I'm a quirky person. I like things a certain way. My husband calls me a perfectionist. I've gotten OCD a few times. I like to think of myself as quirky.
I'm a creature of habit. I like things to stay the same. I like routine. Don't we all? My desire for routine may be to a fault at times, but it's what gets me by in this crazy life I lead.
When 374 is out on a call, I like to be at home. I don't like to be out and about in town, or around people who are not in the fire community. It's hard for people who are not a fire spouse to understand the emotions we go through. It's a lifestyle you can't understand until you've lived it - sort of like people who don't have kids trying to sympathize with or give advice to those who have kids.
Today I found myself completely out of my element. I was in town running errands with my mom and sister when I got a text from my neighbor. "House fire in....." "Yep I have kids. House fully involved." My heart sank. I had errands that HAD to be run. I had groceries that HAD to be bought. I couldn't just drop what I was doing and run home, but it makes me so uneasy to be out when he's on a call. I like to be in my own home where I can worry and be nervous in private. Also, as morbid as it may be, I worry that if I'm out it would be harder to contact me if something happened to him on a scene.
My mom returned home while my sister and I finished up things in town. I was very anxious to get home. "Calm down!" my sister kept telling me. I rushed through each store, forgetting things each place I went. All the while in the back of my mind I kept thinking, "She just doesn't get it." To be fair - people don't get it. Fire families have their own ways of coping with the lifestyle. These quirks are my coping mechanisms.
It's hard for me to share these quirks and feelings with most people in my life. "Why do you worry yourself over it?" "Wouldn't you rather be out and be busy or having fun?" Those are usually some of the responses I get. There's really no way for me to help them understand. Sympathy is all you can expect. They can't empathize - they really, truly do not know what you are going through.
My anxiety is probably a little higher lately than normal. A volunteer fire department not too far from us lost a firefighter in a LODD within the last week. He left a wife and two very small children. His family has not been far from my thoughts since the day it happened. Situations like this make you more aware, more thankful for each call from which he comes home safe.
He finally returned home as I was sitting on Bubby's bed reading a bedtime story. Blaze barked as he walked in the front door. He stood in Bubby's doorway and almost immediately I caught a sniff of smoke and sweat. The smokey smell that fills my house after each call has become comforting. I almost miss it after it dissipates, until the next call. Again, another quirk.