Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be normal, although in this day and age 'normal' is a rather nominal term.
I think I'd at least like to feel like my life weren't a maelstrom or all predestined-or maybe a predestined maelstrom?
It started off normally enough. We'd gone over the brochure with Bri and she knew what to expect but it was hard to miss how she clung to Case's and my hands when we were shown the dorm rooms.
It's one thing to stay with Grandma Walker, or Mario or Trina and Jonathan on those occasions where Case and I were called away-there she was with family and she had her own room. But the institutional building was a very different thing.
Case reacted faster than I could. He was kneeling in front of her and looking her in the eyes before she could even say anything. Like I said Case doesn't miss a thing. He didn't have to say a word either, because his look said it all.
'You are not going to be living here.'
I smiled and rested my hand on Bri's head. I think I also fell in love with Case all over again.
It turns out while we were touring the grounds the administrative staff was studying us. Good thing too, 'cause I'm sure Bri's transcripts had all sorts of notations about Case and me.
They wanted to make sure they were a good fit for my daughter more than whether or not my daughter would fit their mold. They also have a program for Bri when the physical adapt bit manifests.
That made me feel better because I know what Matt when through when he 'awakened'. Jenna had indeed recommended just what we needed.
For me the final piece fell into place as we were leaving and I heard someone call out "Godmother."
Now, there's only one person I know who has ever called me that, and since it was in Sperethiel, the elven language… I wasn't entirely surprised to find Ayana there. Okay, I was totally surprised to see what 10 years has done for her.
There was no hint of the lost child I'd helped out some 10 years ago, in her place stood a young woman on the verge of adulthood. I could sacredly believe my eyes when I saw her.
When I called her name out in surprise, Ayana smiled and laughed.
While she may have grown up, her laugh was unmistakable. I introduced my 'goddaughter' to Case and Bri, feeling like all the pieces were again failing into place. Another family member more than willing to watch over my daughter had made themselves know.
This was Jenna's plan, and it was a good one.
I came in this morning only to discover that, yet again, the cleaning crew had done something to my desk. I'm beginning to think that is some elaborate game of chess… or just a simple attempt towards making sure I know that they've been there.
Once I found my coffee cup and spoon I was able to actually begin my day.
The first order of business was to contact Ray and see how he's settling into the job as Director of the Motor Medic program.
Ray insisted he had not taken the job and therefore has not done any of the paperwork and suggested I get back to him later, like in the spring.
I was about to take the next step in my diabolical plan to take over Citywide when the CEO stopped by.
I hate to admit it but the first words out of my mouth were indeed "What now?"
He smiled and assured me it was all good, right before he hauled me out of the office and over to the Mayor's office. It seems that Arthur aka 'New Year's Brunch Guy' and his company wished to express their gratitude to the men and women of Citywide with an awards banquet.
Now, if it were up to me, I would have said, thanks… we really appreciate it-but we were just doing our job. Unfortunately, the Chief of Citywide has to think of her men and her company and accept the offer since this was a major publicity coup for the Corporation.
Just don't ask anyone to explain why the man had so many attending medics.
I think the CEO understood 'cuase after the meeting he took me to the worst, greasy dive in town. The one favored by medics and cardiologists everywhere.
Today was the most manic day I have ever faced that did not involve back to back calls. Those I can deal with a lot better than doing administrative things I know people aren't going to appreciate.
The low point came when I had to call one of my medics into my office.
I tend to believe in letting people find their own balance, but in this case they needed a wake-up call. They appreciated my intervention almost as much as I did when I was on the receiving end but it had to be done.
The one thing I did learn from my experience was to talk to them-give them options and recommend people they could talk to about this. I did not force them to the shrink's office I learned the hard way that you have to be ready to go to really accomplish something.
At least I have enough of a rep that when I said-"I've been there," they knew I wasn't just reciting platitudes. I don't care who they talk to, their priest, a mentor even their belly button-as long as they find a way of dealing with the pressures of the job.
Let's face it we have enough people on clock towers to deal with without adding to their ranks.
Fortunately the day's high came at the end of the day. Today Bri got the final part of her Birthday party - She began Tai Chi lessons at the Marshal's office with Case. Its father daughter time and part of me was jealous, but it meant I had some time to talk to my own belly button and get in touch with my inner bubble bath before the two of them got home.
Judging by the smiles on their faces, Case and Bri found their balance as well. Some find balance, others have it thrust upon them, but it sure beats the alternatives.
The NTSB has ruled the water 'landing' suspicious. It seems that one of the engines was taken out by a water spout: a water-spout or a water elemental, it's kind of hard to tell.
Water-spouts are not usually seen on the sound, but that doesn't mean it's not possible. As Chief of Citywide I was visited by two of their investigators. When they found out that every Citywide vehicle is equipped with a camera they asked to review the footage.
To their credit they managed to only raise one eyebrow between the two of them when I simply nodded and requested the archives be open to them.
"We did arrive after the fact," I warned them. "The M series units would have arrived first- but most of them also left mid rescue because we also ended up with situations requiring a quick response and the other units had pretty much taken over."
"What are the M units?"
We've been here for over 10 years now and we still get a surprised look when we mention having motorcycles in our pool-must be an out of town crowd.
It's funny I still think of myself as a motor-medic. If I get my way, I will be again.
- - Re-reading that I have to laugh. I'm the Chief. There is no 'if' about it.
These days, I'm calling the shots. - -
When does healthy paranoia cross the line into the unhealthy level? What is the difference between being paranoid and not being paranoid enough?
