27 February 2009


At least 4,252 US military personnel have died in Iraq since the March 2003 US-led invasion, according to an AFP tally based on the independent website www.icasualties.org.

4,252 families with broken hearts.
4,252 soldiers who will never grow old, never see their children grow up, never fulfil their dreams & goals.
4,252 less brave & honorable souls in this world.

This is information that people need to know. Maybe this number will wake people up. Then again maybe nothing will. God, 4,252. I don't even know what to say to that.

26 February 2009

Catching up.

Since the fog of this cold has started to lift, I actually have enough motivation to do something more than sit on the sofa. Go me! So, what do I all have to say.... hmmm.

Let's start with Dover. The verdict is in and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is opting to reverse the existing policy. At first glance I had a twinge of angst and fear, then I took a minute an read further. (Whoa, what a concept.) This is what he had to say:
"After receiving input from a number of sources, including all of the military services and the organizations representing military families, I have decided that the decision regarding media coverage of the dignified transfer process at Dover should be made by those most directly affected: on an individual basis by the families of the fallen," Gates told reporters at a briefing at the Pentagon this afternoon. "We ought not presume to make that decision in their place."
And you know what? He is right. It is our choice. Who are they to say yes or no on our behalf? That should be my choice, your choice, heck- even our service member's choice. I think this is a big step forward for us MilSpouses... I mean, the government is actually trying to do what is right here. They are stepping aside and have realized that, at least on this issue, is isn't about them, it is about the families and the wishes of our fallen troops. So I say well played... and thank you. (And I won't get into all the crazies who are taking this all out of context and jumping to irrational conclusions, or claiming that this new policy is disregarding the wishes of military families... I don't have that much motivation yet!)

In other news, the apocalyptic snowstorm predicted for today turned into only a few inches of wet, heavy snow. Either way, I am SO over winter in the upper Midwest. However, my neighbor Wayne totally rocks because he cleared off my snow covered sidewalks just to be nice. I am nominating him for sainthood post haste.

Swiss is doing well and many of our unanswered questions are finally getting answered in regards to the when, where and how of this deployment. Good news all around. I have started medicating Fletcher (I kid, I kid) with rawhides, he is doing much better.

And lastly, I give the finale of Top Chef two huge thumbs down. Hosea? Seriously? Do better. You really had to go with the tool box who cheated on his girlfriend on national TV and is completely devoid of any personality? Bah. Talk about unsatisfying television. I demand a recount.

Ooh! One more thing... this is SO WAY COOL. I want to do one on my flickr page. Did I mention that I heart flickr? Well I do.

25 February 2009


As you all know from my last post, things have been a bit rough here at Casa de Tucker and Swiss. But today is another day and things are better. I can breathe through both my nostrils and I don't feel like my head is about to pop off. So that is good. And I have the BEST husband (I am sure many of you ladies would argue this one, but I am standing firm) on the planet. I cannot fathom how much harder this would all be if Swiss wasn't so supportive and understanding and in general, awesome. That is all I have to share, but I wanted to say thanks for all the support and encouragement y'all gave me. You ladies rock.

24 February 2009

Short and to the point.

I am in a foul mood.

I am sick of being sick. I am sick of winter. I am sick of my dog waking me up at 4:30 every morning (what a lovely new habit he's grown into). I am sick of dealing with the housing office at Fort X who insists on screwing us out of money. I am sick of being exhausted. I am sick of being alone. And I am sick of missing my husband.

Awesome. Did I mention that I am sick of sucking it up? I am sick of whining too.

...told you I was in a bad mood.

Okay. I won't ruin anyone else's day. This is Tucker signing off.

23 February 2009

Monday, Monday.

I have nothing profound to share. So I will stick with my latest penchant for lists.

1.) This article is good. Interesting. I will have more to write about it later, but for now check it out.

2.) This deployment, though only 3+ weeks old, has very clearly shown me that I was spot on when I picked the gals for my inner circle. They have come through with flying colors, just by being there and for letting me know that they care, and I say thank you. You two know who you are.

3.) I am SO over this cold. OVER! (And I thought one of the perks to being married was someone to take extra good care of you when you are sick... The Army is interfering with my wifely rights!)

4.) We finally got word of Swiss's final* destination. It is, I quote "in need of some infrastructure improvements before it is safe ... to occupy (Sewage,Water, Electricity, etc need some work). I will tell you up front that the living conditions ... will be spartan at best compared to previous rotations..." Poor Swiss.

That's all I have for now. Perhaps if I get to breathe out of both my nostrils I will post more later.

*Final is a loose term in the Army, I know this now. So it is, of course, subject to change.

