Letting go of the little things... Hanging on to the memories

I've come to realize that as much as I adore my children, I probably wont be having any more.

I thought I was okay with that. I still think I might be. I just feel like it's time to get rid of their baby clothes (the ones not stained by bodily fluids or formula, anyway). I'll hang on to a few special things, but the bags and bags of clothes that I've kept over the years... I just don't have the need for any more.

My Sister-In-Law had hinted a few months ago that if there was "anything I don't want or need", she would be willing to take them off my hands. No, she's not pregnant yet, but I suspect she will be soon. I've decided to pack everything up and give it to her. For quite awhile the thought of parting with these little physical reminders of their babyhood was too much. Besides, I could always have another baby, I thought. I might need them.

I think it's time to let go.

No more onesies. I always adored onesies.

No more late nights with a colicky baby.

No more of those teeny newborn diapers, the ones that were still to big for my little ones.

No more teething rings. No more teething, period.

No more pacifiers, or Playtex bottles with the easy drop in liners that I loved so much.

No more rocking my precious angels while I'd give them their last bottle of the night.

No more coaxing a two year old to walk down the aisle as a flower girl.

So my Sister-In-Law will receive a few bags of clothing... I'll free up some space. I'll be a little sad. But I'll always have those memories. Oh, and that black and white dress... I'm keeping that.

Watch What You Say...

"Momma!!! Look, a firetruck!!!" My little girl is losing her mind from the backseat of the car. We're stopped at a traffic light, a Sprinter Ambulance is two or three cars ahead of us.

"No, honey, that's an Ambulance."

"Nooo, it's a FIREtruck." To She Who Rules, a firetruck is INFINITELY cooler than an Ambulance. Particularly the Sprinter type.

"SWR, Sweetheart, it's...an...Ambulance. Look, see the lights?" I realize that I'm arguing with a three-year-old and immediately shut my mouth.

Nice, Epi... Mom of the year material for sure.

The light turns green and the Ambulance turns ahead of us. When SWR sees the EKG rhythm marching across the side of the truck she squeals again, "Mooooom!!!! AMBULANCE! CATCH IT!"

I've been in that very Ambulance... Come to think of it, both of my kids have been in that Ambulance. It's the only Sprinter truck in the city, it's kind of hard to miss.

I follow the truck for the four blocks we have before they reach their station.


The late season snow storm took no one by surprise... Winters in Ohio are notorious for being frigid, snowy, and lasting clear into Spring. The Meteorologist had been on TV for the better part of the day warning us that we could expect a decent amount of the white stuff to come down in the early evening hours, starting during rush hour.

I was 33-weeks along with She Who Rules and had an OBGYN appointment that afternoon. FC went with me. Mr. Epi was working, and FC always loved to see the ultrasounds. I was aware that snow was coming, but I've lived in Ohio for most of my adult life. Driving in snow and icy conditions is nothing new to me.

The snow was starting to come down as we left the Doctor's Office. It was moderately heavy and quickly accumulating. With my stellar snow navigation skills I made it home in ten minutes. Well, almost.

I was sitting at the corner waiting to turn left, one block short of my house when some jackass nailed my car from behind, sending the car with me and FC, spinning.

The car came to a rest 180 degrees from where we started. My heart was racing. "FC, buddy, are you okay?" I turned to the back seat to see him sitting there with a wild look on his face. He had his seat belt on, he was okay.

"Mom what just happened? Did someone hit us?" Truly, he was more excited than scared.

I unbuckled my seat belt and got out of the car. "Yeah buddy, someone hit us. " I looked around for the car that I was SURE would be sitting just up the street, or backing up to make sure we were okay, just to see him speeding down Eleanor Blvd.

Then pregnant Epi got pissed. I wont repeat most of what I was alternating between yelling and mumbling under my breath, because truthfully, it was not something that should have been said in front of a five-year-old. And again, it was not a proud moment for me as a parent. I wanted to run down the street, find the guy who hit us, and kick his ass. Army style.

The nice guy who lived on the corner at the time came out of his house to check on us. "Ya'll okay? Did he take off? Oh... You are VERY pregnant, aren't you?"

Clearly. "Could you call 911 for me?" I was standing outside in the snow, no coat, ultrasound jelly stained on my shirt, in all my pregnant glory.

Friendly neighbor looked nervous, "You're going into labor or anything are you?"

"Oh God no, my neck hurts a little, that's all." Well, my whole body hurt, but I was pretty pregnant. I went back to the car and sat next to FC in the back seat of the car while Friendly neighbor called 911. FC was very brave. We could hear the sirens coming within minutes.

FC's eyes grew huge, "Mom, the firetrucks are coming, aren't they?"

The firetrucks were coming, the LifeSquad was coming, and two police cars were coming. Basically, the Calvary was on it's way, code 3. "Yes, Baby, the firetrucks are coming."

