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I have come to the conclusion today that I stink.  I am inherently lazy, bad at setting priorities, and generally stink.  My to-do list is ever growing, kind of like the pile of clean laundry at the bottom of my closet right now.  I feel overwhelmed by the little mundane things of the day.  While, life at the moment may not be all the way in the unmanageable category, it certainly fits the unmanaged category.  And I realize what slips through the cracks.  While I’m trying to balance homeschooling, housekeeping, laundry (which really does deserve its own category), exercising, and all the other cares of this world, God slips through the cracks.  So I’m praying all day long.  Talking to God constantly, but not listening.  Not reading His word.  To take a moment to just be in His presence, without doing, never.  Everything else comes with a deadline.  Dinner must be cooked before dinner time, or else we can’t eat.  Laundry must be washed before I run out of clean underwear.  Kids must be taught before they are old enough to go off to college, it may not be an immediate deadline, but as they grow so fast and there is so much for them to learn, that deadline looms like an impending storm.  But God, He waits.  He will not leave me if I ignore Him.  I won’t have hungry, therefore whiny children if I ignore Him.  My clothes won’t stink if I ignore Him.  And I forget that there are serious consequences of ignoring Him.  I slide farther away from Him as I ignore Him.  Hungry for Him, I become cranky and whiny.  I stink at life when I begin to ignore Him.

In the past when I’d notice this, I’d have a plan.  I would do X, Y, and Z, and get myself back on the right track with God.  It was all about me, and what I needed to do.  Well, at Celebrate Recovery, I have learned this is insanity.  Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.  The truth is, as hard as I try to make myself better, I end up here every single time.  Knowing how much I need God, yet pushing Him to the side.  The truth is that by myself I cannot clean up the mess I have made.  By myself, I cannot bring myself closer to God.  All the plans to read my Bible and pray don’t matter if I’m doing it for me.  So this time, I’m going to do my best and focus on God, not me.

I still have a plan.  But I know it’s not about my plan.  It’s about my God.  And I will read my Bible, not because I’m supposed to, but because it’s about HIm, and I need more of Him.  And I will pray, not to talk and try to figure it all out, but to just be with the One who can sustain me through everything.  And I will take a moment to remind myself, I am His, and that is all that matters.  It’s not about what I’ve done, or not done.  It’s about a God who loves me.

Wow, today has been the most normal weekday I’ve had since Chase has been home.  I’m looking forward to January when life should be full of them.  Okay, I’m more looking forward to December when Chase has block leave, so I get to spend tons of time with him.  But the prospect of normal life in January is nice too.  It’s not so much that Chase is home that has had me rushing about on week days.  Things just happened that way.  My back decided to have issues right before he came home, giving way to weeks of physical therapy that started the first full week he was home.  Then the kid’s dentist appointments were scheduled right after he got home, and the initial appointments lead to a bunch of other appointments.  Then everyone got sick.  Today was the first day I didn’t have to leave the house, either for groceries, physical therapy, dentist, orthodontist, or anything AND no one was sick.  I got to just do my life.  And I love my life.  It was a great day.

I got up, and didn’t have to rush off anywhere.  When I wasn’t quite ready to leave my bed, I pulled out my computer and blogged.  Yes, the secret is out, I blog in the morning for the day before.  While I want to blog, it isn’t important enough to take time away from precious evening time with Chase.  I put laundry in the washing machine.  And not because I was on my last pair of clean socks either, this was pre-emptive laundry, not necessary laundry.  The kids and I ate lunch, and I didn’t have to hurry them through it.  They could take their time if they wanted to.  We got school work done.  And I got Xavier caught up on History.  We are still behind on Science, but we are caught up on History.  On a busy day, those two subjects get cut so that we can all remain sane.  I exercised, before Chase got home.  That meant more time for Chase in the evening.  At the end of the day, I could tell that life hasn’t been normal.  As I folded laundry washed today, the huge mountain of laundry that has been done out of necessity and then not folded mocked me.  I still couldn’t get everything done by 5, it’s a good thing Chase came home a bit late or dinner would not have been ready for him.  But give me a few more days like today, and everything should be running smoothly.

