Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rewriting the Manual

At this moment, JT's got one hand in the cradle, holding JY's, and one hand on the keyboard. When I asked him what he's up to, he said, "Writing."

I did a double take. "What are you writing?"

"Oh, just compiling the parts of the manual that describe the class sergeant's duties. I'm taking this list and expanding it to include the detailed instructions from this part over here."

He's rewriting his training manual.

We were trying to figure out what certain words and directions mean. Why do they say "cover" when they could just say "hat"? And what in God's name do they want you to do when they tell you to "move your right hand in a circular motion perpendicular to your body until it is at a ninety-degree angle, and your elbow is close to your body, and your forearm is at a forty-five-degree angle to your elbow"???

Meanwhile, I'm doing a little writing myself--a grocery list. We've been relying on fast food for about a week now, both of us too tired to go shopping or do any cooking. But I know JT would love a home-cooked dinner when he comes home from preacademy on Tuesday, so I'm going to make him a nice one: lamb chops!

JY is almost ready for solid baby food. We're starting her slow on rice cereal mixed with breastmilk. She's developed a bad habit lately of sucking on her right wrist. It's got this huge red bruise on it like a high school hickey. To entertain her while I write this, work on my grocery list, eat my breakfast and get ready to go out, I've tied a little jingle toy around her foot. It clangs its bells when she kicks. Oh, the tacky things your mommy resorts to--you poor little baby!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

This is my rifle, this is my gun...

JT has a new mantra to learn:

"My weapon is a Glock Model 21 forty-five caliber semiautomatic handgun. It has a four-point-six-inch barrel with an overall length of seven point fifty-nine inches. It carries thirteen rounds in the magazine with one round in the chamber for a total of fourteen rounds. It weighs twenty-six point twenty-eight ounces unloaded and thirty-eight point twenty-eight ounces loaded. It has standard sights. The barrel has eight lands and grooves with a uniform right hand twist. The serial number of my weapon is..."

Over and over he says it, the words and numbers echoing softly through the house like Gregorian chant. I think I've just about memorized it myself.

He practices it while he washes the dishes, and repeats it while he changes JY's diaper. He's been helping out a lot around the house, and I think it's sweet--it's like he's buttering me up for when his needs start to become more demanding. ;) Or maybe he can sense that I'm nervous about how much our lives are going to change. He's trying extra hard to reassure me: I'm still the same guy. You remember the guy who, our first year together, packed you a lunch and brought it to you every day at work and we ate it together picnic-style at the park? Yeah, I'm still here. :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gun Belts Are Sexy

JT just got his hat and his gun, both of which are cool and beautiful and scary all at the same time. The hat has a shiny badge-type crest on it with the seal of the state of California. The fabric is either black or such a dark shade of blue that it's almost black. The seal is white and yellow gold.

He let me hold his gun, which will never be loaded while he is in academy except during shooting lessons. It was heavy, and I had difficulty lifting it level to aim at anything. I told him that we have to buy a very strong safe for it, and that I don't want him to even tell me the combination. I don't know why I said that. It's just that guns freak me out a little. All the time in the news we're confronted with their deadly and tragic effects. When I was a kid, a boy at my school killed his best friend because they were playing with his daddy's gun. (His dad was a police officer.) These friends were only six or seven years old.

Maybe as a result of that story, impressed on me very young, I have always been very anti-guns. But there's no getting around it now; my husband has to carry a weapon to protect himself. So it's weird that, for all my anti-gun sentiment, I can't help but find JT kind-of sexy with a gun belt.

I am a die-hard fan of mob movies. Ask me what the best movie ever made was and I will tell you every time, it was The Godfather. I could write a dissertation on the women in The Godfather, and their fatal attraction to power. And it just dawned on me: Am I the same way?

Am I attracted to men with power? I don't think so... It was JT's music prowess that initially hooked me (every man I've ever been with, for that matter, was a musician). Power is a whole new territory for me, and it scares me that I kind-of like it...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Talk

Yesterday JT had to go to his old department to turn in a tape recorder he never used. Just one of those things they gave him eight years ago when he started, and it's been collecting dust in his parents' garage. We took JY (our baby) and made an evening of showing her off to his former coworkers. A lot of them had given us gifts when she was born, and I felt a little guilty about not having brought her over sooner. They loved her of course, and our little empress even deigned to let a few of them hold her!

