911

I don’t talk about work a lot here as I often feel it is just too much for people. It was never really the purpose of my blog either. The first thing a person often asks me when they discover my line of work, "What is the worst call you’ve ever taken?" Honestly, I’ve taken so many calls over the years, there really isn’t just one or two. I also like to think I don’t remember calls simply because of how awful they are. Actually, I know that is true. But yeah, there are always calls that stick with you for one reason or another. I can name on two hands the calls that have stuck with me. I guess that is good considering it has been 15 years! In no particular order:

1) Gay guy shoots himself on the phone with me.

2) Security guard finds an aborted baby in a trash can on the 15th floor of an office building.

3) Woman with psych issues throws her kids in the bay and drowns them because "the voices said so. ."

4) Little girl calls 911 and hangs up, on call back I had a suspicion she was being molested.

5) Woman calls because her boyfriend has stabbed her (6-9 times)1

6) Homeless guy pulls a dying man from a burning vehicle

7) The lion that got loose at the zoo and mauled a kid. (Yes that one)

8) The death of an officer in the line of duty. (Sadly, I’ve been present for two of these)

9) An unwitnessed arrest patient that woke up.2

10) The first baby I helped deliver.

#1 Was very personal to me. I was still very new at the time. He was determined to do it and he did. I felt bad but I knew I had done my absolute best and so never lost sleep over it. I still remember the conversation we had. It had a big impact on my decision to share my own near-suicide from my childhood on my blog.

#4 Is probably the only call where I felt like I failed the caller. The police made contact with the father but couldn’t prove anything. I did a lot of extra work, making calls to different agencies, hunting for any source of proof to push it further. Nothing came of it. It still gnaws at me to this day.

#7 Should be self-explanatory if you lived in SF at the time.

#8 Is still very painful to me and I still get very sad over it at times. I also had a co-worker that took her own life (not at work). She was a classmate and a friend. I still do a remembrance for her every year.

#10 Is by far the funniest because the father was constantly one-step away from losing it the whole time. It wasn’t until I tried to give him instructions on how to clip the cord that he really just lost it. "Oh man, you are asking too much!" was his reply! heehee Luckily, the crews arrived just then. I never got to meet the baby but I hope he is healthy and fabulous!

It shouldn’t come as a surprise I’m looking forward to my extended admin assignment. But don’t misunderstand, it isn’t to avoid these types of calls, just the opposite actually. The time away will allow me to renew the compassion and concern that pushed me into this job in the first place. The breadth of my call volume has definitely been building up on me, even I can see it. I find I’m more jaded and irritated at callers these days. I’m quick to frustration over people who abuse the system.

It used to be I’d take a nice vacation away and come back fully refreshed. Lately, it doesn’t seem to help. If anything, the extraordinarily stable home life as of late has been the biggest offset. Having Shawn and Cooper gives me peace and joy. Anyway, I’m hoping the break from day to day the drama will allow me to recover from years of abuse and raw emotion. I don’t want to end up bitter and angry at the public. I don’t want to not care or be indifferent to the suffering of others.

People often tell me, "you knew what you signed up for", or "you get paid a lot of money, so what if it’s hard." And it might be true on both counts to a degree, but I’m still a human being. I didn’t suddenly gain the ability to not be affected by the work I do. I can’t switch on/off my emotions. And I honestly think I’m better suited for this job than others. I rarely take work home with me and I handle stress pretty well. Even the best person wears down over time.

I’ll still work "the floor" from time to time to keep my skills up, but I’ll be out of daily call rotations for 3-5 years. (I can stay a full 5 or come back after 3) My assignment starts the first week in June. I’ll be in the same building just in a different section. Besides, the super early hours, I’m really looking forward to it.




