diary cindy 2

MONDAY

 7:00 – Here we are again.  It’s time to wake up.  Why, oh why does this have to come around every 24 hours, mercilessly mocking me no matter how much I feel like becoming part bear and hibernating through the rest of winter?  Blasted cell phone alarm!  At least it’s set to a nice song: Avicci, “Wake Me Up.”  Yah-dat-dat-daa, now it’s all over…when I’m wiser and I’m older.  All this time…”  Time.  Time.  Time.  Yep, it’s still time to get up and make the proverbial donuts.

“Fine!” I say out loud to no one except my cat because my kids are still asleep and my FF is still on shift.  I throw back the covers and greet the icy blast of air that creeps into my warm abode.  I remember there’s BIG winter storm that’s supposed to hit tomorrow, so I check the weather app to see what they’re predicting now.  It looks like we’re in for two days of freezing rain, possibly mixed with snow at times.  Temperatures are expected to hover around freezing for the high and get as low as the teens at night!  Holy smokes, this is BAD!!

Now, before you Northerners go and laugh at me, please understand that the South, especially the coastal South, does NOT get weather like this as a regular thing.  It rarely snows where palmetto trees meet the ocean.  Seagulls sit year-round in our grocery store parking lots hunting for scraps.

Dang!  Winter storms stink!  We’re so not equipped in the South for dealing with snow, much less ICE!  I’m just going to prepare for power outages anyways and hope that it doesn’t get bad.  You see, our house, amongst many others, has no alternative heat source.  Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are huge space hogs during the yearly summer temps that hover above Par-Boil on the weather scale.

I switch from the weather app to my email only to see that the top email is an urgent request from my FF to go buy a kerosene heater today.  Yep…a kerosene heater.  The same kerosene heater that was on sale at our big box hardware store three weeks ago, when the temperatures were in the upper 60’s, and I suggested, “We should buy one for emergency situations.”

My firefighter quickly shot that idea down, saying, “No.  I hate those things.  They burn down houses in our district every year.”

Week - Kerosene heater

“Okay, Mr. Fireman.  But, isn’t it possible that we could operate it safely?  This is a modern heater with all sorts of safety shut-offs if something is wrong.”  He was adamant though, so I let this one go at the time.  And now three weeks later, my idea looks good!

7:30 – Phone call with firefighter (who is working his buddy swap from Saturday) to discuss the storm preparations.  He says he might not be with me during the storm because someone will have to stay at our cabin we’re building in the woods.  When it’s completed (and this is my dream home so it definitely has a fireplace built-in for alternative heat!) we will move in, then put our current neighborhood house on the market.  It won’t be finished for another month or so, but the main living portion with master bedroom is already finished.  The kitchen, bedroom, living room, and bathroom are all livable and usable.  Temps will be even colder there with a higher chance of snow, so we’re worried about some of the unprotected pipes, the well pump, etc.  Okay…so, he’ll be there and I’ll be here.  Where will the kids be?

8:00 / 8:20 / 9:15 / 9:40 – Phone calls from my FF, reminding me of things I need to do, or buy today, every time he thinks of something new.  Most of the time, it’s something I’ve already thought about or done, but he feels guilty that he’s not home to help get us, our house, our livestock and our pets ready, so he keeps calling, hoping his phone calls help.  The last call is a huge help!  He says he called our locally-owned hardware store to set aside a kerosene heater, along with two gallons of kerosene for me to pick up.  I should go there first and leave now!

10:00 – Pulling out of the driveway, I get another phone call.  “Yeees?” I ask teasingly?

“Sorry, just making sure you’re on your way to get the heater.  They’re flying off the shelves and they won’t have another shipment until tomorrow.”  I assure him I’m on my way and I’ll let him know when I have it.

10:15 – Bank : Cash a check at the bank because after our busy weekend, Monday was already going to be my running errands day anyway.  Bank, post office, groceries, pet food, etc.

10:45 – Local Hardware Store:  Picking up the heater, kerosene, propane bottles for our small propane back-up heater for our outdoor cats in case their electric one stops.  I also buy plastic sheeting to cover the duck & chicken pen and some ½” staples (size verified by my FF) for the staple gun to attach the sheeting.