I just wanted to make a police report... that's all...

The engine arrived a minute later and immediately left. The LifeSquad stayed. Two Paramedics came to the car.

"Ma'am, how far along are you?" Paramedic 1 asked as he pulled a small notebook out of his pocket.

"I'm 33 weeks... Look, I'm really okay, my neck hurts a little, but I'm okay. We just wanted to make a police report for the --"

"Your neck hurts?" Paramedic 1 cut me off.

I nodded. "Well it hurts a little, it's not horrible." First mistake. I didn't know any better. I can't blame him, he was doing what he thought he needed to do... And as an EMT now, I would have done the same. Neck pain plus MVC buys you a board. Anything else will cost you your cert.

Medic 2 was assessing FC. For his part, he was asking plenty of questions. She was excellent with him. She distracted him as they told me that I needed to be boarded and collared and showed him the Ambulance as they slid me out of the car on the board.

I looked up at the Medic as he taped my head down. "You really think this is necessary?" The lights from the ambulance were bouncing off of the trees and houses and in general, making me nauseous.

"Well, Ma'am, yes I do. You have neck pain, you're pregnant, you could have a fracture in your neck, and you really need to at least be monitored in the ER." Then he taped right over my eyebrows.

Well at least I wont have to worry about that waxing I had scheduled for next week. Did he just call me Ma'am?

A private ambulance service arrived shortly to transport me. A petite blond female and a tall male EMT appeared above me. They exchanged pleasantries with the Medics from the ALS-only LifeSquad from TFD.

That's when it happened.

Medic 1: Do you guys need some help lifting her?

Female EMT: Yeah. Looks like she hasn't missed a meal lately.

Okay, this is where Epi from now has to look back and say WHAT THE FUCK WAS SHE THINKING?

I was CLEARLY pregnant.

Three days after the accident Yes, the pregnant overalls are HAWT, right?

Like I said, clearly I was pregnant. This EMT's one comment upset me to the point where I couldn't speak for most of the ride to the hospital. I'm sure the only reason I didn't verbally attack her on the spot was because my son was with me. Was she exhausted and cold? Probably. I don't doubt that considering the storm.

When I came across her almost a year later, as a fellow EMT, I took five minutes in an EMS room to remind her of who I was and the importance of watching what you say in front of a patient.


I have a very, very good friend who lost his Grandmother yesterday...

You know who you are.

I'm thinking about you now, and I'll be thinking about you tomorrow.

Find me if you need me.

365 Project - Day 29

Pondering A Career in EMS... An Anonymous Post for NSR

(Epi's note: A friend of mine is giving a career in EMS some serious thought. I asked her to write a short post for NSR this week. This is her contribution.)

Its amazing what a little time will do to resurrect old dreams and longings. Take me for instance, I am comfortably stuck in being a full time employee, parent and general flunky when a job change suddenly gave me ample time to sit back and think about things and I suppose the fact I was about to turn 40 had a little something to do with it.

I had been working in the medical field for too many years to count when suddenly it was time to really sit back and look at what I had been doing. As long as I had patient contact I enjoyed the mix of paperwork and patient care but suddenly when the patient care was taken away because I was needed more on the paperwork end of things, that enjoyment suddenly ended and it took me a long time to figure out that was the root cause of the problem.

I got out of medicine and took a job where I spent greeting people and having plenty of time to surf the Net (yes, I admit it) one day found EMS blogs linked to CNN's Health page and I was once again immersed in the medical world. I laughed, I cried, I knew exactly what the bloggers were saying because even though mine was in office world we still had our share of heartache, danger(yes, danger from threats etc made by insane family members), disappointments and stress. And I was hooked- I thought "you're goofy, you don't want to go back to that-you have the best work schedule you've had in years, its a good job! etc, etc" every reason I could to talk myself out of it.

I made the decision to go back to school but to be a business major- and knew instantly that this was not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life- but still kept slogging away but other issues intervened and I had to drop those business classes- outwardly with an "oh that's too bad we'll try again" but inside with "Thank You Lord Jesus for getting me out of that."

I started seriously thinking about medicine again but thought I cannot go back into an office or hospital setting- the thought of working with 1 or 100 bitchy, hormonally challenged, power tripping women just wanted to make me puke. I would slug 1 or all and be in jail before the day was over.

The only other thing I could think of to do was EMS. I started researching the various programs and degree plans and decided to check into our local university which has an excellent paramedic degree program. But then I thought "you're stupid- you're jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, you're too old for this, and on and on" not to mention that only 4 out how many people I discussed this with thought it was a good idea. Most looked at me as though I had lost my mind and then the demeanor of one who is not with it mentally began to explain it wasn't a good idea. Which combined with HUGE responsibility of being in EMS- it sent me into an agonizing decision making period.

