Jill Of All Trades

Jill Of All Trades

Today ended up being kind of a wild day in the evening, and I’d expected it to be relatively tame.

I’d planned on going to the volunteer office to do a fairly large new volunteer orientation, but then we got a fire call at around 4:30 and there was no team lead on the schedule. Since I was scheduled to start at 6, I helped coordinate our response and then ended up agreeing to go on the call. Before I could go, though, I had to wait for the other person on the schedule to get to the office, so I had a little time to kill. Thankfully, I’d thought out all of the potential scenarios last week when I realized I’d scheduled myself while an orientation was going on, so I had another volunteer helping with the orientation. That didn’t stop me from leading the first 10 minutes of it or so and probably confusing everyone. “Hi! I’m Lindsay, I’m your regional lead. Umm… I’m actually on my way to a fire, but here, do this, this, and this,” and then I walked away. Not exactly my best orientation.  😉

After I left the orientation, I headed outside to wait for my other volunteer and I checked in with the website that handles 911 calls to do some incident verification. I did this while we had a sheltering boot camp going on at the same time, which meant every time I moved or made noise, I was afraid the sheltering participants could hear me.

Meanwhile, I was having a heck of a time getting in touch with our client that we were about to go see, so there were lots of calls back and forth between 911, the client, the fire department, our national dispatch center in Philadelphia, and me. Eventually, we got the situation sorted out and my other volunteer arrived, so we left.

The call was in a not-so-great part of town that was full of one-way streets. Lots of people sitting on porches, lots of people yelling at us to get out of their neighborhood (for real). Eventually we found where we were going, talked to the clients, and then went to scope out the scene of the fire. When we got there, we couldn’t be sure that the place was completely uninhabited – a lot of the houses in the area are vacant, and the fire had been completely put out, but the windows and doors weren’t boarded up so everything was out in the open. Plus, it was dark. So I started to go inside (worst DAT Lead ever!!), but the other volunteer pulled me back out. I seem to lack both common sense and a fear gene.

We left as a group of guys was walking down the street towards us, yelling (at us?), and the poor volunteer I was with barely waited for me to get in the car before she locked us in and turned the key in the ignition from the passenger’s side. I think she was a little spooked. Me, I was looking for some fun, but I could tell she wasn’t into getting killed today, so we left.

We completed paperwork in a nursing home parking lot and then made our way back towards the chapter. I dropped myself off at my car (this is becoming the best arrangement ever), and by the time I got home, I was getting texts from our leadership asking how the call went. There were a few suspicious details involved in the call, which is why everyone was so on edge… but I’m happy to say that we got in and out without incident and ended up helping two people.

At this point, I can only assume that the orientation went off without a hitch, and I haven’t heard anything to the contrary. But man, I really need to stop scheduling myself during orientation sessions (this is the second time in three months that I’ve had to basically ditch an orientation for a DAT call).

Maybe someday I’ll learn! 🙂

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Gotta Wear Shades

Gotta Wear Shades

I recently discovered that my favorite mirrored sunglasses are scratched almost to the point of me not being able to see out of them, so I made it a point to go shop for some new ones today. I’m a bit of a sunglass-destroyer, so I always opt for Forever 21 or Walmart for my shades. Today’s trip was to Walmart, since I left the volunteer chapter too late to make it to Forever 21.

3 mirrored pairs of sunglasses for $11 – not too shabby, right? Now watch, it’ll rain for the next three months and I won’t have a reason to wear them! 😉

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Two Dogs, One Camera

Two Dogs, One Camera

I visited my two favorite boys today, and we had a blast playing together!

At one point, they were both sitting beside me outside and I tried to get a picture with them… that turned into about 10 minutes of me trying in vain to get a good picture of Taco (and I never did succeed). I swear he understands what cameras are and he just is not a fan. It’s like he knows you’re taking his picture, and he refuses to look directly at the camera. Tank, on the other hand, will do whatever you want him to do, so long as you’re touching him. So I have about 10 good pictures of Tank looking directly at the camera and about 30 pictures of Taco looking anywhere but. Crazy little boys. ❤

While I’m thrilled I got to hang out with them today, I could have used a little more sleep (which is evident by the pictures). As soon as I got home last night, we were called out to a structure collapse and that’s where I spent the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t get home until 4:30 or so, and I didn’t get to bed until after 5 am. Then at 7, someone texted me… so I got less than 2 hours of sleep. That, on top of my inexplicable neck pain (which didn’t help with the sleep part), means that I’m kind of hurting right now. I think it’s time for some Tylenol PM so I can try to get some rest.

