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.


  1. =o)

    FireMan has learned that anything that's THAT stinky, needs to be washed at the firehouse. LOL.
    Of course, that was learned the hard way after we ended up ruining our old washer.

  2. We have SO few fires here, that I have not had the pleasure of smelling wet, smokey clothes. I do, however, wash his uniform for him-one less thing for him to worry about. And I think that if I didn't wash it, he'd forget and it would be time for bed when he finally remembered ; ) I too had the unreal idea that firemen came home after every shift smelling like fire and looking for lack of a better term "smokey" um, yeah not the case : )

  3. Love this post --- Hubby came home with blood soaked work shirt the other day - He volunteered to wash it himself...I draw the line at blood


  4. Firehubby told me that the guys used to wash their turnouts (bunker gear) at home, but they were bringing home harmful chemicals to their family...glad they don't any more.

    I am not crazy about the blues coming home either. But, what can we do?( I feel sorry for Shari and the bloody uniforms. Do you get that too. Thank goodness, Brian can do laundry at work also!

    Since I do surgery as part of L&D, the hospital provides and launders my scrubs (by law) I am so thankful...the germs at the hospital are nasty!!!

    Great always :)

  5. You get LAUNDRY SERVICE at the station???? OMG!! We dry clean (regular uniforms)and get to write it off but that's about it. Bunkers rarely come home, and the machine gets a bleach run through immediately after. (Kenmore HE4T, but definitely not Electrolux!)

  6. Yes...laundry service. I know, we're spoiled. What was I complaining about again? ;)

  7. Every station has washer/dryer and no uniform stuff has come home in years. It's really not safe for it to come home and I especially don't want it washed where our regular clothes are!

    How in the world have you guys washed bunker gear at home? Even in my old big washer it never would have fit. Wow

    Fun site Carrie, hopefully you can post some more :)

  8. Put your man pants on girls! My dad was a fire fighter for 31 years and my mother never complained. You little Princesses should be be proud to have the honor of being a wife if an adrenaline junkie that happens to saves life and property. Try ruining your precious manicures in addition to 31 years of fire fighting with marrying a naval Submariner. Diesel fumes ladies, the smell of love

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