Reason #5841 NOT to call 911


Partner of the Day answers the phone: "Hello?"
Dispatcher: County run, code two to Neighborhood housing project.
Partner of the Day: Okay, we're heading out.

Epi: Woo!!! County run?
Partner of the day: Yep.

We head out to our gigantic taxicab on wheels and call in with the county to let them know we're responding from quarters.

The drive isn't too far, about seven minutes. I'm surprised that the local FD chose to not pick this one up. The snow is starting to come down... Hell, at least it's not -20 outside. 28 degrees feels damn balmy.

We roll up to the scene and park ahead of the fire truck. A very nice (and kinda cute) firefighter meets us.

"She's got something in her eye... She's dressed kinda provocatively, and we're afraid to go near her"

Epi's internal thoughts: HUH?

I grab a small bag of NS and a canula (wonderful for eye flushes!) follow partner of the day up to the apartment. I explain the NC to the firefighter and my partner who think i'm on crack. They've never used this trick apparently.

We walk up the threadbare stairs to her fourth floor apartment. The first thing that strikes me is that it's empty. A couch, a small tv set, and a bistro table. Dora the Explorer is on TV. Two small children run around the apartment, wired from all the activity. The patient warns them to sit down and watch tv while she takes a long drag on her cigarette. She snuffs it out in the ashtray with at least two packs worth of butts. Her eye is obviously red and slightly puffy. I've suffered worse while putting contacts in.

I'm not impressed so far.

She's insisting that she needs to be seen at the ER. Oh, and btw, we need to wait for her mom to show up to watch the kids.

Epi's thoughts: Okay, let me get this straight... You're waiting for your mom to drive over in the snow, so that she can watch your kids, so that you can go to the ER, by AMBULANCE, for something in your eye? SERIOUSLY????

Credit to her mother for trying to talk her into letting her drive her over.

Her Mom: You don't need an ambulance... You're going to get a huge bill.

Clueless patient: I have full coverage insurance, Mom. I wont get a bill.

Epi's thoughts: She has Medicaid. I'm willing to bet my life on it.

Okay, so internally I'm trying to talk myself into a valid reason why she would need to go to an ER at all... I guess if she scratched her eye badly enough she might need some antibiotics or something... But she had a mother who was willing to drive her.

I just don't get it.

The report to the ER while we were enroute was humerous.

ER: Repeat that please? Did you say she has something in her eye?
Epi: That's correct, she has something in here eye.
ER: Copy that, report to triage.
Patient: What's triage?
Epi: That means you're going to the waiting room.
Patient: Fuck.

That's right, chica. You're butt's gonna sit in the waiting room. Where your ass belongs.

Here's what I'm trying to say... Lint in your eye does not equal ambulance ride to the ER. And an ambulance ride does not equal an instant bed.

Hey, it's not a bleeding pimple, but it's close enough.

On The Road Again...

Shift: 0700-1700

My Day.

0640: HOLY FRICKIN' LORD it's cold outside. I pull into the parking lot and make my way to the station.

0642: I find my crew for the day. First impressions... Cool guys. One medic, one basic.

0645: The basic disappears to do rig check. I follow him out there. He's shocked that I want to follow along while he does his thing. Hey, I gotta learn where things are somehow, right?

0655: Dispatch is calling. Wooo, first run of the day!

0720: Pull into ED entrance, see my old squad parked already. Great. Yes, yes, it's Epi, yes, I'm wearing the rival companies uniform. Nice to see you all. I retreat to my squad for the day with my coffee.

0800: Partners of the day are in the process of dozing off. I walk outside to stand in the brisk winter morning air (12 degrees... windchill... zero)... COLD COLD COLD! Run back inside, wide awake now!

0900: Both partners are sleeping. One is snoring. Eyes are getting droopy... drooopy... closing... zzzzZZZZZzzzzzzzzz *SNORE* Okay I'm up I'm up I'm up. The medic eyes me suspiciously. I laugh at myself and sit up a little straighter. At least I wasn't drooling on myself or talking in my sleep.

