Life of an Albuquerque Mommy

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Backyard Friends

When the kids and I were in Utah we stayed with my old roommate and her husband. They are both great friends with my husband and I. They have two dogs, two cats and two chickens. My kids thought they had died and gone to heaven! They didn't get to play with the chickens but they loved talking to them through the sliding glass back door. The dogs loved the kids too. They had so much fun following my little ones around hoping for a few crumbs to fall to the floor. My kids really wanted to love the cats, but alas the cats are not fond of kids.

"W" especially was sad that the kitties didn't like him. He always treated the animals very nicely while we were there. But the kitties were just a little bit jumpy. Early in the morning or late in the evening the cats would come out of their hiding places. They'd be sitting there on a couch or a chair. "W" would see the cat and slowly walk over to pet the cats. The first few times the cats would bolt as soon as he attempted to walk over to them. Eventually they'd sit still for a few minutes.

One night "W" was petting one of the cats. He was so excited he came running to me and announced; "Mommy the kitty isn't scared anymore. She's letting me pet her and touch her nose!" He went back to pet the kitty some more and she took off. Ran down the hall and hid under the bed. "W" would follow the cats. "Kitty, don't be scared. Come back! Don't hide under the bed!"

Another morning the cats were brave enough to venture out of their hiding places. One of them allowed "W" a few precious moments of petting and then got scared and scampered off again. I was reading the newspaper when I remember hearing "W" saying "Kitty, please don't run away. I'm being nice to you. I don't want to scare you. I just want to pet you. I just want to touch your nose. Please don't be scared. Come back kitty!" I felt so bad for the kid.

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We've noticed a lot of new backyard friends lately. The normal guests are here. The birds, the lizards. The other morning we noticed a bunny in our front yard in the flower bed. He was having a wonderful breakfast of something in our flower bed. The kids just stood there at the window watching him hop around. Another day "Sy" was looking at the window and I thought she was saying "doggie". She was pointing outside at something. I looked to see what she was pointing at. It was two big fat robins. She was so excited.

I've sent "W" out in the backyard on a lizard hunt. I know there's no way he could catch one, but he does love trying to find them. Our newest backyard guest is a little squirral. The funniest thing is everyday he becomes a little bit more bold. He doesn't run away as quickly. In fact this morning "W" was standing at the back door having a little conversation with the squirral. For a few minutes it was right next to the glass back door. Then he climbed the cinder block wall. I could hear "W" say "Don't be scared little squirral." The squirral sat there on the wall looking at "W" and my son looking at him in silence for about 10 minutes. This little squirral is going to be a really close friend by the end of the summer I think!
Posted by ABQ Mom :: 4/26/2006 09:21:00 AM :: 7 Comments:

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Flames, Smoke, Ashes...and Tears

I am the daugther of a firefighter. And have been for nearly 20 years. My dad is the lieutenant as well as a firefighter and first responder(one step below EMT) with the local rural area volunteer company. A volunteer firefighter goes through all the rigorous training that a regular firefighter goes through but its more of a part-time gig. All the firefighters at his department have regular jobs and respond to calls when they are available. Being a fireman's daughter I have been to a fireman's funeral and some of our most favorite movies as a family are also very emotional for us as a family like "Backdraft" or "Ladder 49".

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When and Why he became a fireman:

It was a cold but dry December night. A week or two before my 11th or 12th birthday. We were going up to the church for the Ward Christmas Party. We were driving in separate cars, my mom and I in our car, and my dad and my brother in a van. My dad had done some body work on it for a friend from Church and was driving it to the Christmas Party since he was done working on it. We left our house at about the same time but I believe my dad had to return home for something so we arrived at the church a few minutes before they were supposed to arrive. We sat there for awhile wondering where my dad and brothers were. After a while we started to get worried. Someone arrived shortly at the party and told us that my dad and brothers had been in a car accident.

