Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Firehoses and Drinking Fountains

When last we spoke, I was looking forward to setting fire to things.


Specifically beaucoup de tree remnants around my yard. The rule of thumb around here is don’t burn when there are sustained winds over ten miles per hour. The wind has been over ten miles per hour for days and days and days. 

And days.

The pile of sawdust formerly known as an ash tree.

Former ash tree #2. 
Former ash tree #3.

More former trees. :Damaged in the great pre-Thanksgiving ice storm of 2014.

Main brush pile on the right. Auxiliary brush pile on the left.

Brush pile close-up.

I have a garden hose handy just in case. Response time from the local fire department is generally good around here. But we don’t want to have to call in no stinkin’ firehoses!

Would you rather drink from a firehose or a drinking fountain?

Think about it for a minute. Consider the laws of physics.

Perhaps watch this demo from the classic Weird Al pic “UHF”. (The clip is cool, but language warning on the comments, as always on the YouTube.)

Drinking from a firehose is a metaphor for being overwhelmed, taking on too much, and being blown away. Kind of reminds me of the videos we watched in I think it was high school freshman science class. Effects of a nuclear bomb blast as demonstrated with a pumpkin. Seriously. This was highly educational and relevant during the cold war. At least I grew up after the era when students practiced ducking under their desks for protection.

My apologies if I seem scattered. I’ve been unusually blessedly busy since the first of the year. No time for boredom around here. I’m also listening to recently downloaded “Grease Live” music as I write. Only the Aaron Tveit tracks so far since I was looking by artist on the family sharing. But really what more do you need. Gah! I liked the broadcast the other night. My bullet point review:

  • Vocals on the opening song were iffy. Didn’t really do it for me.
  • The new Frenchy song was fine. It was nice. Unnecessary but it didn’t hurt anything.
  • I was underwhelmed by Boyz II Men. Sigh. I had high hopes.
  • Mad kudos to the camera and special effects peeps on the drag racing scene.
  • Aaron Tveit is hot.

I’m trying not to break out in show tunes in the presence of all these fine people in the coffee shop tonight.

Drinking from a firehose. There’s an analogy to be drawn between that and trying to keep toys and clutter under control when a two-year-old is around.

Post party when you’re trying to pack up & head for the car. “Oh, you wanted to keep the path to the door clear? But I had to play with the blue truck, the green one, the blue car, the yellow school bus, the red fire truck, 1-2-3-go! .. .the dinosaur … roar! … and the yellow ball.”

Monday morning rolled around. Nutrition class is done. There’s another on-demand set of lessons I’d like to dig into, but nope. I need to shelve that for now.

The really great news is the wind was under ten miles per hour! I gathered up random paper and dryer lint. Dryer lint … yes, really, it’s a great way to start a fire. Matches, work gloves, scuzzy boots, yes.

The best laid plans.

I tried for nearly an hour to get that pile to burn. After a while I lit a paper grocery bag full of loosely crumpled paper on fire … twice … and still … the wood barely smoked. In the course of all this I gave myself a nasty paper cut with some cardstock from the recycling bin. I was wearing an old coat that’s not a big deal … but … I bled on my coat! And on random kindling and matches.

I tried. I failed. Lesson … never try.

Being home alone at the time, I didn’t want to play with the next steps. I may be skilled and educated in the ways of combustion, but I am also skilled and educated in the ways of safety.

I called in reinforcements. I may know a pyro or two. While waiting for the next attempt at ignition scheduled for later in the day, I did the logical. I went for a walk. Mild weather with low wind? Yes. I even got to visit with my friend Scarlet.

My neighbor Scarlet. 

Next issue of the day … vegetables or the lack thereof in my refrigerator. Jambalaya doesn’t happen in my house without the addition of significant veggies to the mix. Off to the grocery … and when I returned … smoke signals were going up …

Smoke signals.

Before long the brush pile was fully engulfed. Yes.

Burn baby burn.

I put away groceries, changed back into scuzzy clothes, and started dragging branches around the yard. I felt like I was hailing back to my ever so brief shotputting days while heaving some of those monstrosities onto the fire. Burn baby burn.

The next morning the pile of ashes was still smoking.

Nuclear winter?

There is still more burning to do, but we made a huge dent. We might have taken the firehose of yardwork down closer to drinking fountain level for now.

The firehose of work-work is ramping up. Being a person who is comfortable with change and uncertainty, though, I am loving it. And did I say work? Technically it is work, but when you love what you’re doing …


Drinking fountains.

I think I’ll go hydrate.

For more on “Firehoses and Drinking Fountains” from my writing partners, see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at

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