Tuesday, September 22, 2009

fall stuff

The leaves are turning. Not enough to really look like fall yet, but enough to let us know that summer is over, even though the nice weather is trying to deceive us into thinking it will last forever. I picked a bouquet of red, yellow and orange leafed branches and brought them home for Erinn to make a nice arrangement in a flower vase. Kind of a take-that, in-your-face, winter-doesn't intimidate-me gesture.

Along with fall comes the blackflies' last stand. Blackflies have their heyday in May (that rhymes), taper off by the first of July, then make a comeback in September and even early October if the weather is right. They aren't too hungry this year, which is good because I don't like being dinner, but they swarm like a plague of Egypt and make life miserable in this otherwise pleasant season. The silver lining is that we won't hate the snow so much when it comes in October.

I like some things about winter. The blackflies go away, and the ski slopes open up. Playing hockey is tolerably enjoyable, except that my son and his buddies skate circles around me now. Cross country skiing and winter cookouts are great fun, and Christmas brings a welcome break in routine.

The firefighter part of me doesn't like winter at all though, mostly because firefighters rely heavily on water, and water does funny things when the temperature drops to zero or -20 or -40 degrees. I spend a good portion of December, January and February hoping that nothing catches fire. I tried imposing a winter moratorium on all emergencies that require water, but no one listens to me.

From the moment our trucks roll out of their heated sanctuary in the fire hall, the elements are at war against their liquid cargo. If we can make a quick dash to the scene, take out the enemy, and dash back in an hour or so, things aren't too bad. But most times it isn't that easy. Often the hose can't be rolled after the fire is out . . . it has to be sort of folded and flopped into the back of a truck, then thawed out later at the hall. One time a few lengths almost had to stay at the scene until spring.

Enough of this gloomy hell-on-ice musing. It's still nice out and we're going to enjoy fall until the last red leaf is gone.

If you are still interested in the DJ Harper story, click here for an update. If you're new to this blog and aren't familiar with the story, click here and here.

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