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Yesterday, I wrote all about going to see Shrek before I even began to get ready to go.  I had no idea what drama would ensue.

I had hours at home with just me and my kids as Chase had to be at work.  The original plan had been to be at church and then the church picnic and then clean house.  However, I wasn’t quite sure I was up for all that activity.  I was feeling better after a bout with sickness the night before, but I wanted to make sure I was feeling my best for the show.  So what to do with my time?  I decided to get ready and look good, this was a big date night with my husband, I’d treat it like that.  So I showered, shaved, washed, exfoliated, plucked, lotioned, conditioned, polished, and curled.  I was even going to go all out and wear a skirt, until I realized that I own no panty hose. So instead I went for Alaska formal wear, jeans.  I even prepped the kids.  Clara’s hair was curled, a dress was put on, and I put some make-up on her.  I made sure the boys had combed hair.  Didn’t mess too much with their clothing choices, we do live in Alaska.  I will say that everyone at the show dressed their best, but this is Alaska best.  The formal wear I saw ran from what looked like prom dresses to clean jeans and t-shirts.  Everyone looked nice, so it works.  My boys were wearing clean clothes, so I just asked that Austin put on long sleeves under his Shrek t-shirt (he gets cold so easily, I just wanted him to be comfortable all night long).  My plan was to have all of us ready by four.  At four, I was putting my stuff into a different purse, hey, I wanted the whole look to be perfect and the brown bag went with my brown boots, brown sweater, brown wrap, etc.  Before I had everything in, Chase called. He was done with what he had to do, did I want to come down for dinner?

I had been hoping for dinner out with Chase all day.  That’s why I wanted to have make-up on and hair curled by four, just in case.  Then he asks did I want to meet him at Qdoba, or did we want to try Olive Garden.  So, I’ve been craving Olive Garden all week, since clipping a coupon in last Sunday’s paper for Olive Garden.  But it was just a bit after four, and we had a show at 7:30, could we make it?  Here’s the thing.  Anchorage just got Alaska’s first Olive Garden earlier this year.  People drove down from Fairbanks and up from Homer when it opened.  The day they opened, before they opened their doors there was already a two hour wait to be seated.  Things have calmed down a bit since then, but trying to eat there, especially for dinner, can be crazy.  It’s still a novelty.  It’s still the only one, another one will be opening soon, but it’s not open yet.  Even though we all probably know local restaurants that can give Olive Garden’s entrées a run for their money, Piccolino’s lasagna can’t be topped, the novelty of it being something that people in the Lower 48 can get, and we haven’t been able to, gives the new chain restaurant much appeal.  When watching tv, especially in the winter when we are hiding in our houses from the cold, dark world outside, we see the same commercials as everyone else.  The national ad for Olive Garden, or for Red Lobster, airs here as it does everywhere else.  It doesn’t matter that the nearest location is 2,000 miles away, it’s a national ad, so it airs.  And we drool and get jealous.  Then Olive Garden comes, and we come in droves as if led by the Pied Piper.  All that to say, I wanted to go to Olive Garden, and I knew we needed to get there fast if we were going to wait the wait to be seated, eat and still make it to Shrek in time.  I hastily assembled my purse and loaded the kids in the van.

We made it to Olive Garden before 5, and had a 35-40 minute wait.  Here they usually overestimate the amount of time needed to seat you, so we were good.  Chase arrived with a friend from college who had also joined the Army and is stationed at Wainwright, but was down here for a bit.  As we were talking and waiting, I started thinking about going to the show.  I knew Chase had his ticket, so if time got to be an issue, he could drop us off by the door, and the kids and I could go in with our tickets, which were still sitting on the table from when I got Chase’s ticket out to give him that morning.  In my haste to get to dinner on time, I forgot to grab the tickets.  I looked at Chase and told him “Your wife may have forgot the tickets.”  I said good-bye and ran to the van.  With no kids in the car, and a husband that I really wanted to have dinner with, I drove like an Alaskan on the highway on the drive home to retrieve the tickets.  I was at the table before the appetizer.  Here, I must, with joy, point out that the evening was not ruined.  In the past, I would have beat myself up over my mistake, and turned it into a big deal.  Last night, instead of stressing, I did what needed to be done.  In the past, I would have been worked up, I would have needed someone else to take charge and at the least tell me what to do.  And then I would have resented that they needed to take charge and been irritable.  I’m so thankful that God is helping me to not be that woman any longer.

Dinner was great.  We had fun.  The waiter had been made aware that we were in a hurry, so he kept things coming.  I relaxed and stopped looking at the time.  I wasn’t the only one who was having so much fun and enjoying the moment that time went out the window.  We left the restaurant at five till seven.  We had thirty-five minutes to drop our friend back at the barracks, drive downtown, park and get seated before the show started.  I’m still amazed that waves of stress didn’t begin to roll over me, change my attitude and bring strife to the night.  It’s so not like me to remain calm.  But things were going so well.  The night was so good, and still had such good potential.  I didn’t want to ruin it by starting arguments.  I didn’t want to ruin it by driving my husband crazy with questions like “Do you think we will make it?”, “What are we gonna do if we are late?”  I decided we should just do what we had to do.  Drop by the barracks, drive downtown, and go to the show.  If there on time, great.  If not, so we miss a couple of minutes of the show, we’d still get to see most of it.  Chase dropped off the kids and me by the theater.  We made it in just as the announcement that five minutes till the start of the show came over the loudspeaker.  I decided to take the kids and sit down.  They take a while to get settled and I knew Chase could find us.