  1. And yet she is still worried the police will shoot him. They also use this one for training new cadets []
  2. Statistically very rare []

Aria

The title sounds like a whimsical name doesn’t it? "Aria" is the brand name for Fitbit’s new weight scale. I mentioned a while back that Shawn and I have really gotten into using our Fitbits. Shawn decided to buy Fitbit’s new , code named Aria, to help track our fitness and health. It was a little more than you’d spend on a regular scale but overall not terribly expensive. I actually got a little excited at the prospect because 1) I’m a geek, and 2) I usually have to weigh myself at the gym. It would have been nice to track my weight progress via the app. I say ‘would have’ because It was an absolute flop. The device was simple in design and aesthetically pleasing; however, getting it to work properly was such a struggle we finally gave up and are sending it back. Talk about product fail!

Shawn actually felt like his view on the company as a whole was tarnished, which is why I bring it up today. He asked me if I felt like the whole line of products was cheap because of our experience w/such a shoddy scale. I didn’t necessarily feel the same but it did get me to thinking. How often does a first time experience tarnish a brand’s view or image? I’d imagine quite a lot. For myself, I’m more irritated than anything. We really like Fitbit as a whole and to experience so much frustration over a simple product was disappointing.

Part of me falls back on the adage, "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." And to keep things in perspective, this is a first world problem. No one really needs a scale that connects to an app. We’ve gotten by since the invention of the scale with the non-connected versions just fine. Yes, the convenience is nice but therein lies the problem. If you are bringing a product that deals solely in convenience to market, you really need to make sure it doesn’t overshadow the most important aspect, convenience! We wasted nearly 45 mins trying to get it to work properly. Forty five minutes!

I don’t feel my view of the company has declined, but I doubt I’d ever rush out and buy any of their new products again. I’d still recommend Fitbit bands but I’d obviously steer clear of the scale.

Too Old

I’ve reached an age where people have started asking me “if I’m too old for [insert behavior] that.” One of the biggest is video games. Let me just say, anytime you ask someone if they are too old for video games, you clearly don’t play video games. If you played with any level of frequency, you’d know better. Most video games are made for young men but they appeal to a broad spectrum of players. And with ‘mobile’ eating into the console market, it will only get broader.

As I’ve mentioned here, I don’t mind aging. I don’t have a desire to chase my youth, as the phrase goes. The shortest answer I can give anyone is I’ll be too old when I’m bored or dead. Beyond that, I just giggle and keep going. And honestly, even if the person is too old for something, if they are happy and not hurting anyone, who cares? I kind of used to be that way. There was this guy back home that dressed like he was a teenager. He was well into his 40’s at the time and it was painfully obvious. I admit I kinda looked down on him a bit. I thought he was trying to hold onto his childhood. But so what if he was. He never harmed me or anyone else by it. And he seemed happy. Shame on me for looking down on him. Being an adult doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or do things you enjoyed as a child/teenager.

To date, I’ve been asked if I’m too old to: ride motorcycles, rollerblade, play video games, watch cartoons, wear tshirts, and even to blog. There are more but you get the point. Who sets these arbitrary age limits anyway? hehehe Anyway, while I’ll probably stop riding motorcycle/rollerblades some day, I’m no where near that day yet. I love cartoons, albeit animated movies mostly these days. I’ll play video games until they bore me or my fingers are too gnarled to mange a controller. I will always wear tshirts and who knows how long I will continue to blog. I will say I won’t give up on anything because someone thinks I’m too old.

 

Recovered

I’ve finally recovered enough to hit a solid

image
Slowly killing the dadbod

schedule in the gym again! Lawd baby jeebus I am so happy. haha

You’ll remember back around the new year I sprained my back. Well, I also had some minor rotator cuff issues going on at the time. I didn’t think much of it; however, I somehow managed to make it worse. I honestly do not remember doing anything that aggravated it but it got a lot worse. It was serious enough I had to stop working out heavy completely. I spent a couple months maintaining and just doing light weights with exercises that helped stretch the area w/o over-working it. Lo and behold, I appear to have recovered completely. I’ve slowly been working back up to heavy weights in the gym with no complications. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. That "tight" feeling is returning to my muscles.