22 February 2009

Tough like aluminum foil.

That's me. I almost always keep myself together when I talk to Swiss... no tears. I don't want him to worry about me or think that I am struggling in any way (this is an issue more related to his ex-wife and how she chose to handle the last deployment rather than an issues Swiss and I have). I don't even tear up when I talk about it at work or with friends. I don't want their pity. I usually only cry to my mom when she tells me that it is okay to let it out or when I'm home alone missing him so much I just can't stand it.

But Gawd... all it takes is an e-mail from that man and I dissolve into a blubbering mess in front of the computer. He has a way with words (did I tell you about the time he wrote me a poem for a housewarming gift before we were even dating? Talk about swoon!) and he is so genuine, honest and so unabashedly romantic that I simply cannot read his e-mails without crying big, fat, juicy tears. Lord I miss that man.

In the end though, I figure that this isn't a bad dilemma to have. You'll never hear me complain that my husband is too sweet or too kind or too romantic. Just that he is too far away...

I love you Swiss!

21 February 2009


1. I am sick... I have a cold. I hate being sick. And it snowed 6 inches last night. I hate shoveling when I am sick even worse than just being sick.

2. I miss the Commissary. Limes cost twice as much here as they do there. Chicken is 3 times as expensive here. And they give you 4 times more plastic bags than you really need. Oh dear Commissary, how I adore thee!

3. My dog is insane. Maybe not clinically, but I've seen enough to feel comfortable with my diagnosis.

4. I miss Swiss. As always.

20 February 2009


Okay, after all that heavy stuff the last couple of days, Kimba pointed me in the direction of this. Waaaaaay too much fun!

Me, Hero Style.

Me, Normal Style (Not as skinny and with smaller boobs.)

This is Swiss. Or at least my Hero version of Swiss: Part Soldier, Part Superman. Swoon.

Well, duh.

I think the title of this article deserves a big fat DUH: Strains, threats put U.S. military at risk.

But on the positive side, it was on the front page of MSNBC.com. So maybe, just maybe someone will read it and actually think about what is going on.

One can hope!

19 February 2009


We make them every day. Some are small. Some are huge. Some we will forget in minutes. Some we will think about years later. Some will alter the course our life. Some will change nothing.

But I ask you this: When you choose something, does it mean that you give up your right to complain? Does the choice you made trump any expression of your frustrations, worry or anguish? Does the act of choosing void any right to bemoan your situation?

Put it this way: If you choose to have children, do you forgo the privilege of complaining about your child not sleeping through the night? Do you not get to whine about spending all your time and money on your kid and not yourself? No aggravation over mounds of dirty diapers and spit-up caked clothes? Does that choice mean you don't get to gripe about all that parenthood entails?

I would guess that anyone reading this (especially anyone who is a parent) would shout a resounding "Hell no!" Am I right?

So I ask, then, why do members of our military (including their families) constantly get this sentiment thrown in their faces: "You chose this." (meaning joining the armed forces)? I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this, how many times I have seen it in comments left online, how many time my MilSpouse friends have been confronted with it.

When we complain about the ridiculous up-tempo deployment cycle we are in and the treatments of our troops, what do we hear? You chose this.

When there are complaints about what war does to a soldier and the woes of PTSD treatment, what do they say? You chose this.

When we are upset about missing holidays with our loved ones, being separated from your spouse for up to 15 months at a time, consoling children who miss their parent, taking care of everything at home alone, what is the response? You chose this.

Why is it different for us? What makes this any different than any of the litany of choices people make in life and then complain about... marriage, careers, family, finances? Why do John & Judy Average-American get to whine all they want about every choice they've made when we aren't allowed to complain about military health-care, ignoring PTSD, families on their 5th or 6th or even 7th deployment in as many years, inadequate body armor, death tolls, the cost of staying connected during deployments?

Instead of sympathy or curiosity or understanding, we get "You chose this." What is it, exactly, that we did to unknowingly relinquish our right to complain, admonish, disapprove, question and just plain whine?

We chose to serve our country.

PS: I'd like to thank my MilSpouse friends for your take and wisdom on this subject... I might have borrowed some of your arguments, but it was because you said it better than I ever could. You all are amazing!

18 February 2009


So Swiss and his unit are in limbo. And Swiss is aaaaaannoyed. They have been at their in-processing location for almost 3 weeks now and they still don't know where they are going. They are stuck in this current location for at least the next 3 weeks, maybe more. The higher ups have known this unit was coming for months and never bothered to cement a final location for them. So endless weeks of limbo. (Note: This does not bother me in the least because I know he is super safe and there is virtually no threat there. This equals Tucker breathing easier and worrying less. So it’s a good thing in my book.) But I see his frustration… why send all of them over there if you don't even know what do to with them? What were they doing when they should have been planning for this units arrival? And what are they all supposed to do over there with no mission or tasks? It boggles the mind.