As the lights dimmed, the seat next to me was empty.  When Shrek appeared on stage, the seat next to me was empty.  But before Shrek even met Donkey, the seat was filled.  I relaxed completely and enjoyed the show.  It was a good show, and we had killer seats.  During intermission I even ran into the wife of the owner of Chepos.  It’s horrible I don’t know her name, but we see her weekly at the restaurant and she spoils my kids rotten.  We chatted in line waiting for the facilities.  When I sat down I began to read the program, and laughed as I read the director’s note saying he wanted this play to bring the community together.  To be something to talk with your neighbors about during the week after seeing each other at the show.  I thought how this lady and I have another link in a chain toward a relationship after seeing each other at the show.

So we laughed, at one point so hard I nearly cried, we cheered and we watched Shrek marry Fiona.  Then it was very late, and time to head home.  As I got Clara ready to leave, I noticed that she was missing earmuffs and gloves.  Again, this would have been cause for high levels of stress for old Lori, but this Lori knows something.  It’s not a big deal.  I knew where they had to be, Olive Garden. And I knew, even if not there, it was just earmuffs and gloves.  My daughter is not short on cold weather gear.  As Chase’s car was still at Olive Garden, he suggested we not delay and just retrieve them while we dropped him at the car.  A sign on the door said, no re-entry after 10, but I knew they wouldn’t be yet really closing, people were still eating there after all, so I snuck in.  They hostesses were so nice and had Clara’s stuff waiting for her.

Going to bed at the end of the night, I was amazed at how well the whole night went.  There were so many triggers for stress.  But everyone involved chose to remain relaxed, everyone chose to have a good time no matter what.  And it was a magical night.  A night full of only good memories.  A night that brought us closer as a family.

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I have been excited about today for a long time.  Right now I am working to stop seeing the upsets and see today as still a very fun and exciting day.

The Dream:  Knowing that Chase would most likely be home today I bought matinée tickets to see Shrek the Musical.  I knew the whole family would love seeing it.  The matinée time was perfect, we could go to first service at church, eat a quick lunch, see the show, have a dinner someplace nice downtown and be home and in bed at a decent hour for Chase to work on Monday and the kids and I to do school Monday morning.

The first road block:  Impact Eagle River.  So I love Impact Eagle River, I think it’s awesome that our church is up for closing the church doors and going out taking care of the community.  However, the announcement for which Sunday Impact Eagle River would be wasn’t until after I had my tickets.  I decided no problem.  I’d wait for Chase to get home, then we would choose a project we could do as a family and possibly leave a bit early to prepare for the show.  No big deal.

The second road block:  Someone in their infinite wisdom decided that the weekend would be the perfect time to reverse DTS.  I know scheduling this can be a big, hairy mess, there are regulations and several moving parts, and blah blah blah.  I’ve sat with a commander trying to figure out how to do what needs to be done and respect the need for soldiers to spend time with their families.  It’s messy.  I wasn’t there this time, so I don’t really know what went down.  However, as I see things, I’m not overly sure how family fit into the picture.  The days the men were completely given off were weekdays.  Days that children would have to go to school, and most working wives would have to work.  The first couple days off, were days off for everyone, but the guys had to go on base to sign in, that’s not really a day off.  So then when they were able to have a complete day to themselves, it was really a day to themselves.  Who knows, maybe some men like it better that way.  Then we get to the weekend, when families could really spend time together.  That’s when the soldiers have to go back to work.  And people in high places wonder why the Army is so hard on families.  Let me tell you, as a family member, I feel like family is priority last right now.  Yeah, my family dynamic is different from most families.  We have been able to be flexible.  Homeschooling, we were able to take the week off and just have Daddy time.  Homeschooling, I work from home and make my own hours, so I was able to enjoy my husband.  My biggest complaint is that my husband could no longer participate in Impact Eagle River and we had to get new Shrek tickets.  This road block more pisses me off for everyone else.  Everyone out there living the lifestyle that feels like it’s being pushed on us, especially here.  Put your kids in school because they need the socialization.  Too young for school, put them in a CDC, anything but keep them at home.  Go get a job because you need your own identity. Of course, if you don’t need the money from a job, you need to volunteer and still have a full schedule.    Someone seems to have forgotten that in a world where you move every couple of years and only family is constant, family needs to be a value that is appreciated. Yet, we will wonder why the Army divorce rate is high and why military children tend to have issues.

Road block number 3:  So I’d been wondering to head off to church in the early morning hours (okay, nine but still earlier than Chase would have to be leaving for work), or spend time with my husband in the morning.  A late night upset tummy answered that question for me.  I will be spending my day taking it easy hoping and praying that whatever came is gone for good so that I can enjoy the evening performance of Shrek.

