Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lesson #2

When your husband's shift starts at 9 pm, it really starts at 8 pm. He has to get to the station, get dressed, get his "act" together, and then has to be briefed at 8:45. So note to self: 9 pm to 7 am = 8 pm to 8 am more or less. I call it "boy time" when HF tells me how long he will be gone and then is not back for some time after that. For example, HF will say, "I'm going to go over to Bob's house for a couple minutes to pick something up. I'll be right back". Then I calculate that into boy time. For those of you not sure how to calculate boy time, it is 2 minutes for every 1 minute. So if they tell you that they will be gone shooting guns for 3 hours they are really telling you that they will be back in 6 hours. So you can't really get mad at them if before leaving you say, "Dear, is that in boy time or regular time?" Just kidding. You can be mad.

I like his shift schedule right now. It's 4 days on, 3 days off. Right now he has Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off. It's a little bit of an adjustment, but I think because of how much he has been going going going for the last year, anything is fantastic compared to that. This is the most we have seen him in a year! And we are loving it. Today he got to participate with other law enforcement agencies in the state, doing the torch run for the special olympics. He ran 3 miles and got to carry the torch part of the way.

Lesson #2 from HF's FTO: Balancing work and family life. He told HF to refrain from doing unnecessary overtime and to spend as much time as he can with his family. They talked about how he should establish now anything that I might not be willing to talk about pertaining to the job. I've already told HF a long time ago that I would love for him to talk to me about anything and everything so long as it doesn't involve sex crimes against women and children, or any crimes involving children for that matter. At the time I remember feeling a little guilty for telling him that. Like, what if he really needed to talk to me about something that is related to one of these forbidden areas, and bottles it all in because I told him he couldn't talk to me about those things, and then he loses his mind?! As you can see, I jump to conclusions rather quickly. Anyway, after he talked to his FTO I was comforted that there were other resources for him to turn to when he needs to. HF was definitely okay with my not wanting to talk about certain things, but I told him I was also okay with him "violating" the rules if he felt it were absolutely necessary. I really want to be supportive, but I have my limits.

Shortly after we were married and I was pregnant with Daisy, we were house sitting for some friends. We were watching television one night and HF stopped on an episode of Law & Order. I think it must've been the SVU version. Anyway, a girl was raped by a group of guys and they had a video of it in court, and although I know it wasn't real, it bothered me, but my reaction to it was so unexpected. I began sobbing uncontrollably and asked HF to turn it off. Then I sobbed uncontrollably it seems for the next few hours. It was crazy. Even though I haven't had the same reaction as that again, I still feel the same way. It's hard for me to watch/hear/see/read about those things. Violence or sexual violence involving women and/or children just send me over the edge.

So there's our first rule regarding work related issues that HF could bring home. Do you have any ground rules when it comes to discussing work at home? Is there anything that's off limits?


Momma Val said...

I agree with you about not wanting to hear certain things. Though there have already been times where cop dad needed to vent and did not feel like going to the cop counselors that are available to him. I did listen and it helped cause it was very hard for him. If he starts to get too graphic I let him know I want to listen but I have my limits, even though I was not there this effects me too. Ask & listen often, it will help you both but do create boundries cause the cop talk especially the exciting stuff can take over conversation every where you go and with everyone cause everyone thinks it's so exciting. Limit what your kids hear too, cop dad has to stop in front of our son often . . . . by my request.

I have had emotional reactions to movies and scenes like that, even having to turn off the tv. The pregnant aspect does not help either.

Oh, and boy time, you are so right. Though I try to tell him he is underestimating cause it effects our lives and he always gets mad. You are so right on though. Then figure in the BSing in the locker room before and after shifts. It does tire me cause the job tends to consume him and our lives more than I like it to.

Slamdunk said...

Good topic, and I have to admit that your boy time calculator is accurate. I think as I have gotten older though the inner alarm clock screams louder though; thereby shortening the 2 to 1 ratio.

I don't think the Mrs. and I had any police topics not to be discussed. Perhaps it was because she was in school and her area of expertise was child sexual abuse. She worked with detectives in my department through a local medical agency that handled too many of these cases.

Ironically, I was less enthusiastic to ask specifics about her day--because I knew what type of stuff she would say.

Meadowlark said...

We do not discuss the new, young, hot female officer.

Oh, you meant JOB stuff!!!!! teeee heeee heeee :) Pretty much anything (else)is on the table.

As far as "boy time". Um, call me an evil bitch, but there IS no boy time. For whatever reason, I am a complete freak about time. 2:00 means 2:00. Not 2:30, not 3:00, not even 2:05. The Marine Corps taught me "If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late". It's a motto I live by. That said, Husband probably overestimates everything, but that's fine because I don't have to worry about him being dead until AFTER the appointed time.

mrs. fuzz said...

