31 August 2008

Empty House.

Swiss left today. No Labor Day off at the college. In fact, he gets to do a PT test tomorrow morning. I am bummed. I love long weekends with Swiss... Shucks. But we did have a wonderful weekend. I always feel lucky to have him, to have met him... but we had the most romantical Saturday. It was a beautiful summer night, not too hot, not too humid. We went to dinner downtown... someplace new, enjoyed the wine and the food and the company, then we walked over to a little bistro for our favorite dessert and wine... we came home and made a fire (in the super swell firepit he surprised me with a few weeks ago!) and we wrote our wedding vows. I swear, I am the luckiest girl on this planet. And not a moment goes by that I don't know it.

But now the house is empty again. It is sometimes hard to fathom how the house I bought on my own, the house that was so homey and perfect with just me in it, now feels cold and cavernous with just me in it. It feels less like home without Swiss. And that sucks.

Anyway, I will spend my day off watching the Army Wives marathon and trying to hone my drawing skills (thanks to Swiss and him buying me loads of art supplies and books and everything I could ever need to be a happy artist- he's the BEST!).

Have a great Labor Day internets!

28 August 2008

Finding out. (its a long one...)

So my previous post got me thinking about when we found out that Swiss was going to have to deploy. I remember that very moment so clearly. We were in a government van driving out to Fort Lewis. We were in Wyoming. We had just left Devil's Tower National Park and it was raining. And his phone rang. We pulled over and Swiss answered it. I knew it was someone important. I knew it was a serious matter. And then Swiss said "I understand Sir". And I knew exactly what was happening.

But let me back up a bit. Swiss was, and still is, at a ROTC position in the Midwest. He's been there for almost 3 years, the norm for this post. He had asked for an extension since he is so close to retirement and this current post has him close to his family and his 13 year old son. I was hoping beyond all hope that he would get it. Actually, I was sure he would get it. The power of positive thinking is what I told myself.

When he said "I understand Sir" I knew he didn't get the extension. And it was like a punch to the gut. In that very moment I knew that my life as I knew it would forever change. I would have to fumble through a whole litany of emotions and experiences that were totally new to me. And I knew I would have to do it alone for the most part since no one I knew was military and we live nowhere near a base. I knew I would have to put MY most precious commodity in harm's way. I knew I would experience fear like I had never known it before. I knew I would have to be stronger than I ever had before. But all I could do was cry. The tears came and they wouldn't stop.

Swiss got off the phone and told me what happened. We knew he would go to an Infantry unit, one that was sure to deploy. It was little consolation that his rank would keep him "safer" than he was the last time he went to the Sand. I cried, quietly, staring out the windshield into the rain (that sounds so cliché, doesn't it? It's the truth, I swear!). I tried to make the tears stop but they just wouldn't. Swiss asked me why I was crying, we knew this was coming. I didn't know what to say. My chest felt tight, my voice wouldn't form the words I wanted to say. I just cried. Finally, I was able to say that I didn't know it was coming. I was avoiding it, I wasn't prepared, I thought it wouldn't happen. Swiss didn't understand why it hit me so hard. But he had been through this before, I hadn't. We talked for a bit, he began to understand where I was coming from. My tears slowed to a trickle. We pulled back on to the Highway and drove to Montana that night. There were still tears during the rest of the drive, but I tried desperately to hide them from Swiss. I knew it was already hard on him, seeing me so upset would only make it worse. I got my first lesson on taking one for the team, for being strong when it was the last thing I wanted to do. I sucked it up as best I could.

We went out to dinner and a movie in Billings that night. We pretended like everything was okay, ignoring the deployment that was now looming over us. But that night I began to look at my time with him in a completely different light. Now those tender moments together weren’t just blissful, they were a commodity that was now soon to be fleeting, something to be coveted and cherished. We then did the only thing I know to do when things get hard. We got analytical. We sat down and made a list of all the bases, all the units he could possibly get assigned to. We looked at all the pro's and con's of each base, each unit, each potential choice. Light versus armored Infantry, Bradley versus Stryker, etc... We narrowed down the choices we would prefer, were we given a choice. And somehow that made me feel better.

