When Vince Challenged “Here, Hold My Beer.”

My first post was a little background about me. I left off with a bit of a cliff hanger which I wanted to update you on. So here is the rest of the story…

I’m going to back track a little bit so you can understand why this was said.

In July 2018, Vince’s (ex-step)dad passed away very unexpectedly. This man was around long enough to help raise my husband and be a true father figure to him. And even though things did not work out between him and my MIL, Vince and his (step)dad remained close, and he was even an important part of our wedding.

Vince’s (step)dad was a firefighter for over 20 years. When I met Vince, he was wanting to be a police officer after his (step)dad talked him out of becoming a firefighter. Vince never became an officer, and he now he works for a local city in their inventory/purchasing department. But after the memorial for his (step)dad, Vince looked at me and said, “I have to do this. I have to follow this dream.” I was just over 4 months pregnant with Ronan, and we had just purchased our first home in May. But looking into Vince’s eyes, I knew this was something that needed to be done. He was going to look into joining a local volunteer department. I thought, “How hard could this be? Go on a few calls, do a couple trainings…piece of cake.” But after speaking with the chief of the department, we found out it was going to be harder than I thought….much harder.

He was told in very early December 2018 that he would need to complete the Fire Academy and an EMT-B class before qualifying to volunteer. The chief gave him information for 2 local classes starting in January 2019, one for fire and one for EMT. Vince and I decided that he should start with fire, since that’s what he really wanted to do anyway, and if he didn’t like it, then we knew EMT wouldn’t be necessary. So he registered for class that started January 7, 2019 and would run for 16 weeks meeting every Monday & Wednesday nights for 4 hours and every Saturday for 9 hours.

Did I mention that I was scheduled for induction with Ronan on December 31, 2018 at 6pm….???

Our sweet Ronan was born on January 1, 2019. We came home from the hospital on January 3rd, and like any normal person does after coming home from the hospital, we showered. But when Vince came out of the bathroom, I immediately broke down in tears. Why? Well, firemen are not allowed to have facial hair (except a mustache) in order for all of their equipment to fit properly. Minus maybe a week or two when we first started dating, Vince had always had a goatee. So when Vince walked out of the bathroom that day, he had shaved completely clean, and I was shocked. I knew it was coming, but between being nervous of how things were going to play out over the next 4 months and having delivered a baby 2 days before, my emotions were all over the place.

My initial plan was to take everything day by day. I kept reminding myself that this was going to be such a short part of the year, and I knew that we would get through it, especially with the help of our family. However, that wasn’t so easy to believe when life kept throwing curve balls our way.

You see, Vince’s (main) job with the city requires him to plow snow in the winter. And while we knew there would be some of these events, there were never many in any given winter…maybe about 10/year. Well, if you remember the beginning of 2019 at all, we got HAMMERED with snow. It snowed by us in January, February, March, AND April…yes, April! And the way Vince’s plow schedule works is this: M-F if it snows, he plows from the time he “clocks out” of his regular job with the city at 3:30pm and hops in a plow truck and he could be plowing until 12am if the event requires it (and yes, he still needs to be back to work the following day at 7am). On weekends if it snows, he could play anywhere between the time of 12pm-12am, up to 12 hours each day.

Well, starting mid January, Vince was in school Monday and Wednesday nights, plowed most Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. On Saturdays, Vince had class from 8am-5pm, and if it snowed, he would go plow until 12am. And most Sundays required anywhere from a 6-12 hour shift. And this lasted from mid January through mid March….. Actually, Super Bowl Sunday (February 3rd) Vince was off! But his next day completely off again wasn’t until Sunday, March 3rd.

We got into spring, and things seemed to be less crazy, but then in April, so many things were happening between work, class, and beginning to train at the fire department that Vince was either working or in class every day starting April 1st with his next day off being May 5th!

On May 10th, Vince graduated the Fire Academy with TWO awards! We had a nice and low key summer with a fun little trip to Cincinnati (to visit my BFF) in July. At the end of July, we were coming home from a birthday party. We were 2 blocks from our house when a call came in for a structure fire. The kids and I dropped him off at the station (which is also 2 blocks from our house), with a quick good-bye. Little did I know that this was going to be the LONGEST night ever! What I thought was a normal structure fire and he’d be home in a couple of hours, turned out not to be that at all. An entire apartment complex in a nearby town was up in flames. Vince was gone, for his first real fire that wasn’t for training, for over 11 hours!!!! I was a wreck! I did here from him about 6 hours in, and then not again until he was heading back to his station to clean up. That was a long and stressful night, and what a way to “join the club!”

In August, Vince started his EMT-B class. That was easier to handle with class being just 2 nights per week. He graduated in mid December 2019. We were so ready to ring in the new year and to celebrate our baby’s first birthday on January 1, 2020. We even had a party planned for the end of January, too, to celebrate our sweet boy. But once the excitement of the New Year was over, real life set in, and the new year was underway with curve balls and surprises we *NEVER* imagined…….

These shirts were bought as a graduation present to Vince from the kids. I wanted to make sure they wore them as often as possible since they grow so quickly!
Graduation Night from EMT-B Class!
A training night in spring 2020….making sure skills stay fresh!
When Vince graduated the academy, I printed this prayer out and framed it. I hung it in our room for him to remember always.
Vince is a volunteer fireman for our local department. They are called Volleys which would make me a Volley-Wife. I’m not very good at this job, but I’m working on it.

2 thoughts on “When Vince Challenged “Here, Hold My Beer.”

  1. Just remember you are always stronger than we like to give ourselves credit for. Being a fire family is NO easy task but from one fire ride to another I promise you got this!!

    Liked by 1 person

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