Now where to find those days.  Wednesday will not be one of those days.  Thanksgiving wasn’t planned until tonight, so I have to go brave the grocery store.  Next week won’t be with more appointments lined up.  December will be blissfully not normal with block leave allowing lots of time with my wonderful husband.  January, January should be normal.  That’ll be nice.

Aahhh.  Sitting by the fire and relaxing.  It’s another day when I feel as if I really haven’t accomplished much today.

I guess that’s another thing I should look at while doing Celebrate Recovery.  Why it’s so important to “accomplish” stuff every day, and why only certain activities fall in the list of accomplishments.  I really haven’t been lazy today.

The day started off at physical therapy.  I actually really like going.  I still dread doctors, but my physical therapist isn’t someone to be dreaded.  First, they play worship music in the office.  The music with the prints from Shane Lamb studios leads to a relaxing atmosphere.  (Shane Lamb is a painter who paints Alaskan landscapes, and I adore his work, by the way.)  Then my therapist is helping me to work toward getting me into shape with no condemnation.  Like, I know my posture is out of wack, but honestly, I’ve never know what to do about it.  While all my life people have told me “shoulders back,” no one has pointed out what muscles to use and how to properly make them stronger so that putting my “shoulders back” didn’t hurt and wear me out.  My therapist never said a word about poor posture, she just looked me over and said, “Now let’s do this exercise,” and then, “Use this muscle instead of that one.”  I get it now.  And my back adores her.  She’s teaching me a lot.  Since starting therapy a couple of weeks ago, I’ve managed to hurt my back a few more times, but it has never lasted overnight.  Plus, I’m feeling stronger.  I felt a bit indulgent going to physical therapy for back pain I could deal with, but I’m so thankful I’ve been going.

While I was gone, Chase had the day off work.  However, being Chase, he was working hard.  My garage is being turned into a home gym.  He’s been re-organizing our boxes out there and getting rid of stuff to make room for our gym.  He’s cleared space for a treadmill to go with my elliptical, and we bought mats today for the floor to make space for workout videos, yoga, and free weight training.  He even brought our extra tv out so that I can play videos to workout to or play DVD’s while I’m on the elliptical.  We just need another DVD player (actually a 3D BluRay player is on the list of stuff to buy, and the old DVD player will go out to the garage.  The kids are all excited about having a space to work out, and Xavier even put in 60 minutes on the elliptical today.

Well, I couldn’t be out done by Xavier, I decided that while in workout clothes from physical therapy I should do my daily workout as well.  I should really consider that an accomplishment.  Taking care of myself is important.  The energy and mood benefits from working out make it something I should do often.

After lunch, I recalled that tomorrow is November 6th.  A day that requires some preparation.  So I decided to prepare.

November 6th is a day I have been dreading.  I’m taking all three kids to the dentist.  I hate taking my kids to the dentist and the doctor.  It comes from my need to be perfect.  Because I’m not.  I feel as if I should be able to make sure my kids have perfectly sparkling teeth, and if they don’t have perfectly sparkling teeth I have failed as a mother.  Instead of seeing the dentist as someone who will help me in the goal to have children with perfect sparkling teeth by teaching me tools and tricks, I see the dentist as someone judging me as lacking and deficient as a parent because my kids do not have perfect sparkling teeth.  I’m working on changing how I perceive things, but it’s easier to be in denial than to deal, so I put the appointments out of my mind.  However, today, I had to remember.  With all three kids going in at once, the receptionist recommended that I print the forms and have them filled out ahead of time.  So I needed to get that done.  And I needed to find the insurance cards.  I got that done in record time, but I’ll admit that the doing of it added stress to my day.  Mostly because I still just honestly dread the dentist.

November 6th, also happens to be Tuesday, November 6th.  And if anyone out there doesn’t know, that means it’s election day.  In elections past, I’ve been registered in areas I’m just passing through, so I’ve voted for President, Senate, and House, but left most of my ballot blank.  What did proposition 12 (a hypothetical issue, I don’t even know what else was on the ballots elsewhere) have to do with me when I knew I was moving before it would take affect?  I didn’t feel as if I had much right deciding issues when I had no horse in the race.  However, I’ve been determined to be an Alaskan since before I moved here.  And have loved it here since I arrived.  We may leave, but this time knowing I’ll be back.  I care now.  Being that this is my town, my state, I want my say in all the issues.  But I knew nothing about the issues.  Tomorrow I get to vote on the fate of 19 Alaska judges, 18 of whom I’d never heard of before today.  I needed to study up on the issues.  That took hours.  I feel as if I’ve been cramming for a test.  But I am prepared to go out and vote.  I’m kind of excited, even if this is the fourth time I’ve exercised my right to vote this year.

