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I love the holidays, but I am so glad they are over. I don’t want Chase to go back to work, but I am ready to get into a routine.  I have been so busy, I haven’t even had time to make New Year’s resolutions.  While I don’t have resolutions, I do have some serious plans for the next year.  My husband is home, we don’t expect to move for about another year, this is as normal as life gets.  It’s time to get down to business.  My general plan is to really live my life. Teach like it’s my job, cause even though there isn’t a pay check it is my job.  Really get involved in church and Celebrate Recovery.  Blog on a more regular schedule.  Exercise, any at all will do; I want to be ready to do it all this summer, it may be my last here.  Really, just continue the work that I started last year when I began to attend CR.  Nothing new, just really working hard to become the person God made me to be.

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So yesterday was the debut of Married to the Army:Alaska.  Today the second episode aired.  I saw the first episode, but as I don’t have cable and therefore don’t have OWN, I haven’t yet watched the second episode.  I will try to catch up as I have time.

I will start of saying I’ve had mixed feelings about this show for a long time.  When I first heard of the show, I thought this is a terrible idea.  Depending on the wives chosen the show could give Army wives a horrible reputation.  Pick the right people and the world will see us as slutty, sleeping around when the husband’s gone, stuck up snobs and social climbers who think we get the perks of our husband’s job and rank, and the possibilities are endless.  Then I thought, maybe if I was on the show I could give light to the average military wife whose life is full of diapers, laundry, and here in Alaska, snow.  So I put in an application.  Then it became apparent that I was not chosen, but an acquaintance was chosen.  Ohh, the jealousy I experienced.  I went from this is a horrible idea, to why wouldn’t they choose me.  Then the taping began.  I saw and heard of events that were happening, that normally wouldn’t happen, or normally don’t happen during deployment.  And I learned that while the wives may be real, this tv show is almost as scripted as Army Wives.  So, as my bs meter doesn’t tolerate as much as it used to, I thought it might be good that I’m not a part of that.  Plus the fact that while I learned to deal with all my issues of this deployment I didn’t have a camera catching all my awful moments, or someone asking me to explain what I was going through and asking if I could elaborate on my feelings and emotions.  Add to all that, I hate camera and microphones, and can write my feelings much better than I can speak them, the show and I would have been a disaster.  As the show approached, I still had mixed feelings.  There is some stuff that has happened during this deployment that I would really like to come to light, that probably never will.  Yet, I also want this show to go well, because let’s face it, it is me being portrayed even though you won’t see me on it.  Those are my peers, and they represent me.  Then there is the personal issue, this show makes me want to gossip.  I want to talk about the back stories that I know.  I want to talk about what I’ll be seeing.  I looked forward to the show airing and planned on using this blog to review the show.  At some point in there, I remembered that gossip isn’t good for anyone.  Not the gossiper, and not the listener.  (And when the gossiper is doing her gossip in a public forum, and her husband happens to work at the same base as the show being gossiped about, it’s probably not good for the husband either.)

So the show aired, and I was able to watch the first episode.  And then it seemed as if everyone I know watched the show, my Facebook page was full of people talking about the show.  As I know a lot of 425 and former 425 ladies, this should come as no surprise.  Again I was hit by something.  While the show might have been staged and scripted, the women are still real, and they still have real lives and feelings.  One woman became the person everyone loves to hate.  And again I was thankful to not be one the show.  I know that I have moments that I put my foot in my mouth and do something that eventually makes me want to crawl under the nearest rock.  Boy am I glad that the viewing public has never seen those moments and will never get to comment on those moments.  To see those moments on tv, and then to see what everyone is saying about them, wow.  People seem to have forgotten that we are only seeing the side of her that the producers choose to air, there might be more to her.  And she’s a real person with real feelings.

Knowing that these are real ladies with real feelings, I have decided that I won’t pass judgement on the show.  I won’t add my background info.  I’ll be happy to discuss the wives on Army Wives as they are characters.  I won’t be adding fuel to the fire if I comment on how Denise should have listened to me and kept a huge barrier between her and the doctor.  That it’s okay to seem old-fashioned and unfriendly to ensure that you aren’t lonely and looking for make companionship when your husband is deployed and acting like a bit of a jerk.  As they are fictional, no feeling will be hurt if I tell you why each character needs to go to Celebrate Recovery.  (That’s a running joke between my husband and I, when any character acts the fool we look at each other and say “You know what he needs?”  “CR”)

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 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.

