No really, how’s school?

Oh, you mean like grades and learning and stuff?

No bad.

I earned a 99.91% in my fist class. That 1% is bothering me. It needs to be 99.90 or 99. Not 99.91.

I have learned a couple of important lessons.

1 – The art of the BS

This is not something that I learned through homeschool. At home, all lessons and assignments matter. In college, there is busywork. Busywork can take up many hours of the day. Unless the art of the BS is learned. It turns out that I can BS an essay and still get a 100. I wish I could say that I had this one mastered, but alas; I spent two hours on one simple assignment yesterday. Hopefully I will do better on the assignment that is due today.

2 – Phone a friend

Last weekend I had a difficult math problem. I could not get it right. I took a picture of the problem and sent it to the smartest people I know. Dad had company and couldn’t get to it right then. Awesome Kelly replied with “What the heck is that??” I will admit, I was a little disappointed in her. And my friend in Idaho (she needs a nickname like Awesome Kelly…) replied “I’m on the phone with the insurance company right now or I’d be all over it.” Hours later I woke up to the answer on my phone. I asked her if she could explain how she did it, or better yet, just snap some pictures of her equations. “That means I’ll have to write it out. I did it in my head.” Perhaps her nickname shall be “Crazy Math Wiz.” By the way, I did not answer the math question without fully working through the problem and figuring out what I was doing wrong. Simply using her answer would have been cheating. Duh.

3 – Look ahead

I learned this one last night. I was playing with my new “educational toy” (…which will be the subject of a blog post as soon as the battery for my camera is charged. Oops) and looked through all of the assignments for this class. I found out that in week 8 of class I’m supposed to start working on a paper that is due in week 10. It is not a small paper. I was suddenly both overwhelmed and grateful for the heads up.

Also, I have learned that APA isn’t as bad as I remember. I have learned that spell check is everyone’s best and most ignored friend. I have learned that reading the writings of others tends to make my eye twitch.

While school has given me less time for play-I miss Disney-I am pretty happy to be learning. My current class is Conflict Resolution. I am soaking up a lot of interesting information. In a few weeks I’ll be adding Introduction to Criminal Investigation. Should I be worried that all my favorite TV shows are going to be ruined?

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If Ebola finds me

I thought I had this scheduled for last Friday. Apparently I turned “17” into “27.” Oops :p

First of all, the chances of me getting a patient with Ebola are pretty slim. Think lightning strike slim. The people in the county where I work are not the international travelling type. We may get some snowbirds with well stamped passports, but the chances of them having traveled to the Ebola stricken parts of Africa are pretty small.

But anyway, just in case it happens; my company has a pretty intense protocol in place. I’ve heard coworkers complain about overkill, but I prefer that to what I’m seeing from other EMS agencies. At the very least, preparation will ward off any danger. That’s how it works in EMS.

Our protocol starts in dispatch. Any person who calls 911 for a fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, or any of the other symptoms of Ebola gets asked if they have been out of the country in the last three weeks. Last week they asked that of an 8 year old with a stomach ache and a 92 year old who lived in a nursing home and had bleeding from her eye (turned out to be conjunctivitis and no, she had not been out of the country). It seems a little silly, but I’d rather ask all the people than have the one truly sick person slide through the cracks.

If the dispatcher feels that they have found someone with possible Ebola, they let us know. This is where the real fun starts.

We call our supervisor and he meets us on scene. While we gown, glove, and mask up; he drapes the inside of the ambulance with sheeting so that we don’t contaminate thousands of dollars of equipment.

Here is the process for gowning up:

Anything we don’t want incinerated goes in a bag in the front of the ambulance. I’ve decided that even my glasses will not be going on scene with me. Most of my male coworkers have decided to strip to their boxers before putting on the hazmat suits. My jury is still out on that. However, my uniform pants cost about $80.00, so….

Once we have stripped to our comfort level, we step into the hazmat suits. Next go the hazmat boots. The boots go inside the suit legs.

We put on the first (note that I said “first”) pair of gloves and put the hazmat suit on the rest of the way. Suit is zipped up to the throat.

Mask and goggles are put on. The hood of the suit is pulled up and all stray hairs are tucked back.

The second pair of gloves goes on.

