Thursday, February 03, 2005

1,2,3 IT'S FEBRUARY

I was saying to a friend of mine the other day that I feel like I am still in the week after Christmas, when in fact, as we all know, we are well into the month of February already. The one good thing about that is the days are starting to get longer and that means Spring is not too far off. I can’t wait for that magical time of the year when out from under the snow and ice, those tiny green buds of new life start showing. I just love that time of the year and it can’t get here soon enough for me.

I am still coughing my way through the remains of the flu that struck the household over the blizzard weekend, but hopefully this will pass at the same speed the year is zooming ahead. Aside from the physical drain and challenge my cough presents, things in the household have been pretty festive. As we are a family of mixed religions, I try as best I can to honor the holiday season for everyone concerned. With Christmas Eve having fallen on a Shabbas (Sabbath) this year, the table reflected both aspects of the date as shown in the photo Ross took of Marti, taking a photo. The Shabbas candles adorned the Christmas decorations and there was indeed a vibe of festivity and goodwill in the air. With the exception of my friend Jodi and her family, and my Mom who was not well, the usual suspects gathered for the evening. When Stan spilt food down his shirt, he felt it was necessary to cover it by folding his arms over his chest. This gave me the idea to seat all the men in a row and have them fold their arms over their bellies. I directed the wives to stand behind their husbands, as this would hide their bellies! I absolutely love the pic with Ross and Brenna seated in the front. When I look at it, I project myself into the future and can imagine Ross all grown up and looking back on this and saying something like “this is the group of close friends my parents made when we first came to live in New Jersey”.

We enjoyed a Christmas party at the Firehouse just prior to our friend Bobby being inaugurated as Chief for the year 2005. The pic of the Christmas tree and Chanukah candles reflects how the department honored the fact that they now have a Jewish firefighter in their midst. I had to laugh when Bobby called me about half an hour before we were leaving for the party at the firehouse.
“D’you think you could sneak your menorah in when you come down? I want to surprise Dan with it tonight.”
“Um, Bob, it’s not exactly a small item that I could slip into my pocket. Why don’t you come by the house quickly (we live less than 7 minutes from the firehouse) and I will send Marti out with the menorah, no-one will even know you have been here.”
The mission was accomplished and Dan the Fireman was duly impressed and touched.

The inauguration on January 1st was very moving. I took it upon myself to carry out a press campaign and distributed a news release about the fact that Bobby is the 5th member of his family to serve the department. His Grandfather was Chief in 1936 and 1937. His Dad was the first member to die in the line of duty. He suffered a heart attack while responding to a fire call during the blizzard of 1996. I was very pleased with the coverage the story received in the local neighborhood paper and the Daily Record. There will be a further article coming out in the Star Ledger on Feb. 17th. If I were still in the employ of a P.R. agency, this would have proved to be a highly successful exercise. It was a nice feeling of achievement, I must admit!

On Friday, January 29th, Ross and I proudly attended the graduation of Dan the Fireman from the fire academy. To put this into context as far as commitment and achievement goes, I go back to my very scary health crash last October. When I got out of the hospital, Dan arranged to work from home three days a week through to the end of the year. He holds the position of Senior Manager, E-technologies Network Services, of a large bank. I had no idea what a pace Daniel works at. It is non-stop stress and pressure. I was really amazed. For those readers who know us, you will understand what is meant when I say that given the quagmire of shit he comes home to on an almost daily basis, I don’t know how he keeps it all together. For those readers who don’t know the intimate dynamics of my family, I ask your understanding to not lose interest but respect that it would be inappropriate and possibly hurtful to certain members if I were to elaborate. In addition to all he shoulders, he took himself through 150 hours of training. As the Chief of the Academy said in his presentation, if it rains, the guys are on the grounds training, if it is freezing cold, the guys are on the grounds training, if it is hot, the guys are on the grounds training. In addition to all this, in the course of a working week, he also responds to fire and ambulance calls. This certification as a fully-fledged fire fighter will now create some heated (sorry, couldn’t resist) discussion between my husband and me. For me, I still believe people should run OUT of a burning building, not INTO it. However, Daniel, I salute you! You deliver above and beyond the call of duty for everyone in your life and for anyone outside your life that needs the help and assistance you are trained to give. You deserve to be very proud of yourself. You are a very special human being.

The month came to a close with the celebration of Daniel’s 43rd birthday. By means of explanation and not excuse, I managed to cough my way through putting a birthday celebration together, but overlooked the pics. While there is no evidence to show it, a really good time was had by all.

Next on the agenda of partying and celebration, of course, the Super Bowl. It should be a fun day and I will remember the pics of this one.

 
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