Archive | January, 2011

Friday night alone

15 Jan

and look what I do.  Search YouTube!  Sad really, but the kids are in bed, the K9 units are sleeping at my feet and my kids at work have gotten me hooked on Michael Israel’s work.  He is awesome, but this has been my favorite so far.  Thoughts??

Michael Israel’s Hero



This could be a fun weekend

15 Jan

I am so glad that Friday is upon us.  I have a stack of papers that need to be graded and entered into my gradebook by Monday – 7:30 AM.  I will definitely have to schedule time for that, but the rest of crazy weekend is looking great.  I need some steam blowing off activities.  Tomorrow, after I clean my house, drop my boys off by my brother and my girls off by my dad, J and I are going to our first social gathering with E2 Blue shift.  This is my first time to put a face with the names.  I have met many of them on our various treks downtown – but mainly as they are backing in the truck after grocery shopping, running down to the weight room, heading off to do whatever it is that firefighters do during the day.  They are all kind of a blue blur in my mind.  If they came up to me on the street and said, “Hey, aren’t you Halsey’s wife?”, I would think I had a stalker on my hands.  I am looking forward to figuring out who is who from the firehouse tales I hear every three days.  That and getting to be a grown up instead of Momma or Mrs. Halsey.  Will be nice to see that gal again!  😉

Tomorrow is also the Packer game.  I am a rabid Packer fan.  I have had my shots, so although I will bite if provoked, you won’t get lock-jaw!  So, Jeff has already prepared his crew for the fact that I turn into a guy during the game.  We have not gone to any of our usual Packer games this season – topic for  another day, as we seem to have drifted from some of our closest friends through this transition.  It has been Me, keeping the kids quiet so Daddy can sleep, attempting to keep me quiet so Daddy can sleep or just Me watching alone.  Not my ideal way to spend my NFL time, but c’est la vie, such is life in the big city.  I am so excited to not have to debate calls with myself, be the only set of eyes to look for fouls or trash talk with myself.  (Although I do have an on-going rivalry with an equally rabid Bear fan from La Crosse, whose family is currently stationed in Germany, to help with some of my football isolation.)  I am a guy in drag during football season.  And this year, I am SO glad to not have my countdown to Pitchers and Catcher reporting going, yet.  🙂  I will tell you my ideal scenario – after tomorrow night, not that I am superstitious or anything.

Hard to believe this was 2 years ago.  Liv weighed under 14 pounds for her 1 year check up.
Her outfit in this pic is a 6 month set and she was DROWNING in it.

Sunday – which is why I need a clean house – is the big day for 2 of my muppets.  N will be 11 on the 25th and O will be 3 on the 19th.  We celebrate them together for the sake of our families.  They do get their own cakes.  And luckily N has been okay sharing is day with his baby sister.  I will be so happy to have my family together for the day.  Mind you -we are not the Cleavers and some days I wish to never have a family gathering with them ever again.  This year, we did not have Christmas with that side due to schedules and travel time, so I am looking forward to seeing everyone.  Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

So, now that the baby is already in bed, I should be off to round up the other three stooges.

Okay…after a bit of sleep

13 Jan

I am not near as grumpy as I was yesterday.

Just so you don’t think I just forgot to get up on the right side of my bed, I DID have a reason for being a cranky cat.

The night before I tried to be a good girl and go to bed early.  I had the lights out by 9:30pm – unheard of for me. I figured I would simply wake up when J called for the night.  I dozed off to slumber land, with amazing ease.  Around 10:45pm, my 12 year old golden, Willow, woke me up. She has very bad cataracts and does move around well in the dark – I assumed she needed some to help her find the kitchen to get a drink.  I got her into the kitchen and she headed straight to the back door – she needed to go out.  Now, in the light of day, I am so glad that she woke me up, I would have been much more upset in the morning had she not.  Nonetheless, it took me out of my bed.  She goes out and decides she wants to play in the snow.  Ordinarily, I would be thrilled that she felt up to playing – BUT I WANTED TO GO BACK TO BED.  I wore her out by tossing some snowballs for her – in my PJs and back to the bedroom we went.

The clock is reminding me that I need to get everyone up and out the door for school and I am now WIDE awake!  I decide to read until J calls to tell me how his day was.  Suddenly it is 11:45pm and I am guessing that there will be no call tonight.  Who knows why.  Why fight the droopy eyes, I let myself drift off.