Special chemical tape is placed around the pant cuffs, all the way up the zipper, and across the base of the hood so that it will not fall off.

The last pair of gloves goes on and tape goes around the cuffs of those.

These gloves are not ordinary gloves. The first two pairs are about the thickness of dishwashing gloves. This final pair is much thicker than those. Yeah. My fingers will be pretty useless.

So we take our really sick patient to the hospital and let them do their thing.

Then we get back into the back of the ambulance and drive to headquarters.

There we get hosed down with a bleach solution before the hazmat team, dressed just like us, takes our gear off layer by later.

Then we get to go take showers.

I’m thinking that my shower will be a bleach solution as well. I wonder what I would look like as a blond??

Since the people decontaminating us have to be dressed in full hazmat gear, I’m wondering who decontaminates them…

The protocol for an Ebola case getting passed dispatch is a little dicey. We are to back out of the house, notify the supervisor, gown up, and then proceed through the rest of the protocol. When we are done, we get a 21 day vacation. Weeeeee!

My partner and I have already agreed; if we get dispatched to a possible Ebola case our truck is going to have sudden and mysterious engine failure.

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So, how’s that school thing going?

Pretty good! Thanks for asking!

My first class ends this week and my second class began this week so I’m doing two classes at once until Friday. I will admit, two classes at once is not as overwhelming as I had anticipated. In fact, of the six combined assignments for the week; I only have one left. Go me!

Much to my disappointment, the cool binder I created has been completely unused. It is currently hanging on a hook in my closet. Good thing I didn’t spend any money on it!

What I have discovered is that “online school” means a lot of computer work. And, as much as I adore my Surface Pro 2; the screen is a little tiny for hours and hours of study. So, I’m having to create an entirely different form of study space. Amazon says it will be here tomorrow.

I’ve also found out that the planning skills I learned in college back in the 90’s (Yes, I did just write “back in the 90’s) need to be applied to this school experience too. I can’t wait to show you what is going to help me with that! FedEx says…they have no clue when it will be here. I am a sad panda over this one.

As you can see, my school experience is based not upon my learning, but on the cool stuff it takes to get me through class. I have my priorities.

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My top 10 favorite things about Florida

I was walking to the mailbox the other day and was thinking about how very much I love watching the lizards scurry around in front of me. I decided that it was time for me to share some of my favorite things about my new home.

10 – Warmth

I love being warm. Seriously. It is October and I’m still wearing shorts and short sleeves. It is starting to get into the 60’s when the sun sets, but I’m still warm. My muscles love this.

9 – Lizards

I have loved watching lizards scurry around since I was a small child. There is just something happy about they way they run. And right now the sidewalk is covered with itty bitty baby lizards. Seriously. Adorable.

8 – Thunder

I thought thunder bouncing off the mountains was cool. No. Thunder down here is epic. It goes on for hours and I don’t even see a drop of rain. Who can complain about that??

7 – Sun

It is almost always out. No grey winters here. Yes, we had some cloudiness last week, but there are always a few hours each day when that glorious golden orb shines through. It is very happy.

6 – Moss

I know it kills trees, but I love the ambiance created by moss.

5 – Water

Lakes are everywhere. I did not expect this when I moved.

4 – Clear line of sight

I thought that I would miss the comfort of the mountains. Nope. In fact, last time I was in Virginia, I got a little claustrophobic. Florida isn’t flat like Oklahoma or Indiana. We have some “hills” so you can’t watch your dog run away for too many hours. The lack of mountains just makes the sky so very big!

3 – Flowers

They are always blooming. Always. There is never a lack of color

2 – Green

The grass never dies in the winter. Do you know what that does for the psyche?? If you’ve never experienced it, it’s kinda huge.

1 – Beach smell

I’m about an hour away from either coast, but some days I can smell the beach. As far as I’m concerned, that’s close enough to be happy.


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Reverse body shaming

Excuse me while I complain about first world average sized girl problems.

- The vest I’m required to wear when I’m working on the side of the road is too big. It is adjustable, but it could still wrap around me twice. Also it hangs to my knees. I look like a toddler in my dad’s protective gear.

