Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Stress Filled Weekend, Errrrr...Week

When I was a kid, I never really thought about how much time and effort my parents put into our music lessons, leagues, tournaments, rehearsals, practices, school...until I became a parent.  And then I never really thought about how hard it is to juggle all this solo, like a single mother.  Until my husband became a firefighter.  I know I could do it, but I know I have no desire to do so.  And yet, I find myself doing it on a regular basis

This weekend was one of those weekends.  And it spilled into this week

We got the costume started on Friday night - in the dark and finished Saturday afternoon.  Saturday was a trip to Party City as SOON as it opened.  Followed by flying home to grab N for his last football game of the year.  (Some awesome FFs may have made a public appearance at that game, making for a happy boy, by the way.)  After the game, we make a quick stop at the firehouse to thank the Captain for letting them stop for a bit and to tell Daddy how the game went.  From there we flew home, gathered up the muppets to make sure they ate.  (I'm letting B stay home and take on some responsibility - so far, so good.)  Ran to get some last minute adhesive for the Dalek costume...and then all heck broke loose.

Part of that is my fault.  Part of it is one more example of how my kids really need to listen.

I ran to the craft store to get the glue-it-all-forever-and-ever-amen adhesive that did not actually work.  And as I was leaving I noticed my camera bag - open - sitting on the loveseat.  I specifically asked the muppets to NOT sit there.  When I returned, with the glue (and a few Christmas ornaments.  Shhhh, don't judge.) and made B JUMP out of his skin.  Clearly he remembered that he was not supposed to be there.  Unfortunately, he jumped so high, that when he landed, the major shockwaves knocked the camera to the ground...knocking my mirror out of place.

I could have killed the boy.  I called the phone at the firehouse when the the FF did not answer his...simply because I was pacing outside, convincing myself that we could let the boy child live.  <sigh>

From there we went on to finishing all of the costumes and soon it was time for the neighborhood night time Trick-or-Treating. They loved it.  I would love to show you the amazing pictures of my witch and my ninja girl and my Dalek, but you will have to deal with just my cell phone pictures.  Anyway, they loved the darkness.  We took Gio with us, complete with a Jolly Rodger Bandana with a sign demanding to know who stole his peg leg.  Gotta love tri-pawed humor.

After a bit, O got tired, so my oldest, who is now my assistant on the holidays that daddy works took O and Gio back, while I continued on with the other three.

They were exhausted.

The next day was the mass to bless the firefighters at St. Florian's parish.  FF had a long night and was unsympathetic to the drama of the previous two days.  I made some comment about how I needed to stop trying to fit too much in on shift days and he scolded me for being passive-aggressive.  

I am not sure how he survived the daggers my eyes threw at him.

I truly was reflecting that perhaps I need to scale back.  Especially on shift days. 

Let's just say, I sat with the kids in between us and it was a very quiet mass. Unfortunately, it took all of mass for me to remind myself he was tired and calm down that dang Irish temper I find myself with.

St. Florian's put on a lovely mass for us.  The reception and trick-or-treat gifts for the kids were wonderful as well.  It was so very nice.

From there, we got the costumes on, hit some grandparents up for candy, did some daylight trick-or-treating and came home exhausted...again.

The week did not get any better.  Work wore me out.  Tuesday was carpool, state standardized tests (which RUIN kids for the rest of the day), running from school at the end of the day, to the firehouse to take some meds to my hubby, to the grocery store since lunches were near impossible that morning to turning in football gear...I made it home shortly after 7pm to be bombarded by "MOMMA, I need this NOW!" drama.  I was hungry and tired and exhausted again.

It was so busy that another FFW was worried and called because I went off the social media grid - no blog, no tweets, little action on FB.

So, my lovely FF bought a new stool for my vanity.  It is an antique that needs some love.  The stool is far too fragile for anyone to use.  So I have been either sitting on the corner of my bed or use a pocket mirror.  He had enough and found one that matched my wrought iron bed.  I was so excited!  (And so is my parakeet, daughter.)  He also mopped the floors and did some laundry.  Today he is taking care of the canine crew for me, having the vet come while the kids and are at school.

One more day of testing.  The weekend will be here soon and hopefully we can recuperate.  

I hope your lives are quieter and will get some pictures up here at lunch. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It is Like the Twelve Days of Christmas Here!

I am having such a great day!  I love talking about what really happened with the Spartan 300, my FF will be home from his 48 when I get home, fall is firmly upon us and I could smell it in the air as I left for school this morning.  

