Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ready, Set.... Dont jump!

The military is full of rules. Rules for everything. I usually try to find gaps in the rules and deviate from the norm but there is ONE rule I will follow, rules for deployment security. So before I begin, any specifics in this post are probably inaccurate and so forth. Apparently posts containing deployment details can endanger our soldiers even more so let’s avoid that.

So GOOD NEWS! I finally have a social group. We recently celebrated our daughters 2nd birthday! This came as a shock to us, being that when we gave birth to her we figured she would always weigh 8 pounds, 3 ounces and make goo-goo eyes and coo at us. Didn’t work that way. We had to officially celebrate 2, bittersweet. Anyways, so we celebrated with our good friends down the street and their almost 2 year old son for a 1:30 gift give and cake. Then we went out to dinner with a couple from my husband’s unit and their almost 2 year old son. (This was Saturday). Then Sunday we were invited to this same couple’s home for chicken and mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, beans and corn bread. I brought a cheese cake, which I was reluctant to leave with them, and it turns out another couple met us there for dinner!

This was indeed the most eventful weekend we ever had here on base! So today is Monday and since we finally jumped onto the social gravy train we just couldn’t let it go so we invited yet another couple, friends of my husbands, over for a grilled cheese night! Dinner went smoothly, I was able to clear the kitchen table and get both kids in bed by 9 pm, while my husband retreated to the garage for some “man to man” chat with his best battle buddy.

 So I continued cleaning up and just happened to stroll passed the cracked door to the garage. The boys were discussing a briefing they had, had earlier that week about their up and coming deployment, which apparently the other gentleman had filled in his wife about. The briefing was to inform the soldiers about the seriousness of this particular deployment and how they would be entering one of the most DANGEROUS areas. This particular deployment post has no buildings-the boys will be building their own functioning station (which probably means it won’t be as secure as an already standing one) and there will be NO communication between soldiers and the people they are away from. They were unsure about the possibilities if airmail.

A returning soldier was 1 survivor of a group of 6, where the other 5 had died. He watched his friends die and then came back only to suffer from PTSD. At first I was horrified by the danger these boys were facing and I was hurt that my husband hadn’t disclosed any of this to me previously. He didn’t know I was eavesdropping so had he known, would he have continued to talk about it?

As you have probably noticed the best way to cope with stress or uncertainty for me is bring humor to the situation to make light of it and laugh more than I cry. I am not sure how to bring that light over this cloud. So I called Alex. I spat out as much as I could as fast as I could and waited eagerly for some heart-warming words to ease my worries and put my mind to rest.

Heart-warming words: “Yeah, that particular area is producing a death rate of 50%; but don’t get your hopes up for a change, they’re definitely deploying. He’ll be lucky if he comes away unscathed.”

Really?! Excuse my vulgarity but F**K YOU ALEX!

Right hand to God, I thought deployments at this time consisted of playing video games and Skyping. One soldier said after we arrived on base, if you can play call of duty you’re a good infantryman. So I was relieved.

Now it’s come out of the video game? How am I supposed to react to this?

 I always thought that joining Uncle Sam was an honorable endeavor but not because it was dangerous- because you were asked to be away from your spouse and children for outstanding amounts of time! Now, its life-threatening and I’m wondering where the glitch in the contract is that I can get him out of this… but there isn’t one.

 Who can I pay off to get him on some god-awful non-deployment duty? No one.

I kissed my husband 7 times more before bed this evening and 40 times longer. I stayed up an extra 10 minutes to do his laundry and pre-set the coffee and breakfast for the morning.

He has no idea why….

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

a series of UNFORTUNATE events

We haven’t gotten around to having our mail forwarded to our new home. I realize that it is as simple as a trip to the post office and some flicks of a pen. My excuse is that I have two babies. It’s my excuse for everything but people accept it so I continue to use it. Anyways, the reason this is even relevant is because we have a lot of important documents being sent to an address 7 hours away from us, including our proof of name change, bills(now late bills), and proof of insurance.

The day started off like any other. I had a miserable time trying to fall asleep, I finally did and five minutes later it was 5 am; my husband jumps out of bed like a particularly clumsy rhino without an equilibrium in an extraordinarily small and extremely cluttered china shop so forget the extra half an hour of sleep I could have enjoyed, I was also awake. My husband asks me to throw on the coffee so I run down pour in the water, dump in the grinds and slug into the shower.