Anyway, I realized today, as I was explaining Swiss's situation to a friend that I just shouldn't bother talking about it. At all. Not to anyone except my inner circle and you all. Why? Because her reply to this tale was this: "Well, that's normal so it isn't a big deal." Not to sound snarky, but last I checked she had no military ties or experience so how would she know? And, in fact, this situation is entirely abnormal. I just don't understand the incessant efforts to minimize what ever it is that is going on.

Yesterday some of us at lunch were talking about Swiss and how things are going over there, communications and the like and I mentioned that they need to pay $65 a month to have personal internet access, on top of having to pay to call home. (I think this is shameful, but that is for another post) One of my dear friends agreed that there should be another option, or at least a cheaper one. But another co-worker said that $65 wasn't that big of a deal and that is what she has to pay. I then pointed out that many of these families aren't just paying the $65 a month she is… they are paying whatever their bill at home is PLUS the $65 just to stay in touch with their loved ones, to see their kids growing up in the year that they are gone, etc. All of this ON TOP of a home phone/cell bill and the necessary minutes on the calling card. That kind of ended the discussion.

I know I blogged about this all before. And I know nothing has changed. I guess it still surprises me, catches me off guard. It boggles my mind how some folks don't seem to put 2 and 2 together. They only see one side of the story, they only look at what is on the surface, don't dig deeper to uncover the real issues. Maybe this is the new American way. But I don't understand it.

I don't understand the us vs. them mentality. Sure, I have gotten 'sympathetic' responses from a few (not that I am looking for those... maybe they are better classified as understanding responses or thoughtful responses) but often times these interactions make me feel like what we are apart of Swiss, you, me, your families, your soldiers, marines, sailors, etc. is trivial. That it isn't that big of a deal. That we signed up for it, so suck it up.

I always suspected that the notion of a "Warrior Class" was true... that some people really viewed things this way, whether they realized it or not. But I had never been face to face with it until I sent my husband off to war and came 'home'.

Maybe it isn't fair to expect anything more out of the peripheral people in my life. The people who care about Swiss and me, they ask, they try to understand, they listen, they don't judge or dismiss. They make me feel like what we are going through is a big deal. Because it is. They make me feel like it matters. They make me feel like we matter. That we aren't a disposable commodity, that our sacrifices are real, that while we may have signed up for this it doesn't make the issues any less valid.

Enough. I have learned to keep my mouth shut. Maybe that is the wrong attitude to take, but I don't have it in me to fight this fight right now.

17 February 2009

The how, the who, and the where from.

Now we have some answers about the new 'Surge' into Afghanistan.

How many? 12,000.
Who? Army & Marine troops
Where? Fort Lewis and Camp Lejeune

I don't know anything about the units that have been tagged. Nor do I know anyone affiliated with them. Do any of you out there?

UPDATE: Per Yahoo! News: "The 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, with approximately 8,000 Marines will deploy to Afghanistan in late spring 2009," the Pentagon statement said. The 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division from Ft Lewis, Washington, will deploy approximately 4,000 soldiers to Afghanistan in mid-summer 2009. Approximately 5,000 additional troops to support these combat forces will receive deployment orders at a later date."

But I do know this: I worry that they are already war weary. I worry about their families. I worry that this insane up-tempo deployment cycle won't stop for years and years to come. I worry about what that will do to our military. What it will do to our troops. What it will do to their families.

I know this is needed. Needed to get the job done. Needed to oust Al Queda and put the proverbial boot to the throat of the Taliban. But what is the long term cost going to be after all that has already been asked of them?

I read this OpEd about how W turned our military forces into a neo-French Foreign Legion just now and I found it very interesting. I don't agree with everything he wrote (particularly the bit about 'hiding' troop deaths and the implication that Dover should be open to the media. I've already voiced my opinion on this here.) but I do think he raises some interesting points.

Do I think W used our troops as props rather than make choices that were in their best interests? Yes. Do I agree that we as US citizens have been alarmingly compliant and quiet about this war? Yes. Do I think that 'diversity' is necessary (by this I mean economic and societal) in our military in order for them to be something more than just a Warrior Class? Yes.

And finally, this:

"... Shouldn't we wonder just why, despite all the reverent words about "our troops," we really seem to care so little about sending them back into the wilderness again and again?

