We survived our weekend. The dutchkid was a perfect angel for the long day of driving. Our friends are doing well, and it was very good to see them. Sitting around, talking about some old times. I love it when you just pick up right where you left off, even if it has been a year or more since you’ve seen each other face to face. Dh and I even had some quality conversation in the car on the way home, which was nice. It seems so often that we spend our lives talking about the day-to-day nonsense of life.
On our way home, we decided to eat at a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant we used to frequent. It hasn’t changed a bit. I was just congratulating myself that I had managed to just enjoy the day without walking too far down memory lane. Then I remembered: the last time we ate at that restaurant was with a couple who we lost touch with long ago. C. was killed in Afghanistan, and afterwards my friendship with his wife was never the same. Our friendship had started disintegrating before that happened, my dh’s “failure” had changed things (or maybe just changed me)… but I don’t know that I’ll ever recover from the guilt of having my dh alive while hers was dead. We had struggled through infertility together, trying to cope with the stress of fertility treatments around deployments. I was newly pregnant at his funeral.
We kept in contact for several months after that, but by the time the dutchkid was born the phone calls had stopped. I often try to rationalize my reluctance to call her or even email by telling myself that if I were in her situation, I wouldn’t want to talk to me. I don’t want to torture her by trying to assuage my own guilt. I might have to try again one last time. Just to tell her we were there. How I remembered us laughing about the “mystery meat” tacos. How I remembered her and I sitting there as our dh’s joked with the waiters in Spanish. How I remembered him.
Published January 11, 2008
Everyone has disappointments in life. My method of coping with them is to try to make those cliches stick: Everything happens for a reason. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. In my mind, we are defined by our failures only in that it either sets you on a different path, or makes you so determined to make things happen that nothing can stand in your way. Some circumstances don’t give you that choice, though, it’s just that one way is no longer an option. And all those platitudes don’t make it suck any less.
Tomorrow we are making a trip to a place that dh and I would just as soon never see again. The setting for one of those failures, if you will. We have dear friends that have moved back there, true military friends of the rarest kind (the only reason I would ever go back to that hole in the ground). My dh would rather not go at all, but he thought maybe we should just get it over with. To make matters worse, they succeeded where we had failed. So while we love them, (and they try not to talk about it) it is torture for my dh to hear about a life that he once wanted. In my typical style, I hear about it and try to emphasize why that was not the right life for us. I would not trade if given the chance, whereas I think my dh would. It’s one of those hooah machismo things, I think.
I’m hoping the years will have healed some of that old wound for him. What I’m worried about is that it will be reopened. My tough soldier has a very tender heart, I’m afraid.
I had a meeting yesterday at the crisis pregnancy center where I teach the parenting classes. My co-teacher and I are scheduled to start the next round of classes in February, which I foolishly agreed last year to continue teaching even though we are moving.
Turns out that someone new has volunteered to help teach, and she’s even a nurse! The director is going to have her shadow us for a few classes. I am so glad that if necessary I can turf this off to someone else without feeling guilty about leaving the center stranded. As our move gets closer I usually need the extra time to get my crap together, so I was not excited about potentially teaching until the bitter end.
In other move news, it turns out that the housing of my dreams will not be a reality. We will be living in… (dum dum dum DUM) student housing of some sort. The contact person dh talked to said they call it “the barrio”. We are almost convinced it is the same housing we lived in before. The upside is that we are guaranteed a house as soon as he signs in, so we can do a door-to-door move, but the downside is that it’s most likely small and without any real yard. That would be hard on our dogs (and me, trying to cram all of our junk into a tiny space). Our BAH for the area is decent, so we’re thinking about living off-post after all. At this point I’m still leaning towards post. It’s only a year. I’m still holding onto a shred of hope that the housing is better than dh is thinking it is. We’ll hopefully hear more this month. I’m trying not to agonize over it ad nauseam.
Published January 7, 2008
Tags: routine, SAHMing, stress
I am so far behind in my “To Do” list I feel like I will never be caught up again. I wish I could say that this was unusual for me, but the honest truth is that since my dh came home in August I have felt like I have no time to do anything. When he was gone, as soon as the dutchkid went to sleep I had all that time in the evenings to myself to do whatever I wanted (and I am a night owl, too). So if I wanted to work on a project or sit on the computer until the wee hours I could.
Now, I have this husband around who thinks that I should spend time with him! (imagine that!). Plus a toddler who is not very good at entertaining herself… At the end of the day I’m exhausted, but haven’t really accomplished a thing. I feel pulled in a million different directions all the time. There is just not enough of me to go around, it seems. I don’t know how moms with many children do it! When we move I am definitely being more careful about what outside commitments I take on.