AND then, our head engineer brought me up two heavy boxes!  I knew instantly what they were and was like a kid on Christmas morning.  You know... when you know what it is the instant you take the paper off the gift.  I could not contain myself.  And clearly it was contagious.  My kids could not keep their hands off the books as I unpacked and unwrapped it.

Drawn and Quarterly graciously donated a class set of We Are On Our Own, a memoir by Miriam Katin. It is a story of survival during and after the Nazi occupation of Budapest, that so many of my kids can relate to.  The images are beautiful.  The history is raw and heart-wrenching.  The internal battle is so real in the images, that I am absolutely amazed by how Ms. Katin could capture the emotion and struggle.  The world collapsing around her shook her to her core and it took a lifetime to begin to come to grips with the scenes that played through her childhood memories.

Unfortunately, it is a world my kids can relate to, even though they may not see it.  The living conditions and the prejudice they face, may not be the same, but the emotions and the uncertainty are definitely something many of my kids can relate to. 
My hard core thugs were reading through the beautifully illustrated graphic novel - before I could even get them out of the box.  The artwork truly spoke to them. I am hopeful that it will lead them not only understand the environment of Europe during and after World War II, but also to understand that it is our collective responsibility to speak for those without a voice (not unlike the message of the parable of widow and the judge this Sunday that my muppets latched on to) and be sure to speak out for them.

I am excited to get my kids not only reading this novel, but also tapping into their dormant analytical skills! I will be sure to fill you on how my inspiration comes to light.  I am so excited to get to these graphic novels, that I am ready to skip the rest of the ancient world and middle ages and make my way to the modern era!  <sigh>  I will be patient

Be sure to check out Drawn and Quarterly for your reading pleasure.  If you have a reluctant reader, perhaps graphic novels are the way to go.  Reading is reading.  The rest will come, but you have to get the kids to buy into it someone.  Speak to them in their own language - art.

To Peggy at Drawn and Quarterly, your generosity will not soon be forgotten.  The impact your donation makes will have such an amazing ripple effect!  Kudos and gratitude to you and your company.

Peace and gratitude from here to you.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I am Truly Humbled

I am truly hunbled by the fire family.

They never cease to amaze me.

The fire service tells you at orientation that it is a family, a brotherhood, that they take care of their own when the need arises.  Whether it be through personal tragedies or loss in the line of duty, it makes no difference.  They are there for one of their own.

I have seen this first hand - all for the need of books.

Earlier this month, I put out a plea for help.  I developed a project in order to fill the void of our over stretched budget.  I simply wanted to see if they would help me spread the word that there was a need for books - written at an age appropriate level AND an appropriate reading level.  That is a bit of a challenge given how many of my kids are nearing adulthood and still struggling.  Graphic Novels were my answer.  I was truly hoping that my social media contacts are wide reaching and I was hoping they would help me spread the word and perhaps a wealthy philanthropist - Oprah, Bill Gates, etc - would sweep in, take pity and help build my department library.

Instead it was the fire community that took the charge and was first on scene.  My fire wives led the charge.  They spread the word on Facebook and donated from their hearts.  My first nine benefactors were firewives.  I was literally moved to tears and cannot begin to put my emotions to words.  Some FFWs rallied their friends and families to help out.  They were there for me.  Some were virtual strangers and some I have been blessed to meet in person.  They are my sisters in fire and were there for me from the word GO!

A little closer to home, one of our local Lts. took it upon himself to see what he could do.  At first, he thought a week should cover it, but has now found that it to be a bit more challenging than he expected.  None-the-less, when I stopped at  the firehouse to drop something off to my FF, I had a package waiting for me. (Poor jealous fireman - I get mail at the firehouse all the time and he does not.)  I got my first two graphic biographies from my favorite Lt. - an absolutely wonderful addition to our library.  My heart was humbled (there that is again - no other word really covers it) and at the same time, filled with pride.  These are indeed my people. They make sure our city's kids have coats for the winter and books in their classrooms.

Donations have continued to come in from Facebook.  My family, Facebook friends (even those I made through Sorority Life, who'd a thunk it!) and real life friends have made this come to life.

My heart...

I truly have no words. And I am not often speechless.  

In two weeks time, my friends and family have helped my raise over $1250.  I have only $157 to go and I know that will come soon enough.

With all of the bad press that comes from the fire world - foolish shenanigans of late, budget crisis issues, shopping on shift, etc - I cannot say anything other than I am truly loved and supported by, as well as blessed to be part of this world.