Where indeed is the outcry?

The French Foreign Legionnaires knew better than to expect such an outcry: The elites for whom they fought didn't give a damn about what happened to them. Our military may not yet be a foreign legion -- but don't fool yourself, it's getting there."

Yes. I agree.

One time...

Did I (se335ZSWEWWDF... That was Fletcher popping in to say yo.) tell you all about the time I got our official wedding picture DVD 2 days before Swiss left and then proceeded to leave the disc in his laptop?

Yeah, I sent the only copy of our wedding pictures to the Sand. I am so smooth.

16 February 2009


I miss hearing 'Retreat' every night at 5:00.

I miss seeing ACU's everywhere. I know that is odd, but somehow I found it very comforting. Maybe it was just being surrounded by folks like us. Folks who know.

I miss the weather down at Fort X. I know it was bi-polar but it is a helluva lot warmer than it is here.

I even miss the piles of dirty, sweaty, stinky PT's on the floor.

I guess, in short, I miss our Army life. I suppose that kind of goes along with missing Swiss... our time at Fort X was when we really got to be us. Married us. Together, happy, and well, together.

15 February 2009

Compare & contrast.

So Swiss and I talked yesterday and it was great as always (except that one time). I was feeling a little mopey, sitting around our house alone on Valentine's day with a sweet but high-maintenance dog. I seriously don't think I have said "no" that many times in one day ever, but he is still a baby so it is to be understood. Anyway, when I talked to Swiss, I realized that I am the one who has it good. I still get to complain, sure, but he would SO win if we ever had a contest.

See, I may think it sucks to sleep without him next to me, keeping me warm, and it does. But I know that it sucks more to sleep in a dusty, dirty tent with 65 other guys, a cot, zero privacy and no pillow.

I may think it sucks to come home to an empty house and not have someone to curl up with on the sofa. But I know it sucks more to have your days filled with nothing but work, eating and PT... no TV, no internet, no comfy sofa, no home cooked meals.

And I may think it sucks that due to their temporary status I can't send him any mail, I can't send the boatloads of stuff I've already gotten him. But I know that it sucks more to not be able to get mail of any sort from anyone back home.

Anyway, this is me sucking it up and knowing that my soldier has it way worse than me. I put my big girl panties on this morning apparently... anyway, enjoy your Sunday everyone!

14 February 2009

Happy Cupid's Day.

Happy Valentine's Day to my Happily-Ever-After.
I love you Swiss, with all my heart.

13 February 2009


Hmmm... what do I want to say? It has been a long week and the synapses aren't firing quite right. I suspect wine would make it better. But here's the short-list.

I want to say a heartfelt Congratulations to Beth and Ethan. This doesn't really change anything about you two, but I am so happy for you none-the-less. Now let's get on with the business of free cake.

I want to say that even though I work at an 'elite' world renowned hospital (I hope that doesn't sound boastful because it isn't meant to be), I still work with a bunch of idiots.

I want to say that Valentine's day is lame. Of course I am only saying that because Swiss is about 7,500 miles away and I will be spending my Valentine's day with a dog (albeit a very cute dog). I would feel totally different about all of it were Swiss here. I admit this whole-heartedly.

And finally, I want to say that I don't have anyone to eat sushi with. And no one to curl up on the sofa sipping wine with. And that sucks. I miss Swiss. I miss him a lot.

12 February 2009


It is Thursday and there are a million things I would like to post about, but there was too much drama this morning and now I am spent. So I am going with twee versions, somehow I think it will be easier.

1.) There has been a lot of talk about the policy regarding media access to Dover and what President Obama will do. (For you non-military readers, it is the Air Force base where troops who have died in action are returned to their families.) I have strong feelings about this, but I don't think I could articulate them as well as SisB did over at her site. So go read her blog... in my opinion, she was spot on.

2.) We just got new recycling bins today. I kid you not, it is a giant green trash bin that is actually bigger than my real trash bin. Way to go Waste Management.

3.) Dogs poop a lot. I know that isn't at all eloquent, there you have it.

4.) I am pretty dejected that my phone call with Swiss this morning was filled with urgent legal issues, phone numbers to call, and documents to retrieve. I am beyond upset that he is so frustrated and worried and agitated- and all I can do is tell him that I will try to fix it. And mostly, I am furious that a woman like P (Swiss's ex-wife) is still managing to fuck things up years after their divorce. After all that she did, all that she put him through the last deployment, I am enraged that she is doing it all over again (albeit to a lesser extent, not much can top what she did last time). And I am downright pissed of that her antics meant that we had to talk legal issues instead of happy things, normal things, couple-y things. I am going to stop here, because if I get going there is no telling what I might do. I hope she gets hit by a bus. And I know that is going to mess up my Karma big time.

