30 January 2009

And now it starts

Swiss has left to do his duty, to make this world a better place, and to do great things. Off to make us all proud, off to be the great soldier and man he is, and off to get sweaty, dirty and sandy. I miss him like hell already and my heart is heavy.

That was one hell of a Band-Aid.

So, my deployment cherry has officially been popped and in case you were wondering, no, I didn't do it with any grace or dignity at all. I was a red-eyed, teary, snotty mess. (Still am.)

Did I mention that I miss him? God, do I ever.

Thankfully, the countdown can finally start. 365,52,12... from here on out they will only get smaller. That is a very good thing.

Anyway, I must pack up our home here on post and go back to the real world meaning I will be off the radar for a few days. So, this is Tucker signing off once again. Thanks for all of your support and kindness... please keep Swiss in your prayers.


29 January 2009


I didn't need to read this tonight but I saw it and wanted to get it out there. I don't know how one goes about finding out which plates are under the recall... I just hope and pray to God that Swiss's isn't one of them. Bah. The Army gets a Do Better on this one. Seriously.

28 January 2009

All over the map.

That is what I am. All over the map.

The emotional roller coaster is in full effect with D-Day looming, nee breathing down our necks. One minute I am fine, the next I am fighting to hold back tears. One minute I am laughing and living up every last minute to the fullest, the next I can't stop the tears and they begin rolling down big, fat trails across my face. I know I blogged about this before... only now it is on steroids.

I know there is no rhyme or reason to this. I know there is no norm... nor is there a right or wrong. But I wish I could get a grip. Anyway, we are getting closer to being able to count down and get this par-tay started. So, wish us luck, wish me a wee bit of grace, and wish for Swiss a safe journey and safer tour.

26 January 2009

Purple hearts.

Thanks to Lopsided Mom, I just read this article about PTSD and Purple Hearts. Sehr interessant indeed. (that's German by the way.)

I am curious to know what people think about this. I think it is a great idea, but I realize that it is a complex and complicated issue. See, Swiss has a Purple Heart. He got shot during a rather intense gunfight in a mosque. The bullet is still in his leg... they never removed it for fear of causing more damage. And Swiss has told me tales of folks who have 'faked' PTSD. (Or at least his estimation of 'faked')
Generally these stories involve folks who never experienced combat, never were in the thick of it, never were faced with the especially grim and at times horrifying aspects of war. On one case, he cited someone who simply heard a wounded soldier screaming in pain, then claimed PTSD. Here's where it gets tricky... from a guy like Swiss's perspective (ie: foot patrols every day, seeing friends die or get wounded, being faced with killing people, being physically wounded yourself, etc.) I can see how that would be deemed 'faking'. I get it, 110%.

But the scientist in me knows that not everyone is the same. Not everyone has the mental fortitude and ability for compartmentalization that a guy like my husband has (not to imply that anyone with mental/psychological issues is not mentally strong- I fully understand that it is so much more than that). I realize that, for some people, all it takes to forever alter how you see things, how you cope with things, is the blood-curdling scream of a fellow soldier. For some, perhaps, the events that 'trip the trigger' are less than those that other soldiers have experienced or seen and not had any issues. But does that then make it any less real? Does it make it any less valid? Does it make the wound any less painful?

And how, truly, can one know if it is real? Does it take a massive event, a visibly obvious reaction to a stimulus? Does it take the dissolution of marriages and estrangement of family and friends? Where do you draw that line?

I do know that the Army is taking steps to better understand this, to better understand and better identify potential issues when soldiers come home. Swiss had to undergo a series of brain function tests before this deployment, so that they would have a base-line understanding of his brain (can I get a copy?) should he have psychological issues when he comes home -God forbid. I applaud this action, I applaud the proactive tests which give validity and serious weight to the issue of PTSD.

But I ask you, what do you think of the idea of a Black Heart?


Okay. Enough Army stuff. I am boycotting the Army-Deployment-Suck-Embracing stuff for just a bit today. You will see why.