Let’s hope I’m able to “rest” this neck pain away, or at least that I’m able to get some quality sleep tonight. 🙂

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Pain In The Neck

I don’t know what I did, but something happened to my neck and it’s killing me. So if anyone needs me, you can find me OD’ing on pain meds and Bengay. 😦

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Five Things Friday: 09/15/17 Edition

RCWPA

We’re having a bit of a “moment” with the volunteer stuff these days. We’re getting a lot of good press for our disaster relief efforts for back-to-back hurricanes, and we’re also (as expected) seeing a lot of comments bashing our organization. We’re not a perfect organization – far from it – but we do often do a lot of good for communities near and far. Lately I’ve been seeing more good stuff than bad, which is refreshing. And even more important, to me at least, is that I’m seeing people close to me finally understand what it is that we do and the impact it has on people.

This morning, I got a really nice email telling me to look at Facebook for a post that was added by our public affairs team (see above). We received a thank you card and donation from this client, and they traced it back to a call I went on back in June. I’d taken someone who was brand-new with me, so it was me doing pretty much all of the talking and working… I remember the details about this call very, very well. It kind of made my entire week to see this on Facebook, and I’ve been told the thank you card is waiting for me on my desk for the next time I come in.

I love that we’re getting a lot of media attention and kudos from people for our hurricane disaster relief, but to me, local stuff is what we do best. This is the stuff that we volunteer for every day, not just when there are large national events. This is our “bread and butter,” so to speak. So for as much as I appreciate people thanking me for canceling vacation plans to help out with hurricane relief, this thank you card means more to me, and that’s what will keep me doing this day in and day out. ❤

  1. Currently Reading: A whole lot of nothing. I renewed some library books on my Kindle before I left, but I didn’t get a chance to do any reading while I was deployed to Texas. And since coming back, I’ve been on the volunteer schedule for 12 hours each day, every day (trying to give others a break), so I haven’t had time to do any reading. Maybe next week I’ll have something?
  2. Currently Eating: My eating and sleeping schedules have been all sorts of crazy over the past few weeks. I had just gotten back into a normal eating routine right before I left for Texas, and then I was deployed so everything got messed up again. Most days in Texas, I either didn’t eat breakfast or had to make do with whatever was available at HQ. It wasn’t until well into my second week that I realized I could go buy breakfast wherever I wanted (I’m dumb sometimes). Lunch was usually whatever was being served at the mega shelter – oftentimes, we were too busy during the day to go out and get a separate lunch. With the exception of two nights, we went all-out with dinner, so that was great. Not much alcohol was consumed, which was also probably a good thing. Since I’ve been back home, my body still thinks I’m on Central time, so I’m getting to bed later and wanting to sleep in later (but I can’t, because Eastern time), and I’m not usually hungry when regular mealtimes come around. I don’t think I’ve skipped so many breakfasts in my life as I have the past three weeks. Meanwhile, I’m too tired to cook anything, so I’ve been relying on whatever was in my freezer before I left town and leftovers from both work and the volunteer office. I’m back in that weird state where I don’t want to eat or sleep, I just want to be out in the community volunteering. It’s such a weird feeling, and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

    So in short, I’m currently eating a whole lot of scraps and leftovers because I’m too lazy to do anything else and I don’t care enough to make anything. Such is life these days.