5.) I am not Catholic, but man, the Vatican almost made me fall out of my chair. I shall have dreams of Darwin and the Pope frolicking together in a field full of daisies & puppies. Maybe singing and twirling a la The Sound of Music (don't tell anyone but I secretly LOVE that movie).

and finally,

6.) I miss my husband. (Even though the Army doesn't yet think we are married. Despite my being enrolled in DEERS and having shown the marriage certificate to no less than 7 offices/departments at our assigned military post. I wish I were joking.)

The end.

11 February 2009

Civilian life.

So, I have been back to work for 2 days now. Officially back to civilian life and "normal". I was only gone two months, but the damage has been done and what was "normal" is now some odd, not-quite-right version. And of course I am now acutely aware of how ignorant and uninformed we all are/were (that was me just 2 years ago, guilty as charged) in the civilian world.

(Necessary back story: Swiss and I have a house in the Upper Midwest, a town of about 100,000 with only two big employers... a hospital and a computer manufacturer. The only military presence is the Armed Forces Recruiting Center in the strip mall down the road from our house. It is a pretty conservative town, but also pretty isolated from the usual trappings of 'city' life. Swiss's unit is based down South, so for the meantime while he is deployed we are keeping our home here and that is where I am currently living.)

I have been asked how long the deployment is countless times. And every time I say a year, I get flabbergasted responses, as if this standard year deployment is something they'd never heard of. I don't mean to be snarky and I certainly can't and don't expect everyone to be all up on Army tours of duty, but hasn't anyone been watching the news? Reading the newspaper? Paying attention? FOR THE LAST 6 YEARS? SIX!!!

And then I got the "Well, now that Obama is in office maybe they will just bring him home?" bit today. I suppose that is just wishful thinking on their part, trying to be helpful, positive. But again, if folks were paying any attention to this war and the politics behind it, they would know better.

Am I being too harsh here? It just seems like no one here has any real understanding of what is going on, what it means to be at war, that we can't just up and leave because we got a new President, etc. And of course I recognize that I am particularly & acutely aware of all of this, because of Swiss's job, because he is deployed. I know that my grasp of what is going on isn't the same as your average citizen who has no stake in this war. But should that matter? Am I being overly sensitive to this? I mean, my husband and so many others are over there risking everything in the name of a country that has practically forgotten (or don't care to know in the first place) that they are even gone.

And what's worse is that when I talk about the military (which I think I should learn not to do), some have such a cavalier attitude about it. Like, what's the big deal? So what, deployments are what they do? To some extent they are right. Yes, deployments are part of the job. But I just doubt that any real thoughts have been put into what a deployment really means. No thought to the emotional issues, the family issues, the health issues, the fear, the worry, the separation from loved ones and friends. Not to mention the living conditions, not being able to see or be with your wife/husband, missing a year of your child's life, living first hand the horrors of combat, the anxiety and fear that you might not come home. It is the "That's what you signed up for" mentality. And I don't know how to react to that.

And of course not everyone is this way. Thankfully I have friends who ask when they don't know, ask because they care and want to know what is going on (presumably because now they know someone in the military, know someone dealing with a deployment, which is fair). But shouldn't everyone be this way? Shouldn't everyone care? Shouldn't everyone want to know?

I guess I just that that regardless of how one feels about the war, about the military even, I would hope that if your country and countrymen are risking life and limb and dying for our country (insert your appropriate political persuasion's comment here), you would at least care to pay attention. Then again, the media isn't helping this situation at all either. If you didn't know any better, an hour watching the news would likely leave you with no inkling that we have nearly 200,000 troops at war in two countries. And that is abominable in my book.

Anyway, that is my rant. I guess this is just a part of being the 1%.

10 February 2009

This sucks.

Don't mind me. I am just feeling like whining. So consider this your fair warning.

This deployment stuff sucks. Of course it sucks for all of the obvious reasons. War sucks. Mandatory spousal separation sucks. Dirty, dusty tent living sucks. Fear, worry, danger... all suck.

But the little stuff sucks too. In some ways it sucks more than the big stuff... you know, not having him to talk to about my day. Not having him to be my nuclear reactor in bed- and no that isn't some metaphor for sex- literally the man throws off some serious heat and I love to be warm & cozy. Not seeing his smile. Not being able to touch him, hold hands, curl up beside one another. Not being able to talk to him about his day, every day. Not having him to cook for. Not being able to look over and see him there.

