Thursday, June 28, 2012

You know you're a firewife when...

your love notes are written on gauze packages and taped to the front door with medical tape. And it makes the 48 suck that little bit less!

I'm trying

I really am. 

WARNING:  Turn back now, this is my place to fuss.  If you don't want to hear it, move along, because I do not want to hear you tell me to suck it up.  I cannot be held responsible for your safety.

But my husband's work schedule is starting to get to me.  Not the traditional 24/48.  That I would love at this point.  But it is racing season.  Background.  My husband knew diddly-squat about the racing world until he met me.  He still doesn't know much. Me?  I was nearly born at the Milwaukee Mile - literally.  I have spent weekends at that racetrack for as long as I can remember. My wedding was planned around races at the Mile and Elkhart Lake. And yet, now, I am the one staying home with the kids.  Something seems off here.  My hubby wanted to work with my dad - who is the Asst. Safety Director for the Mile - probably from the second summer we were dating.  Mile policy - you must be a med or a FF.  Well, now he's both.  And spends every opportunity at the track he can.  Normal summer - annoyed, but ehh whateva.  This summer - yeah, that whole move thing kinda got on my nerves given that he's been gone 6 of the 7 days.  

And today, we're in the middle of a 48, because he is paying back a trade for a day off he needed for the Indy Race. <sigh>

Think I am kidding?  Here is my actual Cozi calendar for 6 weeks. 24 days he is either on shift or at the track.  Considering his shift days count as 3 normal sane person kind of work days - you can do the math.  Take a look at next week, same story.

I am trying not to remind him about how much he has been gone and trying really hard not to get grumpy.  But if you saw our basement and our garage, you would totally understand.  When I fussed at him about wanting to be settled and put roots down, his response was, "We have 30 years to do that."  Ummm, yeah, it is gonna take me that freakin' long to be able to park my car in the garage.

I have asked him to cut back, I have written him letters that I have thrown away because I feel guilty.  I do feel unheard and I don't often feel that way with my FF.  But right now, I feel like I am in this on my own - much like I did in the Academy and even to some degree during Med school.  This was supposed  to be the summer I got my husband back.

And it has brought out my passive-aggressive side.  His washed and neatly folded clothes are in a tub on his side of the bed, waiting to be put away.  His packed clothes are still in their boxes in the dining room.    Not proud and not even smart, because I still end up doing it in the long run.  But for the time being it helps me bite my tongue. The house we rented in Racine is totally empty, the walk-through with the realty company (DON'T get me started with that mess) is on Friday.  But, I have boxes coming out of my ears.  And J just brings them in the house and leaves them for me.  Mainly because the basement and garage are packed with stuff.  I am just so overwhelmed and feeling so alone in this.

So, now I start my day, getting the 4 kids up and moving this morning, after the melt down by 3 of the 4 last night.  To spend 3 hours driving them back and forth for their week of hiking with an amazing teacher, while continuing to unpack - alone. Trying really hard, not to be bitter.  Please wish me luck, I need it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sometimes bigger is not always better

My husband has always loved fish.  Having an aquarium has been part of his world since high school and our world since just about the moment we started dating.  The dream was always to have this monster tank, filled with corals and bright beautiful fish.  And that dream was realized.  We added beautiful fish and glow in the dark corals.  We bought the lights and filters and sterilizers get the idea.  It was beautiful and it was J's haven, his therapy if you will. I loved to sit and watch the fish and fell in love with his cowfish - Chopper.

The kids loved it and my FF loved showing it off when we had company.

And then the fire academy came.  I was left alone with 4 kids ages 10 - 2.  I was setting up a new classroom, two counties away, with 4 kids in tow.  I did not have time to maintain his tank.  It succumbed to algae and neglect.  J graduated from the academy and was so ready to get his tank back on its feet.  He tried a few times, but it was never the same.

So, our recent move came and I asked what his intentions were with this monster tank.  Was he going to move it and bring it back to life?  Was history going to repeat itself and it fall into neglect?  Was he prepared to get rid of it?  It was a bit of a heartbreaking discussion, but it needed to be had.  We got the room set up, without the tank and I liked it.  So did J.  We decided to sell it.  Posted it on Craigslist and a few of the reef boards in the area.  J was so sad.

And then, as we were in a fish store, the solution came to him - a Biocube.  It was small and self-contained.  He could still have his clown fish and corals and it would not have to take up an entire wall of my living room.  But, I was not going to move this tank and after countless thousands of dollars that we put into this tank, I was not going to put more money into it.  He became very motivated to have me sell his tank.  We took out the rock he wanted to keep.  We took out the crustaceans and fish.  I got the ads up and running.  I answered the emails.  So far most of it is gone.  The tank and stand goes to its new home on Friday, to be reunited with the 80+ pounds of live rock it has housed for so many years.  The new and upcoming hobbyists get a break on this expensive hobby and this tank does set foot in my new home.  And my firefighter gets a new, condensed version of his therapeutic haven.  He has a 48 that started today and on Friday, we will go pick up his tank and the new stand.  14 gallons of self contained pleasure for my hubby.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

No Matter Where I Roam, A Place That's Always Home...