After much research and more agonizing- I finally got the guts up to talk to our local EMS dept at the university. I spent a lot of the appointment trying to talk myself out of it but I couldn't disagree with anything with what the local EMS dept was telling me. I felt so much at home- and with all of my previous courses I could go right into the Basic EMT classes- I was so stinking happy- just thinking about being able to help patients again. But I also realized that there would be moments of pure BS, terror, and horror- not to mention the 100% likelihood of being puked on, urinated on and so on and treated like a total piece of crap to put it somewhat politically correct.

But like a kid headed toward the candy jar I just kept on going- sat in on a Basic class- and felt at home for the first time in months. I don't want to come across as it just seems like I spun a wheel and it landed on EMS. I've always been interested in EMS and have always worked in the most high stress, demanding, emotionally challenging (not to mention draining) places and yet on the other hand have had one or two completely boring paperwork only jobs that have drained me emotionally because I have so much to give- and I couldn't give it. As well, a few years ago my family and I survived a horrific accident and I've been marking time- its time to start giving back. I know that sounds superficial but its time I started helping again instead of just moldering.

I still haven't made a final decision regarding what I am going to do- there's a couple other options or so I'd like to explore- maybe counseling and so on- but it will take 4 yrs to do that and I am ready to rumble now and yes, I realize that it would be 2 and 1/2 years before I could be a paramedic ( if I manage to get through Basic and then the paramedic program) its still a huge decision because of the responsibility, the dedication and strength it takes to get through. Not to mention the upheaval faced in my own personal circle. We would all have to make a sacrifice for me to do this.

So basically what it boils down to, is that I hope for most EMS students and most EMS wanna be students is that realization this is going to be long, hard road and that its a agonizing decision to make, one not to be taken lightly.

24 Hours In The Life Of A Medic Student

There's a lesson to be learned here...
March 21-22, 2007

2300: Walk out of ER at University of Michigan and begin 20 minute walk to my car. The last eight hours have flown past. I love ER clinicals. I nailed 10/12 IV's on the first try.

0015: Walk into station, change uniforms and join Pseudo Dad. It's been a long day, hopefully it'll stay quiet so I can study.

0017: County Run. Code three. Off we go.

0140: We're back in the station. I roll over in the chair and try to close my eyes for a few minutes. I'm soaked from the rain. My head is throbbing.

0200: Transfer run. Grab a Diet Pepsi and head out the door.

0530: Fuel the truck, head back to the station.

0600: Dialysis transfer. Drag myself to truck and sleep while Pseudo Dad drives.

0715: Back at the station, clock out with dispatch and head home.

0730: Get FC ready for school, wake up the little girl.

0900: Make eggs for little girl.

0930: Pull textbook out with associated power points and attempt to study for huge test

1200: Put She Who Rules down for a nap. Consider a nap for myself but decide that more studying would be a good thing.

1225: Doze off

1345: Wake up when Little Girl pokes me in the forehead. Instantly feel guilty for not studying.

1500: Wait for son to get out of school, study from book in parking lot. Start to despise the endocrine system.

1600: Leave for school.

1710: Arrive at school early, study some more. Drink more caffeine.

1800: Class starts.

1815: Endocrine test starts.

1930: I emerge from classroom. The test is over. I need a drink. A strong one.

2140: Class is over. Clinical starts in a little over an hour. I spend the next hour sleeping in my car.

2300: Burn Unit Clinical starts.

Two of the longest days of my life. This is how NOT to do it.

365 Project - Day 27

Yep. There are allergies and there are ALLERGIES.

Friday Night Blogging - Low Blood Sugar Edition

Meet Matt Medic (Yes, his real name. Check out Wiki if you don't believe me! He's there.) :
Yes, folks, it's blurry. My BGL took a nose dive this afternoon, blame it on that.

Matt Medic was one of my Son's favorite toys, once upon a time, and by extension, is now my Daughter's favorite.

Matt is hardcore. Check out his awesomeness...
And like James Bond, he has the BEST toys.
I mean CLEARLY he is the ultimate in pre-hospital care! He comes equipped with (starting from approximately 8 o'clock):

Super righteous torpedo like IO device. You can't tell me that's not impressive!

At about 1:00 we have the obligatory sunglasses. Okay, so Matt's aren't all that cool, but they are necessary.

At approximately 2:00 we have the ultimate in stethoscopes. The Littmann Cardio 8000. So effective it can hear into the future! Perfect for that medic who has been subjected to the noise from sirens and of course loud extrication equipment. Will your patient tank twenty minutes into that transport? With the Littmann Cardio 8000 you'll know before your patient does.

And finally, the Coup de grĂ¢ce of EMS equipment, the Lifepak 360. Comes complete with diamond plating (never underestimate the healing qualities of diamond plating!), the ability to navigate through any natural disaster (hurricane, earthquake, firestorm as evidenced by the arrows). Unfortunately it's still somewhat unreliable as far as BP's go, and God help you if you don't bring fifty extra batteries with you.