From the dream we now have reality.  A day spent working hard to not be sick.  Possibly no time for going out to dinner, and eating leftovers.  And the last show of Shrek.  I’m not as worried about the lateness of the hour, but I am remembering how the last showing of a show went in college.  I’m hoping that a professional company would have more…well…professionalism.  But lingering doubt has me remembering one of the directors saying it’s how show business is done.

Okay, real reality.  It’s a beautiful day.  The sun is shining and the ground is covered in snow.  I have all day to make my self look like I’m going to the theater.  If today is like yesterday, we should at least have time to meet Chase somewhere for fast food before going to the show.  And I get to go see an awesome show.  Sounds like a dream of a day after all.

Before long Married to the Army Alaska will be airing. Teaser clips are up on YouTube. I have to say that while I struggled with not even making the cut to the official phone interview, I am now so glad I didn’t make the cut. I love blogging, where I have control over what is seen, and how it’s seen. I try to include the good, the bad, and the ugly. But it’s all real and authentic. You don’t have only the five bad moments and have the fifty good ones cut. Now, I don’t know what the show will be like, but I’m pretty sure the show will leave several of the wifes saying that what is seen is not an accurate portrayal of her. Or maybe not. Since the show has not aired yet, and I don’t have cable to see it when it does air, I can’t really say if it’s what my life is like or not. However, since my husband came home we’ve been watching Army Wives, we are a couple of episodes into the second season and I can tell you what from that show is real and what is not so much.

I’ll start with the characters. First, is Claudia Joy Holden. I love her, and I love her husband. But every time I watch I thank my husband that his job is not one where politics come into play. It would be rare (or me doing something totally outrageous) for my actions to be scrutinized to the point where a promotion, or a job could hang in the balance. The public will not look at my husband as a leader, so I will not be looked at as the wife of a leader. My husband says that an officer always has the choice whether or not to put the pressure of the public on his wife, but he also puts his ultimate trust in God, not in the system. The truth is, the episode where she had to kick her friend out because of possible press issues really isn’t that far off. There are many officers, and even NCO’s in the military who know that what the family does reflects on them, so they put a lot of pressure on the family to be perfect. The kids must know Latin by the time they are twelve. The sons must excel at football. The daughters must watch who they date. The wife must be involved in the FRG, the spouse’s club, and all sorts of things on post. And she must always act with grace and poise. I’m pretty lucky. My husband takes the attitude that he joined the Army not me, so anything I do is up to me. I decided this year to take time off from PWOC and the FRG and the wives coffee, and my husband didn’t worry that would take me away from all the good spousal networking I could do for him. He’s okay that even when I did all that stuff I never logged into VMIS, because I don’t care about the awards and recognition from the garrison commander. He doesn’t care either. What I do is for me, and only me. Not saying a little spousal networking is wrong, it can be done in the way of Claudia Joy, with grace. Just glad that I don’t have to worry about it.

Denise Sherwood. The good girl. She does everything just by the book. Chase laughed the first episode when she answered the phone “Major Sherwood’s residence.” Yeah, I remember when I read that part of the handbook. I think I may have even asked my husband if he wanted me to answer that way. He seems to find the whole thing a little pretentious. I’ve been told, that if I do start trying to follow that rule, I get lectured that most people just say “hello.” In the first season she is hiding that her son is beating her while her husband is gone. Now, no one would actually say that she should hide that, but Army wife culture would say that she did everything right. You hide your problems from those around you. Stuff like an abusive son really could hurt the husband’s career. Someone might wonder if he got the idea that hitting was okay from the dad. Others might questions the father’s ability to lead if he couldn’t control his son. So family problems stay in the family. Secrets are big in the military. Us wives are also told that while our husband is gone we should tell him what he needs to hear so that he can concentrate on his job, not worry about us here. Kids doing bad in school? Don’t tell him, if he’s worried about the kids, he can’t focus on his job. You just got fired? Gloss it over. Car got repo-ed? Tell him when he comes home. Don’t even tell him you miss him, he needs to think everything is working as smoothly as clockwork in his absence. I honestly hope this is being told to wives less and less because it’s wrong. First, he needs to know you need him. He will have a hard time coming home if he thinks he wasn’t even missed. Second, he’ll find out you are lying at some point. Either he can hear it in your voice, and he wonders what’s up. Or he will come home and find his life turned upside down, like Major Sherwood did. For a guy who is deployed, trust is huge. He has to trust the guys he works with because his life hangs in the balance. A breach of trust is just about the worst thing for him. And it takes more than a few episodes to bring the trust back. For many families the lies and the cover-ups are the kiss of death. It’s sad because it’s what we are told to do. I think it would be better to tell wives to woman up and take care of business, and then share what you are going through with your husband. Miss you husband, but go on with life, so that you can truthfully tell him I miss you, but life is going on. Pay the bills so that the water doesn’t get turned off or the car repo-ed. I heard a story of one wife who just put all the bills in a shoebox while her husband was gone. You can’t do that. It’s hard. It’s really hard to do your jobs and take over your husband’s jobs as well, but it must be done. Sometimes, crap just happens. The dishwasher breaks, a tree fell on the car, whatever. Have a plan, then tell your man about the issue and the plan. He may come up with a better plan, but he won’t have to worry about it if he doesn’t because you have a plan. It doesn’t have to be the best plan, it may be washing dishes by hand, but at least he knows you’ve got things covered. And he doesn’t come home to a bunch of surprises that will throw him for a loop.

