Archive for the ‘The Fireman’ Category

Transitioning

I woke up Monday morning, ironically, the first night that the Fireman slept through the night since he’s been home, and there I was staring at the ceiling at 4 am, listening to him mumble in his sleep next to me. It was the sore throat that woke me up, and the sheer exhaustion that slapped me in the face the next few days as I sucked on throat lozenges and ate Zicam like it was my job.

Civilian life is a tough transition. We’re a one car family right now, so there’s that. Then there’s the inevitable question of, “What will we do today?” followed by the realization that without a schedule there is no day ahead of us. The schedule is what drives him. The days loom ahead on the calendar, empty & full of supposed R&R & leave, but they look like a blank slate. Scary, right?

2014-02-15 10.44.26Food used to appear at 6 pm on the dot. Food now has to be shopped for, prepared, & cleaned up. Laundry, oh laundry, you freaking beast. You’ve doubled, tripled in size & taken over the floor of our bedroom. Shoes are everywhere. Backpacks are everywhere. Weights are on the floor in the office. The dishwasher is run every few days. The eggs run low. The milk runs lower. Sometimes, the patience runs the lowest.

The transition is hard. A week and a half in & we’re still struggling a little bit. The Fireman is starting to sleep through the night, after waking up at least twice nightly. Daily routines are starting to become established. Little by little, we’re getting back to normal.

So bear with me, as I wade through this new part of life to get back to our old life. Projects are coming, but summer & my family are here as well. Balance is important & so is chocolate.

Caitlin out.

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Deployment

So I forgot to post again last week. No excuses, but here’s the thing: the last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle for me. We all know that people only share the happiest and shiniest moments of their lives on the internet.

I now have a bit of a confession to make.

Four and a half months ago, the Fireman was deployed to the Middle East.

2014-02-15 10.44.26Sometimes deployments are portrayed as something of a romantic notion; the soldier goes away and those left behind pine for him until he makes his triumphant return. Great. Except that they always gloss over the every day life that we deal with by ourselves. Remembering to pay the bills. When was the last time I did laundry? Have I vacuumed at all this month?

I’m here to dispel the notions about deployments. Hollywood has lied to you. There is nothing romantic about watching your best friend walk away from you at the airport gate. Nothing about sleeping alone for 6 months. Nothing about coming home to a dark and empty house, night after night. There is nothing romantic about be able to talk to your loved ones sporadically, worrying everyday about their safety.

Grocery shopping can be done almost monthly. The laundry gets put off as long as possible. Sometimes dinner is a box of macaroni and cheese and the dishes stay in the sink for two days. Spiders are trapped under jars.

The novelty of being able to not worry about anyone other than yourself and stay up late and go out with your friends wears off. There’s nothing more that I want right now than to curl up on our couch with the Fireman and watch a movie.

There have been so many instances where I find myself wanting more than ever for him to be home: when his 9 month old nephew giggles; when it’s a lazy Sunday and I want someone to drive around with; when I have a bad day. He isn’t here to partake in my joys nor my sorrows.

Let me repeat: deployments are romanticized. The homecomings are amazing and worth the wait, but the leaving, the first day, the first week, the first month, they all suck. Don’t forget the middle. Don’t forget that you’ll only be able to see your loved one through pictures. You’ll find yourself hungry for snippets of their daily lives. You’ll worry daily about them. Your days will start to blend together, until one day, you realize that you’ve established a new routine that doesn’t involve anyone else.

And when they come home? It’s almost just as hard as when they leave. Suddenly, it’s not just about you anymore. You have someone else to consider. For the first few days, you tiptoe around each other and try not to get in each others way. I mean, we all say that it’s not going to be that way when our person comes home, but really? We’ll do a small dance around each other for the first two days until we can get adjusted to it.

They’re coming home from somewhere so structured that sometimes they’re lost when they’re set free. We’re at a place so unstructured that we can’t remember how long that milk has been in the back of the refrigerator.

It’s hard, but there are some sweet moments. Receiving a text that tells you how much they love and miss and appreciate you. Being asked to Skype because they miss seeing you. Talking; really talking about everything and nothing at the same time. These are the things that keep you going when you think that you can’t do it any longer.

You’ll learn things you never knew about yourself while you’re alone for so long. You’ll find that you really are incapable of killing spiders. You’ll learn you can reupholster a couch by yourself. You’ll find yourself driving around and finding small back roads that beg for exploring. You’ll learn how to be alone & do things by yourself. I’ve traveled by myself, gone on dates alone, & I even learned how to jump my car battery (I mean, I had him on the phone with me, but still).