  3. Currently Watching: I finally finished the first season of Ozark on Netflix and moved on to White Gold. I’m not sure how I feel about either series, to be honest. I can’t help but think of Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth, and I can’t think of Ed Westwick as anyone other than Chuck Bass. So seeing both of them as totally new characters who have nothing in common with the old ones is screwing with my mind. Maybe I’ll get used to it. Maybe not.
  4. Currently Loving: Yesterday I spent some time in the volunteer office between getting my nifty new name tag and going out on fire calls. I got to hear from a couple people how their deployments went, so that was interesting. No one else seems to have a story about getting into a fight about ice cream (my own personal tale of woe), but everyone does seem to have a story where they were surprised by how people acted and reacted. I love that we have this little community where our obsession is regarded as normal and welcome. 🙂

    I’m appreciating the thanks I’ve been getting from people at work, but it’s always a little awkward. I know people mean well, and it’s nice of them to thank me for going to Texas, but I didn’t do it for them and I didn’t do it to get a thank you from anyone. I mean, how do you respond to that? “You’re welcome” doesn’t seem to do the trick, and “Sure,” sounds like I’m just dismissing the comment. It’s so weird. And at the same time, whenever I tell people that I don’t just volunteer for two weeks out of the year, but for 52 weeks and that I hold a certain position regionally, people are surprised. It’s like they’re finally listening to me; I’m finally credible now that I’ve deployed. On the plus side, this is allowing me to bring more attention to our everyday volunteer activities, so maybe we’ll get some new volunteers out of this?

  5. Currently Anticipating: I have a bunch of stuff I want to get done in terms of training for volunteer stuff, so I have my Friday night planned out unless we get fire calls. I’m thankful for a night where I don’t have something planned so I can rest up a little – it feels like everything has been go-go-go for weeks.

    I work tomorrow, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. There are so many other things I’d like to do instead of work, and I’m coming up with more things as the year goes on. I know once I get there, I’ll be fine, but it’s the lead-up that’s difficult.

    Sunday I have tentative plans to meet up with the fam and the pups. We plan to have dinner out and I’m sure I’ll get grilled (pun not intended) about my deployment. Looking forward to seeing them all (parents and pups) and to eating some good food. 🙂

    Next week is a busy volunteer week with a lot of scheduled volunteer hours, a fairly large (10+ people) new volunteer orientation, some onsite training sessions, and our monthly meeting. Luckily, a lot of our people who’ve been deployed have returned home last week or this week, or will be returning this coming week. For the most part, I’m very excited about that – we’ve been maintaining a skeleton crew on our regular volunteer schedule and I’ll be happy to see more of our people available and to hear about their experiences. Plus, any week that has a lot of volunteer activities is usually a “good” week in my book!

That’s about it for this week. Happy Friday, y’all!

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Almost Real

Almost Real

Lookie what I got today, and I didn’t even need to ask for it!

Volunteers typically have laminated badges with their names, pictures, etc. on them, and paid staff usually have nametags like the one above. While I was deployed to Texas, my regional person ordered me a staff-like nametag, so I almost look like I’m one of them now. I’m inching my way towards employment, one baby step at a time!

The nametag arrived just in the nick of time, too. I stopped by the chapter to pick it up today, and as I was leaving, we got a fire call. I was going to continue towards the bus, but then I looked up the event address and realized it was less than a mile from my car. As the manager of sorts for the team, I made the executive decision to go along on the call so that I could get dropped off at my car on the way back. Sometimes it’s good to be the boss. 🙂 Turns out, it was just me and my former mentor going on the call, so we had a lot of fun and my services were needed. While we were at the house fire, we got another call – also semi-close to the area. By the end of the night, we’d responded to two calls (after not having any calls in Allegheny for nearly a week), spent several hours together catching up and helping people, and I was able to be dropped off at my car on the way back. All told, I probably didn’t arrive at my car all that much later than if I’d taken the bus – I would’ve had to walk a mile or so to get the bus, then wait for the bus, and then walk to my car from the station… it would’ve taken well over an hour. Instead, I got to pull right up to my car and hop in. It was kind of ideal (minus the fact that two homes burned down, of course).

Anyway, since I was on the schedule as a supervisor, I didn’t have my regular volunteer badge with me (supervisors don’t normally go out on the calls) and I wasn’t exactly dressed for a fire with skinny jeans and heels on. But thanks to my nifty new nametag, I had proper identification (and I looked like a bawse… and a boss).

Yay for being an almost-real person! 🙂

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