9-1-1

All posts tagged 9-1-1

It’s Not Worth More Than Life

Published April 3, 2014 by Malia

I have a lot of things I’m scared of.  Snakes, spiders, snakes, heights, snakes, anything in a scary movie, snakes…well, you get the idea.  However, the two all time scariest moments of my life actually took place while I was driving (and neither involved snakes).  One, of course, is when I went off the road in a blizzard.  Granted, I didn’t get scared until after being rescued, and I realized that I should have died.  The all time scariest moment came in December of 2009.

It was noon on Saturday, December 5th, 2009, I was with my parents, and I was driving on West Center (a main road here in Omaha).  Being the noon hour, traffic was heavy.  We were sitting in a long line of traffic waiting for the light at 120th & W. Center to change.  I remember looking up in my rear view mirror and seeing a car coming up behind me.  I could tell that it wasn’t slowing down, and even though my foot was already on the brake (because we were stopped), I put as much pressure into holding the brake down as I could.  Right before the car slammed into the back of my car, I saw that the driver was just chatting away on her cell phone, completely oblivious to the fact that she was about to cause an accident.  The impact came, our car was pushed up into the car in front of us, and then unexpectedly the car behind us hit us a second time.  It took a moment, but when no more impacts came, it was time to see what had happened.

Turns out, the woman who hit us wasn’t the only one on her phone not paying attention.  There was another woman in the car behind the woman who rear ended us, and she too was on her cell phone.  You read that right, both women were talking on their cell phones not paying a whit of attention to anything.  Not only that, but it ended up being a paramedic who witnessed what happened who called 9-1-1.  I didn’t have a phone at the time, and the gentleman who’s truck I got pushed into didn’t have one either.  Neither of the two women who caused the accident bothered to ever use their phones to call 9-1-1.

Miraculously, no one was killed, or injured; which considering the fact that both women were going at least 45 mph when they hit is pretty amazing.  (Although, the stress of the event triggered a nightmare medical situation with my mom over the next week, but that’s a story for another post.)

Ever since that nightmare day, I’ve been very anti using your cell phone to text or call while driving.  That accident should never have happened.  So, you can imagine the rage I felt yesterday when I got on Facebook, and saw one of my acquaintances had written that when a guy honked and shook his finger at her for texting and driving, she proceeded to flip him off and continue texting at the same time.  And to make it really great, she hash-tagged it “multitasking.”

Cue Seth and Amy, it’s time for “Really?”.  Really?  REALLY??????

Last time I checked driving is not the time to be “multitasking.”  A car is an incredibly dangerous weapon when used irresponsibly.  And yes, I consider texting and driving to be just as irresponsible as talking on the cell phone and driving.  If you don’t care about your own life, show respect and care for other people’s lives.  People in the cars around you are human beings.  Every single driver is someone’s daughter or son.  Every single passenger is someone’s daughter or son.  This isn’t “The Sims” where you can just recreate the character should Death come knocking.  There is no pause button, and the game doesn’t reset just because someone died.   Those other drivers don’t deserve to have their lives taken away or messed up badly because you don’t have the patience to wait until you’ve reached your destination to use your phone.

At the end of the day, life is too valuable to destroy so recklessly and irresponsibly.

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That takes a special kind of stupid…

Published May 5, 2013 by Malia

This morning I awoke bright and early to the fact that the smoke detector was going off in the condo across the hall from ours.  Normally, one would assume that the neighbors had burned toast, or something like that.  However, our neighbors don’t currently live in their condo.  They’ve been trying to sell it for a couple of years now, and our building has been put through quite the “fun” experience of people they’ve rented the unit to.  So, anyway, currently there are no renters and the owners aren’t living there so the unit is empty.

Well, earlier this week, I noticed that the owners must have been in because they had left all the condo lights on and a fan running in one of the rooms (they had the blinds open, and those windows face the parking lot, kind of hard not to notice when you’re walking into the building).  Never saw any evidence that the owners had returned, but every night when I got home from work the lights were still on and the fan was still running.  Personally, I found it to be a rude waste of electricity, but some people just don’t care.

Anyway, the smoke alarm was going off, and even though the door and wall weren’t hot, there was a strong smell of smoke.  We couldn’t decide if this was the smell of cigarette smoke or of fire smoke.  So, after consulting with one of the head honchos of the condo association, dad called 9-1-1.  He told the fire department what was going on, and told them that we really weren’t certain if there was a fire or not, but we had no way to get in and find out.  The fire department said they’d send someone over.