In the course of the last 24 hours these things have happened here at the Tucker & Swiss homestead:

I overfilled the sink, resulting in a foamy mess in the kitchen (note: I honestly have never done this before.) Nice, right?

It got cold, foggy and misty outside, which sucks, but makes for pretty pictures. This is our backyard... it is home to about 100 vultures. I know, I know. You are totally jealous.

Swiss and I bought a truly gross bottle of wine, Rieslings are supposed to be light and sweet, not a replacement for household cleaners. And doesn't it make you mad when you spend money on something that tastes like swill? From now on I will only let Swiss buy the wine. He has waaaay better luck than me.

We also went fossil hunting near our on post housing and found all of these... those top two are bigger than my fist! I like fossils. It made me feel like a kid again, and I needed that.

And lastly, when it was still warm out, I got this picture of a moth with my new telephoto lens. Sweet.

The end.

25 January 2009

Home stretch.

We are now in the home stretch and, man, is this deployment looming. Looming is a funny word. But yes, it is the 500 lb. gorilla in the room. A big, stinky, hairy gorilla.

I have read the stories about women who get to the point where they just want the deployment to start already. I read those stories 6 months ago. I couldn't understand it. Not one bit. I thought, how could these women want their husbands to leave? How could they wish the deployment would start sooner? ARE THEY MAD? Nope, I couldn't fathom it at all.

And here I sit, 6 months removed from when we first learned of the deployment and first read those stories, just wishing it would get started already. Talk about full circle.

I think Swiss and I are simply ready to get things going, instead of waiting, waiting, waiting. Not that I want to see him go any sooner than he has to (but don't get me started on the clearing/flagging process the Army has... you'd think the folks on post have never done this "Fit for Duty" thing before by the looks of it. Bah!) and not that I want to have less time with him. Don't misunderstand me. I just want to get on with this so that it can get over with sooner.

I am weary of anticipating the goodbye. I am tired of preparing to be sad and/or lonely. I am just so over staring at that stinky, hairy gorilla every day and every night.

23 January 2009

Public service announcement.

This is a public service announcement to let everyone know that my bestest college bud Beth is the smartest person ever. And she is wicked cool to boot! Plus, now she is famous.

Check this out... I know that Wisconsin programs to boost college attendance aren't every one's bag, but it is a great article and Beth is super smart and awesome and I totally have to brag her up. I mean, com on, this is good stuff, and it is in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE! Awesomeness.
"We think it would lead to more kids going to college by tapping a group that isn't accessing college at the level we feel is possible," Stransky said. "A state investment of dollars would really give the Covenant meat. It would make it more than just a symbolic action."

Smarty. Pants. Anyways, Kudos to you Sporty Spice!

20 January 2009

Nothing to say.

I am out of things to say right now.
Time is short and so are tempers.
I am not a soldier and I am tired of being expected to act like one.

Emotions are running high and I just don't have it in me to write about it. I am drained right now. I promise to write more when the tanks are full again.

For now, this is Tucker signing off.

PS: Swiss brought me flowers when he came home from lunch. Swoon. This afternoon has been better... this morning was awful rough. Thanks for the support ladies.

(PPS: This is a big day for our country... regardless of how you voted, I hope you wish only the best for this administration because their success means success for us and for this great place we proudly call home. Make the changes in yourself and we can all start down a new and better path. Sis B said it best. Enjoy this historic day everyone...)

19 January 2009

Single digit midget.

I am anxiously awaiting the day, about a year from now, when this will be a good thing. When thinking about it fills me with hope, excitement, relief and joy. I can't wait for the time when the shrinking numbers give me a thrill and a rush and make me giddy like a school girl at a Jonas Brothers concert (to be fair, it would totally have been New Kids on the Block in my day).

The sooner we start this thing, the sooner we get to the good side of being a single digit midget.

As for now... it fills me with fear, sadness, worry and dread. The shrinking numbers are whittling away at my resolve and my determination to be strong for Swiss (and my family... and at times, myself). I really don't want to be melodramatic, but I have never experienced anything like this. I have never been put through the wringer, emotionally speaking, like this before. I have never felt fear like I do when I think about Swiss going off to war. I have never worried about anyone as much as I worry about him. And I have never been so bummed out about not getting to just be with someone.

