30 June 2009
29 June 2009
And you've managed to stick around despite all the reasons I give you not to... Go you!!!
Thanks to all of you who have stopped by, encouraged me, laughed (at) with me, and helped me through this deployment so far. And even better, thank you to all my 'imaginary' friends who I have met in this great thing called the interwebz... y'all rock the cazbah.
Now, go eat some cake and/or ice cream and/or drink some bubbly. And you are welcome for the justification to eat bad-for-you food and drink booze. Consider it my present to you! Srsly!
*Technically my blog-o-versary was on the 27th, but I was too busy with my concert hangover to care. Sorry.
Anyway, our seats were good and we sat down with our $6 Miller Lites and pack of Twizzlers to await the unknown. Our beloved Crows were billed as a "Special Guest" to the Keith Urban concert. What did that mean? 20 minute opener? More? Well, rest easy friends, we got a solid hour of the Crows (see right, all images courtesy of keithurban.net)... the only thing that was a bummer was that they were clearly pandering to a non-Crows, country-heavy audience. I think there were only a couple hundred folks there who a) knew who they were and b) knew any of their songs other than Mr. Jones (which was the only song that got most everyone fired up). Either way they put on a great show and Beth and I were super pumped to have been able to see them again.
Set break. We bust out for the bathrooms and more beer. Not at all concerned about getting back in time for Keith Urban to start. Because while Beth has listened to his Greatest Hits album, I have only heard like 4 songs and consider myself to be neutral at best when it comes to country music these days. We had both heard that he put on a good show, but the expectations were low. Heck, we even contemplated leaving early to catch the Offspring (?!?) at the Miller Lite Oasis. But we made it back to our seats, moved to better, less crowded ones (see left) and awaited the concert's start.
ZOMG. That is how you start a concert. The huge ginormous screens and flashing lights and thundering bass & drums? Yep, pretty much set the stage. We were in for a country flavored Rock Concert. Not some pansy Pop Country show, which is exactly what I was told I was in for (except for you usmcwife8999). The atmosphere was great, it always is at summertime outdoor arenas and, despite all the non-necessary cowboy hats the show hit the ground running. Literally, that is what he lead with, and after just that first song, I was sold.
I think there were at least 15 instances, maybe more, in which Beth and I were looking at each other totally gobsmacked at what we were witnessing. This guy can freaking PLAY. I never thought I would say that about some pretty boy Aussie country star. Heck, he is more like some countrified hybrid of Paige/Plant (see this guy play and you won't think that is blasphemous, promise)... and I was waiting for him to start playing with his teeth a la Hendrix.
I never knew this guy had such serious guitar chops. Every song had a perfectly placed and timed guitar solo that made the whole thing SO much more like a rock concert than anything else. And the guy is a showman. The whole bit where he walks through the crowd while playing and singing up to a secondary stage in the middle of the amphitheater to play an acoustic mini-set? Fantastic. So yes, I was blown away. And I would dare say it was one of the best concert performances I have ever seen. Better than No Doubt, better than the Crows last year and better than (Ezra? ha! get it???), gasp, Coldplay. Yep. I said it. The best concert I have ever been to was a Country concert. Color me surprised.
Anyway, yes, amazing show. Every song was turned up to the proverbial 11, the whole band was mad, mad talented and the whole thing rocked way hard. Harder than any country show has a right to rock. Kudos to you Keith Urban, for being way more of a Guitar Hero than I ever thought you were, for proving me wrong, and for putting on a damned good show. And I want all five of those giant HD screens, which by the way, made the whole experience for anyone with cheaper seats exponentially better. And while you are at it, you NEED to put our a live CD. Because how y'all play live is a million times more awesome than anything on your studio albums, which I now own.