I am in a new school of strangers, still figuring things out and the fire world is right here with me, making sure I have the tools I need to make my crusade come to fruition.  There is no line item in any budget to bring this to life and yet, here it is.

Love and gratitude to you all.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Temper, Temper

He had to know that this would end up here. My poor N!

He loves football.  I will say that I thought he would quit within a couple of weeks.  This is the child who cried over broken toenails and was freaked out at the thought of getting a haircut. I thought for sure it would be over and done in less than a season.

Here we are, at the end of the 2nd season and he has developed into a leader among young men.  He is the one cheering on our big boys who don't finish the warm-ups quite as fast as the smaller guys.  He is always checking on his teammates and asking what he can do better.  He looks to the refs to make sure he is in the right place and following all of the rules.  N is a rule follower.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I heard that two boys were being ejected and one was my boy.  I literally said, "Wait! #33?  My 33?  My N got ejected?"  and hustled my frozen butt down the little bleachers' stairs to the bench.

As I got down there, his helmet came flying and some words that are unmentionable in polite company came spewing from his mouth.

Now, first let me tell you about the game.  We are getting to the end of season.  Playoffs are well underway.  The league, in my humblest of opinions, has not handled things well.  The stickers denoting the bigger boys have been missing from several teams helmets. The binders from MPS with the boys' schools, ages, weights, etc has never made their way to our coaches.  And with these binders missing there's no way to verify ages and weights.  There have been murmurs of high school kids being brought in.  One team we played earlier in the season with about 17ish players, now had enough for a full D and a full O, with subs for both.  And when we questioned it - they were down to 15 the next week. (Funny how that happened after a phone call to the commissioner!)  You can imagine I am not a fan.  
The game yesterday was a team we have not seen before this point.  Our boys played with no heart.  It was no fun to watch.  And then the teams - on the field, starting the series - began their cheers.  And our  boys responded with their chant.   It got ugly and rough, really fast.  Our coach said that a double flag needed to be thrown - it was taunting, on both sides.  Nothing was done.  From there, the officials lost control of the game. It ugly and physical.

Both benches were warned.  N's man got ugly, made some racial comments and threatened him, so N shoved him back down to protect himself.  It was a case of  "2nd one always gets caught" and N got caught.  He felt wronged and he felt like the officials had no idea what his man had done.  And when he and his guy were tossed from the game, he got ugly.

As I said, he said some things that I cannot repeat here.  And all he was concerned about was being ejected from the game.  He was worried that I was mad about that.  My FF and I tried to get him to understand that we understood what happened on the feel, but what was unacceptable was his reaction to it.  He couldn't see that and continued to plead his case.

After a hot shower, we chatted on the way to a family birthday.  And it took a bit, but he got it.  What he did, was a reaction.  Maybe he could have handled it differently, maybe not.  Maybe he should have let the other kid do what he was going to do and he would have been the only one tossed.  But, the one thing I know he could have done better was handle his penalty.  Be angry and frustrated and confused, but...

...there is no need to go down to the level of the people you are ticked off at.  

Rise above and never let them pull you down. 

We'll call it a life lesson and move on from there.  I told his coach he needs to run on Tuesday for practice.  Regardless of what they do, you can only control your action and reactions.  That is it.  You are not responsible for how they handle themselves, only for how you hand yourself.  And that is that.  Learn it now or learn it later, I will keep pounding that into his head.

My FF is on shift - with a 48.  On the engine today and the box tomorrow.  I had to stop at the firehouse...he forgot some stuff.  I have to admit, I was a bit jealous with the breakfast that was being made and the bacon in the air. Ah well.  Back to football.  Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

And You Wonder Why...

I'm sitting here, in my classroom.  It is the back half of a 48.  My oldest is in charge at home and graciously missing practice for me.  He is tending to the dinner needs of the muppets and the polar bears.  There was a list of chores for each.  He has already told me that he has helped the youngest with her homework.  I am indeed blessed.  He has really matured and stepped up to help me, especially when J's shifts make my life insane.  I am lucky.

Now, as I said, I am sitting in my classroom.  Clearly since I am getting this post out here, there are no parents coming to see me. :(  

And you wonder.

You can hardly see downtown or the lake. So dreary.
Now, I realize that many of our kids come from the far northwest side of town and we are on the far southeast side.  I understand that transportation is an issue.  And it is raining.  None of these things help get our parents here.

