Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What I also do. (In case you were wondering)

I believe three people actually know that my blog exists. I think most know that I am a firefighter/paramedic. But, did you know that I also am a small business owner? Yep. I have owned and operated a full line bakery for 22 years. I started working when I was but a lad of 15. (1979) I wanted to get my drivers license and my Father told me that I would have to get a job and earn enough money to purchase my own car and fuel. At that time the economy was much like it is now. I applied for a few jobs where 3 positions were available and 200 applied. At 15 my chances were not too good. I went to Wendys and they told me "You are too young, but if you come back next year.... " That is when I went across the street and applied for a job in a family owned bakery. 7 years later, and getting some college under my belt. I was earning $3.25 an hour and I had moved up as high as possible, short of marrying one of the owners daughters. Well she was not my type and I was already married. I began looking for something else. Through different channels, and a lot of talking, I was able to purchase my own bakery in Ohio. (1986) I was happy and making a lot more of the green stuff. Things went well the first few years with a lot of work and not much sleep. Then the unspeakable. My wife decided that she didn't want to be married any longer to a workaholic. (1990). After a couple years of single life, I took the dive again. Now married and still working a lot. I always dreamed of running the "shop" and not having to be there all the time. In the year 2000 I went to our local fire dept. for a benefit dinner and found out that they were going to have an EMT class starting in January. I thought that it would be interesting to learn some first-aid stuff and maybe a little more. I checked into the class with the Chief and found out that it cost nearly $500. I thought that was a lot of money and told him that I didn't think I would be doing it. He said that if I signed a contract to run with the dept. for 2 years that the dept. would pick up the tab. 2 years is not that long and they are going to pay for the class. Sign me up. At that time I told him that I didn't think I would be interested in the fire stuff. I passed the class and got my basic card, started making squad runs and enjoying them. Still working full time at the shop. He talked me into getting "just the 36 hour" fire card. Said it would be better for the dept. if I carried a fire card. Said that I wouldn't have to fight fires if I didn't want to. I got my 36 hour card. Then, you guessed it, a fire run came in and I was one of 3 at the station and they needed 3 on the engine. I went. I was the second guy on the hoseline into the burning house, I watched the flames roll across the ceiling and was hooked. Things were changing at the shop and I was able to spend more time away. My sister-in-law came to work at the shop and was doing more and more of my work. I began allowing her to do most of it and enjoying the time off. Our dept. was talking about putting on a paid day time shift. Was going to hire one full time Paramedic/Firefighter and have him work with a different part time person Monday through Friday. I was getting bored with so much time off. I talked to the Chief about the position and told him that I thought about applying but didn't want to be a Paramedic. He said to go ahead and apply and we could talk about the medic thing later. The state of Ohio requires that a full time firefighter have a 240 hour fire card. I got the full time spot and went back to fire school. My time off became non-existant and I got real busy again. I was going to fire school, working 7-4 at the station and still had a business to run. I began going to the shop at 3:30 am, back home at 6, and at the station at 7 till 4. Then working several hours at the shop on Saturday. I got my Professional fire card and the Chief said that now, I needed to think about Medic class. I thought about it and he said that a class is starting in April and that I should be in it. One year later after juggling my schedule at the shop, school, dept. along with clinicals and ride time. I passed my National Registry and became a Paramedic. My wife had to call me on my cell phone just to see if I was still alive. Today, I still go to the shop at 3:30 every morning and then at the station at 7 and some evenings back to the shop, if things get behind. I get to do most of my shop paperwork at the station. That helps a lot. The extra income from the dept. allowed me to purchase 20 acres of land and within the next few years, I am planning on building a new house on it to move into. I think I will try to be my own contractor and do a lot of the work my free time. And to think, my first wife called me a workaholic.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My year in Review

A friend told me that I need to put something in here besides the Wordless Wednesday. I know he is right but due to time restraints, that is difficult to do. However, I am willing to try. I guess you could say it is a New Years Resolution. I will start by talking about the last year.
My Year in Review:
Not much happened in the first few months of 2008. The usual, snow, ice and cold weather. That pretty much sums up the first three months. In April, I got an e-mail from "Firefighter" one day and he wanted to know if I would be interested in doing a bicycle ride down the C & O Towpath? This path is an old canal starting in Cumberland Maryland, and travels 184 miles to Washington, DC. Without thought, I said Yea. I actually didn't think he was serious. Then much to my surprise, the plans were being made. Firefighter has a friend in Cumberland "M3" and he lives near the beginning of the path. (They do a blog together.) After several "training" trips down our own bike path here in Newark, (20 miles a week), we thought we were ready. On Father's Day weekend, we headed to Maryland. A total of 4 of us, Myself, Firefighter, M3, and a 21 year old firefighter that works at our station house with us went the 184 grueling miles down the path to DC. After arriving in DC we rented a U-Haul truck for the trip back to Cumberland. Two and a half days pedaling and a little over 3 hours in the truck. Firefighter and M3 in the cab and myself and the 21 year old in the back with the bikes. Maybe we will do it again this year. I am willing if they are. Hint Hint.....

In July, over the 4th, my Wife and I went to Northeast Ohio for the weekend. During the weekend, we stopped at a flea market, a street fair, and various other assorted spots. During the trip, we stopped at a Harley Davidson dealership to "look". That is when it started. I began talking to my Wife about the pleasures of owning a Harley. I have had motorcycles in the past but never a Harley. Again much to my surprise, she agreed to let me seriously look into getting one. Well before she could change her mind, I found a 2002 model with only 3400 miles on it. And best yet, it was a Firefighter edition. We went to look at it and my Wife actually wrote the guy a check. Needless to say, I was on the top of the world. After a month of waiting for the check to clear, actually it was only one day. The guy called and said the check cleared and I could come get it. I told him I would be there with my enclosed trailer, since I didn't have plates or insurance on it. He said that he would meet me half way and I could ride it the rest of the way home. He lives on the West side of Columbus and would meet me on the East side. He said I could use his plates and insurance until 9 am the next day. Told me to mail his plates to him. A fellow firefighter and a trusting fellow. My first ride on my new Harley was at 65 MPH, 30 miles down interstate 70. Again, on top of the world. It rode like a dream.
In August, I took the bike to Madison Ohio, just east of Cleveland, to see an old school buddy. 200 miles each way. I haven't seen my buddy for a couple years and it was nice to see him again but ride made the trip that much more pleasant. I think I will see him more often. (A good excuse for a road trip).
In October, my Wife and I took a ride to Hocking Hills to see the colors of the fall. With warm clothes and full saddle bags we left. Going South, we went to Lancaster, then West to Circleville to the Pumpkin Show. Then back East to find a room for the night. The next morning, there was ice on the seat of the bike. We went to a restaurant and to wait for the sun to warm things up a little. Then down through the hills and the colors. A nice ride to say the least. We traveled over 200 miles on the two day trip.
The bike now has 7400 miles on it and I've only had it 6 months.
With fuel prices at nearly $4 a gallon when I got the bike, it gets nearly 50 MPG. I rode it everywhere. Until about the second week of November when the cold made it too unpleasant to ride. A couple of those days, it was near 30 degrees going to work at the station. With fuel coming back to bearable levels, I put the bike in the garage.
Christmas this year was less than the usual good time with the family. That is a whole story in itself.
On December 27, the temp got to 65 degrees for the day. My wife and I took the bike to Zanesville for lunch. ( another good excuse for a ride) I hope to be able to ride every month in the year. Even if it is one trip each month.
Other than work two jobs, that pretty much sums up my year.
All in all, I have to call it a good year.