Saturday, November 19, 2011

That was my one last nerve!

I don't care where you work -- if you're a cop, you automatically have a big fat target on the back of your uniform. You may work in a more "dangerous" area -- cities that people across the country may hear of and know about, and not for their beautiful beaches and friendly people -- or you may work in a neighboring jurisdiction that gets the overflow from one of those crappy towns. The longer my husband is in law enforcement, the more I learn that there are all kind of cops working for all kinds of agencies (ever seen a Postal Service Police Officer? I have!). And they all have their unique idiosyncrasies.

There has been major tension in our larger metro area lately, with lots of conflict between the cops and the illogical, left-leaning, narrow-minded citizens that see the uniform my husband wears and make all sorts of assumptions about him. And they don't even know him! Now, generally speaking, my husband's jurisdiction is rather benign. One of those places where you automatically think "Oh, that's not too bad," but at the same time they get the overflow from some of the more nasty towns around.

So, yeah, I feel pretty "safe" when my husband goes to work. (What a joke that is. But that's for another post.) He's gotten plenty of his shift buddies out of jams in his years on, been crashed by a drunk driver... but really? It's not that bad.

So imagine my surprise when I was driving home with the kids in the car recently and I heard the breaking news that there had been a shooting right in the middle of DH's jurisdiction. When he was on duty. In the middle of his shift. In the middle of his jurisdiction. Did I mention he was working right then?

Like I recently said on Twitter, my insides died a little while I heard that tiny snippet. I knew not to call him. If he had been the shooter, or on the call during the shooting, or been shot, he's wasn't going to answer the phone. If he was providing support to the whole situation (highly likely, eh?), he wasn't going to answer the phone. So I just had to breathe... and know that whatever had happened had already happened. And I would know if I needed to know and when I needed to know. I called my brother and had him comb the internet for details -- just find out who got shot, was it a good guy or a bad guy? I hung up and called home to check the messages remotely. No messages. Ok, I think that's a good sign. I think.

It turned out to be a good sign. About 90 minutes later DH called and my insides collapsed in relief. Yes, he was still on duty. No, he wasn't on the call. No, he wouldn't be coming home on time. Yes, I would need to scramble for a babysitter. That "late home" and "not available for you" part sucked. But I didn't even care when I knew he wasn't involved in the incident.

I'm having a hard time synthesizing my feelings about the whole thing. The multiple incidents piling up -- a fight here, a shooting there, crazy morons here, obscenities and profanity... all in one week? I can take it spread out but shift after shift after shift, working 12 hours on with three days off spread over 14 days?

If I'm having trouble, how are these officers doing it?

DH had a glorious day off yesterday and now he is back in the trenches. I'm sorting through my feelings, and definitely not discussing with my non-LEO friends because they cannot wrap their mind around it. Oh, and potty training. And cleaning up barf. That's what we are doing today. What's on your schedule today?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I do it all. Except....

I pride myself on being able to sit down and take it. Not in a "do you know it is domestic violence awareness month" kind of way, but more of the "just do it" way. I schlep uniforms to the cleaners. I speed-racer ironed academy uniforms (then said "no more!"). I pack lunches at dinner and make breakfast for lunch. I have my weekend on Wednesday and Thursday and celebrate Christmas on any day in December that starts with a twenty-something. Heck, I celebrated Thanksgiving for several years straight at the police station!

If you are a LEO family this is no big news to you. And none of us (usually) are complaining, it is just a reminder of what our normal is. It is one heck of a different kind of normal than most other people I know.

That is why I was knocked on my butt this week when I realized there is something I just won't do when it comes to the police wife life, because as I have just explained, I do it all.
My husband brought home his body armor for a good cleaning. Some wear them over their shirts, some under, but if you have half a brain you wear your freaking vest on duty.  This is the one piece of equipment that kind of creeps me out.  It's this ugly, smelly, nondescript thing that could very well save my husband's life at the very best or at the very worst make a horrible injury much less severe.  I'm happy he is bringing it home for cleaning, but it sure does give me the creeps.  Oh, did I already say that?  Well, it does.  He's scrubbing it and cleaning it like it's a pair of boots he's sloshed through a homeless encampment in and all I can think of is "Please don't die, please don't die, please don't die."

Which is totally *NOT* like me.  People ask me stupid questions like this All. The. Time.  "Don't you worry?"  "What would happen if...?"  From some people I know it is sincere and they are truly concerned.  But other people who are asking me stuff; it almost feels like they have no right to ask, well... don't get me started.

I was doing ok ignoring the whole thing and keeping it together until I saw this little tiny rectangular piece laying on our bed (because really, where else would you clean this stuff?!).  A little bigger than a 4x6 index card, I think.  (I'm not sure, I didn't look too long.)  The Trauma Pac.  Now, this picture over to the right is just a representative photo I found on a message board on the great world wide web.  But I can tell you that if that tiny little rectangle with the nice "Trauma Pac" description and "second chance" were sitting there on my bed WITH AN OUTLINE OF A HEART like this one has, I would have been through the roof.  I almost had to pick it up and put it under the bed or in my husband's sock drawer because I had such a strong reaction to it.

