30 August 2014

The Happiest Mug Shot You Ever Did See

Many times during our years together, I have been immensely proud of my husband. When he’s attempted risky business ventures, when he went back to school, when he graduated from TAMU, the day we got married, whenever I see the projects he’s welded, every time I get to introduce him as mine, and every time I watch him being a daddy.

And most especially when he finished the grueling task of becoming a Houston firefighter. It’s still hard for me to swallow some of the physical demands and literal fires they were forced to go through. And the running. My word, the running. They all ran so much and so far and so long, there was nothing left but bone, sinew, and muscle.

Brady ran his mustache smooth off.

They got up in the dark every day. They had to live in close proximity to the training academy, which meant being away from home five days a week, every week, for almost eight months. They had to eat a lot of bananas to keep from doubling over with muscle cramps. They had to run around the globe 700 times. They had to hurry up for everything. They had to read half a dozen textbooks. They had to take a written test EVERY SINGLE DAY. They had to drink stock tanks of water and Gatorade. They had to walk into things on fire on purpose. They had to climb seven story buildings and then repel their bodies down them from ropes from the outside.

And I don’t even know what else.

I can vividly remember the first time we went to the academy for an informational meeting. Spouses were encouraged to attend. Probably because they knew that our lives would be changing forever, too. They warned them about all the running and mentioned that yes, they would indeed be climbing that tower outside and that yes, they would indeed be setting all those train cars on fire.

I sat in that folding chair and got knots in my stomach. It didn’t seem to bother Lee Majors sitting next to me.

The mustache-less picture of him is from their graduation program. What an exciting weekend that was. They all wore their dress uniforms, and he walked across the stage and got a BADGE. A badge. Katie and I got to go on stage with him during the pinning, and you know what sister did? She wailed. I think I’ve written about that before….

He’s at the station today, as a matter of fact. A while back, I signed up for these text messages from a Houston news station. This way, every time there’s a big fire or something related to the fire department, I get a text message and can start sweating before I ever even hear from him. Nifty, huh?

They sent a text today that said: WATCH LIVE. Firefighters battle warehouse fire in South Houston.

Watch live? No, thanks.

I sent Brady a text: “Does this involve you?”

His response was just a picture of him in full gear with a smoked out warehouse behind his left shoulder.

I guess that was a yes.

I’ve had several people ask: doesn’t this scare you? Don’t you worry? Well, not unless someone asks me that, and then I start to think about it. Or if something tragic happens to another firefighter, of course. The rest of the time, mercifully, I am half asleep. Ha. I’m kidding. Kind of. Except not really at all.

I’m so used to him doing this sort of thing. As his friend Jeff says, “shaking hands with danger.” Getting on unbroken horses, welding from a hundred feet up, wrestling hogs…now he just gets paid to shake hands with danger.

Knowing that the fire department would never send the guys into a potentially dangerous situation unless it was absolutely necessary helps a lot, but ultimately, it’s because I trust him. I trust him not to do anything foolish. I trust him to use his brains. I trust his confidence and his toughness…both mental and physical.

I’m kind of surprised at myself. Of all the random things I worry about…not this? God only knows. I worry that the clutter in my house is worse than I think, but I don’t realize it, because it’s been such a gradual progression. I worry that I’ll never get to sleep or take a leisurely bath again. I worry that my teeth feel funny because of all the Coke I drink to stay upright. I worry I’ll have to switch to coffee when the Coke completely stops working. I worry that I won’t be able to put my Christmas decorations up with two kids under foot.

I worry that I’m nuts and someone will read this and suggest I be committed.

Back when I was pregnant and Brady was in the academy, I would sometimes go down to where he was staying in the travel trailer on a week night and stay with him until the next morning. We’d eat supper together, and then I’d quiz him for his test the next day. Then he would collapse into a deep sleep, and I would sit there looking at my fat ankles, worried that I’d oversleep the next morning and not make it to work a couple of hours away on time.

And then I’d worry that if I stopped at a Sonic too close to Houston for breakfast on my way, I’d have to use the bathroom before I got to work. But if I waited too long, I’d be close enough to just forget stopping altogether and arrive at work starving with no food in sight until lunch.

Yes, I bet strait jackets are kind of cozy.

In any case, the warehouse fire got put out, and the nice ladies that dance in the night from next door to the warehouse bought them all chicken sandwiches from Jack in the Box.

That’s about the most family-rated way I can think of to relay that certain piece of information.

He got home, he was tired, and then he got back up the next morning at 3 AM to do it all again. Here’s hoping today is completely void of any overzealous text message from Click 2 Houston.

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