Fire Department Tryouts

So, some of you may know this, and some of you may not know this.... But after the FIRE in our neighborhood, my neighbor (who is a member of our local fire department) started putting the bug into my ear to try out for the Fire Department.

I have poo-poo'ed the idea for quite some time now, but I found myself a bit more intrigued after the fire...

So I "entertained" the idea for a while...

Then, after a bit more convincing by my neighbor (and a "why not" from the Mother of Five), I made the decision to apply.

It was about a month before the tryouts, and so I started doing what I could to get the "sedentary lifestyle" that has settled it's way into my body - out of my system.

Truthfully, it takes more than a month to undo what 15 years has done... But, one needs a starting point - and this was as good as any... Right?

I started walking at least two miles a day - and often put four miles a day on. I even started running, jogging, slogging (slow jogging) for about 1/4 a mile.

It's not a huge change, but I can say a couple of things without a doubt. a.) I feel better than I have in a long time! and b.) my belt is one notch tighter than it was when I started... So something is working

(? - or at least I tell myself - ?)

I have not talked about this whole process here because (to be honest) I did not want to "jinx" myself. I figured that if I did say something, and I did not get the position, how embarrassing it could be... So, I said nothing...

Tryouts where this morning.

I did not partake in greasy Scott County Fair foods last night, I got a good night's sleep, I woke early (not too early), stretched, and did a two mile walk... I came home cleaned up, and headed to the fire department for tryouts.

- - - - - - -

Now, before I go any further, please allow me to clarify something. I got off the phone about an hour ago with one of the committee members, and I was advised that I was not one of the chosen candidates...

BEFORE YOU GO ALL "POOR FOF", AND APLOGETIC ON ME - LET ME STATE FOR A FACT... That while I can't say I am not a little let down, I can't say that I am completely distraught either...

Why not FOF? Why after working so hard for a month, and putting all the effort into trying out would you only be "a little" let down?? And what about not wanting to "embarrass" yourself by admitting your failure on such a public forum...

Well, let me explain... Even though I did not make the final cut - I stepped out of my comfort zone and challenged myself beyond what I imagined I could. The tryouts were VERY difficult. I got a passing score on ALL but one of the various stations, and let me tell you brotha... There were a couple of the stations that I did not know how well I would do... In fact - my first "perfect" score was at a station that I thought I would have the most difficulty with!! I truly surprised myself!!

I was up against eight other men (most of who were much younger and in better shape than myself), who all seemed very bright, and were strong candidates for the position! I am certain that any one of them could have done a great job in the position they were chosen for. For the candidates that were selected - they start their training with my best wishes for a long, happy, and safe career with the Fire Department!

So, while wont lie about feel a "little" disappointment over this, I do feel great about challenging myself the way I did, and for accomplishing what I did, and as well as I did (even if that does not include being selected)!!

As I thought about it (after getting the phone call) - I decided that I was going to post about this experience. I have NOTHING to be embarrassed about... In fact - I have a lot to be proud of... So, here you are - reading about my "not getting selected" for a position on the Fire Department.

Who knows... Since I am feeling so good (health wise) maybe I have found the inspiration I need to keep working on the "getting in shape" part of this equation. Perhaps I can try again next year... or not... We'll cross that bridge when it comes!

Hey... Can I still call them "hose draggers" without sounding resentful??
I sure hope so!! (snicker)

I would like to thank all the members of the Jordan Fire Department for the time they put in running the tryouts today.

I would also like to extended a very special thank you to my neighbor Jeremy. He has been a constant source of peer pressure positive inspiration - and I truly appreciate the time he spent "psyching" me up for this!

Hey, Jeremy... You can lay off the pressure inspiration now for at least a year!! (wink) Thanks again!

Deadliest (non) Catch.

Yes... It's true...  I fantasize about a life in rural Alaska... A life where I spend a few months a year on a crab boat - hauling in the "Deadliest Catch"...  So that I can have 3/4 of the year to live alone in the Alaskan wilderness.  To be honest, I have never had to work as hard as a crab boathand for even a day in my life... But I like to think I "COULD" if I had to.. 

Today, I got an opportunity to come as close to working the rail of a crab boat than I think I will ever get to... 

I spent 2.5 hours cleaning up the Scott County Fairgrounds this morning.

The County Fair lets groups come in and clean their grounds for money as a means to raise funds (Fund-raiser)... Today was with the Boy Scouts...  Sunday morning I will "get to" do this with with St. John the Baptist School.  (My kids private school).

I have done this fundraiser many times in the past...  But recently there have been some added expectations to the job. 

This year the clean up crew is ALSO responsible for dumping the 96 gallon garbage cans (I'd say 50-100 of them) into the huge dumpsters placed strategically throughout the Fairgrounds (maybe 5-8 of them).