We drove on to Missoula the next day, like nothing had happened. When the conversations slowed, my thoughts always went to the same place, and the slow, steady tears returned. I wore my sunglasses a lot those last days of the trip, even though it was always cloudy and rainy. Nothing was different, except that I held his hand tighter, I gazed at his face, his hands, his being longer, trying to sear every last detail into my brain, I held on to hugs longer, I drank every detail of every moment in. And I started praying again. I prayed that God would bring Swiss home safe and sound, get him and everyone else through this, bring him back the same man I will send away, keep me strong through it all.

We drove on to Seattle, filled our days with sightseeing and picture taking. We had a wonderful time. Then I had to leave, I got to the airport, said my goodbyes (which I have never been good at, I am a cryer, I can't help it). I went to my gate, sat down, and suddenly had nearly 8 hours of time to think ahead of me. Thoughts ran together, raced in my head. I was scared, I was clueless about the whole process and I knew it, I was terrified of what might happen, I was maybe even a little bit angry about losing so much control over our life.

When I finally got home, I did all I could think to do, call my mom and cry. Then I went to the library and did what any self-respecting scientist would do, I researched it. I got "While They're at War" by Kristin Henderson and it was a lifesaver. I started looking online for other military spouses and thankfully found SpouseBuzz… I say thankfully because they introduced me to the term "Anticipatory Greif" and let me know I wasn't crazy. I found Butterfly Wife and LAW and realized that I wasn't in this alone. I learned as much as I could about what I would need to know… and I am still learning.

The Sand.

I just read that LAW 's hubby has gotten word of a trip to the Sand. While I know this is the reality of military life, it still makes me sad. I makes me sad that someone else has to feel the lonelyness, the fear, the separation, the sadness of deployment. It makes me sad that another family will be forced to be apart, to miss out on all the little things. It makes me sad that someone else has to put their most precious commodity in harm's way for the benefit of the greater good. And reading her post brought up all sorts of feelings and emotions in me that I thought I had dealt with, at least for the time being.

So, to anyone else who is stading in the shoes of someone like LAW or myself: My heart and prayers are with you. We will all get through this. We will all be strong when we need to be, we will cry when we don't know what else to do, and we will endure. Most importantly, our loved ones will come home, safe and sound.

27 August 2008

Indecision '08.

Not a very clever title, I know, but so very appropriate!

I've been watching twee bits of the DNC on the telly, reading headlines in the news and of course watching the tidal waves of commercials between my intellectually stimulating television shows (hee!). And after all of that, combined with the primaries and the inundation of opinions and talking heads... I still haven't made up my mind.

I have NEVER been this undecided about a Presidential Freaking Election before. Every other time, even when I couldn't vote, I knew who my guy(gal) was. Not this time.

On every issue one is worse than the other... but it isn't ever the same guy. One step forward, one step back. I hate to even admit that I have thought about choosing not to vote. Which I think (maybe naively) is different than forgetting or not caring about the election process. I do care very deeply, I have worked on campaigns before, I understand all that has happened through history to allow us all the right to vote. But that's just it. It is a right. I have a right to vote, but I am not obligated. Especially when I don't feel as though I was given 2 quality candidates. I don't think either one will be GOOD for America. I don't think either have the answer to our economic issues, I don't think either has a viable plan for Iraq/Afghanistan/etc., I don't think either of them can make right what is wrong.

And I find that to be incredibly sad in this day and age. But I haven't made my mind up yet- just please don't hate me if I choose not to vote*.

*Note: I will still vote in the local & state elections... I just may sit out the Presidential part. See! I value my rights!! Promise!

26 August 2008


This girl is surly today. We got final word about Operation Vehicle Recovery. Not good. First I was sad, I still am, but now I am mad (which is no easy feat mind you). Not at Swiss, it isn't his fault and he can't do anything about it. But who can I get mad at? Can I get mad at the whole Army? Can I get mad at the IDIOT who left the van in Washington? Can I get mad at Swiss' Colonel? But I am getting ahead of myself...

See, the Powers That Be decided not only does Swiss have to go pick up this aforementioned MIA van, but he leaves on the 4th. Did I mention that my vacation day was the 5th? And did I mention that this is a 2,000 mile drive back? Now, math was never my strong suit, but it didn't take me long to figure out that not only did I lose my extra vacation day with him... I lost the whole weekend.