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

After hanging up the phone talking to my husband tonight I burst into tears.  Not for the reason you might imagine.  They were tears of relief.

For the past month or so, I’ve been wrestling with a question of priorities.  I have limited time and energy to devote to everything.  I tell people all the time not to over-commit themselves, and pride myself on schedule with tons of “margin.”  “Margin” relates to wiggle room to do what God might be calling you to do.  Plenty of unscheduled time to focus on the important stuff like relationships and family.  Normally, I guard my schedule like a Doberman, nothing gets in.  However, as I looked at the upcoming fall, there are so many good things that I want to be a part of.  Without anything even starting, I was becoming stressed trying to get a schedule ready that would make it all work.  I knew I’d need to give up somethings, but felt guilty over it.  I felt like I still needed to do it all.

I haven’t told a soul, other than my personal journal about it.  I didn’t know who to talk to.  I didn’t want to bother my husband having to deal with being deployed and all the stuff that entails.  And I just couldn’t think of which friend to confide in.  So I was keeping it all in.

That is until tonight.  I don’t know what prompted me, other than the uncertainty bubbling inside me.  I guess I was just at a breaking point when I asked my husband if he was okay with me giving up one of the activities I wanted to give up.  The question just blurted from my mouth.  After that came a flood of I don’t think I can handle this either.  All the stress and worry came flowing out over the phone tonight.

My husband was understanding and listened, and agreed that I should refrain from over-committing myself.  We didn’t have long to talk, and I feel bad that I took up the whole time with my issues.  But I feel so much better now.  I feel a major sense of relief, having confessed my stress, and my solution to relieve that stress.  I no longer feel guilty about saying no to “good” things.  I feel empowered to make decisions that protect the time of me and my family.  I felt relief, so much so that I had to cry to release the rest of the tension that had been building.

This leaves me anxious for my husband’s return so that talks like this can become commonplace.  When we can discuss at length anything on our mind on a daily basis.  I’m so thankful for a husband who is thoughtful and understanding and I can bounce things off of.  I can’t wait to have him back.  It also leaves me thinking that I need to work on developing relationships with other people who can help me with this stuff.  It doesn’t hurt having multiple counselors, especially when the career of my main counselor takes him out of communication range every once in a while.

Today started off with the bummer part of R and R: having to send him back. Not only did we have to take him back to the airport, but his flight left at 1:30 am.  I was so proud of my kids.  They were very well-behaved at the airport.  Extremely silly, but well-behaved.  They love their dad so much.  Even though they were sad they were loving to each other, upbeat, and not whiny.  I couldn’t ask for more.  I guess part of it was that we all just had such a great two weeks.  They all got special time with Daddy.  They also know he’ll be home again soon, and more good times will follow.

The kids fell asleep on the way home.  I had a hard time getting them out of the van.  They all quickly found sleep in their beds once I finally got them out.  I, on the other hand, had a hard time going to sleep.  Our room was dark, and quiet and lonely.  I knew I was very much all alone.  Eventually, exhaustion found me.

As I had a very late night I slept in this morning.  I had every intention of having a very self-indulgent day.  I planned on only doing things that please me.  Life had other plans for me.  Poor Austin was very sick.  All over my living room.  I got to spend the afternoon cleaning the carpet.  It took forever to clean the carpet.  Although, it may have taken less time if I had checked the cleaner first.  The scrubbing brushes were missing, so there was no scrubbing action.  Just spraying and suction.  I didn’t notice the missing element until I finally got the carpet cleaned and wanted to wash the parts of the machine.  An important one was missing.  I put it back together, so it’s ready to go for any upcoming spills.  Although, for this bout of sickness I have Austin all taken care of.  Extra sheets on the bed, washable blankets, and towels on the floor between the bed and the bathroom.

I hope he’s feeling better tomorrow.  We need to get back to normal life.  Groceries, school work, and other miscellaneous chores await.  With all that stuff coming up, I need to get to sleep.  It’s hard though, my bed might not be empty (Austin’s in my bed as it’s the bed closest to a toilet), but it’s still noticeably lonely.

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.