Sunday, February 10, 2013


Pack your bags, sell Petey the Parakeet to the neighbor kid, and leave a note for the gas man.   We are hitting the road. 

You may recall, back in the deep dark ages when we started this little project (aka October 2011) that my original goal was to spend a year prepping for the FDNY exam, whilst traveling around, visiting fire events, museums, memorials; and flirting with firemen.

Mission accomplished.  The exam is passed (with flying colors, insert back pat here).  I’ve visited fire folks in four different states and told you their stories; I’ve stood and wept in the spots where my heroes died; I’ve flirted shamelessly with men half my age; I’ve knocked small children to the ground for my turn on the fire truck.  While I will always be a first responder advocate – I truly think it’s a calling for me – it’s time to refocus our blog effort before Kat’s on Fire ends up like the last season of The Office.

So, I’m moving!  Our new blog is here. Same cast of characters – still Kat, still Thor, still The Boy, and still the same basic premise.  I’ll still be writing about my travels, my love life, my job, my dating profile biz, and my wacky fire adventures.  However, since I’m easing into my online business launch, the blog focus will be more on relationships and getting your life together…with the occasional fire event for good measure.  Same Kat, different wrapper.  I hope you enjoy it.   Due to the blog’s nature, it will be much simpler to leave comments.  Therefore, I hope you will give me your opinions, as it is well known throughout the blogosphere that my readers are amongst the most intellectual, well-cultured, kickass individuals in cyberspace. 

I gotta admit – I feel a little misty-eyed and nostalgic at leaving my home.  I choose, instead, to focus on the super-bubbly feeling of excitement, anticipation, and OH MY GAWD I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M ACTUALLY DOING IT.   Your Kat loves you.  I’ll see you on the other side.
(That’s my big wrap-up.  Um, you’ll want to click on that link now.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Good Morning, Louie.

So I have this spot in the break room at work.  I go to it, oh, 3 or 4 times a week with my trusty laptop and converse with you.  A little laminate table, a chair molded from black plastic, both tucked into a corner where I can spread out my stuff and unobtrusively observe the world….or,  at least, unobtrusively observe my 20 or so coworkers show up for the day.  My sugar-free latte, my poppy seed muffin; my laptop, my phone.  Thus begins another workday in the Spokane Valley.

As I stared at a blank screen and picked poppy seeds out of my teeth, Coworker Kim shows up.  Coworker Kim is easily the most fashionable lady in the office, platinum blonde hair with a fresh Mexico tan and today, the coolest wool coat I think I’ve ever seen.  I was remarking on said coat, the usual morning chitchat, and my wandering eye drifted to her handbag.  This is when the planet stopped turning and people started falling off. 

 Louis Vuitton.  Kim has a Louis Vuitton.

I sucked 90% of the oxygen out of the room and pushed my eyes back into their sockets.   “Is that a Louis Vuitton?”

Kim smiled that little smile that only a kindred-expensive-handbag-soul can.  “Yes.”
“Is that a REAL Louis Vuitton?”

“Yes.” And just when I thought she couldn’t get any cooler, Kim slides her hand into that sweet brown leather and pulls out a matching LV wallet.

Lips quivering, hands shaking, you all know my next question.  “Can I touch it?”  I touched an L, I touched a V.  If the bag wasn’t 10 years old, I would have shoved my entire head into it and huffed the leather.

Now I need a ciggie.  It’s gonna be a great day, friends.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

About to Lap Myself.

The deadline is still weeks away, and I’m already behind.
You see, I had set this deadline of 2/14 to launch my website for my business.  I based that on a little side job that I was supposed to do in December, which would have netted me a little extra cabbage.  I was going to take a wedge of said cabbage and use it to get my site up, my pictures done, etc.  Well, guess what.  The parties settled out of court, so the side job didn’t happen, so no extra Kat cabbage.
Well, we will adjust our plan.  People build their own sites all the time, right?  Any jackwagon with a laptop should be able to do this, right?  I actually did take a website development class for 2 days.  In 1996.  You may find this beyond belief, dearest reader, but that wealth of knowledge doesn’t seem to be serving me so well in the 21st century.

