Chatter from a police scanner reverberates continuously in Stacy Gould's well-appointed kitchen in Norwich.
"White noise," Gould said, dismissing what in any other household might be perceived as a disruption. Here, it's just another informative backdrop for a fire department volunteer and busy professional whose hallmark nonetheless is her "type A" organizational prowess, a skill she has passed on to her daughter, Allison, 20.
After she married her husband John, and the VCR had to be fixed, Gould said, by way of example, she simply located the manual, receipt and warranty card in a folder she had set aside.
"He was just amazed," she said with a laugh, adding, "That's just who I am."
Gould, 49, is many other things, too: She is vice president of operations at Treats Pools and Spas in Uncasville, a medical response technician and volunteer member of the East Great Plain Volunteer Fire Department in Norwich, and past president of the city's Beth Jacob Synagogue. And she is mother, daughter, wife.
Orderly living defines her – along with compassion, faith and connecting to the world around her.
On the deck overlooking her 42-foot, in-ground, L-shaped pool, the first fall leaves are distracting her. They need to be picked up. In the distance, carefully placed plantings decorate the pool and yard. When life's stresses weigh on her, husband John suggests a break to do yard work, which she finds relaxing.
It is out of that relaxed state of mind, cultivated in hobbies like reading or the card game Canasta, that Gould does what she does best: come to another's rescue.
She helped her father, Ron Brauman, out of a jam in the late 1990s when his bookkeeper suddenly passed away. Professional bookkeepers had pitched computerized systems to the Treats Pools owner, but he needed help with the handwritten ledgers he still relied on.
Today, the bookkeeping job at Treats Pools requires being a jack-of-all- trades, Gould said.
"I wait on customers, I stock shelves," she said. "You have to be a people person, which I am. I like meeting new people. I like helping people."
She likes the math, she joked, because "either it's right or it's wrong. There's no grey."
As a fire department volunteer, helping people sometimes has its challenges, like the times when motorists navigating traffic detours at the scene of an accident grow impatient and shout out obscenities.
"I've had some people say some terrible things," she recalled, "and I tell people, 'I'm sorry I'm inconveniencing you.' You have to have a thick skin."
The rewards, though, outweigh difficult moments. Once, she answered a call for a heart attack victim and found herself comforting the man's wife. A short time later, the man died, but his wife found time to write a thank you note to her and another volunteer.
"It was a bad outcome for her," Gould said, "but I felt like I made a difference."
Born in Hartford, Gould grew up in Norwich and has made a life here. She graduated from the Williams School in New London and obtained an associate's degree in nursing from the former Mohegan Community College (now Three Rivers Community College).
Married in 2003, Gould is also stepmom to Justin, 24, and Katherine, 21, John's children from a previous marriage. Before she joined Treats Pools, she worked in a doctor's office handling patients and the phones. A few years ago, John joined her in the pool and spa business. She's proud of the work they do together.
"Doing a good job keeping all these balls in the air" is how she hopes people think of her.
At the synagogue, Gould recently resumed chairing the house and grounds committee after being asked to help.
"You go where the call is," she said.