Eagle Bluff Observation #1

As promised, back in Our Eagle Bluff Adventure - I wanted to note a couple of observations I made over the weekend.

First Point...

#2 of 5 and #3 of 5 are older now. While they still "curl up" with dear ol' dad on family movie nights and the like, they are more "peer oriented" than their younger siblings. If given the option of hanging out with me, or going to play with their friends, they are now at the point that they choose the latter.

(Well, #3 of 5 is still "teetering" on the edge... He has days where he would rather just hang with me... But I fear these days are numbered)

I did not chaperone the Eagle Bluff Trip thinking my boys were going to "hang out" with me. Instead, I attended for the opportunity to "observe" my boys in their own natural setting (with their friends). To that end, I was not disappointed. Both my boys have a "core" group of friends, but then other miscellaneous associated friends that I hear about often, but never spend much time with. This trip allowed me to spend time getting to know all the kids my boys hang with, and to get to know the ones that they do not hang with (and sometimes why).

For those fathers (or anyone reading this) out there with only "young" children - this may sound depressing, or maybe even neglectful on my part. It can be (depressing that is) at times, but only if you look at it from a selfish point of view. You see, while they are spending less time with me, they are spreading their wings, and beginning to experience bits of life of their own. They are experiencing the rewards of making good decisions, and learning lessons from their "less than good" decisions.

While it can be depressing, it is also both encouraging and exciting to see the early traces of successful independence bubbling up from inside them. That is (after all) what raising our children is all about isn't it? Raising them into becoming successful and responsible members of society.

Don't get me wrong. I am still there for them as their father. I will catch them when they fall, and help point out the things that they don't pick up on their own. There is just some satisfaction, and a sense of pride that I feel (as a father) when I see my boys "doin' their own thing", and doing it well!

Housecleaning (blogroll)

In an effort to clean up my sidebar just a bit, I am removing the "Father Bloggers", and in it's place I am going to put a single link to a "blogroll" post in it's place.


Of course, the first three links are my "trifecta" of blogs... So they get first billing! After the list of my blogs, I will maintain the list in ALPHABETICAL ORDER. There is NO SIGNIFICANCE to which blog is first, and which is last.


I do my blog reading through Google Reader, and this is the list of Father Bloggers (and a few mothers too) that are currently in my reader. I do read all of these (as time allows), but the BOLDED links are ones that (for whatever reason) I tend to gravitate more towards, and comment on more frequently. Most of these are from Minnesota, or (if they are not) it is someone that I share a a common interest (other than fatherhood) with, or wrote a post that hooked me in.


If you do not find your blog on here, and you think I would be interested in it, please drop me an email HERE, or leave me a comment!


Find my Blogroll HERE!


It Happened!

Get out of jai lfree Today was the day!  My good friend (and fellow blogger) Bill has successfully completed his training "final". 

As of 0400 hours today, he is on his own as Bloomington Police Officer!

Now Bill, after all these nice words I have said about you, and all the good thoughts / prayers I have sent your way - when can I expect to see that "get out of jail free" card ??

April in Minnesota

It's about 1:45 am, and I am just leaving for work.

I opened the patio door blinds, and peeked outside only to find a thin blanket of snow on the ground!

April 26. Four days until May - and we have SNOW!!

Only in Minnesota folks!

(Oh, and don't think I'm dissin' it neither! This is EXACTLY why I LOVE this State!!!)

A Poem by #4 of 5

Our #4 of 5 is always leaving little notes around the house for us. "I love you daddy", "I love you mommy", etc.

Today, while I was at work, I went through my work bag, and found a little folded up piece of paper. Before throwing it out - I thought I better check it out.

I unfolded it, and found the following poem that must have been written for me, and placed where I would find it later.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Spring
By #4 of 5

Spring is a time where if it rains the trees, plants, and flowers will grow.
People will pick and pick until there are no more.
But, don't worry - Ha!
When that it's raining now, it starts all over again - Yaa!

This poem "Spring" is © 2008 #4 of 5 from www.father-of-five.blogspot.com

A Final

My friend Bill, is on his "final".  He will be proving his worth as a police officer over the next week or two.  This is the final step before he officially becomes a Police Officer for our department, and released on his own to protect and serve!