The rest of the weekend was marked by a Concert Hangover (not beer, promise, 3 in 5 hours won't do that...) on Saturday, new Reef flip flops, ridonkulously cheap Gap jeans ($19.99!), and yummy pizza. Sunday we drove up to Minneapolis, kicked it at IKEA and checked Beth into her uber trendy hotel, got Chipotle and continued to discuss the pitfalls of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, family planning, career/school and everything else under the sun. I love the conversations we have, the exercise it gives my brain, and how I totally get to be me with Beth. No pretenses, no judgment, totally honest, totally open and totally hilarious. Thanks for being that kind of friend Beth... you are a rare find and genuinely amazing!
So yep, that was my weekend. Fan-freaking-tastic if you ask me. I needed that. Happy Monday all!!!
26 June 2009
It was where I went to see Michael Jordan play in his prime, where I went to see No Doubt and REM back in the day, it is where my college boyfriend lived (ugh, let's not go there), where I went to the old County Stadium to watch Bernie Brewer slide into his giant mug of beer, and now Miller Park where we watch the Brat, the Hot Dog, the Polish Sausage, the Italian Sausage and the Chorizo race every game night. (See right. God, if that stuff doesn't make you just love this town, I don't know what will.) It is where I always went with my parents to Big Fun Things (like the ballet, theater, sporting events, State Fair, etc.). No, it wasn't like growing up near Chicago or some place bigger or cooler, but it was still pretty great.
Milwaukee is also home to, no jokes, the world's largest music festival. You heard right, Milwaukee. Wisconsin. Its name? Summerfest. What is it? It is essentially 10 days of beer, food, music, entertainment and crowds all situated right down on the shores of Lake Michigan. Because it is "Cooler by the Lake" and that is actually true. While sometimes it can be far from fun, it is also wicked awesome because some really cool concerts come into town and yeah, beer! So that is where Beth and I are heading this weekend, just like we did last year, to go see our favorite band perhaps ever. Counting Crows. Sweetness.
So yes, that is where I am off to this weekend. I cannot wait. And for good measure, I will also be spending some quality time with, maybe my favorite town in the Midwest: Madison. But that is another post for another day. I hope y'all have a stellar weekend and when you raise your glass of beer and noshing on your bratwurst while relaxing in the summer sun, give a tip of your hat to Milwaukee.
25 June 2009
But man, where the heck do you start? I mean, I have a serious love affair with cheese. And I have always put sugar in my coffee. I have an ‘addiction’ to Diet Coke. And I usually wuss out of cooking dinner now that Swiss is in the Sandbox… cereal or Mac ‘n Cheese anyone? I know I make plenty of suspect food choices… a sub without mayonnaise is sacrilegious, sour cream is sent from heaven and... really, I just rely on processed foods way to heavily in general. Shame on me!
I have decided to start sort of small… I’m not giving my diet a complete overhaul, nor am I out to count every last calorie just yet. I truly do love fruits and veggies, I think hummus is fabulous and as a certified carnivore, I love me some protein. I just need to weed out the stupid stuff.
Thanks to Amy (from whom I have stolen almost ALL of these ideas), I’ve taken her lead and have stopped putting sugar in my coffee. I found that if you buy good coffee (CARIBOU!) you don’t have to put the sugar in it. I’ve bounced back up to 2% milk and I am weaning myself off of Diet Coke (but I am not going to give it up completely just yet… one thing at a time folks!). I am buying fruit by the bucketful and trying to eat at least 2 serving a day. Lately cherries have been my snack and dessert. I am also going to buy more produce/perishables, I hate to see it go to waste so hopefully it will help me eat the good stuff! Breakfast is now going to be a protein shake with loads of fruit (which totally gives me an excuse to use my shiny red blender). Lunch will be Kashi (at least while I am working) frozen meals because they usually have lots of vegetables and their grains/pastas are always whole wheat (and the Mayan Harvest Bake is DE-freaking-LISH!). Dinner will be protein plus 2 veggies with a smattering of whole wheat carbs/grains. Snacks? Hummus and veggies, hard boiled eggs or more fruit. FO’ REALS! I mean it this time!!!