So now I am sad and mad and dissapointed and frustrated and a whole list of adjectives that won't help anything. That's the worst part- not being able to do a darned thing about it. So I will just subtract one more weekend from the few months we have left and sulk.

This is shaping up to be one stellar week...

Curse you Carrie Underwood.

Shame on you! You made me cry at work.

"Just a Dream" (found via GBear at SpouseBuzz)

Get your hankies ready if you dare watch this video...
Now this whole day is shot and I'm an emotional puddle. That's what I get for surfing the net on a break at work. Karma sucks.

25 August 2008


Well that took all of 4 hours.

Swiss now knows about "surprise" vacation number one.

And you won't believe how the cat got out of the bag. It would seem that someone from Swiss' brigade failed to drive back the brigade's government van from Warrior Forge in Fort Lewis, WA. Mind you this was over a month ago. And now someone has to fly out to Seattle to go get it and drive it nearly 2,000 miles home.


And oddly enough, the brigade has NOT chosen to make the IDIOT* who failed to complete his orders go get it. Nope. Swiss gets to go get it. And drive it 2,000 miles back.


So now Swiss knows that I took "surprise" time off. He had to know because as luck would have it, my vacation day is the same week of said Van Recovery Mission. But the second cat is still in the bag. For now...

*I am sure the fellow who did this is perfectly nice, however his choices in this matter have given me no other choice than to call him an idiot. If the shoe fits...

Image courtesy of maury.mcown on flickr.


Can I keep them secret? Not really.

Now don't get me wrong... I'm not the girl who blows the surprise birthday party, or the girl who can't keep a secret a friend shares, nor am I the girl who can't pull one off. But I have a hard time keeping good news from Swiss. I got a couple of extra days off from work next month... times when either I am going out to see Swiss or he will be here with me. He doesn't know I have the time off... and I SO want it to be a surprise!

But the real question is how long can I keep the secret hidden? How long until I burst from the excitement? How long until Swiss knows everything? (Apparently this means I have little to no will-power... a fact that is also evidenced by my waistline I suppose!)

I'm hoping that when I go to see him in two weeks, I can drive up there a day early and surprise him like he surprises me. And I'm hoping that the week he has off, I can "forget" to set the alarm for work and surprise him with 2 extra days of normal hanging out (imagine!).

So here's hoping I can keep it a secret. Maybe now that the internet knows, Swiss won't!

PS: Here's a little Holla! to Butterfly Wife: Thanks for making my day! :)

24 August 2008


So this weekend was my "Bachelorette Party" with my bestest friend Beth. We went down to Milwaukee (Holla!) to see the Counting Crows. It was excellent. Great concert, great seats, great company. We had a stellar time. But in order to have that stellar time with Beth, I had to give up precious time with Swiss. And I loathed it.

It is hard to know that I am not 100% in at times. It is hard to admit that I would rather be with him right now than anywhere else. And it is hard to come to terms with my emotions on this matter. I have done my best to say & do the right things to/for the people I love and care about so they don't think it is any reflection of my feelings towards them. Because it isn't. It's just me.

All I can think about when we aren't together are the many, many upcoming months that he and I will be apart. All the missed moments. All of the of the lonely nights. All of the solitude. All of the distance. And it kills me to lose any more of those moment together.

Time feels like it is moving so quickly now. We are nearing 2 months until the wedding, 3 until the PCS. And every moment feels like it is fleeting. All I want to do is slow things down, to reign it all in so that it stops feeling like it is spiraling out of control. And I just don't know how.

20 August 2008

Real Life.

Do you ever pause for a moment and look around at the life you are living and wonder how you got there? I don't even mean all of the military hoop-jumping and PCS-ing and deployment business that has become part of my "real life" since I met Swiss. Oddly that somehow seems more normal than the carry-overs from my life pre-Swiss.

I mean, do you ever look at the career you have and the places your career has put you in and say "How did I end up here?"