But I'm tough.  I do it all.  I'm a police wife.  So I kept my freaking-out-ness to myself and just in passing mentioned it to my mom the next time we were chatting.  It felt good to have it off my chest and I could move on.  I can't tell you how ecstatic I was to have that thing all put together and back in my husband's locker... yes, doing the job it was intended to do, keeping him safe(r) and sweaty on the streets.

Is there something about the job that is like nails on a chalkboard to you?  This one is certainly mine!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's such a funny place

I've been a bit emotional lately (more on that in a minute) and really been mourning the loss of that good friendship.  Ok, mourning isn't the right word, but maybe "recognizing" the loss.  The difficult part is, our children attend many classes together (remember, we homeschool?) and so I have to see their family on a regular basis.  Makes the absence a little more.... obvious.

This week I found out that this former friend is pregnant.  And guess what?  [drumroll please....] I am too!  So it's making me even more nostalgic about how fun it could be to be pregnant together, and recognizing that it's just not going to be like that.  It's ok.  It's a stage.  But I can still "miss" it.  And be emotional.  ha.

So if you want to be my pregnant buddy, I'm totally looking for new applicants.  JUST KIDDING.  Yes, for those of you counting, this will be our #4, and this is the first time I'm really wishing I had that pregnant buddy along for the ride with me.  It's just that every pregnancy is less and less glamorous (if you have had more than one, you KNOW what I am talking about) and I'd love to share it with a good friend.

Happy Saturday, strange world!

Monday, September 12, 2011


I said goodbye to the teeny-tiny church and unfortunately, had to also say goodbye to the main friendship I had there.  I did the best I could to say goodbye, but things are never as they seem.  Evidently I'm a demanding, perfectionistic friend who will only be friends with you if you are perfect.  Yeah, I got the line "All we've ever tried to do is make you feel welcome and cared for...."  Thinking back on the conversation, I laugh.  She's the tall, skinny, beautiful mom who regularly cleans her house and cooks delicious meals for her family and her house is always all neat and picked up.  As a squishy mom [ahem] with piles of crap everywhere at home (including more dustbunnies than one could ever want), and a favorite meal of chicken nuggets and potstickers (organic, but does that even count?!?) I find it hard to believe that I will only be your friend if you are perfect.  Then again, you feel how you feel.

Talking through the conversation with my mom, I thought of all these things I wanted to say.... and she gently helped me see that defending myself to them isn't going to help.  So for now I'm mourning the loss of what I thought -- quite mistakenly -- was a deep, wonderful friendship and wondering how not to get myself in this predicament again.  sigh.

It's always something, isn't it?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

realization: church

The best piece of advice I received a few years back was from the wife of a sergeant nearing retirement (in fact, he's now retired). She told me [paraphrased], "You can't do everything. You have to give yourself permission to smile and say 'no.' Most people will not understand what it's like to have a husband in law enforcement and what that does to you and your family. You build your own hedges around yourself and your family and to heck with everyone else." Actually she was probably even more mild than that (that's who she is) but it really stuck with me.

It sounds lame, even now, as I've written it here. Of course! Set your own boundaries. Be good to your family. But I feel that in law enforcement our boundaries can be so different from everyone else's -- and for reasons which are more or less incomprehensible to those around us.

I'm still in the mode where I feel like I do everything by myself -- not just social events, but the entire life of our family. I won't list everything out because it will be bad for my psyche, but one thing I've really been struggling with lately is church. No, I'm not going to get all religious on you, just work with me here and know that we go to church -- more often than not -- on Sunday mornings.

When I say "we" I mean myself and the kids; husband is either working or sleeping on Sunday mornings. We've been going to this nearby teeny tiny church started by our friends but it's such an effort. There's nothing restorative or regenerative or inspirational about Sunday morning for me with three kids in tow there. It's a chore, and certainly not a joy, to participate in Sunday morning. For the last two Sundays, however, we've visited a church I attended years and years ago when I was very single and very childless. It's grown and changed in all these years, but some of the same dear people are there, as well as some "new" dear people our family knows now, too.

The guilt is, I've enjoyed being there these last two weeks. It's all the things I haven't had at the teeny tiny church. But it's 20 minutes away as opposed to 10 minutes. I'll be leaving behind friends who I'm sure will be crushed at the teeny-tiny church. And I can't decide if I'm being selfish to just "church-jump" this way or if my family really will benefit from being at this other church more permanently. The clincher for me is that my husband might actually -- gasp -- go to church with us at this new place. That would seal the deal for me if we could all worship together.

I'm dialing this in to the "married single mom police wife life." If I wasn't as dry as the Sahara Desert I wouldn't be craving a sort of restorative Sunday morning like I am. But, here I am. It's how we roll at HHPD these days. And as a LEO wife, I'm not expecting anyone else to understand, or agree, but I think I'll be jumping ship to this new church shortly. And I'm sad. Again.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Here she comes, there she goesI

It's been a bad summer. Today the minutes ticked by past the "witching hour" ~ the moments when I had expected DH home, then hoped he would be home, then started checking every car that drove by to see if it was someone delivering bad news. About half an hour later, the phone rang and the first thing my husband said was, "We're OK," [and you always know this comes before the "but"] "but I'm going to be late."