Good LORD check out the size of his feet!

Okay, I'm not right, I've admitted it. My apologies.

He comes with a buddy, btw...

His name is Jake Justice. I'm sure once upon a time he came with fun toys, but after years of... work, he's lost them. Hopefully they'll reappear as I dig through Future Cardiologist's toy box.

Like I said, I'm not right.

Thanks Jay G...

A big thank you to Jay G. over at MArooned for the pimpage.

For those of you visiting from his site, I promise to have something worth reading up soon.

Just sayin...

I don't know WHO the redhead is in the BDU's on Grey's Anatomy right now, but he trached some guy in the field with a ball point pen.

He's hot. HAWT.

Just sayin'.

How to make EJ smile.

Nikki over at Le Jour Bleu (you really should go check that site out, they're doing the picture a day thing on their own terms, and I've LOVED what I've seen so far!) put up a picture earlier that spoke to me... So I commented on it.

This was her response to my comment:

I love ya girl. You made my day :)

365 Project - Day 24

It's not been a good day.

365 Project - Day 23

Soup. It's what's for dinner.
And lunch.
And breakfast. Ughhh. Stomach is rolling.

365 Project - Day 22

When I was three my parents bought me my first baby doll. About a year ago my mother dug the baby out and presented it to my little girl. She loves it as much today as I did then.

White Bread.

BDU pants.


Freshly pressed random EMS shirt.

Check. Check.

Extremely eager and geeky EMT.

Triple check, baby.

Yes, folks, that's me. I've been reduced to being "that chick". That EMT. That person who is entirely too excited to be one of us on the job. The one that everyone is annoyed by. The one who is too green to be burned out, the one who lives for the tones to drop, the one you HATE.

At least I recognize it in myself. That's got to count for something, right?

I'm with that friend, the one I mentioned from basic school. The one who hates bugs but doesn't want anyone to know about it (sorry dear, had to say it! Payback is a bitch!) The one who refuses to be photographed unless he is covered in blood. The one who's ass I'm going to kick the next time I play in euchre and the one who is pissing himself right now at the prospect of being revealed by name. It's okay hon, all evidence of your existence has been removed from this blog.

For my part, I've been reduced to the position of observer. Third rider. As in, sure, check out the craziness that is the Detroit Metro area, but don't you dare touch a patient.

Okay then, fair enough. Hell I'm willing to scrub your toilets if you give me a job. Is it okay if I still wear some pretty purple gloves?

I'm assured it's more than okay. And oh, by the way, you're going to need to throw this on.

Fantastic. At least my boobs look like Pamela Anderson's. Mental note: If I get hired, I need to find one in an adult size. Or not, if there are boys in flight suits or turnout gear nearby. Hopefully I won't have to breathe.

Those of you who really know me know that I'm as white bread as they come.

I didn't get shot at, no one swung at me (hell, Ann Arbor's got ya beat there), but it was eye opening.

Inner city in NW Ohio does not equate to inner city in fucking Detroit.

For now, I'm going to bed.

More tomorrow including a routine dialysis transfer that was extremely routine, a trip to a prison that was anything but routine, what in the hell was he doing in a bar anyway, and bugs bugs and more bugs.

Yeah, I know, exciting. I know. /end sarcasm.

Hey you... yeah... you.

If you've linked to me on your blog and I haven't linked back, let me know.

I'll add you.

365 Project - Day 21

Who said that chalk was just for the kids?

365 Project - Day 20

"Mommaaaaaaaa?" My little girl was yelling from her car seat in the back of my less than trusty Kia.

"Yes Honey?"


My little princess is absolutely OBSESSED with trains. To the point where she loses her mind if we don't take the route that will put us at no less than three sets of tracks. God help me if I take a route that avoids a blocked train crossing.

What a difference a day makes.

Holy Hell folks.

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I was trying (really really trying) to come to grips with the fact that I might have to work a computer job.

Last night I was sitting at my computer, minding my own business, (okay, so I was reading the Love Story of Ree and her Marlboro Man... What can I say, I'm a sucker for a good romance :)) when the little Yahoo email icon popped up on my computer screen. Instinctively, I double-clicked it.

A friend from Basic school emailed me letting me know that they were looking for EMT's at his service in Detroit.

First of all, I'm shocked that someone who knows me actually reads my posts. I had no idea. Honestly.

Secondly... DETROIT!

Detroit's not that far, only 45 minutes or so.... Right?

Who cares that it's.... well... DETROIT. Who cares that I'll probably inherit a bullet proof vest to wear to work. Okay, so that's the logical Mother side of me.

I'm allowing myself to get excited about the idea.

I'll let you know how it plays out :)

365 Project - Day 19

It's not as bad as it looks, I promise. I didn't throw a can of WD-40 into the fire pit. Trust me the flames would be CONSIDERABLY higher. And I'd have no hair. Just trying to enjoy the last days of summer.

