Ok, so I am throwing Hot Spots off the Monday schedule! Meet CORI. I have met Cori in person. I absolutely ADORE her and her husband is pretty awesome too and apparently works as much as mine does! I met them at Flame Fest 2014 and I wish I lived closer to this lady, she is a wonderful member of the Fire Wife Sisterhood. <3 me some Cori! I'll let her introduce herself and you can read a little Q & A! ~Jessie
Tell us a little about you two…
Adam and I have been married for 11 years. We live in Alexandria, Kentucky. We have two children so far. He is a full time FF with the city of Ft. Mitchell, part time with the city of Ludlow, a part time dispatcher for the city of Erlanger and volunteers (in his spare time! haha!) at the department closest our home, Southern Campbell Fire Department. We are pretty involved in our church, I own my own business, and we homeschool our kids. It sounds crazy to other people but it works for us and we feel like we have total flexibility and freedom.
How did you two meet?
The first time we ever met was at a fire hydrant. I was working as a residence hall director on a college campus, he worked for the department that covered the campus. He was not wearing his full uniform, but was out testing fire hydrants. I thought he was a student messing with the hydrants and got on to him. Come to find out, he remembered that first meeting very well but I kinda forgot it! Over the next year we worked together on various fire safety programs for the campus, and when it came time to plan training the next school year he came to visit the office. He flirted (A LOT!). The fire drills during the first weeks of school were always conveniently on nights when we would both be there. He continued to flirt, but never asked me out!! I was talking to a friend who is the epitome of etiquette and southern grace. Out of the blue she told me that I couldn’t call her back till I called him and had a date. It was totally out of character for her to give that advice and totally out of character for me to ask a guy out. We went on our first date and both knew immediately we’d met the one we would marry. He met my ENTIRE family the next weekend and we were engaged less than a month after our first date, married 6 months later. It sounds crazy to tell it, but so far, so good!
Was he a fireman when you met or did that come after?
Yes, he’s been in firefighting for over 20 years at this point.
Do you remember your initial thoughts about him being in the fire service?
I don’t know that I necessarily considered all the implications early on. It was just what he did. The part that appealed to me the most was his love of serving the community and people in general and that was very admirable in my eyes. As far as the specifics of the job, the fears, etc., it took me a few years to fully comprehend the dangers and I still kind of prefer the “head in the sand” approach to all that.
Have those thoughts changed? If so, how?
I would say that I just considered it to be another “job” for a long time. I didn’t see it in all it’s glory, and I willfully ignored the dangers. The sisterhood has opened my eyes to both of those things. This has helped me to be a more understanding spouse and to understand the depth of his commitment, the love of the brotherhood, and why it’s in his blood. It has also forced me to open my eyes a bit more and truly consider the dangers he faces, but also given me tools to deal with all of that.
Has he ever had any close calls?
He had part of a ceiling fall on him once, and I got that call to go to the ER. It was nerve-wracking, and looking back and see more of what it really could have meant. I’m thankful that at the time ignorance was bliss or those poor nurses and doctors might have had to take care of me too!
What helps you keep worrying at bay?
I very, very seldom truly worry. It’s just not in my nature to be a worrier in that respect. There are times when my mind wants to run away with the what-ifs and I normally try to stop that crazy train by distracting it. It’s not hard to do with two kids who are more than able to provide distraction. Sometimes I do just have to face it and realize that 90% of what we worry about never happens. If I’m spending my time worrying I’m robbing time from something else that probably really needs my attention. It’s nice to have the sisterhood to come to when I’m having one of those off nights. No matter the time there is always someone up and ready to talk who TOTALLY gets what I’m feeling. They might console me for a minute but there’s also tough love here which helps us out of those ruts!
What is your favorite way to pass time on shift days/nights?
I want to do EVERYTHING on shift nights!!! Get a bunch of work done, organize something, craft, read, catch up on Netflix, have a sleepover with the kids, eat popcorn for dinner, hang out with the sisterhood on facebook. I used to struggle with sleeping on shift nights, but not so much anymore. I think I’m just better at wearing myself out during the day!
Several of our wives in the Sisterhood love being able to hog the bed at least every third day. Do you enjoy being able to have the bed to yourself?
Absolutely! I can only let the kids have a sleep over in our room every once in awhile because I LOVE taking up the whole bed. And it’s a king size! I’m a brat!
What is the #1 quality you think a woman has to have (or grow to have) to be a firefighter’s wife?
