If you've read this blog before, you've heard of the police life shitfalls our family has been through. We've been to hell and back. We've survived what I am absolutely certain are some of the hardest things any couple can face in this "life".
Afterward people spent time telling us how proud they were of our survival, our endurance, our grace (chuckle chuckle, really??).
....and then it began to fade. The reality will be ever-present for the hubs and me. But for others, even our own families-they've already forgotten.
After all of the b.s. from hubs' case, he was left with no option but to take a 29% pay cut with a smaller department. The trade: it kept him in police work and it kept our family covered by excellent medical insurance. (Little did we know how important that insurance would turn out to be!)
Both sides of our families have been hounding us about "Can't he switch departments? He needs to make more money! He can't work for this salary forever!"
--Really? Please, enlighten me. You mean ten grand more a year would make things so much better if he (God forbid) got shot and killed or permanently disabled? You mean ten grand more a year will fully fund retirement with 4 sons? You mean ten grand more a year will help us recoup the $100,000+ that was pissed away in legal fees?
When I spewed this retort, it at least shut some of them up temporarily. And now I digress....
You see, hindsight is almost always 20/20. Not quite in this case, but I've certainly learned a lot over the past 5 years. (*holy hell I can't believe it's been 5 years*) I choose to see that things happened the way they did, and that while it absolutely sucked-we were blessed and fortunate in many ways at the very same time.
When hubs left his old department and came to the new one, we learned his brother was dying of cancer and had only a few months to live. Those few months were whittled down to only weeks unexpectedly. We were 1,000 miles away from him and had to leave town at a moment's notice when he suddenly took a turn for the worse. The new department "carried" hubs. He hadn't earned the time off, but his command staff didn't care. They told him to go and they paid him anyway. They did the same thing a week later when we had to fly back for the funeral. His old department would NEVER have shown that kind of empathy or would have done such a thing for us. I am confident my man and his brother would never have gotten to say their goodbyes if the forced change of being at a new department hadn't happened.
When we decided to have a fourth baby, we figured we knew everything. Fourth time parents=experts. Totally prepared. Every possible scenario had been thought of and planned for. Except for that whole emergency c-section (not the kind where they say oh gee we should probably go ahead and do a c-section) --the kind where the nurse jumped on top of me and screamed "holy shit, let's go, let's go, let's go" and they ran like a Jamaican bobsled team to the O.R. The total bill for saving my life and the baby's life, plus room and board was about $60,000. We only had to pay $500. If hubs had been at his old department we would have had to pay $12,000.
Same basic case for when hubs had to have his gallbladder removed unexpectedly. The $15,000 surgery only cost $500 thanks to his insurance at his current department.
The schedule. Well, let's face it. This is the police wife life. There is no such thing as a perfect schedule. At the old department he used to work 8 hour shifts of 6 on 3 off then 7 on 2 off. Getting vacation approved, even just 1 day, was a pain in the ass. Current department works 12 hour shifts (yes I groaned, too) but it's 2 on 3 off then 3 on 2 off-which means every other weekend off! That's twice a month we can actually go somewhere like human beings. Soccer games, birthdays, dinners, dates, weekend trips. In all the years before we couldn't get a single weekend out of town because of the shitty schedule, the lack of manpower on the old force and the general pain in the assedness of getting vacation approved. Even though it's been several years now, I still look at him like "Where the hell did you come from?" on his weekends off.
So, yes, I would never want to do the going through it part again-but I think this side of things has made life better.
My mom was pressing the issue tonight and I asked her if she remembered what a pain in the ass it was to spend all day applying for dozens of jobs a day a few years ago after she was laid off. She paused and nodded. I gently explained that while tedious it must've been for her, hers wasn't a 42 page application that asked every detail of her entire freaking life for the past 40 years. Where have you worked, where have you lived, have you ever been sued, have you ever paid a bill late.... her head began to spin. "And that's just the paper part. That's not even explaining yourself to a board of complete strangers live and in person!"
It's probably human nature for most to want more. To need to feel better, like they're progressing or getting ahead.
For me, some days just staying above ground is good. Things are just that simple. I'm happy.