0920: Dispatch is calling. Another run. I take patient care. He goes back to the ECF smiling... My work is done. I struggle with the new run reports (Medicare changes and basically not knowing where ANYTHING is located on the report means it takes me twice as long to complete it.) Thank goodness the medic is very patient and helpful. We can't even call ourself back in service before they're sending us on another run.

The rest of the day consisted of three wild goose chases and three more runs.

I did learn a few things.

I still hate staring out of the back of an ambulance for hours on end.

Every Ambulance service has a Satan-like dispatcher who is completely unprofessional on the radio and in general thinks he/she is God's answer to EMS (I wish I could go into this more specifically, maybe a little further down the road).

I still love this job. Yes, even the transfers.

More tomorrow, I'm exhausted.


It's been a long day.

Filled out a ton of paperwork, got fingerprinted and had an ID pic taken. Got uniforms and had a lesson on using the cot (Wooo!)

Interesting fact.... This company runs a Medic program. Might get the glitter patch after all.

Have to be back at the crack of dawn tomorrow, so I need to adjust my sleep schedule, pronto...Immediately... as in tonight.

Third rides start tomorrow. I'll have more to post tomorrow hopefully :)

A short post...

Stethoscope: $55.00 (Couldn't find my blue one)
New Boots: $89.00 (The old ones were.... old. And stinky)
Notebook and pen to take notes: $2.00 and change (Hey, a girl's gotta write, right?)

Starting a new job that you've been dreaming of for months on end... Priceless.

I'm starting tomorrow. *giggling like a school girl* I'll let you know how it goes.

Hide and Seek... POTD

"Little Giiiiiiirl.... Little GIIIIIIIRL... WHERE ARE YOOOOOOOU????"

*thinking to myself* Where in the HELL is she? All the doors are locked, it's not like she snuck outside... Learned that lesson last summer.

Then Mr Epi heard a small giggle.

Then I heard laughter. His laughter. "Get the camera" he yells.

(Proudly taken by Mr. Epi, 1/20/08)

All Boy.... Photo of the Day

Future Cardiologist, February 2003

Okay, so it's five years old, but I was playing with a new technique in Photoshop and came across this pic of Future Cardiologist... Post Sandbox play and Pre-nap.

I don't know how they do it...

I'm starting full time work next week... I'll be gone during the day when I'm normally home with She Who Rules, and picking up Future Cardiologist. Mr Epi doesn't typically get home until 1700 or so (Sometimes he doesn't leave at all, other times he gets shipped out of town for a few days, you just never know.)

Daycare is in our immediate future. Like starting next Tuesday, to be specific.

We're lucky, Mr Epi makes a decent wage considering the fact that he doesn't have a college education. We're lucky that Mr Epi has wicked computer skillz :)

I have a point... I promise.

Here's what I want to know. How do families who make "just enough" to not qualify for public assistance, pay for child care?

Seriously..... I'm looking at paying close to a grand a month for daycare between my two children.

I'm conflicted. These are my babies. I'm paying someone to care for them in my absence. If I could pay them 5,000.00 a month I would. But I can't. And no one I know can. My children have been in my care since their births (with the exception of She Who Rules who went to daycare for a whole month back in October).

I'm beginning to think I'm not equipped to handle this. How do you send your children to childcare when you can't afford what's considered "the best"? (I'm not saying that the best daycare in the city is the most expensive... I'm saying that out of the ones I was able to research, my picks were all over 130/week for the litle one).

And for those of you who might respond with "don't do it", I say this.... We can't continue on the path we're on, financially. We're going paycheck to paycheck as it is. Obviously I'd rather stay home with the kids every day, but that's not in the plans right now. If I can get a 24/48 shift at the nu job I'll take it, but chances are VERY good that there's a substantial waiting list for this.

How do you do it? Thank God she's only two and a half years away from kindergarten.

A question for my EMS friends out there...

How long does your CPR card stay valid? Is it one year or two? Yes, I should know this, but I don't have my card handy, and I have to have a valid one to start work. If it's one year I need to find a class ASAP.

Thanks ya'll :)

Fun with photoshop...

Vanishing point.

I *heart* Photoshop CS3.

See what happens when I get bored? I learn how to put a fictional CD cover to a band invented courtesy of a meme on a virtual cd case :)



THIS girl is working as an EMT again!