It is maddening how little control any of us have over these situations, maybe that should make it easier... letting go of the things you can't control, but it doesn't. Not one bit. I cried when I heard that LAW didn't really get to say her goodbye. It makes me furious to think that Swiss's date may yet change. It is disheartening to feel so helpless and so powerless to ensure his safe (and healthy) return.

So, for now, I am doing a lot of deep breathing. (And wine drinking.) I am focusing on the present and looking forward. Forward to when being a single digit midget will be the most thrilling, exciting thing I have ever experienced.

16 January 2009


First off, I have to say that the word "holiday" makes me think of Madonna, which takes me straight to Adam Sandler singing Madonna's song in the saddest, most woeful, funniest way ever in the Wedding Singer. So now I have that stuck in my head.

But I digress. As you all know it is a military 4-day weekend and Swiss doesn't have to work ANY of it. Lucky me! :) So, I am signing off for a few days of blissful togetherness. Have a stellar weekend internets and catch you on the flip-side!

15 January 2009

Trooper for a day.

Have any of you ladies participated in a "Trooper for a Day" event? Swiss's division held one last Saturday and I did it. I even earned my very own spurs. Sweet.

Other than being insanely cold and windy, we had fun and got to do PT, camo up our faces (thank you for the breakout), then throw some grenades, fire off some M4's, clear rooms and medevac out some dummies... and get reeeeeel close to a helicopter. It was pretty fun and I was so totally sore the next day (confirming that I really, really need to get back to the gym).

Tucker & Swiss

14 January 2009


I went through and labeled every post. I've been slacking.

As I was going through, I was worried that the label "embracing the suck"would be the most often one used. What does that say about me? What does that say about military life? What does that say about this blog? eek.

But thankfully "army" and "happy" (!!!) beat it out. I think that is a good sign.

Project 365/52.

This is my attempt at diversionary tactics. If I think about other stuff, I won't think about Army/deployment stuff. I'm doing better today after a couple of crying jags and palpable frustration through last night. Thanks for your support everyone- You ROCK!

Aaah... 365. I hate that number because, actually it is a really long time when you count it in days. But I've got a project/idea that Swiss and I may or may not successfully complete, but I'm hoping this project will give us a better opinion of said number.

This project isn't anything new... flickr is chock full of Project 365 tags (by the way, Photojojo is awesome... if you like taking photos at all go check them out). And in case you haven't heard of it, the premise is simple: document every day of a year with a photograph. There are no subject requirements, just that you take a photograph a day for a year.

So that is what I am going to do... and Swiss is going to do the abbreviated version of one photo a week when he is over in the Sandbox. The plan is that when he comes back we will put them together in a schmancy book that could be, actually, really cool. I'm kind of geeked about how cool it might be.

Anyway, this will start soon. Probably shortly after he deploys, so be ready for more photos on the site, aren't you lucky! I'm thinking I will compile a week's worth of photos in one post, and then if Swiss ever finds his way to a computer out in the middle of nowhere he can see them all in one fell swoop.

So let me ask you ladies this: what are you gals doing (or what have you done in the past) to document the time apart? I'd love to hear what y'all have done!

Thanks again for all of your support yesterday- you have no idea how much it helped! :)

13 January 2009

The Army is a bully.

I am surly today and this is a vent. So you have been warned.

Last night we got blind-sided with a new deployment date (earlier, OF COURSE) at the Pre-Deployment Briefing. Awesome. I don't know about you, but I totally love being blind-sided. And by that, I mean not. Decidedly not.

Ooh, and we were cheerfully told to "just be flexible" since they have NO idea where they are going and that they are likely to move around a lot once they are in theatre. He actually told us that since the amount and type of communication technologies were highly in question for this deployment, we should really get back to basics and work on letter writing. Aww, how precious. HOW CAN I WRITE LETTERS TO MY HUSBAND IF I DON'T KNOW WHERE HE IS???

