Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Fire Wife Life

Yesterday was the first nice day of the season.  The first REALLY nice day.  After a winter that just would not release her grip, there was sunshine and near 70s.  And it was a Friday.  And it was a full moon. And it meant insanity for my FF.  I knew that.  But, as we headed from one side of town to the other, we stopped by the firehouse anyway - just in case.  I saw that the med rig was gone, so we dropped off some artwork at daddy's truck.  We drove back around to the front so N could check and see if they were on their way back.  You don't know how many times he has told me that we just missed him.  The FF that answered the door sat and chatted with my goofy 13 year-old for half an hour.  I couldn't even tell you his name.  My FF's BC came out by me and my crutches, hugged me and chatted with me while we waited to see if they would make it back.  I can tell you that would never happen in the education world.  I bonded with the teachers at one school...nothing like that since.  This reminds me of that, but on a much larger scale.

It is a different world.  It is our life. They are our family.

I laughed at my FF the first St. Patrick's Day he was on.  We hooked up with a bunch of guys (who laughed, but I think also secretly admired) that my brackets were in my back pocket so I could keep up with the games.  And they all called each other "Brother".  When we were alone, I totally busted his chops about that.  Poor guy...but we started at 8am, in my defense. :)  But he had only been out of the academy a few months.  I did not get this world - at all.


I get it.  We, being married to FFs, are kind of caught in between these worlds.  We fit in that world, but we don't.  And the outside world, doesn't quite get it.  And that is where other fire wives come in.  They get it.

A FFW just posted on one our private FB FW pages that she was struggling with the fact that this life leaves her as a single mom far too often.  And what was nice, there were 1100+ women who instantly understood.  Some of us do it for 24/48/96 hours at a time, some of us when the pager goes off at the most random and inconvenient of times and some for months at a time when the land around us becomes too dry for conditions to be safe.  But we all understood.  We all know that the kids will puke and the furnace will go out and the arms will be broken and the water heater will burst - when we are flying solo. The rest of the world sees that our FFs are home 2 out of three days.  Nevermind that they sleep most of day 2 and they still have obligations and interests away from us.  The rest of the world sees the FFs shopping and sitting in the bay doorways on a nice day.  Nevermind that while the rest of the world is sleeping, the FFs are tending to the insanity that comes with those nice days.  

The rest of the world just does not always get it.

But, when you find a group of people who get it, this life becomes a whole different world.  My FF was on shift last night.  My little one bonked her head - again -pretty good.  By the time I got everyone home, ready for bed and actually IN bed, it was well past their bedtime.

I went to check my blog, see how an issue with the board played out, check on the draft results that I missed and I ended up staying up until well into the wee hours of the morning, with wine, playful banter and shenanigans.  Nearly like a girls night out...and yet I was home with my sleeping muppets.  It made my Friday night alone, go by so much faster.  Some of us will be getting together in Atlanta this summer, while others will be very much missed.  These are the women who will laugh with you, tell you you are being an idiot when you need it and share their pearls of wisdom and experience when something comes up.  Some of these women I like more than others.  Some I text/chat with on a nearly daily basis.  Some I have never directly communicated with.  Some annoy the ever loving daylight out of me.  Some feel like my long lost sisters.  But, they all get it.  Are there squabbles, yeah.  Some of them are petty and probably not the most mature in how they handle things that come up. But some will give you the shirt off their back because you commented on how much you liked it. Let's face it, we may wear a cape by day balancing all of the craziness that comes with this lifestyle, we are all still human underneath the Underroos.

There have been some horrible events in the past weeks.  Lives have been lost and those left behind will never be the same.  And there is nothing we can do to change that.  Terror and fear creep in.  But, we have to remember that we are in this together.  We are indeed a fire family and we pull together.  We always need to pull together in times of need.

From the Rockin' and Rollin for Julie
Now, long way around to this point, there is a fire wife in need. Julie Holt Legas, is not a friends of mine nor is she part of any FFW network that I am (That I know of).  There was no tragic event rocking the headlines.  Just a tragic turn in her life that has taken away her independence.  I sit here and fuss because I needed help with the door and groceries and my sock.  And Monday, I will get my boot.  Totally a temporary road block.  But, imagine if it was EVERYTHING and the treatment to make it better was out of your reach because, let's face, even though the world thinks FFs are made of money, they really don't get paid like that. 

If you're in the area, why not go??
Julie has Cerebellar Ataxia.  They will be going to Hope Hospital in Zhuhai, China for stem cell treatment. This treatment is cord cells, NOT embriotic or fetal cells. It consists of four injections that will provide approximately 400 million cells. This treatment has been showing promising results for patients with Cerebellar Ataxia, but it is extremely expensive and not covered by insurance - and she has to go half way around the world to receive it.  

The rest of us are examining this under a microscope.  Is it safe?  Why would you go to China for medical care? What if it doesn't  work? But, what if this was your only shot?  What would you do?  I would hope that the Fire World would step up and lend a helping hand.  Scary to be certain, but a risk Julie is willing to take.  And the Detroit Fire Department is working to help her out. She is family.  If you take a look at the link, there are many ways to help out - buying a shirt, a benefit concert, buying a patch, straight up donating.  There are ways to help.  Will you help?? 

We ARE family.  We ARE Fire Strong. We TOTALLY get it. 
We ARE Fire Wives. 
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