Monday, November 30, 2009


I don't always wake up when he leaves.

I try, don't get me wrong, but I'm just not a morning person. I curse the fact that I wasn't born with the 'ol "up and at 'em" morning genes like my firefighter grandfather was.

I remember visiting my grandparent's house on the weekends, where my grandparents had separate bedrooms. I always thought maybe they didn't like each other so much but as I grew older and slightly more observant, I knew that they liked each other plenty...but my grandfather was an early bird and my grandmother was a night owl. Hence, the separate rooms.

I suspect this was the case earlier in their marriage too, when my grandfather was an active firefighter, responding to calls and leaving for shifts at the earliest of early hours. Just like my husband does now.

Although I'm the lightest sleeper on the planet (just ask my kids, they'll tell you I wake at the sound of a Kleenex dropping) I tend to be in the deepest part of my sleep pattern when Brett is leaving for his around 6:15am. And even though I know that he kisses me and tells me he loves me, I panic when I can't remember or didn't wake up enough for it to even register in my conscious mind. And then I have to call him at the station and make sure he's okay, before getting on with my day.

This morning he came in bearing gifts though.

Of the 6 year old girl variety.

Our daughter had woken up when her Dad came into her room to kiss her goodbye. And I'm not talking the drowsy kind of waking up that is easy to fall back asleep from. I'm talking about eyes wide open, rearing to go, fully awake.

So he brought her into the bed with me.

Which caused me to wake up.

And since I was awake, I got to kiss him goodbye and actually REMEMBER!

Ah...what a concept.

How do you say goodbye to your firefighter when he leaves for shift? Do you get up and see him out the door, or are you like me, lazily slumbering in bed just waiting to be told "goodbye" to?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Schedule, The Schedule, The Schedule

Sometimes I think we, meaning my husband and I, become so used to his crazy fire fighter schedule that we forget the rest of the world doesn't operate the way we do.

Holidays? Well, those are great if you happen to not be scheduled on one!

Birthdays? Same thing goes. In fact our daughter just celebrated her 6th birthday at the fire station. What little girl doesn't like being driven around in a fire truck, eating take out Chinese and finding a Barbie Dream House in the closet at the fire station?

Weekends? What are those? It's always a nice change of pace when my husband isn't actually on shift for a weekend - but that hardly ever happens and if it does, we stand around and stare at each other like a couple of retired folk with no tee time.

Speaking of standing around and staring at one another, we tend to do a lot of that during the weekdays - especially when the kids are in school. Although I work from home part time and my husband teaches and seems to be constantly answering his Nextel from work, there is a lot of "down time" that normal, non fire fighting couples don't experience until they reach retirement age.

Of course, there are pros and cons to this arrangement.

  • Extra set of hands to help with the kids and household chores...although my husband has never cleaned a bathroom at home or organized my linen closet.
  • Help in the kitchen. We all know that most fire fighters like to cook, and it's rare to find one who doesn't. I'm spoiled because he is an excellent cook, and his dishes aren't so spicy that they'll burn the pants off you - unless you are into that sort of thing!
  • Couple time. Married people with 9-5 jobs are always talking about "date night." We like the occasional date night too, but feel lucky that if we can't squeeze one in between our kids' activities and his schedule, we get a lot of time together while the kids are in school.
  • Someone else to throw the slobbery ball for the dog and, last but not least...
  • A designated lawn mower.


  • Extra set of hands - don't pretend you don't know what I mean by this.
  • Too many chefs. When my husband is at work, I'm in charge. Although at times this can be stressful and leave me feeling like a single mom, I don't mind it and get into my own groove just fine. When he's home, my whole balance is thrown off as I am distracted by him and he is also trying to be helpful (which is great, but like I said "too many chefs"). Sometimes it just gets a little tense and we need to decide who is in charge!
  • Boredom. When he is working, my husband has a strict schedule and a tremendous amount of things that need to be done at the fire station. Here at home, it's a little different. Of course we try to maintain a nice routine - it helps everyone out - but we are in no way as regimented as the fire house is! Adjusting to a more relaxed home life after being on shift can take some time, even a few days. And we try our best to make it through these times with as much understanding for one another's "schedule" as possible. But believe me, it isn't always perfect.

We all know, as fire fighter wives, that the schedule is demanding, crazy and irritating at times. But it can also be a blessing.

And for all the times I've grumbled, "I wish you worked a normal job like other people," I would not have him trade places with a 9-5er for the world because I love what he does, I love how it makes him feel and I'm proud to be married to him. And at this rate, after 13 years of marriage and 13 years of enduring a fire fighter's schedule...we're in GREAT shape for retirement and all those days of staring endlessly at each other over the tops of our golf clubs.

How do you cope with your fire fighter's schedule?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Funeral Clothes

Seeing my husband in his Class A's on his way to a funeral for a fellow firefighter is just one of those things that I wish I didn't have to experience.

You never get used to it.

Even though his department is small, and their last loss was not in the line of duty, you never get used to it.

No matter where they are, no matter who they are, they are brothers.

And this is just what firefighters do.

*Post Edit: He was not going to the funeral of one of his department's fire fighters. This funeral was for a fire fighter who lost a battle with cancer, from a neighboring department. It was summer, 2009 and like I mentioned, this is just something they do - show support - be there - show up. Just like any brother would.