Perhaps we need to go back to neighborhood schools.  It saves a TON of money.  Clearly, as a graduate and former teacher in the world of high school of the arts, I KNOW the value of specialty schools and understand that there is transportation needs there.  BUT, for the standard high school I think it is better to have the building and teachers more accessible.  Quality teachers CAN make the difference regardless of the zip code that the building is located in.  I know that.  I have worked with some AMAZING teachers in neighborhoods most angels would fear to tread.  I feel that having the school as a centerpiece has such amazing potential.  Community support and buy in.  A feel of "these are OUR kids".  I think I have this Rockwell image of the small town football game - all over our city.  If we could just get the people to buy in and see the value of our kids.  Support them and love them.  Cheer for them and ask how school is going.  Show them they matter.  

Tonight an 87 year-old grandma came to me with her sophomore.  And she said, "And you wonder why..." as she looked around our empty halls.  She raised her 10 kids and is now helping raise the next generation.  And she has a point.  If your people don't value your do we expect those kids to buy into what we are selling.  

Perhaps it is the distance.

My kids don't come to events after school or stay for tutoring, because they have an hour bus ride to get them home.  As a child who spent 9 of her 13 years in public education on an hour long bus ride, both ways, I know that sucks.  You can't get help.  You can't hang out with your friends.  They are a long way from home.

So, here I sit.  Hoping my muppets don't kill each other.  Looking at my blank wall trying to figure out what I want to do back there.  I am such a high school teacher.  I suck at bulletin boards.  I am also missing teaching US History this poster collection is looking sad without the other half.  

Ah, well.  Your homework for tonight - give me ideas for these boards.  I am off to hit Pinterest for Brag Board ideas.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial

It was beautiful and amazing and moving and heart warming...and I hope to never be more than a spectator and an observer of the love of family and friends.  

Beth is putting together her post...expect tears...but she did wonderfully.

So, until her post is ready on, I will leave you with a few beautiful images of the day.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Long Time Coming

Today was beautiful and heartbreaking and far over due.  About a month ago, I blogged about a FFW I met online.  As we were chatting, we bonded over Milwaukee.  Her family was from the area, even though she was in Texas.  And as the conversation continued, I found out her grandfather was MFD, who died from smoke inhalation when he returned to quarters from a fire.

Today, was the day her family finally got to see her grandfather's name on the memorial, along with 26 other names, newly added.  A FFW from the next county over joined us.  And it was a lovely service.  The historical society found pictures and artifacts for the family.  The assistant chief gave them a tour of 2s.  Overall, absolutely beautiful. (But, the best story has nothing to do with the fire service at all.  As the speakers we speaking, a BRIGHT blue 80-something Monte Carlo with rims up to there, pulled up, bass pumping.  Once he looked over at the service, he immediately turned down the music in respect.  That will forever be ingrained in my brain.) 

And it was a beautiful service.  There are more details to share, but I will wait until Beth shares, this really is not my tale to tell. The department, the city and the families, have not forgotten and that is what is significant.

It was just another illustration of how the fire department is so much more than a company or coworkers, they are family.  I found I have another sister in fire.

Captain August Gutzmann, you are not forgotten.  You should be so proud of your family and your department.

Hug those FFs tight today.  
My FF helping set up - look at the banner at the MPM - I was trying sooo hard to shoot around it, to no avail. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

Urban education.  Poverty. Budget constraints. Overflowing classroom.  Hunger.  Illiteracy.  Homelessness.  

I had a day from heck on Tuesday.  My 1st hour class is beautiful and it was on Tuesday.  That lulled me into a false sense of security. My 3rd hour started it all.  And it just spiraled from there.  In that class, I have 38 kids and 50% special needs, you can do the math.  Hard core special needs.  Gang bangers, a couple of kids on the spectrum, some kids that just have no control over their emotions, some can't read, some can't get their ideas from their heads to the paper.  But so far, so good.  

Until Tuesday.  

Tuesday two of my more volatile boys came late, were unhappy with the hospitality of our tardy room and the fragile peace that I have been holding onto for the last 2 weeks shattered into a million bazillion pieces in an instant.  And my day just spiraled from there...and I couldn't pull the nose of the plane I was on up. My next hour is my most trying hour - 29 males, 7 females.  My sub was a wrestling coach who read to them and let them talk football all class period.  He was "maintaining". So, the idea of taking notes or writing an essay or discussing the implications that religion has on civilization is very much, shall we say...unappreciated. They are starting to suffer the effects of the carb and sugar crashes from their breakfast of Flamin' Hots and Tropical Punch at that point of the day. I called 19 homes - during class. And then one of the boys was unhappy that I expected him to put his phone away rather than making phone calls...and threatened to "Slap the white off" of me.  And from that moment, that class spiraled out of control and somehow I kept that from becoming the mob that was brewing...


