Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Through the eyes of a child

Pictures curtosy of my 4 year old daughter. Isn't it interesting on what captures their interest.
Thank you for all your comments about the "what not to say" post. And I think we do need to have a post that says "what to say". But give me a bit to think on that.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

What not to say...

to a deployed spouse.

I got this in my email from a friend today, she copied it from another blog. Sorry I don't know whose, would love to give her credit. I thought it fitting with Dragonfly's husband's upcoming deployment. I know that it is difficult to understand the military spouse, its a tough job.

(I didn't write this, but definitely agree!)

So, the other day I was talking with a friend whose husband is also currently deployed and we started talking about the most annoying things that usually well-meaning people say to us regarding deployments. We agreed that we are always polite in our responses and that we realize that the offending person usually had only the best of intentions. But here's what we came up with as the things we get asked or told that really make our skin crawl. They're not in any particular order. Feel free to add some of your own in the comments as you wish.

1. "Aren't you afraid that he'll be killed?"
(This one ranks in at number one on my "duh" list. Of course we're afraid. We're terrified. The thought always lingers at the backs of our minds---but thanks, you just brought it back to the front. Maybe next you can go ask someone with cancer if they're scared of dying.)
2. "I don't know how you manage. I don't think I could do it."
(Though this is really annoying, I feel bad about mentioning it because I know that it is intended to be a compliment. Still, it's not like all of us military wives have been dreaming since childhood of the day we'd get to be anxious single moms who carry cell phones with us to the bathroom. We're not made of some mysterious matter that makes us more capable, we just got asked/told to take on a challenging job and we rose to the challenge.)
3. "At least he's not in Iraq."
(This is the number one most annoying comment for my friends whose husbands are in Afghanistan. As one friend put it, "What do they think is happening in Afghanistan? A huge game of golf? Guys are fighting and dying over there, too."
4. "Do you think he'll get to come home forChristmas/anniversary/birthday/birth of achild/wedding/family reunion, etc?"
(Don't you watch the news? No. They don't get to come home for any of these things. Please don'task again.)
5. "What are you going to do to keep yourself busy while he's gone?"
(Short answer: Try to keep my sanity. Maybethere's a military wife out there who gets bored when her husband leaves, but I have yet to meether. For the rest of us, those with and withoutchildren, we find ourselves having to be twopeople. That keeps us plenty busy. We do getlonely, but we don't get bored.)
6. "How much longer does he have until he can get out?"
(This one is annoying to many of us whether ourhusbands are deployed or not. Many of our husbands aren't counting down the days until they "can" get out. Many of them keep signing back up again and again because (gasp!) they love what they do.
7. "This deployment shouldn't be so bad, now that you're used to it."
(Sure, we do learn coping skills. And we figureout ways to make life go smoother while the guys are gone. But it never gets easy and the bullets and bombs don't skip over our guys just becausethey've been there before. The worry never goesaway.)
8. "My husband had to go to Europe for businessonce for three weeks. I totally know what you're going through."
(This one is similar to number two. Do not equate your husband's three week trip toLondon/Omaha/Tokyo/etc. with a one-year deployment to a war zone. Aside from the obvious trip length difference, nobody shot at your husband or tried to blow him up with an I.E.D., your husband could call home pretty much any time he wanted to, he flew comfortably on a commercial plane, slept between crisp white sheets and ate well, paying for everything with an expense account. There is no comparison. We do not feel bonded to you in the slightest because of this comment and, if anything, we probably resent you a bit for comparing a combat deployment to a business trip.
9. "Don't you miss him?"
(Like number one, this one gets a big "duh" from me. Of course we miss our husbands. If we didn't, we'd get divorced.)
10. "Where is that?"
(I don't expect non-military folks to be able to find Anbar Province on a map, but they should know by now that it's in Iraq. Likewise, know that Kabul and Kandahar are in Afghanistan. Know that Muqtada al Sadr is the insurgent leader of the Mahdi Army in Iraq and that Sadr City is his home area. Know that Iran is a major threat to our country and that it is located between Afghanistan and Iraq. Our country has been at war in Afghanistan for six and a half years and at war in Iraq for four years. These basic facts are not secrets; they're on the news every night and in the papers every day ---and on maps everywhere. You've had time to learn it. Do your part by at least knowing what is going on.)

