Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Metal Detector

So I've been wanting a metal detector for a couple of years now. I've been telling Faith all summer that as soon as I get a fire assignment I'm going to buy one. So, for those of you that hadn't heard, I spent two weeks in Montana recently on the West Riverside fire. The fire was pretty fun, I worked with the Fire Behavior Analyst, who tries to predict where the fire could go and how it will burn. Mostly we just watched the fire burn and talked about it, then he would write a fire behavior forecast and brief the incident management team a couple times a day and the firefighters every morning and night. Except I started doing the night shift briefings after a couple of days, once he figured out I wasn't an idiot, I think. One day we were hiking up an old closed road looking at what the fire would burn into if it jumped any of the lines and us and a bear sleeping under a tree about 30 feet away scared the crap out of each other. Anyway, I spent 13 days there, and when I got home I bought a metal detector from the local Radio Shack. Faith and I went to a campground along the river that afternoon and I found 2 pennies and a bunch of bullett shells. Only 1,998 more pennies to go til that baby's paid for itself. So today I took the day off, I got sick after I came back from the fire, and I typically get insomnia when I'm sick, so last night I didn't fall asleep until 630 am, and I woke up at 9. I went into work and we decided that my decision making skills and processing of information would probably be a little hampered, so I took the day off. Rather than sleep all day, then risk not being able to sleep again tonight, we decided to take the metal detector out to a place we like to go camping at and let the kids and the dogs run around while I played with the detector. I gave the kids each a leatherman tool to carve sticks with, one that stays in my hiking pack most of the time, and the one I carry everyday. Simon had the daily carrier, which is my nicer one. So I'm looking for stuff with the detector, and I've got a little probe thing and a small garden trowel. Simon comes over and asks if he can borrow the trowel. I say sure and give it to him. He returns it a few minutes later then runs off to play. After a while he says he would really like to shoot the bb gun, and I tell him as soon as I'm done digging up what my detector hit on I'll get it out of the van for him to shoot. Faith asks "Why don't you carve a stick while you're waiting." Simon says "Good idea." I'm kind of involved in digging up what turned out to be a .22 shell buried about 6 inches down, so I'm not sure what he's doing, but he ends up coming over and asking if he can borrow the probe. I say sure and give it to him. He walks off and returns a couple of minutes later and says "Dad, I need you to bring the metal detector over here." I say OK and we walk over to a spot near where the fire pit is. Simon says he wants me to search around in this area. Earlier he had been holding a a toy key, and I tell him that the detector won't pick up the key if he buried it because it's plastic. He assures me he didn't bury the key, so I say "OK, what are we looking for?" Simon, who is normally never at a loss for words, seems speechless for a second, then says, "Well, it's around here somewhere, lets just look." After a few minutes of finding nothing but bullet shells, I ask him if he buried something, and if so, if he tells me what it is I can make sure the detector will pick up that kind of metal only, so we won't have to dig everytime the detector beeps. Simon tells me "Well, I was kind of thinking that if I buried your leatherman tool you could come over and look for it and get some good practice in with your metal detector. Except I decided to carve a stick before you got over here, and now I can't remember where I buried it." At that point I just started laughing. I told him that it was OK, we'll just see what kind of metal shows up when we run the detector over the other leatherman tool that Dylan had, then we can just look for that. Turns out it's just plain iron on the detector, which comes up for everything the detector scans. I started to get a sinking feeling in my stomach at that point, but I figured Simon could at least show me the general area he buried it in to narrow the search down. What followed was "I think I buried it over here. No, didn't find anything? Maybe it was over here," as he led me 30 feet away, "Or maybe it was over here," showing me a spot 30 feet in the other direction. So I settled into a grid pattern and after an hour I found the leatherman tool. The whole time Simon kept saying, "Sorry Dad, sometimes I get these crazy ideas in my head that seem like a good at the time." I've never laughed so hard while being so frustrated with one of the kids in my life. After I found it we discussed never burying any of Dad's things again, which Simon whole heartedly agreed with. That's about it, hope everybody's doing well, I'll try to take some pictures and post them of the kids soon. They both started school recently, and apparently Dylan is the tallest kid in his class. He loves school and got mad this weekend when I told him he didn't have to go. Simon likes his class as well, he's been getting to do special things at assemblies and other stuff for being one of the best behaved kis in class, which is nice for him.

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