Its quarter of 6.

We say our goodbyes, trying to be positive because positivity from the beginning leads to a positive day! Of course we wait until 3 minutes before my husband must absolutely zip out for PT only to realize I never hit start on the coffee maker. (UNFORTUNATE EVENT 1) So my husband leaves unhappy.

Now my husband is an excellent athlete. He’s cooperative, polite, and very upstanding. He is the most competitive person I know and not only with others, with himself. If he runs a 5 minute mile he MUST beat his time the next run. In fact, he scored a 326 on the extended PT scale, which for anyone unfamiliar with PT scoring- IS AMAZING (most people score somewhere between 280-290 and the general scale only goes up to 300)! So you can imagine I was surprised to hear that he gets ‘smoked’ every single day; but it’s MY husband, if we didn’t have bad luck we wouldn’t have any luck at all! So, like every other day my husband got ‘smoked’. This time it was for dirty ACU’s.

Sgt: “Why are your ACU’s dirty private!?”

Tater (my husband): “Cause I’m always getting ‘smoked’ Sgt!”

Sgt: “Roger that! Now climb the f’in mountain!”

Seredipity~ I am truly sorry he always gets smoked… but I’m sure he felt just a little bit sly coming back with a quirky remark like that!


I felt like this day hadn’t been particularly great so I decided to surprise my husband with a meal truly fit for a soldier (and one of his favorites!) shrimp/mozzarella stuffed potatoes! It takes about an hour and a half- two hours to prep and complete so I began it around 3:45. About an hour later I woke up from a nap both the kiddos and I NEEDED to the sound of a screeching fire alarm and the smell of nasty burnt to a crisp shrimp. Scratch that idea, we weren’t having stuffed potato. Regrettably the smoke detector didn’t get the memo about the shrimp already being outside in the dumpster because it continued to holler for another 15 minutes until I finally found the off button. Now everyone was awake! Since it was nearing 5 o’clock and my husband would be home from work soon I threw some hotdogs in a pan and peas in the microwave. Mediocre meal for a mediocre day. (UNFORTUNATE EVENT 3)

5 o’clock came and went, 6 p.m. reared her ugly head and my husband still wasn’t home. I tried his cell, but it was off. Probably at the gym? Or getting ‘smoked’? It was about 6:30 when I started to worry. Usually if he’s going to stay after or hit the gym after a long day he would at least shoot me a text… so I was frantic for the next 45 minutes. Actually more pissed that frantic! I was actually kind of relieved that my gourmet dinner had met flames because I REALLY would have been mad if I had prepared such an extravagant meal only to eat it by myself. 7:15 rolls around and there’s a rattle on the door: my husband! Since our proof of insurance was sitting in Maryland my husband had spent the last couple of hours trying desperately to have it faxed over to barracks and then eventually just walked home. (UNFORTUNATE EVENT 4)

Needless to say we went to bed pretty early that night.

Not every day is a bad day, but when we do have a bad day, we walk home from work.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Indian Giver

Dead Broke.

A week ago I was considering ANY means of earning an extra dollar, than I got a job.

 I finally got the house tidy and functional and then my husband volunteers me to watch a recently mobile infant; of course it has to be a neighbor, and the only neighbor who’s actually introduced themselves at that! Now my house looks like I’ve provoked the wrong kind of hurricane into my living room.

 It wasn’t even as if I could have said no though…I say my husband volunteered me but really the neighbors approached him with “Hi, since your wife doesn’t do anything during the day do you think we could just drop off the baby while we’re at work?” HELLO! That makes me sound like a drag… I’m SO occupied. With…. Laundry and dishes, and Dr. Phil, and Anderson Cooper…PRIORITIES!

I have to admit, at first I was excited; $150 dollars on the 1st and the 15th of every month!!! Then I thought about it… that’s 11+ hours a day (sometimes more because the military likes to throw on overtime) 5 days a week. That’s approximately 1.50 or less an hour. THEN if it happens to be a 5 week month, it’s even less. Somehow I have been tricked into providing ALL wipes, ALL cereal (since my own son is eating it, I must have TONS!). Did I mention that before I took on this child we were struggling to make ends meet?

Now it’s the same, only I’m TWICE as stressed, TWICE as exhausted, and doing TWICE as much laundry!