So, so, so grateful today. Trying to focus on what I have instead of what I don't. I'll be happy when this summer is over.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Department Politics

I know it's a brotherhood. I know I should be grateful that anybody covers my husband's butt on any kind of call so that said butt can come home every night from work. (Although there are a few out that who would actually make the call worse... but I digress.)

In the midst of all this "brotherhood" there are politics. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that there is bickering. I have three kids. In fact, I spent a bunch of time today mediating all that "bologna" with said three kids. So I know how it is.

But adults? ADULTS? Seriously!?!? My husband does the best job he can, every day he goes to work. He's been injured ON THE JOB and kept working while getting treatment. He busts his butt to actually -- get this!?!? -- do his job the right way.

To be fair, I love my husband dearly, but he does have his faults, too. I especially can't stand how black-and-white everything is for him. It is absolutely right or absolutely wrong. Yet, he can also be the most forgiving cop there is, taking the stance that showing someone mercy may have a much bigger impact in changing their behavior than a measly citation. He's a conundrum, that one.

So when I know all this about him, about how he works so diligently and hurts so much.... when a superior starts spreading rumors about him, you'll see why I'm a little peeved.

In the real world, my husband would calmly, and politely, call them on the carpet. He would nicely say "I hear you told your whole team I'm a lazy tard. Can you clarify for me the problem you see with my work, so that I can improve?" But of course, dear sweet husband can't do that. Because then the "rat" (who told my husband about the rumor-mill-maker) will be outed and my husband cherishes his brotherhood. He is so grateful for the "rat" who told him he's being falsely accused of x-y-z *behind his back* and now he knows he must watch out for said back.

I'm just livid.

How do you handle department politics? Because I'm sure not doing a great job of handling them right now.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Treats for your Sweet

Ok.... Now I know I feel 100,000 times better when I don't eat junk, but with stuff out there like this.... who can resist? Make your own chocolate candy from molds (right) or just order the badge pre-made as a blue lollipop to hand out to your adoring fans. Either way, you'll be "popular" (cue music from "WICKED" which I love).

It's summer! Go out, have fun! We are. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spring Thaw

Life is swirling at an unbelievable rate these days, and I cannot keep up. 

I thought that with this shift rotation everything would be "great."  Husband is working a modified day schedule (starting in the late morning) and I thought it was close enough to the type of schedule that "regular" people work that it would be great for our family.  In a way, it has been great.  But there are other things, like interpersonal stuff, in our marriage that I thought would be helped by this schedule too. 

Is it no surprise they aren't? 

People say that with kids, it's not about (fancy) "quality" time but quantity.  I guess I thought our marriage would benefit from time together at the "right" time of day (i.e. when I am awake and husband is home and not working).  :)  I don't think it's worked out like that.  It's almost been worse, like there is the expectation that it would be better but it's not so therefore it's worse.  So maybe it's no surprise that I haven't posted for over a month.  School and life has been kicking my butt and I've been so discouraged.  (And I've gotten addicted to Words With Friends.  Oops)

So now, of course, I'm posting because I have good news.  Because I cannot stand to be the bearer of bad news, Debbie Downer.  We're on vacation!  Forever!  Just kidding.  It's not forever but it feels like it.  :)  I'm realizing that I do actually like this person I married (just in case I had forgotten.... which I somewhat had, let's be honest) and I don't remember laughing as much as we have been.  Along with lots of other things, that's the thing that will stand out the most about this spring thaw: the laughing. 

I've said it for a while and this vacation is proving it.  We don't have any big plans to go anywhere, and I think that's good.  Everyone needs to chill out and "thaw" once in a while and for those in law enforcement it's even more important.  I'm thankful, so very thankful, for this thaw and praying for some great progress in so many areas of our marriage and family. 

How about you?  How do you thaw out from life on a regular basis?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Job Description

Remember back in February how I wrote about my husband's new job description? I recently read an article where an officer was fired for a Facebook status he posted (big surprise) that said something to the effect of "going to take out the garbage at work tonight."

Guess if I want my husband to keep his job I'd better lay off the "My husband's a garbage collector" line. :(

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fundraiser For Brian Stow

If you follow much of the EMS world, you may have heard of the SF Giants fan who was beaten in the parking lot on opening day at Dodger stadium.  He is a paramedic in the San Francisco Bay Area (near The Happy Medic's stomping grounds) and a father of two young kids.  There has been a huge outpouring of financial support from all sorts of places, including SF Giant's pitcher Tim Lincecum today announcing he is donating $25,000.  You can read about them all on the Support4Stow blog.

I was excited to see a fundraiser that speaks my language: jewelry.  Stella & Dot Jewelry, to be specific.  Go to the Support4Stow blog to see all the ways you can donate, or head straight to Stella & Dot for 100% of the commission on your purchase to be donated to Mr. Stow's family.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I've Seen Better Days...