11:30 – Feed & Seed:  Buy 100lbs of laying pellets and 50lbs of cracked corn for the ducks and chickens since we’re seriously lacking for green, growing stuff and bugs to eat right now.

Week - duck feed 2

12:00 – Gas Station: Diesel in the Excursion.

12:20 – Grocery store: regular weekly shopping, plus some extra food for the cabin.

1:00 – Post office: Mail a box of something I’ve needed to exchange since Christmas.

1:30 – Finally head home.

2:00 – Fix more coffee!  Unload groceries and put them away or in a bin to go to the cabin, along with some extra blankets, matches, and water.

3:30 – Fill duck feed containers with 150lbs of winter rations.

Week - pouring duck feed

3:45 – Help Storm prepare duck pen for the storm.  Storm rakes it out and lays new hay in the bottom, while I get ready to cover it with plastic sheeting to protect them from the ice rain headed our way.

Week - duck pen prep

3:50 – Search for staple gun…SUCCESS!!!

3:55 – Run out of staples…buzz kill.

3:57 – Call FF to ask if I’m loading the staples the wrong way since they don’t seem to fit.  He walks me through the exact same steps that I’m already doing, gets frustrated with me and finally says, “You’ll just have to bring it here so I can do it then.”  Um…no.  While still on the phone, Storm breaks down in tears beside me as she notices that her beloved cat has a swollen paw.  Ugh!

4:00 – Hang up with FF and call vet.  Take their earliest appointment, which is tomorrow afternoon.  Hang up with vet and try to calm my tearful child who is railing about the injustices of life and asking how the vet can make her wait SO long.  Don’t they know that Claire is her best friend?!

4:30 – I’m spent, frustrated, tired, and annoyed now.  I head back to the duck pen and rip out one of the staples I’ve already used, only to find out that they are much shorter than the ½” staples my FF said I would need.  Ahh…now I see the loading problem.  I head into the depths of our ancient storage shed where we grow black widows and brown widows the size of half my hand, and I search for some danged ¼” staples.  I finally find some at the bottom of a yucky old tool bucket.  I say a silent prayer and carefully back out of the shed, hoping I’m still spider-free.

4:40 – After a few choice words while loading the staple gun (no kids are outside with me) I’m back to smacking the staple gun onto the plastic sheeting on the duck pen.  Whack!  Whack!  Whack!  Methodic.  Rhythmic.  It calms my irritation a little.  Whack!  Whack!  Whack!

Week - icy ducks

4:50 – Storm rejoins me to help finish the pen and clean up our supplies.

5:00 – Start dinner and multi-task dinner prep and house cleaning.  It’s still a wreck from our weekend of reenacting because we’ve been running errands all day and preparing the outdoor animals.

6:30 – Head to firehouse to drop off the kerosene heater so my FF can take the reigns on assembling it.  Yay!  Something he can do at the station and I don’t have to do now!

7:00 – Return home and eat dinner.  I discover the cat’s paw is returning to normal size again.  I say a silent prayer of thanks for the time and money that will be saved by not having to take her to the vet tomorrow.  Tell Storm the good news and make mental note to call the vet tomorrow morning to cancel.

8:30 – Kiss the girls good night then tackle a mountain of laundry I have to fold.

9:00 – Crash into bed for some reading time before passing out.

9:30 – Last call from FF…love & good night.

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As a fire wife, I do pretty much everything. My favorite thing though, is being the fire wife to my Lt. Paramedic, Tradd, and raising our three girls. (Ages 12, 9, and 6.) I homeschool and sort of homestead so we have plenty of experiences and adventures we take on together. I see each day as a gift. Even though I understand tomorrow might not come for one of us, I throw my arms out and embrace today's blessings rather than stress about the what-ifs. For this reason, I love to write about my life and support other fire wives along the way. Each fire family is unique, but the issues are the same. If we can remember there are others out there who understand, and lean on each other, there's hope for all of our futures.

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