I'd be lying to say I don't have a twinge of jealously surrounding where he came from, and where he is at.  After all, he is fulfilling my original dream / plan.  Any jealously I feel is VASTLY overshadowed by a sense of pride, and a level of comfort knowing just how great an officer he is destined to become!  I have no doubt that the future holds great things for him, and I look forward to many years of dispatching for him, and many years of continued friendship!

Bill, my thoughts will be with you more over the next 7-15 days than they already have been.  If I don't get to see you (because of opposite shifts) - I wish you only the best! 

I am confident that my next post will be a congratulations announcement for one of the newest Police Officers in our department! 

Bill, it could not have happened to a more deserving guy!  Congrats again (and again, and again) my friend!

My Own Brand of Medicine

For Easter, instead of a load of candy for the kids, and some hefty dental bills for us, the Easter Bunny brought #2 of 5, and #3 of 5 a pair of SanDisk Sansa C140 MP3 players.

Being the cheapskate that I am, I can not justify forking out the big bucks for the Apple brand iPod's. Not when you can get an equivalent product for a SIGNIFICANTLY less cost.

I (personally) have two Sansa's. The first one I bought was the 1gb m240, after two years (when it proved to be just a little too small for all my music listening endeavors), I bought myself The kids bought me a e260 for Christmas. The e260 has 4gb on board, and has a MicroSD card slot for up to another 2gb. So, my e260 has a total of 6gb of space available (6 times my m240, and 3 times the size of #1 of 5's 2nd Generation, 2gb iPod Nano - which at the time, he paid $150.00 for - while I paid $35.00 for my refurbished e260!)

Wow, can I digress... Back to the story.

So, after about a month or so #2 of 5 left his MP3 player out, and (while cleaning the house) I "confiscated" it. One day (about a week later) he came to me and asked if I knew where his MP3 player was, as he could not find it. His MP3 player was returned after a brief lecture, and a warning about what would happen next time.

Then the inevitable happened next. #3 of 5 also left his MP3 player out, and (as with his brother) while cleaning the house I "confiscated" it. #3 of 5 noticed his MP3 player missing the next day, and it too was returned after a brief lecture, and a warning about what would happen next time.

After yesterday's fiasco with the side view mirror on the Saturn, I had my e260 out and was listening to it while I made the temporary repairs. When I finished, I came back into the house and left my e260 on the entryway table while I put my supplies away. Since I had to be up at 1am for work, around 9pm I started packing my work bag (the kiddos were all in bed and asleep by now). As I packed my bag, I could not locate the e260. I asked Mother of Five if she knew where it got placed...

With a grin on her face, and one of "those" looks, she answered "Yes" and was told I would have to "talk to one of my sons".

Apparently #3 of 5 found it quite funny that I had left my MP3 player out (which is pretty unusual) after I confiscated theirs (for the same reason), so he took it upon himself to "confiscate" mine! He apparently ran to mom, and proudly showed off what he had found. He told her what he was planning to do, and (of course) received a "full approval" from Mother of Five.

When MOF told me what had happened, I could not help but laugh. She offered to tell me where my MP3 player was, but I refused. After all - I was being dosed with a little of my own brand of medicine. I'll let #3 of 5 bask in the glory of his victory, and "break down", asking him for my MP3 player back today.

I am sure I'll get it back - but not after a brief lecture, and a warning about what would happen next time...

Crunch :-(

While backing out of the garage, and watching out for Garfield the cat (who happened to be sitting at the edge of the driveway), I had my head turned so that I could keep an eye on the cat, and not so much towards the passenger side of the car, when all of a sudden I heard a horrible crunch!

I thought for sure I had run over one of the kids bikes, toys, skateboards, or any of the myriad of kids junk that often cocoons my car into what is left of my parking stall any given day.

When I turned back to see what had happened, I instinctively looked into my passenger side view mirror, and noticed...

saturnwingmirror1

I was in a hurry, so I had to drive off with the mirror "as is", but when I returned home, I unplugged the power cord, and taped up the gaping hole left in the side of the car.

saturnwingmirror2 saturnwingmirror3

No, that is not "duct tape"... Well.. It's sort of "duct tape" - it's metal tape. A thin sheet of aluminum with very, very sticky adhesive! It is used to patch, fix or repair metal ducts!

Now, that I have a temporary solution in place, I'll have to start scouting around for a replacement mirror.

U-Pull-R-Parts, here I come! Hey Bill, do you want to come???

Our Eagle Bluff Adventure

We are back!

I am confident the kids had a great time, I know I did!