While I cannot rival Mrs. Fuzz's recent bout with kidney stones and craziness, this last week has not been the best.  I suppose I could write my list and say "this went wrong" or "that was bad" but it would mostly be whining and complaining and, well... pointless.

It's been a week that cannot be categorized. Between lack of sleep, illnesses, worries, conflict, and weather that has sprung from spring to winter, and autumn and summer in between, well, who can categorize it!?!?  So while trudging through life with the weight of too many things on my heart, I've come away with two helpful thoughts.  Not totally original ones, but they are getting me through the days.  Of course, with three small people in tow at all times, the most basic saving grace is: "The days are long but the years are short."

I find it easier to live until bedtime when I realize that I most absolutely must live in this moment. I will never have this moment back again.  I had a friend in college who listed the number of seconds on the back of her front door with a catchy phrase that you will never have another one of those seconds back -- ever -- and to make every one of them count today.  It's the same idea.  I may be wishing for sun while it storms outside.  I'll get my sun.  Not today, perhaps, but it will come.  And when it does come, I will wish for rain because the water bill is too high.  Instead, I choose to cherish this very moment because it will never come back to me and I want to remember it most sweetly.

As I lay on the floor of my children's room last night, willing the snuffling baby to sleep by shear force of my will, my daughter reached out with her tiny hand to stroke my cheek and search for my hand.  She would shift a bit and then rearrange herself so that she could still reach a few of my fingers and hold on to them.  I always race out of their room as quickly as possible after lights out so I can throw myself on my bed, count the many hours since I awoke and the seemingly-too-few until I must wake again tomorrow.  But last night I didn't.  I cherished their tiny room, crammed with my desk and their clothes and my grandpa's law enforcement cast offs from the 1950s.   That moment will never come back, and some day my daughter may not reach for my hand like that.

But I was there, for that moment, and I will never wish to go back and "re-do" it because I screwed it up so badly.  Other moments, yes.  Last night? Not a chance.

Friday, March 18, 2011

More questions for you

CA Cop Wife recently asked about your opinion on significant other ridealongs at work. Go chime in!

Now, my question for you: do you have a scanner? Do you listen while your significant other is on duty? If you're a cop, how do you feel about your S.O. listening in while you're on duty? I have been forbidden from getting a scanner or listening or any of that. Boo hoo. I did download a scanner app for my phone and listen to some neighboring agencies. I think it's just interesting to get more accustomed to the radio, codes, etc. And I like knowing what's going on. :)

I've mentioned a few times that I have several relatives in law enforcement. I have good memories of hanging out at my grandparent's house, laying on the bed and listening to the scanner with my grandma. Every once in a while she would say, "Oh, that's your uncle." I think she listened more out of fear for his safety, not because she was truly interested in what was going on. Well ~ she was interested out of fear. You know what I mean.

What about you?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's on the menu?

Thanks to the crockpot (and Stephanie O'Dea), we had "Easy Taco Night" last night. I was so grateful that our house didn't burn down while the crockpot was on and I was out in the afternoon. We didn't finish it all, so tonight? Easy Burrito Night. LOL. The kids were entranced, and really they were just eating the same thing, but inside soft flour tortillas instead of crispy corn tortillas.

Next on the menu is Chicken and Rice Soup (the "gluten free" version of chicken noodle soup, says Ms. O'Dea).

I've asked before, but it's been a while so I'll ask again: What's your easy, go-to meal you are in love with right now?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hot Times In The Town Tonight

How do you find out what's happening while your LEO is on shift?  Over time I've read enough of y'all's blogs to know that sometimes our well-meaning LEO will quickly text and say "going to the hospital, be home late" and then ....... nothing........ for far too long, leaving you concerned that he's in the hospital with who-knows-what wrong and who-knows-what-will-happen while he's there.  Maybe he's taking a suspect, or it's for someone else..... My point is, when something's going down, sometimes you find out from your LEO, you watch the news, or (my new favorite) twitter.

Some time ago there was a big protest during one of DH's shifts, and I was combing twitter for updates.  It was nice to know what was going on.  I figured out the hashtag the protesters were using and got lots of lovely updates.  The news had some info, and of course, DH was completely out of touch so I heard details from him after the fact.  I really appreciated knowing what was going on via twitter -- from the protester's side of things.  Kinda humorous that I was keeping tabs on DH via the "enemy". 

So, when your LEO is long overdue home for some high-profile reason, what do you do?  Do you bury your head in the sand and wait for the details until he gets home so you don't worry yourself into an ulcer?  Do you flip through every news channel to get the news from every outlet possible?  Do you comb twitter, facebook, or your town's gossip blogs? 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Shift Review ~ Mids

It's been a few months now that my husband has been on mids.  It's OK.  It's the closest to days I'll ever get (which are of course my most favorite and his least favorite) so I'm happy to have a chance to test them out.