While they were tickling her toes and arguing over who she resembles more, I got a couple different versions of The Talk. I'm sure every spouse of a police officer has heard it before--the "Hang in there because it's gonna get rough" Talk.

They say he's going to change. That the mild-mannered, "cuddly" person I married will disappear once he starts learning how to survive and establish control. It was JT's former chief of police who said to me: "Police work takes a toll on any marriage, but it's the couples who are already married before academy that have the roughest time with it." (Thanks for the sunny outlook, Chief.)

I'm not going to pretend this doesn't scare me. Marriage is hard enough when you vow to spend your life with someone you think will stay relatively the same for the next fifty years (no matter how annoying they become in the process!). Women are told not to marry a bad boy and expect him to "change" because that will never happen. Well, I was careful to avoid that scenario--only to find myself in one where my perfectly lovable husband may go and change on me after all!

So how do I plan to deal with it if one day he comes home and, in El Jefe's words, becomes a "completely different person"? I have no idea. But this blog will at least give me a place to reflect on everything as it happens. It will be my lifeline to dignity, sanity, and self-respect.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gearing Up

Okay, so I need to come clean: I began this blog four months ago when it looked like my husband would be going to the academy in a matter of weeks. But as an example of the economic climate we're in right now, they had to keep canceling academy classes! They don't have enough new recruits to keep it going. Police departments all over the state have hiring freezes, and the ones that are hiring are only taking laterals. So JT had to wait for an academy class to open up again, and two weeks ago he finally got the word that it will be happening in August.

Throughout this time, JT has been training hard. He's been running four to six miles a day, up hills and down, in ninety degree weather sometimes. He has all sorts of speeches he has to memorize verbatim, including the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics and his department's mission statement. He even has to practice a long list of spelling words (as the resident writer in the family I'm helping him with that part).

Meanwhile, I've been back at work part-time and raising our little daughter. She was a newborn when I started this, and I quickly discovered how foolish I was to think I'd have any time to write. I didn't have much to report here, anyway, as academy kept getting pushed back farther and farther. So this blog got pushed WAY to the bottom of my priorities list, as sleeping, eating, and mastering the difficult art of breastfeeding crowded the top. Now that she is sleeping through the night, I'm beginning to get into more of a routine, so I've decided maybe I can write this blog after all.

JT is very excited to be starting soon. The other day, I shaved his head for him. He kept telling me, like a Buddhist novice on his ordination day: "It's just an attachment to hair. Just have to let go." I keep looking over at him expecting to see a thick head of dark hair, and am continually surprised by its absence.

JT will be going to a "pre-academy," a sort of two-week orientation for the academy that will teach him all the inane, mind-numbing drills he will have to learn if he doesn't want to get screamed at like a scene from Full Metal Jacket. His department is anxious to send him fully prepared, and yesterday they took him out to buy all his equipment. He came home with the following:

  • California Penal Code
  • California Vehicle Code
  • Criminal Law and Evidence & P.C. 832
  • California Criminal Law and Evidence Flash Cards
  • A "logistics bag" for all his gear
  • Two caps with visors
  • Safety goggles (for the shooting range)
  • Two keyless padlocks
  • Two report writing templates (these are really strange: they're like stencils and all I can figure is that you're supposed to use them to keep your letters small or something)
  • Lettering stencils (for creating a sign or something)
  • A tie clip
  • A gun cleaning kit
  • A baton (the long one--he was rather disappointed not to be getting the short one that flips out)
  • His "Batman belt" (as he calls it), consisting of: two sets of handcuffs, cases for carrying them, gun holsters, magazine pouch, and baton ring
He also got fitted for a uniform, and is excited to be getting some shiny "cheat" shoes. They're boots that you don't have to shine, so that takes one thing off of his (or rather, my) daily to-do list!