And then my 6/7 class - a mirror image of my previous class...26 girls and 10 boys.  And among those 36 students is a boy, his girlfriend, his ex-girlfriend and a prospective girlfriend that was set aside for the current girlfriend.  Yea, about that... two words. POWDER KEG!  When someone throws a paper ball at the girl friend who feels SO threatened, so vulnerable, each and every time she walks into my room...she puts her butt length hair up into a quick bun...and I know what the powder keg is that is about to explode in my classroom. The rest are looking for some cheap entertainment, so they start fanning the flames.  I start thinking about the two things that feed fire - O2 and fuel.  Gasoline has already been set in place and I cannot, in all reality, put in them all under for a moment.  So, instead, I call the front desk to see if the violence prevention team can help me put out the fire. The woman on the other end...says "okay".  A few more minutes and a whole lot more posturing going on and I have no back up.  I call for security because I DO NOT break up girl fights.  NO way, NO how, Uh-uh.  They make their up there after I have gotten the ponytail to trust me enough to not be ONLY concerned with proving her strength and I get her out of the classroom.  And I talk her down.  And only then does security make its way to my room.  This is the moment when I discover that the violence prevention team was not available, as it was a lunch hour and they are always in the lunchroom. Ummm, that would have been a helpful tidbit o' knowledge when I called for assistance.  By this point I have lost my 3rd class in a row.  And I don't handle that well.  I am already frustrated that I do not have them eating out of my hand. It has been TWO WHOLE WEEKS!  And now... now I look like so many other teachers I have felt so bad for throughout my career - the ones that cannot control their classes.  I ALWAYS CONTROL MY CLASSES!

Lunch did not help, I was too steamed to eat.  My department meeting just fed my fuming nature.  And my poor, sweet little psych class had to suffer through a teacher who could not even speak.

I walked out of the school, to my FF waiting in the car.  He saw it as I stormed down the stairs...while the kids are still walking to the buses.  I wasted no time.  Had I won the lottery, I could have walked away from the education world FOREVER.  

I slept horribly that night.  O came down at 2:30am feeling yucky and I was up for the day.

And that day went beautifully.  And so did the next.  I had weathered the storm and they were ALL working for me.  And we had DISCUSSIONS in class - real honest to goodness, higher level thinking kind of talks.  For two days!  And I was amazed.  

I have spent the last 72 hours really ANALYZING what the heck happened.  I am in my 17th year in the education environment.  I know how to handle a classroom - what the heck happened??

I started looking at the school's test scores for the last few years.  And I read through my IEPs over and over and over.  And I figured out that oh so many of my stuffed classes can't read and struggle to put together a coherent sentence...and here I am asking them to not only put together a sentence, but several of them.  AFTER analyzing 6 documents in a DBQ (Document Based Question).  I walked them through it document by document, and nearly literally sentence by sentence.  

I thought it was a slam dunk.  But I realized how scared they were to show me, to show each other and maybe, in some cases, to admit their inadequacies to themselves.  That is a scary thought, for any of us really.  And rather than show their failings, they showed me how big and bad and hard a$$ they were...and I let them.

So, I needed to look at things.  I revamped the content I was presenting to them.  Added more media that spoke to them.  And began researching literacy alternatives.  As I was watching my kids after they finished some of their quizzes, I noticed a few reading graphic novels.  And then I started looking for historical fiction in the form of those graphic novels, comic books if you must.  And the light bulb shone oh so brightly above my head.

I am a firm believer in the idea that only reading makes you a stronger reader.  Whether you are reading a cereal box, a bill board or a classic novel, it makes no difference.  The fact that you are READING gets that ball rolling.  I know my brother and I were not the only ones who fought over reading the back of the cereal box at the breakfast table. So, if that applies to other kids, why not mine??  I looked at the novels in the storage room at the back of my room.  There is NO way that any one of my classes would be able to make it through any of those novel without me pulling teeth.  

I went back to my laptop and started looking for books I could use in my class - starting with Maus, one of my personal faves.  Then I expanded it to my whole department.

And then I looked at the invoice I was creating.

There is no money at school.  We are totally rebuilding our school.  There were budget issues from years past that are being addressed.  Our enrollment has been lowered so we can right our ship, but that means we have to do more with less.  I am begging the janitors to find me a file cabinet, there is no money for me to build a department library of comic books.  