Val- I think being pregnant helped send me over the edge. Having kids in general has made it harder for me to hear this kind of stuff. Also, YES! The BSing before and after each shift. Makes me shake my fist

Slam Dunk- you must have one very brave and strong wife. People, like social workers are amazing to me to deal with this stuff day in and day out.

Meadowlark- i like that motto. "If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late". He's very rigind with his time when it comes to work, and the things he WANTS to do, but at home. . . that's another story. I guess I'll just keep working on him.

Dori said...

Having his own squad car (now truck) and living within his "beat" made a huge difference in time management for my husband. Shift starts at 9pm, he could walk out of the door at 8:55 and mark on in the driveway. Didn't always happen that way, but it was nice when it did!

HF FTO sounds like a great FTO! That very lesson is one of the things going in my book. Discuss how much you want to know and how much he wants to talk about before it ever even becomes an issue. For us it's more of a "how much to talk about in front of the kids" and it's not much. Most of our job talk is done after they're in bed since nothing is off limits to me--I want to know it all. If it affects him, then I want to know about it.

Yea for your first week and time together--finally!

Stephanie said...

Speaking of boy time.... Josh was suppose to be home early tonight. He told me that he would be home around 9pm. It is now 20 minutes until 9 and he has not even made it to the office. Then he will change, grab his stuff, and drive 30 minutes home. Why did I get excited that he was going to be home early?

We don't really have any topics that he doesn't tell me about. I know a few other wives who don't want to know what their husbands do cause it makes them nervous. I would rather know. Then again, we have one friend who does VICE. He has told stories about buying drugs, strip clubs, sex deals... if Josh was part of that I don't know if I would want to know. But for now, I am glad he is being open with me.

Lizzie said...

Agreed - boy time, totally true. Although for us, we've settled into this happy rhythm of calling/texting frequently (at least once, usually twice per shift) so that everyone knows where everyone else is 'at'. He will call if he gets a 'job' right before knock-off time. He'll call if stays behind for a drink after work (they have their own lounge at the station). He needs 'the boys'. There's talking things over with your wife, and there's that unspoken 'brotherhood' thing that goes on with his fellow officers and that's something to be cultivated, you know? They're the people who've got your husband's back on the job, he SHOULD be building the commraderie (I'm too tired to spellcheck that, just go with it, LOL).

I've always made it very clear I'm available to talk about everything he wants to. Though we're in a capital city here in Australia, we're suburban and its not like, say, a city beat in the States. He might not deal with a really nasty case for weeks or even months (lots of inbetweens though, auugh). And now that he's off Patrols (ie, uniformed officer) he deals with a lot less of the frontline stuff and far more of the 'my neighbor is growing dope in the back bedroom' stuff - kinds of lends itself to less daily job trauma.

Although I do remember one story he told...he was fresh out of the academy, still a probationary officer (and on Patrols) and he and his partner were trailing some guy who had bashed his father or some such thing. They followed the man on foot down to a local cliff/beach area and the guy goes to walk along a rocky path sort of underneath the usual public pathway, where my husband was. At one point the man pointed a gun up toward DH (who was unaware) and his partner saw this and fired his gun. He missed, thank God, because the perp's gun turned out to be a replica. As it was, that officer was roped over the coals for firing his weapon (standard procedure here anytime a shot is fired, lots of paperwork and 'please explains'). Me, I could have KISSED the workmate. His training and 'I got your back bro'-ness (LOL) toward my husband did not go unnoticed and hey, here I am talking about it six years later, so clearly it stuck with me :) This is what I mean about fostering the brotherhood. There's training which will tell them to do it anyway, but then there's genuine respect and friendship that makes them WANT to throw themselves in the line of fire, you know?

Natalie said...

SUCH a great post! I only wish it appeared last year. Not until recently has FH even started to share this or that with me because of the brotherhood...they could relate (or were there) so he got the troubles out and didn't need the talk it out with the wife.

At one point we pretty much had no form of communication because I didn't want to appear nosy or naggy, and he didn't want to bother me with work woes. Needless to say, it was the hardest point of our marriage.

We're continually working the new forms of communication out (we were always completely open before LEO) but it's SO important that I know more about his job now than before.

Sometimes it still feels as if he'd rather want to be with other officers than with his family because of the BSing, and I guess I get jealous of that comradery. Sigh. Welcome to life as a cop wife (I still feel green after 2 years)

MonicaLASDWife said...

Our rule is not in front of the kids,and when he does say something in front of the kids it has to do with some sort of lesson for the kids,like someone getting hit by a car,etc.,but he will leave the gory parts out.When he first started he didnt really tell me the daily things that happened,but now sometimes he says so much he's forgotten what he has already told me,so I patiently listen to it all over again!The things we do for LOVE!