Well, now that I have done it once... I think I may be having second thoughts about the second "opportunity".... (snicker).

It's a DIRTY, DIRTY, MESSY job.. 

Hey Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs AND Deadliest Catch (see the connection?) Are you listening?

First off, we walked the grounds (in a "search and rescue line" fashion) picking up trash from the ground.  Trash that includes half eaten food, gum, cigarette butts, scraps of paper, broken glass, and aluminum cans (that may or may not cut you when you pick them up..).  YOU NAME IT, and it can be found on the ground at a county fair (Man, can people can be atrocious pigs some times)

Picture 055aThen (and here is the kicker)... Hauling the 96 gallon garbage cans from all over the fairgrounds to one of the conveniently located dumpsters... Where I (as one of the bigger-taller-stronger adults) got to open said can, and dump all the food, beer, soda, cheese curds, corn dogs, broken midway prizes, and all sorts of other rotting bits of this and that (floating in their own "juices") out.

Then (and only after getting a deep and overwhelming whiff of each can's contents after fermenting, stewing, marinating, sitting all night) I got to lift the cans up to the open dumpster, tip them up (and over my head), shake them out, and then return the then empty ones back to the kids.  It got to the point that I could close my eyes, open a can and guess (with accuracy) where this can came from based solely on the smell. 

Next to the Cheese Curd Stand, near the bathrooms, "midway can", ahhh.. The Beer Garden, And who could forget the Pickle on a stick booth!  

Oh, and to the folks that enjoy a beer once and a while (like I do) - the smell from the "beer garden" can is NOTHING like the smell of a recently opened bottle of ice cold beer after a hard day mowing the lawn. 

It's smell is much more akin to the floor of a dirty men's room.  (Not that I would know much about that - LINK)

In many ways it reminded me of "Deadliest Catch" only with garbage cans filled with an ooey-gooey juicy stew of garbage being dumped into a dumpster instead of Alaskan King or Opilio Crabs being dumped into the hull of the crab boats! (Oh, and by the way, I did not have any hydraulic lifts to help lift up the cans like they have to lift the crab pots...)

Actually, now that I think about it, it felt much less like a overly romanticized notion of what working on a crab boat would be like, and more like what Templeton the Rat from Charlotte's Web felt like after a day at their county fair!

A Veritable Smorgasbord 

from Charlotte's Web

Templeton A fair is a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord orgasbord
After the crowds have ceased
Each night when the lights go out
It can be found on the ground all around
Oh, what a ratly feast!

Melon rinds and bits of hot dogs
Cookie crumbs and rotten cotton candy
Melted ice cream, mustard dripplings
Moldy goodies everywhere

Lots of popcorn, apple cores
Banana peels and soggy sandwiches
And gobs of gorgeous gook to gobble at the fair

A fair is a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord orgasbord
After the gates are shut
Each night when the lights go out
It can be found on the ground all around
That's where a rat can glut, glut, glut, glut!

I'll be psyching myself up for Saturday Morning's second run at this.... Wish me luck!

Regarding the photo...  The FACE of the guy hauling that garbage can may look familiar... but the rest.... I'll leave that up to your imaginations!  (But the trash can... That is the right size!)


I just got an email from my bank that we overdrafted quite a number of checks?!?! That makes NO sense - there should have been plenty of funds left in that account...

That was until I logged into the bank and discovered I paid this month's mortgage TWICE!!

YIKES!! Going to have to do some shifting of money around for the next month....
(Thank goodness for overdraft protection huh??)

The good news?? No scheduled mortgage payment for August!! Next mortgage payment is due September 1st!!!

Now... I better remember that, and not pay the mortgage AGAIN!!

So come on folks... Fess up... I can not be the only one to have done this... Can I?
(Rolling my eyes)

A Little Getaway

Since I can tend to over explain everything (sometimes ad nauseam), and a picture is worth a thousand words, I decided to talk less (but still some) and add a bunch of photos to share a WONDERFUL weekend we had while my sister was in town... Photos are "clickable" for larger versions.

With my sister in town from New York, and having a few days off (coincidently, a pretty rare combination) our family came up with an idea of all going "Up North" (A Minnesota term for heading off into the North woods). Our Uncle Greg and Aunt Marilyn have a very nice cabin, and were very generous in allowing us the use of their cabin for the two days that we were able to squeeze a trip to the cabin into.

With six of the seven of us going (#1 of 5 had to work), my sister and her two kids (my brother in law had to return to New York on Business), and my parents - we had a healthy group of eleven to bring up!

We caravanned it in two mini-vans - doing a little "mix-n-matching" of kids... (i.e. one of my kids took a turn riding with their cousins in their van). An idea I had helped make the trip fly by! We put an FRS two way radio (walkie-talkie) in each car - I think the kids spent at least half the trip up visiting on the radios, and the adults spent the other half!