At 1:50 AM – I hear a weird beep, realizing that it was the carbon monoxide detector losing power. Which only means one thing, either someone has unplugged it or the power is out.  I open my eyes only to find no ambient light – only darkness.  No streetlights, no clock face, no fish tank light from the family room – just dark.  UGH!!!!  
Now what?  I grab my phone, use my handy dandy flashlight app and head to the dining room to see if it is the whole neighborhood or just our lucky quadrant.  NOPE – all dark.  I wait for about half an hour and decide to set an alarm to wake myself up at 4:30am.  The whole time I am “sleeping”, I am so paranoid that I won’t hear the alarm that I can’t sleep.  Finally again, I start to drift away.  Until 3:37am when my clock flashes on for brief moment – followed by the beep of the CO detector and the whoosh of the fish tanks.  And off again.  It is on again for about 30 seconds at 4:37am, giving me false hope that I would have power to get the kids ready for school.  
My flashlight app is my best friend.  I got 4 kids up, fed (cold Pop Tarts – it works), dressed (although not in complete uniform – the dryer doesn’t work without electricity – B had khaki pants, instead of navy, and N had no vest) and out the door my 5:50am – just to have the lights come on as I locked the back door – figures!
So, yes, thank you for noticing, I am Supermom – just a grumpy supermom yesterday! 

Sometimes Words are Just Not Enough

12 Jan

Women LOVE a man in uniform

10 Jan

My husband is stationed downtown.  Because of this, he has not had as much excitement as some of his classmates in more residential houses.  The guys on his shift keep telling him to wait until summer.  Things definitely pick up.  There are 2 stations downtown  – E1 and E2.  E1 has Water Street – you can tell what their calls would be.  E2 has Marquette University – wait, still the same kind of calls.  Most of Jeff’s calls have been for homeless, the jail, the mission, etc.  But Saturday night it was all about the women.

My firefighter survived his first firehouse prank totally unscathed (lemonade made with the water from lunch’s hot dogs – ewwww), thanks to his captain, and it just got more exciting from there.  Around 9:30pm there was a ring of the bell.  The door is answered and there is no time for formalities – in barge 15 women, with no invitation – just entitlement.  They are all “feeling no pain” and looking for a certain firefighter.  After some discussion it turns out this firefighter is the ex-husband to one of the belles of the ball and he is stationed at Engine 1.  Right church, wrong pew. I think it was probably good that poor firefighter was down the road a ways. There were girls on poles and in bunker pants.  I don’t think the guys knew what hit them.  After they finally rounded them up and shooed them out, the night continued with call after call.  Being downtown, there is a bit of a bar scene. 😉  While checking out one of the daily “car fires” (cars parked over steam vents), they caught up with the Red Bull girls, who wanted rides on the engine.  FUNNY stories.  There were quite a few other alcohol related calls as the night progressed, with I am certain more tales to go with them.

I can’t wait to hear the hubby’s work stories once the Lakefront activities and Summerfest events are upon us.    I can only imagine!

Guard Dog? Pfffffffttt!

9 Jan

I woke up a little confused this morning.  There was the pitter patter of little feet across the family room floor, the thumping of Bear’s tail and a subtle stream of daylight  coming through my window.  Yes, I said DAYLIGHT!  I cannot tell you the last time I woke up and the sun was shining.  The first time I usually notice the sun is when I have to close my shades in my classroom because it is drowning out the PowerPoint on my whiteboard in class.  I NEVER wake up to it.  Especially not when J is working.

Now, you might think that I am up worrying all night and wringing my hands in fear.  Nope.  Simply not the case.  I do stay up later when J is working, mainly because I am waiting for his call, but also because I do find it harder to fall asleep without him.  It is a much easier task if I am already tired.  Sounds normal, why can’t I sleep if it is not for fear of a hi-rise building collapsing on my firefighter as it goes down in flames. (Mainly because I know he would not be IN there if it was structurally unsound.)  I have one word for you – BEAR!

 Bear loves working with kids – at school, at home or in the neighborhood.  But, in his DNA, he is a GUARD DOG!!