Training would have started tomorrow if I could have produced my damn CPR card.

Fun Meme

Self Tagged through Hammer's blog... (Hey, I was bored ;))

The Band Meme

Here's how it goes. You are about to have your own band's CD cover. Follow these directions Go to......
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together.

My results:

I did play with the picture a bit, and cropped it, but other than that I used what I was supposed to :)

If only I could sing.

A Close Up Look at POTD

I was sitting at work today wondering where all my customers were. Surely someone in Toledo wants to buy a Nikon D3 (or better yet, TWO D3's, don't forget your favorite camera store employee!). When I get bored I play with cameras. Today I was QUITE bored.

I picked up the D80 and a 60mm 2.8 macro lens. Nice. Very nice. I've never played with a Macro lens before.

I think I'm in love. With the camera body AND the lens (and to think, it can all be mine for 1300 bucks or so!). Here's a few of my favorites. Not horribly exciting, and I have to work on master the itty bitty depth of field involved, but I think they turned out kinda cool :)

Price List (January 2008 Epijunky)
Post Script: Eww. Time to print a new one.

Swingline (January 2008 Epijunky)

Keyboard (January 2008 Epijunky)
Yet another post script: Double eww. Time for some cleaning with bleach and a toothbrush

For EmergencyEm...

I needed a little pick me up and your post made me laugh out loud. More than once. So, in appreciation of that, for you...

A little more pick me up. :)

And my ABSOLUTE favorite...(for some reason embedding is disabled, you have to click)

Epi's Tour of Toledo (NW Ohio)

EpiJunky's Tour of Toledo.... (H/T to CrankyProf for the idea, go read her tour, it's much more exciting than Toledo!)

*insert applause track here*

Okay okay, settle down... the queue forms over to the right.

Let's say that it's early May, for more favorable temperature purposes. Trust me, NW Ohio is a pretty dismal place to visit (or live) in mid January. It might have been freakishly warm yesterday (at a balmy 65 degrees), but we'll have a foot of snow on the ground by Saturday, trust me.

So, it's early, let's go grab breakfast...

One of our favorite places to get a fantastic breakfast is Scrambler Marie's. Excellent omelette's, fresh orange juice, and very friendly staff.

If you're in the mood for a good coffee (we have a long day ahead of us) I know a place! Beaner's Coffee. The Mocha Mocha is to die for. The sweet flavor combined with the bitterness is just enough without being overpowering. Yummmm...

Alright, now that we have a little caffeine and food in our systems, let's go exploring.

The Toledo Museum of Art.

Home to 30,000+ pieces, and no admission. Some of the more notable pieces include the Rubens painting “The Crowning of Saint Catherine” and Van Gogh's “Wheat Fields with Reaper”. If we're lucky we can see the Toledo Symphony Orchestra perform in their home at the museum, the Peristyle. It's a stunning venue.

Across the street is the Glass Pavilion.

The Glass Pavilion opened in 2006 and is home to a good number of the Toledo Museum of Art's Glass collection... Toledo is the “Glass City”, you know. The building is absolutely gorgeous. The exterior and most of the interior walls are glass panels.

Okay, next stop on our list is the Toledo Zoo.

Something that I read about in the last few years was that a good number of the buildings within the zoo were built by the WPA (Works Progress Administration). I enjoy looking at the older buildings, and eating in the Carnivore Cafe (It used to be the “Lion House”, it has since been transformed into a restaurant, with tables set up both inside and outside in the cages). Don't worry, for those of you who remember the old Lion House, the smell is completely gone. The Africa exhibit is amazing, and of course we'll have to stop to see the baby Polar Bears. You would really enjoy “Music Under The Stars”, which they do on Sundays during the summer in the Amphitheater.

Lunchtime! Let's head to the East Side and the famous Tony Packo's. (If you've ever watched MASH, you might remember Klinger (Jamie Farr) mentioning Tony Packo's.) The building and it's contents are almost as well known as the Hungarian Hot Dog that they're famous for. Thousands of autographed hot dog buns encased in plastic hang on the walls. Everyone from the current President to the members of Kiss, to Jerry Lewis have left their mark in this Toledo landmark.

I hope you like baseball.