BUT I come from a tiny town, I’m a trusting girl. I even donated some stylish heels her way when I discovered we wore the same size shoe! I figured… we ALL must be broke, probably all the poor girl can pay! (Ignoring the fact that her AND her husband are both E4)….

However… this ignorance is bliss attitude took a jack and Jill, down the hill, WANT TO BEAT YOU WITH MY ROLLING PIN kind of spiral after the first payday. As any ‘tight on funds’ person with common sense would be, I was paid the cash and put it immediately in the left pocket of my open purse which sits directly on the desk in the living room. I know exactly how much was there because I counted it, two or three times. In fact, I budgeted it out on paper. After two days of not moving my purse, I went to pull out a $20 to give to my husband for gas. When I pulled it out, I was 40 dollars short. Now I’m not jumping to any conclusions BUT our neighbor came in our house, because she was the only one in our house other than myself and my husband and she took the money right back!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

dirty underwear

As I said before, I am a cliché housewife straight out of a Southern Living magazine. So, I wasn’t at all in a panic when my husband called me to let me know he was bringing home one of the specialists from work to pick up some items for his ruck. No, in fact I was in hysteria! I dashed around our house running from room to room picking up anything I could get my hands on and sprayed every inch with frebreze! I threw on a dress and managed to wipe lunch off the children’s faces just as the garage door went up. I was pleased. The house looked spectacular, the first floor of it anyways.

My husband marched in, Specialist Du’(something extremely hard to pronounce, much less remember) following not far behind. I got up from the couch- I was posing like Rose from Titanic on- and I shook his hand, trying to hold my breath to keep from breathing as if I just finished a triathlon but I’m sure the bullets of sweat running down my forehead didn’t give me away.  If you have ever run a mile and then tried to introduce yourself to someone you know exactly what I mean. Unfortunately, I didn’t pull it off because I looked more constipated then smooth and it didn’t help that he had just watched me get up from the couch. Awkward.  

“It’s upstairs man,come on up.”

Really???  They couldn’t find their crap in one of the rooms I had actually cleaned? So I retreated to the couch to make like potato and morn in the failure of my attempts. Sorrows aside I was just praying whatever underwear covering the floor of our bedroom be something sexy like that might redeem me somehow.

Not a chance…

Cake Boss

The perfect housewife manages her house in a way that is organized, while managing to keep things homely and decorated. I skipped the organized part. Who cares that I have a toddler who simply loves to pull things off shelves and out of drawers. I lined things up in a decorative manner on the bottom of every shelf and filled each cabinet with important papers. I am certainly paying for it now. Every single day I pick up the same things. I feel like every parent deals with the “never-ending mess” but I got an extra butt-kick for stupidity. In fact, to top that off, my toddler has recently discovered the fridge.

Funny story.

Like any EXTREMELY ON TOP OF THINGS mother, we had the lights dimmed in the living room, the baby was asleep and my daughter and I were winding down watching Elmo. So… mommy zonked out. I am sure the moment my daughter realized this she jumped up from her carpet mat did a victory dance and ran to the kitchen because 7 minutes later I was awoken to the cracking of eggs into a steamer pan on our living room carpet. Yes, that’s right, steamer pan…. there were holes in the bottom. Immediate reaction, I wanted to jump through the roof. So I calmly got up and walked over to this disaster. My daughter is not yet two and extremely smart. As I approached this mess I realized every single egg had been cracked out of its shell, shell thrown in the trash and she was mixing it together with a wooden spoon.

 SEREDIPITY- I am now putting every spare dime into a ‘culinary fund’ because obviously my daughter is going to be the next ‘CAKE BOSS’.

Monday, May 14, 2012

These streets will make you feel brand new, these lights will inspire you... now you're in New York

There are 50 states in the United States, we come from one of the smallest (Maryland) of the 50 and live in an equally small town where the most outrageous parties happen in cow pastures and corn fields and if you’re lucky someone lends out their barn. The first date I ever had with my husband was swimming in the town reservoir, which was also the town’s drinking water. The second date, we fished in it. When we got serious we camped out at a bonfire. So you can imagine my excitement when I got word our first duty station was going to be in NEW YORK! We were actually going to join the world and become city savvy! Ironically enough, we are stationed in a town probably 10 people larger but instead of fields and pastures we have mountains. It actually snowed in April.

I am in disbelief.