Not only did they send one truck, but because the condo is on the 3rd floor, they sent the ladder truck as well.

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It was quite thrilling, but wait, the thrills had only just started.

I had actually retreated to my room, working under the theory that mom would come get me if we were all going to die (I’d thrown on actual clothes by this point, if I was going to die a fiery death, I wasn’t going to do it in my jammies).  The migraine from last night was still causing pain, and I just wanted to sleep.  A few minutes passed and then I heard:

THUD

THUD

THUD

The only thing missing was Sheldon saying, “Penny?” in between each “Thud.”  It was quite impressive; each thud actually resounded throughout the condo.  Only afterwards did I learn that one of the firemen had actually kicked part of the door in.  I’m quite disappointed that I missed seeing that.   However, I did manage to get a photo of the aftermath:

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In case you’re wondering, here’s how the door would look (minus the decorations) had it not been kicked in:

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Anyway, it turned out there was no fire.  Best that the firefighters could figure, apparently our neighbors were in painting and the pain fumes built up inside the closed unit and set off the smoke detector.  I guess that’s why they left the fan running.  No clue why they left the lights on, other than simple irresponsibility and stupidity.

Moral of the story: apparently paint fumes will set off your smoke detector.

2nd Moral of the story: If you abuse your electricity usage, your door will get kicked apart by awesome firemen!

Also, I can’t help but have today’s events remind me of one of the greatest movie speeches ever:

The Day After Yesterday

Published December 26, 2012 by Malia

Be warned, this is a super long post…at least for me….

Well, Christmas is pretty much winding down.  All in all, it was a good Christmas.  I had a bit of a meltdown mid-day Christmas, and ended up sleeping it off most of the afternoon.  I just suddenly really missed Grampa.  This was the first Christmas without him.  The whole day, while good, felt wibbly-wobbly.  I know he’s in a better place, and much happier because he actually feels good now.  I wouldn’t have wished continuing to be miserable on him.  The thing is, our immediate family is so small, and Grampa being gone just makes us an even smaller group.  It somehow emphasizes the fact that he’s gone.  It’s hard wrapping my head around that fact sometimes.

A few weeks ago I ended up watching the show Hoarders and it really got me to thinking about all the stuff I’ve got.  I’ve got a lot of stuff.  Really, much more stuff than anyone needs, and it’s just stuff.  Sure, I have a few things that are really important and meaningful to me, but overall, I’ve just got a lot of stuff.  I think the time has come to get rid of a lot of my stuff.  I’ll keep my books and movies, but there’s so much random crap that’s been living in boxes under my bed and I haven’t looked at it in over a year.  Clearly, I do not need it to function as a human being.

The thing is, going in the ditch in South Dakota a few weeks ago started tweaking my perspective on life and such.  I guess, I never really filled all of you in on what happened after I wrote my post about going in the ditch and then being rescued and spending the night in Brookings.  What happened following my writing of  my December 9th post was even more “exciting” than going in the ditch.

About an hour after I wrote the December 9th post, I went to bed, only to wake up about 3 hours later in a full blown panic attack.  I’d had a nightmare and all I remembered when I woke up was that I was driving, and the van was going off the road and all I could see was blinding whiteness.  My panic attack basically consisted of my realizing that not only could Katy and I have frozen to death, but the fact that neither the 9-1-1 dispatcher or sheriff’s dispatcher were willing to do anything (even offer a kind word) to ease our terror.  Basically, I felt that they had left us to die.  Trust me, that’s pretty much the worst, most scared I’ve ever felt for my life (and ironically, we were completely safe at the point this feeling kicked in).  I ended up calling my mom in the middle of the night, completely hysterical, wailing that, “9-1-1 left us to die!”  Once mom got me calmed down a little and we prayed, I ended up calling my “sister” and we talked some more and prayed, and I was finally able to get to the point of being able to go back and get some sleep.