My dad driving the van he just did body work on was waiting for traffic to make a left hand turn. It being a more rural road there wasn't a left hand turn lane. There had been many accidents at this same intersection before so it had been habit to keep an eye on the rear view mirror. That's exactly what my dad was doing. He looked into the mirror and saw that the car behind him wasn't slowing down, reacting quickly my dad tried to get the van over to the shoulder hoping to miss an accident but to at least minimize the collision. The van didn't get out of the way quick enough and the car clipped the back of the van sending the van rolling over the shoulder and down a 10-15 foot embankment into the ditch. The local fire department was called. Although my dad and brothers weren't hurt too badly my brothers were really shook up. One of the firemen on the department was a man that my brothers and I knew well. He worked at our Elementary School, and our school bus stop was in his driveway. My dad witnessed the fear escape my brothers eyes when Gary began talking to them. He gained a deep respect for that man. Shortly after that accident my dad made the decision to join the fire department. Because of his rotating shift job schedule he was a great asset to the department. Unlike most other people at the department who worked M-F 8-5 my dad was available to go on calls during the day when others possibly wouldn't be.

I'm sure that any fireman will tell you, regardless if they're professional or a volunteer that there are calls that they respond to that shake them up. When we were kids my dad worried about the possible drowning down at the river, or the car vs. Bike calls. When we were teenagers he worried about the car vs. Car accidents, or car vs. Train accidents. Sometimes when he went on a call we'd get a lecture when he'd come home. "Don't you EVER do drugs!" We knew he had been on a call that was a drug overdose of someone close to our age.

I know that he has gone on a few calls over the years that have shook him up. Made him question his decision to join the fire department. I think any one in the medical field has those feelings when someone they're trying to save doesn't make it. He's been on a few of those.

Now that we're grown up I thought, (and maybe he did too) that the particular calls wouldn't effect him so much. But just like how my brothers and I grew up our friends did too. A year and a half ago my dad responded to a medical call. An 18 month old in fever induced coma. My dad along with the others on call were able to get the child breathing and rush him to the hospital. Only about a month later did my dad find out that little boy was the son of my high school best friend.

So on Friday night when I received a phone call from my dad asking me to give extra hugs and kisses to my little ones and tell them that grandpa loves them I knew that he had gone on a call that shook him up greatly. He said that he had a bad day and would be awhile before he could sleep well again.

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This is what happened:

Friday afternoon around 2pm my dad was preparing to leave for work. All the fireman at my dad's department carry around a pager, as well as having a box in the house. When a call goes into the 911 center they send out a specific tone. Each department in the area has a different tone. Well the tones went out on the box in the house and on the pager on my dad's belt. There was a brief description of a fire and then the address. My dad ran out the door but instead of jumping into the car to rush to the fire department he ran out into the driveway and to the house next door. You see the address they listed was just two numbers off from my parents address so my dad knew it was the house next door. He ran out expecting to see a little smoke curling out the front door, instead he saw the house almost fully engulfed with the mother screaming in the front yard. My dad ran to her, she was screaming that her child was still in inside, and my dad fought to keep her from running back into the house. He waited on the long gravel driveway for the trucks to arrive. He worked to keep the lane clear so the big trucks could get down to the end of the gravel road. When the trucks arrived he immediately started running the trucks while the man who drove the truck got his equipment on and went into the house. The little manufactured home went up quickly. They worked to put the fire out. The found the little body of a 3 year old in the child's bedroom. It had been too late. The little boy died in the fire.

The 3 yr old had been playing with a lighter in his bedroom. The 5 yr old brother came in and saw a fire and ran to tell his mom. The mom sent the 5 yr old out the front door to the other neighbor's house to call 911. The 3 yr old fearing he would be in trouble hid in his room.

After retelling the events my dad said to me "I guess your dad's not Superman anymore." It broke my heart to hear him say that. He questioned his actions. He said "if only I had gotten there a few minutes earlier and I knew which window was the child's bedroom I could have gone through the window." I tried to comfort him as well as I could. I was crying on the other end of the phone as well and he knew it.

I haven't talked to my family since that phone call. But I did receive an email from my mom this morning. There has been a lot of media coming down the gravel lane, and just a lot of curious "lookers" wanting to see the scene. Whenever there is an incident like this the department holds a special meeting to allow the guys to vent their feelings. My dad wasn't able to attend because of his normal job, so a close friend from the department is coming over tonight to visit with my dad and make sure he's doing okay.

I am so proud of my dad. He saw a place where he could help the community. He's helped countless numbers of people. He has made life long friends and touched many peoples lives. But every so often there is an event like this that reminds us that firemen aren't men of steel, they aren't Superman. First and foremost they are husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, and also grandfathers. I know my dad's emotional wounds will heal, but I also know that he will never become hardened so that things like this won't effect him. I doubt any fireman has.
Posted by ABQ Mom :: 4/25/2006 10:14:00 AM :: 7 Comments:

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Bringing together

You might have noticed an absence of writing and commenting from me lately. That's because I've spent the last week in Utah. I thought it would be nice for my children to spend time with their grandparents. Living far away from both sets makes it hard on them.