And you know what I miss the most? Just being with him. We don't have to do anything, say anything... just be together. I miss that so very much.


This article blew me away.
"Fresh recruits keep pouring into the U.S. military, as concerns about serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are eclipsed by the terrible civilian job market."
I mean, I know the Military provides great benefits, job security (assuming a number of things that I won't get into now), housing, insurance, educational opportunities, and even decent retirements* if you can make it that long. But we are at war. Troops are still dying. Units are still deploying. With no end in sight- no matter what anyone says about Iraq.
"The Department of Defense said Tuesday that all branches of the armed forces, including the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, met or exceeded their active duty recruiting goals for January, continuing a trend that began with a decline in the U.S. job market."
I cannot fathom jumping into this lifestyle in the middle of these wars. We (meaning Swiss and me) are up to our necks in this war, but that is because Swiss enlisted 18 years ago. In peace time. You take the good with the bad... in the back of your mind you know this is a possibility, but then again maybe it will never come to pass. That is the risk you take when you enlist in peace time.

But choosing to go in, in the middle of TWO wars, because of finances, not for one of the multitude of reasons usually cited (pride, honor, duty)? I cannot fathom this. What does that say about the state of affairs that going to war is eclipsed by financial struggles?
"When asked about the possibility of serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, he replied, "I'm not worried about that. I'm just worried about my kids.""
Wow. Just wow.

*Assuming there is any money left to give at the end of your ordeal...


Lopsided Mom... I am stealing your idea. This is an OpEd piece that I say YES! to.

Send ROTC back to School.

We are practicaly denying the brightest most driven students out there the opportunity to serve... we never ask them. The only way to really be a student and a soldier is to go ROTC. These programs are so great and they give these students opportunities they cannot get elsewhere. They get to work with soldiers, commissioned and enlisted, who can teach them more than just what they find in books. But they need to have access to this, they need to have these programs on campus. There's simply no other way.
"Imagine asking a 21-year-old: “How would you like to go somewhere where you are the only person who is capable of helping?” My students were desperate to serve their country in some way. We owe it to them to offer the armed forces as a realistic option."
If you were the CinC, if you were Army or Navy or Air Force or Marine Brass, woudn't you want these kids fighting for you too? Wouldn't you want these minds working out the issues, fixing the problems, leading? I know I would.

But... here's the bigger issue...
"At Yale, which has supplied more than its share of senators and presidents, almost none of my former classmates or students ever noticed the absence of uniforms on campus. In a nation at war, this is a disgrace. But it also shows how dangerously out of touch the elites who shape our national policy have become with the men and women they send to war."
Truer words have rarely been spoken. And I hope President Obama does something to change it. Only he has the power now.

09 February 2009


This is my Soapbox. I am going to get on it and shout about and an maybe, just maybe someone will listen and help do something. These are the headlines that are breaking my heart:

"More Army Suicides Than Combat Deaths Reported in January"

"Army suicide rate could top nation's this year"

"Army Suicides Rise Sharply-January Figures Up Six-Fold From Same Time in 2008"

"Army official: Suicides in January 'terrifying''

Not to mention the series of articles Salon.com is running this week. Read here and here. Seriously. Stop right now and go read them. Come back when you are done.

"Nobody is willing to help anybody," he said about his experience at Fort Carson after returning from Iraq. "You have to understand. We are just pieces of equipment."

If that doesn't make you ill, perhaps nothing will. Except maybe this:

Yes, a soldier left a stack of these at the sign-in desk at the Doctor's office at Fort Carson. How can anyone get help, get better, in this environment?

And here is what the Army has to say for itself:

Col. Elspeth Ritchie, the Army's top psychiatrist, ticks off a series of initiatives to improve Army mental healthcare, including the hiring of 250 new mental health providers through civilian contracts and more than 40 marriage and family therapists since the spring of 2007. Ritchie said an August 2007 Army directive ensures PTSD screenings for soldiers with disciplinary problems so serious the Army wants them out. She added that the Army surgeon general issued a memo in May 2008 requiring additional review of any diagnoses short of PTSD to make sure the Army gets it right. "We've really tried to enhance our access to care," she said in a telephone interview.

All well and good, but 250 mental health providers extra? 40 marriage counselors extra? For how many troops? How many families? As of 2007 there were 538,128 men and women serving active duty.

When will this epidemic stop? What will it take for the attitudes and environments to change? When will we stop treating these brave men and women like equipment and realize that these experiences, these wars, these emotional and physical tolls they pay are breaking them?

I will be writing more on this later... but I wanted to give it the attention is deserves.

I love you Alexander Graham Bell.