Oh Jacki....

It just amazes me what some people are capable of.

I know that this kind of abuse is more than likely more prevalent than what I hear about, especially all the way up here in Ohio, but her stupidity and ability to so brazenly take advantage of a horrible situation just boggles my mind.

Okay, so you were lucky enough to have your home spared during the last hurricane.

Excellent. Happy for you.

You're a high school teacher who is getting paid to sit at home and watch soap operas while your school is temporarily closed.

Fantastic. Enjoy your paid time off, maybe volunteer to help those who lost everything thanks to Ike?

You plan your day out based on where you can score free food, bottled water and MRE's MEANT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO FOOD.

Wow. You are truly a waste of skin, I have a feeling the angels won't be crying for you.

You then post about your shenanigans on the Blog that contains your real name in the address.

Perfect. You really are brilliant.

From "The Secret Life of an Uninteresting Teacher" at http://jackisteinhauer.blogspot.com:

"I got Schlotsky's today for lunch and went again to the courthouse in Baytown to get my water, ice, and food. This time, there were different meals, but hopefully as good as the others. Then, i came home, emptied my trunk and then headed off for the Deer Park POD (Point of Delivery)."

Oh, that's good stuff, Jacki. Here's another gem:

"Yesterday I ate meatballs with marinara sauce, almonds, wheat bread with cheese sauce, pretzels, and the orange punch. Today's meal was chili mac, applesauce, a pop-tart, wheat bread with cheese sauce, fruit punch, and apple cider"

"It is so cool that you put a little bit of water in the bag with the food and in about a minute, there is hot food. This is great. I don't have school and getting free food!"

You're amused by MRE's. Ohmygoodness. I can't even go there. It's too easy.

Something tells me she doesn't teach Ethics. Just a theory.

I'm moving on. For now.

I've always said that my Mother is one of the toughest people I know.

She raised us on her own. A single Mother, with no help whatsoever from my Father. She worked thankless job upon thankless job. Sometimes two or three at a time. She'd come home, exhausted, just to make dinner, do laundry, iron the clothes, fix lunches, get us ready for bed and collapse into her own bed.

Lather, rinse, repeat. The woman is and will always be a damn Saint in my eyes.

In her 51 years she never had a job she enjoyed. She never had a job that left her feeling like she did some good at the end of the day. She never had a job where she looked forward to going in to in the morning. She never complained. At least in front of us.

As an adult (if you can call me that) and a parent, I understand that she was doing what she needed to do to keep my brother and I clothed, and housed and fed. She never took a dime of public assistance in all those years.

I respect the hell out of her. Let me make sure I make that perfectly clear. I just wish she would have been able to pursue a passion of hers. Any passion. Growing up I knew she was miserable.

I have worked some pretty miserable jobs over the years (Ride Operator at Cedar Point comes to mind -- vomit potential was an 8/10). I never really felt passionate about a job until I became an EMT. In a few short years it's become part of my identity.

I'm to the point now where I can't imagine doing anything else with my life.

And that scares the shit out of me.

I've found something that I truly believe I was meant to do. And I'm not ready to give it up. I am an intrepid saver of lives after all. *smirk* While I'm not ready to give it up, I don't have a choice right now.

There is a serious shortage of EMS jobs locally. I'm facing the fact that the job I'm so passionate about is not the job I'm going to be doing. I'm going to take what my Mother taught me about bucking up and "doing what you have to do to get by" and put it into practice.

It looks like I'm back to working with computers.

I don't know what that means for my blog here... I still have some EMS posts left in me, but I don't know for how much longer. I'm not saying goodbye, I'm just saying... Hell, I don't know what I'm saying.

I will still be living vicariously through all of you out there, living the dream. Even if you're saying it facetiously.

Post Script: Before my favorite commenter says something to the effect of "But Epi... You had an EMS job. You quit it. Now STFU already!" Let me say this. There were things going on at that company that I've not made public in my posts. Was I stressed out there? Yes. But there was more. I don't regret for one second getting out of that situation.

Batten down the hatches baby! It's Talk Like A Pirate Day!

365 Project - Day 18

Deeply engrossed in a good book while enjoying the last days of summer. (Had to pause to look up the word "unctuously" however.)

365 Project - Day 17

"Mom? How come you put so many pictures of my sister up? Where are my pictures?"

Nothing gets past my 8-year-old. The truth is that right now I spend a lot more time with his sister because she's not in school and well, he is. He doesn't remember the first five years of his life when I spent every waking second with him. He doesn't realize that his smile can bring me out of the foulest mood. That his tears break my heart like no one elses. That even though his little sister is younger, he will always be my Baby.

From this point on, little guy, equal time for you. I promise.

Please stop me before I go postal at FC's school

Last year at the beginning of the school year (when we were going through the whole flea debacle) I noticed a huge change in Future Cardiologist. The little guy who in the past had cried on the days he had to stay home from school now had no interest in it. In fact, he was dreading school.