Roxie. The naive new wife. I’ve had moments I want to call up a commander and complain about treatment my husband has been receiving. I’ve been known to want to explain to the commander just how his dumb ideas are affecting my husband’s life. Never done it though, and my husband is eternally thankful. Not that as FRG leader I never argued with a commander, but that was on behalf of all families and soldiers, not just mine. I’ll also admit to having my days of staying in my pj’s all day long, not wanting to leave the house in case my husband calls, and all that stuff. However, it’s up to the wife to put her big girl pants on and get over it. She can’t run to the XO to get reassurance before she moves on. But I love that she never got the rule book on how to behave. She and her husband make up their own rule book as they go along. I think we’d all be a lot more authentic and grow a lot closer as military wives if we followed their lead.

Pamela. My husband isn’t SF, and I am every thankful for that because he can talk with me about what he does. We grow closer and bond over that. I think it was good for the both of us to talk over the June 1 attack together. What he felt, what I felt. I can’t imagine knowing that my husband must be seeing and doing some of the most emotional challenging things in the Army and not being able to help. I did find it funny that she was one of the wives in favor of the wife going to congress for an investigation into her husband’s death. I totally agree, but as an SF wife, her husband’s death would be classified and she would not get any answers.

The Burtons. I was yelling at the tv when Joan asked her husband what he would have done in the situation with the little girl. Even before he answered. “The right answer is ‘I don’t know!” He blew that one. So I’m telling you now, if you haven’t even been to basic training much less haven’t been deployed, the answer is “I don’t know.” You dont’ know how you would react in any situation. You might know what you’d like to think you’d do, but honestly, you don’t know if you’d pee your pants and cry for momma if you had to deal with any of the stuff our deployed soldiers had to deal with. Correct answer is “I don’t know.” Period. He could have also been logical and told her that if she’s tried to save the girl she would have given away her and her troops position and then they would have all come home in a box. Remind her that it’s one thing to want to be a hero, but her mission is to make sure that our guys come home alive with all parts attached if at all possible. Just saying.

Mrs. Baker. The sad thing is that she does exist. The wife that is so entrenched in the culture that she will say or do anything to get the next promotion. A promotion for him is a promotion for her. Yes, there are totally women who would step on anyone to get her way. There are also officers and NCO’s that feel the same way. I could tell stories. But I won’t.

The soldier who blew up the hump bar. Most soldiers don’t beat their wives. Most soldiers have more control than that. However, with the culture of cover up and secrets in the Army, you never know, usually until it’s too late.

What else about the show? I’ve yet to be in a FRG that involved. But I think the show shows what a FRG is supposed to be, but just isn’t. Never been to a Jody bar, but know that’s what some wives do. What Pam said about making friends fast is true, you don’t have time to ease into relationships. Then when you do, you hold fast, you have your gang, like the spouses in the show. I’d say it’s unusual for there to be such diversity in spouse’s rank, but my best friends is an NCO’s wife, and well the whole bonding by birth in a bar does give a plausible explanation for them all choosing each other. Life isn’t that much drama, but who wants to watch a show where the most excitement is changing yet another poopy diaper?

I’m sure there is so much more I could say, but I think that’s enough for now.

Another post from the past.  Thinking about leaving our last house makes me think about how much I will hate to leave here.  But here has been so wonderful, I know that our next post will be great. 

 

Can I just start by saying that I have the best husband ever?  He is so supportive of me.  He’s so supportive of me writing this.  Yesterday, after all our stuff was packed and we were done with moving stuff for the day he tells me that I can use the laptop for writing my notes, I don’t have to worry about using my I-Pod.  Not that there was any reason that I couldn’t use it, I just wasn’t thinking about it.  It was also out of the blue, he was just making sure that I would be able to do my thing and with as much ease as possible.  Tonight, he got off the computer so that I could write.  I think that is so cool.  He’s also wonderful because he’s totally down with me hanging at the hotel with the kids while he and Amber clean.  Not that this isn’t the best idea, at the house I would be spending the whole time keeping Clara from making more messes, but it’s still cool that he’s so cool with it.

 

All but a few things Chase will pack in the van tomorrow are out of the house.  I all but sobbed as we walked out of the house tonight.  It was probably the last time I will see that house.  We had some good times there.  Looking at the back door I could see my tree.  What made that tree special?  It’s the first real tree I set up without an “expert” (meaning my dad or Chase) there.  I had Xavier because as I learned setting up a tree is a two man job.  It was also the biggest tree we’ve ever had.  I had to stand on the step ladder to do the lights and the angel.  Looking up at the catwalk I could almost see little legs hanging over it.  I can remember the mornings I thought I was up before the kids and I was doing stuff on the computer, but though I couldn’t hear a thing I just had this feeling I wasn’t alone.  I’d turn around and there would be Austin.  We had a short time there, but it was a good time.  We had so much fun.  It was also my last goodbye for this town.  My time in here really is over.  This was a great summer.  But as much as I will miss it, I am ready to move on.  This has been a vacation, but I’m ready to get back into things.  I’m ready for Chase to have a unit and for me to be a part of the FRG.  It’s time to be involved in a church for the long haul.  It’s time to make friends that I know I can return the favors they do for me, I won’t be leaving before they can cash in their IOUs.  I have to admit, I am leaving in debt to many neighbors and friends for bailing me out when I needed it.

