Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Comes with the Territory

  So my other post about Sunday reminded me of a few other things that I have learned in the past year and eight months (aka since Jim started recruit school here). There are a few things that come along with being the wife/significant other of a firefighter. Like so many other things there are pros and cons.
    Most obviously your firefighter will be gone 1/3 (or more if he gets overtime) of the time. This includes weekends, holidays, & special occasions including birthdays and anniversaries. Or just to be home with you when you've had a bad day & need a hug.. Get used to counting days by threes (or A,B,C). This makes planning holidays not very fun, I am not looking forward to planning where and how we'll get to our first Christmas with his schedule and family all over the place. On the other hand 1/3 of the time you have complete control of the remote, dinner, & sleep! No struggling for blankets & the dog responds much better when you push him back to his side of the bed (he also takes up considerably less space too). It's also a little harder to go to work when you didn't see them all weekend and they are sleeping in when you're walking out the door.
     Be prepared for the laundry.... boys naturally sweat more add to that the extreme heat of a fire and smoke smell. The most frustrating thing for me is finishing the laundry and finding another pile of work clothes, that oh by the way can't be mixed with "normal" clothes. Positive... you have an excuse to tell your fireman to do their own laundry. Hopefully if he's as great as mine he'll go ahead and do some other laundry while he's at it, maybe even load the dishwasher and run the vacuum? :)
     While your fireman has a well respected job and you get a great response when people ask you what your spouse/SO does that respect is well deserved. For a long time Jim and I debated (and by debated I mean he suggested and I repeatedly said NO) having a scanner in our house. Jim thought it would be nice for me to be able to hear what was going on when he is working. This may work for some but not a worry wart like me. I know at times I may be over protective but I've heard the horror stories (we do NOT watch Ladder 49 in our house I bawl every time). Then during recruit school they shared the story of Engine 40 and Jim shared it with me.
     Yes, that was a fire engine. Amazingly everyone survived.  I know there is a lesson and; there is always a possibility but truly I would never have even thought of this on my own.
     Last year Jim responded to a structure fire in Conway right across from my office. So I walked over, I would get to see him in action for the first time. Exciting right? WRONG! One of the first things I saw was a tall, blue helmeted fireman (paramedics have blue helmets here) going toward the doorway and this fire was "rocking". That was enough for me. I went back to my office and worked & fretted (more fretting than working) till he called me (it took more than 3 hours to get a call!). Another morning Jim called on his way home to let me know that he was okay but during a structure fire his ear and arm had been burned a little. I immediately pictured the worst. They were not too bad; the arm scared and the ear had some problems healing & infection due to low blood flow to the area. Nothing to major but it left an impression. Why didn't his hood work? What if it was his face next time? I kinda like his face. This past Sunday I was surprised to not feel the anxiousness I had experienced before. Just being on scene and knowing the guys he was working with better helped. They aren't just guys who like the rush of the fire, they are trained and experienced men who have families too. So get to know your fireman's co-workers. And maybe I'll get that scanner after all so I can show up to every scene. :)

What do you think? Would we make a good addition to HCFR?

I would like a mini version as I feel this is a bit too big for me to drive.

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