Archive for the ‘Small Town Times’ Category

I was going to chat today about my trip to Delaware and the fact that it’s Opening Day at Fenway (!) and other trivial things (big things in my life, really), but honestly? None of those things matter hugely in the grand scheme of things.

I don’t want to be a downer, but I’m going to get deep for a sec. Last Wednesday, two firefighters were killed in a fire in Boston. If that wasn’t horrible enough in itself, my partner and I listened to the fire and heard them call the Mayday and then stop responding on the radio.

It sucked. It was a tragedy that wasn’t caused because they were incompetent, or because of equipment failure. They weren’t newbies, they just got disoriented in a fire that quickly spiraled out of control.

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And it makes me think about life. Those guys didn’t go into work Wednesday morning knowing that their card was going to get punched that afternoon. Knowing that they wouldn’t return back to their families the next morning. They went into the station that morning expecting to do their jobs, maybe run a few calls, cook a big dinner. The usual.

I mean, we’re all human. We’re all bound to leave this Earth at some time. But it’s hard to imagine when you’re so young. When you have little kids. When you have your whole life in front of you.

I keep thinking of the woman who will never be able to hug her husband again. How shocking it must have been to answer the phone to hear firefighters who worked with her husband instead of her friend.

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Look, we know we have dangerous jobs. The fact that you might not make it home is always in the back of your head. Always. It’s just not something that you acknowledge.

It’s why I make sure I tell the Fireman I love him every time he leaves the house to go to work. We could be fighting; not speaking to each other, but I still always tell him, “I love you.” Because you know never know what day could be your last.

These two men were honored this week as firefighters traveled from all over the country to be at their funerals. There were two firefighters from St. Louis on my plane to Boston on Tuesday night. There were firefighters from BFD at Logan picking up others. Boston is a resilient city. Boston is a strong city. They’ve been through a lot in the last year, & this loss? The first deaths since 2007? A huge sucker punch.

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A sucker punch for us all. So tonight, hug your kids. Hug your spouse. Tell them you love them, & in the morning? Tell them again.

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The Fireman and I had the weekend off together. The whole freaking weekend. The last time that happened? Mid December, I believe. It won’t happen for a long while after, either. So we made the best of it and drove around town (and by that I mean we drove around 2 states), visited some of my favorite boys, and went on 2 dates (!) (that culminated with doing our grocery shopping; if that doesn’t scream adult! to you, I don’t know what does).

2014-01-25 12.43.06Oh, and did I mention that it hovered around -6 with windchill all weekend? I was cold, hanging out with my boys in the barn.

But I got tons of cow kisses, so it was worth it.

2014-01-27_0006And this? This happened. We’ve been talking about flipping the mattress (holy goodness, does it make a difference), and when we did, we disassembled the bed to try and fix a piece. So yeah. We’re basically having a giant slumber party on our floor. Truth is, I kind of love it. It makes the room look bigger without the dark wood sucking the light right out.

Oh, and it snowed, finally. I mean, finally. There’s only so much single digit weather I can take without a reward of some powdered sugar snow.

And last but not least, this week marks the culmination of the most ridiculous class I have ever taken, and let me tell you, I will be dancing around on Thursday night after we leave the hospital for the last time. Dancing, I tell you. And then partying. And then studying.

Well, I’m off like a prom dress to study and drink some more tea while snuggled under an electric blanket!

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After Christmas, we got hit with a mini ice storm. It was kind of a pain the day that it happened, but the day after? OHMYGOSH. It was stunning to drive around. The sun sparkled through the trees like they were made of diamonds; the fields shone in the sun. The pine needles dripped with baby icicles and the mountains were white and sparkly. Don’t believe me? Look at the pictures.

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2014-01-09_0005Sparkliness everywhere.

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2014-01-09_0007Seriously. Experience an ice storm. You won’t regret it!

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Behind where we live is this insanely massive field that leads to a swamp. A few weeks ago, between rushing home from a baby shower to a study session, I saw that the light was that gorgeous Fall light that seems to hang around for a few weeks and then disappear. The mountains were lit up like crazy, everything was so clear…I immediately wanted to shoot, so I stopped at the field. It. Was. Amazing. The sun peeked out from behind a cloud for 2 minutes and I shot like a crazy woman as I watched the sun fade behind the mountains. Worth every single second.2013-10-31_0001

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7 AM

This morning, I came out to a car covered in frost. It was in the high 30’s when I left, and I cranked the heat as I turned onto the highway. Amidst the fog, I could pick out trees that were dropping leaves at an alarming rate, and some that were still brilliant reds and oranges. The fog flowed across the road from the swamp where the ospreys nest and the moose wade, where there has been a beaver dam that’s clogged a corner for years, where I love to take pictures. The fog gives way to the mountains; the gloriously pink mountains this morning that are so clear I find myself counting the inumberable trees on them. The sunrise is burning against them, and you have to look quick, or suddenly it’s gone.