No, I am serious – stop laughing.  Just ask him – Bear is a Guard Dog.  Great Pyrenees are an ancient breed – bred to protect the flock and the shepherd.  Bear takes his heritage very seriously – especially when Jeff is working.  There are barks about every 15 minutes on average – as he takes off running to go investigate.   Just as he comes back and settles in, and begin to drift off, there must be another sound down the street that he feels he must investigate.  This goes on all night and 4 am comes really quickly.  By the time my Period D comes, I am dying!  

But last night – no alarm barks, no arguments with Willow when she just wants to sleep, no wake up calls – just sleep.  So you can see why I was confused when I woke up at 6:57 AM.  I honestly looked to see where he was, thinking perhaps I left him outside last night (Oh, my poor neighbors had that been true.)  Bear slept.  He was the biggest help he could have possibly been, simply by doing nothing.

And  now I await my firefighter and the doughnut party he is bringing home for the kids.

The Fire Family

9 Jan
I have this as my current profile picture for my Facebook page.  I love Facebook.  I have reconnected with long lost friends and found some friends that are as close as sisters to me if though they are stationed half way around the world.  But, and everyone has one, it opens up a whole new world of criticism.  Today, after changing my picture from a sketch of “me” drawn by one of my former students to the Fire Wife icon, two people lectured me.  I was told that I was “losing (my) identity” in my husband’s career.  Another “friend” told me they she was “disappointed” in me because she thought I was a stronger woman than this.  I was a bit taken aback by the comments.  How does this change my value as a woman?  If anything it increases it.  My identity is not that of my husband’s career, but is sure as heck has become a big part of it.  
I have been “writing” this post in my head since this morning.  Thinking of what to say and how I could make these people understand.  I debated on whether  to post the link to this posting on their wall or send it to them privately.  Then while I am making dinner – as the dog is helping himself to the veggies, the baby needs me to take her potty, my boys are fighting over cleaning their room and I have dispatch playing on the background of my laptop – it comes to me.  Nothing I can say or write or demonstrate will make them understand.  My husband is not half a world away, he is only 20 minutes away.  But every three days, our routine is interrupted.  The holidays were a perfect example – I need say nothing more.  When a spouse is deployed it is hard, but you establish a routine without them.  We are still figuring out how to do that with every day and a half being interrupted.  I have literally sat down with a calendar for the next two months and counted off BLUE shifts in order to figure things out.  My kids draw heroic pictures of their daddy when he is gone.  The dogs flock to him when he comes home.  And as much as I would love to have help me with the crazy kids or the tire that needs to be changed or the attitude adjustment that needs to be made with one of the boys, when Daddy comes home – it is still just me.  He needs to sleep and I still am a single mom until he gets that nap in.  How do you get people to understand that?

Our holidays revolved around the firehouse.  Where Daddy would be, when would we see him, how we could still have him involved in opening presents.  It was all centered around the firehouse.  The entire family revolves around that firehouse.  Appointments are scheduled around J’s shift, school conferences, family gatherings – I even made alternate plans for tomorrow’s Packer game, so J could sleep – EVERYTHING revolves around his work schedule.  So, tell me how I do not take on the identity of a Fire Wife.  My kids are proud of their Daddy – Desiree is going to be a firegirl just like her daddy (just ask her, she’ll tell you!).  I am proud of my husband.  When everyone else is running away from the fire, he is running in – to save their stuff, their dog and their lives.  When there is an issue with a homeless person downtown and everyone else is trying to avoid them, my husband is trying to help them.  When an inmate at the jail has a seizure and the rest of the world is judging him – deciding if it is real or not – my husband is simply trying to make sure he is safe and his needs are tended to.  When an elderly woman’s blood pressure has spiked and needs transport, he is making sure she is comfortable and informed of what is happening.  He is a public servant and a hero.

Don’t judge me because I am now calling myself a Fire Wife.  I does not define me.  I am the sum of all of my parts and that happens to be one of my parts.  Was it in my plans?  No, absolutely not.  But, then again, neither was marriage and children and look at me now.  We don’t know where life will take us.  I am enjoying the ride.  Just like the roller coasters – there are moments when I feel like I am going to puke and just want off.  There are also those moments of pure exhilaration that remind you why you got on this ride in the first place.

I am a proud Fire Wife, take me or leave me.