Wednesday, June 20, 2018

It's been a busy several months

This spring, once it arrived, has brought forth much rain.  So far, this summer is following suit.

Flooding across the region has been widespread with varying consequences, depending on location. Sometimes there has been only a short distance between a brief rain shower and torrential downpours that brought flash flooding and washed out roads.

As a member of my county's Swift Water Rescue team, we have been busy in ways that are atypical for us.  Our typical call volume is recreational tubers and rafters getting into trouble on the rivers.
The local geography, with two major rivers, typically lends itself to pretty rapid drainage with minimal flooded roads.  Exception being the roads adjacent to the rivers which flood all the time.

In the ten years I've lived in the area, this is the first year I have seen water rolling like a river down some roads, or flowing over certain roads for days on end. 
Several weeks ago, we were dispatched to go two counties away to assist them with flash flooding.  It happens so rarely in that area that they did away with what minimal resources they had years ago, because those resources never got used.  While en-route, we had our own rescues dispatched that our minimal staffing that stayed behind had to mitigate.

All that rain in the neighboring county came to us a day later in the form of river crests that haven't been seen since 2010.  Fortunately we did not see more rain during this period, as the local emergency management heads had been dragging their feet.  We instituted a door-to-door resident check/ accountability exercise in several neighborhoods that were cut off by the flooded rivers.  This should have been done 2-3 days prior.

The high river levels have given a slow start to this year's river recreational use.  The local outfitters have been running their rafting trips, but tubing has been at a minimum.  The white water kayakers have been out in force, but they seldom need our assistance.

This past weekend has been making up for lost time, it seems.
Friday morning we were dispatched for a boat stuck on a rock.  We arrived on scene to find two people in a jon boat in an area of rapids.  They had been fishing in slack water.  Don't know exactly what happened or the sequence, but they had a motor malfunction and the current took them into the rapids where they got hung up on a rock.  They had no oars and their pfd's were just enough to keep from getting a ticket from DNR.  As we started the transfer of the first person from their boat to ours, the buoyancy of course changed and their boat started moving, so we had the 2nd person hop on our boat.  It floated past us and lodged onto another rock.  In an uglier spot.  We tried to retrieve it after getting the two subject to shore but were unsuccessful.  It was not worth risking our lives and beating up our boat.

Saturday brought forth three rescue calls.
The first was a report of a man with a dog struggling in the river.  As it turned out, he was swimming with his Chihuahua when something took the dog under.  That's when he started yelling for help.  Who takes their Chihuahua swimming?  In a river?!  He self extricated and didn't need our help.  I'm unsure if he ever found his dog.  I suspect something had a big lunch.
Second call of the day was a report of a person on a rock in a gnarly part of the river.  It was soon reported to be two, then three, then five.
Short story, (I know, too late!) three young girls had been rock hopping.  They mis-stepped or slipped and the current carried them downstream about 200 yards to the rock they were able to climb.  Two guys that were would-be rescuers heard them and waded/ swam to them.  That area has a lot of rock with deep pools and swift current.  We had a foot- entrapment body recovery two years ago only a few dozen yards away from these girls.
As we were making ready to get our boats out of the water at the conclusion of the call, we were dispatched for another disabled boater call on the other end of the county.  We responded, but our boat was not deployed.  A boat from a stand-by team deployed and retrieved the disabled boaters.  A young guy and girl, likely local college students, in a woefully under-equipped flat bottom boat got into some trouble.  I did not see the location or situation, but they looked very relieved to be back to the boat ramp.

Given the activity level of Saturday, Sunday was surprisingly quiet, call wise.  Maybe people were being responsible in respect of Fathers Day.  Ha ha.  Not likely.
We still had a full afternoon, though.  Seemingly last minute, we were requested to provide some staged rescue activity for another volunteer recruitment video.
Our county received a grant from somewhere about a year ago for volunteer fire department member recruitment.  One video has already been done and now they are doing another.
It was somewhat fun and the weather was good to be on the water.

Last night we were requested to assist in the search for a missing person.  Foul play is not being ruled out.
I felt that our efforts were a bit of an exercise in futility, as our search area didn't have any real basis of information.  We did, however, inspect an RV that was found in the river.  From all evidence, it was dropped there by the floodwaters the other week, carried as of yet unknown miles to where it was laid to rest.  It had tags from the neighboring state.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

3 words changed EVERYTHING

HE is risen!