Okay, to be honest, it is such a cheesey Alma Mater.  We sang at the end of every concert on Choir Tour, at the end of Choir Tour for the homecoming concert, for Homecoming, for graduation...if there had been YouTube 15-20 years ago, we would have done this exact same mockery.  In fact, I think we did do several horrible versions because it is such a cheesy song.

Can you tell why my heart is set a-swinging
With a vibrant motion each recurring fall?
Do you fathom why my soul begins a-singing,
Like a maiden answering her lover's call?
A place there is that claims my fond affection,
Fondly drawing me as does a mother's heart.
No matter where I roam, a place that's always home,
Of God's great lovely world, a goodly part.

O, Lakeland, My Alma Mater,
Heaven's blessings rest upon thee day by day;
And may the God above, in bounty and in love,
Thy goodness unto me, thy child, repay.

But, parts of it are true.  Not sure about the " a maiden answering her lover's call...", but you know.  The pictures of us on the wall show that we were part of something bigger than ourselves.  We are part of this 150 year history.  It was cool to see.

All three of us were there...
Yesterday, we went back for Lakeland's Sesquicentennial celebration.  And to be honest, it was a dud.  As a celebration, anyway.  I really enjoyed the talk with the three past presidents, I really enjoyed walking around, reminiscing with my commrads in crime.  But, instead of feeling like a Homecoming celebration, I felt like I was at a convention or a workshop.  We sang in the reunion choir, which was nice, but the people we were part of the choir with, were not there.  Only three others from our era.  Now, I know things came up, life happens.  But, it was disappointing none-the-less.  
Alto section, probably not good to have me, right next to BSW,
but we were relatively well behaved.

I think this was the Mozart Requiem.
Wow, did I look soooo young!
The walk down memory lane was truly worth it.  Shaking my head at the pictures in the sorority suite - everyone else in floral dresses for crossover, me - black heels, black body suit, black skirt with legs up to there (not sure how I created that illusion) - but for the icing on the cake - with a b/w plaid flannel shirt.  Yup, stylin'!  We were hurrying, otherwise I would have taken a picture of the picture because I just couldn't believe it.

Brat Fry at the Piggly Wiggly
Brat fry?  Never heard of one until college.  But, here's the evidence that I took part in such a lovely tradition of fundraising. 

O Lakeland, My Alma Mater
The college has changed - there are a few more buildings on campus for housing, there is another gym in the fieldhouse and weight room is amazing compared to what we had.  I hope there is wireless by now, compared to the 1 hour class we had to take to get our internet password. But it is still home.  There are still so many faces on campus that know us by name and we are always welcomed home, no matter if it is for a formal visit or because we just wanted to pick up a new sweatshirt.  The new entrance looks amazing. But that pretty picture is not what makes it home - it is the memories.  Watching fireworks on top of Old Main, signing the bell tower with people from 100 years ago, choir tour.  I would go back and do it all over again - and not really change a thing.  I loved college.  And to think, after a couple of weeks, I was calling home crying because I was miserable in the corn fields and the cows were waking me up in the morning...

But, my favorite memory of the day came from my FF on this board...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Operation Barbie House is a Go!B

Now, I just have to sit and wait for my girls to get home.  My in-laws took them so that we could get the other house emptied and cleaned without tripping over a preschooler.  J LOVES it when kids are gone.  I do, too, until the next morning and then I miss them.  This time it was terrible.  I didn't tell my FF because he would just tease me.  I didn't call them, because that actually makes it worse.  I just kept busy - hence the binder house and stove - which I finished yesterday.

So, three hours or so, from now, my girls will be home.  They will be so excited, especially since this is a total surprise.  It was not something I told them I would be working on while they were gone.  Here are the pics from my phone.  I will try to get some pictures with my camera, when I have a little more control.  But, anyway, here are some pictures.

Barbie's first appliance - not bad for duct tape
and Pop-Tart box.  And never using a hot glue gone

Ken in the kitchen.  Two Broke Girls/Mr. Ed
reference with the horse in the window.

Barbie chillin' with her kitty

Bathroom - with Skipper and Chelsea 

Thanks again to Southern Disposition and My Froggy Stuff for the ideas and tutorials.  Please show them some love and check out their sites!  Hug your kids and kiss your FFs.  The weekend is almost here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pinspiration Has Struck Again

The Barbie World entered our lives this past Christmas and it appears it is here to stay.  She got the Barbies over Christmas and now the sets are starting to come.  She wants a house for her dolls now.  I am NOT going to spend $150 for a monster sized toy that she won't play with and it will take up a ton of space that my FF will remind me, everyday doesn't get played with.  NO FUN!  Instead, I started looking for an economical and space efficient alternative.  I found this AMAZING solution - making a Barbie house out of 3 ring binders.  How cool is that!

