Sunday, September 14, 2008

Since being photographed and alumni donation drives are two of my favorite things...

Photo albums from my childhood portray a sullen girl, daring her father to continue urging her to smile and take more precious time from sitting in the sun reading, sitting in the shade reading, and making hunter-gatherer civilizations out of tribes of acorn cups.

Each year, the yearbook teacher would manhandle me out of my fifth period class and stand me against a convenient wall. Then she'd yank the sweater off of my head, tilt my chin so I was facing her, and flick the hair I'd managed to shake over my face away. I believe I kicked some of my dear readers quite hard in an attempt to avoid being in the Junior Statesmen photo. Sorry-

By the time I was in college, I'd grown a little bit more polite. I was in the new lab building, tearing apart flowers in my beloved Floristics class. (I like to call it the "After four years of university, Jane became employable" class) People came in with cameras and started to snap away. Other students started to mug with good humor. I looked down at my plant bits and did not make eye contact or smile. On the other hand, I didn't throw anything over my head, so I guess that's as good as leaping in front of a camera.

Anyways. Now my school uses the picture of a dilligent and modestly dressed girl to suck donations from its allumni. If you look closely, you'll see that my fingers are scrunched with the effort to avoid crawling under the table.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's hot and dry outside, I have seven pounds of tomatoes and three pounds of eggplant in the fridge, and all I can think to make are stick-to-your ribs dishes. Spaghetti. Chicken marengo. Chili. Porotos granados. Plum tart. Pizza. This is why my boots are so heavy. I cannot cook simple and delightful if I try.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Today I was talking to the barracks manager about my total lack of cooking implements. He suggested I talk to the lovely gentlemen in barracks one about getting some pots. I told him I'd have to be careful about phrasing that so they wouldn't misunderstand, and he made the noise people make when they shoot milk out their noses.

I also went to the Emergency Room for my knuckle injury- I got a splinter in my finger a couple of weeks ago, and it never got better. Finally, Big Boss got it together to fill out the paperwork, but the only place in Trinity County that accepts workman's compensation is the ER. I am the problem with the nation's overcrowded Emergency Rooms, except there were three patients there. I have the most minor injury ever, and they kept bouncing me to new specialists. Eventually, they told me that I probably had a bit of thorn still in my finger. The kindly doctor peered at me over his glasses and said "You'll just have to let it fester out."

(I have excellent blood pressure and heart rate. I am 5'9" in workboot heels. I'm trying to convince myself that same beloved logger boots are the reason I weigh 25 pounds more than I think I should. It does not seem likely.)

Monday, September 8, 2008

I like my women like I like my coffee...


Today I was stung by yellowjackets. It was very entertaining. I now am the proud owner of 5-8 stings and bites from my calf to the nape of my neck. I don't know if it's my shortage of sleep, or the massive amounts of venom coursing through my system, but I tire very easily and feel like crap.

Please note: I'm pretty sure I have seven stings, it's just that they take turns hurting because they all need time in the sun. I did find two yellowjackets stuck in my hair, and the sting on my neck hurts more than most of the others, so that might be two. I didn't believe I had so many stings until I circled them all with pen.

Also note: if a stinging insect has taken up residence in your pants, you cannot outrun it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Well, it's creepy NOW...

My mother passed along a anecdote indicating that the firefighters at Mocha Creek think that I am very pretty, likely to bear children easily, charming, and obedient. Somewhat unfortunately, I was also found to be wicked smart. I took this with an equitable roll of my shoulders, and then followed SeƱor C around for the next couple of days prattling "Mocha Creek thinks I'm pretty."

But really, I know not to take workplace evaluations of my personality too seriously. When I work fire, I'm pleasant and present, I smile at people when they talk to me (even over the phone and the radio), and generally put the skills picked up from a summer as a receptionist to good use. The above rundown of my persona is mere confirmation that my trickery is effective.

This is in sharp contrast to my little boss. She has the emotional intelligence of a goldfish with Asperger's, is feminist like a hard glittery thing, and hates babies. I have three little anecdotes for you.

We were learning radio check-in. The man training us stayed a bit after, and began to talk about his toddler and how he'd be missing the boy's third birthday. (Fire eats lives) I felt a bit stiff when I asked more questions about the kid, but when he pulled out his cell I oooed and awwed appropriately. Thanks for the training, Mom! Then little boss pulled out her cell, and asked if we wanted to see pictures of her baby. She proceeded to scroll through fifteen plus pictures of her dog.