Now, when we went in the ditch on 12/9 Katy’s mom had talked to a towing company in Brookings, and they had agreed to rescue my vehicle on Monday morning.  So, when Katy & I got rescued, I called 9-1-1 back and told them not to worry about moving the car, we’d made arrangements to get it in the morning.  The dispatcher told me that was fine and that she’d documented it.  I also left a big sign under the windshield on the driver’s side with my name and phone number.  Come Monday morning, Katy called the towing company, and they told us that there were about 6 cars they needed to get before getting to ours, but they’d give us a call when they needed the keys.  About an hour later we got a call from the towing company telling us that not only was the van no longer in the ditch, but the state troopers had my van towed during the night.  Katy’s phone connection was bad, so she only got that my car was somewhere in a nearby county.  I began calling counties, and each person I talked to was completely rude and unhelpful.  Finally, Katy called the towing company back and asked if they could give her more details about where my vehicle had been towed.  They told her that the van had been towed by Tiny Town Towing in Tiny Town, SD.  Immediately, I turned to Google maps because I had never heard of Tiny Town.  Tiny Town happens to be 40 miles southwest of Brookings (Perfectly logical place to tow it, right?  Since I crashed 10 miles south of Brookings…)

I called Tiny Town Towing, and proceeded to get told that not only was my vehicle there, but there would also be fees to get it back.  I asked repeatedly for specifics on the fees, and was told that it was $100 for getting the van out of the ditch, $3.50 per loaded mile for taking the van to Chester and also for taking the van from Tiny Town to Brookings, on top of which, I was told there would be fees for diesel fuel, service, and labor.  I could not get her to tell me what the last three fees would come out to.  So, I told her I would have to call her back.  I ended up calling home finally and telling mom and dad what was going on.  Dad told me he would call Tiny Town.  At that point I was an emotional wreck because I’d spent the better part of two hours talking to rude person after rude person.  Not only was I not being my normal sweet self on the phone, I was being a stern, direct, no-nonsense “I want answers” person.

A few minutes later I ended up getting a call from Sheriff who was the county sheriff responsible for towing my vehicle.  Our conversation went something like this:

S: May I speak with Milia?

Me: This is Malia.

S: Hi, Malia, this is Sheriff  from …. County.  How are you today?

Me: Hi, Sheriff, I’m pretty stressed.

S: Well, I just wanted to let you know your vehicle is at Tiny Town Towing.

Me: Yes, I know, I’ve been talking to them.  I don’t understand why my vehicle was towed without anyone letting me know that was happening.  Especially, since I had left my phone number and let 9-1-1 know we’d made arrangements to get the vehicle towed this morning.

S: Well, it’s protocol that we tow all the vehicles from the side of the road.  If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t call anyone who’s vehicles we towed.

Me: That does not make me feel better!  Did you even bother to look at my license plate?  It says I’m from Nebraska.  I don’t know where anything is up here, and now I find out that my car is in Tiny Town which is apparently 40 miles south of here.  I went off the road 10 miles from Brookings.  I do not understand why this happened especially when I made arrangements and no one bothered to contact me.

SW: Well, you can’t just have anyone with a pick-up and a towline come out and get your vehicle.  It has to be an actual tow company.

Me: I made arrangements with an actual tow company here in Brookings!

SW: Oh.  Well, I can talk to Tiny Town Towing and see if they can bring your vehicle up.  I was there when they pulled out your van and saw where they parked it.  Of course, there will be fees for all this.

Me: I have a grand total of $20, I have no idea how you expect me to pay for this.

Honestly, there wasn’t much after that, basically I told him that we were trying to figure things out.  He pretty much ended up the conversation there.  If Barney Fife and Boss Hogg had a love child, I’m pretty sure that child would be Sheriff W.

Anyway, by that point, I just collapsed and gave up.  Fortunately, shortly after that I got a call from dad and he’d worked things out with Tiny Town Towing.  Turned out they gave him a completely different quote.   The van got dropped off about an hour later.  My sign was still sitting where I left it, and the windshield had been cleared off, so it was apparent that the sign had been seen.

I guess mom and dad were on the phone back and forth with the South Dakota state patrol all Monday.  Every time the state patrol called back they would change their story.  They eventually tried to tell the parents that I was on the road illegally, because the interstate had closed at 1:07 p.m. and I was out on the road after that.  We easily disproved that by the fact that we had text message and phone log proof that we had gone in the ditch at 12:56.

Anyway, long story short, avoid South Dakota in the winter.

