Saturday, May 8, 2010


If your firefighter is anything like mine, he is constantly "ON."

Now, I don't mean to complain, because there is absolutely nothing like being married to a firefighter. They are loyal. They are kind. They are committed and they take their jobs both at home and the fire station very seriously. All good qualities to have in a husband, friend, father and firefighter.


Sometimes I wish he'd just not answer his Nextel.

I'm not talking about his pager - which is supposed to inform him of a call that would need his immediate attention - a true emergency. I'm talking about the phone that rings non stop. The phone that even rings when he's at the driving range and conveniently forgets to attach it to his hip (probably the only time this happens, mind you). The phone I want to hurl into the lake.

Yes, that one.

I don't mind the occasional call for advice.

But not being able to locate laundry soap at the fire station is not my husbands emergency.

Neither is calling at 6am on a Sunday to ask him what his picks are for the NASCAR pool they have going on at the station.

My husband could just turn off the phone or let his voice mail pick up once in awhile, but what if he missed something truly important? What then?

Fact is, he needs to be available. Even if that means answering the phone during the middle of family dinner to tell someone where the remote control is or where the last shift hid the rocky road ice cream.

It just comes with the territory.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sweat and Smoke: Tales From a Firefighter's Wife

I know, I know, I am going to burst the bubbles and the fantasies of many a woman with this tale, but as they say, truth is better than fiction.

Some of you may think that firemen come home in their bunker gear (that's the technical term for the stuff they wear when putting out fires, you know, the pants with the suspenders that they wear in all those sexy firefighter calendars with nothing else underneath), but that just isn't the case. That sexy bunker gear is left at the fire station.

Left there all alone with nobody to love it.

Anyway, most firemen rarely bring any of their uniform pieces home (unless their wife has a fetish) and the families of firemen don't see them wearing their uniforms any place other than at work, or when their son's 1st-grade teacher asks them to come speak for career day.

Have I deflated any stereotypes yet?

They do bring home laundry. Once in a while, firemen have to spend time at their local fire training academy brightening the minds and bodies of hundreds of young, idealistic, hopeful future firefighters.

Since this community service does not take place at the fire station, with it's professional laundry service, they bring their work duds home. Home for their barely-functioning, likes to shimmy into the middle of the room during a good spin cycle, definitely NOT Electrolux washing machine.
Have I mentioned my love of all things Electrolux lately? No? Well then.

This morning, along with my usual fare of dirty baseball pants and pink t-shirts covered in syrup, I also found a pile of navy blue items (the standard color of all things firefighter) heaped in a bundle on top of my NOT Electrolux washing machine.

I began to sort through the pile, noting the obvious dampness of the navy blue clothing items.

With each movement, a pungent odor would waft upwards and infiltrate my nostrils.

Oh yes, nothing like the smell of smoke and sweat first thing in the morning.

It was then determined, upon further investigation, that these navy blue clothing items were, of course, turned inside-out. I would have to touch them more than I wanted to. There was no way around it.

After one washing, the suspect odor was not gone. Vinegar was added to the second washing.

Currently, the third washing is taking place in more HOT water than should be used (yikes! the environment!) in my dutiful, although NOT Electrolux washing machine. I'm crossing my fingers that the third time is the charm in this case.

These, my friends, are the joys of being married to a firefighter. It just keeps getting better every day.

2001-02 Fire Training Recruit Class (Hubby is 4th from left, on the top).

Good thing he is cute too, otherwise it would just be him and the dog.

*Originally published at Stop Screaming I'm Driving, 2008.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Climbing Stairs

Thirteen years ago this month, I held my tiny, brand new, wrinkled little newborn son in the lobby of a massive skyscraper in downtown Seattle.

I think I may have had my first panic attack there, or at least the first feeling of utter motherly dread when we were driving down, down, down into the depths of the giant parking garage. I remember counting levels and wondering how we'd ever get out of this concrete jail if something horrible happened. Breathing the canned air on our way to the elevators it was all I could do to stop from running, my baby in tow, in order to get just one breath of fresh air...

Which must be pretty much the way my husband felt when he ran up 69 floors in full bunker gear to reach his goal.

Watching the members of our fire department get suited up, hydrated, say prayers and kiss their significant others goodbye was overwhelming, especially with our new baby. I teared up so many times I lost count. I was nervous for him, for them. I was proud of him, of them. And I paced nervously from the time he went up those escalators and out of my sight until the time I saw him, exhausted and spent, return back to our little staging area.

If you are in the fire service family, you know that events like The Scott Firefighter Stairclimb are yearly reminders of the loyalty, strength, endurance, pride and generosity of each firefighter who participates and his/her department. Behind those climbing men and women, stand several support people who also feel as passionately about the cause to raise funds for leukemia and lymphoma.

This year, my husband's good friend Tony and their Chief climbed. Chief and his daughter, who is a firefighter in Eastern Washington made it a father/daughter type challenge and I do believe they both came out on top of their game! What an inspiration.