The trip started off with a two hour bus ride to Fountain, Minnesota (the self-proclaimed Sinkhole Capital of the World). Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center is just outside Fountain.

Rather than a blow by blow, minute by minute rundown of the entire trip, I'm going to make some summaries, and then some observations. First off, since this was an "Environmental Learning Adventure" , the trip was centered around some environmental classes. Our kids (and chaperones) participated in the following classes.
- Wildlife Ecology
- A Naturalist Program called Reptiles (included a special guest Timber Rattlesnake)
- A Tree-tops rope course
- Animal Signs
- A Naturalist Program called Cave Ecology
- Fungus AmongUs (we actually ate a home-made mushroom pizza in class!)

Wildlife Ecology: Students will investigate the dynamic interrelationships of wildlife populations and their habitats. Through interactive demonstrations and explorations, students will learn about components of habitat, carrying capacity, limiting factors, and biodiversity, and then see examples of these concepts at work in surrounding natural areas.

Reptiles: Often misunderstood, reptiles can evoke strong emotions. With the help of a live snake, students will learn about Minnesota reptiles, conservation efforts, intriguing facts, and reptile’s amazing adaptations.

Animal Signs: Using all their senses, students will try to unravel the mysterious lives of Eagle Bluff's wildlife and discover the food chains living nearby. Time will be spent exploring and interpreting animal signs, acting out an example food chain, and the entire class will work together to form one large food web.

Cave Ecology: Caves are a fascinating result of the Karst geology defining the landscape of Southeastern Minnesota. Learn how caves form, what special creatures inhabit caves, and why they indicate a unique subsurface highly vulnerable to contamination.

Fungus AmongUs: What lurks inside the Chamber of Disgust? Only you will know after investigating the important role that decomposers play in the world. Participants will be amazed by the diversity of fungus as they search for and identify mushrooms, molds, crusts, and slimes. They will witness decomposition in action and discover that pizza (and many other foods for that matter) just would not be the same without fungus.

(Course Descriptions above all come directly from the Eagle Bluff website)

While at Eagle Bluff, we ate pretty good (for a residential camp for K-12 kids!) We enjoyed...
- Mini Turkey Corn Dogs
- Pasta Bake
- Scrambled Eggs & Sausage
- Sausage, Pepperoni, or Cheese Pizza
- Chicken Drummies (or herb encrusted baked chicken breasts for the adults)
- French Toast Sticks & Bacon strips
- Bag Lunch for trip home (Cold cut sandwiches)

Each meal also included a Salad Bar that consisted of two different types of lettuces, cole slaw (or other miscellaneous type of "salad"), cottage cheese, mandarin oranges, and dressing. In the mornings, the salad bar was filled with cereals and fruits! It was quite the spread. But there's a catch (as there always is)...

Each school was to keep track of the food waste they were responsible for creating. Each school was assigned weight to try and keep their waste under (based on school size and length of stay). Our goal for 29 students and 12 adults for three days was "less than" two lbs of food waste - TOTAL.

I'm embarrassed to say at home we seem to waste about two lbs of food each meal... I thought there was no way these kids could do it. By the end of the trip, we had a total of one ounce of waste for the whole group! It was a good lesson for the kids (and the adults) about just how wasteful we are. It was not hard to achieve this at all! I foresee a change at home!

We also partook in some "group activities" that included included a campfire, the "Eagle Bluff Olympics", and we had a GREAT time with some tug-o-war events... (boys vs girls, 5th vs 6th grade, girls vs 6th grade (that was a humbling loss for the 6th grade boys), chaperones vs kids, etc) the tug-o-war was a BLAST! And finally we were rained out of a "night hike".

I'll have a couple more "observations" forthcoming, but it's so darn nice outside, and I have a couple of projects waiting for me - I just cant sit here anymore!

Stay tuned!

The Tail End - Just Before We Leave

Wow...

I am on the tail end of one of those "busy" periods again..  In the past two - four weeks, between an overwhelming schedule at work, copious amounts of overtime, training new dispatchers (five out of the past seven weeks), a brief illness, the Mother of Five's work schedule (remember, until recently she was a SAHM - getting used to her being gone is not easy), a looming tax deadline, and a unique blend of curricular & extra-curricular activities involving the kids - there have been instances (all joking aside) I have actually had to postpone my own use of the bathroom to make sure I had enough time to fit everything in.  There was also a four day stretch that I went with only (averaged) 3 hours of sleep each night.  Trust me folks when I tell you that it will catch up with you at some point. 