When The Christ breathed his last breath on that cross, designed for maximum torture effect, one of the supernatural things that happened was the thick curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was torn open.

Thus, as Paul states in 1 Timothy 2:5; For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

Through no initial actions of my own, in fact, in my natural born state I was incapable of any action, Christ bore the righteous wrath of God for my sin.
I love Him, because he first loved me.
It is about a relationship, not religion.

Happy Easter

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Purge... and other ramblings

Word is, that the tube of you, or should it be called Ewetube (for the sheeple) is going to be purging all firearm related sites and postings.  We already know the book of about-face has some pretty serious conservative-filtering Al Gore-rythyms.

How long, do you suppose, before google and other blog hosting sites start doing the same?  After all, Ewetube is google.

Wouldn't it be an interesting experiment to search for videos that are posted of people's "World of Warefare" and similar gaming sessions and start tagging all of those as "inappropriate"?
Of course, all the movie trailers that glorify "gun" violence from the movies that make the hypocrites wealthy would need to be tagged as well.
I wonder how that would go?...

Rhetorical question; Why separate and specify "gun" violence?  To me, that implies that other forms of violence are acceptable.

Saw a great meme yesterday.

It's also a bit disheartening, as I see this as a way that the statement of "A good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun" will get twisted to make currently lawful firearm owners outlaws and "bad guys"

I saw a short conversation on social media yesterday where someone claimed to know (not in a happy way) that this March For Our Lives movement is VERY well funded (Gee, what a surprise!) with meetings in towns and cities across the country.  This may be an astroturf movement that retains some perceived legitimacy.
What's that saying?  "Beware the power of large numbers of stupid people"?

It seems to me that this country's drain-circling is getting a tighter and faster trajectory.

OK!  Enough depressing thoughts!  Easter is this weekend!

Friday, February 16, 2018

It takes a village?

There are numerous random yet related thoughts cascading through my pea-brain after perusing through the sewer of social media, the general media and the expectant reactions to current events from Florida.

It goes without saying that both sides of the disarmament debate come out in predictable fashion on the normal talking points.  The gun grabbers don't wait for the smoke to clear and blood to flow before insisting that America needs to "turn them all in"!  Those cherishing this country's foundation, freedom and the Constitution quickly offer the rebuttals.

One aspect that is increasingly bothering me is the ramping up rhetoric over mental illness.  Please don't misunderstand where I'm going; Mental illness is a very real danger and does need to be addressed.  Unfortunately this is a general issue that has been increasing for years and for many debatable reasons.
What concerns me is the high potential for the "mental illness" aspect to become a slippery slope of denial of freedoms.  What is mental illness?  Who defines it?  We've already witnessed the prior administration try to limit veterans.   According to Joyless Behar, those who profess a faith in Christ are mentally ill.
Are we being subvertly herded into that corner?  I believe those who are in the positions of (real) power on the side of reducing the common person's freedoms know that the cliche anti-gun arguments don't work.  Time for another approach.
What's the old saying about getting a neighbor to agree to putting up a fence?  Make him think it was his idea!
So, back to mental illness.  Almost every one of these killers has had someone in their lives that knew  that something was askew.  Hildabeast wrote a book a number of years ago about it taking a village to raise a child.  While I don't subscribe to probably ANYTHING that woman (I use that term loosely) believes, perhaps the key to this problem is friends/ family members to be more proactive, not intrusive oversight by a rigid government with un-ending laws and regulations.  Yeah, I'm being idealistic.  I'm coming from a perspective of one who has a teenage stepson who doesn't present with "mental illness", but I know he has some serious anger issues.  When he is in my home, any firearms I may or may not have are locked away.  We have made it a point to not let him be aware that there may be firearms in the house.  I don't want to be "that guy" that allowed someone access to things with which they could create carnage.

I don't know what the general, legislative answer is.  I do know that a depraved heart separate from the redeeming and renewing work of Christ is capable of evil beyond our imaginations.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Beyond furious

No, I'm not referring to who won the Super Bowl.

Or to the insane contradictory reactions prior to and post release of the FISA memo.