They were able to visit with aunts, and uncles, both sets of grandparents, great-grandparents, great aunts and uncles, second cousins, and even an honorary aunt and uncle.

Too bad that this is the time that my children decided it would be good to go through their shy clingy stage.
Posted by ABQ Mom :: 4/21/2006 09:07:00 AM :: 6 Comments:

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Bridges

According to the dictionary "a bridge is a structure spanning and providing passage over a gap or barrier, such as a river or roadway." Or a canyon, or a canyon WITH a river. I've known a number of bridges in my life. These are pictures of the Cable Bridge and the Blue Bridge that connect Kennewick to Pasco.


Growing up in the Tri - Cities you become used to bridges. The Columbia River divides Kennewick from Pasco and Pasco from Richland. The Yakima River divides Kennewick from Richland. The Snake River divides Pasco from Burbank, and the Walla Walla River divides Burbank from Walla Walla. And even if you wanted to go south from Kennewick you'd still have to cross the Columbia River before entering Oregon.

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Theres a joke: You know you live in the Tri - Cities when if you don't cross a bridge you haven't gone any place, nor can you.

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Even here in Albuquerque bridges have become part of our normal life. The Rio Grande runs right down the middle of the city. There are only 6 main roads that allow you to go East or West over the river. If there is an accident on one or MORE of those roads plan on sitting in traffic for a long time.

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There's this saying I remember hearing my dad use quite often. "Cry me a river, build a bridge, and get over it!"

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A random question by my husband led to a series of events that have caused me to think about the metophoric bridges in my life. I started thinking about different people from high school, I was curious about one in particular. If he did with his life what he said he was going to do when we were high school. I found my old high school year book from my senior year, I sat for awhile reminscing, looking at the different pictures and messages people had written.

I googled this old classmate. I found a little info on him but was not able to email him. I am so frustrated with these alumni websites that allow you to put your contact information on them, but you can't actually CONTACT anyone without having a paid membership. I thought I would possibly try to create a yahoo group for my high school class like I did with all the music majors at Ricks. I emailed my two closest friends from high school. Particularly because they're the only ones for which I have email addresses. One I've kept in better touch with than the other. I wrote them with my idea and how I came up with the idea. A few days later I received an email from the one I haven't been in contact with as well. Her response was not what I expected. She accused me of being nosey, not being a good friend to the people I DID have emails for (mainly her), and that I was just fishing for information about other people that would make me feel better about my own situation.

This email in particular has caused me some great reflection. Especially in reference to the different bridges in my life. A week after this email it was still bothering me but I was trying to convince myself it was something I just needed to get over. That same day Karen wrote a post that contained a couple of quotes, one of those hit home with me because of the things I had been raking over in my head.

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"We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered."
~Tom Stoppard

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This single quote caused me to reflect upon my many metophoric bridges. I have always thought of myself as one that would never let a bridge be burned. In fact it was something I prided myself on. I was sitting there with a pail of water, any time I even saw a little cinder start up I was there in an attempt to put it out. Many considerations now have made me wonder whether I was really as good at protecting the bridges as I thought. Did I allow some to be burned without a fight? Was I not paying attention as another burst into flames and fell down into the cravase? Did I burn a bridge? Was I fanning the flames when I thought I was actually dousing the fire? Or maybe is it that my situation with no fault of my own caused some bridges to self-combust?

I always thought I was the one with the fire extinguisher. But perhaps I was the one with the torch? Or maybe I just turned a blind eye to the flame. I'm afraid that there have been a few bridges that can't be rebuilt, no matter how much I wish I could try maybe it's just not worth the effort.

Maybe it wasn't me that burned it down, but I'm not the one that needs to rebuild it.
Posted by ABQ Mom :: 4/07/2006 04:08:00 PM :: 12 Comments:

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pets

While we were sitting in Jiffy Lube yesterday waiting for the oil to be changed a 6 year old little boy asked my son if he had a dog.

His response: "No, just corn dogs, and hot dogs."
Posted by ABQ Mom :: 4/05/2006 07:41:00 AM :: 7 Comments:

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