Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Day At AirOps

   This media crew from 'Flashover TV' does stories related to fire service things.  They came out quite awhile ago.  This is a little long but does a good job of describing our AirOps program

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mile Eighteen

  If you've ever run a marathon, one of the mental challenges is 'hitting the wall'.  Somewhere about mile eighteen or so, moving forward gets very difficult.  Things hurt, you've got a long way to go, you're tired.  You start questioning why you're doing this...There's nothing to do for it except keep on going.
   With electrical done and plumbing not started, I sorta hit that wall.  I'm close enough to being done that I can see everything that's left to do; looking at it all at once it's overwhelming.
    Nothing for it but to keep on going.
   I got the drain side of the plumbing done.  The wall heater and water heater go in next---then everything that penetrates the roof will be in place.  The paper and flashing is down.  Time to buy the roof.
   So loaded the old truck up with all the construction debris that can't be burned, donated, or recycled (mostly OSB scraps, tar paper, and various packing materials), got up really early, and went to the dump on my way to work.  How cathartic!  Worked the paying job for 24 hours, then straight to Ford Wholesale Roofing.
    I had already chosen and paid for what I needed.  That way they have it all ready in a pile ready to load.  40 year composition shingles, charcoal black.  You also need various flashings, tin shingles for where roof meets gables, starter course, ridge, tar, coil nails.  Pulled old truck in and the fork lift guy asked, "Are you going to take two trips or three?" Uh, we'll do it in one.  I know he's thinking quarter ton truck and 3,500 pounds plus of roof....I try to explain to him how often I've loaded 5,000 pounds of concrete in the thing...Neglecting to explain that's for a short trip instead of the hour drive and one mile elevation gain we face...
   So, he shrugs, lifts the entire load, drops it in the truck.  The rubber stops are resting on the axle; there's no spring left.
   Please, old truck, don't hit the wall.  You are WAY past mile eighteen.  For that matter, you're way past mile 26.  I'll reward you with some really good gas.
   Chug all the way home; the engine never pings once.  It takes four wheel drive low to make it up the steep driveway, but make it we do.  My truck's fortitude was inspiration to hand offload each 87.5 pound bundle to where they need to be--either upstairs or near the ladder. 
    I feel like that wall is now behind me and I'm looking forward to completing each remaining step

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Haiti, The Most Fair Nation

   Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with The Dominican Republic.  It's such a good microcosm to make a point since everything is pretty much the same, except for an attitude that makes things different between the two countries.  Same terrain, same weather, language, people. 
   A good friend of mine does missionary work in Haiti.  He told me something very interesting---the Haitians are really just fine not having anything and living in poverty, but if you give one of them something extra, all hell breaks loose.  If someone gets the idea that somebody got something they didn't, fights will erupt, buses get overturned.  Getting ahead can mean losing your head.
   Since our children were very small we never did 'fair'.  One kid might get an extra cookie here and there.  Another kid might arbitrarily get to do something the other won't, and we've always given the answer 'we don't do fair here'. 
   Our kids get along great, and will share among themselves freely.
   There's an old saying, 'You can't make the poor richer by making the rich poorer'.  As the grocery workers prepare to go on strike yet again,  their big argument isn't how hard they work or the dangers of the job or the skills required to ring up bananas; their argument is how much their CEO makes compared to them.
   Well, then, go become a CEO.
   At the root is a misunderstanding of how new wealth is made.  CEO's have more power to increase the gross domestic product than all of congress and the executive branch combined.  Punishing CEO's to try to move money towards minimally skilled labor in the name of a liveable wage is very counter-productive.  You really are biting the hand that feeds you.   Labor laws and the regulations that come with them, in the name of 'fairness', inhibit budding enterpeneurs from advancing and creating new wealth, industry, and jobs. 
  In the case of grocery workers----their last strike drove shoppers to non-union businesses like Walmart and Target.  We didn't come back.  If you want to pay $2 each for an avocado to support 'living wages' at a chain store, go ahead.
   As Haiti can show, it IS possible for everybody to have the exact same amount, as long as that same amount is nothing.  That really is fair.  Just say goodbye to innovation, GDP growth, environmental protection, and the freedom towards greatness.
   I will take the unfairness and advancement through merit and hard work any day.  If you envy what someone else has, do you seek to take it away from them, or do what they did to achieve it?