The truth is, you don't have to like baseball to have a good time at a Mud Hens Game. The Toledo Mud Hens (made famous once again, courtesy of Jamie Farr and MASH) are yes, actually a real minor league team in Toledo. They have a new home at 5/3 Field Downtown. The beers might be six bucks a piece, but they come in huge plastic (commemorative!) Tumblers. It's the little things ;) There's a playground for the kids, and every Sunday they can run the bases after the game (which I've heard, is an excellent way to wear out those excitable little ones!).

Moving on...

We can head out to Westfield Shopping Towne, or one of the outdoor shopping centers (Fallen Timbers or Levis Commons) to do a little retail therapy, or catch a show at the Valentine Theater (Hopefully the reconstruction after the explosion last month will have been completed by now).

For a late dinner, I've heard fantastic things about Sakura. It's a Japanese Steakhouse where they cook your food on a grill in front of you. I've been dying to try it. Another place we could consider would be the Dock's downtown (including Gumbo's Bayou Grille, Zia's Italian, Tango's Mexican Cantina, Real Seafood Company, Navy Bistro, and Eileen's Wine Bar). The view from the deck is amazing. Mancy's is legendary for their steaks and is always packed at night.

Night Life... Hrmmm. Well, the truth is I'm more of a homebody right now, but everyone has to get out and socialize from time to time, right?

The Oliver House is a historical landmark built as a hotel in 1859. In it's day it was quite the place to stay... Everyone from Abraham Lincoln to movie stars coming through Toledo stayed at the Oliver House. Today it's home to the Maumee Bay Brewing Company (Great food!), Rockwell's (Upscale, the steak is to melt in your mouth good), and Mutz (a bar with a fun atmosphere). The interior is an homage to brewing history in Toledo.

So that's my tour of Toledo in a nutshell. It's not all inclusive by any stretch... There are numerous galleries in the warehouse district, metroparks to visit, bowling balls to roll...

If we venture out of town we could go up to Ann Arbor where one could easily spend a day or three exploring the eclectic shops or honoring my team, THE University of Michigan. We could drive to Cleveland, or Sandusky (home of Cedar Point... America's Roller Coast! The BEST rollercoasters is the country.)

How could I miss Put-In-Bay??? Taking a ferry over to the islands to spend a day (or the weekend!) is a summer tradition. We could explore the caves, zip around the island on a golf cart, visit the numerous wineries and later on take in a show with Pat Dailey at the Boathouse.

Anyone out there who wants to add to my tour, please do...I know there are many hidden gems in Toledo that I didn't mention.. If you're not from the area, and you're bored, why not take us on a tour of your city?

You are my sunshine.... Photo of the Day

My Sunshine, She Who Rules (Epijunky January 08)

Job Interview

Okay folks... I have some good news.

I have a second interview tomorrow with a local EMS company. One where I wouldn't have to spend half my paycheck on gas commuting to the station and back.

Can I get a WoooHOOOO?

Let me give you a run down on where I'm at with the job situation.

I'm working for minimum wage (plus commissions) at a store that I made more at ten years ago (the first time I worked there).

I need an EMS job. I need it like I need oxygen. I need it to feel like I'm doing something useful. Sure, wading through 500 pictures on someone's memory stick to find that one precious picture of their puppy serves a purpose, I suppose, but at the end of the day, it mostly makes me dislike puppies (and their owners).

My opportunities to work EMS in my area are EXTREMELY limited. There are no volunteer opportunities, and there are only three private services in the city. I worked at one of them. One of them is not hiring Basics, and the third is the one I'm interviewing with again tomorrow.

Please send me good thoughts, I need them. Now, if I can just get over my nervousness when it comes to job interviews, I'll be just fine.

Interview help anyone?

To all you OSU fans...

I'm sorry.

Apparently their poor performance tonight is because I *dared* cheer for them.

Again, my apologies.

Andrew's Last Post...

Epi's note: Grab another tissue.

Andrew's Blog

January 04, 2008

Final Post

"I am leaving this message for you because it appears I must leave sooner than I intended. I would have preferred to say this in person, but since I cannot, let me say it here."
G'Kar, Babylon 5

"Only the dead have seen the end of war."

