Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm not perfect

There are a few things you don't know about me. Actually, there are quite a few. Now, before you close the page and run for your life, rest assured that I'm not actually going to list them for you. But I am going to tell you about two of them.

I'm not a mechanic. I think I became aware of this all-encompassing truth when I was buried up to the waist in the bellypan of a skidder (in a former life) chipping frozen mud away so my partner and I could replace a broken U-joint. It didn't help that it was -40 and that I hated being a logger. Or maybe that was why I hated being a logger - things always seemed to break when it was -40. Anyway, I was reminded of this self realization again today.

My deputy told me that the rescue vehicle had some overheating problems during the last call (while I was away). I probably should have noticed this myself by seeing the antifreeze on the floor, but remember, I'm not a mechanic. I decided that it was probably the thermostat, which is a fairly simple fix for normal people. The key word here is normal. I reached in up to my armpit with a wrench to loosen the four bolts that hold the thermostat cover. A normal person would have got it the first try. Not Chief "all thumbs" Beebe. The ratchet slipped out of my hand and fell into the bowels of the motor. I know why people applying for mechanic school have to demonstrate that they have three elbows on each arm before they're admitted. Well, a half an hour later, after removing the dog house, the air cleaner, and some hose, I almost . . . had . . . my . . . hand on it . . . and it fell again. This time I was lucky and I heard a clink as it hit the floor. The rest of the fix went easy, except that I didn't drain enough antifreeze, and it overflowed . . . again.

I'm not even a good mechanic's helper. Just ask the local mechanic who came to fix the tanker a while ago. He's a good at his work, but not very big, so I reached deep into the tanker motor compartment (why do things that break always have to be deep in the motor compartment?) to help him break a nut loose. The wrench slipped, and I heard a clank and a howl, followed by "How the %$#@ did a disaster like you become the fire chief!?

Now before you think I'm a total loser, there are a few things that I'm good at. One of them is cooking. What place does cooking have on a firefighter's blog? Even firefighters have to eat you know.

I was home alone tonight and and not feeling particularly well. I needed a fast and easy dinner so I invented the following recipe. Yes, that's right. Invented it.
  1. Take two chicken legs or thighs or breasts, or whatever kind of meat you feel like using
  2. Put them in a rice cooker with 1 1/2 cups of rice (you can use a pot if you know how to cook rice on the stovetop - just thought you should know that)
  3. dump in 3 cups of water
  4. Dump in 2 tsp cummin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds, and 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (I didn't actually measure the cayenne, but I think it was 1/2 a tsp
  5. If you don't like those spices, use basil, garlic, oregano, or whatever you feel like using. (it is a free country, you know)
  6. Put some salt in. (You want an amount? How am I supposed to know. I don't know how salty you like your food!)
  7. Turn on the rice cooker, or the stove (a very important step - you can change pretty near any other step in this recipe, but the results won't be good if you forget this one)
  8. Eat it when it's done (another important step)

I thought it was a pretty good recipe. But then, my head was so stuffed up that I really couldn't taste it, until the cayenne kicked in. Then I had to call the fire department (not really).

If you want to see a funny clip about safe cooking, click here.

I cook kind of like I write. Grab a few ingredients and dive in head first, always safety conscious, of course. The results are varied, but my family usually at least says they like it. And the good part of both cooking and writing is that there is always next time.

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