You never know what will happen in one week. Last Sunday night I was a bachelor again, Mrs. KF went to see her sister, she returned on Tuesday with a respiratory infection and pinkeye in both eyes. Monday the last surviving member of my grandfathers high school class died...she happened to be the mother and grandmother of very good friends of my family. At 2 am Thursday morning the fire pager went off, the only new building on our main street, the cafe/bar(pub to you) was on fire. When I pulled up to the scene I had visions of losing the entire block. This apprehension was made even worse when the city water manager pulled up in his pickup to tell me half the water plant was shut down and we would likely run out of water, 110 gallons per minute was all he could give us once we drained the tower. You don't have to be a math whiz to know if you are running 2-750 gpm pumps that 110 gpm supply won't work. I sent a man to get the tanker, at least we would have 3000 gallons to work with.
Sometimes though things work better than you think they will. The new building was tight and the fire couldn't get much air, it was clad with metal and had a hard time breaking out of the roof. We managed to get a handle on it after about 4 hours without any damage to the other buildings on the street, and with nothing but smoke damage to 2/3 of the building.
One thing about volunteer firemen, they don't have to show up at fires. One guy(who I dearly love, but who is not that devoted) makes all the meetings, but only comes to fires that fall between "after supper" and "before bed". This has always irritated me, when I got a minute(about 5am) I dialed his number, it took three tries but I finally woke him up. His groggy "hello??" was met with my rather enthusiastic declaration over the phone.."we have the fire under control, you can go back home!!!". "Great" was the only reply I heard. "You are on your way, aren't you(3 hours after the page)???" I asked. "Sure" then a click as he hung up.
At breakfast that morning I got a call asking me to be a pallbearer for the woman who had died on Monday. Not much I could say other than "yes". 95% of the time people see me in work cloths and a hat....funerals and weddings are the few times I dress up and go "topless". This gives everyone a chance to remark "you really are getting thin on top". Even so, I went to get the hair around my bald spot cut. Our barber quit years ago, so I get my hair cut with the old women at the hairdressers(paying more than ever to cut less hair). You get to listen to all the gossip that way, the fire was topic 1, the main problem, why don't they blow the fire whistle any more???. Apparently, several of the towns elderly women believe the whistle should be blown even if we have pagers, so the non firefighting public can turn out...I didn't bother to tell her that is why we don't blow the whistle anymore. A side note to this is that the tornado siren and fire siren are one and the same, with a different tone(fire is three blasts, tornado one solid blast). Nobody really ever remembers which is what. One stormy day when we had an oil tank fire(caused by lightening) I was surprised to see everyone outside looking up at the sky. It dawned on me later they thought the fire signal was the tornado siren, and of course we all know the tornado siren means go outside and look up, not take cover. I should also add we have a relatively new system now that can be set off remotely. All new systems come with some bugs in them, last summer we were testing it, and trying in vain to set it off...no matter what we did we could not get it to work. After about 45 minutes we learned we had been setting off the siren in the town 10 miles to the south...they had finally disconnected the power to the siren because they couldn't figure out why it kept going off.
On Friday I rushed to get chores done, because I had to be at the church at noon. It was a bright, sunny, mild morning, with a bad snowstorm forecast for that night, hard to believe. By the time we got to the cemetery at 3, it was still warm, but with ominous clouds gathering. Just as the minister gave the "Amen" in the final prayer, the wind came out of the north, and the temperature dropped like a stone. By 8pm ice pellets were falling, by 10pm snow. Saturday morning we had 2 inches with a strong north wind. At 4pm a neighbor called me to ask if I could pull him out of a drift on the road....I spent about an hour clearing the road in hope that Sunday morning it would still be passable. After doing that, I drove past the home of one of my landlords, an 87 year old couple. I had just gotten home when he called to ask if I thought they could make it to the highway. "Is it life or death?" I asked. "no" came the reply, "we would just like to go out to eat". I told Albert he better just stay home, as it was still snowing and blowing.
It snowed all Saturday night, and Sunday morning the road I had cleared the night before had drifted worse than it had been, almost as bad as Christmas day. Even more disheartening was the fact my feed bunks in my weaned calf pen were completely covered with snow, not just full, but covered. By noon, the snowplow had come through, and the sun was out. I spent about 2 hours with the tractor digging out the bunks. By 6pm most of the roads that weren't drifted were melted off.
Perhaps though the biggest item of the week happened about 10:30 pm Sunday night, when the US House of Representatives passed our healthcare reform. TV stations broke in, the President spoke. No Republicans voted for it. On one side you have Democrats declaring this a great day for America, on the other the GOP telling us we are headed for socialism. It was predicted by one TV pundit tonight we will soon look like Europe, complete with a VAT. I have really mixed emotions about this. Mrs.KF gets her insurance through her job, it costs her just $35 per month. Mine on the other hand costs me $330 per month, it went up 33% last year. Unlike many Republicans I hope for the best with this, a constant worry of mine the last few years has been that my insurance would get too high for me to afford. Time will tell the outcome, all I know is this was quite a week.