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I’m working on getting back into doing life today.  I washed dishes, washed clothes, put out mouse traps.  The house should look better than when I woke up this morning.  My things I need to do before Tuesday list has shrunk.  Life continues.

I have a visitor right now and that makes life much more fun.  It’s hard to have a pity party in the presence of someone marveling over how pretty snow is.  And who can be too sad when making a snow angel?  I’m so glad she’s here.

The kids are doing very well.  I don’t know that Clara knows what’s going on.  She’s apparently accustomed to Chase being gone overnight, she hasn’t yet commented that he’s not here.  We’ve talked about him, but no “where’s Daddy?” or “when Daddy come back?”  Kid’s do take things better than we give them credit for.  The boys are both doing well today as well.  No sadness today.  Granted Austin almost made me cry when he reminded me he would be 6 before we saw Daddy again.  But he was matter of fact about it, mostly excited about turning six, which happens to be a long way off.  Xavier is quite aware that Daddy is going “where the bad guys are” but other than making sure that no one forgets the fact that Daddy is going to fight the “bad guys,” he’s himself.

I haven’t done anything I should today.  I haven’t cleaned, picked up, or done the dishes.  No laundry, no bathrooms, haven’t even made Xavier take care of the driveway.  I should have helped Chase pack.  I should have taken care of some business.  But for one day, I didn’t do a thing.  This week has been so much of an emotional rollercoaster that arriving at today I feel totally unable to cope.

Last week our van was rear-ended for the second time.  I felt it had to be totaled, there was just so much damage.  But a call from Geico shone a bright light.  They accepted that their insured was at fault and did a computer analysis and told us they were sure they could fix our van.  Plus, they were springing for a rental van, all that without a fight.  Then, on Monday, came the word, our van was totaled.  I kind of knew that and we had already discussed the possibilities of what we would do without the van.  The decision was made that we would bank the money from the settlement and save it until Chase got back,.  I wasn’t wanting to drive a van that had that much damage and neither one of us had the time to van hunt before Chase left.  I could drive the car, we all fit, it would work.  The idea was fine and dandy when I still had a glimmer of hope that the van was fixable.  Monday, when the car became what I would have to drive, all the issues I have the car came flooding toward me.  I hate driving the car at night.  This time of year, it’s all night.  I can do it, but the car sits so much lower than the van, so all headlights shine toward my mirrors like everyone has their brights on.  Plus the headlights just aren’t as nice.  Then, there is the lack of GPS.  Yeah, my phone can still get me around, but the GPS was just so much easier to use.  However, the car is totally driveable in the dark and like I said, my phone can get me around.  I came to the conclusion that I needed to get over myself and suck it up and figure out how to get over the fact that the car isn’t my luxury van.  To get through the next ten months I was praying for a better attitude.  On Thursday the transmission on the car went out.  So thankful it happened to Chase and not me.  As I was still frustrated at having not van, the car going kaput was enough to send me over the edge straight to the nearest car dealership.  But it happened to Chase who is much calmer and rational than I, and the car will hopefully be repaired. ‘Hopefully’ because I haven’t heard from the shop yet.  Today, Steve from Geico called with the settlement.  It’s funny that our FPU class on Tuesday discussed telling people “that’s not good enough,” as we used those words with Steve several times.  I’m not out to make money off this deal, but it would be nice to get at least what our van is worth.  So now, knowing that I have to deal with settling the van and fixing the car I am overwhelmed feeling very out of my league.  But God has helped with things so far, so with His help I know I will get through it all.

I’m also an emotional basket case over the whole deployment thing.  It drives me crazy, as logically there is no reason to be so upset.  However, as I’ve learned this year, while being able to look at things logically, I am in no way a logical person.  It’s ten months.  That really isn’t a long time.  And while I do find myself knowing that Chase would do so much better at certain things than I can, taking care of vehicles for instance.  But I also know that as an adult I need to be able to do all those things myself.  Plus, God has given me wonderful neighbors who will lend a hand and wonder friends who have offered their husbands to take care of all those things husbands take care of.  I’m not worried about him.  I know we are following God’s path for us, so I know he’s in God’s hands.  Plus, let’s face it, I’m lucky, Chase is the PAO. Even when he’s itching to get out there so that he can feel like he’s really a soldier (I know he’s really a soldier, but I  also know that these men look at different jobs differently,) he won’t have the time.  Who knows, I might be facing more dangers braving drivers in Alaska than he will in the sandbox. (Not really, just trying to make a bad joke there).  The truth is that I’m spoiled to having him around.  Not just for the stuff he does, but for the person he is.  The man who makes me laugh when I really need to laugh.  The amazing father.  The best friend who builds me up.  The person who makes me a better person because he believes in me.  The one person who I can never see too much of.  The person I can spend hours talking to about everything and nothing at all.  The person I plan and dream with.  I’m crying because I’m spoiled and I don’t want to give all that up.  I’m upset that I’m so emotional because the leaving is part of what I signed up for and part of the amazing life we live.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  But, just like I don’t want to let my very nice van go, I really don’t want to let my soul mate go.

I just need to remember at the end of next year, my van will be replaced and my husband will be back and normal life will resume.  And then I need to get on and live life.   But there will be some days like today when I get too overwhelmed and I just take the day for me.  But then the next day I will get back to living.

Tonight, I finally got to go Christmas shopping.  Chase got home early.  Not just 5 early, but 3ish early.  Yay for leaders who understand that with the guys leaving soon being at home is more important than anything they could be doing in the office.

