Barbara and her husband Tim met in 2003. In 2005, he joined the ranks of the FDNY. Together, they own Halligan Bottle Openers. I was lucky enough to be be able to connect with this wise firewife, and get an inside peek of the journey upon which The Man and I have embarked.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would offer the partners of firefighters who are beginning their career?
Barbara: Have patience with your partner. Even though the experience is new for the both of you, they are the ones who are meeting a new group of people that they have to prove themselves to mentally and physically. They are the ones who are exposed to horrendous events that you will never see in your entire life. The first year will be the most challenging for the both of you because your firefighter will be the junior guy/girl. He/she will have to make many sacrifices which means you have to make sacrifices.
Cue the patience. Stay strong, your Firefighter won’t be the junior forever.
Q: There is a general consensus in society that life with a firefighter is sexy and glamorous. What piece of reality would you offer someone who claims that they want to date a firefighter?
Barbara: I get it and I strongly agree! The bunker gear, the suspenders, the helmet, and the notion they help people all appear noble and therefore sexy.
The reality is they spend most of their time in work duty uniforms which are head-to-toe navy blue. On their off days they usually wear jeans and a navy blue firehouse t-shirt… more blue.
If they caught a fire that day they are usually coughing up black mucous and resting on the couch trying to regain their strength. Sounds glamorous, huh?
Q: What is the biggest struggle of your daily life as a firewife? How do you overcome it?
Barbara: My biggest struggle are the shifts. Being married to a firefighter is a different lifestyle than being married to a 9-to-5’er. You may or may not eat dinner together, go to bed together, or attend a family event together. It can get very frustrating at times.
It took a long time for me to find the silver lining in this situation. Instead of feeling lonely or envious of the 9-to-5’ers schedule, I realized my situation is not that bad. I utilize my free time to recharge and focus on me; whether I’m trying to continue my education, redecorate the house, spend time with my siblings, or simply lie in front of the television with mismatched pajamas on. How liberating is that?
Q: What is the greatest reward of your daily life as a firewife?
Barbara: Having full control of the remote control… only kidding!
My greatest reward is having a loving, compassionate, family man safely come home to me. When I see him walk through the front door it confirms all prayers have been answered.
Q: What makes you a badass firewife?
Barbara: Okay, so Samantha called me out on labeling myself a badass fire wife. I can tell you I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, or snowboarded off the summit of Whistler Mountain, and went through the torture of getting a rib tattoo and full sleeve. These examples are not my core but merely superficial and forgettable.
My version of badass is more of a state of mind and action. I give respect to those who earn it, and I expect it in return. I am courageous in the chances I take in my life. I have humility when my ego gets too big, and I have a burning passion for my dreams and goals. I am not shy when it comes to defending what I believe in or standing up for others. I remove the things in my life that stand in my way, and grab life by the horns.
I believe in myself, my husband, and our life together. We work hard, therefore play hard. Life is not a rehearsal, we have one chance to make ourselves happy. That’s what makes me a badass fire wife.
About Halligan Bottle Openers
Most companies are born from one great idea and begin to take shape from there. Halligan Bottle Openers, however, took on a slightly different form. We began with something that happens at every single firehouse out there… “Ball busting”… basically making a life size halligan for a short guy in the truck. A few days later “lightbulb” went off and the Halligan Bottle Opener was born.
The chief of Halligan Bottle Opener world headquarters is Tim, or at least he likes to think he’s the chief. Tim became an FDNY firefighter in 2005 where he was assigned to “The Pride of Sheffield Avenue” a.k.a. POSA E290 L103. It was there that he learned the roots of firefighting and the traditions that went along with the job. In between tours and taking a nap with the “Nut”, Tim is your go to guy helping customers with all their inquiries.
The wind beneath Tim’s wings is not his flatulence it’s Babs. She’s been there since day one brainstorming, supporting, troubleshooting, lifting heavy boxes, shipping, tradeshows, pushing for the next big thing… Hey wait… That’s a lot… She needs a raise.
The brains and quality assurance manager of the operation is Peanut, a.k.a. “Nut”, or “Nutty”. Between her long naps and basking in the sun, The Nut is primarily responsible for keeping Tim and Babs in check and your orders out on time.
Learn more about Barbara, Tim, and their products online at Halligan Bottle Openers.