The hard part? Keeping this up when Swiss gets home. That man loves him some cheese (read: puts it on almost everything, even stuff that already has cheese on it) and isn’t a huge fan of all the veggies I usually feed him (unless covered in said cheese)... something about excess gas. Aren't you glad you asked? Side note: how he manages to remain so fit, trim and generally free of body fat I will NEVER know. He doesn’t eat fruit (too much work. Seriously, that is his excuse!) and prefers mostly proteins, virtually no carbs unless they are in the form of cereal. But then again, I am the cook so if he wants to eat, I guess he will have to get used to it!
Anyway, this is my plan. I figure that if I write it here, I have to sort of hold myself accountable and not be a flake about it. I've been doing it all this week so far and have noticed a difference in my energy levels and a little in my weight already. AWESOME. So, do y’all have any tricks to weed out the bad and find ways to eat more tasty & good for you foods? Let me hear ‘em if you’ve got ‘em!
24 June 2009
Today started off not so sweet. Think obsessively whining and whimpering dog at 0415. But I vowed not to react to it (unlike yesterdays yelling and screaming... fun!) and sure enough, 15 minutes later, the devil dog stopped. For about 45 minutes. Then he started up again. I, yet again, resisted the urge to go ballistic and just stayed in bed. 20 minutes later he stopped. Then the blissful peace and quiet returned to our house and I got to sleep until the alarm went off. Much better!
Then, I checked my e-mail and guess what? The super cute Birki's I wanted to buy but were out of stock? They were back in stock! So I bought them. Wanna see 'em?
And then I realized that I didn't have to go to softball practice tonight, so that made me at least 28 shades of happy. And I get fair food for lunch! See, this week is our town's Festival (not to be confused with the County Fair or anything)... so that means the streets downtown are blocked off and chock full of fried food vendors and music stages. Good times! I will most certainly pass up the "Hot Dish on a Stick" this year though. S-k-e-t-c-h-y. (Bonus 10 points if you actually know what "Hot Dish" is.)
Swiss gently lectured me yesterday about over-extending myself. Which is fair, because that is exactly what I have been doing. So now I have to do some soul searching about what I need to quit to regain my sanity and take better care of myself. I've been going non-stop this whole month with work and after-work activities every day of the week. I'm suffering, Fletcher is suffering and I don't think the really important stuff is getting done the way it should (like the PCS work, getting the house ready, etc). It's been too much, but this gal ain't a quitter, so I've been in more of the "Suck it Up Buttercup" mindset. I'm afraid the coaching gig will be what takes the hit, since it takes up 4 nights a week... but I hate to do that to the girls and I just can't stand the idea of quitting something I committed to. But that is my cross to bear and it must be done.
Anyway, I am doing much better today with the help of a tasty Caribou Iced Coffee, a newly updated iPod music stash, and the prospects of a kick ass weekend with Beth involving the concert, wedding planning (the fun kind) and another trip to IKEA. Things are looking up... and that is a very, very good thing. Happy Wednesday y'all!
PS: Jenny, I hope these posts are helping you keep track of your days! :)
23 June 2009
Today isn't looking much better than yesterday... though Swiss's "thing" worked out just fine and he is safe & well. Phew. My new dishwasher? Doesn't drain, and the sink still leaks. BIL needs to fix this because I simply don't have the gumption to deal with it. IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE BETTER! NOT WORSE!!! The dog is now fluffy and clean... but he won't sleep past 5:30am. Which is killing me slowly. Today I am only doing 2 people's jobs, so that is better I suppose! And did I mention how humid it is here? Yesterday it was 95 with 47% humidity. I was sweating like crazy just standing outside... lucky us we get more of the same today! HOORAY UPPER MIDWEST. And by that I mean not. Decidedly.
