You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2012.

Life is wonderful in the great state of Alaska.  I am the owner of a new-to-me van, with plans of adding all the bells and whistles my old van had as soon as the shop gets the parts in.  Yes, I’m picky, I want the radio I want and no other will do.  Okay, another would do, but if I can get the one I want, I’m gonna go with that.  My husband is home.  Not only home but he bought me that van, fixed my clogged bathroom sink, is replacing all the burned out lightbulbs (that I honestly hadn’t noticed had burned out), and doing the dishes.  My kids are all happy, and really goofy.  Somehow their dad being around brings out all their silliness.  I’m getting ready for family to come visit.  The sun is shining right now.  All is not only well, but great here.

But at the moment, my heart is heavy.  My hometown is Colorado Springs.  A good portion of my family is out there.  I also still have numerous friends there.  Not in danger yet, but still in the area.  As I look at pictures I can guess where they were taken, being familiar with the area.  I just heard that the Flying W Ranch burned to the ground.  Didn’t go there often, but I loved that place.  Portions of the Air Force Academy have been evacuated.  I spent a lot of time there over the years.  I wish I could send the rain and cool temperatures I am enjoying down there.  But all I can do is pray.  So I’m praying.

I know there are fires all over the state and the entire Western US, but as usual it’s the one that hits something I’m familiar with to really get my attention.  But with my attention had, I’m praying for all in the danger of fire.  And I’m praying for those in Florida who are dealing with almost the opposite problem, flooding.

I pictured the first couple days Chase was home on R&R, he’d be a lazy bum.  I mean, he’d been traveling for 6 days, going halfway around the world.  Plus, before that he’d been working hard.  He deserved some serious bum time.  I figured sleeping in, watching tv, playing games, and absolutely nothing productive.

I forgot to factor in the kind of person Chase is.  He’s done more around the house than I expected him to accomplish the whole two weeks.  Saturday, even thought we didn’t get to bed until after 3, he was up before 9.  Okay, I kinda get the up part, different time zone, jet lag, all that good stuff.  But after breakfast he was out surveying the yard.  He noticed a bunch of things that needed work.  Before dinner, the branches littering the back yard were gathered and chopped into wood for the fireplace (those that didn’t need the chain saw that is, and those would be two out of like 50).  The license plate was fixed, we had recently lost a bolt and the sticker threatened to come off.

Then today we went as a family to first service at church.  I stayed for second service to work in the nursery while Chase and the kids went home.  While home, Chase took care of the dishes, and sorted a bunch of the recycling so that it could be taken to the bins after he picked me up.

It baffles me, but I do love that my husband is using his time at home to help me out with the housework, and to take care of the things I can’t do, or just haven’t found the time to do.  I am one lucky woman.  I’m also one spoiled woman.  Not only does he do all this work, he brought me back beautiful jewelry.  Plus, he’s cute and funny and full of integrity.  Yep, I have one way cool husband.

The tale for today actually started on Friday afternoon.  Knowing that I’d be picking Chase up at the airport a little after midnight, I wanted to get things planned out.  I called the airport to ask about getting a gate pass to meet Chase at the gate.  I wanted my moment of seeing my soldier come down the jetway and watching my kids run toward home.  Moments like that are one of the perks of deployment.  Well, the airport is not in charge of all that.  So I called the airline.  They told me they don’t give out gate passes at that airport.  That was not the answer I was looking for.  And didn’t give the rest of the info I wanted.  The info that told me how early I should arrive to get my pass and get through security.  But I’ve done this before.  It took like ten minutes and then I spent a whole lot of time sitting in the terminal trying to entertain a two-year-old.  This time we’d be a the airport way after bedtime, meaning my children would either be tired and cranky, or bouncing off the walls.  I didn’t want to spend an hour at the gate.  So I planned to give myself about 20 minutes for getting the pass and getting through security.

