Friday, September 10, 2010


JT got fired. From the sounds of how it all went down, it seems like there was some kind of mistake. But that doesn't matter really. There is a story but I don't have the heart to retell it here. Besides, all they told us (therefore all we know for sure) is that they fired him, after only three weeks of academy, for his "overall sub-standard performance."

"But I passed all my tests, and I was only there three weeks," JT said.

That didn't matter.

"I'd really like to know why I'm being fired," he said.

"We don't have to tell you. You're on probation, which means we have the right to fire you at a moment's notice for any reason we want. That's all you need to know. Now if you'd like to resign rather than be fired, sign here."

So he signed the resignation letter. But it doesn't matter. It doesn't give him his dignity back. He'll still be tainted by this if he tries to get a different police officer job.

Three weeks of turning our lives upside-down, only to turn around and ask him to resign for not getting everything right away. JT's department didn't even give him the basic decent chance that his own tactical officers say they would have given him. They were shocked, and felt bad, I think. It was a decision the sergeant made, based on whatever exaggerated or unfair information the tactical staff gave him about JT.

He talked to the dept. he used to work for, tried to get his old jail job back. Isn't gonna happen. He might get a part time dispatch job in his old department though. We'll see what happens with that. We will definitely have to move in any case. Our apartment rent is several hundred dollars more than my overall take-home pay.

The world is falling down around us. It's so unjust. I think the department was just trying to cover up that they're going through a budget crisis. So much for "integrity."

If anybody knows of a book that teaches you how to hold it together for a spouse who has lost his job, please let me know. Because I'm falling apart here. We're starting to argue even, saying things that are hurtful because we're both so scared. I feel like I've been strong long enough through all this academy stuff and now I have to be strong through this... I don't know what we're going to do. The only thing I really feel like doing is giving that sergeant a piece of my mind...

So yeah, if there is anywhere I should turn for advice on how to help a spouse through a career transition or job loss, let me know. So far I'm not handling it that well. I am freaking out. Everything we've worked so hard for has gone up in smoke and they don't even have the decency to give us a straight answer about it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The upside-down feeling in the pit of my stomach

Yesterday, JT took a sick day. Really, a mental health day, because when I woke up he was shaking in a cold sweat. He begged me not to make him go back. What do you say to someone when they say something like that? I tried to keep my composure and told him that I would support him no matter what. If this wasn't for him, better to find that out now.

He made some phone calls to the city jail he used to work in, and to the dispatch center, inquiring if he could get his old job back. They said he might be able to get the part-time dispatch position that just opened up there.

He asked me if I could find a full-time job, so that our baby would still have benefits. I said I'd try. I made some phone calls and did some web searches. No, there aren't any full-time librarian jobs in our area right now--there were some a few weeks ago but I knew they'd fill quickly. I also researched secretarial jobs.

Then for some reason I decided I desperately needed a waffle from IHOP. I was hungry, stressed, overwhelmed. I had a lot of homework to do. I invited JT to go with me but he refused, since he had called in sick and this wouldn't do. So I left him with the baby. I needed to eat, unwind, work on school and forget about anybody but myself for a while. I couldn't find an IHOP or anywhere that serves waffles but I had some pancakes.

JT sent an email to the sergeant at his police dept., explaining the real cause of his aversion to the rope. He told the sergeant about his crippling fear of heights, in hopes that he'd get farther by being honest than by continually covering it up.

In the evening JT talked to his parents, his friends, his former coworkers, and I talked to one of the other recruits' wives. They told us to stick with it and hang in there. They said that what he was going through wasn't that different from the other recruits and he bought it, he went to bed promising me (and his sergeant) that he would go back to academy in the morning.

Today, JT got up and still felt like quitting. I wasn't much help to him this morning. I had been up with JY all night (while I was eating pancakes yesterday she was having a very long nap and couldn't understand that 3 o'clock in the morning doesn't count as "morning"). I asked JT when I would ever get sleep again, and he said "When I quit."

"No," I said. "You really think my life is going to be any easier if you quit? Think again. If you want to do something for me, you will go to academy and you will stick this out."

I didn't know today would be his last day.

As he suspected, JT was given a lot of hell for calling in sick yesterday. But he willingly went to the Lions' Den to get the flags this morning. He says that my words made an impression on him and that he made a commitment to continue and stick it out. But somebody had other plans.

The tactical officers asked JT if he'd been in touch with his sergeant lately. He said he had told his sergeant about the fear of heights. Their mouths dropped. They had been contacted by this sergeant and they were starting to put 2 and 2 together.

As class was ending this afternoon, JT was asked to fall out and go back to the tactical office, at ease.