But I won't complain any more because I know it isn't that bad. I get to go to Milwaukee this weekend for a Counting Crows concert with the coolest gal I know, Beth, for her bachelorette 'party' (the best thing is that we did the exact same thing for my bachelorette 'party'). And you must understand that by 'party' we mean, go to a great concert, drink overpriced beer, and hang out in general. MAN- WE ARE CRAZY! Right? No? Oh, well. I think we both like it better this way... no phalluses involved, no "Suck for a Buck" and NO tiaras/veils. Perfection!
Okay, I should get to work and stop avoiding it like the plague. Validations make mah brain hurt. Hope y'all have a great Tuesday!
22 June 2009
This Monday was marked (so far) by a dog who rolled in the dumped out grapefruit scented dish soap (leftover from the kitchen remodel, which I will post tomorrow) in the lawn (thanks BIL! not.). Now he is sticky, muddy, matted and smells vaguely of citrusy mud. Today also had my Dad leaving town to go home, never fun because my parents are awesome and I miss them and I am only going to move further and further away because the Army makes me. And I get to do 3 people's jobs today at work! woot! Oh, and my new sink leaks. Must fix that tonight (looking at you BIL). There are also worries today because of some things (vagueness is the peanut butter to OPSEC's jelly) going on with Swiss today and "things" always make me nervous. I'm feeling distinctly gun-shy of the news today and that makes my internet surfing difficult.
Anyway, I'm not bitching, just laying out my case to Monday. This ain't how you do it... you know, for future reference. Mmmkay?
Oh, and before I forget... here is a site y'all should check out, not just because the name is cool: Burn My Biscuits. It's Amy from Alternative Army Wife and she is embarking on her new non-Army life... hence the new blog. Go check it out and be inspired not only by her story and kick ass outlook on life, but by her awesome information and take on getting healthy and working out. Way to go Lady! Congrats!!!
21 June 2009
I just wanted to send Father's Day wishes to my amazing, wonderful, wise and funny Dad. He is the best father a girl could ever hope for and I'm please as punch that I got to spend this weekend with him.
Thanks Dad, for all you do, all you have done, and for being my biggest supporter.
19 June 2009
What is the best advice you've ever gotten from a movie?
Lester Bangs, Almost Famous. "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool."
A fantabulous movie (highly recommended) and a very true quote. I figure that in any situation, if you can't be your naturally uncool self, it ain't worth a thing. So thanks Lester Bangs (played by the ever amazing Philip Seymour Hoffman) for the poetic words and great advice.
Your turn! Oh, and have a wonderful weekend!
(And if you can't tell, I'm making my way out of Suckyville... which suddenly reminds me of Stuckeyville from maybe one of the best TV series ever. Gaw, I loved that show. The end.)
18 June 2009
"Your days of flip flops are over." o.0 ...crickets...
Wha? NO FLIP FLOPS!?!?!?!? Inconceivable!! (yes, say that with the required lisp a la The Princess Bride)
I am aghast. I am downtrodden. I am brokenhearted. I feel all Brokeback Mountain... you know... I CAN'T QUIT YOU! Seriously Mr. MD... you can't make me do this!!!
So, between you and me, am I really going to go home and throw away all of my wonderful, toe liberating, color coordinated, essential-to-wardrobe flip flops? Aw, HELL NO. We just won't tell my doctor that, mmkay? It'll be our little secret.
Here are my two cents, which I already posted over at LF… I really encourage all of you to either shoot Kristy an e-mail or head over to LeftFace to get your opinions and thoughts heard!
Hi All, My name is Kristy Kaufmann, I’m the Army wife who wrote the op-ed in the Washington Post, “Army Families Under Fire” 5/11/09.
Since the article ran, I’ve been in contact with the White House, the Secretary of the Army, the office of the Sec. of Defense, Army family program directors and some congressmen and senators. It’s taken me 8 years and an op-ed to get in the room and I’m doing everything I possibly can use this “voice” to inject some urgency and reality into these conversations. I am completely unaffiliated and my only agenda is to speak for the many who have no voice and hold our leaders (civilian and military) accountable for doing what they say they are going to do (and doing it effectively).
