Yesterday Sam had the day off from all of his jobs. It's a rare event. We took full advantage of it. We found places for the girls to be and drove off into the sunshine.
We stopped at Tractor Supply to pick up some grain and shared a lunch at the local Chinese food place. Then we went to the Outlet shops in Westbrook and the stores at the Evergreen Walk.
We strolled, taking our time, holding hands.
We visited the shops that interested us, taking our time browsing and looking at all the pretty decorations.
We avoided the shops with lines and crowds.
We tasted jams and jellies, vinegars and mustards, sniffed perfumes, and smelled candles.
We walked through expensive furniture shops looking at kitchen tables that only seated FOUR.
Over dinner of burgers and fries, Sam casually mentioned that he may be up for a small promotion: Permanent Driver. He could know as soon as Sunday, or they could delay it until Monday, or even as long as until after the first of the year. He told me that if he gets the position it will mean he has to change houses and shifts.
"Okay. No big dealll... Waaait... Which shift?"
He answered, "I'd be working Christmas Eve." (translation: he'd leave for the firehouse at 6AM on the 24th and MIGHT get relieved to come home at 8AM on the 25th, but in all probability someone will call in sick or be on vacation, which will mean he probably wouldn't be home until the morning of the 26th, but could be home as early as 9PM on the 25th.) His current shift gives him Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off this year. (only the third time in 16 years)
And so the plight of the fireman's wife: Our Christmas is once again in flux. I could get a call from Sam this afternoon which will change everything. Or they (the higher-ups) may decide to hold off on the decision until after the holiday, or even after the first of the year. They (the higher-ups) may even decide they'd rather score some political revenge and close a firehouse, simply moving those guys into the open positions, and not promoting anyone. It's the not-knowing that bugs me. I'm a Tell-me-so-I-can-set-up-the-plan kind of person. I would love it if they (the higher-ups) would just say WHEN they'll make the decision. This open-endedness is awful!
The promotion means a pay raise which mightily trumps any angst I may have over the Christmas holiday schedule. After nineteen Christmases as a fireman's wife, I have become good at making sure our plans always have wiggle room. Besides, Christmas isn't about a specific day, it's about a specific person: Christ. And in our family we try to celebrate and honor Him every day.