This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits. And so, like G'Kar, I must say here what I would much prefer to say in person. I want to thank hilzoy for putting it up for me. It's not easy asking anyone to do something for you in the event of your death, and it is a testament to her quality that she didn't hesitate to accept the charge. As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose. Perhaps I take that further than most, I don't know. I hope so. It's frightening to think there are many people as neurotic as I am in the world. In any case, since I won't get another chance to say what I think, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Such as it is.

"When some people die, it's time to be sad. But when other people die, like really evil people, or the Irish, it's time to celebrate."
Jimmy Bender, "Greg the Bunny"

"And maybe now it's your turn
To die kicking some ass."
Freedom Isn't Free, Team America

What I don't want this to be is a chance for me, or anyone else, to be maudlin. I'm dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren't going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.) I had a pretty good life, as I noted above. Sure, all things being equal I would have preferred to have more time, but I have no business complaining with all the good fortune I've enjoyed in my life. So if you're up for that, put on a little 80s music (preferably vintage 1980-1984), grab a Coke and have a drink with me. If you have it, throw 'Freedom Isn't Free' from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can't laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I'm dead, but if you're reading this, you're not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.

"Our thoughts form the universe. They always matter."
Citizen G'Kar, Babylon 5

Believe it or not, one of the things I will miss most is not being able to blog any longer. The ability to put my thoughts on (virtual) paper and put them where people can read and respond to them has been marvelous, even if most people who have read my writings haven't agreed with them. If there is any hope for the long term success of democracy, it will be if people agree to listen to and try to understand their political opponents rather than simply seeking to crush them. While the blogosphere has its share of partisans, there are some awfully smart people making excellent arguments out there as well, and I know I have learned quite a bit since I began blogging. I flatter myself I may have made a good argument or two as well; if I didn't, please don't tell me. It has been a great five-plus years. I got to meet a lot of people who are way smarter than me, including such luminaries as Virginia Postrel and her husband Stephen (speaking strictly from a 'improving the species' perspective, it's tragic those two don't have kids, because they're both scary smart.), the estimable hilzoy and Sebastian of Obsidian Wings, Jeff Goldstein and Stephen Green, the men who consistently frustrated me with their mix of wit and wisdom I could never match, and I've no doubt left out a number of people to whom I apologize. Bottom line: if I got the chance to meet you through blogging, I enjoyed it. I'm only sorry I couldn't meet more of you. In particular I'd like to thank Jim Henley, who while we've never met has been a true comrade, whose words have taught me and whose support has been of great personal value to me. I would very much have enjoyed meeting Jim.

Blogging put me in touch with an inordinate number of smart people, an exhilarating if humbling experience. When I was young, I was smart, but the older I got, the more I realized just how dumb I was in comparison to truly smart people. But, to my credit, I think, I was at least smart enough to pay attention to the people with real brains and even occasionally learn something from them. It has been joy and a pleasure having the opportunity to do this.

"It's not fair."
"No. It's not. Death never is."
Captain John Sheridan and Dr. Stephen Franklin, Babylon 5

"They didn't even dig him a decent grave."
"Well, it's not how you're buried. It's how you're remembered."
Cimarron and Wil Andersen, The Cowboys

I suppose I should speak to the circumstances of my death. It would be nice to believe that I died leading men in battle, preferably saving their lives at the cost of my own. More likely I was caught by a marksman or an IED. But if there is an afterlife, I'm telling anyone who asks that I went down surrounded by hundreds of insurgents defending a village composed solely of innocent women and children. It'll be our little secret, ok?

I do ask (not that I'm in a position to enforce this) that no one try to use my death to further their political purposes. I went to Iraq and did what I did for my reasons, not yours. My life isn't a chit to be used to bludgeon people to silence on either side. If you think the U.S. should stay in Iraq, don't drag me into it by claiming that somehow my death demands us staying in Iraq. If you think the U.S. ought to get out tomorrow, don't cite my name as an example of someone's life who was wasted by our mission in Iraq. I have my own opinions about what we should do about Iraq, but since I'm not around to expound on them I'd prefer others not try and use me as some kind of moral capital to support a position I probably didn't support. Further, this is tough enough on my family without their having to see my picture being used in some rally or my name being cited for some political purpose. You can fight political battles without hurting my family, and I'd prefer that you did so.