So I did all that, but my laundry still isn’t folded.  My sheets are over-due for a washing.  The list of stuff I need to “accomplish” seems unending.  I need to learn to be okay with that.  I did what needed to be done today, and laundry can always be done tomorrow.

I’m sitting in my living room, enjoying the sun coming in the window.  I know it won’t be long before the sun won’t come up higher than the mountain, and that at this time of day we may have technical daylight, but I still won’t be seeing the sun.  For now, I’m enjoying it while I’ve got it.  I look around my sunlit room and see many things that weren’t here a year ago. The walls of this room were somewhat bare for a while.  Not completely bare, Starry Night, a picture called Shipwrecked, and a painting of the Arc de Triomphe adorned our walls. But that still left a lot of blank space.  We had stuff we could have put there, but we decided not to.

When we were first married we lucked out.  We hit the jack-pot for poor, still in college newlyweds.  My dad had recently remarried and moved into Sally’s house.  So we had a houseful of furniture at our disposal.  My grandparents had recently downsized so we got decorations.  Chase’s sister and brother-in-law also happened to live in the same town we did and were happy to unload stuff from their newlywed years.  We had a fully furnished, stocked,and decorated house.  It didn’t matter that all the posters were of places we’d never been, or that other than the Coke collection the decorations reflected other people more than us.  It was better than cardboard boxes and bare walls.  To this day, I am super thankful for the generosity of all those around us.  We had it good.

At some point though, it started getting to me.  I’d see things I’d like, and reflected Chase and I a little bit more, but our walls were full.  We’d walk into other’s homes and see their personalities in each room of the house.  People would walk into our house and ask when we were in Austria.  Never, we inherited the picture, isn’t it pretty?  I felt we couldn’t take the pictures down, it all had to go up.  We were so blessed to be given these things, I couldn’t turn my back on the wonderful stuff we’d acquired.  Then it hit me, these things were not priceless heirlooms being passed down.  We would hurt no one’s feeling if we thinned things out a bit.  When we moved into our house here, I decided that I would be more selective about what I put up and where I put it.  I love my grandmother’s egg collection, particularly the glass ones (they are pretty and sparkly), but the stone and marble ones did nothing for me.  So the stone and marble ones are no longer part of the collection.  Chase and I love American history, so we devoted one room to all the things we have inherited that depict that theme.  Other family heirlooms were relegated to the guest room.  I still love seeing them and having them, but as they don’t reflect who Chase and I are, they aren’t front and center any longer.  And the posters of places we’ve never been, only one ever graced my walls. That one was only up because it was easier to put up a picture than to pull the big nail out of the wall.

A big house with lots of wall space, and a determination not to put up what didn’t reflect us left us with a lot of empty walls.  It was refreshing.  The blank spaces were possibilities waiting to be filled.  And I could tell the story behind everything that was up.

