Archive | March, 2011

Let’s Play Ball!

31 Mar

It is Opening Day!  Expectations are HIGH for the Brewers!  They went above and beyond what we expected to get pitching and missing pieces.  It is finally that time of the year.  I have been waiting since February.  The high from the Super Bowl win has gotten me here, but now I am ready!  But let’s now lose sight of what baseball really is – Ernie Harwell said it best.  Nothing I could possibly say could top this…


What if my worst fears had been confirmed?

30 Mar

I never check my phone during the school day – well not until my lunch period.  I have an overload this term, so I have no off classes.  I also never have my phone on vibrate when J is working.  Today I did both!

At about 11:30am, my little 7th graders started on their homework, so I swiped my phone and saw that there was an odd number on the missed call list.  For some reason I checked the message.  It wasn’t any of the firehouse numbers, any of the kids’ schools or my FF’s number.  So, I am not exactly sure why I did.  The message was my husband and all I could understand was, “I am at St. Mary’s…”  Had it been ANY of the other hospitals I would not have been too concerned.  St. Mary’s is in another COUNTY and it houses the BURN UNIT!  I took a deep breath, excused myself from my little babies and started dialing in the hall.

J’s phone went straight to voicemail, so my next logical thought was to call the firehouse.  I did, ready with my calm voice and my list of questions.  I literally looked at my dial pad when my husband answered the phone – he was already back at the engine house!

Turns out it was “just” a battery that exploded and caught him in the face – JUST!  But, being a firefighter – on an engine – no matter what, there is always water around.  So, he got flushed on site and the trip to the hospital was merely a precautionary move.  He is extremely “itchy”, but there are no burns. The doctor simply told him how lucky he was and left it at that.

Now, in the future, I will be forever reminded by this to KEEP MY PHONE ON RING when he is working.  What if it had been something worse?  I will also remember to be sure to kiss him goodbye at the start of every shift and remind him of how much I loved him – there was a day last week, aside from the retreat, where I did not take the time because I was running late.  And hopefully I will not let myself think, “Eh, it is probably nothing.” and put that call off until I have time, based on this experience.  Lastly, hopefully I will keep my composure, just as I did today, no matter the circumstance.

What if my worst fears had been confirmed?


29 Mar

FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC STORIES: Wet Stuff On The Red Stuff No Longer?: “While wasting time I found a very interesting article on firefighting on Fire Rescue 1’s website. Firefighters know that in a structure fir…”

I read this and was instantly in awe! I have no clue on the logistics of this technology – but think of the implications! It is AMAZING! Awesome post!

Craig A. Birkholz – Army Sgt., Police Officer, Husband, Hero

27 Mar

Craig A. Birkholz  He survived two tours in the big sand box just to be lost trying to save a fellow officer in Fond du Lac?  Really?  It is a tragic story.  It is a tale of two soldiers and their stories after returning home.  I have been writing this post in my head for days.  Trying to figure out what to say, what to focus on, how to handle it. It has been on my mind – constantly.  I listened to the feed as it all went down – I was just captured by the surrealism of the whole situation.  My heart broke when the news mentioned his wife.  I am a teacher in Kenosha and the parish that was taking care of the funeral mass is attached to our lower campus.  LITERALLY the signs of this tragic loss were everywhere!  There are pink signs reminding us that there is a police funeral surrounding the entire school and church.  Throughout Kenosha there are signs – at union halls and scrolling at banks.  Kenosha is feeling the loss of one of their own.

My boys have taken it so much to heart that they wanted to attend.  I thought about trying to make it happen.  But we had a family college graduation and I wanted to be sure there was enough space for those who were closest to him to mourn the loss of a hero.  And…I was not sure if I could handle it, personally.  There are no words, none.  As wives to servicemen, police officers and firefighters – we all know this is a reality of our world.  My husband is at work as we speak and I could be the one getting that call.  But we always put it to the side.  This loss, I have not been able to do that with – I was not even part of his world. But I feel for his wife – they have only been married since 2009.  They had so many plans, the future was waiting for them.  Now, I am certain, her future is moment by moment as she tries to grasp the reality of the whole situation. At the graduation yesterday, there was an MPD officer behind us, his badge was a reminder of the loss.  Craig Birkholz was a hero – at home and in the bigger world.  The world is a better place because of him.  There are no words.  Nothing I can write or say can bring him back.  Nothing I can write or say can take the pain away.  THERE ARE NO WORDS.

Photos by Brian Passino

War Through Their Eyes: Book Cover
War: Through Their Eyes is a multi media project completed by UW-Oshkosh – including a photo exhibit, a series of podcasts and a book, about the experiences of the soldiers, UWO students and alum, in the modern war campaigns.The interviews are conducted by Grace Lim’s Spring 2009 Writing for the Media class.  Sgt. Birkholz story is among those stories preserved in this piece.  Please take a moment to take a look at the site.

Please say a prayer for the wife, family, friends and Fond du Lac PD that are all feeling this loss.  May God grant them peace, acceptance and healing through this most difficult and tragic part of their lives.  Please say a prayer for your firefighters as they leave for work, to keep them say.  Most of all I will be saying a prayer of thanks that we have these most brave and honorable men and women, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe – at home, in the community and throughout the world.