On a similar note, while you're free to think whatever you like about my life and death, if you think I wasted my life, I'll tell you you're wrong. We're all going to die of something. I died doing a job I loved. When your time comes, I hope you are as fortunate as I was.

"What an idiot! What a loser!"
Chaz Reingold, Wedding Crashers

"Oh and I don't want to die for you, but if dying's asked of me;
I'll bear that cross with honor, 'cause freedom don't come free."
American Soldier, Toby Keith

Those who know me through my writings on the Internet over the past five-plus years probably have wondered at times about my chosen profession. While I am not a Libertarian, I certainly hold strongly individualistic beliefs. Yet I have spent my life in a profession that is not generally known for rugged individualism. Worse, I volunteered to return to active duty knowing that the choice would almost certainly lead me to Iraq. The simple explanation might be that I was simply stupid, and certainly I make no bones about having done some dumb things in my life, but I don't think this can be chalked up to stupidity. Maybe I was inconsistent in my beliefs; there are few people who adhere religiously to the doctrines of their chosen philosophy, whatever that may be. But I don't think that was the case in this instance either.

As passionate as I am about personal freedom, I don't buy the claims of anarchists that humanity would be just fine without any government at all. There are too many people in the world who believe that they know best how people should live their lives, and many of them are more than willing to use force to impose those beliefs on others. A world without government simply wouldn't last very long; as soon as it was established, strongmen would immediately spring up to establish their fiefdoms. So there is a need for government to protect the people's rights. And one of the fundamental tools to do that is an army that can prevent outside agencies from imposing their rules on a society. A lot of people will protest that argument by noting that the people we are fighting in Iraq are unlikely to threaten the rights of the average American. That's certainly true; while our enemies would certainly like to wreak great levels of havoc on our society, the fact is they're not likely to succeed. But that doesn't mean there isn't still a need for an army (setting aside debates regarding whether ours is the right size at the moment). Americans are fortunate that we don't have to worry too much about people coming to try and overthrow us, but part of the reason we don't have to worry about that is because we have an army that is stopping anyone who would try.

Soldiers cannot have the option of opting out of missions because they don't agree with them: that violates the social contract. The duly-elected American government decided to go to war in Iraq. (Even if you maintain President Bush was not properly elected, Congress voted for war as well.) As a soldier, I have a duty to obey the orders of the President of the United States as long as they are Constitutional. I can no more opt out of missions I disagree with than I can ignore laws I think are improper. I do not consider it a violation of my individual rights to have gone to Iraq on orders because I raised my right hand and volunteered to join the army. Whether or not this mission was a good one, my participation in it was an affirmation of something I consider quite necessary to society. So if nothing else, I gave my life for a pretty important principle; I can (if you'll pardon the pun) live with that.

"It's all so brief, isn't it? A typical human lifespan is almost a hundred years. But it's barely a second compared to what's out there. It wouldn't be so bad if life didn't take so long to figure out. Seems you just start to get it right, and's over."
Dr. Stephen Franklin, Babylon 5

I wish I could say I'd at least started to get it right. Although, in my defense, I think I batted a solid .250 or so. Not a superstar, but at least able to play in the big leagues. I'm afraid I can't really offer any deep secrets or wisdom. I lived my life better than some, worse than others, and I like to think that the world was a little better off for my having been here. Not very much, but then, few of us are destined to make more than a tiny dent in history's Green Monster. I would be lying if I didn't admit I would have liked to have done more, but it's a bit too late for that now, eh? The bottom line, for me, is that I think I can look back at my life and at least see a few areas where I may have made a tiny difference, and massive ego aside, that's probably not too bad.

