Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Miracle

My husband was home until 10:30a.m. Were you expecting something more exciting? Sorry :)

We were actually able to sleep next to each other on Christmas Eve and woke up, together, in our bed, on Christmas morning. That was my Christmas miracle.

Not sure what was up with The Dude. He's a 10 year old boy but that morning I would have almost traded him for a 13 year old girl. No kidding. I suppose it's that wonderful change in hormones that's on its way (referring to HIM, my hormonal shift is in full swing now that I'm prego again). Anyhow, after a talk about being nice and appreciating togetherness on Christmas, the rest of the day rocked. He was all better.

Although we are STILL.freaking.waiting on our letter in the mail, we decided to ignore our worries and just be happy! It was great. I kept looking at hubs like "who are you?". So not used to holidays together.

The kids loved all of the overpriced junk we bought them, which we swiftly regretted due to lack of space and impending baby, but hey.. they were smiling and giggling and we were all together. I LOVE days like that. They are so few and far between.

Hope your Christmases were fabulous.

PS-Meadowlark, you are my new best friend. I LOVED the post about The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas!!! Laughed until I was choking!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Year In Review

Last night I missed a call from my Bro. He left a message which I didn't know about until 4 o'clock this morning. I always get mad when I miss his calls. I like talking to him and he usually has a great story for me. But as I listened to the message, I became a little worried.. I could hear that tone in his voice and knew he was rattled. He said, "Oh I was just calling to tell you an amusing story about how I just almost shot somebody." He's been working days mixed with some secondary bike patrol lately (at night)... so I knew he was sleeping by then and didn't want to wake him.

I called him early this morning when I knew he'd be back on the street and he told me what happened last night. Let me preface this whole thing by saying that my bro works in the MOST DANGEROUS city in the U.S.. Ok so much for anonymity, but whatever.

He was doing patrol in a very high crime area. His department puts in a lot of requests for officers to work secondary shifts as "Ghetto Foot Soldiers".

So a call came to him for a report of a prowler/suspicious person. Just so happened my bro was right at that very location and happened to look up and see a guy matching the suspect's description walking away from him with one hand in his pocket.

Bro called out to the guy, "Hey man, take your hands out of your pocket and come here so I can talk with you." .... Guy kept walking away without acknowledging bro.

Bro follows him on his bike and again calls out the same command. Guy kept walking away.

This went for nearly a block and finally bro got mad and ditched his bike in the street and unholstered and walked up closer to the guy.

The guy sort of casually glanced back at bro and kept walking.. then it registered and the guy turned all the way around quickly with eyes like dinner plates and suddenly pulled his hand out of his pocket and raised it up in the air......

.....and that's when he removed his earphones.

Thanks to bro's cool-as-a-cucumberness he didn't shoot the guy. It was so sudden bro barely had time to make the right choice.

The guy nearly had a heart attack - and bro then questioned why the guy was walking at night in that neighborhood. It's a predominantly African-American community, but as my brother jokingly put it, the guy was "about as black as Wayne Brady."

Anyway, long and short, the guy checked out ok and bro had no reason to detain him. Bro politely pointed out that if a police officer with a gun was behind him for a city block without him noticing, he'd hate to see what would happen if some thugs tried to rob him.

It turned into a major joke at his station--"Oh no look out for the guy with the ipod...". But in all reality the guys knew it was a tough situation which could have ended tragically. His department has had so much violence and loss this year alone, nobody takes things too lightly.

In March an officer was killed in a car accident while pursuing a burglary suspect. He was a former Marine and served in Iraq. He left behind his newly-wed wife.

In May an officer was shot EIGHT times by a .40 while conducting a traffic stop at a busy gas station. He survived and even gave a thumbs up when being wheeled into the trauma center. I suppose it was no shock to him, seeing as he'd been shot in major firefight as a Marine in Iraq the previous year. For that he received a purple heart. For his bravery in the on-duty incident which almost killed him, he received the medal of valor and officer of the year award.

In October two of his co-workers were shot on a routine traffic stop by the car's passenger.. all because the guy said he hates the police and wanted to kill them. Thankfully both officers survived, but one is STILL in rehab and has had three strokes. He's trying to talk again but isn't there yet.

On Saturday morning one of their Sergeants committed suicide on patrol, with his duty weapon. He leaves behind a wife and kids. He had been on the force 16 years.

More news.. which is saddening and frustrating. One of the Det. Sgts. in my father-in-law's department got shot in the face the other night. He was doing surveillance in a neighboring shithole when a guy walked up and opened the car door.. he saw the computers and realized it was a police officer and shot him in the face. Failed carjacking, but successful assault 1st on a LEO, ACA and all the other good stuff.