He still gets up after us (our day feels half over sometimes, especially when I've been up since 3 AM but that's another post in itself), and he is gone for most of the day while the kids are awake.  The nice thing is that it feels like a more flexible shift.  Since he is overlapping for most of his shift, he can sometimes sneak out a little early if he has extra time to burn (which he often does, since he mostly takes his OT as time off, not pay) and be home for a late dinner or family movie night.

Probably my number one, favorite thing about this shift?  On his days off, he is not a werewolf and he actually gets up at a reasonable time, and goes to bed around the same time we do!!  I love it!!  Thank you, so much, husband, for gifting me with this shift this time around.  After six years of every schedule imaginable (except for five or six months on your dreaded day shift!) I really appreciate you coming back to a daytime schedule.  :)  thanks :)

Monday, February 28, 2011

"Get into the groove...."

"...boy, you've got to prove...."

Just kidding.  Yes, I'm a child of the 80's, and if you have no idea what I'm talking, er, singing about just, uh, carry on.

But getting into a "groove" is definitely a way to keep your sanity, wouldn't ya say?  I'll be the first to say that I think getting into a rhythm in life is hard enough on it's own with kids, a job, A LIFE THAT NEVER QUITS, you know.... the basics.  But a LEO family?  Sheesh.

Someone recently asked me on Twitter if I scheduled my days.  I gave a flip "It depends on the day" ~ which was totally the truth but somewhat a cop out.  What I eventually came to share was that I have a plan; a general plan, not a minute-by-minute plan or even a hour-by-hour plan of how to structure most of my days.  Of course there are certain days we have obligations and must be out the door at a certain time -- those are non-negotiables, obviously.  I'm even less structured than I would like to be, but that's because I'm a perfectionist.  Does anyone else see the irony in that statement?!?!  I'm a perfectionist, so the less I plan the better I am about going with the flow and accepting whatever comes my way.  And with a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants husband with an equally unpredictable job, it's really helping me manage my expectations about accomplishments in our daily lives.

In truth, I'm not even as scheduled as Monday/laundry day; Tuesday/Bathroom cleaning day, although I'd probably be better off if I was.  However, the things I do to keep our rhythm on a daily basis are:
  1. Have everyone's clothes laid out the night before, even for the baby and me.  Since I am always up before my husband, this is an easy way to avoid the certain groaning from him as I open and close drawers looking for that always-lost sock.
  2. No one eats breakfast if they aren't dressed.  While this is not a hard-and-fast rule every single day, on days when we have places to go/people to see/things to do, it sure gets everyone dressed and ready in a hurry.  Socks have to be on and shoes are by the door for easy access when it comes down to the last minute rush to get out the door.
  3. I check our calendar the night before to make sure that everything we need is ready to go.  This includes programming my phone with the phone numbers of people with whom I have appointments the next day.  That way if I'm running late, or they don't show up, I have a way to contact them and rearrange our appointment.
  4. Everyone packs their bags the night before.  The kids' things are ready to go, I'm ready, and it really cuts down on the morning stress.
  5. Speaking of the night before?  I make sure I have a plan for all the meals the next day.  I'm in NO way a menu planner  of the caliber of Mrs. Fuzz, but if I know the night before what's happening the next day for meals, I can chop any veggies and prep as much as possible the night before, or add to my to-do list to pick up that one essential ingredient I'm inevitably missing before 5pm rolls around the next day.
  6. This one is the worst.  I'm just warning you now: I do my very very best to get up and dressed before I hear the first tentative "Mama" calling from the kids' room.  On many days, it really really.... well, it sucks.  But when I have time to get ready in peace and start my day on my terms, it cuts down on the yelling (what? ME? yell?) and frustration I inevitably feel at some point in the morning.  The other thing that's nice in our house is that the kids are not allowed to get up and out of bed without permission. 
That's just to make sure our days go smoothly and cut down on stress when things (always) come up at the last minute.  The thing that really got me going on this post, however, was thinking about how the rhythm of our days and week has been pretty hard to mesh with my cop husband's.

We get up early.
He doesn't.
We have a weekend, like the rest of the world.  Well, the same days as the rest of the world.
He doesn't.
We eat breakfast in the morning.
He doesn't.
Afternoons are for naps.
His afternoons are the prime of his day.

You know, all those basic things.  It's been a continual, conscious effort to readjust my weekly rhythm to fit with my husbands'.  We don't necessarily use Saturday as a free-for-all weekend day --  It might be Monday, Sunday, or Thursday.

What tips, tricks, and downright skulldudgery do you use to keep your family in sync with your significant other?  Please share.  I'm trying to avoid the bitter side of life so help me out, people!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In Case Of...

Did anyone watch The Bachelor this week?  If you haven't, SPOILER ALERT.  It's been a few days so I don't think I'll spoil anything for those who actually care by telling you that Brad (the bachelor) went to visit his four remaining ladies at their hometowns.  One of the Chantals is from Chico, California, and she helps run the family funeral home.  Her hometown date with Brad started off in the funeral home.  Talk about a romance killer.