 

I’m so tired I honestly don’t know what else to say.  I know there is much more to say, but my brain has checked out.  I also need to help my daughter find rest.  It will be found, she will learn to deal with sleeping in a hotel room quickly because this will be a long trip if she doesn’t.

So, first I must brag, I love when I’m getting my netbook out and my husband asks if I’m writing and then says “cool.”  It’s so good to know that he supports me in this.  I would not do this without that support, and I honestly have fun writing.

Today was a great day.  Yesterday, not so much, which made today even better.  Yesterday, I woke up feeling cruddy, and after a visit to the doctor’s office in the morning, I basically slept the rest of the day away.  Ending with going to bed feeling worse than when the day began.  Today, I woke up feeling still a little off, but a big day was planned and there was no time for being sick.  So I just went with the day.  Still not feeling 100%, but oh, so much better than yesterday.

The first activity of the day was a Hispanic Heritage event on the Air Force side of the base.  Julie was going and I decided that we would attend that instead of doing our usual Friday workout.  My original plan was to head to her house and the caravan over.  I still get super-duper lost on post (remember the air show) so I knew I would need help finding my way to Hangar 1.  So when Julie called at 5 till 1 saying her husband had to be there an hour early, I did the math.  The event started at 2, so they were leaving right then.  My plan to follow someone was toast.  Plan B, in our old van, I knew exactly where the JBER map was, the hangar had to be on the map.  Don’t know if it was or wasn’t, the map was one of the things I still have moved into our new van, along with a trash receptacle and a box of Kleenex.  So I headed out.  I knew where the air field was, and used common sense to deduce the hanger would be near the air field.  I’m still in shock that worked.  I found the hangers right away.  Then I had to determine which hanger was which.  I’m eternally grateful to the man who invented cell phones, they come in very handy.  I called Julie who stood outside the correct building, and I got there.

Okay, so I went for the food, and cause Julie went.  I figured there would be a speaker.  I also figured the speaker would follow in the tradition of most speakers I’ve ever had to listen to and be long-winded and boring.  The dude that spoke was awesome. He talked about growing up in Mexico, then coming to the United States and hearing about how we are “45% Irish, 30% German, with a little of the Netherlands thrown in” (so not an exact quote, but you get the jist, right?).  That got him thinking about Hispanic culture, and how even as Mexican, there was a lot thrown in there.  You have the Aztecs, and the Spanish, but then with the Spanish you get a lot of Muslim influence because Spain was controlled by Muslims for a long time.  He taught us that Spanish words that start with “al” are from the Muslim influence.  Then he talked about coming here.  How after like a week or two or so (I’m so bad with details, I should have taken notes) he had a job.  A job that was supposed to be temporary and has lasted him the past 11 years.  Then he talked about wanting to give his kids, and our kids, his grandchildren and our grandchildren the same opportunity.  And then all of a sudden he was done.  I so wanted more.  I could have listened to him talk culture and community for a while longer.  But after that was the Mexican food, so I stopped complaining and stuffed my mouth.

Chase was supposed to meet us there, but he still hadn’t come.  I was bummed that he was missing out on the food.  Then I remembered all those times he’s brought back a plate for me.  I did something then, I rarely do.  I got a plate of food to take to him.  And then he came, so it wasn’t needed.  But I’m still a little proud of myself for thinking of my husband, and trying to do something nice for him.

After that we went to CR as a family.  I’m so glad my husband went with me.  Even if he doesn’t keep going, that he would try out something so off the wall as CR, just because it means something to me.  I have the best husband.

When CR was over people were saying the Northern Lights were out.  We all ran outside to look.   My children, being my children, went saw, and immediately ran in to the snacks.  Chase and I were so excited we decided to drive up Mt. Baldy (along with half the local population).  They were so amazing tonight.  I have seen them once before, and that time they faded and changed.  Tonight they danced with movement and changing intensity.  It was amazing.  I was so glad to have my husband home.  With him home there was no question, do we drive up Mt. Baldy in the dark, with bunches of cars and other people all around, we just did it. Plus, even with all the other people around, it was awfully romantic holding hands in the dark.

All my crazy fears about redeployment were that, crazy.  Everything since I picked Chase up Saturday morning has been wonderful.  We’ve been so relaxed, and happy, and in love.  I could go on and on, but I’m sure you don’t really want to hear me gush over how much I love my husband and how happy I am that he’s home.  I do tell him though.