THE WORST THINGS YOU CAN SAY TO A WOMAN WHOSEHUSBANDS COMBAT TOUR HAS BEEN EXTENDED I'm updating my list of things not to say. Onceagain, feel free to add your own "don't says" in the comments.

1. "At least he's not in Iraq."
(Once again, this one tops my list. If you've just found out that your husband's 12-month tour is going to be more like 15, you really don't care where he's not. All you know is that he's not AT HOME. And, once again, they're not playing a huge game of croquet in Afghanistan. There's a big ugly war there, too.)
2. "Well, at least he'll still be home for Christmas/Easter/anniversary/birthday/familyreunion/football season."
(Right. Thanks. That's what I was worried about. Forget IED's, I've been staying up at night crying because I was afraid he might miss Granny's birthday. Whew. Thanks for putting my fears at ease.)
3. "That's not so bad - only five/six/seven/etc. months to go!"
(This is the one that women whowere within sight of the end of the year-long tour have to hear. Sure, maybe he'll be home bySeptember, but he was SUPPOSED to be home in MAY! This one is almost as bad as...
4. "...You've gone this long, what are a few more months?"
(Screw you. That's really the only response I can think of for that one. If it's not so bad, why don't you and your husband (or wife) switch places with us?)
5. "What are you going to tell the kids?"
(Idunno. Let me see what Dr. Spock suggests on this one. Wait, you mean he doesn't have a chapter titled "Mommy and Daddy Weren't Lying to You, I Promise," or, "Daddy's going to miss your birthday again this year." Not in the book? Well, I guess I'll just have to tell them the truth.)
6. "That is so unfair."
(Yes, it is. I'll be sure to alert the fairness police. Maybe they can file a report.)
7. "Can't they send someone else?"
(Hey, nowthere's a thought. Maybe we should send all those soldiers who've just been sitting around for the last six years polishing their weapons? Oh wait, there aren't any. Americans decided that this war was only the responsibility of the people who volunteered for the military and there just aren't enough volunteers. Wanna go see a recruiter?)
8. "At least he's still getting combat pay."
(Not much I can say to that besides that it makes me ill.)
9. "Oh, I hate that he's going to miss Cousin Katie's wedding."
(You have any idea how manysoldiers will be missing THEIR OWN weddingsbecause of tour extensions? Trust me, of all the things he's disappointed about, Cousin Katie'swedding hasn't even entered his mind. I hate that he's going to miss EVERY FREAKIN' THING that happens in our lives for three more months.)
10. "What will you do to stay busy until he gets home?"
(Let's see, I can spend hours on holdtrying to cancel the cruise that I booked for us and then more hours trying to wrestle the cruise company into giving us a refund. I can call allthe people who had planned to visit us and tellthem to postpone their trips. I can stay up atnight consoling kids who are too young tounderstand why their daddy still isn't home, and then stay up even later trying to console myself. And I can spend a few more hours waiting in line at the post office to send more care packages. I don't think I'll get bored.)
11. "OH that can't happen he needs to come home now"!
(What? Excuse me? Do you think we have that choice? This one might not be as common but this seams to come out of the mouth of my mother a lot.)
12. "I heard on the news that they are trying to get soldiers home early, I think he is going to be one of them, (or) do you think he will be one of them."
(Again, what? Excuse me? First of all don't believe anything you hear on the news, they only tell you what you want to hear. And no they aren't coming home early, they are on orders. If anything they will keep them there longer! STOP ASKING!!)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Stupid Things....

Stupid things I've done today.

  1. Take Cold Medicine. Now normally this isn't a dumb act on my part, but when I fail to read the box, yeah, that's stupid. Stupid generic cold medicine, whatever Little Man had, he kindly gave me. So I took some generic cold stuff I had and low and behold, I'm drowsy. It's generic Benedryl. Go figure.
  2. Fall Asleep. I fell asleep on the couch while Little Man took a nap, for two hours. Not smart. I wake up to this, she has completely changed her clothes, a plate with a half eaten bagel complete with grape jelly (the jar is completely empty), milk on the table and floor as she tried to poor herself a glass. Red construction paper cut into pieces, she was practicing her cutting skills.
  3. Leave candy where Crazy Daughter can get it. I bought some candy for Big Guy, I can only find it in Michigan, so I bought about five bags. We are now down to four bags. Oh tonight should be fun.

Its been a tough morning, Little Man has been cranky and whiny but really is feeling better. I think the Benedryl has left my system, I'm not so muddled. It can only get better, right.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Up on the Times....

