You can always count on family to be there when you need them, and to laugh their butts off when you do something monumentally stupid.
It doesn't help if you know it was monumentally stupid. It doesn't matter how brave you were, or how heroic… they'll celebrate those too, but it's those momentary lapses in judgment, or control that take on a life of their own.
It's like Michael and the flame retardant couches… Nathan and the ferrets… it's expected
But when you get something like yesterday… where two family members are involved in the same situation-well, then you get matching gifts…
Like the "High Voltage" sign someone attached to Jonathan's chair and the 'Remember to wear your protective gear at all times…" warning attached to mine… those are the moments you really wish you were an only child.
I'm pretty sure Jonathan got the worst end of the ribbing on this… let's face it, I do a lot of things that deserve getting teased about but Jonathan? Mr. 'in control at all times'… he is so inexperienced at being on the receiving end… or even deserving to be on the receiving end of the teasing that it's not funny.
Well, okay, it is funny but that's another story.
The fact of the matter is I started feeling sorry for him, so I changed the subject and instead of focusing on our mutual misfortune… I asked about the elemental. It's not the first time I've seen faces in the disasters I've faced. Some I know are my imagination getting away with me-but others…
I mean… I really did see a face of sorts, and I wonder if Jonathan saw the same thing I did.
It got the boys (Jonathan, Case and Nathan) thinking about the elemental and its presence, I mean let's face it: it's the second 'waterspout' incident in the area in the past few months that affected mass transportation. Besides, I'm pretty sure Jonathan appreciated having the attention drawn away from teasing him.
Jonathan really does like to be the quiet man in the corner, the one you don't mess with - the nice calm stable one. I like him better that way too: he has a lot to learn as a hair dresser.
You know it's been a bad day when the first thing you remember about it is waking up on a backboard with your neck immobilized and one of your best friends standing over you shining a light in your eyes to test your pupillary reaction.
I've had days like that, thankfully today was not one of them… for me. It was however one of those days for Ray.
It started out simply enough. I got into the office early so I could discuss my proposal for adding magical staff to both our first response and tactical teams with Charlie. If there's someone making magical trouble for our people-we need to be ready to work against it and if there's someone who knows how to make it happen, it's Charlie.
He smiled and shook his head as he jerked his thumb towards my office. "Your partner's waiting for ya. I got this."
I'd forgotten that I was going to be riding with Ray for the day. Mr. "I'm not running the program" still hadn't approved me for solo runs. I'm not sure if he was doing it to keep an eye on me or just for old times, but either way it was a good thing I was there.
The first few calls were simple enough and we fell into a balanced routine. We took turns leading the way, sometimes riding side by side, others in a single file line-whatever traffic would allow.
We were on our way to a probable coronary when it happened. Ray was in the lead… it could have just as easily been me. One minute we were riding and the next there was a blur of yellow as a cab ran the light and plowed straight into Ray.
The first few minutes were some of the most nerve wracking. As I've said many times-you deal with things by compartmentalizing. You divorce yourself from the person so you can treat the injury, but you remain connected enough to be comforting and reassuring.
Involving a person you care about involves a much deeper compartment and having seen it happen… we're talking a very deep, multi walled compartment here. Fortunately I've been building a lot of those lately.
Come to think of it, it's not a very good day when you're the person kneeling over one of your best friends looking for signs of life. There's also nothing better than the feeling you get when the said friend looks up at you and groans "What are you smiling at?"
I checked in on Ray this morning. He was obviously feeling better since he was insisting that yesterday's accident was his way of field testing my skills to make sure I could handle being a motor medic again.
I think it was abundantly clear I wasn't buying it. I wonder if he's figured out yet that I'm the one who's going to have to approve his return to the bike. Maybe I'll just keep that to myself for now.
His prognosis is good, and that seemed to set the tone for the rest of the day. When I got to the office, Charlie was waiting for me. He knew I'd be checking on Ray-I always check on a medic who's hurt on the job, but he's noticed that I'm a lot more mother-hen-ish towards the motor medics.
"Are they really that different from the regular medics?"
It took me a while to explain it, but in a way I am their mom in this. I've either trained them, or I trained the people who trained them. Being a paramedic is not a safe job to begin with, but when you add the hazards posed by doing the job from a bike all bets are off
I mean let's face it, if someone T-Bones the bus, they're going to do a lot less damage than if they hit a bike.
I love the fact that he wants to understand, but I agree, it's not something I can really explain. We have a 'session' scheduled at the arcade Thursday. It'll give him a feel for what we do, and it'll be fun to play the game version again. Things can be a lot more interesting when you don't have to worry about actually getting hurt.
Ferrets, can't live with them, and it seems you can't leave them home by themselves either.