I'd like to acknowledge something here....

Since having children, we have always felt that it was important to make whatever sacrifice necessary to ensure one of us was always home with the kids.  Thankfully, my career has been able to exclusively sustain us for "extended periods of time".  The Mother of Five (for the most part) has been a SAHM.  Well, the kids are getting older, and older kids start wanting to be involved in more "activities".  More activities means more cost.  More cost means a need for some extra funds coming in.  To solve this problem, the Mother of Five has started working part time again.  We work opposite shifts (so we can maintain that "one parent always home" status).  This has thrust me (for the first time in my life as a father) into the roll of being a "single parent"  *.  I have always had my wife home when I am home - and now that she is not, I am (for the first time ever) experiencing what she has had to put up with all these years.  To be honest, it gets overwhelming at times.  I cannot give my wife enough kudos for doing what she has done, and putting up with what she has put up with for all these years.  She is an AMAZING woman!

* Note:  I wish in no way to offend the truly "single parents" out there.  Regardless of how many days my wife works, I always know that she will be home again, and that when I am not there, she is helping.  A truly "single parent" does not have that backup safety net.

Well, the big project that has been looming over us for the past few weeks (at home that is...) has been the Science Fair Projects.  Thankfully, as of tonight the Science Fair Projects are complete, #2 of 5's Egyptian Project is complete, my work schedule is lightening up a bit, the copious amounts of overtime have dried up, taxes are complete, I'm feeling much better (and a little more rested), and I am about to undertake the unique experience of chaperoning a group of 5th and 6th graders (my sons included) on an "Environmental Learning Adventure".  This means three days "unplugged" (no work, no phones (cell or land-line), no electronics, no pagers, no email, and no blogs...) in a wilderness setting in rural Minnesota.  I am looking forward to this "down time" to de-stress a bit, while spending some time with the boys.  (Although I suspect #2 of 5 will spend precious little time with me and more with his friends - he is more "social" than #3 of 5, who tends to have some of my "loner" attributes.  That's ok...  He is also my more outdoorsy son, and can't wait to get out and hunt with Ed and me.)

So, tonight I helped the boys pack, I did some needed laundry (so I could pack myself) - I'm all showered up in my jammies, and going to be heading off to bed.  I'll be on the road by 9:30 am.  I should be back some time Friday, and I may have a story (or two) and a pic or two by then!

On a side note... Who remembers my Unattainably Dreaming post?  The one about Christopher McCandless, John Mallon Waterman, Carl McCunn, and my (Unattainable) Alaskan Dream?  Since I wanted to add it to "the stash", I stopped and picked up my very own copy of the book  "Into the Wild" (by Jon Krakauer).  I've flipped through the chapters, and got hooked into a chapter in the middle of the book... I had to stop - knowing I'll get there in due time...  Start from the beginning!  So, as soon as this post hits FOF, I'm off to curl up with my new book, and get a good start.

Although it's not the same adventure that McCandless endeavored - Since I am heading out for a mini-adventure of our own, I'll sign off the blog for the next few days with an infamous quote from a letter sent by McCandless to a friend as he headed out into the Alaskan Bush. 

"I now walk into the wild".

Science Fair 2008

#2 of 5 and #3 of 5 (because of their close proximity in ages, and where their birthdays fall) are back to back in school  (grades 5 and 6).  This is not normally an "issue", but the kids school has the 6th graders undertake some larger "projects", and the 5th graders taking on some of these projects (as a "introduction" to what is going to be expected of them next year). 

plantsJust SOME of these examples include the Science Fair / Invention Convention, Geography Projects, 6th Grade Exit Projects, etc.  The Science Fair Project is one of the projects that both the 5th and 6th graders partake in.  The Science Fair project got pushed back from Jan/Feb to Mar/April this year due to the "availability of judges".

The kids are allowed to complete a science project of their own, or to "partner up" with another student (having higher expectations, and requirements from the two-person teams)   

#2 of 5 decided to partner up with a classmate, and together they did a project about growing plants using different fluids to see how they affect the growth.  The boys used Pepsi Max (infused with ginseng), Coffee, Beer, Vinegar, Gatorade, and Water.  #2 of 5's friend did the project at their house, and my biggest roll was transporting #2 of 5 there - and providing a few of the fluids.  So I lucked out there a little bit. 