We (of course) had to stop at the Milaca Unclaimed Freight store in... Milaca! MUF is the epiphany of what a closeout, refurbished, junk shop is!! They have EVERTHING there!! Toys, tools, gifts, groceries, furniture, paintings, ice houses, sporting goods, jewelry, heck... They have almost anything a frugal cheap dad with a bunch of kids (who seemingly always "hafta have that") could ask for!!

It was no sooner than we arrived that the kids were (faster than lighting) down on the dock, begging to get the fishing rods and tackle boxes out (from the very bottom) of the packed van so they could fish.

Unpacking, room arrangements, and lunch (hot dogs) took a little bit, but once these things were complete - it was time for FISHING! I took the boys out and the girls stayed back and did some swimming (which also included the task of raking the swimming area of weeds) and fishing from the dock.

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Thankfully (having experienced it in the past) I went into this endeavor with the expectation that I WOULD NOT be getting to fish myself - whatsoever. It's better to tell myself that I would get NO time to fish, and find out that I do, then to tell myself I am going to get to fish, and then not get to...

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IMG_0119The fishing was pretty good - lots of decent panfish (sunnies, crappies, and perch) and even a couple of small bass!The afternoon / evening went well - MOST of it was spent fishing rigging kids rods, baiting hooks, and taking fish off the hook. When the kids got impatient, we went back to the cabin and broke out the kayak!

After dinner (sloppy joes)- we all relaxed to the Beethoven movie (which all but the oldest kids had NOT seen - since the movie is older). Even my parents (who also had never seen the movie) enjoyed it.

I REALLY enjoyed the portion that I fell asleep for! Oh, and that was my dad you all heard snoring!

After the movie, we watched the sun set as a family of loons passed by the cabin (snapped a few photos too!). It was truly a picturesque finish to a wonderful day!

The next morning was met with an even more eager, and larger group of kids that wanted to go fishing! I loaded all but one into the boat, and we headed out.

The day was spent fishing, swimming, water play, exploring, more fishing, baiting hooks, taking fish off the hook, fishing from the dock, paddle boating, kayaking, row boating and anything else the kids could think up!

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#5 of 5 was the only kid to stay back and not join us on the boat in the morning. Instead, she watched us from the dock with a set of binoculars!

The sister of the Father of Five doing "her impression" of removing a fish from a hook. (Loose the glove!)

Memere (mother of the Father of Five) joining in the fun too!



Now, that is boat load of kids. Had I been in any deeper lake - or a lake with better "gamefishing" I may have considered using the children as bait!

#5 of 5 in a floaty innertube thinggie





#4 of 5 on a Best Buy floating raft. My mom is a Best Buy retiree, and my cousin is a current Best Buy employee!

#5 of 5 with her cousin in the paddleboat. When legs are not long enough to reach the peddles, then sit on the floor and use your arms!





The boys - going on an exploration down the lakeshore...

#3 of 5 with #5 of 5 in the kayak together







#5 of 5 and her cousin collecting nature items for her Arts & Crafts. (She has already made two collages with the junk stuff she found!)

After seeing her daddy take all the kids out fishing in the boat, #5 of 5 wanted to have some one on one time with me. I serenaded her as I rowed her around the lake.


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Father of the Father of Five with the Sister of the Father of Five - going for a paddleboat ride.

Yup. Woodticks were back this year!





I can not thank my Aunt Marilyn & Uncle Greg for the generosity of letting us use their cabin for these few days! Much of my childhood was spent at this cabin with MY cousins - it means so much to me for them to allow my children to spend time with THEIR cousins - doing the same types of things we did as kids. It's like watching my own childhood pass in front of my eyes!

We had such a WONDERFUL time! I can not think of anything that would have made these couple of days any better (except having my brother in law, and #1 of 5 with us). It was the most relaxing, and enjoyable time I have had in... well... in MONTHS.

Having my sister and her family live so far away - it's harder to stay connected with them. I want so desperately to make sure that my nephews have a connection with us, and with their cousins... Spending this time at the cabin helped create memories that will (I am sure) last a very very long time!

Before we headed out, we ended the day with a few different photo opportunities with all the cousins together.

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This weekend will remain in my memory for as long as I still have it as one of the most memorable. The kids were all so well behaved, the weather was PERFECT, the fishing was great, the food - family - and fun were second to none.

Thanks EVERYONE. Thanks for making this happen!

Rest Easy...

For all those of you sitting on the edge of your seats, waiting to see if the "Father of Five" would be (falsely) arrested for warrants associated with my "driving without a motorcycle endorsement", and "failure to produce proof of insurance" tickets - you can all rest easy...