Anyway, I'm just pissy because we had a time-table, we had things organized and planned. It was a little like a security blanket, it made me feel like I had at least a teensey bit of control over the situation. This throws everything out the window.

I'm surly that I might not get to talk to him all that often, I am worried about how much harder this is going to be if we can't communicate any way other than snail mail. I am scared about how far my imagination will run at night when I haven't heard his voice in weeks. I am frustrated that nothing is going how we thought it would. And I can't change any of it.

I know this is normal, I know that him leaving earlier means he will come home earlier, blah, blah, blah. None of that helps right now. I'm just surly.

12 January 2009


First off, I have to say this: I love Karma. It's like the Universe's way of slapping you around when you deserve it (and rewarding you too). I love to watch Karma in action. Karma has kicked my butt from time to time. I deserved it too.

So, in this vein, I try not to post too much about family matters that extend beyond Swiss and I. It feels a little odd to put the family's dirty laundry out there, and it makes me worry about my own Karma.

But I am going to tell this tale just because it is proof that Karma does work. So here it goes and let's hope this doesn't mess up my Karma...

Swiss got a letter back home the other day about late Child Support. Now, Swiss is insanely punctual and generous when it comes to this matter. As well he should be. More over, Swiss Jr. has been living with his uncle for the past 3-4 months, not with his mom. Why you ask? Because right around our wedding (you can decide if that is a coincidence or not) the ex-Mrs. Swiss (we will call her P) called us up hysterical and emphatic that she just couldn't take Swiss Jr. anymore, that he was too much and she just didn't want him. (Harsh, I know. I can't imagine how this made Swiss Jr. feel.) Anywhoodles, since Swiss was about 3 weeks away from moving here to Fort X and had a deployment on the near horizon, we (meaning Swiss's family and us) decided that it would be best for Swiss Jr. to stay in town and keep things as close to normal as possible. Thankfully Swiss's brother chipped in and has been taking great care of him ever since, and receiving the Child Support money as he rightfully should.

So, back to the letter. Swiss called the lady today to find out the deal. Turns out P applied for City funding because she got fired from her job and got her car repossessed (I am so not making this up) and hasn't been working for quite a few months now, and, well, she doesn't have Swiss Jr.'s child support money to spend now. Tricky bit about it is that the City does an automatic audit on you when you apply for this funding. She applied saying that she had custody of Swiss Jr., trying to milk the Government teat for all it was worth I assume. So Swiss politely told the lady that, no, Swiss Jr. has been living with someone else for months now. Heh. I don't know what will come of it, but I'd like to think that Karma will take over from here.

11 January 2009


No, blogosphere, it didn't just get pornographic in here... it is my birthday. And I am 30. Bah!

Swiss loves it because now we are in the same decade. (He's 38) I am okay with it too... heck, age is just a number, right? I don't feel any different... but life sure is different.

Well, on second thought, maybe I do feel different after all... I am entering this decade blissfully married, an Army wife (tally that up under things I never thought I would be), living 1,000+ miles from anyplace I ever called home, not working, and unsure of what I will be doing a year from now. My, how things have changed! But I count every bit of it as a blessing and I wouldn't change any of it for all the tea in China.

09 January 2009

Did you know.

Did you know that Swiss's unit doesn't actually know what Swiss is going to be doing during the deployment? Did you know that they don't actually know where they are going to be after the half-way mark of their tour?

Did you know that this makes me insane?

I mean, there are so many things we just can't know, things that aren't meant for us to know, or things that aren't planned. I get that. But is it too much to ask that one would have a generally concept of what her husband will be doing once deployed? Like, will it be dangerous? Or will it be a desk job? Will he be outside the wire much? Will he be at a FOB that has phones? Will he be staying in-country after the half way point or will he be completely relocated, if you know what I mean? Seriously. How do you just not know when we are so close?

Vent over... for now.

08 January 2009

Planning for a probably.

So our plan, during this deployment, is for Swiss to put in his retirement papers. (WOOO HOOO!) Which means that upon his return, we will have about 8 months left and then can skip off into the land of puppies and rainbows hand-in-hand with nary a care in the world.

