Monday, July 19, 2010

Mid West meets Far West

The wedding ceremony is complete. The California reception was held with 229 guests in attendance. It was a great success, except for the hot spell that kept everyone in the pool during the afternoon. We were all so busy that I didn't pick up a camera very much.

The next day we went to church and after that we took our Illinois visitors to the beach. Sadly, Thomas had to work and was not with us. He was missed. Please enjoy these shots of the day.

Mrs. H used to be responsible for dressing Ben, but now that job belongs to Mrs. H.

That is the look of impending doom.

He will recover.

What is Ben looking for?

What did he find?

It's a sand crab!

Everybody had a grand time.

be safe,
Hec @ 19

Monday, July 12, 2010

Not everything that floats has a sail

In addition to a fine complement of lakes, California is home to any number of rivers that are suitable for gold panning, irrigating crops, sustaining fish and having fun!! Though not as large as rivers in other parts of the country, many of our rivers descend sharply enough to create rapids. The H family joined forces with the S family recently to exploit the somewhat mild white water of the Stanislaus River. It is the perfect choice for families that want to have a few thrills without risking life and limb.

We made a deal with the inflatable. It carries us in the river, we carry it in the parking lot.

The S family brought their armada of inflatable kayaks.

Mr. S and Thomas do a lung capacity test. This test also determines a person's resistance to passing out.

PFD's are equivalent to your car's seat belts and air bags.

Here comes the flotilla!! This was the only spot on the river that was calm enough and large enough for me to get the camera out of its water proof pouch. Please check the S family blog for more photos of this intrepid voyage.

Hmmm, I can sense that these people have evil intentions.

The first volley of shots are fired!! Sara is up a creek without a paddle and makes a tempting target.

Becky and Thomas swoop in to defend their sister! Bedlam ensues!! As usual, the camera guy is off limits to attack.

Thomas: "Hey Becky, will it take an oar to complete this journey?"
Becky: "No Thomas, it should only take half an oar, more oar less."

16 sunburns and 32 tired arms later, we made it to our destination, safe and sound. We are smiling because we had a good time. I am smiling because the camera survived.

be safe,
Hec @ 19

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Yet another peek at firehouse life

It's been a long time since you've seen a post about firehouse life. Station 18 recently moved into their brand new building, so this seemed like a good reason to delve back into the topic. The new station was built on the same lot that the old station occupied. That means that Engine 18 and Truck 6 along with the crews had to relocate to neighboring stations while demolition and construction occurred. This blog will show a little of the moving process and what new Station 18 looks like. If you want to see what old Station 18 looked like, click here.

What a beauty!! This is Oakland's newest and finest firehouse. It is located at the corner of 50th Avenue & Bancroft Avenue. If you go for a visit, be sure to go during daylight as things tend to get a little scary after dark in this neighborhood.

Here we are back at Station 29. We see the Engine crew loading up their belongings as they prepare to move back to their new/old home. The same thing is happening at Station 23 as the Truck crew moves out.

Kitchen utensils, beds, TV's, workout equipment and a host of miscellaneous items will all be crammed into the stake side truck for the seventeen block journey to the new Station.

Old mattresses go into the new station.

Firefighters expend a lot of mental energy into getting to the right place in the least amount of time possible. Instead of a folded up map in the glove compartment, we have big ones framed and attached to the wall. Don't give us directions to your house, just give us the address, we'll do the rest.

Not everything coming into the station is old. The city sprung for three new office chairs and eight more for the dining room table.

This gadget is something new. It monitors the air in the apparatus bay for Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Dioxide. Those noxious gases were never a problem when horses pulled the rigs.

This is how our gear is stored when we are off duty. There is a locker upstairs for our uniforms and bedding.

An automatic door is another new feature not found in our older firehouses. This is one of many items that are mandated in a public building. The door is locked at all times, a paradox if there ever was one.

Another mandate is that every public building will contain art. This is what art looks like.

My job on this day is to set up the kitchen. I loaded the dishwasher and hit the button. Nothing happened. It seems that the machine was stuffed into its spot, but not hooked up. The contractor made a call and we had a working machine later in the day.

The gentleman on the right is Captain Enrique Padilla. He is the senior officer at Station 18 and has thirty years on the job. He has waited a long time for this day. Eduardo (center) is a fine Christian man and an excellent artist. He did not do the mosaic in the earlier photo. The fella on the left is Engineer Wojtkiewicz (why-cab-itch). His nickname is White Cabbage.

Hey home school moms, what do you think???

The silverware organizer does not fit in any of the drawers in the kitchen. This facial expression is used under these circumstances. We see this expression a lot in the fire service.

Tim is preparing bed side night stands. Some assembly is required. He did not read the directions, I would have been disappointed if he had.

Everything that goes into stocking a kitchen is paid for by the firefighters. The pots and pans, the dishes, the carving knives, the soap and yes, the food. How much food does it take to run a firehouse?

A LOT!!!

All work and no play makes Lieutenant Nick a dull boy. The mop bucket will never be this clean again so this is his only chance to use it as a chariot. Michael is only too happy to provide the horsepower, so long as the cart goes before the horse.

Wipeout!! It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.

It has been a long hard day. Now we will sit together and eat. We will ponder what we have accomplished, share our observations, our suggestions and we will find something to laugh about. Most importantly, we will begin to discover the nuances of our new firehouse and remember the building that stood here before. We will remember how much we hated the old one and how much we loved it. Each of us will think about the many firefighters that came and went before us, a few are still remembered but most have long been forgotten. The first people that occupied the old building had to hand crank their engines in order to start them, but the job was the same and their relationships to each other were the same as they are now. This is a new chapter in a very old and cherished book.

be safe,
Hec @ 18