It didn’t take long before we found stuff to fill some of the spaces.  Finding was the easy part.  Narrowing down to what would fit and what we could afford, that was the hard part.  With hopes of extending, we devised a six-year plan to get all the Alaskan art we desired.  First, came a downtown panorama of Anchorage.  Next, a poster of Denali.  We were given a couple of posters that we loved and just needed to be framed.  However, these posters, I have determined, were made to be the most awkward size for framing, so for the longest time they were left, rolled up in a closet.  That was before Chase deployed.  Suddenly, it was R&R and I still hadn’t made any progress in the framing department.  After Chase left again, I lit a fire under myself and took those posters down to Hobby Lobby.  One poster I cut to fit a pre-made frame, and for the other, I sucked it up and paid for the custom frame.  While Chase was home on R&R, we found our next big art purchase.  Still on the six-year plan, we decided that The Cave would be this years major purchase.  The week after Chase left, I did the budget, found the money for the picture, and soon another wall was no longer bare.  Then, the day before I went to the state fair, our six-year plan bit the dust, branch said “don’t know where you are going, but you can’t stay here.”  I made a large withdraw from the ATM the next morning with the determination to find something on our list and get it at the fair.  The Shane Lamb booth provided the perfect opportunity to relive my wallet of that money, and two painting came home with me.  Since then, I have regained some perspective, we do have over a year left here, not everything has to be bought immediately.  However, as the temperatures fall, outdoor activities are ceasing, and Christmas is approaching, the art fair season has begun in Anchorage.  Last weekend we went to the Deninia Center.  There we did some research on the moose antler on my list, and during that time I fell in love with the carved whales the B Merry studio makes as well.  While we didn’t buy from that booth, yet, I did convince Chase we needed to purchase a photograph of Mt. Redoubt.  I was astounded to see a picture of my favorite spot (so far) in Alaska, and decided we “needed” it.  Well, the photographer was having a deal if we bought three, so a photo of the Northern Lights and one of the Matanuska at night also are awaiting frames before adorning my walls.  This weekend I wanted to visit the B Merry studio at the Made In Alaska festival.  I do so love their work.  I just have to decide exactly what it is that I want because I can’t buy it all.  At the festival, I found myself wanting something I had never even considered before.  Carved baleen.  The baleen of one vendor were spectacular. (Possibly because of their large size, I honestly thought it was about four feet long until we were putting it on our wall, it’s more like six feel long.)  It wasn’t on my list of what I wanted until I saw them.  Thnen one came home with me.  So now my walls aren’t quite so bare.  But it’s still refreshing as I love everything I have on them.

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

There are days that I don’t accomplish much because I just don’t want to.  Then there are days that no matter how hard I try to accomplish things, nothing still seems to get done.  I can make me wonder why I try.  Today is one of those days, but it’s only the beginning of the week, and the day it not yet half over, so I have plenty of time to recover.  But first I must share the saga of my morning.

It started last night when I came up to go to bed.  I turn on the light in my room, and startle a little girl sleeping on the bed, who in turn startles me because I had no idea she was there.  The little girl looks sleepily at me and says, “Mommy, I sorry I peed in your bed,” and then puts her sleepy head back down to fall back asleep.  At the words “peed in your bed” I went from half asleep to wide awake.  I go to my daughter, and behold, she is wet from the waist down and my bed is nice and damp.  I wake her, clean her, redress her, and put her in her nice dry bed, and then begin to tackle my own bed.  As I begin to get frustrated, I remember to count my blessings that it isn’t worse.  She missed my feather comforter which would have been basically ruined.  My washing machine works, remembering earlier in the year when I had children throwing up in my bed and the washing machine was broken, so I couldn’t wash the sheets and blankets.  Speaking of that, I was thankful no one was sick.  Thinking everything was cleaned, I went to sleep.  I woke this morning to the smell of pee.  Apparently, my exhausted self did not do a good enough job cleaning my mattress.  As I begin to clean my mattress again, I realise that the padding is too fluffy for my steam cleaner to work quite properly, it stopped sucking water when the mattress was still soaking.  Then I remember, this is no regular mattress, this is a Sleep Number mattress, all things can be taken apart.  I can take the affected part off and stick it in my washing machine.  So I begin to disassemble my mattress.  I could have just taken the top off, but at the time I thought all the material parts were connected, so I thought I had to get the bottom off too.  So instead of just doing the easy part, I completely take apart my mattress.  I unzip the top part, remove the foam layer, remove the foam pieces that go around the outside of the bed, remove the plastic pieces that hold the foam in place, detach the hoses from the air mattress, and remove the air mattress.  I am now an expert in how Sleep Number beds fit together.  After I have pieces of bed scattered across my room, I see that the top and the bottom have detached on their own.  At least I had the part I needed. After stuffing it into the washing machine, I determine that even though it fits, it may not be a good idea to wash it, stuff in the machine needs to be able to move about at least a little.  (And here people who know me are saying a prayer of thanks that I had that much common sense, as I tend to get myself into problems doing things that I think should work, when the average person can easily see that what I’m doing has “bad idea” written all over it.)  I extricate the mattress top from the washing machine, and proceed to hand wash the affected area.  I think the smell is gone, but I’m waiting until it dries and doesn’t stink to claim victory.  Now I’m praying that my methods were affected, and letting it go.  There is nothing I can currently do, other than tell my story because really, it’s kind of funny if you think about it.  With that done it’s time to try to go get something done today.