By the grace of God, the officer was able to pull his head back just far enough from the revolver that the shot under the chin did nothing but blow out some teeth. Completely missed major arteries and structures as well as the brain.

This particular officer is very near and dear to our family. He has been a friend of hubs for 26 years.

He is going to survive, but right now the suspect is still at large. Manhunt is underway.

Please pray for this and all these officer's families that they can somehow manage to salvage an enjoyable Christmas this year.

Here is hoping for a much brighter, happier and SAFER 2011.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's A......

I had figured it was from the beginning, but didn't know until today!! Hubs was SO excited!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

3 Weeks Down, 1 To Go???

Well, it has been three weeks today since our little meeting. The lady said we'd have the final decision in the mail within four weeks. I'm hoping that if she does decide to deliver the news next week, that it will be nothing but excellent.... perhaps somewhere in that cold cavernous soul of hers she'll have it to give us a GOOD Christmas present.

I keep telling myself there is no way she'll make us wait until the week before/of Christmas only to devastate us, right?!

In other news, I got hubs a new phone tonight and what good timing. His died today - can't actually speak on it, can only text. So, although it's a Christmas gift, he will be getting it early. That's ok. He's got other stuff coming his way, and besides, how many of us ever celebrate Christmas ON Christmas anyway?! Not when you're married to a LEO.

Hubs managed Friday off, so I'm considering going to get my ultrasound that day so we can find out if we're having another boy. Don't get me wrong, I'll be happy with a boy or a girl, but I have TONS of boy stuff. I kept everything from Mr. Pants and if I need to get rid and buy girl stuff, I want to be prepared.

Ok wow I am totally rambling. Why is this news? JeBus. I guess this is what I do when I'm anxious.

So, well I'm heading back to the kitchen to cook ridiculous amounts of food for the next few weeks and stick it all in the freezer.

Have a good night. I hope you are all warmer than I am!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I am so incredibly lazy today. And spaced out, too. I was eating a sandwich for lunch and when I looked down I realized I was on my last bite.. so I looked for the other half of my sandwich and realized I had already eaten the damn thing! How does one eat an entire sandwich and not happen to notice? Seriously?

I suppose I can blame it on the baby!

I've been slacking and haven't posted an update about hubs's license. Well, a bunch of us family and police officers showed up at the Capitol and were asked to speak on hubs' behalf.

It was rather intimidating because the broad running the deal is a former prosecutor and still thinks and acts like one. The panel consisted of her and three other folks - so the break down was two men and two women.

It was an open forum, so everyone in the room was given the floor to speak about hubs and his character, his professionalism and all that good stuff. It was so touching that I found myself in tears (not being all dramatic and boo-hoo), very touched by the way that so many people look at him - as a man, a husband, a father and a police officer. It blew me away.

Then of course, I got to go last. I felt a huge lump in my throat.. between the emotions, the anxiety and the fear of sounding like an ass, I just flew by the seat of my pants.

Here is what I said.. at least what I remember. Hope it wasn't stupid.

Thank you for taking the time to hear what we all have to say today. It’s clear that there is a lot of emotion in this room today, and it’s all because we love and respect this man so much. I will tell you that the past two years, eight months and twenty-three days have been the hardest of my life. It is a chapter of our lives I am anxious to move on from.

This entire family has spent 997 sleepless nights worrying about whether or not my husband will be able to continue the career he loves, the career he is half-way to retirement in, and the career he has spent his entire adult life doing.

I can tell you that my husband is not a perfect man, as no man is. But I have seen my husband in many stressful situations both on and off-duty and I have never seen him fall short of doing the right thing. I know it’s easy to view my words as biased, but my words are true and are based on fact.

There are too many factual instances to relay to you, but I would like to share those which I am most proud of. Two days before the birth of our son, I received a call from my husband’s Sergeant telling me he was in the --- river attempting to rescue five drowning children. The kids were on an outing with a church group at the riverside area when one of the boys went into the water and was viciously swept away by the current. He was quickly followed into the water by his four young relatives, none of whom knew how to swim. My husband was in that water, sinking into the mud beneath, with forty pounds of gear in one hundred plus degree heat. Never once did he stop and say “this is too hard” or “there’s nothing I can do”. And not once did he stop and ask the fifty or so onlookers to jump in with him. He struggled and fought to save those kids, and the reality is, unfortunately none of them survived. Those poor parents were left without their five children. And my husband lives with the pain of knowing that every day.

