Hi, Ya’ll

27 August, 2009

Sorry for the hiatus.  Things have been busy at work, but that really was not the problem.

See, back in 2001, I was on the NIFC call out list.  I went to one fire in August and spent a week fifteen miles upstream from the great metropolis of Riggins, Idaho.  I went out as an SEC2 (Security Specialist Level 2) and worked seventeen hour days (er, nights) with two half-hour breaks.  Some of the time was in the fire camp along the Salmon River, some of it was at a road block up at the top of the mountain.    And was only there for a little over a week.  We controlled the fire too damn fast.

In September, I was still on the call out list.  I was at work on the 11th and (((Wife))) called to tell me a plane had his the World Trade Center.  I figured it was an accident (after all, back in WWII (not that I remember it) a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber smacked into the Empire State Building).  Then she called back.

We rolled a TV into the Visitor Center and, with the half-dozen visitors, watched the buildings come down.  Before noon, the park was closed.

On Friday, I was called by our dispatcher and sent down to New York City.  The Javitz Center, to be exact.  And I spent the next three weeks controlling access to a warehouse and inspecting vehicles for bombs (if there are wires where there shouldn’t be, it’s a bomb).

I was also one of the few easterners with the team.  So, of course, anytime anyone needed to go anywhere in New York City, they called me (the trick to driving in NYC is to drive real aggressive (unless it is a bus or painted bright yellow (in which case you get the hell out the way)).  I made multiple trips to ground zero.  Not to mention Queens, various parts of Manhattan, the Bronx, and New Jersey.

A year ago, memories, very unpleasant memories, were triggered by a series of smells.   I expected a few days worth of nightmares.  I didn’t expect those damned nightmares to last a  year.  With some added stress from work, they’ve been bad for the past few weeks.

That’s why I’ve been rather absent.  Well, not rather absent, totally absent.

That said:

Abe had comment number 5,000 (one of his “Hateful Coward” comments). 

Abe:  This is a free speech zone.  I was willing to tolerate your periodic inane diatribes for the comedic value.  However, your most recent “Hateful Coward” idiocy has earned you a ban.  Congratulations.  You are only the second one to have been banned.  And both for the same reason — repeated postings of the same silly phrase.  Over and over and over and over and over. 

CL:  This is a free speech zone.  If you want to change go off topic, join the crowd.  Almost every comment thread goes somewhere else, so why should you be different?  I (and everyone else) still have the right to point out thread derailments.  As a general rule, this only becomes an issue  when the derailment involves insults, generalizations, or other idiocy (not that you have, or would, do this (which is why I refer to this as a general rule)).

All:  I have no idea how often I will be blogging but, until the nightmares go back into remission (I’ve given up hope of them ever disappearing completely), the blog is way behind family, health and work.  I’m not abandoning the blog, but I will be cutting way back.



  1. (((Billy))),

    Email or drop by any time you like and I’ll buy you a beer. We can sit back and not talk about 9/11.

  2. Best wishes. I hope you recover soon.

  3. Postie: I’ve tried to avoid NYC since then. Not sure I could handle the memories. If you plan to be up in the Poconos (or, better yet, Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton) give me a buzz. Or an Email. Whatever.

    Chappie: I don’t know if I will ever ‘recover’. I’ll settle for dealing with it.

    • A friend from college and I used to kid each other about how big our careers would be. I’d always tell him that when I was bigger than [huge film star of your choice] he’d be doing dinner theatre in the Poconos. I’ve called him “The Poconos Kid” for many years now.
      He just got back from a tour of Iraq with the 101st. So perhaps there are worse places to be than the Poconos.
      With that in mind, you’ll be the first to know when I’m in the area. Well, right after I phone “The Poconos Kid”.

  4. (((Billy))):

    Yeah, sometimes dealing with stuff is the best that we can do.

  5. Chappie: Agreed. Thanks for your support.

  6. Sometimes I wish there were a way to delete from my brain some of the things I have experienced. I curse the naivety of my youth. I am now very careful what I expose myself to, as I realize that once something has been seen, heard, or felt, it never really goes away. Unfortunately, we do not always have controll over these things. Thank you for your service to our country. I know such gratitude must seem hollow when expressed by someone you dont know, through a blog comment…but I mean it honestly. I hope you find peace, billy.

  7. Quixotic: Thanks. I agree that a rewind/erase button for the mind would be nice. Not to mention a volume control. And, for children, a mute button.

    As for finding peace, I’ll settle for a good night’s sleep.

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