I think independence is really important. But probably equally as important as dependence. One of the biggest struggles we’ve had is that I am a really independent person. I don’t really struggle with whether to attend that family function or church or anything else really if he’s on shift. We just continue as we would if he were home. It’s a blessing considering we are often in that position, but when he’s home that independence can be difficult as I know he struggles to figure out where he fits in when he’s home. I am still working hard to find a good balance of being able to handle everything when he’s gone, and leaving a place open for him when he does get to be home, if that makes any sense.
Does the fire schedule ever throw off family routine?
Not necessarily, as it kind of IS our family routine. When he is home during weekdays it is sometimes harder for the kids to pay attention during school time so I’ll often just try to have him teach one of them so we divide and conquer. If it’s been a long stretch of working a lot and something in our daily schedule/routine has changed it is easy for me to forget to let him in on things like, “Child #1 is suddenly obsessed with pickles. Or now hates cheese.” He can get surprised by some of those types of things.
How do you think you would feel if any of your children followed in his footsteps?
I would be proud. He absolutely loves what he does, and he’s good at it. He’s proud of it, as he should be. It’s important, life-saving work. Our kids would be blessed to feel so fulfilled in what they’re doing. I wouldn’t be surprised if our son does follow in his footsteps. Even if it’s not in the fire service I have no doubt they will both learn a love of serving others and use it no matter what they do.
Do you have any rituals about saying goodbye when he leaves for shift or if when you end a phone call when he is on shift?
He always kisses me goodbye before he leaves and most of the time I remember it in my sleepy stupor. 🙂 We don’t always get to talk when he’s on shift but when we do we always say “I love you!” Nothing out of the norm for most couples.
What is the best advice you could offer anyone in a relationship with a fireman?
Get to know other spouses in the fire service who you can commiserate with, people who understand, and won’t ask when you show up to another event without him where he is. THEY ALREADY KNOW! 😀
What does the Sisterhood provide for you and would you recommend it to all fire wives?
Yes, times a MILLION!!! Seriously. If you haven’t done it already and you’ve been following for months…..just do it. 10 day free trial! And no, I wasn’t paid to say that. I really just think once a woman steps into that environment, sees the positivity, the marriage building, the women who totally get what she’s going through, she’ll be hooked for life. I know I was. Lots of real life women who are working to improve themselves, their marriages, who are know how to get things done. Love, love, love! We could rule the world!!! haha!
If there was one thing you could change about your firefighter’s department, what would you do?
I wish that we were closer as a group. There are some who are, who’ve been there since their careers began. He’s been there for over 10 years, but we still haven’t managed to be a part of the closeness there, probably because we live further from the station than others. It was one of the reasons I was so thankful to find the sisterhood. I finally felt like I’d found other people who understood! It’s helped me feel closer to some of the wives there, just knowing that they probably feel the same as I do, but we’ve all just been too chicken to share it, and that we are all just truly busy! We have lots of firefighter friends who are on another shift and when you try to schedule something that immediately eliminates 2/3rds of the year. No wonder we can’t get together! lol!
We know what your firefighter’s passion is, but what sets YOUR heart on fire?
I love helping other women in all kinds of ways, just empowering them, helping them see what they are capable of, how valuable they are, how much they have to offer. A great mentor of mine always sums it up with, “Confident women raise confident children.” I keep that one close to my heart as I know what I’m doing when I’m encouraging another woman can impact not only her, but generations to come.
Has there ever been a time in your relationship that you thought the fire service would ruin your relationship? What helped move pass that?
There have been times when it’s really made things challenging. When kids were smaller and he’d come home from one of several jobs only to leave for the volunteer position….envision steam coming out of my ears. I’ve come to regret some of that because I know it’s something he loves and his heart is always with the volunteer station. He’s cut way back in the last few years, due to big time constraints and since finding the sisterhood I’ve felt better equipped to encourage him to get back to it in any small way he can. It will be awhile before he can be as active as he’d like to be there again but I would never want him to give it up, as I understand how important it is to him. There were times early on when I did wish he’d give it up.
Tough and often touchy topic… Have you had “the talk” with your fireman about his last wishes if he were to ever die in the line of duty?
Yes. We just recently rewrote our wills and living wills. We’re both pretty matter of fact and have never shied away from these conversations.
Thank you so much for sharing, friend!
We hope you all enjoy reading our Hot Spot features and learn how fire wives from across the country live day to day in very similar shoes. Keep checking back here on the website for future Hot Spot features. If you’re looking for more information on becoming a member of the Fire Wife Sisterhood you can click HERE!