When I got to the airport, I found the flaw in my planning.  I factored for a small airport with about 14 gates.  This airport is an international airport.  Not only that, but midnight things are just picking up at this airport.  The lines at all the ticketing counters were full to the brim, and that included the airline my husband was on.  I was slightly daunted, we had about 30 minutes to get to the passes and get through security.  But you can’t get your moment if you give up.  I knew if we missed the plane we’d meet at the baggage claim, it’s not like we would miss him if we made the wrong decision.  Plus, if we weren’t trying to get to the gate we’d just be sitting around bored.  After about 5 minutes waiting to get to the ticket counter, Clara had to go potty.  She was wearing underwear.  That was not a moment her needs could be pushed to the side.  So I gave up my place in line (granted at the time we were still the last people, so it wasn’t like we gave up progress).  Turned out to be a false alarm.  But during the amount of time it took to go to the bathroom, try, and wash our hands, several more people had gotten in the line.  When we finally got to the counter it was five minutes till midnight.  The lady at the counter gave me two options.  Wait five minutes and get a pass stamped with the next days stamp, or get the passes now and try to get through security by midnight.  Chase’s plane was to arrive at 12:11.  I decided to give the get through security by midnight plan a try.  We got the passes and ran to security.  I was worried when I saw the long line, but I decided to look around and see if there might be a shorted line I could go through.  Then I saw the families with small children line.  I decided that I would at least try to declare Clara a small child.  That line was much shorter.  And to be a most wonderful line, the other families in line wanted us to succeed as well and we quickly made it to the head of the line.  As we were getting ready to walk through the new full body scanner-magiggy thing the security lady told us not to go through there.  I stepped over to where she told us to go, ready to fight my children getting patted down.  But TSA was feeling nice to the woman with the young kids.  Instead of trying to make my children stand still in the full body thingy, we were sent through the old-fashioned metal detector.  Score one for TSA.  We glanced at the clock as we put on our shoes.  12:02, we’d done it.  Then to find out gate.  As I looked at the arrival list, I saw his plane had already arrived.  I forgot that they still had to taxi and then you still don’t immediately get off the plane.  I was worried that Chase might already be headed toward baggage claim.  But I decided to keep on.  I told the boys to be on the lookout for guys in uniform as we passed people headed toward the exit.  We raced to the gate, and there was nobody coming off.  I sighed thinking we’d missed him, but I asked the attendant if they had gotten off.  No, they hadn’t.  They were just about to though.

We stood in front of the door (and slightly off to the side so that others could pass) and waited.  There was another lady there waiting for her husband.  We got excited when we was the distinctive deployed uniform pattern.  When we finally saw the head, it wasn’t Chase.  But I was sure it was the other’s lady’s guy.  He walked right past all of us.  But hey, there were three more uniforms on the way.  When they weren’t Chase either, Clara began to cry.  She wanted her Daddy.  Finally, the other lady’s guy came.  They had their movie moment, he swept her off her feet with a kiss to the clapping of the passengers waiting to board.  Then more soldiers came off the plane.  Finally, it was our turn.  The boys were excited to see Daddy, but didn’t know what to do.  Clara was torn between wanting to run to Chase, and wanting to make sure it was Daddy before she ran.  I encouraged them all to run.  As they ran down the jet way other passengers got out of the way for their reunion.  I, of course, started to cry.  I was so choked up I couldn’t even say “hi.”

In the past I would have given up after the phone call that said they didn’t do that.  Or at any point it looked like we might not succeed.  But this time I persevered.  I was richly rewarded by doing so.  I am so glad we had our at the gate moment.

Chase called from Atlanta this morning.  Yay, yay, yay, yay, yay!!!  I can’t contain my excitement about that.  He’s in the states on his way home!!!  I mean, I knew it was coming, but still knowing he’s here and will be home later today (okay, technically early tomorrow, but if I don’t go to bed I still consider it today).