Deployments suck. You’ll never find someone who enjoys them. I’ve struggled the last few months with a myriad of emotions that have thrown me around. This isn’t an excuse to why why I’ve been scatterbrained and forgetting to post, and blahbitty blah blah, but real life happens. Deployments happen. We can see the end of the tunnel now, but every step there feels like quicksand. Soon enough, he will be home and life will be back to normal, but until then, we’re a world apart.

And of course, a little tip: if you know someone who is dealing with a deployment, offer an ear. A free dinner. A movie night. Even letting them know that you’re around if needed is the biggest thing that you can do. Trust me on this one.

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I was going to chat today about my trip to Delaware and the fact that it’s Opening Day at Fenway (!) and other trivial things (big things in my life, really), but honestly? None of those things matter hugely in the grand scheme of things.

I don’t want to be a downer, but I’m going to get deep for a sec. Last Wednesday, two firefighters were killed in a fire in Boston. If that wasn’t horrible enough in itself, my partner and I listened to the fire and heard them call the Mayday and then stop responding on the radio.

It sucked. It was a tragedy that wasn’t caused because they were incompetent, or because of equipment failure. They weren’t newbies, they just got disoriented in a fire that quickly spiraled out of control.

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And it makes me think about life. Those guys didn’t go into work Wednesday morning knowing that their card was going to get punched that afternoon. Knowing that they wouldn’t return back to their families the next morning. They went into the station that morning expecting to do their jobs, maybe run a few calls, cook a big dinner. The usual.

I mean, we’re all human. We’re all bound to leave this Earth at some time. But it’s hard to imagine when you’re so young. When you have little kids. When you have your whole life in front of you.

I keep thinking of the woman who will never be able to hug her husband again. How shocking it must have been to answer the phone to hear firefighters who worked with her husband instead of her friend.

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Look, we know we have dangerous jobs. The fact that you might not make it home is always in the back of your head. Always. It’s just not something that you acknowledge.

It’s why I make sure I tell the Fireman I love him every time he leaves the house to go to work. We could be fighting; not speaking to each other, but I still always tell him, “I love you.” Because you know never know what day could be your last.

These two men were honored this week as firefighters traveled from all over the country to be at their funerals. There were two firefighters from St. Louis on my plane to Boston on Tuesday night. There were firefighters from BFD at Logan picking up others. Boston is a resilient city. Boston is a strong city. They’ve been through a lot in the last year, & this loss? The first deaths since 2007? A huge sucker punch.

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A sucker punch for us all. So tonight, hug your kids. Hug your spouse. Tell them you love them, & in the morning? Tell them again.

1//2//3

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The Fireman and I had the weekend off together. The whole freaking weekend. The last time that happened? Mid December, I believe. It won’t happen for a long while after, either. So we made the best of it and drove around town (and by that I mean we drove around 2 states), visited some of my favorite boys, and went on 2 dates (!) (that culminated with doing our grocery shopping; if that doesn’t scream adult! to you, I don’t know what does).

2014-01-25 12.43.06Oh, and did I mention that it hovered around -6 with windchill all weekend? I was cold, hanging out with my boys in the barn.

But I got tons of cow kisses, so it was worth it.

2014-01-27_0006And this? This happened. We’ve been talking about flipping the mattress (holy goodness, does it make a difference), and when we did, we disassembled the bed to try and fix a piece. So yeah. We’re basically having a giant slumber party on our floor. Truth is, I kind of love it. It makes the room look bigger without the dark wood sucking the light right out.

Oh, and it snowed, finally. I mean, finally. There’s only so much single digit weather I can take without a reward of some powdered sugar snow.

And last but not least, this week marks the culmination of the most ridiculous class I have ever taken, and let me tell you, I will be dancing around on Thursday night after we leave the hospital for the last time. Dancing, I tell you. And then partying. And then studying.

Well, I’m off like a prom dress to study and drink some more tea while snuggled under an electric blanket!

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Veteran’s Day

Today is Veteran’s Day. A day that most consider great because of the awesome sales and day off from work, but one that I acknowledge and try to remember the significance for. Because let’s be honest, those ABU’s sitting on our bedroom floor won’t let me forget that the military is in my life. The combat boots sit on the floor of our closet, and the cap rests on the top shelf. The blues hang, pressed, in a protective garment bag, and twice a year, they are put on and adjusted for inspection.

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If I’m going to be honest, this is not the way I would have envisioned my life 10 years ago. 10 years ago, the only people I knew who served in the military were my grandparents. Now, I have cousins, friends, and the Fireman who are a part of it. I would never have thought that someday there would be a Family Readiness Group magnet hanging on my fridge, I would have never thought that I’d be spending at least one weekend a month by myself while the Fireman was down at base. I never thought that I’d ever have to deal with a deployment, or that I would suddenly be handling finances, a home, and full time job by myself while the Fireman was away training.

