Waiting for 911

Several months ago my husband had a nearly unbelievable interaction with a citizen. I say nearly unbelievable because it really did happen but one can’t help but wonder HOW?!

A motorist assist. A vehicle ‘broke down’ on US-131. A dark night.¬†Upon his arrival he finds a distraught young lady – she’s in her early twenties and tells him she is a student at Western Michigan University (that’s the first problem… she’s a Bronco.) <Insert a jubilant “Fire up Chips!” here> ūüôā

¬†Anyway, back to the story… she tells him she’s coming from a job interview and she’s lost and needs help getting back to her apartment, not far from WMU’s¬†campus. My husband says, “follow me, I’ll show you the way”. She says, “I can’t. I’m out of gas too because I’ve been driving around for three hours trying to get home.” He figures the interview must have been some distance away if she’d been driving for three hours. Then she tells him her interview was at the mall. Crossroads Mall. In Portage. So somewhere between WMU’s campus and The Crossroads Mall in Portage (literally, like 12 minutes apart via US-131/I-94) she has burned an entire tank of gas and 3 hours of her life driving in circles. This statement should have been flag #2.

At that point he tells her he’ll take her to the nearest gas station so she can get a gallon of gas and get her car off the freeway, THEN they’ll address the whole being lost issue. Her response? “No thanks. I think I’ll just wait for 911 to come help me.”……… He then gently explains to her, “I AM 911. Who else would you like to wait for? A dispatcher¬†with a wireless headset¬†and a gas can?” Now, it’s a good thing my husband has the patience of Jobe because I probably would have just said, “Have fun with that” and left the girl there to ‘wait for 911’ – whatever that means. But he’s probably a better person than me so that’s not what he did.

So after he transported her to the gas station he tells her to go buy a gas can and pay for a gallon of gas, which he will pump for her and then put in her vehicle back along the freeway so he can finally get her back on her way. But before she goes inside she asks if he can take her to a PNC bank so she can get some money because she has no cash. It’s 11:00pm. He explains that there are no banks open, so she’ll need to use the ATM inside the gas station. She tells him she can’t use the ATM because “it’s too complicated and never works”. Frustrated at this point he tells her to just go try.

20 minutes later she comes back out, empty-handed, and asks if he has five cents. Now he just happened to have a quarter in his pocket that he had found in the parking lot at the start of his shift, so he gave it to her in hopes of ending this nightmare call. She FINALLY comes out with a gas can and he fills it with one gallon of gas and transports her back to her vehicle.

After ‘filling’ her tank with the lone gallon of gas he says, “Ok, so what apartment complex are you trying to get to?” She then says, “Well, I don’t know the address or the name of the complex yet. I just moved there. But it’s not far from campus and there’s a bar on the corner. But I don’t know the name of the bar.” In complete exasperation and with no other options he just points her in the direction of campus and says, “I’m sure you’ll know it when you see it.” He then says a little prayer that the tank of gas gets her at least far enough so that he doesn’t have to deal with her again. Bless her heart.

He said after the fact that he really should have called the place she interviewed and warned them. I said he should have called her parents and told them that they had completely failed. But he didn’t. For all we know she’s still driving in circles on US-131, and “waiting for 911” to come to her rescue.

On Thin Ice

In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Last week my eldest daughter (wow, that sounds weird to say) started figure skating lessons. The neglected middle child that she is we figured we owed it to her to get her started in some kind of extracurricular activities. She picked ‘ice dancing’.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† It seemed like a good choice. I mean, we’re already spending countless hours and every weekend morning at the ice arena for her brother’s hockey so why not? She’s doing really well with it… aside from the whole hysterical crying every time she falls down. But she’s participating, so that’s something.

¬†¬†¬†¬† But starting the program with her brought back some very ‘fond’ memories from when our son¬†did this very same program.¬†Now, this was about¬†three years ago so he’s come a long ways since then but we didn’t exactly end his program on a¬†real positive note. In fact, if you had told me after his last¬†lesson in the program that in three years he’d be playing hockey, I would have laughed. Out loud.¬†

     His final skating lesson in this particular program fell the week of Halloween. The kids were supposed to come in their costumes. My kid came as Spiderman. And he was sooo excited. Until we tried to push him out onto the ice. He screamed. He hollered. He literally clawed himself back through the door and onto the concrete in a writhing, tear-soaked, Spiderman-costume-and-ice-skate-wearing mess.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Not wanting to ‘make a scene’ with his hysterics, I gathered up our stuff (including the aforementioned¬†eldest daughter, who was at the time a wee babe)¬†and decided we’d just call the lesson a wash and head home. Now my husband was on duty at the time but just happened to swing by the ice arena during his lunch break to see his little dude’s last lesson. He walks in – and promptly starts walking back out with me and our menagerie of crying kids.

