Life as a working mom

My internal conflict has begun. Do I need a challenging occupation to make me feel like a whole person? I have not come up with that answer yet. I have recently returned to work after having our second daughter. I felt pressure to return to work in order to take a class that will undoubtedly enhance my resume in the future. The pull at my heart occurs each morning when I drop both my daughters off at daycare. I have been able to start back working 8 hr shifts instead of 12 so I am able to drop them off and pick them up.

Searching for Columbia - Day 4

We arrived at the new ICP still without and idea of where or when we will be doing the training of the crews. We were told that we were going to move permanently to a new ICP. It is in town in a huge warehouse. Everything will be inside out of the rain and elements. There was not much for us to do except train the crew bosses about grid searching in theoretical terms. They were pretty receptive. It is hard to grasp the concept without a visual so wanted them to take back the information to their crews and be ready to try it tomorrow.

Searching for Columbia - Day 3

Starting out later than usual we left for work at 7:45am to arrive at camp in time for the rain. It never did stop raining long enough for me to remember. We tromped through the mud and ate breakfast. We sat through a briefing of the Strike Team Leaders and Crew Bosses. It turned out to be pretty informative. It was the first time we got the big picture. We thought that we were going to start our training process thereafter, but we were told that were going to be new plans. We needed to have everyone move their tents out of the field because a strong windstorm (50 mph) was going to come through. After lunch we were told that the 2nd meeting was canceled and that the camp was going to be split into three sites because of the lack of space under shelter. We were released and came back to the motel to relax. Since we are all used to being active it was hard to sit and do nothing but we managed to pass the time. Kevin and I went out to grab a bite at a local diner. The conversation was good. I retired for the night after a welcome shower.

Searching for Columbia - Day 2

An obnoxious rooster announced the prematurely. We departed at 4:40 a.m. heading to Nacogdoches ICP for breakfast and orientation. We were introduced to the search technique being taught and we orientated to the map system that was going to be used. Meeting with Tom Minor from Washington USAR was an enlightening step in determining what our true purpose was.

Grabbing a bag lunch and headed into the field to watch the teams in action. The terrain was mild and did not give us any clues to what was to come. We loaded up and headed off to our ICP in Palestine where we would make our home for the next several weeks. Texas roads are barely big enough for two cars but people feel the need to pass on every double yellow line there is.

Palestine ICP was located at a small livestock showing grounds. There were 2 indoor arenas and 1 outdoor arena. Not a traditional Type 1 Camp but then what is? Although there were sheltered places for tents no one was allowed to use them. There was a livestock show in a few days and we were not allowed to use the shelter. The person setting up camp seemed to think this was all right. However, having 600 people in tents and two inches of rainfall a day was not going to work for this mission.

Searching for Columbia - Day 1

With two days notice Dan and I were dispatched to Texas in late February to help lead legions of federal firefighters in the search for Columbia's remains in eastern Texas. Over the next days I'll post the story of that trip.

We got to the airport two hours before our flight. Flying with a one way ticket bought the day before does not allow you a speedy departure in a post-9-11 world. We were put through every known screening the airport has. Searching every article we brought, taking a little more than two hours. Leaving the confiscated items (waterproof matches) from the checked bags with Josh to take home we headed off to the terminal. Again our carry-ons were searched as well as our shoes and our clothing. With 10 minutes to catch our plane hope was not my dominant feeling, but we got there just as the doors closing. Having seen Kevin in line and knew that he was not going to make the flight but we met our team leader Kelly from Rocky Mountain Rescue Group when we got on the plane.

We began to prepare ourselves for the job that lay ahead. I went over some equations for POD and spacing that I took out of Managing a Lost Person Incident. One equation I found interesting was POD = 100 - (.5 x spacing). I am interested to see the studies behind this particular equation -- a topic for another time.