Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Member of our Family

Since he was a kid, Daniel has always wanted a snake. He'd had one many years ago, and when we moved to our new house, his only wish (aside from his own room) was to have another snake. Last month, Danny took him to the pet store to pick one out.

"Snapper" is a Ball Python, a snake with origins in Western and West-Central Africa. He is about four months old, still relatively small, but with a perky personality and a friendly demeanor. He loves being held, wrapping himself around wrists or heads, and just hanging out with the crowd. At times, he tries to take the wire mesh cover off his aquarium, but has not yet been successful.

I make no secret of the fact that I'm not a fan of snakes. When he first said he wanted one, my initial reaction was "Ewww, gross !" I like soft furry animals, not scaly, slimy ones. And he wants a snake ? In my house ? No freakin way !!!

However, I relented, because this is what makes Daniel happy. So long as I don't have to touch the snake, I'm fine. That sliding wire mesh lid on his cage had better work. If that thing starts slithering over my face at night, there will be hell to pay. ~shudder~

I also do not wish to be present during, or know the details of, the feeding of this reptile. As I once had rats, gerbils and hamsters as pets, I'd prefer simply not to know. Danny and Daniel are very respectful of my wishes, and thankfully spare me the gory details.

Here are some pictures.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Was Driving Slowly !

When the tones sounded on my radio for a fire alarm at building X, I knew it was going to be a difficult call. The time was 4:45pm, when most of the 300 employees in that building would be heading home. It was also a time where resources, especially volunteer ERT resources, would be significantly scarce. The danger of some evacuated employee being hit by a car was imminent. I jumped into my car, orange vest on, and headed off to the scene.

As expected, it was chaos. The front of the building had approximately 150 employees milling about in the aisles, while others attempted to drive their cars around the throngs. I immediately herded the crowd to the second aisle, and informed two people with cars parked directly within the crowd that I really needed them to wait a few minutes before leaving.

The Fire Department arrived, sirens screaming. First an engine, then a ladder truck, then the Batallion Chief. The Hazardous Materials team and the Urban Search and Rescue team followed shortly thereafter. With all of this fire equipment on scene, I still received the same question repeatedly:

"Is this a drill ?"

Ummm... no, it's not. The Fire Department never comes out for a drill, especially not a massive response such as this. It was a real incident, a blown transformer on the second floor, that had belched foul-smelling smoke across a portion of the building. This was most definitely not a drill.

Normally in these kinds of calls, there is a more complete response from the ERT volunteers. But the time being as it was, there were scant few of us to manage the massive parking lots and the foot and vehicle traffic within. There was nobody available to block the cars from coming in and out of the aisle that I, and the 150 employees, were occupying. I was trying my best to do all of these roles at once, and found out quickly what a challenge this was.

I was distracted momentarily by an employee asking me a question, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a brown SUV making its way towards me.

You have got to be kidding me.

Of the 5 aisles in front of this massive building, the driver picked this one to traverse to the other side ? The one where all of his fellow employees were standing ? What kind of moron would do something so stupid ?

I stopped him, and absent of my habitual politeness and compassion, I bellowed,

"What do you think you're doing ? There are 150 people standing in this aisle !"

His answer ?

"But I was driving through slowly !"

He was driving through slowly. So that makes it alright ? Endangering the safety of 150 people with his massive, gas-guzzling, air-polluting SUV is perfectly alright because he was driving slowly ??

"No. You cannot do that. Turn around, and go out the other way."

The sheer stupidity of people just boggles my mind.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Excuse Me... Sir

Yesterday's medical emergency took us to the executive building where, among others, our Chief Executive Officer resides. The patient was in the lobby, however since I took the back way to avoid traffic lights, I parked at the side of the building. Orange vest on, and massive 40-pound EMT bag over my shoulder, I proceeded through the building towards the lobby.

While occupying most of the width of a very narrow hallway, a door ahead of me opened... and out stepped my (large, international) company's CEO. And behind him, a very important and prominent foreign diplomat, and his security detail, giving me the evil eye.

Uh-oh. Retreat.

Some may say that it would have been excusable, given the nature of the medical emergency, to push past this group of Very Important People. Our CEO is a wonderful person, and is quite understanding about situations such as this. However, my upbringing has always dicated that I must be polite and respectful, especially to my elders, and especially to those above me in the corporate ladder.

As such, I backed out of the hallway and waited for them to pass. I greeted our CEO, who saw the orange vest and said "Thank you for helping out." I was honored to have been acknowledged.

Once the esteemed group passed, I proceeded to the lobby to help take care of our patient.

It was the right thing to do, even if it delayed me for a minute.

Sometimes, being polite takes time out of one's day. It's not always convenient or easy to show respect. But, as this situation has shown, it is always time well spent.

If only others, especially those on the road, would take this message to heart, the world would be a slightly better place for all of us.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I Love LOLCats

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hurts So Good

My twice-weekly chiropractic appointments, necessitated by my ongoing back issues, are often a source of agonizing pain along with relief. For the past four months, my chiropractor has been raking, scraping, pushing and stretching my ailing muscles with devastating force, coaxing them to stretch out and remain so. I jokingly refer to him as the "Dungeon Master"; my own personal provider of screaming pain and persistent bruising.

This morning, while mercilessly grating on a huge deposit of scar tissue near my spine, I could not restrain myself from uttering a groan of protest. In response to my verbal declaration of discomfort, he held up those dreaded, brutal metal tools, and declared,

"You're not here to get babied. You're here to get better."

I told him he should frame that and put it on his wall. Right beside a picture of my severely bruised back.

My friend Rich's chiropractor is even more merciless. When this doctor is inflicting excruciating pain during the course of his treatments, he boldly trumpets,

"Who's your daddy !"

Yes, there is a fine line between a sadist and a chiropractor. I now have irrefutable proof.
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