I’ve missed the buzz of the excitement post FDIC, but honestly I was reeling from all the wonderful contacts and follow ups after the show. If I had to sum it up in a couple short words, it would be:
No Glitter. All Heart.
What’s up with the glitter?
You may remember this cartoon posted the week or so before FDIC and lots of apprehensive and anxious fire wives whose hubbies were leaving them for a week to great big land of the unknown, rumored to be occupied by scantily clad firefighter seeking women with no respect for the wedding ring.
I’ll admit. 5-10 years ago I was totally that wife.
He left me for a week with 3 children not yet old enough to head off to school, using our vacation time, spending money out of our own pocket for training that he just couldn’t pass up. Then he’d be unreachable the whole time he was there. Have like 10 minutes to call me after a quick shower before heading out to a late “steak dinner with the guys”.
Uh huh. My young immature self had trouble buying all of that.
But the truth is this. A big part of FDIC is the hands on training the guys can receive. So truthfully, my husband would be out doing some structural collapse class all day, working himself to exhaustion without stopping, and then rushing off to a dinner with instructors he was dying to rub elbows with and learn even more of their sage firefighting advice.
That’s totally the truth. Meanwhile, I was letting my crazy thoughts get the best of me and imagining all the single guys he was with encouraging him to hit the strip clubs (or worse!).
Zero track record for that, but yes we let our stressed and disconnected minds get the best of us don’t we?
So I want to first and foremost give you ladies who have never attended the wives view of what happens at FDIC (at least the exhibit hall and after party portion).
I saw no glitter.
I saw one really lame “Hi my name is Rico Suave” looking dude trying to pick up this poor girl who was professionally dressed (as in business professional) in an insurance booth.
I saw the Hooters Girls doing a photo op when I walked by one booth.
I heard the Firehouse Dolls were there but honestly that show floor is so ginormous even if I wanted to go there is no way I would have found them at the right place and time.
Every woman I saw attending the show was with her firefighter and some were even having kids in strollers / wagons.
And every single woman I passed, no exaggeration, said “Look at her purse! I want one!”
All credit to Nicole Rasor, our sponsor and owner of FirefighterTurnoutBag.com for this awesome conversation starter!
In the evening, some of us couples ended up at Dick’s Last Resort for dinner. If you haven’t been there it is hysterical. The wait staff intentionally tries to insult you and play tricks on you and you end up wearing goofy paper hats with the funniest sayings.
“I’m still hott, it just comes in flashes.”
(Ok seriously, I’m only 40 and haven’t had a single hot flash people!)
I did observe an obnoxious group of men (clearly firefighters attending the conference) who kept erupting in loud laughter. Turns out they were excessively duck taping one guys hands around two large steins of beer.
Stupid. Guy. Stuff. That’s all. Innocent fun.
How do you think they’re going to pick up chicks acting like such dorks?
And I must admit we were the most misbehaved women in the whole place, totally set up by Felicia’s husband, Todd, who is working on some customized stickers for FirefighterWife.com (coming soon!). He asked the manager if there was a place we could hang them in the bar. Those two went away for a bit then came back for us ladies telling us they had found the perfect spot.
Above the urinal in the men’s bathroom! (Names withheld to protect the innocent 🙂 )
Speaking of these fire wives, we had a quick meet up at the end of the show day on Friday at the food court and were able to snap these photos at the FDIC photo booth:
Our time together was way too short but I just loved being able to hug each of you and look you right in the eyes to say thank you for making our community what it is! Next year….bigger and better. Working on some top secret plans. Shhhhhh! But in the meantime, I have to tell you all that we are dying to see you in person again and would……
LOVE to see you all again in person. Oh my goodness the fun we can have! Imagine multiplying this group of ladies by 6 or 10 and going for 12. Is that spelled F.U.N. or T.R.O.U.B.L.E or both??
We ended that fabulous evening meeting up with a very special group of fire bloggers I had connected with only previously online.
Rhett Fleitz of The Fire Critic and Willie Wines of Wooden Ladders and Iron Firemen (grower of the worlds best mustache I’ve ever seen!)