The answer seems to be: 'Thursday,' if you're me.
Thursday, my day to regroup and prepare for the rest of the week my day to… I'm getting ahead of myself here, sorry, let's begin at the beginning.
This morning, like any other morning I woke up when Case's alarm went off, and like most of the Thursday mornings since I became Chief I dozed off and on, waiting for my darling daughter to run in and announce that she was late and needed me to take her to school immediately.
Only this did not happen today as Case took her took her to school, something which is infinitely easier now that she's going to St. Nick's.
It's wonderful to see her excited about school again, but it left me with no snooze alarm and a lot of pent up exhaustion to deal with. That would have been fine, in fact that would have been ideal.
If that were all there was to it. I mean, laying back, letting the rain lull me to blessed rest. Only… rain doesn't have a pattern as it falls… it ebbs and flows but it does not follow the same pattern unlike say… a white noise generator.
White noise generators are great when you live in the city like we do. They help you mask all the chaos and things like neighbors fighting, they're great for getting sleeping children to stay that way…
We also haven't owned one in a good five years. Did I mention that some even have a hypnotic option-something to help the budding urban shaman trance out until they're ready to return… something that can help lull a mundane into a deep restful sleep so you don't bother them while skulking about their apartment?
Fortunately, the pattern, the very fabric of the device's purpose set my teeth on edge… and fortunately I, unlike so many other housewives-was armed and cranky at having my nap interrupted.
I paged Case even as I was slipping my pistol out of the nightstand and quietly cocking it. From there I took up a defensive position… with my vest on, under the bed… and there I waited until a full tactical assault team arrived to pick me up.
Whoever had been there had been good. They'd slipped in and out without tripping the building's alarms or the apartments and left no trace of their being there, other than the white nose generator.
We spent the next 6 hours going through the condo from top to bottom and just because we didn't find anything didn't mean there wasn't anything to find.
Jonathan and Case made sure one of them was with me at all times, and from the sound of Mom Walker's voice on Jonathan's phone when he told her what had happened, we'll be spending the next few days, if not weeks with them on Council Island.
I'm beginning to think that Thursdays are going to be the bane of my existence.
Today I learned that the Administrative Staff of Citywide hates these meetings almost as much as I do, and my tendency to want to change things only makes it worse. Although, I'm pretty sure some of them come just to see how I'm going to stir things up this week.
Well… I think we all liked today's change to the status quo. We are going to see how things work out with only having a bi-monthly meeting unless something comes up.
After that meeting, I got a call from the Deputy Chief Young of Lone Star. I had to laugh when I saw him-we've both come a long way. Ten years ago he was a detective with Lone Star, and I was just a pain in the butt civilian trying to find her brothers.
He's just taken over as Deputy Chief and he wanted to make sure I wasn't planning on scrapping 'Project Identify' (his title, not mine… mine was something like… "give the medics a list of missing persons and they'll check it against any John/Jane Doe's they come across." His is easier to say, mine's more descriptive.)
I assured him that I had no intention of abandoning anything we'd instituted, and I verified that when there's an officer safety advisory, dispatch has been ordered to forward it to Citywide.
At first glance it's either a no-brainer or a 'why do you need to know'-I've had both reactions. The sad truth of the job is 'people don't discern between uniforms.' Someone with an axe to grind is just as likely to go after a medic as they are a police officer.
Lord knows I've had enough instances when I was mistaken for a Lone Star officer. It doesn't help that I've also been involved in more shooting incidents than most of the officers… I swear Lone Star Internal Affairs must be tired of people asking how my case is coming.
I was on my way out when I was stopped by one of the detectives who wanted to talk to me about the break-in. Fortunately Deputy Chief Young was still in earshot when the detective asked why my 'break-in' warranted a full tactical response from the Marshal's office.
After a pause, he took pity on the man and informed him that the break-in occurred at the home of the Seattle Regional Assistant Chief Deputy UCAS Marshal Casey, my husband.
Is it any wonder he still goes by Case?
We're still staying on Council Island, which means getting up earlier… and going for a run with Jonathan and Case before heading in to work.
It's a great way to start the morning, but I wouldn't want to do it every day… I'm way too fond of sleeping in and running just makes me more… amped during the day. It's not bad if you're running code, but sitting in an office doing paperwork, not so much… something that probably made things worse for Nathan.
Now let me tell you about my adopted brother. Yeah, another one. We met during the blackout about five years ago. He started out as a rescue-ended up going well above and beyond the call.
He's… he's the perfect little brother, curious, good natured and totally tease-able. He's that perfect combination of innocent and world-wise one would expect from someone who'd grown up in a large family. Only, until he met up with us, he'd been an only child, and far too alone than is good for anyone.
He's also too curious for his own good and sometimes I swear he sees the world as a puzzle that he just has to find the right angle to take it apart and see how it works. Or, on days like too day-too excited to think things through…
He'd worked out a new spell-an illusion spell only instead of trying to be someone else-it lets the viewer fill in the details. I have to admit it was a good trick, but… pulling an illusion on someone who's armed and amped… not all that well thought out.
At least I had the clarity of mind to throw an eraser at him instead of drawing down on him. Part of me thinks it would have done him good but it's really hard to shoot someone who's laughing himself silly.
Like I said, perfect little brother-he just forgot one rule, big sisters get even.
Author's note: Today's entry is a reaction to something my friend Follower (Nathan's creator) had written. If we prod him enough, we might even get him to finish and publish it. (or at the very least get to work on the whole aftermath story of how Nathan joined the Walker family)
Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker