Should You Marry a Firefighter?

Fire Cake (Not Ours)Someone found our blog by Googling, “Should I marry a firefighter?” It’s an interesting question, really.

When FireDad and I said our vows, we had already been through the long and involved process of testing and interviewing to be hired by the fire department. We were actually enduring the middle of a hiring freeze as I walked down the aisle toward him on that cold, December day. Prior to all of this, during our dating days (and, really, prior to me), he was a volunteer firefighter (and paid the bills as a Paramedic). I had an inkling of what fire life would be like but… I also had no clue. He was hired by the fire department shortly after our wedding. And during our honeymooning year, I got the baptismal by fire, literally, into the depths of fire life.

And so, I have some advice, of course, having lived this life for five years now.

Don’t marry a firefighter if you are relying on their presence or the stability of their schedule. The pager will go off on Christmas Eve as you are trying to build a bike together. There will be a fully involved structure fire on the morning of your big interview, leaving you scrambling to find child care. They will work on your birthday, their birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and every other holiday imaginable. Not all in the same year (though that list in the previous sentence is true for us this year, sigh) but eventually, all of them. More in some years than in others. On days you have plans to work on the house or get things done, they will be needed at the fire house. On a day that you planned on doing nothing more than relaxing, the sound of fire sirens leaving the station will bring a halt to your attempt at relaxation, nerves on edge. And, more than once, they will be summoned to a fire from the heat of passion in your own bedroom. Trust me, it happens.

Do marry a firefighter if you want someone who is reliable. Does that contradict what I just said? No. Their nature is one of loyalty and, as such, reliability. If they say they’re going to do something, it will get done. Sometimes that means after the fire but it always means that it will get done. They usually tend to understand that you are also at the mercy of the fire house even though you are not a firefighter. As such, they genuinely tend to keep promises. Not all of them. There are bad apples just like in every other profession. But, for the most part, they’re good, loyal people.

Don’t marry a firefighter if you don’t want other people to think that your spouse is “hot.” Firefighters, male or female, are ogled. They are winked at, looked at, smiled at and flirted with everywhere from the bank to the elementary school. It happens. It’s that love of heroism and bravery and uniforms and strength and everything all rolled into one. And fire trucks! Everyone loves a fire truck as it goes speeding by.

Do marry a firefighter if you love the way fire smells mixed in with your significant others’ natural smell. It can be intoxicating.

Don’t marry a firefighter if you think it’s all about heroism and bravery. Sometimes it’s about washing garage floors and checking trucks. Sometimes it’s about arguments at their Union meetings, which you can’t always know the intricate details about but still need to offer support. Sometimes it’s about petty grumpiness within the fire house. Sometimes it’s about raising money for a new truck. Sometimes it’s about them taking a night out, despite having been gone the 24 hours before, with their fellow firefighters to cool down, chill out.

Don’t marry a firefighter if you think it will be an easy life, a decision you will never question. To be honest, all people married to others with any number of jobs have moments of, “You care more about your job than you care about me!” You may want to yell, “Family should come first!” To be fair, when they’re rushing out the door leaving you to wash all the dishes from the Christmas dinner you just hosted, they are caring about family first. It’s someone else’s family at the moment but, yes, a family. Learning that sometimes you just have to suck it up at times is a long process. Sometimes it’s a lonely one.


Don’t marry a firefighter if you can’t sleep alone without them there. Do marry a firefighter if you’d like to hog the bed to yourself every third night. (Note: if they take one day off, that means that you will have to sleep together for five days in a row. Can you handle it without sending them to the couch?)

Don’t marry a firefighter if you would never “allow” your children to be firefighters. First of all, the idea that you can shape what grown adult children do or do not do is simply funny. Secondly, it runs through the veins. (I’ll be talking about this soon.) They’re going to see Mommy or Daddy on a fire truck and they’re going to want to do it. Maybe it will be a short-lived childhood obsession. Maybe they will join the fire service. However, telling them that it isn’t a job they are “allowed” to do not only is silly but ends up putting down your spouse.

Do marry a firefighter if you want your children to have a built in hero. Yes, I know, it’s not all about heroism and bravery but, to a child, it really, really is. To boot, pun intended, your spouse can be an example of how staying clean, being responsible and working hard can benefit your child when they’re a grumpy teen wanting to follow the crowd.

If it seems that there are more “don’ts” here than “do’s” the reason is simple and is the below point:

Don’t marry a firefighter for any other reason than wanting to spend the rest of your life with that person. The rest of the stuff will fall together if you truly possess that love and commitment that comes with any marriage. There will be times when you will argue (like in any marriage). Sometimes you will argue about the job in question. Fire families, like other families, make sacrifices when it comes to schedules and last minute changes. But it’s a good family to be a part of in the end.

And so, would I suggest that the reader who found our blog marry that firefighter? Well, I just asked FireDad if he thought our reader should marry a firefighter. He said, “Well, probably not.” That’s just him being humble. Or stubborn. Or silly. Or anything else that he is. But, then again, I’m sure he’d have a few things to say about being married to a writer. (Maybe I should have him write that someday.)