At one point, Brad admitted that he is really uncomfortable with death, and never likes to say goodbye to anyone... well, can I hammer it home any more, dear readers?  Death is certain.  Life is UNcertain!  sheesh.  No big surprise that after Chantal had him lay on one of the embalming tables and showed him all her embalming tools, she did not get a rose at the rose ceremony.  No big surprise, none at all... Serious romance killer.

But when you're a law family, death is a little more... acceptable? Accepted? Talked about?  I don't know, maybe it's not, but it should be.  At one time I had a list of all the things that should be in my husband's End Of Watch (EOW) folder.  Who to call, what he wants, what to do, important papers, all that jazz.  Really, if you are breathing (which you are, if you are reading this) you should have a folder like this, LEO or not.

So in that vein, I thought I'd share with you a recent post on Unclutterer: In Case of Death... There are some very basic suggestions as to what you should have all in a centralized location (in your "love drawer" or "legacy drawer" as referenced to Dave Ramsey).  There are also a lot of good tips in the comments section, so read that too. 

Have you done this yet?  Do you think you will (no matter if you "should")? Some people just "can't" or "won't" do it.  What LEO specific items would you suggest adding to that folder?

Monday, February 21, 2011


I'm heartbroken that no one has shared any of their family traditions!  On the heels of all that jewelry talk (that so many of you had so much to say about!), I figured for sure a few of you would chime in.  But that's OK, I'll live.

Seriously, that's not the reason I'm heartbroken, though.  I'm about to dive in to some really sad stuff and I had to start off with a little bit of levity.

It's no surprise that our husbands see the lowest of the low on a regular basis.  That's part of the job description.  I realize that I hear very little of what my husband processes every week on the job.  I used to lap up every tidbit of information he would share after shift, but as time has passed.... I don't get as much info anymore.  There are plenty of reasons for that.  It's more "normal" now.  It's second nature.  "Everything" is not new and exciting and crazy and I don't desperately wonder about every moment he is on shift any more, and he has even less of a need to share it now.  I can count on him sharing the highlights, but other than that, I know there is lots of stuff that just goes by.  And I'm OK with that.

So when my husband walks in the door after shift and starts spewing words of the venomous kind before he even has his shoes off, I immediately know it's been a bad day.

That happened recently, and it was heartbreaking.

I'm really proud of my husband, in that he thinks like a "bad guy" all the time, even more than most other cops we know.  He drives me nuts sometimes.  He's always thinking tactically -- the best way to approach on a car stop if he wants to give the bad guy the easiest way to kill him (and he promptly does the opposite); why you should or shouldn't enter a building this way or that way... honestly I can't even think of all the things to list here because I've heard them so many times, I just kind of let it go in one ear and out the other.  Lots -- but not all -- cops do this, too; but they all should.

So when he came home and was sharing heartbreak after heartbreak, it really got to me.  I wouldn't say "mistake" ~ because I am 100% against doing the whole "Monday Morning Quarterback" routine on any well-trained individual who has a fraction of a millisecond to decide if he should do x, y, or z before killing someone or getting killed himself. In every situation there are plenty of other, better options you can think of after-the-fact.  It doesn't matter.  It was all heartbreaking.  Every few minutes he would pause and say "Hm, I probably can't tell you that..."

There's no one in my life that would understand all the things he told me.  And besides, with all those caveats he kept throwing in I wasn't sure what I could and couldn't say to anyone I would talk to.  So I'm telling you.  I'm heartbroken.

Hug your special people tighter.  Send your special one off to work with extra love.  And support them when they spew their venom.  How else can you help them see the best of life, when all they regularly see is the worst?

Photo credit JerryFergusonPhotography on Flickr

Friday, February 18, 2011


Yesterday we had a rare treat, where all the stars aligned and our entire family sat down to dinner together.  Shocking, I know.  This is clearly a multi-dimensional event: the kitchen table (also known as the school room, the craft center, and the kitchen prep area) was cleaned off so that everyone had a place to sit; I actually cooked a meal that everyone would eat; and the husband got home early enough so that we could all eat together.  yay!!

People the world over say that eating dinner together as a family five times a week or more is revolutionary.  Without citing actual statistics (I'm too lazy for that!), I've heard that this phenomenon combats childhood obesity, prevents teen drug use, and reduces the incidence of divorce.  Who knows if it is true, but if you think about it....  It kinda makes sense.  You have an intentional connection with a group of people and you carve out time for them during the meal.  It makes sense to me that there are going to be other effects outside of the now-I'm-not-hungry-because-I-ate-dinner effect.

My husband and I differ in our views of the purpose of a family meal.  He believes meals are for eating.  Period.  Too much talking is bad.  Just sit down and eat your food.  It's a family culture thing.  I recall the first time I sat down to a meal with my husband's family, and it felt soooo awkward.  Everyone was eating.  No one was talking.  It was incredibly quiet compared to meals with my family.  Sure, at my house growing up we would gobble up plenty of food.... but there was always plenty of talking, too.