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Like I said, not a life I would have ever expected. But you know what? It’s worth it, despite the sacrifices. I want my children to grow up in a world where they understand and appreciate the men and women of the past. I am so proud of what the Fireman has been able to accomplish with his involvement in the military.

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So today, while you’re at Nordstrom’s , or Old Navy, or Target, take a minute to remember all of the brave men and women who came before us and fought for what they believed in. And silently thank them for their sacrifice, because that’s all that they have ever wanted.

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It’s Monday

And I’m okay with it. Which is surprising. I also had no blog post written. Which is NOT surprising.

Here’s why I’m okay with Monday this week:

1. My weekend started on Friday, when on the way to the Fireman’s brothers house for a session I came upon a FREE SCREEN DOOR. With frames. So I snagged the Fireman’s nephew and he helped me load it into my car. Currently it’s sitting in our living room. Still not sure if it’s going to fit our doors. Awkward.

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2. I had 2 AWESOME sessions this weekend:

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The first was a sister duo whom I absolutely ADORE (and they made me work hard for the images I got – seriously, I’ve had weddings go easier), and then the Fireman’s sister in law’s maternity pictures. (Gosh, all of this Fireman’s brother and sister in law naming is exhausting). Needless to say, the maternity pictures were much quicker than wrangling two small strong willed girls. PS: got to feel the Fireman’s new nephew moving around. AMAZEBALLS.

3. I got Starbucks. Twice. I’ll have another iced hazelnut macchiato, kthanksbye.

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4. I bought a dress. For those who know me, it’s kind of a big deal. It’s an even bigger deal because it’s short and tighter than what I would usually buy. But…it’s freaking amazing. And with nude heels? Just send me to Vegas already.

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(please ignore the awkward selfie face & pose)

5. Saturday marked the fourth anniversary of the Fireman and I dating. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, and even though it hasn’t all been smooth sailing (HA I wish), it’s so much fun doing life with him. Plus he took me mini golfing (I’m a cheap date).

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6. Also we went to dinner at the most amazing restaurant located right on Lake Winnipesaukee…I mean, we were literally right next to the water, with sand underfoot watching the sun set over the lake. Plus a live band. Plus the best salmon ever.

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7. I managed to go 4 days without washing my hair. Dry shampoo and topknots for the win!! The Fireman was thanking Baby Jesus that I went to a fire last night so I finally had to wash it. Fun sucker.

So now that I’ve sufficiently grossed you out, I’m out.

Gotta go write some reports take a nap edit some photos.

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Friday Foto.

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Happy birthday to my favorite guy 🙂

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Take a minute today to remember all that the men and women in our military have sacrificed for our freedom & thank a soldier.

Thank you to my Fireman…I hate when Uncle Sam takes you away but I love when he brings you back.

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Some Nights.

The Fireman is OBSESSED with this song. Like, so much that he listens to it AT EVERY POSSIBLE MOMENT. So much so, in fact, that when we went to a structure fire the other night, I sang it to myself. For 5 hours.

I’m considering disabling Youtube on his computer.

Psst – Don’t forget to check 365 Days of Photography for my daily picture.

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Backgammon Board.

Last week, the Fireman and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary. We decided that we’d make our presents for each other…so enter the backgammon board.

Recently, the Fireman has discovered his love of backgammon…

So I decided that instead of buying a board, I’d make one. In my mind, it was a hell of a lot easier! I had to utilize the Fireman’s brother for all of the wood cutting and power tools. He didn’t understand the whole “I’m not allowed to use power tools unsupervised” thing. Which is saying something, since its been 3 YEARS.

Anyways. I started out by measuring out the board that my Gramp had that I learned on years and years ago. Using the measurements, I went to Home Depot and got some boards cut. I started with 2 15×10 boards and used a dowel to make the game pieces.

I used this amazing gray stain to stain the boards.

Seriously, how amazeballs is this color? I LOVE it and can’t wait to stain some more furniture with it.

I got all OCD and measurey and measured TO THE 1/16 OF AN INCH all of the triangle pieces…

Cut them all out..

And then taped them onto the boards. So totally scientific, huh? After that, I just traced around them so that I’d be able to see the lines before painting them.

It wasn’t until after I spent all that time measuring and cutting and tracing that I thought…screw it. It’s home made. At least its going to be triangles?

Using some white and gray paint I painted the triangles in. Not perfectly, by any means, but you know what? It’s made with love and he knows that.

After that, I utilized the Fireman’s brother to cut a dowel for me…

Once the pieces were cut, I used a few coats of spray paint to cover them up.

After it was all said and done, it came out pretty good…

And he loves it. Seriously. As soon as he opened it, he asked if we could play :). Love that guy.

Psst – Don’t forget to check 365 Days of Photography for my daily picture.

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