I think a lot of it is that I’m different.  Chase is different too, but I am very aware of how I’m changing, for the better.  Like yesterday, when Chase was out doing outside work.  I wanted to be out there with him.  I wanted to work alongside him.  And I wanted to have all that stuff done in the past so that he didn’t have to do it.  First, I can’t change the past, so worrying about it wouldn’t matter one bit.  Second, I made myself relax, telling myself that while Chase was gone I was doing the best I could taking care of myself and my kids.  The stuff I didn’t do…well, it was okay that I didn’t do it.  Chase wasn’t complaining that it wasn’t done, he was just doing what he does. Taking care of things. Third,  I would have been outside more, but my back hasn’t yet completely healed, and yesterday was a really, really bad back day.  So I stayed inside and rested my aching back a lot.  And that was okay.  I was doing what needed to be done.  In the past I would have let all that guilt consume me, and I would have transferred my feelings to Chase.  In my head, me being upset with me would lead to Chase must be upset with me.  But this time I stopped myself.  I told myself that if Chase was upset with something, he’s a big boy, he can tell me.  So until he tells me, I will not assume he has bad feelings.  This enabled me to treat him like he’s a wonderful provider and love on him for what he did, instead of trying to manage a fight Chase never signed up for.  In fact, I’m working to let go of all preconceived notions, or things that others have told me, and only listen to Chase when it comes to our relationship and our marriage.  If he hasn’t stated his feelings about something, I’m not gonna assume I know how he feels.  I will let him speak for himself.

I’ve also stopped second-guessing myself over everything.  This kinda ties to letting Chase speak for himself.  I don’t have to try to figure out in my mind what he wants.  I already know what he’s already said, and if something is new territory, we will find out together.  So now I speak and act for me, and let him make his own decisions instead of me trying to figure it all out myself before speaking or acting.  It’s funny, I think God must have made us for each other.  My natural instincts tend to be what he wants.  In the past I have denied us both that because I’ve talked myself out it.

I’m happier and more relaxed that I’ve ever been, and I think Chase is too.

Another post from Facebook. 

 

Oi, today has an adventure.  It’s what I’ve asked for so I ain’t complaining (too much).  I am just tired.

I just experienced the best day two of packing I’ve ever had.  And I’ve learned some lessons on how moving ought go as opposed to most of the lessons I’ve had in how moving should definitely not go. One, the packers should pack a full room at a time instead of moving from room to room so that it looks like they’ve mostly packed several rooms, but at the end of the day you realize that no room is finished and some are only barely started and every room is a mess and you can’t do much of anything.  Yep, before they move to another room the room being packed should be ready to load on the truck. They have an easier time doing this if you have removed all the stuff you will be needing for the move out of the room before they start.  Second, if doing a multi-day move, have the people who load the truck come on the second day. The house becomes much more livable with all the boxes removed from the house and you can begin cleaning with  furniture and boxes out of the picture.  Third, if you have kids, find someone to watch them during the packing/loading process. Fourth, when you see that the person you love is reaching extreme levels of stress, reassure him; he should return the favor.

 

I could start my stories from the day with the one about Chase’s cold-weather parka, but because I love him, I’ll be good.

 

The kids were with us today.  They did pretty good considering.  The morning before Chase returned from clearing post was tough.  It was cold outside, most of their stuff was packed (in boxes and in bags that wouldn’t allow them to get into because I didn’t want them to get mixed in with everything else and packed in boxes), they had to stay out of the way of the packers, and by golly, their world was just turned upside down.  I felt for them.  I spent the whole morning with a Clara on my hip.  When Chase got home, we ate lunch and then I went to him and begged from an excuse to leave.  I did better than the last move when on the second day I went to him and said “Honey, the kids and I are out, we can’t be here.  I’m off, see you tonight.”  Yes, I really bailed on him.  I have a lot of excuses, Clara created more work than I could do, I was tired from staying up till somewhere between 2 and 4 in the morning cleaning an oven the housing inspector didn’t even look at, or I was just generally stressed.  But I bailed, leaving Chase to clean the house and baby-sit the movers (and those movers did need babysitting, the movers this time have done a great job of getting the job done).  I’m trying to be a better partner and I’m doing my best not leave all of that on Chase again.  So today, I ran errands that I knew Chase needed ran.  It was better for him to be at the house, he had more of an idea what needed to be grabbed before the movers packed it.  And I could take the little people with me. I will admit to having the urge to call Chase and tell him he’d see me in a couple hours and we’d go see Tangled, but I didn’t give it a second thought.  When Chase told me he had another errand for me to run I did do a happy dance.

 

I will admit that the first errand I ran was a total bust.  We wanted to touch up the paint in a few areas, you know, the spot where lots of cleaning had rubbed the paint off the spot where Clara liked to rub against when she had a loaded diaper, good times.  Don’t forget the walls she decided were too boring and drew some masterpieces. Well, no one knew what the paint color for our house was.  The landlord didn’t know, the builder must have had better things to do than return our calls, and the neighbors we asked couldn’t tell us either. Finally, we got a lead.  The guy who came after we moved in and touched up the paint way back then thought it was macadamia, but if we went to the paint store the builder’s used they kept the paint colors on file.  The paint store confirmed, macadamia.  Big, fat wrong.  I thought it looked off, but my ability to match colors is suspect, and everyone seemed to believe this was the color.  My instincts were right, it was not macadamia.  After Chase had painted a square foot of wall and let it dry just in case it might really be the right color we called the paint store.  They said we could bring in a sample and they would match the color for us.  Chase ran to a neighbor’s house to ask for a razor to scrape some paint.  It happened to be the one neighbor we didn’t ask about paint colors. Turns out he didn’t just know what the color was, khaki, he had some extra paint we could use.  Thank God for a happy ending to that story.

