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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Coal Mine Tour


Can I tell you how amazing my wife is? I know I have said it a million times in a million different ways but I am, as usual, completely in awe. Over my holiday break I got to do something not a lot of people get to do, I took a walk in my wife's shoes...well boots actually.

My wife is a coal miner. A bad-ass, hardworking coal miner.

Just to fill you in, when Loretta Lynn sang her song about a coal miners daughter, she was talking about me. My dad, grandpa and uncles were all coal miners; so I have been raised with a hearty respect for the work they do and the lives they live. The hours are long, the schedules are crazy and the work is back breaking. But until recently, I had never seen what life underground was like until I got to tour the coal mine where my wife works. What an unbelievable experience.

In order to be able to even step foot on the elevator that drops you hundreds of feet below the earth; I had to complete an hour of hazard training. "Hazard training" was an hour of guys giving you a healthy dose of reality by explaining the dangers you are about to embark on in the world beneath your feet. The hour was basically here is what you need to do in order to not die underground. You get a thing called a rescuer, which is basically the only source of oxygen you will have if shit hits the fan, basically your lifeline in the worst case scenario. They explained a rope that's used to guide your way out in case you have to escape, since transportation in and out is a bit limited to say the least. So, if you have to feel your way out while you panic and pee yourself, just follow the rope with the little cone on it. Sure. Along with a rescuer you have a little device that will let you know when you are in an area where the gas could kill you, awesome. They give you clothes with reflective on them so you don't get run over, thank you. To finish off the training you get a mining hat with a light on it so you can see when one of the rocks try to crack your skull when they fall on you, fantastic. By the time I was finished I was nervous and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. Too late now, I refused to wimp out when this is what my wife has to do every single day. So, I put my big girl panties on, and I put on the coal miner gear.
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Me and the Mrs'

My whole life, I have heard stories and even been to the face of a coal mine. I have seen videos and pictures and I thought I knew what I was going to experience. I'm here to tell you, videos and pictures do not do a coal mine justice. A coal mine is a whole other world, underground. There are huge pieces of machinery, tools and vehicles; all in this little space that's no bigger than the equipment inside of it. And here the coal miners are, spending 10 plus hours every day somewhere they are completely cutoff from the world wearing their lifeline on their belt. I'm in awe. I spent the tour trying to wrap my brain around the environment and around the fact the person I love most in the world goes to this harsh place every single day. I found a new appreciation for her and I fell in love with her all over again...
her strength...
her work ethic,
her complete bad-ass demeanor,
and the humble way she sees herself.

I have always known what an amazing woman she is but, I think talking a walk in her boots this weekend gave me perspective to a side of her I never get to see. If you have never took a moment to walk in your spouses shoes, I highly recommend it. I think it's possible to be a little aloof as to what others deal with on the day to day, especially those we love. I'm grateful for the experience to see what life for her is like every day. But most of all,  I'm grateful to have a wonderfully amazing wife who I hope knows how incredibly loved and appreciated she is.