One of the very best touchpoints that I've added to our family tapestry is the daily "Highlights and Lowlights".  It's an easy way for each person to share about their day, picking their one highlight and one lowlight.  It gives us something to talk about, and amazingly enough, is tolerated by my husband as acceptable "conversation" during a meal.  Obviously, as a law enforcement family, it's not always at dinner time ~ sometimes it's bedtime or even breakfast ~ but each person gets a chance to share their piece, whenever it is.  It's been interesting to watch the highlights and lowlights change over time as the kids grow.  It took a long time for our now-4-year-old to figure out the difference between high ("good") and low ("bad"), and sometimes they don't even remember what we did during the day and they have to be reminded.  :)  It's been a great tool to discover what's important to our children; things that I could have cared less about are almost always one of their highlights.  It gives permission to each child to speak his mind, and be the center of the family table for a few minutes.  There are lots of positives about this ritual in our familiy.

I've heard this regularly recently, and it's so applicable to me as a mom-in-the-trenches of early childhood with three children: "The days are long but the years are short."  So true.  I get bogged down in making breakfast, washing dishes, and wiping butts and noses over and over again every day.  I treasure the opportunity to reflect, celebrate, and learn from my kids with our regular sharing of "Highlights and Lowlights." 

What kind of rituals have you woven into your family tapestry?  I'd love to add more to our family, so please share!

Image courtesy of Rubink1 on flickr.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

To Ring or Not To Ring?

I remember those first few days of my new, sparkly diamond engagement ring shimmering on my finger.  It was an outward symbol of the inner feelings I had; I loved someone, and someone loved me, and I had great hope and excitement about our future.  In reality, I didn't need that ring to accompany that burning question (the one that came right after the comment about the "nerdy girl" he met so many years ago) but it was a special symbol that I still treasure.

Then, there was the question of a wedding band.  Did I really need one?  I had a sparkly thing on my finger already.  Why did I need TWO rings instead of one?  [For the record, I did end up with one ~ a plain band studded with my beloved's birthstone. Love!!]

It may be just a "girl thang" but I definitely feel different when I have that ring on.  Even if it's just the plain band, I love glimpsing that ring on my finger and thinking about all the conversations that got us there; the huge fight we got into (and he still gave me my wedding band); the day he proposed and what a shock it was... all of these things are wrapped up in this little piece of jewelry.

So when I don't wear it, I feel "less" married.  I don't know how you can feel "less" in that way but I sure do.  Now, back in the day I bought my husband a wedding band, which he wore for a while.  But he stopped wearing it somewhere along the road.  I even bought him a "cheap" replacement because he said he wanted something different/different size/other wife (ha ha just kidding).  But he still doesn't wear it.  I guess there are lots of reasons; it's more comfy without it, it doesn't get banged up, and it leaves some mystery as to whether my man has a wife and kids at home.  Good for the thugs trying to "come after us" in retaliation, bad for the 20-year-old badge bunnies that always seem to be creeping around.

So, I'm curious.... you first responder types out there.... do you wear a ring on shift?  Does your S.O. wear one on shift?  Why or why not?

Image courtesy of Fensterbme on Flickr

In the interest of full disclosure, I was not wearing any jewelry at the time of this post!

Monday, February 7, 2011

End of Watch (the non-LEO type)

She was the heartbeat of her family, and a gracious gift to any community in which she found herself.  She hosted a baby shower at her home, in the room she and her husband had built for "company."  They had carefully chosen easy-to-clean floors, pleasant lighting, and durable (yet attractive) surfaces so they could host many others in their home as a gift to those around them.

She was so much, to so many, although many would have called her odd.  She ate differently (no sugar? no dairy? eww) than most.  She spoke differently than many.  And she definitely dressed as though she were from a different era.  But she was clothed in a radiance from her heart and life that spoke volumes about her priorities, her loves, and what really, truly mattered in life.

It's been a while since I last spoke with her.  I always found it difficult to chat with her because she tenderly poked me in the places it hurt most; in my failing relationships, my bitterness, and my anger.  But she was tender.  And gracious.  And those "hurts" didn't painfully scab up when she poked them.  They bled a little, but they healed with her tender poking and prodding.  Her honesty!  oh, what painful, beautiful honesty she always brought!

This is a true story, and as you notice, it's written in the past tense.  I received an email today informing us that this dear woman has passed away and is in the company of God and angels at this very moment. For that, I am grateful.  For knowing her, for being poked and prodded and served by her, I am grateful.  I am sad for her family, for the marching on they will do.  Her children are around the age I was when my dad passed away, and I ache for them.

She wasn't a LEO, or a LEO wife, but it was a slap in the face for me to remember....  Is my life in order?  Would anyone say anything half as nice about me when I pass away?  I have a choice every day.  Do I make the best of my choices?  I may be wishing for "tomorrow" or "another" day, but today is the day I have.  Do I make the most of it?  Are my "end of watch" papers in order?  Are my husband's?  It's not morbid, it's reality.  I believe I've said it here before, but I'll say it again.  Many of us live as though death is uncertain, when in fact, it's LIFE that is uncertain and DEATH is certain.  The day may be unknown, but it's coming.  I want to do all I can while I am able.  I hope you do too.