 

By 3:30 our house was 99% packed, they left our bed for us to sleep in, and I’d guess at least 70% loaded.  We are so far ahead.  Chase’s frugal side was telling him that we should stay at home and eat what is left in our fridge.  I’m so glad we listened to the side of me that said we all needed to go out to eat for dinner.  At 3:30 we were all exhausted and cranky and while we knew we were ahead of schedule, we were stressing over what still needed to be done.  After a long dinner we were all laughing and ready to keep doing what had to be done.

 

What had to be done included buying a car top carrier for our upcoming trip.  Those 5+ bags I packed weren’t going to fit in the van with 5 people and a dog.  We needed extra room.  Now, I am married to a do it yourself if you can guy.  He changes the oil himself, replaced the light bulb that went out in the van, etc.  However, somethings while do it yourself, need more than one person. This had led me to many projects that leave me thinking “and this is why sane people pay other people to do these things.”  Replacing the handles in the van doors was one of those. Today, I had another one of those, it was my adventure for the day.  I helped install the carrier.  Not too sure how we did, as we couldn’t drive faster than 50 on the drive home because the thing was bouncing so wildly it hit our sunroof. (Nothing was damaged.)  It could be that we need weight to keep the thing in check, it could be a design flaw, it could be a few other things that I don’t know enough about the things to know what’s wrong, or it could be installation error.  We will find out before we start our long trip.  We are not crawling at 50 all the way to Bellingham, WA.

 

So that’s been my day.  I should finish packing Chase’s stuff, but my back is twinging and I’m tired.  I’m thinking bath and bed.

Couldn’t post this when I wrote it, Op-Sec. But as Chase is home safe, here it is. Let me say, his home-coming was amazing. Everything I hoped for and more. I have an amazing husband, who is understanding and loving and just happy to be home.

So yesterday, I was all missing Chase, but I didn’t know when he was coming home. This morning I found out, tomorrow morning. I went from “I miss Chase so much, I can’t wait till he comes home” to “Oh my goodness, Chase is coming home and everything’s not perfect.” All my love and excitement fled as stress flooded in. That is so not the wife Chase needs to come home to. And I am trying my best not to be that person.

First, I just continued what I was doing. I was teaching Xavier. That was important. That needed to be done.

Second, I decided then and there, I wasn’t going to do any extra cleaning. I know it’s kind of crazy. But I knew if I was cleaning all day long, it would only add to my stress. Putting something away, I would see that something needed to be dusted, and then something else would need to be vacuumed. So other than my daily load of dishes and load of laundry, I have done zero cleaning/picking up today. I know that my husband will just be glad to be home, it would be nice if it were perfect, but home is what matters. Honestly, the house is not that bad. This isn’t the last time he redeployed when I hadn’t cleaned in forever. I’ve been keeping up with the housework. And by not cleaning, I am reminding myself I’m not the same person. So the floors aren’t vacuumed. So Clara left a puzzle all over the living room floor. So Xavier’s homework is all over the place. So Austin’s train is taking up the entry way. So I left school stuff all over the sun room. It’s just lived in, and normal, and okay.

Third, I worked out to get myself out of the house and hanging with a friend. Okay, possibly not the smartest thing to do with my back still hurting. But Web MD says to do what you can with lower back pain, and I needed the time with my friend.

Fourth, I went shopping. Soda, chips, and ice cream cake for my husband. I know what my man likes. I figure having those things in the house makes up for the fact that I haven’t cleaned the dining room chairs since R&R. (Cloth chairs and children may not have been the smartest buying decision I ever made, but I love those chairs.)

Fifth, I went to Celebrate Recovery. I think going may be one of the best things I’ve ever done. Learning to deal with my crap, even just learning to acknowledge my crap and face it head on, will make me a better wife. I know it’s making me a better mother.

Now I’m home. Home in my messy house. I’m going to let my house stay messy and I’m going to get a good night’s sleep so that I can be loving and excited and not stressed when I go pick up my husband tomorrow. And you know what. I’m okay with that. I’m finally relaxed and happy. I am no longer worried about things I really don’t need to be worried about. I know my husband is just going to be happy to be home and with his family, mess and all.

I sit here wondering how to describe today, what was important, or what was interesting.

The biggest thing is that I miss Chase more palpably than for the rest of the deployment.  He is nearly home, yet I ache for him more than ever.  The closer his arrival comes, the bigger the hole of his absence.  I think it is that his homecoming is so near, and yet so up in the air.  I don’t know exactly when he should arrive, just that his arrival is coming soon.  And in every little thing, I think of the difference his presence would make.  I begin to think about what dinner would be like with him again.  Dinner will be very different.  For the past months, I haven’t really cooked.  Ease has been the rule.  Making a fuss over food hardly seems worth it when feeding kids who would rather have peanut butter and jelly than Monte Crist sandwiches.  I would also rather have the time than the taste.  However, when Chase is home I delight in making fancy fare, as I know it will be appreciated.  I love seeing the gleam in my husband’s eye as he enjoys something I made just for him.  I think how nice it would be to have him to lean against for a minute as I gather strength for the next task on my list.  I think about how I want to look pretty for him.  I think about how much more fun Thursday night spa night will be with him.  I think of how goofy he’d be with the kids.  I think of how I can’t wait to see Clara kiss her daddy goodnight.  She wasn’t much of a kisser when he left.  That has greatly changed.  I think of how nice it will be to get his thoughts or guidance on decisions.  I think how I can’t wait for him to take over some of the stuff I’ve been doing.  I think of the plans I want to make with him.  It’s all so close I can nearly taste it.  That closeness only sheds light on how all that isn’t quite here yet.  But it will be here soon, so I go on with life, wanting, waiting, and anticipating.