I started researching and I made my list.  Maus I & II, The Mystery of Mary Rogers, Chasing Lincoln's Killer, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Golem's Mighty Swing, Bluesman: A Twelve Bar Graphic Novel in the Key of Life and Death, A Life Force, Fallout: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and the Political Science of the Atomic Bomb, Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda and Stuck Rubber Boy. DK has several for ancient civ.   I am more than certain that I will be adding more.  I want our department to look like the step-child to the English department.  I want to have the issue of "where the heck are we going to store THIS set of books??!!"  and I want to be able to hit the more hard core novels within 5 years...because we have changed the culture of virtual illiteracy. 

My list is long.  I am focusing on what we can use in World and US History, I will expand from there as time goes on.  And now I have to find the money.  I am hoping to find some success with  I posted two projects that will get me a class set of two novels and half a set of another.  (And within an hour TWO firewives threw their help my way.  I am indeed BLESSED!)  One of the Lts. from the J's time at the academy also tossed his support my way.  Never underestimate the generosity of the fire world.  If you are interested in donating, here is my page.  If you cannot, but would still be willing to help, please share my link on social media - through FB, Twitter, your blog - I would so much appreciate it...just make sure you let me know what your blog is so I can send you some love in return!

It takes a village to raise a child.  It is going to take the cyber world to raise my crew.  Thanks for your love and support, even if it is just good juju you are sending my way.

Today is Friday.  Pork chop parm is on the menu for tonight.  Life is indeed good.  Thanks for listening to my soap box pitch...I am back to saving the world again...armed with graphic novels!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tales From the Kitchen Table

Val has a new post up at Wife Behind the Fire for her Kitchen Table discussions regarding friendships with local fire wives.  I find it ironic that I am writing for this feature so much, seeing as I don't even have a Kitchen Table...and island, yes.  A dining room table in a bedroom used for feeding the muppets, but no true kitchen table.  Okay, enough rambling...

Local firewives...

I am friends with a few from our department, we've gotten together once or twice.  We talk on Facebook.  But beyond that, it is always, "we should get together one of these days..."

I live next to a fire family.  He is a Lt. still looking for a fire house, but on the same shift as my hubby.  We have become very close over the last year plus since we moved into our little "Ice Shanty" next door.

There is a lot of co-parenting going, all 7 kids go to the same school. Homework is often done together.  We take the kids and they bring them home, on a regular basis. We are members of the same parish.  We are both (as of last night) now on the Executive Board of the Ladies Auxiliary.  We do dinners with the families and a good portion of our grocery shopping together.  The kids have really become as close to being siblings as possible without blood or paperwork.  It brings all the laughter and drama that comes with larger families in the real world.  I am indeed truly blessed to have found a home next door to such an amazing ffw.

So, leaving my lot line...

I have become friends with a FFW in the next county over.  Our kids play at the park together and we do lunch.  We have attended a screening of the Stars and Stripes Documentary at their church. And, like many of my ffw friendships, we met through social media. She and her beautiful family have become an amazing part of our lives.  I am so grateful that Val really got the ball rolling with getting social media into the picture for Fire Wives!

And then I have to go south of the my scary doppelganger.  She is married to a CFD Med who crossed over.  We look like we could be related and even scarier - we have VERY similar personalities.  When I need to speak my mind - in a very not so politically correct manner, I can and she gets it.  She is a blogger as well, which is where we first started rubbing elbows.  She is a quick Metra ride away and probably one of the few people that could tolerate my shenanigans, trapped in a car with me for 14 hours.  I do enjoy laughing at her antics as she begins homeschooling her muppets, knowing that even with the better part of two decades being spent in education, my own children would never survive such an experiment.  I have to give her props!  

That is really about it for locally developed friendships among firewives.  I am part of the ladies auxiliary, but I would not say that I have really bonded with anyone through that once a month gathering.  Maybe that will change, maybe it won't who knows.

I am grateful to have friends so close, but also to have some where I can talk about local drama without being too concerned that someone is friends with someone else and now there are hurt feelings.  With girls removed from the situation, I can voice my opinions and have sounding boards, without additional drama.  If I would not have had my cyber friends, I have no clue where I might be.  This world o' fire made no sense to all.

Now, I can't imagine it any other way.

Pull up a chair and tell me about your fire wife gal pals.  Are they next door like mind or a world away like our lovely Laverne in the land down under?  Feel free to share them here or over at Wife Behind the Fire.  I am certain Val wold love to hear from you.
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