Rest in peace, sweet, sweet child of God.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Job Title

Recently I was talking to a neighbor who knows enough about us to know that my husband is around when he "shouldn't" be and gone when he "shouldn't" be.  In the course of the conversation he asked "So, is your husband a student?" to which I listlessly replied "No....."
[and now which lie do I go with?  The "garbage collector" lie?  This is a good one because usually no one knows what to say to that and the conversation dies immediately.  Or the "public employee" line?  That's a bad one, people say "What department does he work for? Does he know [my long lost cousin/best friend/mother-in-law]?" Or should I go with the "I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you" line?  sigh...]
I settled for "No.... He's not a student.  He's just a loser."

I sure hope my husband never finds out that I said that, but gee..... It sure stopped the conversation in it's tracks.  lol.

Monday, January 24, 2011

One week update

Ok, so it's been a week of gluten-free and sugar-free excitement for me.   I'm hooked.  Seriously, I'm hooked.

I figured I had done my duty so last night for dinner we had chinese take out.  I was careful to avoid the breaded stuff ~ and I even skipped the rice (which is not gluten but still?!?! I don't know) ~ but today I felt like CRAP.  And I was back to needing my afternoon nap. 

I really don't think it was coincidence, so I'm getting back on the wagon.  Ugh.  Life seems boring but I can't give up, knowing how much more amazing I feel going sugar- and gluten-free.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 4

I've successfully navigated the first three days of eating refined sugar- and gluten-free.  I feel great.  Yesterday was the first day in I-don't-know-when that I didn't hit a huge afternoon wall and want to curl up in my bed during kiddie naptime.  I still wanted to curl up in my bed to just take a break, but I didn't feel like I could sleep for three hours.  Maybe just 20 minutes.  :)

I visited a new-to-me bakery on Monday and I almost caved when I saw their Red Velvet Cupcakes.  But I didn't.  I've been super frustrated several times over the last few days and wanted to dive into the first box of cookies, crackers, and cereal I could find.  But I restrained myself.  My secret weapon has been the delicious citrus that is all over the place right now.  Tangerines, tangelos, blood oranges, navel oranges..... yum!  They are super sweet and delicious.  We are all devouring them like crazy!

I've been feeling more "hungry" and had to be a lot more mindful of what's going in my mouth.  Both huge pluses.  The key is that I've been much better prepared.  My goal is to eat mostly fruits, veggies, and protein (meat!).  We love meat at our house -- my husband's favorite food group.  (I am less in love.)  So I've been spending time the night before chopping, dicing, tearing, and measuring so that it's a billion times easier to eat nourishing food in a snap during the day.

Of course all this evening chopping-dicing-tearing is only possible because my husband got shifted to start work at oh-dark-thirty in the morning this week... which he hates, but I love because he's home in the evenings for dinner and then I can prep in the kitchen with him keeping an eye on any pre-World War III battles elsewhere in the house.

Whew.  I knew I could do it, and I knew it would take a while to get in the groove, but I'm really enjoying the benefits.  And I'm only on day 4.  My next step is to up my water intake.  I've gotten lazy about it because using the bathroom All. The. Time. is a big pain.  But I will survive.

Friday, January 14, 2011

We interrupt this program...

I'll be taking a break from the mundane police wife posts for a while.  I know what you're thinking: "Hasn't she been taking a break from all posting, period??"  Well yes.  But this one's different.  Starting Monday, I'm going sugar-free with The Nourishing Gourmet.  I've read her site for some time, and love that she makes (and shares recipes for!) delicious, nourishing food. 

I know that I have not been operating on all my cylinders for a while, and I also know it's in part because of the crappy food I have been putting in my body.  Not to say it doesn't taste good!  Man, those creme fraiche mashed potatoes were sure delicious on Christmas Day.  So was the cinnamon roll french toast my brother made.  But seriously..... Seriously!?!?!  I have to bring my A+++ game every day as a married single mom.  And I *know* you know what I'm talking about.

The problem is I just haven't been bringing my A+++ game lately.  It's been more like C, or C-, or let's be honest, C--- bordering on F.  Hey, I just call it like I see it!  :(  About four years ago I spent two months eating free of refined carbs and sugar.  My friend called it "The Meaty Meaty Diet."  Awesome.  :)  She was right.  Basically I ate protein and green veggies, with a few things like oatmeal or cheese thrown in a few times a week.  It really changed my outlook ~ I felt better both physically AND emotionally, and there is NO price you can put on that.

So, is anybody with me?  I'm crazy, I know, just say it!  But at this point, I've gotta bump that C--- up to at least a C+ and this is a great way for me to get started.  I'm planning to blog about my adventure next week at least once or twice. Hopefully it will be a lot more than that, but we shall see!  Check out the Sugar Free Challenge here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In my neck of the woods....

January 2011.

New shift for the hubs at work.
Week-long training class out of town for the hubs.  Oh, which he found out about only 5 days beforehand.  Gotta love planning ahead!
So, I'm giving myself permission to have breakfast for dinner while the husband is gone.
I'm giving myself at least a month, if not more, to get used to this new schedule.
And with all that "getting used to" and "permission" giving, I need a nap.