#3 of 5 (on the other hand) was doing his alone, and since he tends to need a little bit more help then his brother (due to dyslexia).  I was a bit more "involved" with his project than with his brother's. 

paint #3 of 5's original project was to see how many layers of paint it would take before you "noticed" that your room was "smaller".  We chose one inch as an arbitrary number that would be "noticeable".  He turned in his idea, and it was shot down as "not being an experiment".  His teacher made a related suggestion though - and that was to measure and compare the thickness of various types of paint.  He liked this idea just about as much, and so we were off.  He used Latex, Oil, and Spray paint.  He learned all about the pigments, fillers, binders, solvents, and additives of the various types of paint.  He learned about and used a micrometer for the first time in his young life.  And, since (many years ago) a large portion of my job (in a local hardware store) centered around paint, I had some basic knowledge already, and found helping #2 of 5 research this topic to be interesting!   

We got off to a good start but somewhere along the line we lost the sheet that contained his data.  About half way through the experiment he had to start all over.  That pushed us WAY back, and put a little "pinch" on his time line. Add to this is the fact my boy's tendency to be "procrastinators"  (hmm... I wonder where they get that from... (blushing)). and you can imagine how busy this weekend was for the boys and I.

We got word today that #2 of 5 and his partner took FIRST PLACE overall for all the "partnered" projects, and #3 of 5 took THIRD PLACE overall from the independent projects! 

WAY TO GO GUYS!  YOU MAKE ME SO DARN PROUD!!

Late April Fool's Day

Just a quick catch up with a few posts.

With the help of a couple of co-workers, we played an "April fool's day" prank at work.

I received a catalogue in the mail the other day... (A catalogue from a company that I am on a mailing list for) We made up a fake "order sheet" and posted it on a bulletin board (along with said catalogue).  Then we posted a message that said my children's school is having a fundraiser, and that if anyone was interested in any products to feel free to sign up, and that if anyone had any questions, to get in touch with me.

You should have seen some of the initial reactions!  Priceless!

LINK TO COMPANY'S WEBSITE.

(P.S.  My April Fool's prank was in no way meant to belittle the company in any way.  They make some beautiful pieces, and if I happened to be in the market, would actually consider this as an option...