I’m hoping that the holiday disruption to our routine is part of the reason. This week finally feels like I’ll be getting back to normal again, mostly because dh is back to a regular work schedule. It’s nice when he’s home, but I need my groove back. Desperately.
Published January 4, 2008
military life , moving
Tags: military life, PCS, pets
There are lots of obvious consequences to being a military family (frequent moves, deployments, living far from family, etc). I often wonder about how it will shape us as a family, hoping for the good things that can result.
This sounds like a really deep post, but actually it’s about my dog. My older dog to be exact (the black one). We got him at our first duty station when he was just a puppy. He was for years essentially an only child. Beloved, pampered and lavished with attention.
Enter the military move. He handled the first one well, lost a little weight but adjusted after a month or so. The next one was to Ft. Bragg. The artillery rattled the pictures on my walls and he used to bark furiously to protect me (my dh was often gone). It went downhill from there and each subsequent move his neuroses seem to get worse. He stops eating. The fear of loud noises increases. Fourth of July is agony for him, and now we live in a state where fireworks are the norm on lots of holidays. It’s part of the reason we don’t go out on New Year’s Eve.
Yesterday he had a complete meltdown because the smoke detector’s batteries were low and so for 10 minutes (until I could figure out how to change the battery in the darn thing) he shook and followed me around, terrified of the little “beep beep!”
I don’t know how to help him. I feel awful that it seems to be the life we have chosen that has caused his misery. We got another lab several years ago to see if it would help, and it seemed to for awhile. I’m now very worried about our upcoming move.
People talk about the effects of the military life on your kids, your career, your marriage… Nobody warned me about this one!
Published January 2, 2008
Tags: photos, self portrait
After thinking about it since last night, I’ve decided to do the self-portrait project I mentioned in my New Year’s Resolutions. To give credit where it is due, the idea came from a friend on a message board who found the 365 days group on Flickr. I realized, too, that I had done something similar without realizing it during dh’s deployment. I took a daily picture of the dutchkid to email to him during that year (I just didn’t think to put myself in it, too!). I am modifying it a little bit, though. I will take a photo of myself every day for the month of January and then will probably go to one photo a week.
I think it will be good for my self-esteem, to be behind and in front of the camera at the same time. Some self exploration is a good way to kick off 2008.
I am still on the fence about accessibility of said photos. For now, I put a Flickr widget over there on the sidebar.
Published January 1, 2008
Tags: New Year's, resolutions
Since there are only about 2 hours left until it is no longer New Year’s Day I guess I should finalize my resolutions. I usually always make some, but forget all about them. Maybe if I post them up here, I’ll at least be able to look back and see how I did. I love New Year’s. Starting a new calendar just feels like wiping the slate clean.
1) I will run another big road race this year. Last year was the Army Ten Miler, and I haven’t run a step since. I’m thinking I might try for the Peachtree 10K in Atlanta this summer.
2) I am going to work on being more assertive in my life, to include being able to say “No” to commitments without feeling guilty.
3) I want to finish reading through the entire Bible. I have a Bible where it is divided into sections so that you can read it in a year Jan-Dec, but I started this late last year and then fell behind.
4) I have decided to lend my basic sewing skills to Sew Much Comfort, making adaptive clothing for injured service members. I received the seamstress packet over the holidays and after reading through it I think it’s something I can do.
5) Here’s where I’m not finalized yet. On a message board I’m on, someone was talking about doing a self-portrait project where you take a photo of yourself every day for a year. I’m not sure I’m up to doing that for a year… but I think it would be good for me. I’m thinking I might modify it and take one a week. Not sure if I will do it, and if I do, I don’t know if I will put a link up here or not… I guess I still have a few hours left to think it over!
Published January 1, 2008
Tags: kids, Learning tower, photos
My dh and I have been married for nearly 10 years. I’ve known him for quite a bit longer than that. I tend to think I know him pretty well. Until he pulls something like this out of his hat.
I’ve been drooling over this:
It’s called a learning tower (picture is from Magic Cabin). The dutchkid loves to play at the sink and color at the counter, but I’m always worried she’s going to tip over the chair or fall off. It retails for anywhere between $150 and $200. We were looking at the catalog, and he says to me, “I think I could make that.” I wouldn’t necessarily call my dh a handyman, he has done minor repairs on previous homes we’ve had, and has made a bookshelf before, but I was pretty skeptical. He is, however, frugal to the core, a true Dutchman!
He came up with this (!)
The dutchkid loves it, not only to stand on but also to play in as a house. It is a big piece of furniture, but I think it will be worth it as far as entertainment goes, especially since it only cost us a fraction of the price. My dh rocks!