I went to school at BigHospital where I now work. I hated it. HATED it. I loathed the town, I had no friends, there was nothing to do... I just wanted out. And when I got out, there was not a good job to be had elsewhere. So I stayed. And somewhere along the way I bought a house. And got a promotion. And thankfully met Swiss (which would never have happened if I left). Somehow 5 years (!?!?!) later I am still here. Living in a town I don't love. Working a job I am ambivalent about at best. But blissfully happy in my personal life. I have a house I adore. A man I love. And stellar friends.

I don't know what to make of all that. There are a lot of cons... but so many good things too. I know one day we will have to leave this town, head for greener PCS-pastures. And then someday Swiss will retire and we will move wherever our whims take us. But for the time being... I can't help but wonder what my life could be like. If I were an artist. If I were an environmental biologist. Where would I live? Would I love my job? Would everything else be as good as it is now? Just things to think about I guess...

19 August 2008

the goodness.

What I am digging right now:

Sia "Breathe Me" I swear... that Coca-Cola comerical gets me every time. Damn those sports montages! But honestly, this is a beautiful song. Beautiful.

Michael Phelps. Seriously, how can anyone NOT love this guy?

Rhubarb Crisp. With vanilla ice cream. So good.

Etsy. I love everything about this site. (Especially TickledPinkKnits... she's doing a custom piece for me for the wedding!)

Jeans and tees. I hate our dress code at BigHospital. I so wish I could wear jeans and tees every day... oh what a happy girl I would be!


Swiss has been home for almost a whole week. (Is it sad that a week seems like a blissfully long time?) We went to softball games, I played, he cheered. We made dinner. We took post-work naps. We ran errands. We hung out with friends. We took a road trip. We stayed up too late watching the Olympics.

In short: We were normal.

I can't explain what a wonderful feeling it is to FEEL settled. And the best thing is that our settled is still pretty fantastic. While there is more litter in the kitchen... rogue socks in the living room... it was wonderful. I won't go on for fear of inducing vomiting. But it is good. I miss him already but I will see him soon, if only for a short time.

Next weekend brings a concert with my best friend... Counting Crows will be my "Bachelorette Party" sans any phallic symbols or "Sucks for a Buck". God bless Beth!

Olympics Induced Break

So the combination of Swiss being home on a short leave and the Olympics has conspired to soak up all my free time. I'm working on doing better...

06 August 2008

the goodness.

Fla-vor-Ice Freezer Pops. I'll take the purple and orange, Swiss will take the green and the blue. The pink and the red are up for grabs...

My iMac, iPod... iLove.

Chipotle. Carnitas, corn & tomatillo salsas, pinto beans, sour cream, cheese, lettuce. Heaven in a tortilla.

Merlot. (Honestly, pretty much any red wine... yum!)

Almost Famous. Beautiful, wonderful, sweet... and pithy. One of my all time favorites.

Empty Bed Syndrome.

It is early-ish in the morning. I was super tired last night. Went to bed at 10:30 looking forward to a blissful night of rest. Then I proceeded to sleep like poo.

If fear there were too many days in a row of a Swiss-occupied bed. Now it just seems empty and lonely. No one to snuggle up next to when I wake in the middle of the night. No one to keep me cozy under the covers. No one to wrap his arms around me.

I won't complain too much. He'll be back soon. But this morning I was cursing the Army just a little bit. I hope they feel just a twee bit guilty for my restless night... I know, I know. You can stop laughing now. Really.

05 August 2008

4 Day Passes are my Friend.

I love a good 4 day pass. This weekend? Great 4 day pass. We went to the new sushi restaurant in town. Yummy goodness. We drank wine. We spent time with family. We did yard work. We went to a movie. We did all the things normal couples do on normal weekends. And it was wonderful.

And then Swiss surprised me with a schmancy fire pit for the back yard. He even bought goodies for Smores and a bottle of Merlot. And we had a romantical night in the back yard where it all began. He's good. Real good.

Anyway, back to the grind with him at his ROTC post (Big week: New Captain!) and me at Stressful New Job. But it isn't so bad this time. I will get to see him soon... we are off to my parent's house next weekend for our wedding shower (its a couples shower so Swiss can share in the fun... ha!). Food! Presents! Uncomfortable moments when someone gives me lingerie with my father sitting next to us! Swell!