Determined to get to the bottom of what was going on, I sat him down and grilled him using every motherly trick in the book until he would talk.

He was getting picked on. This kid was pushing FC, teasing him, and trying to talk his Best Friend into "not being best friends" with him. FC has a very difficult time making friends. This was a serious thing to him. My child was being reduced to tears over it. I know that this is typical grade school crap, but it broke my heart. I talked to his teacher who assured me she would keep them separated and keep an eye on the situation. Things got better for a few months.

Fast Forward to February, 2008.

I was waiting outside of FC's school to pick him up. It was snowing, the wind was blowing, and in general it was just one of those days that you curse anyone and everyone because you're standing outside, well, in the damn snow. I was huddled up against the side of the school building trying to stay out of the wind.

FC's class marched out of the door and almost instantly I saw this little brat, er, child, shove my son. Hard. FC stumbled. The brat yelled at FC to "MOVE OR I'LL PUSH YOU AGAIN!"

OH HELL NO. I don't care if this kid is the son of the PTA president (he is) or President of the United Frickin' States (he is not).

I came close to losing my damn mind. Instantly and without thinking I dropped to my knee and looked this little punk, er, eight-year-old, in the eye and simultaniously spoke to my son.

"Who is this little boy who is pushing you?"

FC spoke up with a renewed confidence. "That's Evil-2nd-grade-demon!*"

(Holding my evil glare) "Well someone needs to tell him that it's REALLY NOT A GOOD IDEA to push other kids in his class. You never know when that kid will PUSH YOU BACK."

Okay, not my proudest moment. At least I didn't invoke Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy.

That Little Shit (his now given name between my Mother and I) left FC alone for the rest of that school year. Up until today.

He pushed my kid again. I saw him do it. And my Son is not yet to the point where he'll push back.


FC is in third grade. I know he needs to learn how to stand up for himself. My problem is that in my current situation I don't know how to teach him that. I'm going to talk to his teacher again, or at least that's what I think I should do. I just don't know.

My son is tenderhearted. He's a good kid. I know he needs to grow a thicker skin and learn how to stand up for himself.

I just don't know how to teach him that. If you have any advice I'd really appreciate it.

(*My name for the little brat, not FC's)

365 Project - Day 16

It's like she's conducting her own symphony!
The highlight of my day, without a doubt.

365 Project - Day 15

Sometimes the only serenity I can find is in a jar.

Welcome HOME Frisch Family. (365 Project - Day 14)

One of the most memorable days of my life. I'm so grateful for having the opportunity to be a part of it.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - The Reveal.

When I left you I was saying how I was promised to work on the build site for the reveal.

They kept their promise.

I woke up after a fitful two hours of sleep and made my way towards the church parking lot where were were meeting up to catch the bus for the house. 0600 comes awful early when you're not well rested, friends. Thank God they furnished us with a never ending supply of energy drinks for the duration of the day.

The last time I saw the house it looked like this:

This was mid afternoon on Wednesday. Foundation was poured and the framing was underway.

Now I realize that the whole premise of the show is volunteers tearing down one house and rebuilding a mini-mansion in just 106 hours. I was still shocked when I stepped off the bus and witnessed the progress they had made in such a short period of time.

0700 ish Sunday. That's a completed (mostly) house folks. The only thing left to do was touch up the paint and clean up. Unbelievable. There were at least three hundred volunteers working when I arrived. Just on the house.

There was a LOT of sitting around and people watching for the first two hours or so. Until they let the spectators in. When I had arrived at 0610 or so there were a hundred lined up at the gate to the build site and several dozen lined up at the bussing site about a mile away.

Just a small portion of the crowd. There were thousands there by noon and the site was closed due to the amount of people.

They put me on hydration duty with a few others and we doled out hundreds of water bottles to the crowd and the crew.

Then they put us on trash pick up. That was.... Less than fulfilling, but it passed the time.

We started to hear through the grapevine around 11am that they were going to push the reveal time up to noon instead of 1400 so that we could beat the storm that was heading our way. Apparently shooting a TV show in a torrential downpour is less than ideal. I made my way back up to the house and got to check out the house. I wasn't allowed to take any pictures inside (rest assured, it's stunning. If you manage to catch the episode be on the look out for the "very green bed"), but I did manage to snap a few of the backyard.

They were limited by the fact that the house is in the middle of a heavily populated neighborhood and the lot size just wasn't what is typical for the show. But it was beautiful. If you click on the pictures you can zoom in a little bit. In the above shot you can almost make out the waterfall and the pond in the back corner.

If I had eleven kids I would be calling this my "happy place". It was very peaceful. They also had a very nice firepit, lots of seating, and a great sound system for the back.

Landscaping. Looks a hell of a lot better than my back yard. The grass is actually GREEN.

