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Husband Manager

    Pouring Wine

    "Wine comes in at the mouth

    And love comes in at the eye;

    That's all we shall know for truth,

    Before we grow old and die.

    I lift the glass to my mouth,

    I look at you, and sigh."

    W.B. Yeats.

    Musings of an Irish girl who took a leap of faith.


    As soon as I was legitimate in the United States I scrolled through "Indeed" daily looking for a new job. Having spent almost a year on the doss, I needed to get out and join the working world again. America, the land of opportunity. But what did I want to do?

    Oil terminal operator, been there got the t-shirt. Office administrator, 9 to 5, absolutely not. Data-entry, work from home? Then I won't meet anyone. Smokechaser?

    Apply now!

    I hadn't a clue what the role was, but it sounded interesting and had a cool title. It was also something I would never have had the opportunity to do back home. That's all I wanted, a completely different job where I could learn new skills, even at my age. I completed the required week-long fire training course and passed the work capacity test which consisted of carrying a 25lb pack and walking for 2 miles under 30 minutes.

    Smokechasers are emergency intermittent wildland fire fighting assistants. When I called my Mam to try and explain the job to her, she shocked me by responding "oh your Dad was one of those"! I couldn't believe that she knew what it was but also that I was unwittingly following in my Dad's footsteps many moons later, in a different country. Things happen for a reason as they say. There was no rhyme or reason for me to choose Smokechaser from the many jobs posted other than it sounded cool. My Dad was cool. That's reason enough for me.

    My uniform is the famous yellow shirt and green pants, the same as is worn by the Hotshot crews. I get to update the Smokey bear signs. I get up close and personal with the air tankers and helicopters used for wildland fire fighting. I work with amazing, experienced fire leads and ride around in a fire truck waiting for the call of fire.

    I've yet to experience the big one but I'm trained and ready for when it does happen. I have the coolest job I've ever had, and I love it. I received my first American pay cheque the same day as I left my last job in Ireland exactly one year ago.

    It's never too late to change direction. Never too late to try something completely out of your comfort zone. It's never too late to take a chance. Never too late to find a job you love.

    Smokey says, "Only you can prevent forest fires".

    Only you can change your life. All you gotta do is Apply now.


    Last weekend we took a trip to the big city of Saint Paul for the annual Cinch World's Toughest Rodeo. What we were not expecting was to be stuck right in the middle of the Vulcan Torchlight parade just before heading to the show.

    Crowds began to gather on the street outside the bar where we were and having asked several people not many could explain the "Vulcans" with their red capes and jackets, or the history of the parade. We did find one guy eventually who filled us in on the origin and it is a fantastic story which I since researched on the Minnesota Historical Society.

    In 1885 Eastern newspaper journalists (whom I believe were from New York) visited Saint Paul and upon return , they wrote that Minnesota was a dark and dreary place, un-inhabitable, and comparable to Siberia.

    In retaliation the proud Minnesotans got together and basically said F you and decided to create a wintertime festival which would showcase the beauty of their winter wonderland. They worked with the City of Montreal who had their own winter festival in place and they helped build the first ice castle in Saint Paul on February 1st, 1886.

    The Montreal festival had an Ice King and Queen named Aurora. Saint Paul adapted similar characters and named them King Boreas and Queen of the Snows. The mischievous Vulcan and his red-caped Krewe were created from the Germanic tradition of the energy and disruption which springtime brings to the final days of winter. The dethroning of King Boreas by the Vulcan Krewe is the conclusion of the festival and the torchlight parade signifies bringing the warmth back to Minnesota.

    The parade is weird yet wonderful. It is full of light and music. Decorated floats, marching groups, trucks, clowns and people handing out beads and candy for kids. It is the oldest wintertime festival in the U.S. and long may it continue.

    Minnesotans are proud of their State, and even though it is cold for almost half of the year, it is the warmest place I have ever lived.

    People knock you down in life all the time, whether it is in the workplace, sports, or family and friends. Take the Minnesotan attitude, kick right back and blind the fuckers with brightness!

    The carnival of old Saint Paul song:


    You met Hero with a snap at his nose, and barking. You met me with happiness, and barking. Everyday you greeted us the same. Everyone you greeted the same.

    You quickly became my friend and companion during the early days of adjusting to American life. Long days unable to work, missing my home and my family, but you filled the gap with love, laughs, and barking.

    You showed Hero you were the boss, taking his ball and laughing at him. Taking treats from his mouth, leaving the last scent, giving him the shoulder, and taking his bed. But you also licked his nose and his ears, you tried playing with him, you shared your water bowl, you left your pills for him.

    You walked side by side with Hero. You never showed it, but he knew and he waited for your old tired legs to catch up. You showed him that you could play too, the squeakier and noisier the toy the better. You showed him that when a snake bites, you bite back.

    When you heard the doorbell you barked. When someone walked by the house you barked. When you met another dog you barked. When you saw a duck you barked. When you saw a shadow you barked. When you heard a noise you barked. When all was quiet you barked.

    Life will never be the same again without your barking. Don't let them rest in peace, keep on barking, wherever you are....

    Our dear, sweet, barking mad Ginger.

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