Sgt. Craig A. Birkholz – we thank you.  May you rest in peace.   

I Just Don’t Want to Talk

24 Mar

I just spent 30 hours with all of our Sophomores at a retreat called Tyme Out.  It was a GREAT retreat.  The kids were wonderful.  The leaders were awesome.  It was a really great time.  It focused on relationships – bf/gf, parents, friends, marriage, siblings, acquaintances  – how you interact with those around you.  We divided the kids into 8 groups – 1 for each staff member that went.  We then divided those groups in half – 4 upstairs and 4 downstairs.  The other 3 adults who were with me were wonderful. But, above all, I think the kids REALLY needed it.  The girls and boys got to figure out how makes the other tick. We divided our groups into boys and girls. They discussed the opposite gender.  WOW!  My girls obviously needed to vent and figure out what makes the other half work!  We had an anonymous Q/A session for both sides and I think it opened up their eyes like never before.  And what did they take from it – that we could all use a reminder of – communication is the key to ANY relationship.  Talking, letting the other side know what you need, what you think, how you feel – COMMUNICATION.  It was tremendous!

Lea RosenbergThe amazing thing of this whole experience was that they got it.  Our retreat leaders were amazed that these were only sophomores.  They did great.  The break out sessions were wonderful, everyone respected everyone else’s opinions, some long standing grudges were worked out.  It really was great!  The scripture work did not meet the grumbles that Larry and I seem to find in class.  The games and discussions were real – not pontification and hell and brim fire.  The kids were surprisingly open about things.

Last night really wasn’t that bad.  My girls were only up until 12 or 12:30 – not too bad.  Amanda’s group in the adjoining room was up until 4 AM.  I threw my headphones in and turned off my Droid light I was reading by around 2:30.  Even though her kids were still up, they were good.  Wake up call at 6am came VERY EARLY!  I got them all up and moving with minimal grumbles – it was quite impressive. One of my boys was PO’d because his buddy woke him up via water bottle. NOT A HAPPY CAMPER!   After a few more activities and cleaning we headed down for our last lunch.

We left after lunch today.  It was time.  We had 30 hours straight – no break.  I feel bad in retrospect, but I need it.  I threw my headphones and listened to my i-Pod for the 2 hour drive back to school.  I did not want to talk to the other teacher.  I had just spent the previous 30 hours talking – talking to kids (large group and small), talking to the retreat leaders, talking to the other teachers (which was a good thing – nice to spend some time chatting OUTSIDE of school), talking to parents whose kids did not want to go back for musical rehearsal at 5pm yesterday, talking to the girls in the hall – in our PJs well after lights out  at 11:30pm – because they just wanted to chat.  THIRTY HOURS TALKING!  I just don’t want to talk anymore.

Now, let me tell you about my awesome FF did.  In the CRAZINESS of Wednesday – me getting everything ready for my trip AND my absence, I left my make-up bag and meds on the dining room table.  Somehow, I WONDERFUL FF helped me in my blond moment and brought them to me.  Mind you – this is after he drove 60 minutes down to the boys’ school to pick them up, with another 85 minutes to the retreat center and another 45 minutes home. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate what he did. First and foremost, I really need my meds.  Seizures and hypertension, do not go well with 85 10th graders and no sleep.  But, for my comfort level, I was grateful for my make-up.  I am not too vain.  BUT, without make-up I look like a totally different person.  One whom my kids at work have never seen.  It would have caused such a distraction, I did not want to have mess caused by my absent minded moment .  I will forever be grateful to J for that trip he made!

ON TOP OF THAT – he got 4 kids, up, dressed and out the door by 5:20 AM – by himself.  He dropped the girls off at O’s sitter, one of the teachers from J’s previous life as a 4th grade teacher takes D to school for us on the days J works.  He then drove the hour down to drop the boys off at my school so my retiring department chair could hang out with them until they could walk down to the Lower Campus.  Then my WONDERFUL FF drove another hour back to E2 and off to work he went!  I am indeed a blessed and lucky gal!  I am also so grateful that his Captain allowed some flexibility in the Cub schedule for J to get back there.  He was nowhere near late for his shift at 8am, but Cubs report between 6:30 and 6:45.  When I talked to him at 7am, my FF was about 30 minutes out.  I will have to drop the Capt. a thank you note.  I know he did not necessarily have to do that.

So, now I am home, and my dear FF is at work.  Really not that big of a deal.  Except…my kids have not seen me since yesterday morning.  They – want to talk!  AYE!!!

Testing a new app

21 Mar

I juat downloaded the Blogger app from Android.  Just putzing to see if it is worth trying. So far aside from my typing skills, so good.

A Sad Afternoon

20 Mar

There is a quiet sadness that has fallen over our house.  Spring Break is over.  It is a rainy day so the kids could not even enjoy time out in the yard.  I go back to teaching, kids go back to school and the firefighter makes his way back to the fire house.  So, we get uniforms for Daddy and the boys washed, backpacks put together, take a look to be sure there is appropriate food for lunch boxes and off we go.  I think it will be a quiet, slow moving morning as we try and get back into the swing of things.  No worries.  We have a 4 1/2 day break for Easter weekend and then June 1st is right around the corner.  Wish us luck tomorrow.