Accents are like flags, a high flyin’ sign that ‘you’re not from here.’ Nobody thinks they have an accent. We finally got a call that someone had moved out of their 3-bedroom house on base and were eager to move in and get friendly with our new neighbors! I always imagined myself being close with the people around me- how could it be possible to live next door and barely know one another? Well, I suppose that just shows I’ve obviously never lived close enough to any other houses to have neighbors! HELLO! Nobody likes their neighbors!

I guess I kind of fantasized the home we would live in as well. I thought it would be a cute little house with a flag out front, a small garden in the back, maybe a porch swing and the day we moved in all the neighbors would flock to our door with greetings and warm wishes of friendship.

Not even close.

The closest we got to a greeting was the lady to the left explaining that if we heard any knocking she was merely just preparing for the homecoming of her deployed husband. Probably didn’t have anything to do with the fellow stopping by every day after she got home from work and making the huge ruckus departing at all hours of the night; eventually she pulled me aside and explained how she didn’t like girls, they were too caddy for her so she preferred to have only male friends. That’s nice.

The guy next to her approached us completely intoxicated only to disclose the most personal details of his recent de-motion. And the lovely couple to the right of us doesn’t seem to speak any English.

Anyways, so accents and dispositions are a true telling of where a person is from or rather that they are new to an area.

Cramped up in a home of boxes and empty rooms can get a little nauseating; for this reason nature walks and playground visits have become a daily ritual for myself and the children. That is until I got the email. I would have been perfectly content in never being enlightened about the dangers within our homestead. Apparently, there was a small black bear spotted rummaging through some trashcans. Well, this set our family on lock-down. The rest of the neighborhood, who I’m sure received that very same email, continued their daily routines of outdoor play before and after dinner while I sat frantic by the front door rifle in hand for fear of a bear attack.

We must just be the new family….

The Cornerstone of the Military Marriage

I think a lot of military wives at some point or another probably question whether they are strong enough to endure the active service spouse’s lifestyle. Without a doubt it is the most trivial, patience-testing life choice a family can make. The truest words of wisdom came from my husband’s recruiter’s wife, “The army is hard but the hardest job in the army is the army wife.”  Every day is a test of loyalty, of stamina, of emotional, mental, and physical strength. Deployment is not the only thievery. Our husbands devote countless nights to CQ duties, weekend-long trainings, week-long trainings, month long trainings, specialty schools 1-3 months on end, odd hours, undependable schedules; it’s truly a wonder the military mother should have a life at all outside of just that.

So what makes this worth the while?

My husband completed basic from October 4th through February 3rd. He had a scheduled “Christmas exodus” break beginning on December 15th. I was home alone with our 18 month old daughter and expecting a son on December 5th. Our goal was to try and hold off on the delivery until the day my husband came home for block leave. Now as any biological mother would know, this is not in the hands of the mother. If the baby is coming, they are coming regardless of what you had planned.  Unseasoned to the world of military and the “chain of command” I called EVERYONE trying to reach my husband. I could not for the life of me figure out why the company commander would not return my phone calls. Eventually, I was able to get through to a MILITARY ONE consultant who by the hands of God and probably consequently a smoking for my husband, was able to reach on of the Sergeants in my husband’s company. The Drill Sargent was able to relay the message to my husband that the baby would be induced on the 9th due to complications. Apparently they had been getting my devote messages but paying them no mind as the drill sergeant remarked before hanging up, “Ma’am if your husband is half as persistent and determined as you, he will have no problem finding success here.”

 Sure enough, my husband was able to call on the day of induction, once in the morning shortly after I arrived to the hospital for induction and once at 2 pm when I was about 2 cm dilated. As luck always has it, his phone was flying off its rocker that day. So the final call I got was around 7pm. I picked up the phone to hear the voice of the drill sergeant himself informing me that my husband’s phone was acting up and that he would be using his phone instead. It was as if something clicked in our baby’s head because as soon as I received that call, after 12 hours of labor, I had the urge to push. I can assured you no wife has ever demanded so much from her husband’s drill sergeant as I did that day and he was certainly quick to pass over the phone.  I informed my husband I needed to push and promised I would call as soon as I had a healthy little boy in my arms. 25 minutes later a beautiful baby boy was swaddled in my arms and an impatient husband who so honorably missed the birth of his first born son was on the phone. That was most definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do alone. But 7 days later the tearful reunion between my husband, myself and our daughter and the introduction of a father to his son was so powerful. It was then that I realized the cornerstone of every marriage. It’s the moments spent together, the reunions, and the sacrifice for one another that make it all worth the while. The wives, in fact the marriages of the military are strong and undying, devoted, thirsty LOVE is the cornerstone.