After about 8 seriously bad starts, I texted Thor.  “I’m an idiot, what was I thinking, this was a stupid idea, I’ll never pull it off.”  Keep in mind, the poor guy has had to listen to me rant about how hard it is to build a website for, like, 8 weeks now.  His response – “Not stupid.  Ambitious.”   Thor always knows what to say.  He’s Mama to my Forrest Gump.

 Thor then pointed out that I won’t be happy with what I create, that I need to face up to that fact, and that I need to pay somebody to create my site.  The insinuation there is, Kat is a perfectionist whose goals sometimes, on very, very RARE occasions, exceed her ability.  Cough cough.  And that perhaps Kat knows about as much as your average third grader when it comes to website development (assuming that the third grader is in public school, and not some charter program).

So, alas, here we sit.  Perhaps I’ll find DB Cooper’s backpack between now and Valentine’s Day.  

Regarding the job, to which I so cleverly hinted recently; it is not meant to be.  Truth be told, my interview was akin to lighting a firecracker in a funeral home.  Not exactly a good fit, best decision for all, blah blah blah.  But it still sucks not to get picked, even for something you might not necessarily want.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Time to Climb Some Stairs, Ya'll.

Greetings, dearest reader.  It is time, once again, for the Scott Air Pack Stairclimb.   While I'm not volunteering at the event this year, I am again helping the Stevens County Fire District in their fundraising efforts. 
I'm copying my first post on the event from last year to get us all in the mood.  You, my awesome readership, raised about 10% of the district's total fundraising goal with your generous donations.  I hope that you will consider giving again.

This is me and my dad, circa 1971. Of all our daddy/daughter photos over the years, it’s my favorite – I look grumpy, he looks like Elvis. And yes, that stroller is probably solid lead and I’m certainly lucky to be alive. Check out his tan line from the watch he evidently decided not to wear that day.

I don’t know what was going on that day. From the attire, I’m guessing I was taking a springtime stroller ride to my grandparent’s house, which was a block away for the first 16 years of my life. My dad probably had the day off work – he worked construction on hydroelectric projects, so days off were pretty precious to him – and my mom must have cajoled him into having his picture taken with Baby Girl. The rest of the day’s agenda is long forgotten. I do know, however, that about 12 years after this picture was taken, my dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and spend the next several years fighting cancer. And that kid in the stroller would spend her high school years being “the kid of the guy with cancer”, always spoken in hushed tones. To be blunt, none of us (including his medical team) are quite sure how he survived. I’ve jokingly stated that my dad has been trying to die of cancer for 30 years, but hasn’t figured out how yet. This is not far from the truth, as we’ve dealt with the effects of disease and chemotherapy on his body and a relapse a few years ago.

In March, my firefighter friend Alex is driving to Seattle, donning 75 pounds of turnout gear, taping this photo of Dad and me to his helmet, and racing up 69 flights of stairs to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma SocietyThere will be up to 1500 firefighters participating – and the honor of participating in the event is via a PURCHASED TICKET. This year, those tickets were gone within an HOUR of their availability online. I get asked a lot why I chose firefighting for my blog project this year – here’s one of many reasons, dearest reader. A prime example of the character of those who choose the life of a first responder, which deserves to be acknowledged and applauded.

Anyhow, the time has come to start raising funds for this event. All of the funds we come up with will be donated via the Stevens County Fire Protection District No. 1 team, of which Alex is a member. 
Here’s a  Link that you can use to donate online to this event, at whatever level you like.  Your donation can be made in your own name, in honor of someone else, or anonymously, if you so choose.

I have no doubt that this organization played a role in the development of my father’s treatment back in the 80’s which saved his life and gave him the opportunity to watch his kids and grandkids grow up. Maybe you have someone in your family, maybe a friend, who has been hit with either leukemia or lymphoma. Maybe you don’t have that person with you anymore. If you aren’t the child of a survivor like I am, but rather the child of a victim, God bless you tonight.

One last note – here’s a link to a video of Stevens County 1 participating in the 2011 Stair Climb. I’ve watched it, oh, a zillion times. I don’t know who created it, but they did a really good job. And yes, the big honkin’ omelet scene makes me want to gack. Stevens County 1 obviously needs me – they don’t know that firefighters are supposed to be Vegan.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January - Go Big or Go Back to 2012.

Hello, my little chickens.  Welcome to 2013.  Live long and prosper.