I’m not overweight by any means but I’m not happy with where I am. That doesn’t stop me from "feeling" fat. Having been back in the gym for 3 weeks in a row now has been very invigorating. I’ve missed it. I’ll never be a meathead but I like feeling strong and fit. Complacency is the devil and greasy food are his minions. heehee I can already see changes in my belly fat even though I’ve put on weight. As of yesterday I’m 211 lbs. Granted a chunk of that is fat but my goal was always 230.1 I’m not sure if I’ll ever reach that goal, but it doesn’t mean I’ll give up.

Hope springs eternal….




  1. 210 muscle and 20 fat []

Room

My roommate is moving out. Actually, this will be the 2nd time he has moved out. He left for awhile when “he who shall not be named” and I were dating. It ended up working out for him to move back afterwards. It was kind of odd how it worked out. We didn’t plan it. It was just a series of events that made it work for both of us again. Anyway, he leaving on good terms. Him and his beau need their own place and with changes in their respective work locations, it just makes good sense. I’m sure they want their own place anyway.

I’m happy for them but it’s a little sad too. Carl and I get along really well. He moved in originally after Neil left for LA. Neil was an easy choice because I’d already known him for so long. I’m picky about who I live with and usually it has to be someone I already know or know of. Carl and I knew each other thru respective exes. Actually, we met when I was still seeing Drew. Drew was besties with Dodger and Carl was dating Dodger at the time. Confused yet?  I knew enough about him I was comfortable with being roomies. We talked and arranged a trial move in to see how things went. It worked out good for both of us. We almost never fight and even now with 4 of us practically living here, it has been pretty agreeable. Travis, his bf, isn’t officially a roomie but he might as well be. hehehe He is here all the time and we like having him around. Plus, he loves playing with Cooper and anyone who loves dogs can’t be all bad, right? heehee

Short of Neil moving back or Trevan moving to SF, I doubt I’d ever find a roomie I get along with so well again. Well besides Shawn obviously, but were partners so that’s a given. Carl and I had enough in common to remain friends but we weren’t always in each other’s way. Even our schedules are different enough we almost never fight over the one bathroom. Yup, you read it right. Four of us usually share one bathroom!

Anyway, we won’t be replacing him after he moves out. It’ll certainly mean a rent increase, but luckily we can afford it. And when I say ‘afford it’ meaning we go back to getting screwed royally over the high rent prices here. Even with our rent control, rent heree is ridiculous. It will dent the discretionary spending significantly.

Besides missing having him around, we’ll have to try to find a new sitter for Cooper. Carl has been here pretty much since Cooper came along.It wasn’t that long after I adopted Cooper that Carl came back. Cooper has bonded to him and I know he’ll miss having him around. I’ll also miss having someone to watch Cooper for me when Shawn and I travel and can’t take him. Cooper didn’t do well the last time I tried to kennel him over night. I’m hoping I don’t have to go back to that. Plus, he knew Carl so he handled me being gone better. Luckily for Cooper, Uncle Carl will still be around and will pop in from time to time to visit.

Carl will be missed for sure. The apartment feels as much his as it does mine and I’m sure it will feel weird for awhile without him.

Politics

I have reached my limit with all the back and forth attacks on social media over politics. I’m not even joking a little. I’m done with the the never ending attacks on [candidate you don’t like].

No, I won’t unfriend you anymore.

No, I won’t even unfollow you.

What I will do is tell your smug ass off.

I don’t want you sharing or posting nonsensical biased articles on my feed. Share it on your own page. I’ve deleted and blocked 3 people today for drive-by "shares" on my page. Friend or foe, you are not immune. Just knock it off.

I want you to ask yourself how many of your smug, snotty, over-top, and condescending comments have helped? How many minds have you changed? Zero? One? Two? The answer is most likely none. People don’t like being told their wrong for believing something. I know shocker, right? They also don’t like to be talked down to over a difference of opinion, even if you feel their opinion is wrong. Finding a quick hit-piece online doesn’t make you an expert or even that well informed, it just makes you a jerk. I won’t even go into the idea of successful discourse because it’s pointless. No one cares about debating anymore. They just care about their own personal bias and how far they can extend the reach of their super ego aka social media.

