September 10, 2001

"Good days, bad days. Up days, down days. Sad days, happy days--but never a boring day on this job. You do what God has called you to do. You show up, you put one foot in front of another, you get on the rig and you do the job, which is a mystery and a suprise. You have no idea when you get on that rig, no matter how big the call, no matter how small, you have no idea what God's calling you to do.
"You love this job. We all do. What a blessing that is. A difficult, difficult job, and God calls you to it, and he gives you a love for it, so that a difficult job will be well done."
-Father Mychal Judge

Father Judge was killed the following day, Sept 11, 2001.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Over Haul

The understatement for the day is that our vehicle maintenance program is lacking. It's always a crap shoot when you mention something that is wrong with a vehicle. You are either ignored, told it's supposed to be that way, or your vehicle disappears for a while. Some of you may say that that's how it works. I'll add also that your vehicle comes back with no mention of what has been done, if anything. A good portion of the time the problem will persist. We have actually ruined motors and blown transmissions in the middle of a transport because things weren't repaired properly. This time is no different.

The exhaust on the ambulance I've been working on was installed poorly and the custom work done by our "mechanic" made it worse. Every time we pull up to a curb, the exhaust is bent back so that it rubs on the rear tires. Don't pull so close was the mechanics "fix" for this problem. Kick the crap out of it so it doesn't sit on the tire was our fix.

On the day in question, we were turning around in a parking lot. A curb lay in front of us. This obstacle to our progress later measured out to be a mere 2" tall. It may as well have been a foot.

We stopped short of the curb and had a brief conversation that went something like:

"You think we can get over that?"

"I would hope so."

"Yeah...It really is just a baby curb."

"Guess we'll find out."

We proceeded with the understanding that if a four year old could ride her bike over this thing (a girl on a bike skirted around us as we pondered), a $250,000 piece of fire equipment would have no problem. It wasn't a firm faith that we were operating under, but more like a defiant "It had better make it."

Just before we began to roll the phone rang. Some of the superstitious types may call this an omen, a sign, a harbinger, a prophecy. I just answered the phone, my driver kept driving. I was busy explaining to my Captain why lunch would be late when the truck lurched to a stop.

The words "Please hold," or "Hang on a second," never crossed my mind. The captain got a distorted version of "Uhhhhh..."

We looked at each other with that "Did that really just happen?" look and almost simultaneously piled out of our respective doors.

The exhaust, which had previous protruded from in front of the rear tire appeared absent. Further inspection showed, however, that it had been forced back by our "baby curb" until the rear tires had forced it under them and sucked it rearward. It was now wedged between the two tires. We were stuck. Driving forward would rip the piping out from under the truck. Backing up would ram the system back into the belly of the beast, also a bad option.

The captain actually remained on the line for our entire assessment, and patiently at that.

"We need your help," was all that I could muster. I told him we'd need the Sawz-All and a pry bar. Both are standard issue on the trucks, but things weren't really processing at the moment.

After being chewed out for not providing their meal on time, they said they were on their way. We sat in the parking lot, blocking several cars' escapes as we waited.

We cut the pipe off, tossed it up on the gurney like some mangled, petrified snake, and drove towards the shop. The disgrace was not, however, over. A shower of sparks poured out from the underside of our misfortuned conveyance. All the while drawing the attention of well meaning citizens waving and signaling at our dislodged muffler.

"Just smile and wave boys." The only sentiment that came to mind.


Eskimo Bob said...

FINALLY! Ok - now tell us about the butter knife and the penis.

Amber said...

Or ask Bob about the signature and the sex toys...

Awesome! What else ya got?