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.
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
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.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
I took my third test. It was uneventful; I got an 86. Not great, not horrible. Sigh.
I have one more “short” exam before the two “long” exams. Just for giggles, I casually flipped ahead last night to the first long exam. My eyes scanned the first page in a way that said “I don’t expect to see anything interesting here,” when BAM. My chin dropped, my eyes widened, a sharp intake of breath – in the middle of a rather innocuous-looking page loomed these words:
OFFICIAL NEW YORK CITY EXAMINATION
I hurriedly flipped to the second long exam. Again, the words:
OFFICIAL NEW YORK CITY EXAMINATION
Score, baby. Can I get a woot woot?
So, we are revising our original schedule. I’m blowing off Exam 4 (because I can) and am combining 5 and 6 into one super-exam. It will probably take me 3 hours (I am a supposed to allow for 6) and there will certainly be much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Somebody needs to warn Thor.
Speaking of Thor, this Friday is his company’s Christmas party. It’s going to be held at a lovely resort; there will be fancy cocktails and dancing; a good time will be had by all. Being Kat, it didn’t really occur to me that I should think about what I was going to wear until, oh, Sunday. You see, to say that my wardrobe is “limited” is like saying Lindsay Lohan is “troubled.” My company’s Christmas party is Thursday, and we are all leaving directly from work, so everyone will be in jeans. This type of party I can accommodate. With growing apprehension, I mentally scanned my closet and asked Thor what the dress code will be for Friday. His diplomatic response: “I guess it’s a ‘little black dress’ event.” Houston, we have a problem.
I do own a dress. It’s a white eyelet lace sundress. I wore it once and thought I looked ridiculous, so I never wore it again. I then remembered the GORGEOUS red dress I bought on my 42nd birthday, a little over a year ago. It’s now at least 3 sizes too big. I recall giving it away, now that I think about it; two non-options there. So, last night I did something I’ve never done in my entire adult life. I spent my Christmas money, my gift from my parents, on MYSELF. No bill paying, no buying groceries, no buying stocking stuffers for the kids, which is what I usually end up spending it on. I went to the mall, bought a Little Black Dress (in a Medium, thank you very much), some black heels that might end up being the cause of my first broken collarbone, and some black hose. Thor is going to pass out, I guarantee it. If he doesn’t, he may wish to fake passing out to soothe my vanity. I will have a full report for you on Saturday.
Now I just need to remember where I put my Spanx.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Here it is, as promised. My list of 100 things to do in 2013.
So, before you start some sort of prayer circle for me, can I just take a moment to explain #8, the pole-dancing class? I'm not starting a new career in exotic dancing. What I MEANT was, I want to take the pole-dancing EXERCISE classes. Yes, there is such a thing, and yes, it is perfectly respectable. So there.
Thor emailed me his list last night. I gave him a copy of my list (I got done first, because that's how I roll) and he waited until his was finished before reading mine. I was surprised to see how many of our list items were either identical or very, very similar. Anyhow, he read mine, and pronounced me to be a "granola." Excuse me, but I know of no granola-ish person that carries Coach.
As I read through my list of 2013 goals, I couldn't help but think...."Wow, now this would make an AMAZING blog." But alas, I have other projects to work on in the coming year, and it's not meant to be. However, my dearest reader - if YOU, perhaps, are looking to start a blog of your very own, why, here's an idea! Free! Gratis! Courtesy of your favorite SSG, Kat. You should probably come up with your own list, though. I can't do EVERYTHING for you.
Now, without further ado:
