALWAYS be YOU making the bad decision.

On with the story….I made a decision. I didn’t call and ask someone above me what I should do. I didn’t run my decision by anyone. I didn’t ask permission to say “no”. I just made a decision. 

It took all of 1 minute to make. We are EMERGENCY responders. Standing by for a burn-off isn’t an emergency. Now if it exploded then we would respond as the emergency responders that we are.

 Plus it is hot as hell outside. How miserable!! And boring!! We have training to do. Calls to run. Equipment to maintain. I can’t make my people sit in a running firetruck for 16 hours. 

Could I justify 16 hours of burning diesel at the taxpayer’s expense? AND at the expense of their safety? What if a house caught on fire and the closest firetruck was sitting there babysitting a tank? Nope. Not gonna happen. 

Unless…that company decides to call my boss. Then things could get flipped on me. You never know who might want to do favors for who. But my decision stands and I won’t back down. Won’t be the first and definitely not the last time. And because I’ve had my co-workers back time and time again, they have had mine. 

That’s how it is supposed to work.

I don’t care if it’s a multi-million dollar company. I don’t care who’s connected to who. My people are worth more to me than that. And so are the citizens of our city. 

Redneck slip-n-slide

Soooo….. I’m somewhat of  a cheap-ass. I rather DIY most of the time. When it comes to entertaining the kids it’s no different. The cheaper the better. One of their favorite “it’s hot as hell outside”entertainments is the redneck slip-n-slide.

To be truly honest I’ve grown somewhat of a social phobia. (Something else I’ll blog about more in the future.) So the more we do at home or somewhere that doesn’t include a crowd of assholes, the better for my sanity.

One day I went and bought some “waterslides” from “Wal-Maddening” to use in our front yard. To say I was disappointed when I got them out and set up is an understatement. Those damn things didn’t look like they were portraited on the stupid box. Reminded me of a nasty McDoo-Doo hamburger. That crap never looks like it does in their commercials!! That day I said “never again”. And that is when the redneck slip-n-slide became a summer staple at our house.

One thing you should always be able to find on any firetruck is a tarp. We use tarps for a variety of things. Mainly for what we call salvaging….where we cover people’s stuff to reduce water and smoke damage. They are also used when we stage important equipment for rescue operations. Sometimes they are used to make water chutes to divert water.

*The following pics show off a damn good water chute put together by one of my crews on a fire scene. Photo credit goes to Capt W.*

Water chute made by one of my crews to divert water and protect property.

Two pike poles with a huge tarp used to divert water leaking from the floor above.

At our home, tarps are basically used for slip-n-slide and grass killing. Tarps, stakes, a water hose, and some dish soap….BOOM! Hours of entertainment for all the neighborhood kids. The type of entertainment where the adults just take about 15 minutes to set it up and then get a few hours of freedom to drink beer or something…more than one, two, or ten days in a row.

This is the first year I went and bought new tarps and a sprinkler. In years past I just used a knozzle on the hose and set it to where there was just enough pressure to whip it back and forth across the tarp.

I got this awesome sprinkler from Home Depot. It is stationary and has a bunch of water spray patterns. 

Do you have some random items that you seem to have an abundance of? Something that you aren’t sure #1 where they came from and #2 what the heck they are for? Well, I have a supply metal stakes that I have no clue where they came from. Somehow I had about 4 different packs. Perfect for the redneck slip-n-slide!
So here you go….the redneck slip-n-slide.

#1 Find a place that has decent padding. Anywhere with rocky terrain,concrete, or some like traffic is probably NOT a good spot.

#2 Somewhere with an incline is preferable. Anywhere with over about an, ehhh, 86° angle would probably be frowned upon. If you aren’t sure..here is a pic of angles as a reference….

#3 Use some stakes to tack down the first tarp that will be the top of the slide. I’ve been told that running space is necessary to obtain maximum speed…so plan accordingly.

#4 Tuck and tack any other tarp under the one before it….meaning overlap them with the one above being on top. If you don’t understand, sorry. I just confused myself. But I have total confidence that you will figure it out.

#5 Hook up a continuous water supply. No water = tarp burn. 

#6 Throw a bottle of soap out there for them to use. Dollar Store stuff works just fine.

#7 Enjoy some free time to drink some beer or take a nap or whatever.

So there you have it. The redneck slip-n-slide. Hours of unmonitored fun. You’re welcome.