What a difference a phone call makes.

Swiss called this morning... we actually got to talk. Really talk. Not just 5 or 10 minutes of catching each other up and saying our I love you's. We got to talk about how things are going over there (and found out some disappointing information about his leadership... but that's another post), talk about our future, talk about anything & everything. It left me feeling recharged, happy, like I really can do this.

And of course I always could do this, I always have had it in me to get through this. It's just that sometimes it feels like a lot. It feels unfair, it feels frustrating, it feels lonely. It feels like we have a long way to go- and we do.

But today? Today I am good.

08 February 2009

The mass media edition.

I have always been a bit on the sappy side. I have been known to cry during episodes of Sex and the City, so let's not even talk about the really emotional stuff. And I am a sucker for those dreamy, heartfelt, emotional songs on the radio. But usually I can reign it in. I don't cry in public... I don't like being that girl.

Well, I cried in a Goodwill this week. Yes, Goodwill. My Mom and I went in there looking for vases and while she was checking out the sappy song on the overhead muzak channel made me cry. Seriously. Now I am that girl. Bah.

I couldn't watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition tonight because I was teary in the first 3 minutes. I even tried to go back a while into it, nope, instant mistiness. (It didn't help that the woman's husband died... duh. Probably not a smart choice...)

Anyway, I have been relegated to watching an America's Next Top Model marathon. Heck, next week I will probably be watching Rock of Love Bus. Apparently I can't HANDLE the sappy. Oh well, what I save in Kleenex I will make up for in mushy brain bits. I'm hoping Swiss will find them endearing.

Newsletter: Week 52

Yes, I am totally stealing this idea from Dooce. But I thought it might be interesting to sum up the 52 (+/-) weeks of this deployment. Sort of like a raw "Here's how it really went down" thing to look back on, no sugar coating way to document life, as it were, during the deployment. So here it goes...

Dear Swiss,

This week sucked. It started when you left and it hasn't stopped, though it has gotten better. It is a terrible feeling sending you off, sending you into harm's way, knowing I won't see you for so very long. I couldn't get over the feeling that our goodbye wasn't good enough, that I didn't say the things I wanted to and that I didn't hug or kiss you one more time... however I suspect that nothing could have made that goodbye good. God willing, we will never have to do it again. We drove back to our house on post and I cried all the way home. I don't like it there without you in it. I don't like it here without you. Apparently, you make lots of things better... like... well, everything. But at some point I got up and started moving. There was packing to be done after all. So I packed and cleaned and missed you terribly. By Monday we were finished and checked out of housing, easy as pie. Goodbye Fort X, for now. See you in a year...

We hit the road in your trusty truck and headed North. That drive is a lot less fun without you and your funny singing and random topics of conversation (no offense mom- you did a great job keeping me entertained too!). Anyway, we stayed in Wichita Monday night and made it home by Tuesday night. And again, I find that home is a foreign place without you in it. It is going to take some time to get used to not seeing you there, not having 2 towels hanging on the bathroom door, not having a co-pilot on the sofa, not having someone to cook for, having all that empty space on the other side of the bed... the list goes on... But this is how it is, for now.

My Mom stayed for the rest of the week. It was good having some company, someone to just be around and talk to... I never was one for cold turkey. But things here are okay. I will go back to work this week on Wednesday, which will be strange after 2 months off. I rather liked unemployed life, however I suspect that working will go a long way in keeping me busy and helping the time to pass. We spent some time with your Mom & Dad too, they miss you but are so proud of you! Things are pretty much the same here as when we left in November... it will be interesting to see how much things will change this year.

In other news, we got a puppy! The one you and I looked at before you left... I named him Fletcher, that's one of the names you picked out and it suits him very well. (He's passed out on the floor next to me as I write this.) He is sweet and quirky, just like us, and you are going to love him... I can't wait for you to meet him! He is a total goof and loves to play... he thinks the back yard is the best thing ever with all the birds and squirrels, I can't wait to see what he does with our dream 20 acres someday. He is a good snuggler too, not near the caliber of you, but pretty good. He is definitely a perfect addition to our family. I just wish you and I could have done all this together... it sucks that we have to do all these 'firsts' as a married couple uncoupled.

Anyway, this week seemed like a monumental task to complete. And I am so glad it is over... only 51-ish more to go! You and I have been able to talk about every other day, so I can't complain too much there. It is always sooooo good to hear your voice and know that you are doing well, find out what you are up to, and tell you how very much I love you & miss you. I just wish we could stretch those 5 or 10 minutes out longer, it never seems like enough time to tell you everything I want to say, the bad connections never help either. But I digress. You are staying very busy and enjoying work, which is great.