Getting back to my original point, the whole realizing that we could have died or at least gotten hospitalization level hypothermia has really been working on my whole thought process. I’ve started thinking about what I really believe and also what I want out of life.  Super heavy (apparently, something’s wrong with the earth’s gravitational pull in 2012).  So, I’ve started making a list of what I want to accomplish in life before I’m 30 (which happens 11/24/2014 at 2:35 a.m.).

1.  Actually finish writing my novel.  I’ve got a good first draft, and have started on the second draft.  It’s not a life changing novel, or anything, but at least it’s better than some pop tween fiction I’ve read.

2.  Lose weight.  Okay, this is an ongoing one, but I really want to be 100 lbs. lighter by the time I’m 30.  Which is totally do-able.

3.  Clean out useless crap from my room and/or life.

4.  Go on a date.  To this point I’ve been on one date in my entire life, and while it wasn’t a bad date I’d like to experience one where I don’t feel completely blindsided.  (It’s an entertaining story, and the guy was a nice, decent, good guy, just not the guy for me).  I would like to reach 30 having gone on more than one date.  It’s not a big deal, but it’d be nice.  Plus, I’ve got two really super cute date appropriate shirts now, so that should count for something.

On a different note, even though Christmas is over for the year, you should totally take 5 minutes of your life and watch the Penny & Teddy video I posted yesterday.  I have to say that making these videos gave me a whole new level of appreciation for professional puppeteers.  I thought doing the videos would be quick and easy, and I was shocked that in order to achieve 7 minutes of semi-okay footage we worked for about 5 hours and only stopped because the two diabetic performers (mom and I) hadn’t had lunch and we were both about ready to pass out.  Here’s the video I posted yesterday (yes, I realize that I’m harping on this, but I’m actually pretty proud of myself for actually finishing a project for once in my life, and that said project turned out fairly decent).

Okay, well, I’m all pau for tonight.

Aloha.

 

P.S. There’s no Tiny Town, SD, I just changed the town name.  Also, I was nice and didn’t share the sheriff’s name.  I should also mention, that I’ve always had a lot of respect for the law, and those who do that work, and overall it really saddened me to run into this situation.

A Blizzard Story

Published December 9, 2012 by Malia

First off, let me just say that I am NOT a fan of snow, and after today I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever want to see snow ever again.  Just like Taylor Swift I’m officially broken up (except, in my case it’s with a weather condition and not the latest in a never-ending string of boyfriends).

Today I headed back to ND, picking up my friend in Sioux City.  The wind was terrible, but I could deal with it.  Plus, before I left Omaha, I checked all the road reports and weather, and everything was saying it was all okay.  When we got to Sioux Falls, there was some snow that was blowing across the road, but it wasn’t too terrible, and I decided to push on to Brookings (about 40 miles north).  The blowing snow progressively got worse, and I ended up driving slower and slower.  I should have pulled off at the Casino exit, but we were only about 12-15 miles from Brookings and I thought we could make it.  I don’t know what happened, we were driving slow, and suddenly I felt the van sliding sideways and we ended up gliding off into the ditch.  Honestly, if we had to go in the ditch, it could’ve been a million times worse.  We went so slow and just glided and didn’t roll the vehicle.

I tried to dig the van out and poured the kitty litter and did all the things that you’re supposed to do to get unstuck and back on the road.  Nothing worked.  We were stuck.  I called 9-1-1, and I regretted it.  The South Dakota 9-1-1 dispatchers was incredibly rude and this was basically the conversation:

Me: Our vehicle went off the road and we’re stuck in a ditch and need help.

Dispatcher: Where are you at?

Me: About 10-12 miles south of Brookings.

Dispatcher: What county are you in?

Me: I have no idea, I’m not from around here.

Dispatcher: Let me transfer you to the sheriff’s department.

I was then transferred to the sheriff’s department.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: What county are you in (Listing off two county names I didn’t even recognize)?

Me: I have no idea, I’m not from here.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: Well, is anybody injured?

Me: No, but we’re stuck.

Sheriff’s dispatcher: Well, there’s a lot of people that have gone off the road, so someone will get there at some point.

And that was the whole of the conversation.  I understand that their department was under quite a bit of stress, but there was no reason to treat a scared girl who was asking for help like they’re just causing a problem.

Fortunately, people from Katy’s company were passing by and able to pick us up.  My car is currently stranded south of Brookings, but we’re safe.  In case anyone’s wondering what the roads looked like, here’s some pictures!

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I really wish that these pictures weren’t accurate, but that’s really how bad it looked.