We (military families) need smart people like you at the ground level who are unafraid to speak honestly and help provide solutions. I wouldn’t have taken the risk to write the article if I didn’t think it could affect significant change, but I’m just one person. I need to hear from others that are “in the trenches”; ours is the voice that has been missing from the conversations where decisions are being made. I have a direct line to the top right now, let’s use this opportunity!
Here are a couple of questions I’ve been asked by non-profits who want to help military families, they want input from the ground level. Please feel free to post them on Left Face, people can also respond directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will keep all responses anonymous. I’m using “soldier” to represent all military members, regardless of branch.
1. What are the biggest problems facing soldiers (and their families) returning from deployment?
2. What could be done to address these problems?
3. Does the current military family support system work? If not, why?
4. How can veteran’s service organizations help military families?
5. If you had all the power in the world, what would you do to support soldiers and military families?
1. I echo LopsidedMom on this one. JOBS! My husband will soon retire and our options are super limited give his MOS and I worry that if he doesn't stay in a career with military ties (ROTC, JROTC) no one will realize his potential, experience and mad skills. The Vet unemployment rate is WAY too high and generally speaking these are folks with loads of potential and a totally untapped resource. We need to fix this!
2. I think the tax incentives are a good start- make it profitable to hire these folks. But again, echoing LopsidedMom, we need to educate employers to their skill sets, abilities, and all the ways these amazing folks can be an asset to their company.
Also, help them recognize that sometimes with folks like this, college degrees aren't necessary, their breadth and wealth of experience should count for something. I can't tell you how many jobs my husband has already looked into and is qualified for SKILL-wise but not Degree-wise. This is an issue for lots of retiring NCO's and we need to create a situation that allows these troops (especially those with 15-20 years in) to get more than entry level jobs. (And the GI Bill isn't the only answer to this, we need to get creative here!)
3. Yes and no. If the FRG (Army) is run by someone who has a) the time, b) the resources and c) the support to do it right, then it works well. But more often than not, this isn't the situation. I agree that these positions all need to be paid and specific goals/tasks need to be laid out so that expectations can be met and folks can be held accountable. These groups need to revolve less around socializing/status making and more around concrete help, support and education.
I also think that the support network for families not in the general vicinity of their installation (ie- went home to live with parents during the deployment, didn't choose to move shortly before a deployment like me, etc) needs to be beefed up and the DoD or someone needs to be more creative about creating support networks for these folks. I would love to see someone create databases (I know this is a huge task) that would allow military families of all branches reach out and find real tangible support in their location. I wouldn't care if the only folks I had in town for support were Navy or Air Force (that's not a dig!)... just having actual people to meet with when you are geographically separated from your Unit would be AMAZING. This is an area that is sorely lacking!
4. I think that having lists of trusted service providers would be a great start. Who can you trust to do yard work? What is a reliable mechanic that won't try to take advantage of me? Who does good home repair that, again, won't fleece me? I also think that possibly Veteran organizations could also serve as a resource for finding other military families in your area. They could possibly host meet-ups open to all branches? But I do agree that this should be a two way street. If Vet's organizations and MilFamilies relied on each other, there could be A LOT of amazing work accomplished!
5. At the risk of sounding like a Miss America contestant, I agree with trying to bring peace to fruition and bring our troops home. But in all seriousness. I would stop using our troops as worldwide peace-makers. I would try to rely more on UN forces and support/augment these groups for situations like Iraq, etc. I would use our troops in more of a preventative role (rather than reactionary and risk becoming the go-to guys in everyone else's time of need), focusing on intelligence, homeland security, keeping the US safe and working WITH allies and multi-national forces in supporting roles instead of taking over. If conflict wasn't avoidable, I would focus on utilizing our forces efficiently and evenly, paying close attention to OpTempo and staying within our means (both at home and in theatre).
