The Ramblings of a Quixotic Dad, Firefighter, EMT, and God-knows-what-else…

Ramblings

“Agere sequitur credere.”

Literally, “action follows belief.”

In just under 4 days, I will no longer be “kindofafireguy.” At least, not professionally.

At the moment, I don’t know what I’ll be. I have some offers in the same general field, and I’ll land on my feet. Honestly, being a firefighter will always be a part of me, no matter what career path I now follow. I intend to remain in public safety, so maybe I’ll be “kindofapublicsafetyguy.” Who knows.

My wife and I have decided to uproot ourselves from our lives here in the windswept West of Texas, and return to the lands of our youth. It is a bittersweet parting. In some ways, it will be a homecoming for the both of us, as we move closer to a place we grew up in, and a place that truly was always a part of us.

Throughout these last few years, I have spent hours upon hours trying to explain to people the differences between where I lived and where I was from. Growing up in the deep south of Louisiana, things were done a bit differently than in Texas. The advent of “Swamp People” didn’t exactly help (when I was a rookie firefighter, there was many a time I was called into the day room to “translate” the deep Cajun accents for the rest of the crew). While many of them were always tempted to make fun of the way we talk, act, and are, I was always reminded of the song “A Southern Thing” by Louisiana band Better Than Ezra. The chorus has a line that states “Don’t mock what you don’t understand / It’s a southern thing.”

It’s true. It’s a southern thing. I would jokingly tell everyone at work that as far as I concerned, they were all Yankees and might as well have been from the Northeast.

In some ways, though, it was somewhat true. My wife and I would often talk about life back “home.” The people were different. The food was different. The culture was unique. My wife became interested in genealogy a while back, and the more she researched, the more we came to understand that Cajuns are all, basically, one giant extended family. From a small exiled band came a culture and group that occupy almost an entire portion of a state.

And in a way, I’m excited to get back to that, back to “me and my honey rockin’ back and forth / light it up again with my kin and friends.”

But in a way, this was our home, too. My wife moved here over 5 years ago, and I followed behind her shortly after. This is where we first lived together. It’s where we built a life with our kids. And that is something that is hard to give up.

“Action follows belief.”

My wife and I believe that we are doing the right thing. We believe that it will be better for our kids, better for our family, better for us, to return. To be closer to the rest of our family. To get a fresh start. And so we have taken action.

“Audentes fortuna iuvat.”

Fortune favors the bold, and bold we shall be.

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The Sounds of Silence

Man, it’s been a long time since I got on here and posted.

I could give you a list of excuses, but ultimately it boils down to me just not taking the time to sit here and write something. You would think that there should always be something to write about. Honestly, I always think there’s something going on that I need to get out.

But it rarely does.

We first responders have a tendency to repress our most basic instincts and emotional responses. Is it because we think we need to be strong at all times? Is it that we just do such a great job of compartmentalizing everything until it explodes and we’re left standing there, shattered reality around us?

This omerta, this code of silence, it follows us everywhere. There are things I see and do at work that I need to get out, need to tell someone.

But who to tell? My wife? My kids? I’m reminded far too often that my gory tales are far too much for respectable dinner conversation.

Instead of turning here, though, I sit, and I wonder about all those things I should have said, but didn’t.

And it’s a silence that is deafening.


To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”

When she put the poster in her office (which had, until the day before, been a small closet), I couldn’t help but stare. For National Poetry Month in 2009, the American Academy of Poets put out a beautiful image of these two lines written into the condensation of a piece of glass.

“Do I dare /Disturb the universe?”

T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a complicated poem, one whose analysis is way beyond my scope. But I love it.

“Do I dare /Disturb the universe?”

I love that thought. It haunts me.

Mainly, it’s because I find myself asking myself that question all the time. Oftentimes, first responders (regardless of what field – EMS, Fire, Law Enforcement, etc) find themselves in futile situations. Anyone who has ever worked a cardiac arrest at a nursing home will understand what I mean.

“Do I dare /Disturb the universe? / In a minute there is time / For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”

If only it were that simple. But still, I wonder.

Do I dare?

Do you?


Station(ary) on Sunday

I composed a long posting over professionalism based on a recent experience I had with an EMS crew in my area.

All it lacks is an ending.

I can’t seem to give it one. I’m not sure if that’s because I can’t really condemn the crew for the way they acted, or if it’s because I’m stuck at the station today and just don’t care enough to finish.

Who knows.

So far today I’ve seen one person having a massive stroke while the staff at the assisted care facility kept passing the buck around as to whose patient he actually was and another lady who’s had four heart attacks, two in the last three weeks, one last Monday, and quite frankly was probably having one today (didn’t get to stick around long enough to see the 12-lead).

So quite frankly, I’m just not feeling it today.

Plus, I tend to miss my wife when I’m at work. Seeing as she’s the only real reason I have a blog, I’m sure that’s a contributing factor to my inability to come up with anything remotely interesting.

C’est la vie.


“This is the way the world [begins]”

“…not with a bang but a whimper.”

Sorry, T.S. Eliot. The Hollow Men is a great poem. Hence I jacked the line. It just didn’t fit my opening, since I’m starting my blog, not ending it (yet; the night is young).

My gorgeous, super-talented poet wife has told me I should start a blog for a couple of years now. I really don’t know what inspired me to finally do it. Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation from coming off-shift and then staying up all night with her while she works on her manuscript. Maybe it’s some need to chronicle my life so that I feel that I’m actually accomplishing something. Maybe it’s the ridiculous number of blogs I just read. Maybe I’m bored.

Maybe I’m tilting at windmills and trying to exorcise some internal demons. Who the hell knows.

I really don’t know what kind of blog this will be. My wife had once told me to do it as an outlet for work. I’m a professional firefighter/EMT, so there’s typically plenty of material from that. People sure do love to give me job security. I’m not sure that’s what I want to write about, though. At least not all the time. EMS blogging carries with it a huge weight of responsibility and liability due to privacy law. So, while I will undoubtedly have the occasional work related rant, I’ll probably just ramble. About anything. And everything.

I ramble. It’s what I do. My wife tends to remind me of that fact after I give the kids a 20 minute lecture when a simple “do your chores” would have sufficed. Maybe that’s why I’m writing this. It’s a place to ramble that won’t bother my wife and kids and waste their time. That way, they can just skip it if they don’t want to hear it (an option I don’t always give them in person).

Regardless, it’s here now. I guess I’ll just have to see where it takes me.