2007, Pregnant with LB

In the end, I love being married to a firefighter. Our life is stable and crazy all at once. My children obviously love visiting the fire department. And, yes, women make eyes at him but, in the end, he comes home to me at night. I love his honesty, his loyalty, his sense of humor, his devotion to what he loves and his bravery. We argue at times, like any other couple but I can’t imagine being married to anyone else.

And that’s how you know if you should marry a firefighter or not.

[Cake photo credit. No, it wasn’t ours. But that sure is us in the other picture.]


The Land of Nod, design for kids and people that used to be kids

Wordless Wednesday: Learning to Love the Fire Life

Learning to Love the Fire Life


[For more Wordless Wednesday, please visit 5 Minutes for Mom and Life Down Our Lane.]

Save Ohio’s Libraries!

Save Ohio LibrariesYesterday I braved the heat and made my way to the library with a book that I found… four months overdue. It had been misplaced and hidden by other books. I found it about a week ago and placed it at the top of the stairs so that I would remember to take it back to the library. But Library Guilt made me ignore it for awhile. Finally, as I knew the boys were jonesing for some new books, I sucked it up and made my way to the library.

As I entered the building, I noticed a bright pink sign on the door. I stopped to read it.

The Governor has proposed a 30% reduction in Ohio library funding. This is in addition to the 15-20% reduction we are experiencing due to the slow down in tax revenues.

The Guernsey County Library will not be able to operate as we are with an approximate 50% reduction in our funding.

Please call Jennifer Garrison at 1-614-644-8728 and Jimmy Stewart at 1-614-466-8076 and request no more cuts in library funding.

Blinking, I entered the library and made my way to the desk with my overdue book and fine money in hand. One of the librarians handed me my receipt and the same paper that was hanging on the front door, informing me that I could also email my Representative. To be fair, I had not heard the news as FireDad and I had a lovely weekend together and, therefore, did not have the news on at all. After I picked up fifteen books for the boys and one book for me, I went to checkout my selections. A different librarian went on to discuss how sad the issue really is for our library system. I promised to call, to email. I did. I will.

And here, I blog.

We love our local library. Not only do they have a wide selection of books for the kids but they also have a great selection of books for me, for FireDad, for other adults like us who love to read. They also provide story time classes for all ages, infants through school age. Our library is also connected to about twenty other libraries and, as such, I can get just about any book (or movie or CD or what-have-you) that I need or desire. What happens to my reading when that is no longer available? I would choose to add books to my boys’ library over my own if it came down to it. Using the library as we do allows for borrowing and purchasing without breaking the bank. What happens when borrowing isn’t an option?

One of my first thoughts was of my friend Judy, a librarian (and blogger and mom and wife and cancer-butt-kicker, just to name a few more things). I asked for her opinion on the matter. I love having smart friends. She gave me this fabulous blog-bite to get minds rolling about why this is so important.


“These cuts will most likely close branches and libraries, shut down important library programs, reduce funding for library collections, and possibly create layoffs. At a time when people are trying to stretch their own budgets for necessary items, we need libraries to remain a vital source for them for information, books, and programs for all ages, races, and income levels. Libraries have been one place where the “playing field,” so to speak, has been level. If Strickland’s budget passes, it is very likely that the libraries that will be hit first will be the poorer and/or rural libraries. Let’s keep the playing field level for those who need it most.”

As a citizen of a city who is kind of small, kind of rural, I really don’t want for my library to close. I know I’ll make sure that new books enter my kids’ library even if something awful does happen but, trust me, not everyone in this area will have that same luxury should the doors close. Our library is needed. Just believe me.

All hope is not lost. (Or, so I have to believe.) The Ohio Library Council has created a Save Our Libraries campaign. On that page, they provide the information for how to contact your local representatives to voice your opinion and concern over this proposed cut. And the Ohio Library Council isn’t stupid; they’re asking citizens to use social media (Facebook and Twitter) to spread the word to other Ohioans. (Seriously though? That made me smile even though this whole thing makes me want to cry. I love when organizations get the power of social networking.)

What can you do? (You being an Ohio citizen?) Locate your State Representative and/or Senator and voice your concerns. Let yourself be heard. Don’t forget to contact Governor Strickland while you’re at it and (politely) tell him what your local library means to your family and your community.

Governor Ted Strickland
Online Contact Form
Post a message on Governor Strickland’s Facebook page.

Then, post on your own Facebook page and your twitter: I contacted my elected officials to help save Ohio libraries and you should too. Find out more:

And then? Blog about it. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Email your local friends. If you know of a local blog, contact them to have them write about it. Talk about it in your churches, at your group meetings and in your workplaces. Contact your local library and ask what you can do to help. (Pass out flyers? Do a video blog segment? Something? Anything?)

There are certain fights worth fighting. Fighting for our libraries, our books and, in essence, our children seems like a worthy fight. Let our state know that our libraries make a difference to our families, our communities and our children. Trust me, I know. There’s no money. Anywhere in the state. I have two passions when it comes to funding: my husband’s job and books. I’ll fight this fight.

[If you are not from Ohio, could you please simply pass this on to someone you know who might be? Or Stumble it? Word needs to get out. Imagine if this was your library.]