¬†¬†¬†¬† So here’s the image… Hysterical crying 3-year-old wearing a Spiderman¬†costume and ice skates being drug along by a hysterical woman with a wailing baby under her arm – being ‘escorted’ out of the arena by a uniformed and armed State Trooper. To the outside world, it really must have been a sight. I must have¬†looked like a serious contender for ‘Mother of Year’ on that one… I’m actually kind of surprised they let us back into the building for a second go ’round at the program with child #2.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Fast-forward three years to last night’s session and about five minutes in we had a flashback when all THREE kids started crying at the same time. Eldest daughter because she fell on the ice (don’t worry – she wears a helmet), son because he fell on the concrete while ‘checking’ himself into the boards along side the rink and the baby because, well, she’s a baby.

Ah yes, who wouldn’t want to spend a few more hours every week at a place that evokes such ’emotion’ from our family. Oh well. At least this time my escort wasn’t in uniform when we walked out.

A hero any other day

Angel cop

Two nights ago my husband came home late from work. Some wives would follow that statement with an air of suspicion. Not in my house.

Because two nights ago my husband was a hero. Not that he’s not a hero any other day (especially in the eyes of our six-year-old son) but on that night he went above and beyond.

Earlier in the evening he was dispatched to a late report for a child abuse complaint. No one was too excited to take that particular call (understandably so) but my hubby offered up. The victim, a two-year-old child, had a black eye, 2nd degree burns from scalding water and bite marks all over his body.

Most of the time with child abuse cases the complaint is investigated,¬†involved parties¬†are interviewed, the injuries are documented and, if enough evidence is present, a warrant is issued and if we’re really lucky we pick the suspect up some time down the road to answer for those charges. It’s generally a very long process and by the time we get to the end the suspect will plead the charges down to a little bit of nothing.

That’s not what happened two night’s ago.

My husband did all those things and more. He worked the case from beginning to end. From original caller/complainant to in-custody arrest all in one shift (plus an additional three hours beyond the end of said shift). He tracked down the suspect at a huge apartment complex knowing nothing more than his name, a brief physical description and an idea of places he might possibly hang out. He found the suspect, needle in the haystack that he was, got a full confession out of him and arrested him on Felony Child Abuse charges. That is one remarkable shift.

When he got home he said, “That case was worth every second of the three plus hours I stayed late to secure charges against the suspect.” He said that case reaffirmed why he puts on the uniform everyday. I said he’s a hero, especially to that two-year-old victim.

You Might Be A…

You might be a law enforcement family if…

1. Your children have ever handcuffed themselves together. With real handcuffs.
2. You frequently find bullet casings and spent shells in the washing machine and think nothing of it.
3. You and your spouse can have an entire conversation using only 10-codes and radio call signs.
4. Your family enjoys playing ‘Spot the Felon’ when you go out in public.
5. You’ve accused your mother-in-law of being ’10-96′.
6. Your 6-year-old can recite the entire phonetic alphabet and call out a plate.
7. Your spouse has ever come home and told you about the hooker he ‘picked up’ at work today.

All Quiet on the Western Front

We’re coming off of a glorious 5-day stretch of off-duty life for my hubs, which included three days of us actually being in the same place at the same time. We celebrated our oldest turning 6 (holy cow, how did THAT happen?!), a Red Wings hockey game in ‘The D’ and even some good ol’ fashioned down time with nothing to do.

Not twenty minutes into the down time portion my husband and I said, almost at the exact¬†same time, “We should repaint the living room!” Why not?

Five cans of paint later my kitchen,¬†guest bath, hallway and living room are all lovely new shades of soon-to-be spring happiness. ūüôā

A different kind of date night…

“Denial is a fuzzy blanket you pull up over your eyes and pretend bad things won’t happen. Then reality walks up and kicks you in the crotch while you have your eyes covered. Don’t live in denial.” – Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

So began my day yesterday… It was the day before Valentines Day and the hubby and I were scheduled to (FINALLY!) have a real, genuine, no-kids-allowed date. The date started with me attending ‘The Bulletproof Mind’ with the aforementioned one and only Lt.¬†Col. Dave Grossman, internationally recognized scholar, author, soldier and speaker who is one of the worlds foremost experts in the field of human aggression and the roots of violent crime. If that doesn’t scream ‘ROMANCE’ I dont’ know what does!! ūüôā I had tried to get my husband on board to attend with me, thinking then we could make a day of it but he wasn’t able to arrange it and we decided we might get¬†funny looks when people asked, “where did you go/what did you do for your date night?” ūüôā

But after the seminar was over (and it was fantastically interesting, by the way) we met up at one of our favorite places to eat; The Grillhouse¬†in Allegan. We enjoyed a couple amazing steaks, an adult beverage and¬†an uninterrupted conversation (I’d almost forgotten what that was like)¬†and reveled in the glorious fact that we didn’t have to cut up anyone’s food or break out the baby wipes to clean up post-meal. It was a real treat and much-needed.