So he’s coming in a bit earlier than I expected.  No problem.  I can work with this.  I’ve got my priorities.  Number one, clean sheets.  I’ve got the time and know they will be appreciated.  Number two, making sweet tea.  Easy enough, until I forgot that when Chase is home, he makes it.  I should pay more attention to how he does it.  He drinks it and likes his own special blend, so I have no clue about certain specifications.  Like how many tea bags to use.  Or how long he leaves it boiling.  Or how long I should leave the tea bags in to steep.  But I got the one cup of sweetener right.  (I hope.)  Next, look as good as possible. That included shower, shave, and curlers.  After that, there’s some grey area, what really would make the most impact before Chase comes home.  I decided that making sure I have less boring errands to run when Chase is here.  So I planned a trip to the dump and the post office.  So my hair was in curlers, but hey, who’s gonna critique my fashion sence at the dump, and the post office was a drive by.  No big deal.  Then I realize that we are in need of dog food.  Today.  Hmm, that requires a trip to a store.  But I’ve got curlers in my hair.  I’ve got some options.  #1 Take curlers out.  But my hair is still wet, so I’ll lose all curl and sexy hair I’d been planning on.  And once I get back from the store, my hair will be nearly dry and won’t have as long in the curlers as they really need.  #2 Go to the store later.  Well, by the time my hair is dry, that is time for Celebrate Recovery at church.  I really want to go to CR, it will keep me sane for a few hours when I’m nearly bursting out of my skin with excitement over Chase going home.  And I don’t want to wait until after CR to go, the kids will need baths and I want to use that time for other purposes.  #3 Go to WalMart.  You hear stories all the time about the weird things people wear to WalMart.  I’ll be the crazy lady in foam curlers today.  So we went.  I’ll admit I got some looks from other shoppers.  But you know what?  I didn’t care.  I knew my priorities, feeding my dog and looking hot for my husband.  What the people at WalMart thought really didn’t register on my radar.  So the next time you see a person looking odd at WalMart, instead of thinking how odd they are, think maybe they have better things in their life than looking good for you.

Anyway, after those things.  I could have spent the day doing other stuff.  But honestly.  Every time I started thinking about cleaning the house, my excitement about Chase coming home went from joy to oeverwhelmedness that twelve hours just wasn’t enough to whip this house into shape.  So I would make myself sit down and concentrate on how excited I am to see my husband and relax.  I’m doing my best to be the wonderful wife my husband is excited to see instead of a crazy lady stressed out about dust that my husband really doesn’t care about.

Chase will be home soon.  Don’t know when, but it should be soon.  I am happy, extatic, super excited, and cannot wait.  But my nerves are also all tied up in knots, and while butterflies aren’t in my stomach, I think frogs have began residence there, hopping and jumping around.

I’m a closet perfectionist.  You can’t really tell from looking at me, or looking at my house, but I had to find a way to live life and I just couldn’t function as a perfectionist.  However, when big events come around I easily turn into an OCD mess.  Chase coming home is a big event.  I have also messed up this event in the past.  Last time he came home from R&R I lost the dog.  When he redeployed…let’s just not go there tonight.  Ever since then I’ve been trying to make up for those mistakes.  And while the house might past muster for even a came home from a month long TDY, I want things to be perfect.  It’s been six months since he’s been home.  I want to show how much I appriciate him by the sparkliness of everything in the house.

I started last Thursday.  I got the living room perfect, I dusted.  And Alaska is a dusty state, there is already a nice layer of dust over everything.  I shampooed the carpet.  It’s already got spots on it.  I know exactly where those spots came from, I cleaned the car today.  Cleaning the car, the kids got wet.  After the kids got wet, they played in the yard (which happens to have dirt, which happens to stick to wet bodies).  After playing, the kids came in the house and tracked dirt everywhere.  (This story reminds me of the story going around Facebook, If You Give a Mom a Cookie.)  White carpet may just be the bane of my existence.  Honestly, something shows up that needs to be cleaned everyday, but I just don’t have time to drag the steam cleaner around all day long.  I now dream of the linoleum that looks like hard wood.  It would be so much easier to maintain.  Anyway, on Thursday, I cleaned the dining room chairs.  Sigh, they are again in need of another cleaning.  One thing has stayed clean (for now), the couches still look good.  But Chase isn’t home yet, the kids have plenty time to take care of them too.