With Only Five Days Left

I sit here and am working on my Windows Live Writer (if you blog and you don't have it, get it! - Unless your on a Mac... Sorry Mac folks).
I have procrastinated long enough now. I decided (even though it was "done" and all that was left was a final review (for my own "mental health" sake), that this morning was going to be my morning for the infamous "tax day".
About an hour later now, and everything is done. After hitting the "Transmit My Return Now" button and a five minute wait, my Turbo Tax program keeps sending me an Error Message, reminding me that my tax return was NOT successfully transmitted, and to try again later. I am not too sure what is going on yet, but I suspect that the IRS's servers are VERY busy - It reminds me of trying to visit a busy web site.
So, Since I have some spare time (waiting to upload this $%#$% tax return) let me catch you up with a couple of items that are going on here...
#1 - I went home sick on Tuesday. I woke up with a raging headache, and felt worse and worse as time went on. I arrived at work, and was fighting back from vomiting. I talked to my supervisor who sent me home. I slept for nearly five hours, and while I still felt lousy, I was feeling better than I did that morning. Today (Thursday) I feel like I am back to normal.
#2 - Tomorrow, I have another "Powerhouse" meeting with long time friend, and fellow Blogger Lisa from "Many Things Do Not Fly", the soon to be published author and webmaster of the now defunct (but I'd sure love to see active again) www.offthedeepend.org Don, and Jenny (who has yet to provide me any sort of link, or book she has published....(grin)). We are meeting at an undisclosed establishment that has some ancestral ties to one of the attendees. I am really looking forward to hearing more about that!
You can check out my Powerhouse Lunch label and see some prior mentions of our "get-togethers". I only have posts abut our first lunch, and mentioned one I missed. There is a whole lunch that I did not mention. (Sounds like a future project). Tomorrow will be my third of our four "Powerhouse Lunches". It should prove to be fun, as this group of folks are always a gas to do lunch with! (If you are reading this, I will have photos of the family this time, and Jenny - PLEASE have something anything to add after your name for future lunches! ~Wink~)
#3 - I am preparing for three day "field trip" with both #2 and #3 of 5. Our children's school only goes to 6th grade. It has been tradition that the exiting 6th grade class takes a "final field trip" together as a culmination of their time together at St. John's before they prepare to head into the world of the Public School System. This year (due to budgetary constraints), the school has combined both the 5th and 6th grades, and will start sending students on this annual trip every other year. This year, since I have both a 5th and and 6th grader attending St. John's - I have two attending the trip.
When the school asked for volunteers, they received more offers than they could actually use (or the facility could handle), so there was a "lottery" for parental chaperones. Thankfully, I was chosen as one. I will soon be heading out with #2 and #3 of 5 to the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center. I am very glad to be able to attend (as I will be one of the only parents with two children attending this year), yet at the same time, I feel badly for the parents who wanted to attend, but were unable to.
The Public School 6th grade kids also take a three day trip to Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. Due to several reasons, our #1 of 5 was a public school student, and therefore attended the Wolf Ridge Trip when he was in 6th grade (seven years ago.. Seven years?!?!? Has it been that long??!?!) I was able to attend the Wolf Ridge trip as a chaperone.
I am sure I'll return with some good stories from Eagle Bluff! It will be very fun to compare the trip to Wolf Ridge, to the one at Eagle Bluff.
#4 - More of an interesting tidbit, but I found out yesterday that another one of my closest high-school friends (Tony M.) is about to become a co-worker with one of our fellow classmates -whom I have known from my days the earliest of elementary School at St. Kevin's in Minneapolis. (Mike B.)
I left St. Kevin's in third grade when my parents moved from Minneapolis to Bloomington. I attended Nativity in Bloomington until I "graduated" 8th grade. When we "graduated" from Nativity, I attended Holy Angels where I met up with most of my old friends from St. Kevin's! Mike B. was one of my good friends from St. Kevin's - and although five years separated us, and we were not part of the same "gang" of friends, we remained friends through high school. Mike B. is one of the people I look forward to catching up with each reunion, and this year was no exception! This year I met his wife, and shared some great stories! I am glad to hear that Tony and Mike will be working together... Maybe this will provide me yet another opportunity for "Powerhouse Lunches"!
Well, this darn tax return is still hung up, so I think I'm going to call it quits until tonight when I suspect the IRS's servers will be slightly less busy!

Dream a Little Dream

Unlike my wife, who has always maintained that IF she does dream (and I am sure she does) she has never been able to remember her dreams when she wakes up in the morning - I, on the other hand, do frequently (and vividly) remember my dreams.  Another odd sort of fact about me is that I remember my dreams, but I also (from time to time) experience a Lucid Dream.

One of my co-workers also talks about their dreams.  The frightening thing about this person’s dreams is they are frequently about work, people we work with, our job or the department we work for.  If I had almost daily dreams about work, I would be a candidate for one of the many local crisis centers.  Thankfully, for me, the "land of dreams" are a place I can escape without (or only the most rare instances of) intrusion from my job.

A couple of days ago, I had a very odd, and unusually vivid dream, that I was able to (partially) control.  I was "aware" I was dreaming, yet not aware it was a dream.  (Yeah, I know that sounds ridiculous.)  I remember thinking to myself (part way through the dream) that I needed to find a solution to the nightmare that was unfolding in my dream. 

I know you all are voyeuristically eagerly waiting for me to share this dream with you, so here goes.

I don't recall the very beginning of the dream, or how it all got to the point that I first started remembering, but at some point in this dream, I decided that it would be fun to use one of the Bloomington Fire Department's (the department I dispatch for) Fire Engines to play a prank on my friend Ed.  In my dream, Ed still lived in his home in Richfield, so it would be easy to grab one, fool Ed, and get it back without being "caught".  I was able to rationalize the "use" of the fire engine through several observations made on my part. 

First, since I dispatch for them, I convinced myself that I was an "honorary member" of the fire department.  Therefore (as a "member" of the department) my "use" of the fire engine was O.K.

Second, since I am an authorized operator of our police department's "Command Post", and since the size of the Command Post is similar to the size of a fire engine, I told myself it would not be that different to drive, and that (even without any formal training) I would be able to drive the fire engine.

Third, Since Ed's house was only a few blocks north of the boarder of the city, the fire engine I would use would not be that far away.

So, I went to an ambiguous fire station (in my dream it was not "specific" to one of our department's actual Fire Houses - it was more of a "generic" fire house), and casually drove off with one of the fire engines, not giving it a second thought. 

