Friday, May 02, 2008

Sweat and Smoke: Tales from a Firefighter's Wife

I know, I know, I am going to burst the bubbles and the fantasies of many a woman with this tale, but as they say, truth is better than fiction.
Some of you may think that firemen come home in their bunker gear (that's the technical term for the stuff they wear when putting out fires, you know, the pants with the suspenders that they wear in all those sexy firefighter calendars with nothing else underneath), but that just isn't the case. That sexy bunker gear is left at the fire station.

Left there all alone with nobody to love it.

Anyway, most firemen rarely bring any of their uniform pieces home (unless their wife has a fetish) and the families of firemen don't see them wearing their uniforms any place other than at work, or when their son's 1st-grade teacher asks them to come speak for career day.

Have I deflated any stereotypes yet?

They do bring home laundry. Once in a while, firemen have to spend time at their local fire training academy brightening the minds and bodies of hundreds of young, idealistic, hopeful future firefighters.

Since this community service does not take place at the fire station, with it's professional laundry service, they bring their work duds home. Home for their barely-functioning, likes to shimmy into the middle of the room during a good spin cycle, definitely NOT Electrolux washing machine.

Have I mentioned my love of all things Electrolux lately? No? Well then.

This morning, along with my usual fare of dirty baseball pants and pink t-shirts covered in syrup, I also found a pile of navy blue items (the standard color of all things firefighter) heaped in a bundle on top of my NOT Electrolux washing machine.

I began to sort through the pile, noting the obvious dampness of the navy blue clothing items.

With each movement, a pungent odor would waft upwards and infiltrate my nostrils.

Oh yes, nothing like the smell of smoke and sweat first thing in the morning.

It was then determined, upon further investigation, that these navy blue clothing items were, of course, turned inside-out. I would have to touch them more than I wanted to. There was no way around it.

After one washing, the suspect odor was not gone. Vinegar was added to the second washing.

Currently, the third washing is taking place in more HOT water than should be used (yikes! the environment!) in my dutiful, although NOT Electrolux washing machine. I'm crossing my fingers that the third time is the charm in this case.

These, my friends, are the joys of being married to a firefighter. It just keeps getting better every day.

2001-01 Fire Training Recruit Class (Hubby is 4th from left, on the top).

Good thing he is cute too, otherwise it would just be him and the dog.


OKSufi said...

Oh my goodness! They are all so beautiful! I didn't realize I had a firefighter thing until just now. And I'm imagining one (not yours, of course) in his bunker gear on top of an Electrolux washing machine. And he's waiting for the spin cycle to finish so he can put his own laundry into the drier and...crap, I'm getting my fantasies crossed again!

Mamacita Tina said...

And I thought kids' vomit/diarrhea were bad. Usually, I can wipe out the eeewwwness out of those pieces of clothing in one wash. Good luck.

flutter said...

so so brave. You and them.

Katie said...

have you ever been asked to remove the in-soles from your bunker-boy's structure-rated station boots after a drill day? this is a new thing for me. maybe i fell for it because i'm a newbie?

PinksandBluesGirls said...

Oh Carrie... you are among the finest! And I'm totally INCLUDING YOU!! And I have to say... those men are some FINE looking MEN!! I have never heard of the vinegar in the wash.. I must try that. If it can get sweat and smoke odor out, it must do wonders. Loved this post!!!

Shania said...

Mmmm, electrolux. I have a vacuum that I rave about. I also inherited my MIL's 1967 version that STILL WORKS!

Kyla said...

I think everyone probably forget everything you just said once they got to the picture. LOL. Mmmm, pile of firemen. ;)

LindaJ said...

I need to start going to more fires. But it's sort of ruined for's like seeing my brother in bunker gear.
I need that washing machine

Janet said...

You just burst many a fantasy bubble, my dear. We can still cling to our dream of owning an Electrolux washing machine, though. ;)

Family Adventure said...

Happy New Look! I love it :)

And thanks for bursting my bubble when it comes to firemen!!


Ann(ie) said...

um. I'm loving this picture. It might have to become my screen saver. ;)

Cathy said...

Eek. You fantasy-destroyer, you!

Although that photo almost makes up for it!

Grim Reality Girl said...

Wow, that is a LOT of fire fighting goodness in one photo! You tried to kill the fantasy but then post a photo like that????? Um hello? I'm not made of stone you know.

Pendullum said...

Too cute...And no,I have not heard the ravings of this washing machine of yours...
Love, love love the new look...
And the pics of the kids, and the dog and your true,smokey blue, firefighters...

Liz said...

I'm a firefighter wife, too, and have to agree with you about the smell of smoke in gear. It is NOT pleasant. At all. In my favor is that my husband is higher up and tends to do the directing of others, as opposed to doing the fighting himself, these days. Keeps the smell quotient down!

I don't tend to gravitate necessarily to all things firefighter, but I did recently read a great book about firefighting that you, a writer, might enjoy, too. It's One Foot in the Black and is about a firefighter with an abusive FF dad. The son leaves to become a wildfire fighter in the mountains, and work through all the family issues. There's a lot of incredible detail about fire training and firefighting.