Home Sweet.... Hotel

If you are already military affiliated than you are already aware of the stench from “after work” ACU’s. For anyone not affiliated, imagine working out for 2 hours, then taking a swim in the neighboring swamp, throwing in some construction workers socks after pulling an 8 hour shift in 95 degree weather, and leave it to mildew for about a week…This is how our temporary housing, home until home, hotel smelled! 48 rooms filled with 48 soldiers and 1 laundry room. I’m sure not every uniform got washed. To ease the transition we were blessed with a beautiful ONE bed room for my husband, myself, and our two children under 2.

The first week was bearable. I am a firm believer in ‘anyone can do anything for a short amount of time.’ So, the process for obtaining on base housing is simple. First, you take said paperwork into the housing office, then you sign a couple of forms, you’re rewarded with a house and finally you move in!

Here’s what they don’t tell you… in order to bring in the paperwork, you must FIND the paperwork, and since your husband has about 125,263,488,579,159,158,000,000,000,000 papers, that’s not an easy task. Then once you find it you must drive your husband into work at 4am, so even though your kids don’t usually wake up until 8 am you have to drag them out of bed or your husband will go to work for the day and you won’t have a car. Once you have the car and the paperwork, you must drive to the housing office, which if you’re new-you’ll get lost and arrive about 30 minutes after your appointment. Then, since you have romanticized being an army wife you will be all dolled up wearing the most stunning White House|Black Market ‘hand-me-down’ you can find in your closet with heels taller than the stack of diapers in your oversized diaper bag. Finally, you’ll arrive to the building grab your 18 month old out of her car seat, swing the diaper bag and your purse over one shoulder, the infant seat in the crease of your other arm and the stack of loose papers in your hand so you can hold your rambunctious toddlers sticky hand with your free one. Forget locking the car, it doesn’t matter that you just dropped every last morsel of your savings into it, if they really want it they can have it. You’re in Gods graces if you manage to kick the door all of the way shut with your foot. And since everyone is incredibly fit, they have conveniently made it a 2 mile walk from the parking lot to the front door and it’s the middle of winter so every 30 seconds an enormous gust of wind is flashing everyone your behind and blowing your hair half into your lip-gloss and the other half into a gigantic birds nests knot. Did I mention that you haven’t walked in heels since your last funeral, like 2 years ago? Eventually you’ll get to the door, which will be a HUGE relief until you figure out that the housing office is 2 flights of stairs UP. You’ll pretend like you meant to look like ‘this’ and then manage to trip over dust and smack the stairwell, papers flying everywhere. With your luck the soldier who stops to pick up your disaster will be the hottest man you’ve ever laid eyes on but you’ll casually blame it on your 18 month old and COLLECT yourself as best as you can. After making it up the stairs and out of breath you’ll get to the housing office just to find that you can’t sign anything unless you’ve got Power of Attorney over your husband, which he has to do anyways.
 I can assure you the empty-handed walk of shame back to your car is far worse after not having accomplished anything…. Another hotel confined week.

Fairy-Tale? More like Fabricated.....

I will be the first to admit I was swept off my feet by the tales of “Army Wives” reality but rather fictional persona of the military lifestyle; CLASSY girls dressed to the nines, strutting in their 4 inch heeled Gucci stilettos and possessing an extraordinary amount of power. Those girls get what they want. The best way to describe it is a blend between PEARL HARBOR (the movie) and the STEPFORD WIVES…like all military spouses have perfect hair and the body to match with adorable little skirts and aprons and all the girls in your clique fall in love with a group of military hunks, all best friends as well. These ladies are excellent housewives, every house is spotless all the time, regardless of the amount of perfect little children running around and a homemade dinner is always on the table by 5 because the military is extremely punctual.

Well, let me be the first to tell you… that’s a load of crock and not out of the crock pot. It’s about as glamorous as realizing your milk is spoiled, after you drink a large-thirst quenching sip.

 Serendipity: a fortunate mistake…. Seredipity:making it humorous