I am hoping that the next week will go by faster and that you will find out what your assignment will be and where you will actually be, then I can send you the care package that is all ready and waiting for you! But know that I am doing fine, I miss you like crazy, but I am okay. I've been so lucky to have such great friends and so much support, so there is nothing to worry about here at home. This isn't easy, but it is getting easier.

So be safe, be strong, and come home soon. 51 to go.

Your girl,

07 February 2009

One week and a new addition.


Phew! Hooray for me! Hooray for Swiss! Hooray for this whole thing finally getting started... and for being one week closer to it all being done!

It has been one helluva week, that is for certain. Between sending Swiss off, packing up the house, driving cross country and moving back in... all the while missing Swiss more than I have ever missed anyone or anything ever. So much it hurts.

But, I am lucky because a) I have someone I care that much about, b) I've been able to talk to him 4 or 5 times already, c) he is someplace safe and his job is keeping him as far away from harm as I could ever dare hope, and d) I have great friends and family to help get me through this. Oy vey. I'm so very glad this first week is over!

And in other news, we got ourselves a puppy! Swiss and I looked into adopting a dog before he left and we found a sweet dog that looked perfect for us... we just had to hope he would still be available when we (I) got back home. Well, we made the trek up to the Big City and sure enough, he was still there and now he is asleep on the living room floor. Swiss is going to love him!

Meet Fletcher:

06 February 2009

Let's just add more suck to the pile.

Against my better judgement, here's another family post. I am so angry and disappointed I could cry... but sometimes some people just don't deserve your tears.

Just before Swiss left for the Sandbox, we finally got things straightened out and taken care of in regards to Swiss Jr. We got his custody switched to Swiss's brother, since the Ex said she just couldn't take him and didn't want him anymore (what kind of parent doesn't want her own child anymore?). Swiss Jr. was doing so much better too... better in school, better attitude, better in general. And then, the first weekend after Swiss deployed, he spent it with his Mom and now he wants to go back to her... the woman who didn't want him just 3 months ago. Heavens only knows what she promised him.

It is all very disappointing... he's almost 14 so we can't make him do the right thing. At some point you can only do so much... he's got to want to do the rest. He has now turned his back on both his father and his uncle, and hurt them both so much. He has turned his back on everyone who wants the best for him, everyone who was willing to do anything and everything to help him. But this is his decision and the courts will back it because he is old enough in their eyes.

The thing I can't come to grips with is telling Swiss. I have to tell him, I don't want to be the one keeping secrets and being elusive... he had to deal with that enough last deployment with his Ex. But I want to protect him from this hurt, this disappointment. I don't want him to worry about it, I want him to focus and be in the now while he is over there. I think I will tell him when things are finalized, that way there won't be extra weeks agonizing over something he can do nothing to fix. I don't know.

I need help with this one. How do I do this?

05 February 2009

Home and other things.

I am 'home'.

It is all very surreal... this deployment stuff. I suspect that I will have plenty to say in the near future about all of this. For now, I feel sort of empty. Maybe hollow is a better word.

Things are a little better now, nearly a week out, than they were just a few days ago. That first night was unbearable... not knowing if he got there okay, the empty spot in bed, the knowledge that we were SO far away from this all being over, the hurt. I think I cried harder that night than I ever have before. Nope, I know I did.

It is both good and bad to be home now. In some regards I am happy to be back here, to get a routine going, to get back to as close to normal as I can. In other ways, it hurts all the more. This is our house. This is where we first got to hang out at my house-warming party, where he asked me out on our first date, where we had our first kiss, our first Thanksgiving and Christmas, where we made so many memories... where we got married. He is everywhere here and I can't look anywhere without missing him, I can't look at a single wall without seeing his smiling face and right now that is like a punch in the gut. It brings all of those emotions hiding just below the surface bubbling up and then I can't help but cry.

But I am doing better, and as a friend said, even when it feels like I can't do this... I AM doing it. And that counts for something.

Thanks for all the kind words and well wishes... it means the world to me.

02 February 2009


Here I am... I am a blip on the radar.

Thank you- from the bottom of my heart- for all the well wishes and hugs and, generally, everything. Thanks for understanding how much this sucks. Because I seriously don't have the words to discribe it.

He is there safe and I am in Wichita. It still hurts like hell. I miss him more than I can comprehend, but I can breathe easier knowing he is safe and they finally got their assignment.

I will write more when I get home.

Thank you, truly for everything. But mostly, thank you for keeping him in your thoughts & prayers... he's the one who needs them most.