Only we won't have a place to live or jobs yet. Details! Details!

Anyone who knows me in real life is aware of the fact that I am a planner. Don't get me wrong, I can be whimsical and spontaneous, it just doesn't usually play out that way. Gaw, that makes me sounds stuffy! Anyway, Swiss and I have been doing reconnaissance on where to retire, what jobs we are going to have, buy a house or build one and so on. Sometimes we just snoop around on real estate web sites looking for what is out there... I did some of that this morning, it was fun and interesting and exciting to plan and think about our future. And then Swiss came in with the paperwork for his will and handing over power of attorney. Buzz Kill.

I think that, sometimes, planning for the future like that can be an escape. It can be a little umbrella shielding you from reality for a bit, allowing you to live in a world where he has come home from the deployment safe and sound, his retirement was approved, and he wasn't stop-lossed. A place where happily ever after really does happen (and isn't Disney).

And other times it can feel like a taunt. Like a carrot being dangled in front of you, hopelessly out of reach. You know where you want to go, but you aren't sure if you are going to get there, or God forbid, you will get there alone. This morning, after the buzz kill, the website was still up on the computer and it left such a sour taste in my mouth, looking at the homes and land way out west. This morning it felt like a taunt.

Anyway, I have faith that our happily ever after will arrive right on schedule, just as planned. I don't think there is any other way to do it, honestly. But those are my 2 cents on planning. At least as it stands today...

07 January 2009

Roller coasters.

I used to like them. They were unpredictable and thrilling and fun. Now, I think they suck. Rickety deathtraps at overpriced amusement parks... and you have to wait in line for an hour for a 3 minute ride. Gaw, I am getting surly in my old age.

But I hate emotional roller coasters even more than the real deal. I like to think I am pretty even keeled, I have a steady temperament and am generally a happy, quirky, fun gal. But this deployment business can really put some kinks in one's demeanor.

Like yesterday... one minute I am crying as I watch Swiss walk to work, then I write an entry here that is all somber and introspective and then I chase down a wiener dog and blog about that too. Then I work on the letter I am going to stuff in his ruck and I am all misty again. Hella misty. But I go pick him up from work and all we do all night is laugh and snort and have fun.

While Swiss is at work I have loads of time to think and muse and do loads of frivolous things (read: Guitar Hero), and this morning I was sitting here thinking about the past few days and how surreal they have been. I sometimes just can't wrap my head around the sheer volume of emotions this THING is pulling out of me. To be scared out of your gourd and laughing hysterically in a matter of minutes is seriously taxing. Pouring out your emotions and fears and trying your best to convey everything you feel on a piece of paper and then not 10 minutes later merrily cooking dinner and pleasantly talking about our days is not normal, at least not in my book. Bah!

Anyway, I will just chalk this all up to being one of the many things I didn't see coming. And maybe some of you can relate... maybe not. Maybe I am just crazy. But if you know what I mean, I'd love to hear your take on it all...

06 January 2009

And then I chased a Dachshund.

No jokes. I dropped Swiss off at the office after lunch and a quick trip to the Uniform & Military Supply Store (no idea why, but we love that store... strange, I know), ran over to the Commissary to get some goodies for dinner and then came home, picked up the mail and watched a soldier sprint across the neighborhood in hot pursuit of a wiener dog.

You just don't see that every day.

In a flash they were gone, presumably to the next street over. But upon walking into the house, I could see out the back patio doors the same twee little Dachshund just past the fence in our back yard. Yeah, I totally snuck out the front and snatched up that wiener dog. Like a ninja. He didn't even know what got him. I dutifully returned the Dachshund to the winded soldier and went inside to unpack my groceries. Aaah, life on post.

The end.

The sound of silence.

I've done my research on this deployment thing. I know that everyone prepares and copes in different ways... and I know from reading all y'alls blogs that every deployment can be different. There is no way to predict how someone will react, or what they will do to cope. It all makes perfect sense.