"The flame also reminds us that life is precious. As each flame is unique; when it goes out, it's gone forever. There will never be another quite like it."
Ambassador Delenn, Babylon 5

I write this in part, admittedly, because I would like to think that there's at least a little something out there to remember me by. Granted, this site will eventually vanish, being ephemeral in a very real sense of the word, but at least for a time it can serve as a tiny record of my contributions to the world. But on a larger scale, for those who knew me well enough to be saddened by my death, especially for those who haven't known anyone else lost to this war, perhaps my death can serve as a small reminder of the costs of war. Regardless of the merits of this war, or of any war, I think that many of us in America have forgotten that war means death and suffering in wholesale lots. A decision that for most of us in America was academic, whether or not to go to war in Iraq, had very real consequences for hundreds of thousands of people. Yet I was as guilty as anyone of minimizing those very real consequences in lieu of a cold discussion of theoretical merits of war and peace. Now I'm facing some very real consequences of that decision; who says life doesn't have a sense of humor?

But for those who knew me and feel this pain, I think it's a good thing to realize that this pain has been felt by thousands and thousands (probably millions, actually) of other people all over the world. That is part of the cost of war, any war, no matter how justified. If everyone who feels this pain keeps that in mind the next time we have to decide whether or not war is a good idea, perhaps it will help us to make a more informed decision. Because it is pretty clear that the average American would not have supported the Iraq War had they known the costs going in. I am far too cynical to believe that any future debate over war will be any less vitriolic or emotional, but perhaps a few more people will realize just what those costs can be the next time.

This may be a contradiction of my above call to keep politics out of my death, but I hope not. Sometimes going to war is the right idea. I think we've drawn that line too far in the direction of war rather than peace, but I'm a soldier and I know that sometimes you have to fight if you're to hold onto what you hold dear. But in making that decision, I believe we understate the costs of war; when we make the decision to fight, we make the decision to kill, and that means lives and families destroyed. Mine now falls into that category; the next time the question of war or peace comes up, if you knew me at least you can understand a bit more just what it is you're deciding to do, and whether or not those costs are worth it.

"This is true love. You think this happens every day?"
Westley, The Princess Bride

"Good night, my love, the brightest star in my sky."
John Sheridan, Babylon 5

This is the hardest part. While I certainly have no desire to die, at this point I no longer have any worries. That is not true of the woman who made my life something to enjoy rather than something merely to survive. She put up with all of my faults, and they are myriad, she endured separations again and again...I cannot imagine being more fortunate in love than I have been with Amanda. Now she has to go on without me, and while a cynic might observe she's better off, I know that this is a terrible burden I have placed on her, and I would give almost anything if she would not have to bear it. It seems that is not an option. I cannot imagine anything more painful than that, and if there is an afterlife, this is a pain I'll bear forever.

I wasn't the greatest husband. I could have done so much more, a realization that, as it so often does, comes too late to matter. But I cherished every day I was married to Amanda. When everything else in my life seemed dark, she was always there to light the darkness. It is difficult to imagine my life being worth living without her having been in it. I hope and pray that she goes on without me and enjoys her life as much as she deserves. I can think of no one more deserving of happiness than her.

"I will see you again, in the place where no shadows fall."
Ambassador Delenn, Babylon 5

I don't know if there is an afterlife; I tend to doubt it, to be perfectly honest. But if there is any way possible, Amanda, then I will live up to Delenn's words, somehow, some way. I love you.

*Epi's snip*

I have no words.
To Andrew's family and friends... My thoughts and prayers.

To all of our soldiers over there...Stay safe. Know that we hold you in our hearts and truly appreciate the sacrifices you are making to keep freedom free... To keep your loved ones from having to make the sacrifices you are... You are always in our thoughts.

Pardon the Interruption...

This goes against every fiber of my being but...

GO BUCKS!!!!!!!

Go support Emily!

What Makes Emily Strong

Emily is truly one of those inspiring hardcore girls.

I want to be her.

101 Goals in 1001 days

Okay... It's time to get off my lazy ass.

Sam, you've inspired me.

I've set 101 goals that I want to achieve in the next 1001 days. And I'm putting it out there for all of you to see (Sometimes a girl needs a little kick in the posterior to get moving :)).

Some of them are going to take some serious planning, but NONE of them are impossible. I'll take all the help I can get. I'm serious about this.

I've been in a funk for the last year or so, and there are so many areas of my life that have become... neglected.

Epijunky's 101

Come on over and check it out if you're bored.

Get a haircut already!!!

From the whiskey tango foxtrot files...

Four year old kicked out of preschool for "distracting" haircut.

Okay now... all I have to say is... Seriously?