Thursday, June 15, 2006

I married up...

And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.
And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.
Mosiah 4:13-15

When the kids were little, their dad worked as an "inside wireman*"; which meant most of the time he was outside, in the heat, working sometimes 7-10s (seven days a week, ten hours a day), or what was more "normal", 5-12s (five days a week, twelve hours a day). As an "inside wireman", he was required to dig ditches, lay pipe, pull wire (through said pipes), and eat his lunch in whatever shade he could find. He worked commercial and industrial projects, everything from nuclear power plants, dams, and power substations, to hospitals, beer manufacturing plants, post offices, and schools. There are some places he worked that were top secret and others, like Solar One that were state of the art for its' time and highly publicized.

The work, wherever it was (except in the nuclear power plants, which were highly sterile), was filthy, hot and uncomfortable. Many of the jobs required him to stand on ladders for the majority of his day, working with his arms over his head for hours. He was required at times to deal with Fiberglass insulation, having to take old nylons into the shower with him so that he could get all the fibers off his skin before he was covered with hairline cuts. Other times he had to remove asbestos in regulations compliant with OSHA so that others would be safe once a remodel was complete. He has been exposed to all kinds of hazards and chemicals, and been "nuked" - literally.

There were times when Thor would work so far from home he only made it home once or twice a month. He would drive to the job, usually somewhere extremely hot (like Edwards Dry Lake Beds for the summer) or extremely cold (like Colorado Springs -6,000+ ft. high, in the dead of winter). He would drive to his job in our used pinto station wagon; and live in that station wagon out in a deserted field, instead of a hotel. He would cook his meals on the radiator (or if it was summer, just let the meal cook on top of the car in the heat) and take "bird baths" with the water he stored in a 5 gallon cooler. He read a lot because back then they didn't have car DVDs, heck, back then we didn't even own a "VCR machine"- they were still expensive for home/personal purchase. When he was tired, he would pull out an inexpensive overnight bag, not an extreme temperature sleeping/camping bag, and sleep sitting up or curled around his tools and equipment in the back of the car. There were times, for weeks and months, when Thor was never able to sleep with his legs stretched completely out.

No phones back then either; so we lived for the short, yet expensive, mid week calls.

When he worked close to home, most of the time that meant an hour or two commute, and still the 10 and 12 hour days. When at all possible, I would pack the kids into the car and make sure they could see where daddy worked. We would try to drive to each job he got so they could see what he did all day -for us. I would do this once for each of his jobs. We would drive out, try to see if we could visually find him out on the job, and then observe him for a while. Some of the jobs were restricted, so we would drive out as close as we could get, and then we would talk about what it was daddy was doing. Sometimes we could only see a building, close or far off.

Sometimes we couldn't get within miles of his job, but I could show them on a map how much further he had to drive or walk to get to the job. Some of his jobs required him to park his car 'here' and ride the company bus the rest of the way in. Some of his jobs made him completely change his clothes, or work at night when we were asleep, or wear special equipment. The only jobs the kids never went to were the ones that were so far out of state, or the ones when we literally had no gas money to drive at all. But most of dad's jobs were witnessed by his children and wife.

On the weekends Thor would come home and hit the garage. Back then we lived where there was no trash service. We would pack the trash up tightly and store it until Thor could make trips out to the county dump. Sometimes he would have to make two or three trips, depending on the length of time he had been gone, or because we didn't have a truck and only so much would fit in whatever car we did have. When he got home from the dump he would begin a list of chores that only he could do. Replacing pipes, fixing gas lines, repairing whatever had broken the week or month before in our "little house on the prairie".

He would mow the lawn, trim the trees, and even lay concrete to repair the side walk that led up to the front door. He dug holes around our half acre and put in a redwood fence (secured with aluminum poles set in concrete) by himself so the kids would have boundariess between us and the desert, and yes, to keep the coyotes and other wild dogs at bay. He planted bushes and pulled out trees that threatened the roof, he laid tile, maintained and repaired the water cooler/air conditioner. If the motor in the washer went out it would be an afternoon and the wash would begin again that night. I never found one thing that Thor couldn't fix, repair or build. If he hadn't done it before, he would read a book and figure it out. I don't know what it is like to call a repair man.

He did all this so that the kids could have their mom at home all the time. He did this because he loved us more than himself. I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Happy Father's Day to the best man I know. I love you babe.

*an outside wireman works only on power lines

add to sk*rt


Maren said...

His working conditions sound incredibly tough and trying. What a blessing to have such a hard working and wonderful husband and father in your home. And what a nice tribute to him.

Yolanda said...

What a beautiful tribute to your wonderful blessing!

chronicler said...

You forgot one thing. In th emidst of it all, he stayed true and faithful to you and your kids. He stayed active in church and provided a good example to everyone. All the while making up songs and singing you to sleep at night. He's a keeper that's for sure!

Jamie J said...

What a wonderful tribute to your husband and the father of your children. You are truly lucky!

s'mee said...

Maren, Yolanda, and Jamie, thanks much! He was and still is so hard working and the best blessing I will ever have.
Chronicler, you got me there! He *is* a good guy in all aspects. I can remember when he was on one particular job and car pooling with 5 other tough neck guys. Every Friday they would stop by a bar on their way home for about two hours. This bar was about half way home. Thor was stuck. After the first week they were recognised by the barkeep and the waitresses as they walked in the door. Everyone was immediately served their usual...Thor -a pepsi and a piece of chocolate cake.

He took a lot of ribbing, but it is his integrity, honesty, and trustworthy nature that put him where he is now, as these guys elected "boss".

Thanks for adding to the list of reasons I am blessed.

Lolly said...

What joy that you have such an amazing man! Hold tight to him!

Jewel said...

What a wonderful tribute to your husband. You write such beautiful words. Have a fantastic weekend.

Kim Carney said...

That is a touching, descriptive tribute to a wonderful guy, yes, you are very lucky! Happy Father's Day Thor ... (take the day off)

Suzie Petunia said...

Happy Father's Day! ....ok, totally random here... I keep trying to overfeed your cyber-fish-pet but it just keeps eating and eating and eating. My fish always died when I did that in real life.

s'mee said...

Lolly, Jewel, Kim, and Suzie, Thanks to you all for your kind sentiments. we had a terrific Father's Day...and yup, he's a keeper!