Nathan's officially started physical therapy today, he's still got a ways to go but they fitted him with a walking cast so he'll be a bit more mobile.
That means he's starting his investigation and as I pointed out Puck is an escape artist. I love Nathan dearly but his apartment is by no means Ferret proof. Heck it's not even Michael-proof. I can just see the sorts of trouble Puck could get himself into looking at some of Nathan's 'Formulae' paintings.
Fortunately Nathan figured out the same thing and called us last night to make arrangements. When he's working evenings Bri will be Puck sitting. Otherwise Case or I will make arragments.
Today Puck spent most of the day on the back credenza in my office… sleeping in his cage happily tucked away in his little ferret hammock dreaming of ferret havoc.
Another interesting fact about Puck: he snores. For the most part it wasn't bad.
I had to spend the day in the office, doing administrative things. The first part, working with Charlie on the proposal, was fun and profitable. While I came up with reason to have them, Charlie worked on the legal ramifications of not having them. Between the two of us we developed a presentation that should answer most of the questions and or objections.
It felt good to do something positive, but there were a few less than pleasant issues I also had to deal with: first quarter reviews came in and there were several people I needed to talk to.
It's very hard to be all stern and administrative when there's a snoring ferret behind you. Then again it's hard for me to be stern under normal circumstances. The key is for me to be focused on something else.
Do you know how hard it is to ignore a snoring ferret?
With Ray on the injured list and several medics out with flu-like symptoms I ended up working in the field today. I filled in at the 97th working with Dwight and Hugh. It was good to visit the old stomping grounds.
As Chief I do have the right to pick and choose assignments, but I don't usually do that. There's just too much to do and rearranging the entire structure of our staffing isn't really justifiable.
Lately though I have a very good reason to exercise that power. With Ethan's map in mind, I chose the 97th because it has the fewest Ares/KE 'no go' zones. That should help even the odds, but even the best laid plans of Chiefs and medics don't always work out. Fortunately I have people who watch over me, which is just as well since I'm pretty sure I my guardian angle ran away screaming long before I hit thirty.
The day was pretty mellow and straight forward, a few accidents, a fire-nothing clandestine or suspicious and only one call to a KE protected shopping center.
Even as I started to move to take the call, Hugh was standing over me gently guiding me back to my chair.
"You aren't going anywhere near there boss-lady," he said in a protective yet teasing tone. "So sit right back down and let us do our job."
It would seem Ethan got a copy of his map to all my 'siblings' to make sure I didn't do anything heroically stupid.
As it was, there were more than enough calls that didn't involve our friends in black, so I was still useful, but we have got to do something about this insanity. There won't always be people to cover their turf and there won't always be ways for me to avoid dealing with them.
Right now it's a balancing act of epic proportions, but even the best balancing act is going to fall, and this promises to leave a lot of hurt people in its wake when it does. We have to do something to minimize the damage before it happens.
I hope Case is having better luck than I am.
It's amazing what a little spin can do for a story, even more amazing is how much it can change things.
I have gone from person of interest, to potential witness, to suspect, to escaped felon to… get this… trusted agent.
Now I'm not really stupid enough to totally trust KE, they did after all install some less than trustworthy add-ons to my new vehicle, but, in theory, I can now do my job without the danger of being 'taken in for questioning.'
Again, I'm not going to trust them half as far as I could throw them but, as far as all the CEO's involved are concerned, everything is settled. Nick isn't taking any chances: he's heading east for about six months.
That's how long his Federal Training will take. Yep, looks like I'll have another brother in the Marshal Service. On the outside everything is picture perfect.
On the inside, I'm still raging and Case has ended up calling Philip. Since Sensei won't teach me tai chi… Case figures Philip might have a better chance.
I showed up at the office today, looking less than professional since it was a Saturday and I rarely have to do 'representative' type things for Citywide on Saturdays. No, Saturdays are for getting paperwork done-and inducting new medics it would seem.
Another truth in the medic vs administrator debate: medics will celebrate anything with reckless abandon: administrative types, not so much. Since their parties are less enjoyable, the administrators make up for it with pomp and circumstance. I of course prefer the medic way.
I got to the office ready to settle in with a bad cup of coffee and my terminal. As I sat down Charlie entered my office dressed in his class A's: my first clue I'd missed something
I couldn't even plead that I never got the memo since.... since… well…it came from my office. Fortunately I keep my Class 'A's at the office.
Charlie just shook his head as I went from looking like someone reporting for PT to the Regional Chief. I swear he looked prouder than dad did when I came down the stairs ready for prom.
I did my best to make what was a big day for some of the medics, a memorable and pleasant experience but… well… it's hard to have fun in Dress Uniform.
I'm happy to report, my medics tried.
Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker