Saturday, October 23, 2010

And So it Begins..

My husband and I were college sweethearts. We both came from musical backgrounds, we were both education majors - life was good. Unfortunately, we are night and day. He is the Ying to my Yang. I am an out going, boisterous, city-loving kind of gal. Jeff is a quiet, small town boy, who prefers to observe the party rather than be the life of it. We fell in love, despite my friends warnings that I was a wild mustang who could not be broken, and got married.

I graduated first, and being a female history teacher, we had to go where I could find a job. I looked all over the state, and got the same speech time in and time out, "If only you had more experience..." Yeah, how do you get experience if no one will hire you to allow you to get experience. So, I found a job at a middle school - right in the heart of the inner-city of Milwaukee. Poor Jeff, now finds himself teaching in Milwaukee Public Schools - the ONE place in the state he did not want to be.

Fast forward ten years, MPS has burned Jeff's candle at both ends. Being the nice guy in a school where you are one of only three male teachers, being left to handle all the hard kids no one else wanted to deal with, truly wore him down to the point of no return. He felt the need to find some other path that would help him feel fulfilled. What else, but FIREFIGHTING!! Yeah...

Had I gotten a job in a small town Jeff could have done both - teach and fight fires. What better combination for a super hero!! But in Milwaukee - it has to be either or, not both. In the summer of 2008, he went to the firehouse and got the information on recruitment. A few weeks later takes the initial exam, after we studied and studied and studied some more. Jeff arrived at Serb Hall to take the exam only to find that he was one of 5,000 applicants. He almost walked away right then and there. MFD was only moving the top 350 on to the next round.

After a few weeks, the letter arrives - Jeff is 325. Out of 5,000 - not too shabby. He slowly works his way up to #83 after interviews, extensive background checks, EMT-B training and a few CPAT trials. The first firefighting class was scheduled and rescheduled and yet again rescheduled and took flight in November of 2009. We went to the orientation meeting, got the speeches and tours - only to find Jeff was to be 6th on the waiting list.

He finally get his chance and becomes part of the class of 07-26-2010. After Day 3 - he was ready to say, "SCREW IT!" NO! We jumped through hoop after hoop after hoop and he wanted to quit already! I talked him into staying with it for a few more weeks, he could quit if he still thought it was not for him. Week after week it got easier - for him. He actually started to enjoy himself. Me? Not so much. We have 4 kids - 10, 8, 4 and 2. I was starting a new job at a new school with a new subject - and an hour drive each way. And to top it off - I now had FIVE kids. Jeff went to class in the morning, came home - ate dinner, put the kids to bed, studied and went to bed. He was my 5th child.

Now - 14 weeks later, we are FINALLY 5 days away from graduation and 7 away from his first shift at MFD Engine #2. We have waited and waited and waited for this day...I think I could wait a bit longer.

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