Another old post. 

 

Today was day one of packing for the trek north.  The pros came and packed the second story of our house and the garage.  I admit to some trepidation that they left the entire first floor for tomorrow.  The first floor includes our bedroom, living room, kitchen and dining room.  However, these ladies were super high speed, so I’m sure they’ll get it done.  I’m also sure that we won’t let them leave until it’s all packed away.  I also packed suitcases with all the clothes that I believe the kids and I will need.  Right now we are at 5 suitcases.  That’s right, 5 suitcases for 4 people.  There is some room left in a couple of them for Chase’s stuff, but he will need to add another bag or suitcase for all his stuff (possibly 2 extra bags because he also has to pack his uniforms and anything he will need to sign in and do all his military stuff). It’s a good things we already planned to buy a carrier for the top of our van.  But even with that we will have a full van with 5 people and a dog to boot.

 

Packing for the unknown is an experience.  I don’t know if I have over-packed or under-packed. I’ll let you know when I find out.  For Austin and Clara I can’t imagine that I will need anything I don’t have packed, and if something comes up that we do need I will bet it’s not something we had to begin with.  Xavier picked out his own clothes and I didn’t realize until after the movers packed everything in his room  he is slightly lacking in long sleeve shirts.  Oh well, I may be making him wear dirty shirts, or wearing undershirts so the long sleeve shirts don’t get funky, which is more likely being that we will be needing layers by the end of the journey.  Hopefully, we will all have enough for our journey, but there will be stores along the way for the things that aren’t packed.  I have a feeling that I will be hitting a Kohls by the end of the journey for long underwear for Xavier and me.  The other three have some.  Chase was issued his and Clara and Austin have some pajamas that we will pretend are long underwear.  I also don’t know how long we will have until we get our stuff.  As we are taking our time making our way North, to include stop in my hometown that will last nearly a week (that is if we get the car to Atlanta on time and Chase doesn’t add anymore stops between here and there, I love you honey) our stuff may arrive in Alaska before we do. But we don’t have a clue where we are staying.  Haven’t been in this position in a while.  I’m hoping for a place on base.  We toyed with the idea of buying and haven’t ruled out the idea, but apparently even though we pay our bills on time and Chase has a guaranteed job with great pay because we have no debt we are a bad credit risk.  I was not amused when I told a lady at the bank we payed cash for our van (and everything else we own), she told me that was stupid and we should have taken out a loan and just payed it off really fast.  At this point I could jump on my soap box and rant a whole book worth about this subject, but I will end my home buying woes rant with another absurdity.  We could still qualify for a mortgage if we can show that we have payed rent on time for the past twelve months.  Our problem with this one, we have only been renting since April and before that we lived on base. Guess what, according to the regulations, because the money was taken straight from Chase’s pay and we didn’t write the check, the government gets the credit for paying our bill, and at this point living on base is looked at the same as living in section 8 housing.  Didn’t know that I spent the three years before moving here living in the projects.  So we may have to rent off post.  We have a few possible places in mind, but we don’t know anything about Alaska.  What will the commute from the different areas look like?  Where are the bad neighborhoods?  What neighborhoods are in the hillier places and we might just be stuck for months because I refuse to drive on an icy, sloped driveway?  We really need to see what things are like before making any decisions.  But I am not stressed about where we are going to live, God has a place for us, He wouldn’t send us there to be homeless.  And He knows our needs better than we do, so all we need is to make sure that we are looking to Him for direction in our house-hunting adventure.  So I packed for an unknown amount of time, to live in the very, very cold.

And now I am wore out and have lots that I should do, but I will admit that I will probably leave most of it undone for Chase do have to do another day. However, I am not worried.  We are in a much better position than we were when we were moving here and everything got done then.  And my wonderful husband will have help cleaning this time and more time between the movers leaving and our inspection.  Plus, I already cleaned the boys’ toilet today, so I do get some cleaning kudos.

I am looking forward to Friday.  When all the hassle of moving out is gone and I won’t have to worry about the hassle of moving in (and finding a place to move in to) because it will still be away off.  I have realized that moving is much like going through labor, it’s a huge pain, but once it’s over you forget how awful it was because you have something new to enjoy.  You have a fresh start that just seems to erase the memories of how much stress and misery were involved in getting there. On Friday, we will just have the journey to an amazing adventure. We will see a good friend that night and be going to my hometown to visit my friends and family.  Friday will be a good day that will make the stress and work of today and the next three days fade away to excitement about all that’s about to happen