Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 22, 2010

Took the FWD to the ATCA (Antique Truck Club of America) annual Father's Day Truck Show in Macungie, Pa. this past weekend. This is one of the two weekends a year that I live for- the other being the Pennsylvania Pump Primer's Annual Muster (which is always the second Saturday in July) in Harrisburg, Pa. Although I dont take the truck (at 3MPG....100 miles 110 degrees inside the cab on a hot summer figure it out why...) I love to attend the PPP muster as it is one of the largest annual musters anywhere that still pumps water.

Getting back to Macungie, it was the first show that I had the "showboard" on display. Coincidentally, it was at Macungie last year that convinced myself I wanted a showboard. I had many positive comments from people, strangers and friends alike on the showboard. I cannot even begin to guess how many stopped to read it. One gentleman who is familiar with the truck and it's story as it relates to me and my family commented that "it was too bad there wasn't enough room on the showboard to explain the family history." Hmmmmmmmmmm perhaps a second, smaller showboard?? We'll think about that later.

As always (except for maybe 2009 when it was raining buckets sideways) Macungie was a fantastic show, and rumors of the first time in the history of the show of over 600trucks in attendance.

We leave this saturday (at about 0200) for our annual trek to the Outer Banks of NC (see previous blog about Joe and Sue and the OBX.) It has been 2 years since we have been down, so we are due (last year we went to Disney for the family vacation.) I am looking forward to a nice 8 days off, as I have been running ragged at work, especially the last 4-5 days.

Hope everyone's summer is going good so far!

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10, 2011

My last official 24-hour shift as a Career Federal Firefighter (for the US Govt/DOD/Dept of the Army) at the Aberdeen Proving Ground (Edgewood Station) was on August 28/29, 2005. At 0800 hours, the morning of August 29, I walked out the door, having officially resigned my position. This was done for several reasons, mostly having to do with my distaste of, and dis-satisfaction with the whole Federal Fire system as an employer. There was zero opportunity for me to promote up the chain of command (As I do not kowtow to Management and I certainly do not climb under their desks), and the whole pay-reform act of 2002(?) thing had me really irritated. But the two biggest reasons: 1. The 24 on/24 off shifts; I didn't mind the 24 hour shift, but the one day on, one day off shit really got old after 10 years (plus with driving 135 miles one way, it REALLY sucked......) and 2. My back really started giving me problems- Anytime I ever wore an SCBA, my lower back really gave me fits.

Prior to seeking other avenues of employment, I did put in an application for one of three positions at the Tobyhanna Army Depot. They were advertising for three GS-7 Driver/Operator spots. At that time, I was a GS7 Step 4 D/O, so I would fit in perfectly with that, and they were only about 50 miles from the house. Cool. Shorter commute. So I put in for it, and later found out that the Fire Chief there was also a local Volly Chief, and played games and hired three of his volly buddies. Who woulda thunk a Federal Fire Chief would have played games like THAT?

So that was the straw that broke the Camel's back. I began to seek employment elsewhere, and found the job that I am in now as a (third party/contracted) Municipal Code Enforcement Official/Plans Examiner/Building Inspector/Zoning Official/Fire Marshal. It is not bad work, and certainly has it's ups and downs. It's not as glamorous as the Firehouse, but it is important nevertheless. I am responsible for making sure people build residential and commercial buildings according to the zoning/building and life safety codes. I also do fire marshal work and fire inspections, so I still keep my toes "dipped into the fire water."

Once in a while, I do miss the firehouse and the action. I live too far away from my Volunteer House to be of any help to them, plus unfortunately I do have to admit that after I resigned my career position, I gained a whole bunch of weight. I am currently working to try and shed some of that weight, but dieting has always been extremely difficult for me. At the firehouse, we had to work out for and hour and a half every shift, which did motivate me, however I now have no "motivation." So me and my largeness do not need to be actively engaging in firefighting at this particular period in time.

Occasionally, the guys up the street go flying by with the "Q" wound up, or I see a big job on TV that gets my blood going- such as the conflagration in Camden, NJ yesterday. 12 alarms were struck in less than 2 hours for a warehouse complex with numerous exposures. Extremely heavy fire conditions combined with a stiff wind, and Camden's ever-present water pressure problems (not to mention many of the hydrants in the immediate area of this fire) made for a very bad situation from the start. All in all close to 30 buildings were either destroyed or severly damaged. Listening to this fire while driving home, I kept wanting to turn around and head south and "buff the big one." But as I live approx. 2 hours away, I thought that I would have missed a lot- I never expected the fire to reach 12 alarms. Had I gone to the fire when I wanted to, I would have made it there in plenty of time to see some action and take pics. Many good friends in the Camden Fire Department, too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Showboard and some other stuff

So for the last several years, I have had an "itch" to get a showboard for car/truck shows. These are sign board that have specifications and interesting facts about the particular vehicle a person may be looking at while at a car/truck show. Things like engine/transmission size and type, any modifications made, or other interesting features. At every show that I go to (especially the car shows where they are not used to a firetruck showing up) I always get many questions, especially about the engine. I never minded answering questions, but the showboard will make the presentation of the truck go off all the better.

This past weekend the five of us (I almost said four) loaded up into the pickup and headed out to Lancaster, Pa. to the Strasburg Railroad. It was a last minute thing, conceived on Friday night by the wife who wanted to go do something with everyone. We used the opportunity of the 2 hour (one way) ride as a litmus test of sorts for the upcoming 10 hour ride down to the Outer Banks at the end of June. Test was successful, everyone appreciated the ride of the new truck, especially daddy who loves his new ride. Strasburg remains the same, fun place it always has been. My own father took me there for my first steam train ride when I was around Cody's age.

Baby CJ doing well, has his first bath this past sunday night, and was not happy at all. Shane was in the wrong spot and in fact got hosed by a pissed off CJ (pun intended.) Shane was laughing, and in fact could not wait to get to kindergarten the next day to tell his buddies about it.