I follow politics and have for some time. While I certainly wouldn’t say I’m an expert I do keep up. Frankly, I don’t need your opinion on who I should vote for. I don’t need your insinuations or snarky comments either. The only thing I want to know is that you did get out and vote when the time comes. Especially since the last election was the lowest in over 50 years.

I’m happy to see my small circle of close friends isn’t engaging in this nonsense. I might revisit the idea after the primaries are over, but I am so over it for now.

Large

In case you missed it, my blog buddy Large Tony is back! I guess he missed us too much. hehehe

LT is one of my longest reads next to homer.1  I stumbled over his blog roughly a year or two after I started my own blog. His sense of humor, southern manners, and generous “writings” made for regular read on my list. His style is often laced with adult topics but once you start reading, it is hard to stop. hehehe This is his 4th venture into the blog world. Each of his previous blogs served a purpose in his life and when one came to an end, the blogworld heaved a collective sigh of disappointment. This time he seems to be back for the pure joy of blogging.

If you get a moment, hop over and say hi. Maybe you’ll get hooked on his great stories about Granny, the Attorney, himself, or random adventures in discovering first world problems of a man with certain ‘blessings.’ heehee

We missed you T and glad you’re back.




  1. Well brettcajun too when he surprises us with new updates. LOL []

Parent

I had a chance to observe good parenting the other day and I just had to share! hehehe

It was my day off and I was having lunch in the Westfield Center. As I’m sitting down to eat, I notice this lady with a kid that was acting up. The kid was probably 4-6 years old and throwing a fit over what appeared to be the child not getting what he wanted. The mother was trying to soothe the child and keep him in line but he kept getting louder and louder. The mother was not having any of that. She finally spun him around got down to his level and spoke directly to him. "If you do not stop acting up, we will go home right now and you will get absolutely nothing." I guess the child thought this was a good time to challange her because he got louder. The mother then grabbed him by the arm, got out of line, and headed for the front door. The kid realizing his error suddenly got quiet right before they exited but she didn’t fall for it. They left.

If I could have, I would have given her a hug. It is so rare to see parents make any real effort to control their children in public these days. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve been in restaurants with kids basically ruining everyone else’s enjoyment. There are even a few times where I’ve actively spoken to a child (and it’s so called parent) when the behavior was particularly heinous.

When I was young we typically got one verbal warning. It was often accompanied with a very stern glare. If that didn’t work, we got a very hard hand to the leg, arm, or backside. It was firm and often strong enough to rattle one’s teeth. In the unlikely event said slap didn’t work, oh it was on! Depending on where we were, my parents would stop and give me a full whoopin’ right there on the spot or we left. And you simply did not want to be the cause of your parent(s) having to leave a place due to your behavior. When you got home, your backside remembered the unfortunate event for days.

Children are children. They get boisterous, loud, obnoxious, and even mischievous; it’s what they do. I always try to be accommodating to such behavior. That said, it is the parent’s responsibility to curb over the top antics. The world is not your personal romper room. If you are parent who thinks it is, you are directly responsible for the selfish, entitled adults your children will become. I’m not implying you have to beat your children either. Many parents are against corporal punishment completely. That is fine but you still need to maintain control. The mother above demonstrated quite well how it can be done. I applaud her!

Week

I reached a new milestone at work this year. As of April, I’ll have been employed in the same job for 15 years! And with the glorious news comes an extra week of vacation moving forward. The fact I’ve worked in one place for so long is news in itself.

I bounced around a lot when I was younger from job to job and place to place. Without realizing it at the time, I was searching for a place to call home and it wasn’t until I hit San Francisco that I found it. While I had some good jobs over the years, some I liked, others I hated. They all benefited me in one way or another. It wasn’t until I landed in emergency services that I seemed to settle. When I took the job here, I had other offers on my plate and I took it almost on a whim. There were several very random occurrences or coincidences that helped push me into this line of work.