I’ve also been grocery shopping.  That one makes me sigh, as well.  The kids and I eat differently than we used to.  And I’ve figured out how to make things that we eat fit into our budget (most weeks).  But I want to have the things around the house that Chase always craves, soda, chips.  Plus I want to get some treats for him (not going to reveal what I got, got to try to keep somethings a secret).  I blew the grocery budget.  However, it’s a special occasion, and I’m pretty sure that the food I got for a week will last more than a week, so I’m not going to stress over that one too much.

I cleaned the car.  I almost don’t want to admit that I did so, because I did such a horrific job.  And I skipped on an important part.  Shampooing the carpets and seats.  The car is in bad need of those things getting done.  But we are having an Alaskan heat wave, and by the time I finished vacuuming I was done.  (Yes, an Alaskan heat wave, all of you who are dealing with temperatures over 80 can call me a wimp.  What can I say, I’m spoiled to the cooler weather up here.)  That and a security system salesman distracted me.  But mostly the heat thing.

I was feeling pretty good with my progress, the house looks better than it did (for the most part, I think) when Chase was home, and I don’t have him to help with all the extra stuff that he does.  Why am I so pent up now?  I blame my computer.  Our computer has been iffy for a while now.  It’s just old.  I don’t know how old, but I’ll guess around Austin’s age, so six-ish.  It seems that in computer years that’s sixty-ish though.  After Chase left I decided to see what I could do with it.  I installed some new anti-virus, PC-optimization software, and I got it working.  Not working great, but no more unexplained crashes (unless, Xav

Chase will be home soon!!  Chase will be home soon!!  Chase will be home soon!!  I am so excited, I’m basically useless today.  It’s all I can think about.

At church, my thoughts were on Chase coming home.  Especially during worship.  Chase is a guy who is very into music.  That very much includes worship music.  So I was thinking off all the cool worship songs I have added to our I-Tunes library that I want to load up on his I-Pod while he’s here.

At the picnic I was thinking about Chase.  I’m sorry if I ignored anyone there, or didn’t fulfill my conversational obligations, but Chase is coming home soon.

At home getting ready to work out, Chase is coming home.  Maybe, he’ll notice that I’ve been working out.

As our donations were getting picked up I was thinking about Chase coming home.  Okay, then I was thinking about all the work I want to do so that Chase will be impressed with all I have done.  But honestly, it’s only a few short days till R&R, our garage will probably be an uber disaster when he comes home.  But it will be roomier with a couple boxed of give a way stuff, and the washer and dryer gone.

As I worked out, I kept up motivation remembering that Chase would be home soon.

And tonight I can hardly think straight or concentrate for thinking that Chase will be home soon.  And that is another reason, along with limited time and needing to prioritize, that not everything will get done before Chase comes home.  I’m so excited, I’m practically useless.

Austin turns 6 today!!  I can’t believe that he’s growing up.  He’s still short, and he is skinny and scrawny.  But he’s looking older.  Fewer people are commenting that he and Clara look like twins, though she’s catching up to him in height (and weight).  I first sang “Happy Birthday” to him at 1:45 am on the way to the airport.  I think all flights in the summer arrive here at 1:30 in the morning.  I’ve made that trip several times in the past year.  At least it’s not dark.  As we drove north from the airport we were able to watch the sunrise (didn’t see it rise, but saw the beautiful colors of a sunrise/sunset on the horizon).

The plumber came.  I’m very glad to have had use of my sink all day long and the ability to wash dishes, but wow, it’s expensive to have a plumber visit on a Saturday.  To be an Army wife, I need to become a little bit more hooah, learning how to fix some of these things myself.  Maybe then everything would all stop breaking, the fear of knowing Chase can fix them keeps them in order while he’s here.

Then it was time to decorate the house for the party.  Streamers and balloons.  We had fun hanging Lego colored streamers (ie streamers of all colors since Legos come in all colors) all over the house.  Michelle helped blow up the balloons.  Heeheehee.  Boarding at my house may not cost money, but my cousin has learned that I will extract some form of payment.  Last year it was hiking with me, this year filling dozens of balloons.  She then taught my children that they could rub the balloons on their heads and the static electricity  build up would allow the balloons to stick to the wall.  They thought that was cool.  Xavier found a way to stick the balloons on the ceiling of the entrance.  It looked cool, and they boys were so excited about it, I left it that way.

