It's back to work for me tomorrow. I go from my role of being a father, to being the rookie at the hall. In some ways it is quite a switch......although in other ways the roles are pretty similar. At home I do a little cooking and cleaning, while at the hall I do a lot. One big benefit, to my family at least, is that I am definitely going to get more in the habit of cooking and shopping for good meals. At home I am on the kids' school and extra curricular schedule, while at work everything goes according to the captain's schedule.
So far I really can't complain about being a rookie/probationer. It is a lot of work. Other than 10 minutes to eat at lunch, and driving quickly to emergencies, I don't really sit down from 7 am until I finish at 6 pm. I know that in a few years, when I have settled into a different routine, it will be hard to imagine going back to my current role and having so many responsibilities around the hall. For now however, I am just appreciative of the job and eager to learn as much as possible. While every call is a new learning experience, none have been more of an eye opener than the mattress fire at a dumpy hotel last week. The tiny hotel room was covered with garbage, clothes and mostly porn many inches deep across the floor. A bunch of mice scurried out when we removed the mattress.
Learning how to negotiate a big boys club occupies a lot of mental energy as well. There are about 175 people who all know each other well, have lots of time to talk and who would probably love to find things to pick on. It's not an easy exercise to find one's place in this environment and not give people too much ammunition to criticize with. Amongst all the things I need to learn and responsibilities I have, answering the phone is one of the more simple ones. However, anyone who has been around a firehall knows that the probie is expected to always answer the phone......pretty much on the first ring...or else someone else will grab it and give the probie grief. Having the cordless phone in my pocket definitely helps, however I did manage to screw this up last week when I hung up on the chief of the department. Oooops!