Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Young And The Restless

I often wonder.  Amazingly enough, I will always wonder.

The most intensely awesome thing that could ever happen to a parent, happened to us last week.  keep in the back of your head the time table of which I am will help you to appreciate the sheer magnitude of this incredible chain of events.  We have always believed and preached to our son that it is not always "what you know", but often times "who you know" that helps you to progress in the way of finding a job.  He has bared witness to this a few times through his so far young life.  Keep in mind, the follow up to that factoid is that you do have to network and make yourself known in order to 'get in' on any position or to open doors.  This would be the same conversation we would have with him many times in the past couple of years regarding his many attempts to get on with the Alaska Division Of Forestry.  He has been ramped and ready both mentally and physically, has done his minimum training requirements yearly to be ready in a minutes notice.  Just my opinion; the one thing he has lacked, is the effort of making an impressionable presence at the main station.  He has laid the initial groundwork at the start of fire season each year, which for us begins to gear up April, for the severest period of May/June.  After being dormant and covered with ice and snow for 8 months, everything is dry and dead after the melt off, coupled with no significant rain in these few months it is usually a tinder dry time of year.  Anyways, he seems to fail to do those so important follow-ups, and showing his face so the right people get to know him.  This year seemed to start no different.  Except for two things which occurred rather quickly and sequential.

The "come to Jesus" meeting that we had with him in the kitchen several weeks back seemed to ignite something within him.  You could see it in his eyes.  You know, that look which indicates that after so many years of 'the light is on but nobody is home' scenario finally may show that 'somebody finally showed up to the lit house'!  I think it was literally like a couple days after this that Maryann asked the pertinent question to a vendor they use at the lodge, who works at the air tanker base for the Division Of Forestry, one afternoon when he walked in the office.  Simply, "how does someone get their foot in the door at the Forestry Department?"  His reply, simply, "you have to know someone".  No....ya think?  When John heard the replay of this conversation with his mom and the this other fellow, I believe that we were vindicated, as he finally saw that we didn't just fall off of the turnip truck!  We may well actually know what we are talking about all these years!!

Without skipping a beat, the boy put the prior "come to Jesus meeting" with us the other day and this newest development into immediate play.  The next day he was showing his face at the main station and making it known that he wanted in.  This coupled with the prompt recommendation to the right people, by Maryann's friend, put John in the spotlight.   A week later, when John showed up at the station, he got the chance to talk with one of the key players in operations there.  This guy introduced John to the other key figure who commented that he knew who John was because he had been in, almost everyday, bugging him for a job throughout that week!  There is that 'impression' I spoke of.  Bug them until they pay attention to you!  In that conversation with these two guys, John made humor to the subject and stated that he was ready to bring in donuts for the guys at the station everyday if that would get his foot in the door.  The guy looked at John and said, "No, don't.  We are firefighters, not cops" to which they all got a chuckle.  Yes, he pulled it off....he was in!

Two days later, this past Monday, John began his first day.  His dream for so many years, his desire to get on with the Forestry Division was coming about full face.  I have to tell you, the first day on the job, he called me about 10:00AM, just an hour after arriving for his first day at the station and was completely beside himself with utter excitement.  I don't recall such vigor and fervor in as many years as I could remember.  He was hardly audible as he described his first hour gearing up to go out for the day and patrol on the rig.  And coincidentally, every day after the first that he would talk to Maryann or myself, he glistened with the same vivacity!  He has been on many incidents so far and has become quite the little front man on his crew.  He earned himself the nickname, "the bull" by his Incident Commander and has really pulled his weight and shown his worth.  In fact, with most of the week being in a Red Flag Warning, he has put in almost a weeks worth of overtime just in the one week he has been working, so he is anticipating a nice phat paycheck.

Have you been paying attention to the time line, as I suggested earlier?

So, this past Friday, he comes out of the woodwork and tells Maryann that he really wants to go to California in two weeks to see his cousin graduate high school.  WTF!?!  As to not offend, I do understand the precept of such a desire, and feel personally that indeed this is a most important event, and I would typically emphasize the importance of of attending such a family oriented event.  However...WTF!?!

So, in summary, after years of dreaming, years of doing the best he could to achieve his goal, getting his foot in the door by the whole 'not what you know but who you know' principle, being hired only a week want to go run off for a week...right smack in the middle of fire season...and actually believe that your commander will be fine with this and your job will be waiting for you when you return???  It's no wonder some species eat their young!  His feel good logic is, that he will have a huge paycheck after this past week so he can afford it. 

We can only hope that reality and common sense will outweigh his impulsive act on emotions.  I mean, it is sad that he will miss his cousins graduation, I will give him that.  I just hope he realizes that if he blows his ride, there won't be a second chance for him.  They won't just overlook this seasons debacle and invite him back next year!  I guess we were all knuckle heads at one point in our lives, and granted that some of us are still a bit knuckle headed at times, but some of this just seems to me like he is not in touch with reality.  Save the money and go down in the fall when the season winds down and they let you go for the winter.

Will we allow him to make this potential error in judgment? 

He is almost 21.  We can only say what we feel to give him some food for thought, and it is ultimately up to him what he does.  Frankly, I know that it is not a good idea.  Right now is just the wrong time.  Take the money you would spend on an air fare and pay for your cousin to come up and stay with you for a week after he graduates!

On a lighter note, M and I where taking advantage of the beautiful day yesterday and cleaning up the yard and readying the lawns for their summer debut.  Even though it was a restricted burn day and we couldn't burn the debris pile, I did fire up the propane torch and was doing some of the weeds that grow up along the concrete pad boarders on the front patio.  Yes, I was being a scofflaw.  The hose was dawned and we are talking literally burning concrete...riiiight.  Problem occurred when dipshit me got a little too close to the dormant yellowed and dry lawn at the edge of the concrete pad.  Within a flash of a second, the dead grass ignited and began to spread at lightning speed.  I shit myself, cut the flamethrower off and jumped to the head of the small flames to try and stomp them out as I calmly and rather urgently called out to Maryann who was just yards away, "honey, honey, honey, honey, get the hose, get the hose, get the hose....".  She looked up and as well shit herself, because she couldn't figure out what in hell I was doing.  Was I on fire, or was I on top of the fire she thought while running to the hose just feet away.  Mind you, it was all very small scale since we are only talking about inch tall dead grass, and any fire wouldn't have been able to go too far with the walkway, driveway and gravel area bordering the affected area.  It just would have singed that section of my lawn that is trying to wake up and grow back after a long winter.  Nonetheless, it did make for a heightened moment, and my loving wife informing  me that I scare her sometimes.  Really!? lol  When I relayed my story to John later that night, he commented that, "This is the problem.  People, like in my situation, fail to call 911, they just try to put it out themselves and it gets out of control."  Talk about feeling a moment of pride for how you raised him and where he is in life, coupled with embarrassment from being lectured by your son, for a change, instead of being the one lecturing!! 

We'll see!  In the mean time, we will be having a guest living with us this summer and we are a bit excited about it!  Stand by as the story continues in the next post, which I promise won't be weeks away. 


Anonymous said...

Hea,Hea,Hea, Ophs :-)

Dan said...

Ha... Love your Knuckle Headedness story about heading to Cali, then you had your Moment in the grass.. Ha!! Beautiful.. Guess the apple does not fall far huh?? LOL....