So now that the calendar has flipped, I can go ahead and let you all in on my newest BIG PROJECT.  On 2/14/13, I will be launching my very own website....can I get a woot woot?  I will actually be opening a business, writing online dating profiles and providing coaching to those desiring to navigate the murky waters of the online dating ocean.  Don't drink the water, it will make you hallucinate.

I've actually been doing this for a while for those in my social circle, but in a moment of rabid capitalism, decided that I'm ready to start getting PAID for it.  So there you have it.  My new gig.  There's money in love, and not just the illegal stuff.

I'm also going through the interviewing process this month for a job that I would really, really like to have.  But, alas, if I don't get it - well, something else will come along.  As I'm sure you've all memorized my list of "100 things to do in 2013", you recall that one of them was "find a new job."  Details to follow.  (This job is actually blog-related....ooohhhh...the suspense.....)

So that's my plan for the month.  I will keep you posted, as you can well imagine.  What are YOU planning on doing in January?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

FDNY Written Exam - The Results.

Last weekend I took the test.  The biggie.  The test to end all tests.  FDNY.  Two hundred questions which had been sweated over by hopeful recruits on the other side of the country, all of whom were much younger than me, and certainly better qualified.  The culmination of my little project, 14 months of my life, right in my little hand.

I'd been reading, observing, studying, flirting, and interviewing for over a year in preparation for this moment.  The exam itself looked innocuous enough; a few diagrams, floor plans, 200 bubbles to fill in.  I wanted a 90.  I'd settle for an 80.  I plopped into my spot on Thor's couch, took a deep breath, and jumped.

My 200-question test actually consisted of 2 100-question tests, so I flew through the first one and scored it.  It didn't seem so hard, and I got a 90.  I knew then...Kat is not settling for an 80.  I needed a 90 on test 2.  After all, test 1 wasn't so hard, right?  I should get another 90, no problem.  I am Kat, hear me roar.

Cough cough.

Test 2 was more difficult.  WAY more difficult.  Turns out FDNY actually expects you to APPLY what you've learned in Fire Science class and use deductive reasoning, rather than just regurgitate facts.  Geesh.  Having not actually taken any fire science classes, I had to rely on my months of exam prep, my years in the military, and 8 seasons of Rescue Me episodes. 

I colored in my last bubble and turned to the answer key.  Honestly, I almost couldn't grade it.  I almost had to ask Thor to do it for me.  Almost. 

I went down the column, bouncing back and forth between bubble sheet and answer key, the letters like machine gun fire from my mouth ...."A B D B C C A C B B D"...... and then it was done.  I looked back over my test sheet to assess the damage.

There was none.  I got a 100 on test 2. 

I looked at Thor, eyes wide, mouth gaping.  "I did it.  I got a 95."

I remember his face bursting into a huge grin, eyes lighting up, a little bark of laughter.  I don't recall tackling him, but I did end up all wrapped up in him with my face snuggled up under his chin.   In this moment of complete contentment, I murmured,  "If I were a different person, in a different body - I would have made an excellent firefighter." 

I felt his smile against my forehead, his whiskered chin on the bridge of my nose as he planted a little kiss on it.  "Yes, babe, you would have."

I would have.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Patience, Grasshopper.

Good evening, dearest reader.

I know you are anxiously awaiting a report on Saturday night’s events.  The dress… the food…the entertainment….Thor’s tie….  Questions jangle, jumble and clamor in your mind, falling over each other in a battle for acknowledgment and relevancy like Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on the set of American Idol.  I regret to say that you must wait a little longer, my little chickens, because I don’t have the pictures yet.  Yes, there was a photographer, and yes, he was truly amazed at my knowledge of how to stand when getting my picture taken.  “A pro”, he said.  Actually, I think he may have said “an OLD pro,” but I’m choosing to suppress that part.

 Anyhow, The Boy leaves to spend part of Christmas break with his dad on Sunday.  After I drop him off, I will be heading to Thor’s to take my ginormous FDNY exam.  He doesn’t know yet.  So, in the interest of open communication, a private note to Thor:  Thor, darling – on Sunday I’m coming over to take my test.  All I need are:  a Coke Zero, a big glass of ice, the blue Snuggie, and your undying devotion.  You may wish to hide the cat in case it doesn't go so well.