Fast forward, here I am 15 years later still at it. I’m fully vested here and consider myself very fortunate. I won’t have to worry about income or health benefits when I retire and I’ll be able to provide for myself and Shawn. For someone who came from such poor means, I’m so very proud of my accomplishments. I’m not rich and never will be but I’m proud of my work and it gives me comfort knowing I’ll be ok when I get older. It wasn’t always so easy. When I first started it was right after the PGE rolling blackouts and just before the dot.com bust. Even then, I had a hard time making ends meet. I made a lot less than I do now and eking out a living was tough. I stuck it out and thru several busted/broken relationships and 15 years I’ve reached some stability. I make enough to keep more than just the bills paid and can afford a few luxuries. The irony is I’d do quite well pretty much anywhere else on my salary. Of course, I also wouldn’t make said salary anywhere else either.

A few weeks ago I was discussing the old days with a former blogger and he mentioned the passing of my father. I was so broke at the time I ended up soliciting donations on my blog so I could afford a trip home.1 There was no such thing as gofundme or indiegogo stuff back then. All we had was the "tip jar" button that was tied to PayPal. I was a bit embarrassed and felt a little guilty when I did it but I sure appreciated those who reached out to help me. Several complete strangers offered money and it was just enough to push me over the edge to make the trip. Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since then.

So yeah, I busted my ass and stuck it out. There were several times I wanted to quit and just walk away. The stress, drama, and negativity builds up on you over time. Luckily, I persevered and I’m still here. And while the idea of living here for the rest of my life still appeals to me, the cost will eventually push me out of the city. Its just too expensive.

Either way, I’m stuck here for another 15 years. I don’t plan to retire until I reach the max benefit, which requires 30 years of service and be age 65. Plus, I like working and I want to max out what I can because once I retire I’m on a fixed income for the rest of my life. Of course, if you had asked me 15 years ago if I’d ever be happily engaged, financially stable, debt-free, and a plan for the future, I would have laughed at you. It was never even in the realm of possibilities for me back then.

So I move into year 15 of my career with an eager look to the future. I hope the next 15 years treats me with the same growth and progress that the last 15 have.

Hope springs eternal…




  1. He had sent me a nice check for which I was eternally grateful []

Scalia

I’m still digesting the news Antonin Scalia has died. I know in today’s environment of fast-moving news, this is old news for sure. That aside, my instinctual reaction was one of joy. I’ll be honest the realization I was joyful over someone’s death bothered me a bit. The initial idea was a man w/so much influence to harm me and mine was gone. This sort of visceral reaction reminded me of my step-mother’s death. Unlike my foster mom, I was ecstatic when my step-mom died. She was the only person on this planet I’v ever felt true malevolence toward and I threw a party when she died.

Why did I associate a man who has never personally done me any direct harm with a women who delighted in abusing me daily as a child? Yes, his influence did harm me in very indirect ways but it wasn’t a direct connection. Why would I associate him with my step-mother? I mean I didn’t care for Scalia but I never hated him.1 I don’t really have an answer yet but distinctions matter and I’m working my way thru the grey areas. (pun intended)

If you know me, you know I try not to see the world thru the lens of absolutes. It has become one of the defining characteristics of my id. It is easy to believe in simplistic right/wrong, good/bad actions. It requires no sense of self or morality to avoid delving beyond the idea of ‘you wronged me’ mentality. I am fond of saying the devil is in the details. While part of me is glad the man is no longer in a position to do me harm, I’m not celebrating his death. He had a right to life as much as I did. I can’t bring myself to celebrate his life but I’m working on disentangling my emotions over his death.

People like Scalia truly believe their ideologies. He wasn’t an ignorant follower. He was well-educated and even respected as judge for decades. While he deftly avoided any real-world interactions with the LGBT community, he believed what he was doing was right. Of course, it is much easier to marginalize people when you avoid getting to know them as human beings. History is littered with examples over and over. This by itself is often a marker for a failed ideology.

While I won’t mourn Scalia’s passing, I don’t hate him. I try not to take joy in his death. It should be beneath me to feel that way. I am grateful he will no longer be in a position to influence my very existence. I will remember the lesson he taught us. We cannot let our own ideological beliefs blind us to the suffering of others. We cannot become so rigid in our thinking we forget human beings do not require permission or conformity to exist.




  1. Contrary to what you read, the act of hating someone takes a lot of energy. It is a dedication of sorts. []