Said tickets are now officially voided, as is my opportunity to experience an arrest and booking (bucket list item) without the ramifications of having to actually violate the law to do so.
Oh well... Maybe next time...

Overheard in my kitchen last night

I called the kids in after preparing it last night.  The first to arrive was #5 of 5.  
Father of Five:  Ok kids, it's time for dinner!
First to arrive... #5 of 5:  What's for dinner daddy?
Father of Five:  We are having "skebbie" sweetie (toddler for spaghetti)
#5 of 5:  Daaadddiieee... it's not called "skebbie" - it's called "ba-skettie"
Father of Five:  Sorry honey.... We are having ba-skettie then...
They get so old so fast... You have to take the time to remember all the fun stuff... 
Soon enough ba-settie will be spaghetti... but until then...  Enjoy!

Four Hundred and Twenty Three Dollars??

Yes... $423.00.

My income tax return? My Property Tax Return? Inheritance? Windfall? No, no, no, and no.
The amount #1 of 5 has to pay for his high risk auto insurance (monthly)? Close... But not quite right either.
So tell us already FOF, what are you talking about??
Well folks, $423.00 is the amount of the fine for my recent "driving without a motorcycle endorsement", and "failure to produce proof of insurance" tickets.
Yup, you read it here first folks!!
Little ol' me (a lowly "Father of Five") was tagged for driving (a motorcycle) without a motorcycle endorsement, and I failed to produce proof of insurance. The worst part of it all? This ticket came from one of the officers that I work with on a daily basis!

Now, before I worry some of you like I did with THIS POST, or get all you "girls who like the bad boys" a-swoonin' (like I may be some sort of "Rebel without a Cause"), Let me fill you in with the whole story. It's much less "James Dean" than it initially appears to be.
Let me start at the beginning... I'll be brief... I promise.
When we moved out to where we are at now, I had decided that I wanted a motorcycle to save a little on gas for my commute, and to fulfill a long time desire I had (ahem... have). I started saving my money.... I took (and passed) the Knowledge Test (Motorcycle Permit), and signed up for the Motorcycle Safety Course. It was while I was waiting for the Course to start (and out shopping for motorcycles) that we were surprised with the news of the impending birth of #4 of 5 sometime in the next eight or so months...

I knew what that meant... More time as a "one income" family. That also meant that the money I had saved for a motorcycle would come in extra handy when trying to keep our financial boat afloat.
Motorcycle plans - shelved indefinitely...
Fast forward nine years or so... Acting out my duties as a dispatcher, I was helping an officer out who had someone on a motorcycle pulled over. That person had told the officer they had a motorcycle instruction permit, but not on them at the time (but in reality, never had a permit). To help him identify if this person did or did not have the permit, I sent the officer a copy of MY driving record (where it shows that I once had a motorcycle instruction permit) as an example.

Somehow, the officer's ticket printer captured MY name and info into it's system from the officer's squad computer. The officer caught it right away, and manually corrected the screen to reflect the accurate data (I know he changed it, because I have a copy of the ticket - more on that later). Yet, behind the scene (electronically) when that ticket was submitted to the county for processing, the county's computer pulled my electronic (i.e. invisible to the user) information from it - and "officially" tagged me with the offences.

This was discovered about a week later by one of the Police Department's clerical staff, and the ticketing officer submitted the necessary requirements to void the ticket in my name, but as of yet - it is still a current tag in the system...

I will have to keep an eye on this tag, because if it does not clear itself up, and / or I do not pay it off (which I refuse to do) - a warrant will be issued for my arrest!
Yup, I'll be a wanted man... Marked for arrest... "On the lamb"...
Odd fact #4532 about me... To be completely honest - I would not mind "being arrested" at all. Yeah - it's strange - A couple of my co-workers think I have gone over the deep end, but in having to deal with this all the time (the arrest and booking process) - I am oddly "curious", and I would find it strangely interesting to go though the process, having to experience it "first hand" myself (without having to commit a crime or the fear of it being a "real" arrest and the consequences that follow...) - Ya know... Just to say I've been there... Done that...

What would make it TOTALLY AWESOME would be if my good friend The King of Clubs was to be the one to "arrest" me!! How cool would that be? Who knows... I might even "resist" a little, and give him an opportunity to use his taser!

In the mean time (waiting to see if this clears itself up, or if I am going to get arrested) - I have kept a paper trail of everything (a copy of the ticket, the county records, and the email sharing the discovery of the events that happened... dd concoction of events that "could" lead up to my eventual arrest - to help facilitate my release.
My apologies go out to one reader in particular who's family had a HORRIFIC ordeal that included a false arrest. In no way do I want my strangely odd curiosity to diminish, belittle, or insult the tragedy and outright barbaric injustice they had to endure. I hope it does not come across that way... What I am talking about here is something completely different.

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