I would put real money, time and effort into fixing the woefully inadequate systems in place to deal with PTSD, suicides, substance abuse and relationship/family issues. I would also beef up the school and support programs for military kids... more after school programs, more counselors, more funding for special events. Anything to make deployments easier on kids. And yes, free college to Gold Star kids for sure.
Lastly, I totally second LopsidedMom on requiring our elected officials to wear 80lbs of combat gear and go to Birkram Yoga. But only after they had to do some Basic Training and get buzz cuts.
Okay folks, now it is your turn. Go get your opinions heard!!! Double Time!!!
17 June 2009
Yesterday, when I was talking to Swiss, he told me he had a tentative date for R&R. Which is awesome, but also still very far away. He told me that it was almost like starting over again at zero, because we've done the same amount of time apart already. Seriously, I almost started bawling when I heard him say "Zero". Ugh. I don't want to be at zero again. I CAN'T be at zero again. The thought of that is downright depressing.
I have also discovered some of the side effects of residing in Suckytown. Maybe it has something to do with the air here, but I can't remember important day-to-day stuff anymore. Mah brain is fried and if it ain't on a list, it ain't gettin' done. I am way distracted (more so than usual) and find myself craving solitude. Not because I don't like people or have decided to become a recluse (though I have contemplated it, but for other reasons), I think just because I know deep down the only person who could make any of this better is the one who is so far away. And that is just the way it is.
But, don't worry about me, I'll be fine. I'm just taking my time to see the sights, get a taste of the local flavor and enjoy the break from wearing the HappyFace (trademark). Suckytown isn't a place I want to stay... but for now, it's just easier being here than anywhere else. Have a great Wednesday everyone and thanks again for all the kind thoughts and encouragement!
15 June 2009
So THANK YOU. Thank you to all who commented/e-mailed/called yesterday, all of those who knew what I was going through, who stood beside me, who didn't judge or tell me to suck it up, who were there to tell me I was normal, things would be okay, and that I had every right to feel this way. In no way could I do this without any of you... you all will always have my gratitude, admiration and love.
Meghan (who really should jump into the blogosphere!)
Post Tenebras Lux
Army Wife Life
You all are amazing, wonderful, unique and incredible women & men. I would be lost in the sauce without you!!! Thank you for all you do, all you have done... and I can only hope that one day I can be there for y'all the way you have been there for me. I am so grateful for each and every one of you!
But now? Now I am surly. And I might be the new Mayor of Suckytown... or at least the County Commissioner. I'm just SO over this and I can't help but look at all the blissfully happy (or not) couples everywhere I look and be overcome with disdain. Disdain for their proximity to their loved ones, which they no doubt take for granted. Disdain for the 8-ish more months I have to pretend to be okay with being 'single' again. Disdain for having my own husband rationed out to me in 30 minute parcels. Disdain for being at the mercy of an organization that not only doesn't know us, but doesn't care to. Disdain for an Army that, as of late, is more about lip-service than actual action.
I will fully admit that my disdain isn't all well placed. I'll be the first to admit that. Is it fair for me to look at all those other happy couples with sourness and envy? No. It isn't their fault. Do I have a right to be surly with the Army when I knew full well this was a possibility when I married Swiss? Probably not. But this situation defies even my best science-based logic... I can't get past one measly detail: THIS SUCKS.
I am tired of pretending it doesn't suck. I am over acting like that everything is perfectly fine and normal. I am done pretending that nothing will change when Swiss gets home (personally, career and otherwise). I can't keep up the facade that I am okay/at peace with all of this. Because seriously, I am not. Even though I know I have to be.