If you asked me how I am coping or what it is I am doing to prepare for this... I couldn't really give you an answer... I guess I am just trying to keep my head above water. I am trying to not dwell on it, it will be all too real all too soon. I am trying to cherish and make the most of all the little things, all the little moments that Swiss and I share. I keep telling myself that the sooner this all starts, the sooner it will be over. And, for now, I am trying to keep it together. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Like this morning when I watched him walk to work... every time he leaves now days it feels like training camp for when he really does leave. I cried this morning because it seemed too real.

But Swiss... well he is doing things differently. He is still, for the most part, normal Swiss. But he is quieter. He is more introspective. There are more moments when he is staring off in the distance, deep in thought. And for some reason those moments cut straight through me. Not because I am worried about us, not because I think his issues are with me or how our relationship will fare. But because through all of this build-up since summer when we found out he would be going to the Sand again, he has been the rock. He has been relatively unaffected aside from acknowledging how much it will suck to be apart. He has been the unfazed one, the steady, reassuring one helping me through. But now, when I look at him, it is so very apparent that it is all hitting home for him too, that he is trying to cope and prepare just as I am. And of course he should be... why wouldn't he?

It all makes perfect sense... so I don't know why it is so unsettling to me. Maybe because somewhere in my mind, if he wasn't nervous or worried, I could rest a little easier, breathe a little deeper, not be as scared or unsettled. But if he is nervous, if he is anxious and unsure (again, why wouldn't he be... he is going to war for crying out loud. I suspect no matter the bravado or what they say, every soldier feels this way pre-deployment.), then it gives more weight to my fears, my nerves, and my worry. I can see that this isn't fair to Swiss... he is more than allowed to do and feel what he needs to in order to prepare for this. He is the one who is taking on the danger and the risk, he is the one who will be living it, he is the one who has to be away from every one and everything he loves. And, gauging by some of the stories I have heard, I would rather have him cope this way rather than pick fights or become totally detached.

But let me tell you this; the sound of his silence is deafening.

05 January 2009

Like a popsicle.

A blue raspberry popsicle. Cold and blue.

Okay, I am cold because we totally had an ice storm last night. Yes Virginia, Ice. We are in the south. 1,000+ miles south of home. And our temperatures are the same. Oh, and on Saturday it was 70 degrees and sunny. That, folks, just ain't right.

I am blue because the Big D is looming. Looming like bad weather on the horizon. And everywhere I look there are signs that it is coming faster and faster... the packed rucks in the back room, the yet unpacked gear strewn about the living room, the long silent moments when Swiss is deep in thought. And then there are the things I'm not ready to see yet... the things that I am forced to deal with as I drive through post. Troops packing gear and getting onto buses. Families saying goodbye in parking lots. I have a hard time not letting it hit home.

I would so like to think I am going to be strong, going to be able to keep myself together when that day comes. And I just know I won't. I can't. For some reason I think I shouldn't cry when we say goodbye, I shouldn't fall apart for even a little while. But I know I will. I am scared. I am worried, I am tired of this process of getting ready to leave the one you love. I am frustrated by the lingering questions that won't get answered until he is over there for some time. I am hopeful for our future, but I can't get excited about any of it until he is home safe and sound.

I know that I shouldn't put any expectations on how that day will go. I know I shouldn't put any expectations on myself. It just needs to happen and it is okay if I cry. Swiss knows I show my emotions through my tear ducts. And he knows I will be strong for him and for us while he is gone. But this feeling of anticipation, the preparing to be apart, the cramming everything into what little time we have left... It sucks.

02 January 2009


Happy New Year Everyone!

We just made it back from the tundra and I want to be sure to wish everyone a safe, happy, and speedy 2009. (I do realize that not everyone is all on board the speedy train... but that one is for LAW and me and all the other gals who will have their loves gone for the bulk of it, or all of it for that matter. And when I say speedy, I mean like Mach-12 speedy. Seriously. MACH-12!)

I will get back to normal (whatever that is) posting after the weekend. Swiss and I need a nice quiet break after a twee bit of family drama and the long drive down... we have a lot of football to watch too! :)

Take care and Happy 2009! Happy weekend too!!!