These guys through a great party with a very special fire family crowd. The atmosphere was fun and heartfelt and classy. They both already blogged about it here and here. Thanks for the shout outs guys! I am looking forward to sharing much more of our websites together across the internet and in person.
So now that you know the dirty truth (there’s not much dirt) let me tell you about all the people we met who LOVE the support of fire wives.
I already mentioned the show floor was gigantic. Actually we were late to the Fire Wife meet up because we went the wrong way and ended up a 20 minute walk in the wrong direction!!!!
Our main goal at the event was to meet up with companies and people who have services or products that can help a firefighter wife. And where to start with that list…
Zach Green, President of MN8 Foxfire has some tricks up his sleeve for fire wives….
Super cool illuminating products to help your firefighter see better and stay safe in the dark. My hubby picked up a couple of his items and I’m certain you will be seeing some offers from these guys on FirefighterWife.com.
Mark Lamplugh, 1stResponderTreatment.com, is an amazing story of recovery from addiction and the effects of PTSD in the fire service.
Firefighter Cancer Foundation www.FFCancer.org
These ladies are SO ENERGETIC and pumped up to help fire families burdened with cancer. The super duper extra bonus was spending time with our Fire Wife Sisterhood member, Felicia and her husband Todd……CANCER SURVIVOR!!!
National Firefighters Endowment www.TheThinRedLine.org
Shane Parkins, President of the National Firefighters Endowment was such an inspiration. We talked for, well, I lost track, about doing good in the fire service. Shane, my husband, myself and Jodi Monroe (thanks for the introduction!) laughed and cried and brainstormed and vented together. And I think we almost solved the problems of the world. You will be seeing more collaboration with this fine organization who is there to help keep your firefighters safe and protected!
The “Model City” Firefighter, Andrew Catron
(Pictured above on the right) There is a special place in my heart for this guy and his girlfriend who has since connected with our private wives group. This is a firefighter who “gets it” and is working so hard to balance his firefighting career and relationship and family.
“THE” Jodi Monroe, Firefighter Art!
Yes, the Jodi Monroe. She and I have chatted extensively online and she is one of our partners.
I think we hugged like 10 times. It just feels so good to meet in person someone who shares the same values and understands each others mission. And how cool that she played college basketball at Purdue? I’ve never met a collegiate athlete who wasn’t a rock star in life. Keep going Jodi!!!
Summer Reynolds and her husband own this business which does a fabulous job on their facebook page but what I really love is the American made products sewn in their Arkansas factory by these lovely ladies. (and hubby gives their gloves a big thumbs up!)
Chief Rick Lasky and Chief John Salka -Authors of Five Alarm Leadership
I can remember my husband talking about these guys years ago and so admiring their message and the work they do. Well guess what? These guys have a huge soft spot for FirefighterWife.com and spent more time with us than I ever expected. He called his wife “the angel sleeping on the pillow next to him” and I just about melted.
So they have a new book called “Five Alarm Leadership” which we picked up at the show (autographed of course).
Wow my list could go on and on but I must wrap it up.
If you go to FDIC there are also some amazing events you won’t want to miss…..and that you can participate in as well! The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation 9/11 stair climb , Firefighter combat challenge as well as a 5k.
Our very own Fire Wife Sisterhood member, Candice, participated and totally rocked the stair climb!!! I saw her that evening after and the next day as well. Strong and smiling 🙂
I was blown away over and over again by the men who stopped us just to say “My wife reads your site everyday and told me I had to find you. Thank you for giving her a supportive place to understand my job.” That’s what it’s all about friends.
Best of all, I had 36 hours away with my husband. No kids. In his element watching his face light up over and over again. That alone was priceless and I was so happy to be there and able to support his career.
And I rode off into the sunset on the back of a fire truck (nah, just kidding, but we had to at least take a photo with one fire truck.)
We heart Sutphen for all their support here in our local area!
Join the Fire Wife Sisterhood and join us in our adventures!
A Sisterhood to share laughter, struggles, encouragement, support, friendship, celebrations, and experiences. Find other fire sisters across the country in this great group of women who “get it”