- My job is currently loading the trucks with HAZMAT gear in case we get an Ebola patient. If ET just flashed through your mind, you are correct. The sizes they placed in the bags are large through XXX large. Guess who is going to be swallowed by the gear which will probably create gaps where there should not be gaps?

- To raise funds for breast cancer awareness, my coworkers created a cool shirt. I’d prefer my money went to childhood cancer, heart disease, or about 50 other causes; but the shirt is actually really cool. I was told that they ordered men’s sizes and that they run a little big. I requested an extra small even though a small usually fits me quite nicely. I received an ugly look and was informed that they didn’t order extra smalls because only I need something that tiny. I’m wearing my “small” as I write this. It fits me like a medium. It makes me sad that this really cool shirt causes me feel like I’m wearing a potato sack.

Sometimes I wonder why I even try to eat well and exercise. All it does is get me dirty looks and ill fitting clothes.

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No. Just, no.

Last week I read a blog post about 7 things a parent should tell their daughter. It was a pretty good list. I was nodding and smiling as I read. I cheered and gave an air fist bump when I read “She doesn’t need a guy.” YES!! So many young girls seem to be wrapped up in the idea that they cannot be whole if they aren’t in a relationship. Their very existence depends upon having a guy on their elbow, ear, or phone screen at all times.

But then the author began to elaborate on her point. And I became less enthused. Her followup to young girls not needing a guy was focused on a girl’s relationship with God and her dad (or as she put it “a father figure”).

No. Just, no.

This is where the Church has messed with the heads of young girls.

My relationship with God and my dad are very important. But they can never meet the needs or desires fulfilled by a relationship with a guy.

I remember being told in my early 20’s (because I was single and so old) that I needed to use my single years to “fall in love with Jesus.” If I spent all my time getting to know Him, I would be content in my singleness. Apparently I didn’t spend enough time in Bible study, because that failed rather epically.

The truth is that my relationship with God may remind me that I am perfect in His sight-but it does nothing for the lurking thoughts in my head about whether or not I’m good looking in the sight of the guys around me. It can’t.

My dad laid a wonderful foundation for what I should expect from a relationship with a guy. He really did. I could make a long list of the things he did (and still does) with and for me that I treasure. But I cannot and should not expect from him what I would expect from a date.

He belongs to my mom. For me to expect or require him to fulfill any needs that could be met by a husband would be wrong.

So yes, girls need to be taught that their relationships with God and their dads are important. But not in the context of replacing a relationship with a guy. They need to be taught that they don’t need a guy because they are them. God made them complete without the addition of anyone else. Yes, life can be better with a companion. But a person’s value does not change because of a relationship.

That is what daughters need to hear.

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That was fun!

Shortly after moving to Florida, I learned that I can volunteer as a medic during Disney races. Do I need to explain how cool this is?? Saturday, I volunteered for my first race-the Tower of Terror Ten Miler. It was a night race through Hollywood Studios. My shift was from 8pm until 4am. A little ouchie. But hey, fun is fun.

Here’s how it went down.

I showed up two hours early for registration. They turned me away. Apparently they don’t like paranoid early birds… So I went to Magic Kingdom and got dinner :)

Two hours later I returned to a long line of medical volunteers registering, getting t-shirts, and grabbing snack food. Very efficient process. They told us to choose five snacks out of the items on the tables. I almost took five packs of Oreos…

Once in the park I was partnered with a young nurse. We were given a bag of supplies, a wheelchair, a radio with ear bud (I looked like an FBI agent), and told that we were to roam the route. It was a difficult assignment. Very difficult.

My partner and I did a little investigation of the area. We found a spot with good visual of a long stretch of the route, walked the paths to the nearest AED and first aid tent, and introduced ourselves to the Disney cast members around us. Then we waited for runners.

The runners arrived and I spent the next two hours clapping. My partner turned out to be a cheerleader in a previous life, she clapped and kept up a constant flow of encouraging chatter. I stuck with clapping.

By the end of the night I had:

Treated one Disney cast member for low blood sugar.

Given one runner a wheelchair ride to the medical tent.

Explored the back passages of Hollywood Studios.

Walked around the entire park at least a dozen times.

Generally had fun under the guise of working.

Yeah, I’ll be doing that again.

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