I have the privilege of knowing (in blogland) a very talented local photographer who has covered the stairclimb. Not only do her photos capture every single emotion that is felt during this event, but she catches some unique behind-the-scenes shots as well which give surprising glimpses into each and every aspect of the climb. Check out her blog at: Sarah Alston Photography and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bacon Parmesan Roasted Red Potatoes

Say that ten times fast.

I swear, this is not a food and/or cooking blog. I swear. If you're looking for one of those, try these out - Half-Assed Kitchen, written by my friend Angie, or Desperate for Dinner, written by my friend Donata.

Those are cooking blogs.
This is not.

But, food is love. Food is comfort. And food is necessary for a family. We can't survive without it. And as life suddenly got more complicated around here, I realized that I could do one of 2 things: eat take out for the rest of my life, OR become a better cook. I chose the later. Now, I'm not saying that I'm an awesome cook (I'm just the regular kind). But I am saying that I'm cooking more, eating out less, and being more efficient at the grocery store. And all this adds up to one important fact: it makes life easier.

With the help of a weekly meal plan (and these cute downloadable meal planning sheets from Amy at Living Locurto), I've successfully attacked the past 5 weeks of meals...with a vengeance. And a glass of wine, but that's another story.

Most of the recipes I've been making are old family standbys, with a few of our more current recipes thrown in for a dash of excitement. If I have trouble with a recipe, I turn to my friends, offline and on, for advice. Take the other day, I was grappling with that ancient Tater Tot Casserole (yes mom, I know this is considered the anti-Christ in your eyes) recipe and my friends were there to help. One facebook friend pointed me to a helpful website, and my best girlfriend talked me through it on the phone as I stood over a hot stove preparing the dish.

In the end, it was fabulous...white trash and all. Katie had seconds and wanted the leftovers for lunch the next day. Clearly a blue ribbon dinner in her book! But, my MIL ate the leftovers in the middle of the night, Katie was crushed, and now I'll have to make it again soon. Good thing I now know how...

But isn't this supposed to be about potatoes?


This recipe is again, lifted from my mother (thanks mom). I'm one of those "that looks about right" kind of cooks when it comes to measuring - except for baking, I do measure when baking, unless it's chocolate chip cookies, then I just eyeball the ingredients (I could make those in my sleep). Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that the measurements for this recipe are not exactly exact. Get my drift?

Bacon Parmesan Roasted Red Potatoes

6-7 medium sized red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2" pieces
3 slices bacon, cooked and diced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup ranch dressing

Rinse, scrub and slice the potatoes so they look like this:

Then, take that bacon,

And slice it up.

Place the bacon and the potatoes in a 9 x 13 pan, like this:

And then, add the cheese (mmmm, cheese - I won't tell if you sneak a bite):

Then comes the sin.

The awful, no good for you, horrible, artery clogging sin.

The ranch dressing:

Believe me when I tell you, this is well worth it, whatever kind you use - my mom likes the "lite" kind. But she doesn't have to shop at Costco for her 3 ranch loving kids. So, like I said, use your favorite. This just so happens to be ours. And it's what I have in the refrigerator. So.

Now, toss all that cheesy, bacony, ranchy goodness together with the potatoes and roast in a 375 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes. Or, until the potatoes are nice and soft on the inside, crispy on the outside.

If this were a real cooking/food blog, this would be the time to show you the delicious finished product.

But it isn't.

And the product isn't finished. It's in the refrigerator, covered in foil, waiting to go in the oven in a few hours. But let me tell will be good. Probably so good that I'll forget to take a picture of it, as I'll be inhaling it at the speed of light.

But here's a picture of what else we're having, also not finished, I just thought you'd enjoy seeing how I tie my chicken legs together before roasting:

Bon Appetit!

*Cross posted at Stop Screaming I'm Driving!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

At the Speed of Light

What happened to January?

Oh - life. That's what.

Actually, most of January and so far into February has been spent caring for my mother-in-law. She is living with us now, temporarily, while we help figure out the best situation for her needs.


It's a lot of work.

And a lot more laundry.

And a lot more of everything...but just like everything else in life, we're handling it.

I think being married to the fire service has taught me to take one day, one incident, one hour at a time. I hope that because I'm used to this kind of upheaval, that I will be able to get through this with a little less bumps and bruises (metaphorically, of course) than I would otherwise. Who knows.

For now, we're working it out.

One day

One hour

One moment at a time.

Tonight is the annual party/dinner at the firestation and we'll let go of our worries for a little bit - although never quite getting them out of our minds. We'll toast to a new year with a great department, a great support system, and a great group of professional firefighters to work with. The wives will swap funny stories, babies will be kissed and cuddled and best of all, camaraderie will be plentiful.

I did find a funny picture from the beginning of my husband's career (the boys are so tiny!) that I'll post in a few days...stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy 2010!

Happy New Year from our Firehouse to Yours!