You would think I would have found this out before today, but nope, I am not as computer savy as I would like to think I am. How many of you use google reader, how really neat and wonderful to check on things getting updated. And why haven't I found this before today. *Sigh* So hopefully now I'll be able to read more blogs, faster and easier.

Little Man is sick, he had a fever the past couple of nights, which meant, he was in bed with me. I really don't mind one of the kids in my bed, because they have their side and I have mine. But when both get in, I get no sleep at all.

So about 7 PM, both kids fall asleep on the couch, get Crazy Daughter in bed, keep Little Man out with me (because he's in that fitful sleep and won't go to sleep on his own). He and I head to bed around 9, really early for me, but I seem to have this premonition, it will be a fitful sleep for me.

2 AM..... Crazy Daughter's door opens, the hallway floods with light, mama I have to go potty. For the next hour she's up and down, using every possible excuse to get up, I need water, Where's my bear? I'm cold. So about 3 AM I said fine, just climb into bed. I believe we finally all fell asleep around 5 or so. And where did I sleep? I gave up and laid at the end of the bed with a pillow and blanket with my feet off the end.

I really need a good night of sleep, I need Crazy Daughter to sleep in her own bed. Maybe tonight.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When it Rains....

Today it started pouring in my life. I know I haven't posted much this past week, writing makes me think and I didn't want to think about stuff yet. It's just been a depressing week, nothing happened, just reality starting to come on home.

Big Guy is coming home in about three months, don't get me wrong, I am happy to see him come home. But I am also nervous about living with him again, by April we'll not have seen each other for a year. I've gained so much independence from this deployment, and I've done quite a bit of growing, personally. Let me just say that his past year, our marriage has hit rock bottom, if it wasn't for the grace of God, I wouldn't be married today. So I'm nervous about our future.

And today... My in-laws are flying down from Michigan on Saturday to pick up his car so they can drive it back and sell it. I knew the battery had died, so I went out to jump it (after many frustrating attempts to get close enough so the cord would reach) in 6 degree weather, snowing, in my pj's. I start it, it runs for awhile, I turn it off and try to restart, nope.

I walk inside the house frustrated, and five minutes later, I look out the window and see steam billowing from the hood of the Jeep. My neighbor walks over and says "It's the radiator, see the big pool of liquid underneath the car?" I say, "As long as it doesn't explode". I went inside and IM'ed Big Guy "Would it be okay if we took a rocket launcher to the Jeep?" He was less than thrilled.

So car..... yeah, it's sitting in the driveway just the way I left it this morning.

And thirdly, we are moving. Not that that is a bad thing, I had expected Big Guy to get orders soon. I guess I was expecting someplace other than Texas, Ft. Hood. We've already been there, spent three years there, and it wasn't my favorite place to live.

It's not like we have a choice, but as of right now, I am not happy about this move. I'm fighting God on this one (I'll loose, I know) but this is not where I wanted to move.

I guess tomorrow Big Guy will find out dates of when we are moving, I'm expecting it sometime this summer. And I had a trip planned in june or july to Germany to Visit Dragon Fly, and what do you bet that this move will mess up those plans.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Culturally Different

I spent yesterday in Shipshewana IN at a hotel/in-door water park Splash Universe. Shipshewana is located in a predominately Amish/Mennonite area, so much so the restaurant located in the hotel is run by the Blue Gate Inn located in town and employes local Amish.

As I was in the water park, near the front just sitting holding Little Man, I noticed three ladies at the glass watching the crowd. And I stared back, watching them. All three I assumed worked at the restaurant, wore plain colored dresses, hair pulled up into a bun covered with a white hat and black socks and shoes. I wondered what must they think of us? All these young women wearing next to nothing bathing suites, walking around in the close proximity of men. We must all be heathens.

It is such a difference of culture, that I really never take notice of. Every so often I will people watch and see what people wear, are they conservatively dressed? And there is the every so often, What were they thinking, person. But I always wonder about other households, did their parents really let them outside the house in that?

And so we just stared at each other through the glass, both of us religious (I assume), both young women, possibly married with children, yet so vastly different.

And here's a picture of drunken Han Solo, he's passed out on the floor. Dragonfly, I don't have any of Leia, I didn't take as many as I would have liked. But enjoy.

Crazy Daughter getting off the slide, She LOVED the water park.
Little Man, not so fond of all the noise or water, this is one of the rare moments he was not clutching me.