Life of a Fire Wife

Can You **BUY** Support and Understanding?

When I started my (online) Fire Wife adventure in late 2009 there were very few little blogs about being the wife of a firefighter.  I know this because I checked before I jumped in.  I had big plans.  I wanted to create an event like The Women’s Conference in California that Maria Shriver held yearly while Arnold was in office.  But for the wives of firefighters.*  I told a few fire wives (who shared with a few others) about my dream and a few seemed very excited about it.  They wanted to help me make it happen.  I started a FB page and a Twitter account, connected with departments and other wives all over the country, had a logo designed, and even had t-shirts and stickers printed.

And then my job happened.  I was working 50 hours a week and only got a chance to blog in the wee hours of the morning and my dream fell by the wayside.  My blog became me bitching and whining about my job.(I hated that.)  Another fire wife started a really fun FB group for fire wives that was pretty popular and the avalanche started.  More FB pages appeared.  I kid you not.  Blogs with names very similar to mine came out of the woodwork.  (Mind you…I’m not trying to take credit for anything.  It’s a long time coming, and I’m glad they are there.)

There is now a yearly conference for fire wives and I’m glad about that.  I haven’t been because i can’t for the cost or the expense of travel, but I’ve heard it’s awesome.  What I don’t like is that the website belonging to the organizer is so commercial.  You have to pay to join.  There’s flashy t-shirts, colorful graphics, FB banners, (really cute) jewelry….you get the idea.  I gotta say she’s really creative!

And all of the “support” is faith based.  I consider myself spiritual, but I don’t believe in organized religion.  I also don’t believe in making money off my fellow fire wives.  Yeah, she’s put a lot of work into it (she told me this in some very un-delicate language) and I get that.  Her husband is pretty high up in his department and she had the capital to start up with.

But it’s become a business for her family.

Her husband and kid’s pictures are all over the site.  I don’t even use my husband’s real name.  I have a few (purposely out-dated) pictures, but nothing else.  And when I do use identifying pictures or later realize that I accidentally used his real name in a post I edit it out.  I *try* not to mention the name of the department, but to those familiar with the way they do things, it’s pretty obvious.

I just don’t believe that supporting each other should have a price tag on it.  You’ll never have to “buy” my advice, support, understanding or (virtual) shoulder to cry on.


**I’ve since been blasted out of the water about excluding girlfriends/significant others/life partners/husbands, childless couples, etc. Now listen here!  I say WIFE because that’s what *I* am.  I’m not going to type “girlfriends/significant others/life partners/husbands” on a continual basis.  I mention kids and families.  If you don’t have one I’m not trying to exclude you.  It’s what I know and what I can relate to.

An Update

The last few years have brought about MANY changes in our little fire family-hence my absence form this blog.

In late March 2013 Johnny was offered a captain position in a unit 500 miles from our home.  In his world you just don’t turn down an opportunity to promote, so he accepted it. (Yes we did talk about it first)  He was burned out being a medic and just really needed a change.  They told him it would be about 2 months before they could get the transfer completed and I just laughed.  Really?  No.  Not in this department, and I knew it.

Sure enough…..two weeks later we packed him up and got in the truck.  I went with him to see where it was. (And because MIL didn’t want him to go all alone and actually offered to keep the kids.)  It was Krissy’s birthday.   But she’s a fire kid and knows that sometimes birthdays are celebrated on different days.

So for the next 15 months Johnny commuted 500 miles each way.  He came home twice a month-when we could afford it.  Because that pay raise went straight to commuting costs.  So we made-do with seeing him about 4 days a month.

Those costs and the simultaneous end of my unemployment benefits caused a major financial uproar in our lives, and though we really didn’t want to (our son had just started high school) we decided to make the move-500 miles away from everything and everybody we knew.  If we stayed we’d lose our house.  My vehicle was on its’ last leg.  I missed my husband.

And so the kids finished off their school year.  Krissy was excited and ready for an adventure.  Kenny insists he will be scared for life and really seems determined to never let us forget it.  It was the only house my kids had ever lived in.  He’d played baseball and went to school with the same kids his whole life.

So the end of June 2014 saw us packing up a moving van with about 1/3 of our possessions (it took 3 trips since we’d lived in that house for 15 years and had WAY too much stuff) and again leaving our kids behind with Grandparents.  Kenny had to finish the All-Star baseball playoffs and Krissy was in a week-long day camp she’d registered for months earlier.  500 miles away to a town where I knew ONE person.  (We’d worked together in the early 90’s and kept in touch.  She actually found us our house!)

Now Johnny drives 90 minutes to work.  The schools here are FANTASTIC!  (They actually have programs for my gifted and talented kids.) This house is much more modern, a smaller yard to take care of and Johnny has his own separate PRIVATE 2 car garage for his motorcycle, guns, woodworking tools, etc.  I have TWO part-time jobs I enjoy, and Kenny….well,  he has found himself a girlfriend so maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

Earlier this month the short-sale on our old house FINALLY was completed and it looks like those 15 months of sacrifice are really starting to pay off.  That’s what fire families do.  We support our firefighter.

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