One of the Fish dudes mentioned that he was hoping to get laid off early this year so that he could spend the first few weeks of his new child's life at home, being sleep deprived. Little boss blurted out:
"Is your wife pregnant AGAIN?" He recovered nicely- (He may just know her better than I do.)
"Yes, haven't you seen her? She's HUGE!." He grimaced in fear. "Radiant though. Radiant."
"GOD. Is this THREE?"
"Um, two?"
"Oh, I guess two's acceptable."

It was late one night, working radio, and we were with our Fire Patron. He's a sweet, gruff man, very like a partially shaved bear in appearance and temperament. He's also quite conservative, and has some number of sons that is greater than two. He dotes on us, solves our perpetual fuck-ups, and calls us his daughters.

I don't think this is the kind of man you should go on an anti-breeder rant around.

My quasi minion and my little boss affirmed that they had no desire to reproduce. Little boss elaborated, throwing about a few pejorative terms about the reproductively blessed, the chronologically impaired, and people who ignored the replacement rate for humanity. Wishing to defuse the work-inappropriate levels of uncomfortable, I blurted;
"Well, if y'all aren't gonna use your replacement rate child credits, I'll take them." Oh yeah, I'm smooth. I'm really used to being the soothing influence, you can tell.

Follow up: Last week I found that Other Creek Fire was discussing my offer to bear the children my coworkers would not. Someone turned to little boss's consort and asked him just how that would go down. Bastard blushed, then told his girlfriend.

God, I love small towns.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I can not keep a secret

The new ranger was moving into my old barracks, and the trails people were moving out of my new barracks, so my stuff needed a place to rest for one weekend while cleaning services scooped up the detritus of people who work outside for long hours: muddy boots, random woodland debris, things that fall on the floor, and the floor is too far away to toss the offending item. Filthy filthy pigs, myself included.

No problem, there's a fisheries garage right next to both barracks- easy enough to ditch things there for a few days. I considered this my plan for a couple of weeks.

Two days before I have to move, Big Boss asked me where my stuff was going to rest.
"The fisheries garage" I said blithely.
"Ooooo." Said Big Boss "Mr. Fish will not let you do that. He's really fussy about stuff going in there." I nodded sympathetically. Crazy Mr. Fish, not letting people store seven hundred pounds of grass seed or a small seed starting greenhouse with a mere 10,000 forb seedlings. But where will I put my things? "You can leave them in this office, as long as they aren't on the floor or the desks." Great...

So I have a chat with Mr. Fish. I say that the things are small, and will be there for a mere three days. I say that I have nowhere else to go. I point out that things in the office will be unpleasant for all. I imply that our families have long been friends. (This could be true) My arguments are unneeded. I can put things in the garage, he says, as long as I don't spread the fact around. Hurrah, Mr. Fish. Hurrah. I will not tell the wrong sort about this.

One Hour Later: I have realized that the wrong sort is probably both Big Boss (Who knew she would blow this out of proportion? Who learns from experience?) and the barracks manager. Who I told. Immediately. Excellent. I tell the adjoining barracks that my stuff is in the garage illegally, and that I will return for it in the dead of night.

Four Days Later: Ah, good. The story is everywhere. Big Boss is upset that I get special privileges. Mr. Fish is blissfully unaware of my betrayal. There are large dogs between me and my stuff. Big Boss cleaned my new barracks, but not the old ones. Maybe this will remain underground until I escape?

Big Boss smiles. She and the rest of the crew will move my stuff to the new barracks. I nod, go to the adjoining barracks, and obtain permission to walk through with things. Big Boss points that we should get Mr. Fish to open the door to the garage. Easy. No, no, I insist, we can just walk through the lovely men's barracks, with the people drinking... soda! soda that does not break the barracks code! We can walk right through the dense clouds of... dank... smoke...

C'etat fucke`

So. My desire to keep a promise to a blameless man is less than my deeply ingrained "don't rat dudesout to authority" training. Screw you, Killingsworth. OH YES IT WILL BE EASIER THROUGH THIS DOOR IF YOU JUST STAY OUT HERE LOOKING IN YES! Little boss digs through Mr. Fish's desk and comes back with a handful of keys. Big Boss moves some coolers to new locations and mismatches all the river shoes for spite. We move my stuff. Big Boss goes to give Mr. Fish a lecture on sharing while he mournfully rearranges his keys.

I suck.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Addendum to last:

Just because you've been fatally shot doesn't mean you can eat half a pound of butter and knock up a teenager.