And then... The actual shooting began. And insanity ensued. The guy above in the cowboy hat was the crew's equivalent of a cruise director. He jumped. He skipped. He break danced. He barked orders to the volunteers and simultaneously apologized for being "a dick". I instantly fell in love.

The magic of Hollywood.
The crew decided that the island in the cul-de-sac looked like crap covered in stone. This began what I like to think was the world's quickest sod job.

LITERALLY eight minutes later the island was covered. It only took fifteen people and a few rakes. I need to find them and have them come attack my yard. Yes, for those of you who watch the show, that is "The Bus" that the crowd screams to "move." I think we screamed "Move That Bus" for almost an hour. Fifteen takes from fifty different directions.

Then came the fun part.

The Frisch Family came home. To their new home. For the first time. I was very fortunate to be so close.

I was close enough to see their facial expressions... And I can tell you that they honestly looked humbled by the attention and the crowds, and excited beyond belief. I can also tell you that the crew pulled that limo onto the site (empty) several times to make practice the shot and at the same time ensure that the family wouldn't be able to see the house when they got out. The windows of the Limo were blacked out.

The Frisch Family. If you blow the pic up it's probably going to be out of focus (again, I only had my cell phone camera to use), you might be able to make out Ty, he's to the left of the Frisch's on the right side of the shot... And the cameras, and the dude in the cowboy hat is the "cruise director" of the crew (he's some kind of Production Assistant or Producter or something).

He signaled the crowd to start yelling "Move That BUS!!!" one last time... And this time the bus engine was running. They pulled the bus away and the family instantly fell to pieces. As did most of the crowd. Myself included.

The kids dropped to the ground. Aaron and Jackie (Mom and Dad) were sobbing. The little guy, at just three years old or so, didn't know what to think and clung to his older brother. It was something I'll never forget.


I was sunburned, exhausted, and my feet were cramping up from standing in the same place for a few hours, but happy.

I was happy I got to be a part of it all.

As Ty would say, Welcome Home, Frisch family, welcome home.

You lose some, you win some.

So I'm supposed to be volunteering at the Extreme Makeover set. Midnight to six am.

Clearly, I'm not there.

However they have promised me a choice shift tomorrow at the house for the reveal! (I realize a promise at this point isn't worth a damn thing, but the potential is pretty exciting for me!)

So, hopefully, twelve hours from now I'll be on the site when the Frisch family first sees their new home. God willing and all that.

Who knows, maybe you'll see me on TV in a few weeks. I'll be the tall one in the blue shirt oogling the guys in turnout gear.

Just kidding.

Okay, not really.

Honestly, I'm just excited to be able to help.

365 Project - Day 13

Chili. The ultimate comfort food for a cold rainy day.

A few further thoughts on my 9/11 post.

EE said...

"Epi, girl, you know I love you...but there were more than 323 heros that day...there were also ~30 LEOs that ran into that building. There were a lot more than 343 heros that day."
She's absolutely right.

Let me start by saying that I never meant to insinuate that there were only 343 heroes that day.

There were countless heroes, the majority whose stories we'll never know. All there just because they had a job to do. All heroes.

I'm sure I'll miss some group here, but to start:
343 Firefighters
23 NYPD Officers
37 Port Authority Officers
125 people (Soldiers and Civilian) from the Pentagon
PA K9 Officer
8 Private and Public EMS employees
FBI, Tax Enforcement, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Secret Service all lost at least one person
Thousands of civilians in all of the buildings and on the planes.

All heroes.

The point of my post on 9/11 was to share my thoughts about that day. My memories and my thoughts. Those 343 people that I referred to were the people that left an indelible mark on my soul, the image that I'll carry with me forever. I stand by that.

From my original post:

"The image that I will forever associate with this horrible day will be the faces of the Firefighters running into those buildings. The stories of how those brave men and women kept people calm and moving down the dozens of flights of stairs while they courageously climbed them. Those 343 heroes."

365 Project - Day 12

Sometimes you need to know when to let your dreams go. I will probably never be a Paramedic. I hope that sooner or later I get used to that idea.


I'm sure that most of you are familiar with Crzegrl/Emily.

I've never made it a secret that I'm in awe of her.

This 9/11 video post is just... Well, I've watched it twice and I still can't find words that adequately describe how I feel.

To everyone who puts on a uniform, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

365 Project - Day 11


I was sleeping in. Mr. Epi tore into our bedroom yelling something about a plane hitting the WTC. It took a moment for what he was saying to sink in.

When I finally made it to the living room, FC was on the floor playing with trains, Mr. Epi was sitting on the couch completely engrossed in the reports that were coming in from everywhere courtesy of CNN.

I sat down next to him and grabbed his hand. "This wasn't an accident, was it?" He didn't think it was.

Then the second plane hit.

I couldn't move. I just sat there, tears streaming down my face as I thought about all of the people in those planes. All of those families with children. All of those people... Gone, just like that. And then there were those in the buildings... I had visited the WTC before with my ex. Those buildings held a special place in my heart.

The thought of one or both of them collapsing never crossed my mind.

Mr. Epi emerged from FC's bedroom just in time to hear me shriek as the first tower fell. He held me as I sobbed when the second tower fell.

The image that I will forever associate with 9/11 will not be the planes crasing into the buildings, or into the pentagon, or into that field in Pennsylvania.

It won't be the people jumping to their deaths.

It won't even be watching those buildings fall. All of these things were horrible tragedies, and my prayers have always and will always go up for those innocent victims.

The image that I will forever associate with this horrible day will be the faces of the Firefighters running into those buildings. The stories of how those brave men and women kept people calm and moving down the dozens of flights of stairs while they courageously climbed them.

Those 343 heroes.

Rest in Peace. And may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Freedom Isn't Free...

Lucy over at Lucy's Logic posted a very touching story about a recent trip to Washington DC with a group of students.

Get out your tissues.

Thank you, Lucy, for sharing this story with us today.

An EXTREME visit.

I think I've mentioned (a few times maybe) that Extreme Makeover Home Edition has come to Toledo.

Maybe once or twice. Or three times. Who knows. I'm a fan... What can I say?

I am set to volunteer on Saturday night into Sunday morning (the big reveal is shortly after my shift ends on Sunday... BONUS!). I was supposed to work last night but I was sicker than a damn dog. Rather than show up green I bowed out gracefully. *sigh*

So... This late afternoon - early evening we ventured out to the Extreme site.

Keep in mind that it's only day two.

We were greeted with this:

An hour long wait for the bus that takes you to the neighborhood the house is in. Good God that's a mouthful. The kids hung in there and I was impressed. I should have seen the crowd and realized I was in over my head. But no. Not me. More on that in a bit.

When you step off of the bus you're greeted with this blanket release. Basically anything you do or say can be recorded and used on the show. Or any other show. So don't do anything you wouldn't want your Mother to see you do on National TV. At this point I decided that it would be *bad* to rip my shirt off in Ty's presence. No Epi Gone Wild moments today.

You have to think about the kiddies you know.

ISOH/Impact is collecting donations for disaster relief. I believe the donations are heading to Haitian children affected by the recent hurricane devastation. The family that the house is being built for has adopted five children from Haiti and three from Toledo. The donations have overwhelmed the organization... Several PODS units have been packed to capacity. They were turning donations away tonight when we left.

We managed to catch a local news reporter delivering a live report from the site. Since my Step Dad is the Chief Photographer for the same station and both of my kids have been on the news more than once, they were less than impressed.

Here's where things got very interesting. I don't have any pictures that can convey what this neighborhood has been transformed into. Picture this. You live on a nice little street in a middle class neighborhood. On a typical day there are kids playing everywhere, the noise of traffic is audible but still a distance away.

Compare that to this. Your normally fairly quiet neighborhood is overrun by THOUSANDS of people. A queue line is set up with metal gates, people are trampling your yard, standing in your driveway, taking pictures of your neighbors house. Cement trucks, construction crews and random people stroll around. Flood lights blanket your house at ungodly hours. The quiet is gone. Your normally peaceful nights are replaced with the constant sound of trucks, folks laughing and talking, and the sound of hammers pounding nails.

I love the idea behind this show, I really do. But at the same time, I'd probably elect to spend the week at a friend's house. Either that or I'd charge folks to stand on my formerly green lawn.

This is as close as we got the the actual house. It's hard to believe that a little more than a day ago there was another home standing here.

If you look really hard (and squint your eyes and stick your tongue out and point north), you'll see a white splotch within the white circle I so skillfully drew in photoshop. That splotch belongs to the hardhat worn by none other than Paulie. This guy:

It took us an hour to make our way up to within twenty feet of the fence they had set up. Rather than scar my kids for life (the crowd was kind of intense, as someone who is a veteran of some crazy concerts where I sat general admission, I'm willing to admit that) we hung out for a few minutes and headed back in the general direction of the bus. At one point I lost Future Cardiologist and just about lost my mind in addition. He was two feet in front of me. In front of a 400 lb woman on a hoverround holding a "Marry Me Ty" sign. We retreated to the relative calm of yet another line. This time to catch the bus that would shuttle us back to the parking lot where we could finally sit.

We chilled out. Which is good because I was ready to die at this point. Feeling like crap and dealing with large crowds do NOT mix. Don't let the smile fool ya.

We ran into a friend from my former employer. She was taking her kiddies to see the site. I tried to express to her how insane the scene was that way, but she didn't seem to notice. I didn't want to spoil the fun for her girls.

Thank GOD we retreated when we did. I can only assume that the crowds will just be getting worse as the time goes on.

In all, it rocked.