Thursday, December 9, 2010

Being in the Fire Club

I always loved these clothing items that say you're in a club.  It's like a secret society that only the pure can enter (hah!) and every time I wear this, I advertise that I'm good enough.  I'm one of the initiated.  This watch cap has gotten some serious wearing these last few weeks as I've spent hours outside with the dogs at the new house.  I'm proud to wear this cheap, acrylic thing and happy to be a member of that group.

One of the decisions I'm making is which department to join in my new neighborhood.  There's the one that's really, really close to my house that nobody seems enthusiastic about, or there's the one that's a few miles away where I already know a few folks and their chief already said they'd love to have me.

So, on Monday I went to the closer department and spoke to the chief and the membership person.  On Tuesday I had the fire instructor call the chief as a reference, returned with a completed application, my $6 fee, and a few other required items.  I walked into the building about 15 minutes before their monthly meeting, into a room with 10-15 guys and noted as conversation stopped ... and 10-15 male heads swiveled towards me, not looking friendly.  I gave my stuff to the membership guy and he said (wait for it) ... they'd get back to me.  Clearly an invitation to leave.  I left not feeling good about this.  Not at all.

I have a pretty strong suspicion that I would be the first girl in this department, and that girls aren't exactly welcomed.  Never mind that most of the other departments in the area have gotten over this hurdle.  For some around here, it's been decades that they've had women firefighters.

This is another example of should I choose to stay and fight the good fight or "give up" and take the easy road out.  In another realm, I recently took the easy way out when after two years of struggle, I gave up the lonely fight to raise goats by myself up on the mountain (where, by the way there are now several inches of snow.). 

I understand that staying and struggling to earn respect would somehow make me a more virtuous person, but I have exactly zero desire to fight the good fight here.  History remembers the firsts.  The women who do the challenging, difficult thing and struggle to make the path easier for those who follow.  If history doesn't remember me, but I get to be part of a supportive fire department where I look forward to being with the crew, I'm OK with that.  It's been a rough few months (actually years), and all I want to do right now is take it easy for a while.  I do not want to move from one struggle right into another one.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but one of these days, hopefully I'll get a hat from a new department, either the close one or the farther one.

On a more positive note: I put off trying the washer and dryer at the new house as long as possible (because they look pretty old), but had to finally give them a whirl (ha ha) last night.  I'm pleased to report that they both work fine.  Whew!  I may ride this streak as long as possible and give the oven a try this weekend.  If everything works, I'll probably allocate scarce dollars to getting a new-to-me vehicle (trading the truck in), instead of buying kitchen appliances.  The truck is too big to realistically work as my full-time vehicle.


  1. No one needs that kind of aggravation when all (and really, it is all) you are trying to do is help out and be part of a team, not proving a point. Geez, guys, it's 2010...

  2. Yah! I'll bet the guys are thinking, "I have to be all sensitive and stuff everywhere else. Where is it that a guy can just be a guy." (I'm not saying they're right! Many of them ARE older, though.). My father sent an email that uses the phrase, "pick your battles," which feels apt here.

  3. Jordan, No reason to bring undo stress into your life.. no reason at all.. Go where you are wanted.. there is Not a Thing wrong with that..
    YEA!! re- the washer and dryer working (knock on wood). I have been without a dryer for almost 6 months and even tho I have one coming this week and hanging clothes outside in 15 degrees is a serious hassle.. I will mourn the necessity of having to hang and go back to being lazy and conventional.. mostly..
    And dads are almost always right.. at least mine is and if he were to offer such advice I would heed it.
    Glad you are settling in..
    Melanie in MN

  4. You did NOT take the easy way out and give up on your mountain top homestead. You made a wise, intelligent, sensible decision that was best for you. And why in the world would it make you a more virtuous person to struggle to earn the respect of a bunch of neanderthals who aren't worthy of the talents you have to offer? Join the group of volunteer fire fighters that are a little farther away but have already welcomed you and start taking it easy for a while as you say you want to do.

    Good gosh, I got a little rabid there, didn't I? There are enough battles in every day life that we can't walk away from. Go with your father's wise words.