Then Michelle took us out to lunch.  I am going to now reveal something that may leave some readers who know me well shocked and stunned.  We went to Red Robin and I did not order the Teriyaki Chicken Burger.  Take a deep breath and recover now.  I think I’ve ordered something other than that maybe three times since I first feel in love with that burger when I was sixteen years old.  And I eat there a lot, it just so happens to be my favorite restaurant.  I was just in a hamburger mood.  So I did something different, and it was delicious.  However, as good as the Whiskey River burger was, next time I will go back to my old friend the Teriyaki Chicken burger.  After we ate the waiters delivered an ice cream sundae to Austin and sang to him.  I wish I had a camera to capture the look on his face.  He loves being the center of attention.  I read somewhere that young boys who are smaller than their peers (that is Austin) tend to make up for their lack of stature with humor and become the “class clown.”  I may have read that ages ago (possibly around the same time I discovered the Teriyaki Chicken burger at Red Robin), but I think they somehow transported to the future and were describing my son.

Then it was time to go back home.  We finished decorating, I wrapped presents.  Then it was time for cleaning.  But I just did the bare essentials.  It was a beautiful day and I had a six-year-old to celebrate.  We read some of his favorite book, White Fang, and then I took the kids outside.  First sunny day in ages, I’m glad I got over the dust and the fact that I really needed to vacuum to go out with the kids.

Then it was Austin’s party.  Unfortunately only one child came.  I had a feeling that two of the invited children wouldn’t be there (their Dad’s home on R&R, I can’t blame Mom for deciding that it was more important to have time with him doing family stuff).  I could have invited more children to replace them, but there were still two children who were planning on coming, and I knew that I’d have my hands full.  I can handle children only in small doses.  And I wanted a happy party not a stressful one.  But those two children didn’t make it.  But even with only one party guest the kids still had a blast.  We didn’t actually play any of the party games I had planned.  But the kids were having so much fun on their own, I just decided to let them do their own thing.  Plus, Julie bought Austin the coolest game, HeadBandz.  We all played.  Clara mostly told us what we were wearing, but the boys were all getting into asking and answering questions.  It’s a way cool game.  Did I already say that?  Well, I just like it that much.

After the party was over, I got the kids ready for bed.  Then I sat on my bed to check my e-mail and fell fast asleep.

I’m wondering at what point during the past week I completely lost my ability to reason.  Two important things are happening on the 16th, that needed prior planning and thought, and until today I was totally blowing them off as if they were no big deal.

#1 Austin’s birthday party.  So we planned it out about a month ago.  Presents were ordered two weeks ago (and arrived earlier this week).  Invitations were given, verbal not written (I so totally suck as a party-planning mom this year).  Somehow I thought that would be enough.  Today, suddenly I remember that we might just want to decorate.  I need to do some preparation for some of the games.  We need food to eat.  We need a cake.  With an abundance of kids, paper plates might be nice.  And those presents, they need to be wrapped.  While I admit to be a disorganized disaster, I didn’t think I was really this bad.

#2 Cousin Michelle arriving in town for the day.  She might want to rest in a room not covered in rummage sale items.  She might want a shower in a clean shower, or at least the ability to use a clean toilet.

To top off my total thoughtlessness, it didn’t occur to me that even though both of these things were happening on Saturday, they would happen on the same day.  I know, I’m stunned at my inability to put two and two together as well.

But other than my inability to sleep right now, I think I’m handling the situation quite well.  I had plans with a friend today.  Even with what seems like a mile long to-do list, I didn’t cancel fun.  And I had fun.  I did some party shopping while we were out.  I’m also quite proud that once we were on our way home, I calmly handled matters when my middle child remembered he had left his hat at the restaurant we had just been at.  A detour that cost me about the time of making the guest bed and cleaning the guest bathroom.  I also upheld my motherly responsibilities over my party-planner responsibility.  I did the normal bedtime routine, including an entire chapter of Brisinger (and those chapters tend to be insanely long), instead of skimping on the routine in favor of cleaning.