Here are the rooms all put together.
Photos from Southern Disposition

And here is a view from above.
Photo from Southern Disposition
And when the girls are done playing, simply close them up and put them away.
Photo from Southern Disposition

And every house needs furniture, but do you know how EXPENSIVE Barbie furniture is??!!  Legos and the big instruction manuals that allow the old toys to become new toys are looking SO much more attractive everyday!!  So, I found another amazing Barbie goddess - My Froggy Stuff.  If you  need to make any furniture for any size doll - her YouTube page is the site to use as your starting point.  This will be my next stage of the game. D got some furniture for her b-day. We have some gift cards and birthday money that D wants to use  for Barbie stuff.  I figure, I'll make what she needs after she has spent her money.

So, I have my binders, my ModPodge and my scrapbook paper.  I am going to ask my m-i-l if she could make the little binder clip curtains - what a great idea!! One room has its first layer of goop on it and away we go.  Wish me luck.  I don't expect my finished product to look as professional as my inspiration, but if the girls play with it, then life is good.

Here is what I accomplished yesterday.  As I said, not near as nice as the original inspiration, but I got the 10 year-old girl's stamp of approval from our neighbor last night.  It sill needs probably 2 more coats of Mod Podge, my new, dear friend, before it is ready to go.  And I will get this set up tonight so when the girls come home from grandma's tomorrow, they will be surprised!  I can't wait for them to come home!!
Bedroom - Barbie pink, of course.
Furniture is at home, seeing as the K9 units and I are are chillin'
at my dad's until the A/C is installed tomorrow

Living Room - hoping she'll BUY the furniture
for this room!

D has some furniture and it is a little cramped,
but how appropriate that art imitate life.

Kitchen - Hoping I get to make the appliances!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Christmas on my mind

My husband will be thrilled when he comes home tomorrow and I tell him that I am already starting to plan Christmas.  I did a post last December about Christmas has changed for me as I have made my way through the various stages of my life.  Not necessarily the happiest of pieces, but instead very real and a bit raw.  I know some family members were bothered by it, but I felt better getting it off my chest.  

Today, in the 95 degree, no air conditioning yet heat, I have got Christmas on my brain.  It all started with the instant realization that the purple, silver and white theme I have had going on my Christmas tree would not really go well with my "Cut Ruby" red living room and I found myself a little bit crestfallen. (I know, grand scheme of things, it is pretty low on the totem pole.)  Partially because I love so many of those ornaments, but also because I was looking forward to Christmas again.  So, what do I do?  I head over to my new found addiction - Pinterest.  

I resisted for much longer than many of my friends, but I did indeed get sucked into it.  And I have actually used quite a few of the pins that I have pinned. It has not been a total day draining experience for me, I have shown some restraint.  But, today, it was definitely a morale booster.  It started out with me simply looking for easy DIY ornaments so I could incorporate some more red into my tree (which does indeed lend itself to the fire tree my husband has been coveting for a bit) and morphed into planning Christmas presents.  I have even started to plan the girls' present from Santa, that I am going to make.  It is rather exciting.  

So maybe, just maybe, Christmas really is back.  Maybe that love and peace and happiness I had 10 years ago, has found its way back.

ClosetMaid 9 Cube Organizer White.Opens in a new windowNow, I am off in search of a cheap 9 cube shelf .  Enjoy your day, stay cool. Throw some love and Popsicles at your kids and kiss your firefighters.   

A Peace Falls Over the House

The party has come and gone.  My 6 year-old princess was in heaven with her belated birthday party.  She was SO patient, waiting nearly a MONTH to celebrate her party.  Prom, her Daddy's schedule and the move delayed the day. But, spending it with friends and family was so worth it.  Hello Kitty and Barbie ruled the day.  The girls are with grandma and grandpa for the next few days so that I can get the other house cleaned up, without them in tow.  So, as I type at 8:03am, I am sitting in my living room, watching the news, with NO KIDS.  The boys are still asleep!  My girls are up north.  My FF is at work.  WOW!  I cannot tell you the last time this happened!  Peace has fallen over the house. my insanity, I will miss the chaos that drove me looney last week, probably by the end of the day.

So, for today, I have nothing on the agenda and I would like to keep it that way for a while.  It is going to be hot, so I am going to keep the k9s calm and probably put the sprinkler out for the boys.  I think I might also get some pictures of the house taken for those far away.  Other than that, I am going to try and just sit.  We'll see how long that lasts.

