Sights at Fire School

This display was at fire school last weekend, and I had to get a picture or two.  Every time I see something like this memorial, I say a prayer for the families who lost a loved one.  That  shouldn’t be reserved for a special day—it’s an every day kind of prayer.





Bela was a big fan of the motorcycle, so I got that as well.


Winner, Winner

While I was in class Saturday morning, I received a text informing me that I had won a door prize.  Ysabela had signed me up for everything while I was in class Friday.  I was excited because I had never won a prize at fire school.  On the first break we had, I went over to claim my prize.  Ysabela stayed at the hotel because I couldn’t wake her before Wes and I left for class, but I texted her to let her know I had won something.

This is my first prize ever at fire school

This is my first prize ever at fire school.

I was really worn out at the end of class Saturday afternoon.  While waiting for Wes to get out of class, I was chatting with a guy that I had seen at fire school a year or two ago when I saw a Mexican guy pushing a cart.  At this point, you may be asking how I knew the guy was Mexican.  I really can’t explain it other than to say I have radar that rarely fails me.

There were familiar looking things hanging off of the side of the cart, so I excused myself and rushed to catch the fellow.  When I say “rushed,” I really mean that I was moving with the speed of a turtle stampeding through molasses and peanut butter.  (Did I mention that I was worn out?)  There was still a bit of distance between us, but I yelled, “Oye!”  It’s the Spanish equivalent of “hey!”  Anyway, he turned, I moved a tad faster and asked, “Que tiene?”  (What do you have there?)  Fortunately for my daughter, he was selling chicharrones like vendors sell in Mexico.  I knew it!  I happily put my purchase into my (already heavy and full) tote and went back to a bench to wait for Wes.  When people saw them at the top of the tote bag, I got some really odd looks.  They could not figure out 1) what exactly they were seeing and 2) where I got them.

It was amazing to use my Spanish at fire school, and Ysabela was thrilled because I bought two bags of snacks for $3.  Wes finally appeared, and we started out of the parking lot.  I opened a bag of chicharrones so he could try them.  He liked them!  Imagine my surprise!  We couldn’t find that little Mexican guy in the parking lot, but we did see another fellow with a cart selling them on the road out of town.  I pointed him out to Wes, and Wes pulled the truck into a random lot rather quickly.  I yelled for the fellow to wait, and we jogged (kind of) across the street to buy some snacks.  This guy tried to charge Wes $1.75 each, but I haggled with him, and Wes bought four bags for $6.  Somehow Ysabela ended up with one of those bags today.



I was thrilled to have been able to buy the chicharrones for Ysabela since she spent her money on a shirt for me Friday.  I love that shirt, by the way.

Bela chose a great shirt for me.  :)

Bela chose a great shirt for me. 🙂

2015 Fire School—Dinosaurs and Sock Puppets?!

I wait for fire school in Grand Island all year long.  No kidding.  This year was no exception.  I have a day and a half of class time done already, and we’ll finish up in the morning.  I made a new, funny friend in class this year…(hi, Sabrina!), and I hope she reads today’s blog post!  She has been more like a partner in crime.  🙂

My fire school adventure started earlier in the week since there were so many things I had to do before I could leave for fire school.  Thursday was a blur.  Between teaching Spanish classes and not eating lunch at lunch time, I took off the trash and delivered my pups to Koko’s Palace (for doggie day care).  Then I had to drop my little car off at the body shop in North Platte (75 miles away) and pick up a rental.  I had specifically asked for “a small car that’s good on gas.”  I got a double-cab Hemi.  Not exactly what I was expecting, but it does have some power.  I was bummed from the beginning about putting gas in the dang thing because that came out of my spending money for the weekend.  I had plans for that cash….

Wes drove a fire truck to Grand Island, and I followed so I wouldn’t get “misplaced.”  (He tried to ditch me, but I found him in Broken Bow!)  We arrived early enough to shop at the vendor booths.  Wes helped me find a booth where I could order my badge (the one I’ve been wanting for the last few years!) before we had to go to class.  It took the lady at the booth a little while to find a badge like Wes has, so I had to keep checking with her after Wes left for his class.


I had learned (from the guys) that they all paid for their own badges, so I paid for mine out of my spending money.  Funny thing is, though, that all of the guys had neglected to mention that they had billed the badge to the department and then reimbursed the department.  I found that out after I had paid cash.  Hmmm.

In class after the badge business, one of the teachers put up a picture that made me and Sabrina laugh.  She said it looked like a dinosaur.  I agreed, but added it was similar to a sock puppet.  I took a picture, texted it to Sabrina, and we both posted it on our Facebook pages.  We even showed the teachers this morning.  After that, they watched for us to grab our phones when something funny was on the screen.  Joe and Chuck were kind enough to give us time to snap a pic.

This looks like a sock puppet dinosaur, but it's really about the parts of a fire.

This looks like a sock puppet dinosaur, but it’s really about the parts of a fire.


Sabrina and I roamed around after class to see what we could discover.

Sabrina and I roamed around after class to see what we could discover.

I had spent all of Friday and today griping about the extra gas money for the truck.  It cut into my shopping.  Wes finally told me about the badges being billed to the fire department, so I went back and got my cash so the very nice lady could bill the fire department like she had for the all of the other guys!  That made it possible for me to buy the shirt Wes had pointed out to me.

Stay tuned for more fire school news….

Vendors and Ice Cream!

If you’ve been reading the blog lately, you know by now that I ended up at Fire School over the weekend. FUN!!! I was tied up in a (great) class for a couple of days, but I made time to check out the building full of vendors at Fonner Park. I didn’t get a T-shirt this year, but I finally bought a gear bag of my own. There were two vendors selling them, but I checked the prices and spent only $30 instead of the regular $45. Sure was happy about the savings! I used part of that $15 to get us a triple scoop each at Baskin Robbins! Ysabela had never been to a Baskin Robbins, but she knows how good it is now! She spent her Saturday in the hot tub while I toiled away in class, but we both are looking forward to next year’s jaunt!

Baskin Robbins was across the street from the hotel!

Baskin Robbins was across the street from the hotel!

A Learning Experience

Thanks to Tyler, I snapped this picture.

Thanks to Tyler, I snapped this picture.

As you can see, Grand Island takes Fire School seriously. I learned that Long John Silver’s gives firefighters a discount, too. Many businesses do the same, and it is very much appreciated.

I went to a workshop called Volunteer Retention and Recruitment. Apparently, recruitment is not a problem exclusive to rural volunteer fire departments because there were 20 of us from all over Nebraska. It was nice to meet J. D., one of our dispatchers from Ogallala. The instructors, Greg Render and Kevin Quinn, were wonderful. Lyndsay, the super assistant, kept them organized. Greg Reddin, Project Director for ADAPT, also shared a lot of information with us. Most Fire School classes run 1-3 Friday, 8-3 Saturday and 8-12 Sunday. Mine was a bit different because we were in session Friday 12-5 and Saturday 8-5 (with a lunch break, of course).

Lyndsay is enthusiastic and knowledgeable!

Lyndsay is enthusiastic and knowledgeable!

The best part of the workshop for me was leaving class with a solid plan to recruit new volunteers. Lyndsay scanned our plans while we shared in class. She will follow up with each of us as the year progresses to make sure we are on target. As a technology junkie, I especially appreciated the flash drive and CD with sample documents to use in the recruitment process.

I hope to be able to implement some of the ideas from class. Realistically, some may not work for my area, but I sure can try!

Greg Reddin, ADAPT Director

Greg Reddin, ADAPT Director

Kevin and Greg--awesome instructors!

Kevin and Greg–awesome instructors!

The Chicken Chick