I had an odd thought cross my mind while walking to work yesterday evening. It was approximately 1750 and I realized it was already getting dark. Granted we’ve been having sunsets for about a month now, it really occurred to me that the 24 hour darkness is approaching quickly. With the darkness the winter will be in full swing. I’m thrilled about the weather that I will experience and am looking forward to seeing how people cope in this type of environment.
As I posted before, there are only 153 of us on station. There are several defined groups of people who hang out together and it is most noticeable at meal times. The fire department folks. Yeah, we pretty much stick together. We socialize with everyone but when it comes to choosing who we eat with, it is generally people that we work with. On occassion we’ll have one of the DA’s sit with us, or someone from the medical department, but normally, it’s just us. Sometimes it drives me a bit batty and I chose to take my meal to my room so I can eat in peace. Nothing against anyone that I work with, sometimes I just need a bit of solitude.
With the winter season being upon us, the recreational rules have changed. There are only a few hikes that people are allowed to go on solo now. My favorite one, the Ob Hill Loop, requires a partner. I don’t mind hiking with someone but my work schedule isn’t always accomodating for other folks’ schedules. Ob Hill can still be done solo. No I haven’t gone on another attempt lately but with the weather changing as it has been and the darkness coming in quickly, I need to do this ASAP. Last time I went to hike up the hill was before I became a gym rat. If I don’t spend an hour in the gym daily, I feel wonky. If I’m not in the gerbil gym then I am down in the big gym playing a ghettofied version of tennis/racketball.
This time of year, my job tasks slow to a crawl, especially at night. Currently it’s 0438 am and the phone hasn’t rung since around 2030 (8:30pm for all you non military time folks). No one has spoken on the radio… No fire alarms have gone off… So far, I’ve only had 5 calls to dispatch during winter. 5 measly calls. The last 12 hours of my shift are generally filled with searching the internet for random stuff. Really there is no other way to describe what all I look up.
Here’s a typical day for me (a work day):
0030 – Wake up, try to get back to sleep…
0130 – Fall back asleep (sometimes)
0400 – Wake back up, throw covers over head and try to go back to sleep
0415 – Give up on sleeping, get dressed, call work to see if Wes needs a break, wander to station and give him a break
0430 – Gym time
0530 – Leave gym, go to 155, shower, get dressed, throw hair in ponytail and head to breakfast at 0600
0600-0630 – breakfast, then head up to get all my work stuff together
0645 – Get to work, Wes tells me that nothing has been going on (yep, it’s pretty much like this every day)
In the morning there is morning stuff… Watching the guys do the truck checks, logging them out when they go to the gym, having casual conversations with them throughout the morning. Most of the time though I’m having to close doors behind them because I think some of them were raised in a barn. I’ll take several off continent calls for random people. I’ll provide phone numbers to people on station. Some times I get a work order and have to call out a utility tech, or a boiler tech, or the fire tech…
1145 – go grab lunch (if I didn’t sleep well the night before, I bring it back and nap during my lunch hour. If I don’t need the extra sleep, I eat in the galley)
In the afternoon there is a repeat of morning stuff, only, it’s after noon.
1745 – dinner (same rules apply as the lunch rule of napping/eating)
I’ll take a few more phone calls, normally they stop at around 2100… Then if I’m lucky, I’ll get a work order some time during the night. Sometimes I have a firefighter hanging out in dispatch with me for a bit. Tonight there was an epic battle involving an air cannon, mustard, cream cheese and water.
What do I do during the night time hours when there is nothing going on? I spend hours on Facebook looking at pictures of family and friends back at home. I read… I write (yeah I know, not often enough on here)… I watch Maury episodes on youtube. I blast music and sing loudly and poorly. I look up random topics and go to different websites (for example, I’ve been reading different articles on www.focusonthefamily.com tonight. Last time I worked, I watched a few videos of eye surgeries which lead me to read about different surgical procedures on wikipedia. Sometimes there will be a decent movie on TV and I’ll just kick back and watch movies.
0200 – Have a bowl of oatmeal
0320 – FRED gets a trouble alarm from 196 (This is normal)
0630 – play the wake up song!
0650ish – go home and change to go to the gym
0710ish – gym
0800 – shower, then sleep til around 1630
Next time, I’ll tell y’all what I do on my off days (it’ll be a two parter since I get two days off)