Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Continuing Chronicles of the FNG(irl): The Swearing-In

It was a little daunting for me at first, because I was being sworn in at the monthly business meeting, and other than the chief, didn't really know too many others, and the room (apparatus bay) was PACKED to the rafters with the members.

Here's what I can tell you about my department....everyone is named Frank, Bill or Ernie. I figure I have a 35% chance of getting it right. Oh, and I'm old enough to be my Lieutenant's mother. They also take their Sunshine Fund 50/50 raffle very seriously. :) I made a crack about robbing the pot and got the glare of death from the guy going around the room with it. Lesson learned.

They conducted the business meeting first (the entire meeting was held in the bay due to the department being used as a voting location), which was completely incomprehensible because of the background racket. I sat with the other new recruits and couple of seasoned ex-officers.... they certainly do like their beer in that neck of the woods.....

Finally we were called up to be officially brought into the department...we were handed a sheet of paper with the oath, and the first sentence read..."I, (state your name) do solemnly swear...." and I stifled a giggle, because all I could think about was that scene from Animal House. Then the other female recruit leaned over and said quietly, as order was being called, "I'll give you a dollar if you say it" ....and I nearly lost it.

Next stop was dinner (thank god, my stomach had been growling for more than an hour, and it was becoming amplified enough to be heard over the din---one banana and a couple of slices of turkey do not a full day's meal make)....and then.....turnout gear.

The first pair of pants were made for a ten year old. I couldn't get them over my KNEES, never mind my hips. Pair number 2: I could have stood in the one pant leg and had room for a compatriot in there. What were these? Fire Police pants? Pair number 3....NOW we're getting somewhere....except for the huge rip up the backside. I thought I was getting a breeze from somewhere.... Pair number 4, I'm starting to perspire...Hallelujah!! They're older than dirt, but they fit.....uh, except for the suspenders...but isn't that what duct tape is for?

The jacket: first hands were somewhere around where the elbows should matching jacket to the 10 year old's pants........but then a brand new jacket that fit perfectly appeared from nowhere and I was in business.....until it came time for the boots. I explained that I had a pair given to me by a friend (thanks Siren) but this declaration was met with dismissal....."No, no, no....we'll find you a pair, don't you worry about it" .....mmmmmkkkkkk......Five pairs of boots later and we've managed to nail down the fact that I need a 6 or 6.5 in a man's boot....which of course they don't have. I could have taken a bath and stretched out in the pair they tried to give me.

Gloves and hood? Easy stuff comparitively speaking. Then the helmet. I was smart enough to grab one of the salad bowls with the easily adjustable headband.

Then while my new recruit friends went galloping off to the bar, I made nice with the Captain and got a working tour of all the apparatus, including compartments and a dry run through donning and doffing gear. I've been accused of many things, but I've never been accused of being stupid. I'm going to be on that guy like a remora on a shark until I get up to speed.

Thus outfitted with a pager and plectron....I went home and played fire dork; set out my clothes...made sure it was all easy-on, easy-off....set up my plectron, set up my pager...tried to settle down (to no avail)...then kept obsessively checking said pager and radio to make sure they were working....
Stay tuned...for now, I'm off like a prom dress.

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