100 Things Kat Will Do in 2013
1. Go vegetarian. (again)
2. Start my day before 6 a.m.
3. Take my supplements every day.
4. Regardless of how I feel or what is going on, move for at least 30 minutes a day, every day.
5. Drink a straight shot of vodka.
6. Establish a workable budget.
7. Pay off my student loans.
8. Take a pole-dancing class.
9. Buy a bottle of wine every month based solely on its cool label.
10. Take off my makeup every night.
11. Launch my business on time.
12. Get something (anything) published.
13. Find a new job.
14. Pass the fire exam.
15. Set workable goals for my business and carve out the time to achieve them.
16. Go to Carr’s One of a Kind Museum.
17. Get my palm read.
18. Say or do something that renders Thor completely speechless.
19. Refit my bike so that it’s functional.
20. Take at least 3 decent-length bike rides per week during the months of June, July and August.
21. Get my tattoo touchup done.
22. Declare Sunday night at 8 to be my sacred time to plan my coming week – and actually do it.
23. Carry my daily planner with me everywhere I go.
24. Buy a new, lighter laptop or possibly a tablet.
25. Touch a snake.
26. Get a wireless router.
27. Develop a new hobby – something I’ve never done before.
28. Go indoor rock wall climbing.
29. Give up pop completely.
30. Take a three-day weekend someplace-anyplace – just me and Thor.
31. Take 1 continuing education class.
32. Make jam.
33. Give away one thing per month for no reason at all.
34. Do not spend any pennies – put them in a jar and give it away on December 1st to the charity of The Boy’s choice.
35. Develop a personal style and cultivate it, so that by the end of the year, everyone will recognize it as “my thing.”
36. Go kayaking.
37. Do a juice fast every other Wednesday. Use the time normally spent eating in thoughtful meditation.
38. Shoot 5 free throws in a row.
39. Buy some new Nikes.
40. Get a cell phone provider that doesn’t blow.
41. Write an actual letter with an actual pen on actual paper, and mail it with an actual stamp.
42. Research a topic that nobody cares about. Become an expert and tell everyone I see in a 24-hour period about said topic. Record their reaction.
43. Give up paper towels.
44. Use paraben-free products.
45. Watch Schindler’s List.
46. For people over 18, give only gifts that have at least one handmade element to them.
47. Buy a new vacuum cleaner, one that has actual bags.
48. Rotate my tires every six months.
49. Stop saying the f word.
50. Get a really nice tote bag that I can carry every day. Preferably Coach.
51. Discover my signature scent.
52. Have “Sunday night dinner”, which includes real food, dessert, and sitting down together at the table.
53. Establish a chore list and allowance for The Boy.
54. Find a dentist.
55. Make something in the crock pot at least once per month.
56. Save $5,000.
57. Whenever Thor and I eat out together, if there is a pickle on his plate, ask him if I can have his pickle.
58. Get a new coat for The Boy.
59. Buy a new lipstick every 3 months.
60. Get professional pictures done for my website/business marketing.
61. Ride a zip line.
62. Play Space Invaders.
63. Cancel my cable and reactivate my Netflix.
64. Consider all constructive criticism, no matter its source.
65. Bake an angel food cake from scratch.
66. Do 4 hours of volunteer work every month.
67. Patronize the farmer’s market as often as possible in the summer.
68. Do not, under any circumstance, set foot in a Wal-Mart.
69. Buy a really nice pair of heels.
70. Weather permitting, spend at least an hour a day outside.
71. Pay back the money my parents gave me when I moved. They probably won’t accept it, but try anyway.
72. Sing in front of a group.
73. Eat at a fondue place.
74. Find the perfect hat.
75. Get a Spokane library card and use it.
76. Get a real TV.
77. Give Nikki a weekly brushout.
78. Redo my spice bottles.
79. Buy a silver bracelet that looks nice with my fire necklace and the ring I wear every day.
80. Wear my pearls as often as possible; ideally at least weekly.
81. Go back to candles. The wax melter thing just doesn’t smell as nice.
82. Learn the first and last names of my 3 neighbors.
83. Call my grandmother once per week.
84. Decide on a short list of charitable causes to support. Focus my time on those causes.
85. Go skeet or trap shooting.
86. Take swimming lessons.
87. Go camping in a tent. One night is more than sufficient.
88. Whenever Thor asks me if I want to learn how to play a game, I will say yes.
89. Play the slots at a casino.
90. See a live concert.
91. Eat something for breakfast every day.
92. Meet somebody famous.
93. Read a relationship book once per quarter and discuss it with Thor.
94. Float the river.
95. Make cheese from scratch.
96. Visit my brother, or invite him to visit me.
97. Plan one event per month with the 4 boys.
98. Cry when I feel like it. Laugh when I feel like it. Pretty much experience my emotions as they come.
99. Get a full body massage.
100. Get a Brazilian wax.