First stop Kohls.  With Kohl’s cash and a fifteen percent off coupon I wasn’t missing my opportunity to go there.  Grandma had given me money to buy Xavier pajama pants.  Kohls had Lego Star Wars pants I was planning to get.  Unfortunately, none were left in Xavier’s size.  But they had a combo set with two sets of Star Wars Lego pajamas.  So that’s his gift from Grandma and Grandpa.  It combines Xavier’s two big fads, Legos and Star Wars, and is very practical as my growing child has been growing out of pajamas left and right.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted for Clara yet. Pinkalicious cupcakes were on my list, but the stores suddenly didn’t have those.  I’ll admit the Barbie and Disney aisles called to me.  But she’s not yet really ready to play with those things properly and would just become more stuff.  So I wandered Kohls when inspiration hit.  Tights.  She’s growing out of them and wears them everyday.  With pajamas and three pairs of tights procured I was on my way out.  Suddenly an aisle display caught my eye.  Initial necklaces for $5.  Clara loves wearing all my necklaces, and is finally at the point where she doesn’t pull at them and break them.  Wheels in my head started to turn.  A sparkly necklace would pair nicely with a Fancy Nancy book.  The necklace was grabbed and I made my way to the register.

Next, stop Target for Legos.  A knight set for Austin, and the Star Wars set Xavier said was first on his list.  Plus, the Lego City launch pad with rocket for Chase.  His eyes light up whenever we visit the Lego aisle with the kids.  He also is fascinated with the space program.  Now, which Lego set for Santa to give the kids.  I cringed at the prices of the big sets.  It wouldn’t be so bad, but I knew that all the sets it would be more for one child than the others .  A quick decision was made and I decided Santa would get the sets I had already picked up for the boys and I would get the boys other sets.  And Santa would give the Fancy Nancy books and necklace to Clara.  I bought a Ninjago blacksmith set and a blacksmith knight set.  It’s not about the blacksmiths, it’s that the blacksmith sets have the most weapons.  Hey, I know my audience, axes and swords will score major kudos.

Finally, Fred Meyer.  I had hoped I could find all that I wanted from Kohls and Target.  It’s not that I don’t love Fred, it’s just that I don’t love the other drivers who follow me out of the parking lot.  But Fred had just what I needed to finish my shopping.  A magic baby bottle for Clara, Fancy Nancy books and something else.  I knew that as soon as Chase saw the Lego box, even wrapped, he’d know what it was.  But Fred always has movies on sale.  This time I found Gladiator.  One of Chase’s favorite movies.  I know he plans to buy a tv while deployed, so I thought maybe he’ll find a way to watch movies.  That way I actually will give him something he can use for more than a week or so.  He can take the movie with him. Plus I can put the movie under the tree and hide the Legos.

I love wrapping Christmas presents.  I stuffed the boys Lego boxes so that the Legos don’t make any noise when the box is rattled.  Austin is so bummed right now.  Just wait until he opens that square one that doesn’t make any sound.  Chase’s movie has a not attached “For your big surprise/ Look where you store your ties.”  There he will find a note “You are not yet done/ Look under the guest bed for some fun.”  Heeheehee.

Hooray, November is over.  Not that I’m wanting time to fly, in less than two weeks this house will be down one family member.  However, December will also be lots of fun, a visitor and a wedding.  The reason I’m happy about a new month is I’m hoping that running your car into my van was a November fad and with November now gone people will stop.  So hooray, it’s December.

Having had to spend Wednesday to do all my Tuesday errands I opted for today to be my stay at home day.  I’ll admit to being a total bum and not looking at our driveway until after dark.  I had no idea it was snow-covered.  So, after dark, I sent Xavier outside to earn his spending money.  Not long after he was sent out, he came back in saying he was done.  I knew there wasn’t much snow out there, but I was hugely skeptical at how well he could have cleared the driveway.  He did about three passes with the shovel and called it quits.  It was apparently too hard. Yeah, work is hard.  But you decide that it’s worth the effort and you push through.  This is a lesson that a lot of adults don’t know very well, and even I’ve been there.  But I want better for my kids.  I want my children to grow up and be able to work hard and to not quit just because something becomes difficult.  That’s how the 1% became the 1%.  Yeah, some might have inherited it, but at some point someone had to work hard to earn that money.  Not all millionaires are lottery winners, and those who are lottery winners are still working at life or they don’t stay millionaires for long. I’ve heard so many stories about lotto winners actually being worse off after they won.  I’m getting off track though.  I do believe 9 is old enough to start putting one’s nose to the grind stone.  First, I let him know that if he didn’t do it, he wouldn’t get paid and if he was gonna quit on a job, I might not come up with more jobs for him to do.  No one in the real world will keep hiring a person who quits.  After dinner, he and Chase went out to work on the driveway again.  Xavier comes back in sweaty and looking like he worked hard.  I was so proud of him going out and doing what needed to be done.  Little did I know that he played in the snow while his dad did all the work.  Watching Deadliest Catch season 7 I became acquainted with a greenhorn that gave up on a job because it was too hard.  So while being too hurt to go out and help he ate popsicles and watched tv.  I was appalled that a grown man would play while the rest of the crew worked.  Yeah, I get that you hurt.  But a man would do what he could.  Can’t get yourself back on deck, prepare lunch.  Try to go back out on deck and do what you can.  And if you really hurt too bad to work, go crawl into your bunk until you feel well enough to do one of those things.  A person should feel ashamed to sit and play while watching other people work hard.  Granted, my child isn’t a grown man, but he’s becoming one.  I think it’s appalling that he can play while work is being done.  Especially work he is supposed to be doing himself.  Gonna work on that attitude in all my kids this year.