I drove the engine to Ed's house, and pulled it into the back yard to "surprise" him - which he was when he came out.  We (Ed and I) started to picnic in his back yard with his portable propane grill.  We enjoyed some Ambassador wieners (the best darn hot dogs available!) while we sat next to the fire engine and visited.  All of a sudden I noticed a very small amount of smoke coming from a back bedroom window of Ed's house.

Seeing smoke from the house, I made the decision to utilize the resource I had with me (the fire engine).  Never having had any training, I was still able to quickly grab a length of hose, attach it, charge the line, and run up to the house, hose in hand, ready to put out a fire (all without having had any training mind you).  Peeking into the window I noticed that the entire room was charred and blackened.  There were no flames visible but everything (walls, floor, ceiling, furniture, etc) all resembled charcoal, and the room was hazy and smoky.  With a charged length of fire hose, and a window to the char broiled room into Ed's house in front of me, I decided to break out the window and douse the room with water "just to be on the safe side".

About the time I turned on the water, I heard the sounds of the sirens from Richfield fire trucks off in the distance.  They sounded like they were coming closer and at first I assumed that they responding to Ed's house - but then the sound of the sirens started trailing off, and they sounded like they were headed in a different direction.  This is the FIRST time it occurs to me, that BFD may have needed (or may be missing) the fire truck I had taken, and that this "joke" I played on Ed may have been a really bad idea!

I remember waking up at this point, feeling very anxious / nervous, wondering what I was going to do.  I quickly came to a realization that I had been dreaming! I sort of let myself fall back asleep with the idea that I was going to "fix" this problem...  (This is how I get lucidity in my dreams - I fall back asleep thinking about what I want to happen next) And that is the point where THIS dream became "Lucid".

The next memory I have of this dream is when I pulled the fire truck back into the fire house (and this time, it WAS a Bloomington Fire Station - It was Station #1 (which would not make any sense, this is the only staffed station throughout the day)).  Since I did not want to be caught with the fire truck and I thought the station was empty, I pulled the fire truck into an empty bay.  Just as I was exiting the truck, a firefighter (that I did not recognize) saw me & the "missing" fire truck, and shouted "Hey you!".  At this point, I jumped off the truck, and started running.  I ran through the fire station, and made it as far as the parking lot before I fully woke up from this dream.

In the first few moments of being awake I felt scared.  My pulse was racing, and I was sweating... I felt worried about losing my job, fearful that I was going to be arrested, ashamed that I had even done something so foolish (and that I should have known better).  It was only a few moments before I realized that it had all been a dream. 

I did try to put myself back into a "Lucid Dream", with the thought that I was going to successfully "get away" with this "scott free" - but I was too worked up to ever fall back asleep.

Now, as to WHY I had such an odd dream... Well, the only "connection" I can come up with that bridges reality and this dream is a blog I happened to stumble across that same day.  It is a blog by one of "BFD's finest" called More Coffee Please.  The first post I found was THIS ONE.  If you look at the photos in that post, (the way they are situated), it almost appears that  the fire truck was parked in front of a residential home.... 

A "Virtual Package"

Hey, AtHomeDaddy - I picked up a little somethin' for ya!
Since I could not find any Wild Cherry M&M's, I'm keepin' the sling shot!

athomedaddy

Hit my "contact" link, and provide me the necessary info, and it's on it's way!! (Dang, if this doesn't sound a little.. "stalker-esque"... Honest, I'm not trying to lure you into the car with me or anything creepy like that! )

(Reference - The last paragraph)

Life has a way of keepin' me busy

Good morning everyone..

I just wanted to make a very quick check-in here at FOF (to assure you that I have not abandoned the blog).

Life is keeping me very busy - between training new dispatchers at work, and "life in general" at home, (that includes two seperate trips to the emergency room (for different children), a day at Nickelodeon Universe, etc) my blog time has been greatly diminished. I have had a hard time even keeping up with my "regular reading" of other "father bloggers".

So, if you have not heard from me (either here, or on your blog) rest asured I am still "out here" - and hope to have my schedule clearing up here some time next week.

I have been (slowly) working on a Neckelodeon Post, with the help of Microsoft Live Writer (I am still in love with that FREE program!).

Hang in there! Hope all is well with everyone else. I'll see you on the other side of my schedule folks.

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