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The air is clear, and cold; it reached 24 last night. I can see Mount Chocorua off in the distance, so clear that I am able to pick out the rocks on the peak. It too burns pink, majestic in the distance. The mountains are turning orange quickly, and the colors seem to be on fire. Smoke rises from chimneys as I drive past, steam rises from the river, the swamps. The small ponds are still fogged in and steaming. The fields are covered in a thick frost; I hope everyone’s brought their zucchinis in for the season. The smoke from the wood mill is orange this morning, backlit by the sunrise that is starting to break through the fog that has once again clogged the road.

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As I finally turn into the parking lot, I see the lake across the street steaming, and the logging trucks blow past me carrying steaming wood & spouting black smoke from their stacks. Welcome, 7 am.

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Monday.

Hey big ol’ blog world. It’s been awhile. (Not really, but let’s assume so for the purpose of this post). I’m checking in after sleeping off my Monday. And considering that I woke up this morning feeling like I went on a bender last night, sleep was necessary.

See, Monday can suck it.

This was how yesterday was supposed to go:

– Wake up early to go to a doctors appointment with the Fireman;
– Get treated to a yummy breakfast and lattes, while overlooking the lake’
– Take a nap;
– Hang out together.

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Sounds pretty great, right?

Here’s how Monday really went.

630 am: Wake up to 2 pagers going off requesting assistance for a missing person search that had been going on since 9 pm the night before. Since I didn’t head in last night, I go in, thinking it will be easy.

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See those lovely machines? We rode them. Until 130. My butt is still vibrating. And if you know me, you know my severe aversion to 4 wheelers. We put 70 miles on them, searching up and down and around the mountain; and even though I freaked out in the morning, I was pretty appreciative we weren’t tasked with walking a line search.

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This was my view for 7 hours.

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But so was this, so it kind of evened out.

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We even made it to the top of a mountain to climb the fire tower. (Sidenote: when you give 4 firefighters 4 wheelers and send them to check a mountain, you can guarantee they’ll end up on top of the tower, arguing over geography). As we got down to the base of the mountain, we were ready to head back to base and get some lunch.

But because it was Monday, that didn’t happen.

130 pm: Standing staring at stone wall, wondering how we’re going to get around it. Suddenly, our deputy chief comes on the radio and advises that there is a structure fire in an unknown location that they are heading to. The rock wall gets disassembled incredibly quickly, and the 4 of us tear back to base (8.5 miles in 5 minutes. If you ever go 70 mph+ on a 4 wheeler, I’d recommend wearing eye protection. Not that I know this from experience, or anything).

Once we reached base, we loaded up the ATV’s and headed back to our station to get our gear and the Rescue, then headed to Maine to assist at the fire.

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It was rocking. It was hot. We were all dying from exhaustion, and because a majority of the guys had been up all night, our chief pulled us all and we headed back to the station.

430 pm: We were supposed to attend a “Fire, EMS, and Police Thank You Lunch” at the elementary school today. Clearly that didn’t happen, but they still cooked us a ton of food and sent it over to the station. I’ve never seen food disappear so fast. Our chief realizes we STILL HAVE CLASS tonight and lets us go home early (thanks buddy, there was no way I was going to be able to roll hose for 2 hours).

530 pm: Get picked up for class. And isn’t it just our luck that class tonight consists of some fairly labor intensive stuff. I had to concentrate hard on not cutting my leg off with a chainsaw.

11 pm: Get home. Realize I have to be up for work in 7 hours, and I’m not packed. Mentally flip the universe off.

Mondays can suck it.

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Small Town Winter.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a small town quirkiness post.

Last time, I talked about a goat tied up in someone’s front yard and a pig standing looking at traffic.

Nothing much has changed.

Well, except the pig’s barn burned in December. I thought we were going to have lotsa bacon for breakfast.

Things I’ve discovered that I love during small town winters:

1. Pick up hockey games on Friday nights.

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2. Private lessons (mostly so no one sees me fall) so I can play in said pick up games. And by private lessons, I mean the Fireman. I pay him in cookies.

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3. We have the most gorgeous winter light around 3:30 in the afternoon.

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4. Layering. 12 degrees = long sleeves, wool turtleneck, hat, ski coat, mittens, long underwear, scarf, and boots. Oh, and blowdried hair. It’s a cold day in Hell (literally) when I dry my hair.

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I’m loving winter so far. How about you?

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I climbed Mt. Washington…in September. (I’m a slacker blogger). I was invited suckered into going with a group of friends (two of whom had just gotten married the week before [yes, I still have to blog that too, I know]; remember them?) Apparently the smart part of my brain shut off when I agreed to go, because I must have forgotten that Mt. Washington is the highest mountain in the Northeast, coming in at a whopping 6,288 feet. I also forgot that bunches of people have died trying to climb the mountain (mostly through stupidity in my opinion), as mentioned at the top of the mountain by a placard telling of “the girl who had THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING THE FIRST FEMALE DEATH.” No, I’m not kidding. What a way to die.