To what made me so angry I almost couldn't see straight was much, much closer to home.  Quite literally.
My 17 y/o stepson was was back for the weekend from the military boarding school where he is attending his senior year of high school.  Yes, there is a reason he is there.
The weather in my area yesterday consisted of snow with about 1-2" of accumulation then it turned to rain.
Some friends picked him up yesterday afternoon.  It was raining at this point.  I only saw the boy leave the house, didn't see that he was picked up.
To begin their afternoon of adventure, the numbskull that was driving (a car sans license tag) didn't have enough gas and they apparently ran out shortly after they left my house.  Stepson texted my wife about said situation and she wisely bowed out of the situation and let them come up with another solution.   According to a dear friend of mine who works for the state dept. of highways and was plowing, came across them in his travels and stopped to help them push the car of the road.  He told me he had to tell them to help push, because they were just standing there.

Fast forward a couple of hours.  I was starting to get ready to go to a gathering at a friend's house for the game when I heard some strange noises.  I looked out numerous windows but did not see anything.  My driveway is not visible from a window.  (one of the few things I don't like about my property.)
The dog had perked up and acted like she wanted to go out.  As I was letting her out, the boy was coming up on the patio.  I noticed he left the gate open and brought this to his attention.  That's when he chuckled and said his friend's car was stuck.

Cue an anger level I have not been to in quite some time as I rounded the corner and saw where they were stuck.  I somewhat regret that I did not get pictures.

Not only were they stuck in my yard and had created ruts from spinning the wheels, but the rear wheels were off the ground.  This due to the rear of the vehicle being perched atop the wellhead!  The wellhead  is at least 10' away from the driveway and I had placed a fence post next to it in the event we had a lot of snow I would know where it was.

 I'm guessing the dumbass driving didn't have the traction to make it up the slight grade of the slushy driveway and blindly backed up.  Apparently at a pretty good speed, too, because the rear axle hitting the pipe is what kept him from going over it farther.
Amidst my extremely colorful language, I commented about him not seeing the fence post.  His reply was that he didn't have a rear view mirror!

Quite honestly, I suspect the friends were probably stoned.  I doubt the stepson was, as he knows testing is routinely done at school.

So here it is; 5:30 in the afternoon, pouring down rain, I'm trying to leave to go to a party and I have stoooopid kids with their car stuck on my water wellhead, with who knows yet what kind of damage has been done.  And no, I'm not referring to damage to the car.  Livid is an understatement.

After pondering best solutions for a moment, my off roading experience kicked in.  I retrieved the Hi-Lift jack out of the Jeep CJ and told the boys to fetch some cement blocks I had next to the firewood pile.  The boy that was the driver went and brought back two.  The other two boys just stood there looking stupid and I had to tell them to go some some blocks as well.  Sigh...

I jacked up each side of the car and got blocks under the rear wheels and placed a couple in front of the wheels to keep the rear raised off the pipe.  The front drive wheels where buried and whatever tread the tires had was loaded with mud, so I knew the car was going to have to be pulled out.
Using hooks is typically not a good thing in stuck vehicle recovery, as they can become deadly projectiles in the event of a line failure.  Cars, unlike off road vehicles, don't have recovery points, so I had to use the hooks on the ends of a chain to grab whatever substantial framework I could.  A strap was used to connect the chain to my truck.
I got the knucklehead out of the yard and onto the road.  I was surprised the cement blocks got put back without me having to give instructions.
Now I'm soaking wet and running late and have some pretty sizable ruts in the yard.  Pointless to think anyone but me will be fixing that.

Small miracle of miracles, at a quick cursory inspection, there did not appear to be any damage to the wellhead.  The pipe is very stout and set in concrete, but the cap is cast aluminum.  The fuel tank of the car could also have been ruptured, for which I am VERY thankful it was not.  I don't know how gasoline in my drinking water would be remedied.

My friends and I did some pretty stupid (and sometimes dangerous) stuff when I was that age, but I don't recall being quite that boneheaded.  Perhaps if I could ask my parents, they would disagree.

Edit note/ clarification:  What had me furious was not them getting stuck in the yard.  That would have been a simple annoyance.  Having landed squarely on on top of the wellhead and the possible expensive damage that could have caused is what sent me over the top.