hostile environments

A few weeks ago I attended a training for work called HEAT. Hostile Environment Awareness Training. There were lots of rumors flying around about what to expect, but I lovingly referred to it for the months preceding as "kidnapping training." This is what my family and friends have come to call it. 20121005-103159.jpg

And we definitely got kidnapped, along with a few other things that you might encounter in dangerous places. Like suicide bombers and carjackers and stuff. No big deal.

I also learned about sucking chest wounds and how you shouldn't leave a tourniquet on for more than a couple of hours, or someone might lose their leg. And if you should happen to be injured in the field, dear friend, I can fireman carry you out of that hot mess. Even if you weigh 250 pounds. Oh yes I can.

Basically, they prepared us for any and every possible horrible scenario that we could experience in the field. Which was CRAZY. I'm not supposed to reveal the details (so that they will be fun and new and surprising for my colleagues that haven't taken the course yet), but it was an intense week.

And I have had the CRAZIEST dreams following. Like so:

-I was kidnapped by my husband's boss (who is a really nice guy). I might have even been shot at one point? Good thing he was a nice kidnapper. I guess. -I was with my whole family in a kind of riot/political demonstration scenario and they all somehow got stuffed into a dryer without me...? And survived? -I went to a place that called itself the waffle factory, where you put a bit of dough or something in the front of a giant assembly line and out pops waffles. They also sold live chickens from a wooden box, which they would slaughter on the spot for you. This whole waffle and chicken place was out in the boonies, and was run by the same hillbillies who were the actors in my real-life HEAT training. They invited me to try the magic giant waffle machine, and then gave me a little room to sleep in. I sniffed that something was up, so I started to walk back to my car, and noticed that they were sprinkling (sprinkling?) little bits of dynamite in a trail from my room to my car. So I booked it to my car and made my escape, while they were brandishing guns at me. I was pretty proud of myself for applying my HEAT training in my dream. Then I woke up and it was 5:30am and I told the whole thing to my half awake and confused husband.


And just for the record, I didn't get hurt during training, except for bruises on my knees from the times we'd yell "GRENADE!" as a team and dive for cover. And also I had to pee really bad during the hostage training, because anytime we'd try to talk to the terrorists, they'd yell at us. So there was no hope of going to the bathroom. Luckily, the UN troops rescued us in time for a potty break.

At the end of the week, we had a crawfish broil (because we were in Florida, so what else would we eat?), to which the actors who had kidnapped us were invited. That was funny. Like, "You look so different and nice without fake blood on you!"

Anyway, I hope I never have to use any of these skills in real life. The closest I've come is watching movies — when people try to hide behind trees for cover, that's just silly. The tree has to be thicker than the length of your fingertips to your elbow to be viable cover. Otherwise, you're toast. And I tell them so in the movies when they try to do that. Silly movies.

Oh, it was lovely to come home to my husband. We've been enjoying the first little bits of fall that have snuck up rather quickly in Seattle in the last week - a sunset run in Magnolia, pumpkin spice lattes, our favorite hike, movies and snuggling. And now we're off for a weekend of huge breakfasts and electric blankets and walks in the park and senior pictures (for Brother Bear) with Dave's family. Mmm good.


ps: have you ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome? Craziest thing! We also learned about this during HEAT. So fascinating.