While I was and always will be saddened by this situation, I remember every day that MY child could have come into this world two days later with no father. I think it’s fair to say this is something we all take for granted; when you love or are married to a policeman they want you to forget the risk and the danger. They find a way of dismissing your fears and worries because they don’t want you to lose sleep at night over what might happen to them. But we cannot and should not be allowed to forget – no one should.

In this line of work the risks are great and the rewards are few. The pay is mediocre at best, the benefits barely cover him if he gets hurt and sustaining a family of soon-to-be five on a civil servant’s paycheck is a challenge I have become an expert in managing.

I can tell you with the most selfish part of my being I would love nothing more than for my husband to get a desk job working straight days with weekends off – with heat and air conditioning and a computer to play on. I’d love for him to walk away from all of this… the risks, the politics, the drama and everything else that comes along with it.

My husband is highly educated. He speaks two languages and is fluent in a third. He has worked as a translator for countless departments in our metro area and has trained many a rookie in how to beat the streets and come home every night to their families.

I could continue with his many wonderful characteristics, but I’m going to close my plea to you with one last thing.

My husband received a very important award from his department for his valor during an extremely difficult situation. One year to the day before the incident which brings him here today, he was dispatched to a scene where an intoxicated, suicidal male was threatening his wife and his friend with a handgun and was also threatening to shoot himself.

(Hubs) was first on scene and quickly established a perimeter. He called for an ambulance to stage at a safe location which he dictated. He advised the other responding officers of the perimeter and kept them all at a safe distance. My husband was able to calm the wife who was hiding behind the door of his patrol car. She was hysterical, screaming and crying, and begged (hubs) to go in the house and get the man.

Around that time the man fired three shots inside the house. A moment later, he came out the front door and pointed a gun at (hubs) from the front porch. The man fired into the air and went back in the house.

As the sun started to rise, (Hubs) was able to initiate phone contact with the man and after a 20 minute negotiation, the man peacefully surrendered into my husband’s arms, crying.

His patience, determination and bravery allowed this six hour standoff to end peacefully with no injuries to the suspect or any police officers.

This exemplifies not only the kind of police officer he is, but the kind of man he is. He is patient, compassionate and unwavering in his dedication to caring for others.

All of the things you have heard from us today are reasons I implore you to allow my husband to continue his career. Taking away his badge would be to take away his entire identity. This is who he is and this is what he is meant to do.

Thank you.

---So the stone cold Cruella looked at me with two big tears welling up in her eyes and says, "Thank you. You can look for our final decision in the mail within four weeks."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Tablecloth

Understand that things happen for a reason

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned
to their first ministry, to reopen a church
in suburban Brooklyn , arrived in early October
excited about their opportunities. When they saw
their church, it was very run down and needed
much work. They set a goal to have everything
done in time to have their first service
on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls,
painting, etc, and on December 18
were ahead of schedule and just about finished.

On December 19 a terrible tempest - a driving
rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church.
His heart sank when he saw that the roof had
leaked, causing a large area of plaster about
20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall
of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit,
beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor,
and not knowing what else to do but postpone
the Christmas Eve service, headed home.
On the way he noticed that a local business was
having a flea market type sale for charity, so he
stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful,
handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth
with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross
embroidered right in the center. It was just
the right size to cover the hole in the front
wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older
woman running from the opposite direction was
trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor
invited her to wait in the warm church for
the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor
while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put
up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor
could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and
it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center
aisle. Her face was like a sheet. "Pastor,"
she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?"
The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check
the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into
it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had
made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria .

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor
told how he had just gotten "The Tablecloth". The
woman explained that before the war she and
her husband were well-to-do people in Austria .

When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave.
Her husband was going to follow her the next week.
He was captured, sent to prison and never saw her
husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth;
but she made the pastor keep it for the church.
The pastor insisted on driving her home. That
was the least he could do. She lived on the other
side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn
for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas
Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the
spirit were great. At the end of the service, the
pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door
and many said that they would return.

One older man, whom the pastor recognized
from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the
pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he
wasn't leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on
the front wall because it was identical to one
that his wife had made years ago when
they lived in Austria before the war and how
could there be two tablecloths so much alike?

He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he
forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was
supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and
put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home
again all the 35 years between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to
take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten
and to the same house where the pastor
had taken the woman three days earlier.

He helped the man climb the three flights of
stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on
the door and he saw the greatest Christmas
reunion he could ever imagine.

This story was originally published in a 1954 issue of Reader's Digest. It's attributed to Rev. Howard C. Schade, pastor of First Reformed Church of Nyack, NY. He died in 1989 without ever revealing the names of the couple.