Let me find the cord for my new camera - don't ask.  I don't seem to know where ANYTHING is.  I will get some pictures up on this sad and neglected blog.  :(

Happy Monday!  Enjoy your week.  Love on your muppets, kiss your firefighters and take a few moments to pamper yourself.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A New Fire Wife Blog

So, no internet for a week and a half, kinda takes you out of the loop on things.  I have missed out on some of the post of my favorite blogs, and I am not sure when there will be enough peace for me to get to all of them.  Ah, well. Such is life in the big city. (Dang!  My mother comes out of my mouth, even in cyber space!)  
T-shirt available at - just click the image if
you are interested.

BUT, while I was gone, a new fire wife blogger left a comment on one of posts from last week.  So, in between load of laundry, I kicked the muppets outside and sat down and read her blog.  Her name is Brandi and her blog is Life Between the Tones.  She is a Volunteer Fire Wife, which is hands down the hardest job in the world.  At least I know, even if I don't see my husband this whole week because he is playing FF/PM at the race track during nearly all of his off days, vacation days and PO days over the last two weeks while we moved and got the new house settled, he will be there for D's belated birthday party tomorrow. (Yeah, a bit passive-aggressive, but I am allowed.  Better here than when he comes home, so I am okay with it. ;-) )  As a volunteer fire wife - that pager goes off, all bets are off as well.  THAT is a crazy world.  Talk about needing all of the support possible.

Brandi has been at this for about as long as I have, experienced enough that you can manage, new enough to still keep you on your toes.) So, give her some love, if you have not already started following her blog.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

We Survived the Move!

Barely, but we did.  My sanity is on the verge of extinction.  My lovely FF has worked - either on shift or at the Milwaukee Mile - 9 of the last 14 days.  (Sore subject, but I am trying to get over it.)  He can't see why I might be bothered by it - male vs. female, I guess.

I have yet to have every room put together at the same time, but I will have it by tomorrow - D's belated birthday party is upon us.  Today is the first day I have just sat.  The cable guy undid the satellite cables when he installed the internet, not good.  The fire family next door has meshed with our crew o' muppets AMAZINGLY.  I love the neighborhood.  I miss having flowers. The dogs have FINALLY settled in.  The foyer is the only space that needs to be painted.  My kitchen SO needs a new floor.  My stove needs to make it in from the garage, but first my firefighter needs to be here to reconnect the gas line - I hate this old electric stove!  My husband bought me a new dining set to replace the one Bear chewed up as a puppy.  I so missed having a dishwasher.  I realized I could survive a week and a half without the WWW, well on my computer, anyway. My hubby thinks this is his favorite house that I have "designed". (Interior decorator, I could never be!)  The boys love having their own space.  Our bedroom is a tad small, but I think it is going to be just fine. Same thing with our bathroom - has outdated blue tiling, but I am looking for a solution.  After today, I can spend less time putting rooms together, while putting out fires, making peace treaties, paying attention to my Muppets and just enjoy the time.

So, birthday party tomorrow, pics posted Monday.  Hubby home for a while after today's race.  

We'll see if my children survive...but, we'll see

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fire Wives

We are awesome.  Not only can we change a diaper, while helping with homework, fixing a flat tire and making dinner, but we are also amazing support systems.  (Okay, maybe the tire was pushing it...)

We had a home explode this evening, with FFs in the home - no my hubby was not on scene - he just took one of the injured FFs in.  While I thank God, everyone is alive, and my hubby is safe, it is one of those things that makes you angry.  And my Fire Wife Friends were right there.  

We've never met.  We may never meet.  But none-the-less, they provide support that not even my closest friends could never offer, no matter how hard they try.

So, to my ladies, you so ROCK!  Thanks for listening to me vent.  I know my hubby was safe and sound, but we all know the what-if game.  And given some of the circumstances...but that is a discussion for another day.

And to all our FFs.  Be safe.  Come home safe to your friends and family.  And know that we are bursting with pride and love.
As always, hug your kids and kiss your FFs.  Let them know your pride and love

Saturday, June 2, 2012

T Minus 2

2 days to go.  Kids are excited.  Hubby is sleeping, something about working all this week (including tomorrow) and being at the track on his days off - ya think?  Me - just stressing.  Looking at how much is NOT packed, wondering how we are going to get all this done.  Calling to have all the services forwarded. Confirming the movers. Packing the house.  You know, seems like EVERYTHING. Ah well.

If you don't like the weather here, wait 5 minutes it'll change.
We have had July heat, Autumn crispness, and March dreary dampness -
all in 5 days.
Wish me luck on the rummage sale.  I don't want to move this stuff again, to St. Vinny's or the house.  Yesterday it was dreary, rainy, 40s, windy and only old people came out.  Old people don't want bouncy zebras or pretty toddler dresses.  Today is supposed to be sunny and 70s- it will be better.  (Note, this was after 90s on Sunday and Monday...just sayin')
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