They said he was a great candidate and would make a good police officer. They said that they were impressed by the way they kept challenging him and he kept coming back. They made him class sergeant that first week and as hard as they tried, they never broke him. They applauded him on his progress at climbing the wall. And although he couldn't climb the rope, they reminded him that this is actually not a requirement for the POST certificate in our state and assured him he wouldn't have this difficulty in another academy.

They said that it wasn't personal on their part, and that they liked him. They wanted him to stay and graduate, but his sergeant had given instructions for him to clear out his locker and report to the police station at 1100 tomorrow. They said that they hoped he would still have a career in law enforcement and that they would have a lot of positive things to say about him, if prompted to give a reference.

So it was his sergeant--not him and not the academy--that finally pulled the plug.

Possibly he will still have a job, and will be sent to a different academy. Or maybe the sergeant has decided to let him go. We don't know. I'm scared right now. I feel like my whole life will be flipped upside-down now. I'm afraid that I'll have to work full time and go to school and take care of the baby all so that JT can walk away from one career and try a new one. Give up my career goals, my future, and go back to office work.

But in the short run, just for tonight, I can think of a few reasons for rejoicing:

I will not have to wash or iron a uniform tonight.
I will not have to wash PT gear.
I will not have to make sense of the messy, disorganized equipment JT needs for class, because he will not have class.
I will not have to pack a lunch.
I will not have to stay up late.
I will not have to get up before dawn.
I will sleep longer tonight than I've slept in a long time.

That is, if I can sleep.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Talk with the Captain...and a Dressing-Down from the Sergeant

JT was called into the hallway for a chat with the academy captain one day last week. She told him that he wasn't the first guy, nor would he be the last, to struggle with the wall and the rope. She told him to hang in there and not to quit, even in spite of the tactical staff telling him to.

But a few nights later, JT wrote an email to the sergeant he reports to, telling him that he will be working on the rope every weekend in his time off. This sergeant wrote back that this was unacceptable and he should have gotten it by now. He also wrote that he will be getting a report from the academy about JT's progress this week and it had "better be good."

So since then, JT's understandably been in another funk. I would be pretty upset by an email like that, too. He's been talking about quitting. Is that normal to want to quit even after several weeks in? Will he get past this hump eventually?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Another Man Down

Another recruit dropped out today. It was his first day as class sergeant and he couldn't take it. I don't blame him. At one point during the day JT tried to talk to him but he said he didn't want to talk and that he was fine. Then an hour or so later he left, turned in all his stuff and next thing the class knew they were down to ten.

JT and his classmates are concerned they might close the academy due to the low enrollment and they'll all have to wait until the next class in November. JT would still be employed at his department but I don't know what the independent guys would do until then.

I went out with two of those guys' wives. These women are amazing--they probably get less sleep than I do and still manage to work forty-hour weeks. Their husbands are military veterans and they were supposed to be getting support from the government. But they're not! One of the girls said she'd write an angry letter to the President, if she could find the time or the energy.

We commiserated over drinks and then went to see "Dinner for Schmucks." I laughed a lot but it's that uncomfortable kind of humor, where you're laughing at something that's really sad. Still, after that movie and the good company and conversation, I felt like my anxieties and frustrations had melted away and I could go home whole to my husband and Jedi Youngling.

Friday, September 3, 2010


JT recently made the "Fitness Auxiliary Team" at the academy. And no, it's not a coincidence that the acronym for this organization is "FAT." The guys were tested for their body fat percentage, and if it was over 15, they were automatically on the team.

JT's was 16%.

So now he has to have his lunches checked out by the tactical staff. I think he even has to go to the Lion's Den to have them check it. He also will have to report what he ate on the weekends. So while we are still going to go on a "date night" Saturday, we may have to consider that veggie tofu grill instead of Applebee's.

Another guy dropped out. I hadn't really been counting but just for the record they are now down to eleven recruits (from fifteen). This guy dropped out because he failed a couple of tests and decided he couldn't do it. This is unfortunate, because ideally JT could have tutored him and helped him out. It's a shame he had to quit.


I haven't been exercising as I should, but I am rejoicing that I dropped another two pounds and my figure's looking good! That's the nice thing about carting a baby around everywhere like I'm a single mom--she gets heavier, and I get lighter! ;)

The other day I was filling my gas tank and a stranger asked me for directions and then tried to hit on me. He said I was pretty. I think I blushed and said "thanks" and climbed hurriedly back in my car. It wasn't a big deal but I looked at it as a reason for rejoicing: If I am still attractive to some men, there's a chance my husband might still really be into me!

It's taken me six months, but I am slowly becoming more confident with my mommy bod. :)