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  First there was the two weeks of Olympics where I did very little other than plop in front of the television and watch sports.  I figured there was only so much worthwhile blogging about that.  Then there was the week after the Olympics.

There comes a point in deployment where things just get ugly, at least there does for me.  Last week (not to be confused with this past week) was that point for me.  I get tired of life that’s just me and the kids.  I get tired of cleaning up after the kids.  The mess only ever seems to grow and continue, and does it really matter if it’s just me and the kids living in it?  Chase isn’t around to be bothered, and we never have adult company over here.  I get tired of being the mom.  Tired of telling the kids to clean up, do their homework, not fight, tired of being referee, nurse, and entertainment director.  I don’t want to be stuck at home, in a messy house, with my kids.  I want to go out.  However, being me, heaven forbid I let someone know I just need to get out and away.  While that would be a good solution, it would require asking for help.  Instead, I come up with my own solution.  Shopping.  It didn’t take long for me to buy all the items I had money for.  Fortunately, this deployment, I am on a budget, so I knew when I needed to stop. There was nothing left that needed to be bought, and I knew that I didn’t need to keep on shopping for stuff we didn’t need.  I knew how much I had to spend.  But then my solution for the problem of mid-deployment ickiness was gone.  However, there was a light at the end of my bad week tunnel.  Friday night Celebrate Recovery.  A weekly event where I get to hang with adults, and other people watch my children.  Just that was a break enough in itself.  But that’s not all, it’s also a place where I get to look closer at my hurts, habits, and hang-ups.  I can look at what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

Fast-forwarding to Monday.  Monday morning felt like a why do I bother kind of morning.  I had chosen Monday morning to make a few phone calls about stuff I would like to take care off.  None was satisfactory.  Two phone calls went unanswered, one of those messages has been unreturned.  The one phone call I did get through just left me wondering.  I spent a long time on the phone, and didn’t feel like I did much good.  I still have no idea when the sound system will be able to be fixed in my van (it’s not broken, it just doesn’t work as we’d like it to).  I fully intended to start school on September 3, it may be Labor Day, but it’s also the first week day of September, and with Chase deployed it’s not like we’ll be spending time with him.  However, I have no idea when my school books will arrive.  The worst part was feeling like there was nothing I could do to accomplish these things I really want to accomplish.  Then words spoken often at Celebrate Recovery popped into my head.  “I can’t, God can, I guess I’ll let Him.”  I couldn’t fix those problems, but God could.  I could worry and continue to not fix anything, or I could let God handle it and do something I could control the outcome of.  So I picked another project I would like to see completed before Chase comes home and began to tackle it.  My kids may not have the official schoolwork, but as we’ve been working on school through the summer, we would just continue what we’ve been doing until we do get the official stuff.  And while I was being their parent again, I made them clean their rooms.  Monday went from a day that I wondered why I bothered doing anything, to the end of the day looking around and feeling good about all I had done.  So for the rest of the week, I stopped focusing on things out of my control, and I started controlling the things I could.

While the sound system and school books are still up in the air, I did get to see something get taken care of this week.  One of the things I could control was putting the license plates on the van, or so I thought.  I went to go take care of it, and realized that I could not remove the rear plate holder.  I could have gone into stress over-drive.  I didn’t know what to do, and, well, as until this week, I had let them sit on the counter, the temporary was close to expiring.  I couldn’t do it, and didn’t know where I could go to pay someone to do it.  I can’t think of a place that advertises a specialty in license plate installation.  However, instead of worrying and hitting the gummy bears like that would install the plate and ensure world peace if I just ate enough of them, I took a deep breath.  I thought of what would actually be helpful.  I put a general SOS on Facebook.  I called a friend who might know what to do.  She offered her assistance.  When, after bringing my van to her house, she was as clueless as I was, I still didn’t stress.  I knew there had to be a solution somewhere.  Then at Celebrate Recovery, I saw a neighbor of mine, who I’ve seen rebuilding an engine in his driveway.  So I asked him for assistance.  And lo and behold, he was happy to look at my plate holder, and say we just had to get to it from the inside and offered to come by and fix it the next day.  And now my van is up-to date plate-wise.  No stress needed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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