Then I got to work.  Things were progressing smoothly and getting done.  Until I got to the kitchen.  Then the sink decided it was time for it to acknowledge the deployment by backing up.  This of course happened while I was running the dishwasher.  In our house the pipes to the dishwasher and the sink are connected, so if the sink is backed up, the dishwasher can’t drain.  So the excess water ended up all over my kitchen floor.  I get to spend part of my busy day tomorrow calling the plumber.  Joy.

So party guests, I’m sorry my house is a mess.  Please notice the balloons and crepe paper we will put up tomorrow and not the dust that I have decided can wait (not long, Chase will be home soon, and I have been making sure I have time to get everything perfect for him.  I think the whole R&R thing is where my mind has been and why it hasn’t been on other matter, like a birthday party).  Yeah, snacks and drinks might not be up to my usual par, but I’m still ordering Pizza Man pizza and we do have birthday cake.  Some of the games just won’t get played, but our kids will still have fun anyway.  Michelle, we’ll try to make the best of our time, even if it isn’t quite what either of us had originally planned.  And now I’m gonna go to sleep, gotta get up early to call the plumber.

R&R is quickly coming, again.  This time I think it’s really gonna happen.  Therefore the preparation for the homecoming is starting all over again.  This time more throughly.  Housecleaning will come in a few days.  Austin’s birthday party being the day I need to get a lot of that done.  Cleaning the car will happen later, it’s hard to wash the car in the rain.  Got the lawn taken care of, a neighbor’s granddaughter wants to earn money and will mow my lawn, as soon as it stops raining.  That leaves making me look amazing for my guy.  Today, I tackled my hair.

I’m bad about getting hair cuts.  No real reason other than what to do with three unruly children while I’m getting my hair cut.  So it’s been at least a year since my last hair cut.  I was in desperate need of a cut.  I was also in need of color.  I normally just use the box, but ever since dying my hair red (several years ago) I haven’t been able to rid myself of the red.  The color from the box also tends to fade quickly, and I want dark hair that stays dark.  So today I jumped in a got it done.

It’s funny, for years I wanted to go into a salon and tell the stylist “Do whatever you think is best.”  No stylist has taken me up on that.  They all want to know what I want.  So this time I looked at picture after picture and finally decided on what I wanted.  Other than deciding on color this stylist took over..And seriously, other than saying I wanted darker and no more red, I didn’t have much input there either.  I was a bit frustrated and was waiting for her to ask what I wanted her to do.  Then, I mustered up some gumption and made a suggestion.  She “mmm”-ed and moved on.  I wasn’t happy until I looked at my hair. The cut and color were perfect.  I looked good.  We’ll have to see if I can re-create what she did.  But with my ends nice and healthy I should be able to do much.  The only thing is, it’s short.  That is short for me, it’s still longer than shoulder-length.  But I go to run my fingers through my hair and it stops.  The shortness is not the stylists fault.  It is the fault of the person who has gone without a hair cut for over a year.  Glad I have a few days to get used to the new length before trying to impress anyone.  (Although, the person I’m trying to impress is easy to impress.)

Today is my 11th wedding anniversary.  I feel as if I should be waxing eloquent about our marriage, our love, and/or all the things the last 11 years have brought us.  But I am just too tired to do our anniversary justice tonight.  I guess being a military wife it’s a good thing I’m not overly tied to dates.  Sure let’s celebrate Christmas the first weekend of December.  Anniversary two weeks late, no problem.  Although, a super busy day and amazing flowers from my husband have sure helped me not have time to reflect on how it sucks that we cannot spend our anniversary together.  I surely give the flowers their credit, they are beautiful and show a wonderful thoughtfulness from my husband that I cherish.  However, the real key keeping me from wallowing would be the busy day.  Because as much as I’m willing to celebrate whenever, I’ll admit that one the days that I haven’t had something to occupy my mind, my lack of Chase was extremely present (Mother’s Day, and by the way, who knew that I was that into being spoiled on Mother’s Day).  I will say quickly that I love my husband and cannot wait to celebrate when he gets home.  Happy anniversary wonderful husband.