But I digress. It took us about 9 hours to do 9 miles, which I don’t think is actually too bad, especially since it was dark by the time we got out and back to the car. Talk about creepy. Anyhoo, we climbed our butts off, and I definitely felt it the next morning when I thought “hey, I feel great this morning! No pain!” Flash forward 3 hours and I was downing Tylenol like my life depended on it. My recommendation is to not climb it when you’re out of shape.

I’ve taken a few pictures off of Facebook, hence the point and shoot quality (they were the only ones I was in!). It was a pretty warm day but when we got 3/4 of the way up, we layered up heavily. It was about 50 degrees at the bottom, and 15 degrees at the top with a nasty wind.

The sign reads: “The area ahead has the worst weather in America. Many have died there from exposure, even in the summer. Turn back now if the weather is bad.” Very uplifting.

Sadly, this was the last day the hut was open, but during the summer you can climb up and stay the night. The trail that it connects to runs the length of the Presidentials, so it sees a LOT of traffic. Plus it’s nice to have a flushing toilet on the side of a mountain. Just a personal preference.

I took this panorama (actually 4 photos stitched together) before we hit the hut, so a little over 1/2 way up. How amazing is that view!? We got so lucky with the weather. If you peer closely enough, you’ll see the observatory on top of the mountain to the right.

1/2 a mile from the top and you can literally see every mountain in the state. So incredible and overwhelming.

It was damn cold though. Yes, that’s ice from the wind. If you look behind the cairn you can see the trail that runs along the spines of the mountains that leads to the rest of the Presidential Range.

Don’t let the calm of the picture deceive you. The wind was rocking up there, and the windchill was nasty.

I was the first one to the top so I could grab some pictures of the Observatory and the equipment. Oh, and a sidenote…I didn’t edit any of these pictures. The sky really was THAT blue.

Scientists live up here year round monitoring the weather station, and you can either hike up, drive your personal vehicle up (good way to go through a set of brakes), or come up in a shuttle. The Observatory is ALWAYS packed.

We all made it in one piece! It was SO cold when this picture was taken that we were all shivering our butts off. But its such an awesome moment to look down and think, “I just climbed THAT.” But then you remember you still have to go back DOWN it. Not so fun then.

I snapped this on the way back down and I think it might be my favorite picture of the day. We were the last people to leave the Observatory and hike back down (trust me, we looked into our options of transportation at the top…sadly we had to hike out). Our goal was to get below the tree line before 4 pm so we wouldn’t lose the light, and you’d be surprised at how many people we met on the way down that were settling down to camp for the night. Not for me, thankyouverymuch.

It was dark when we got out, but we got to see this beautiful light on the way down, so in my book it was totally worth it :).

The Fireman was in North Carolina when we hiked, so he’s decided that we’ll do it again next year. I think it might take a full year for my knees to recover, and let’s be honest here, I’m kind of hoping he’ll forget about it.

The Mount Washington Observatory website is full of cool information about what they do up there. Oh, and a fun fact: until 2010, Mt. Washington held the record for the highest wind gust at 231 mph. Their Facebook page is also worth checking out; they post some pretty incredible images on it, like this one from Wednesday night during the Aurora Borealis.

Beautiful, huh? If you’re ever in the area, it’s worth your time to go to the top, whether you drive it or brave the hike. It’s a beautiful mountain that everyone should be able to enjoy!

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A few weeks ago, when Hurricane Tropical Storm Sandy hit, I went to the Fire Department after a 38 hour ambulance shift and patrolled roads until 3 in the morning.

At about 2 am, this song came on the radio and despite the fact that it was pouring rain and windy, myself and my partner for the night rolled down the windows in our rescue (okay, we cracked them), and blasted it singing at the top of our lungs.

It may have been because it was 2, or maybe because we’d gotten drenched 4 hours before and never really dried, or maybe it was because it was just a REALLY catchy song.

You make the decision.

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I love where I live. Really. But lately I’ve noticed a few strange things around town.

1. On the way to the Fireman’s brothers house this weekend, I passed a house with a baby goat tied up out front. In the middle of town.

2. My neighbors shot off guns all afternoon and no one was disturbed by the fact it sounded like a gang shooting across the street.

3. I passed a house a few weeks ago that had a sign reading “Pig for sale.” Said pig was standing next to the sign in the front yard. Untied. Staring at traffic. Talk about awkward.

Classy town.

Oh, and PS…I have like 6 projects that I’m currently working on. I promise that this little blog won’t be so boring soon!!

Psst – Don’t forget to check 365 Days of Photography for my daily picture.

 

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