See, I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night and find myself alone yet again. I don't want to lay in bed quietly crying because I can't really remember how it feels to be in his arms or what it sounds like when he snores. I want to feel like my life isn't on hold (because, let's be honest, if you are in a solid marriage/relationship, when he or she is gone for a year, your life is on hold... one way or another, whether you want to admit it or not.). I want to have a conversation with my husband that doesn't involve a phone or a timer. I want to wake up and hear him breathing, feel his presence, and hold on to him- not just a memory of him or a t-shirt that faintly smells like him (and of plastic zip-loc bags).
I know, I know. Whine much? It's just that while I know every day is a day closer to us being together, lately the days are just blurring into one massive puddle of suck. Sure there are glimmers of the good, there are friends and family that do their best to distract you the days that don't seem so bad. But at the end of every day, I crawl into an empty bed and know full well that nothing will change for a long, long time. Ugh. I'll get over it, I always do. But I just don't feel like playing nice with Her today.
14 June 2009
IT. WAS. AWESOME!
Tiring, but awesome. And my Mom, bless her, kicked some serious arse while I was working last week. And this weekend we put the hurt on the rest of the STUFF and got the house looking smashing. That woman has got to have Super Powers. (Lucky me, I'm an only child so I can be the sole beneficiary of her awesome powers!)
We even went out and bought the new counter tops, dishwasher, faucet and all the necessary things to install them. So exciting! And my brother-in-law is coming over tonight to get the old dishwasher uninstalled (thankfully Lowe's is willing to take the old one and dispose of it for us, which is excellent!). If all goes as planned (knock on wood) we will have the house ready to be put on the market the week after the Fourth of July. w00t!
The next things on the list? Finish organizing our wardrobes/closets. Remodel the kitchen. Spruce up the living room. Clean windows and give the house a spiffing up before the big day. Not too shabby, right? I feel SO much better about this whole process now that we got so much done. I doubt I would be even a quarter as far along as we are if it weren't for my awesome Mom. Sorry folks, she's not for hire!
I'll keep you all posted on the kitchen remodel and the word from our Realtor. Happy Monday everyone and THANKS MOM! :)
12 June 2009
So Swiss and I have been debating what Fletcher's middle name would be. Because all self-respecting dogs have middle names, right?
Anyway, I made a command decision last night (and Swiss doesn't know yet). It is going to be Colbert (silent T). Because a) he is hilarious and awesome, b) it sounds cool, and c) he got so many cool points for going to Iraq and being an advocate for the military and their families. I figure the least I can do is partially name our dog after him. He would be honored, I'm sure.
Oh, and if you didn't get a chance to watch his shows from Al Faw Palace, you need to spend some quality time this weekend catching up. It was awesome and hilarious and, I think, a pretty big deal. So a Tip of the Hat to you Mr. Colbert. Thanks for all you do. And for being so damned funny. And for making me cry when you said the bit about "Honey, I'm comin' home." You rock.
And also, how could anyone NOT love this man? Seriously, that should go above the fireplace...
Happy Friday Everyone!
11 June 2009
10 June 2009
Today is her Birthday! YAY! So, happy Birthday Mom, you are the best friend I could have ever hoped for you and you are the awesomest Mom ever! I am so lucky! Swiss thinks he's lucky to have you for a 2nd Mom too, plus he thinks you are pretty funny, even though this photograph in no way supports that theory. So here's to you and here's to many, many more!
09 June 2009
Okay, so the house. Ugh. The house. I love our house. And really, not to be selfish or whatever, but it is kinda my house. I bought it before I met Swiss and the poor guy has really only lived there in weekend-long spurts and for random weeks at a time, but it does house his stuff... man, does it ever! I slaved over the real estate web pages for 6 months to find it. I decorated it. I pay the mortgage. So really, this whole Sell-The-House! (patent pending) thing is my issue... my burden to bear. Which, considering Swiss is in the Sandbox, isn't too bad of a deal for me. But I digress...
Today I met with our real estate agent. She is the kind, patient lady who forged around 30+ houses with me when I was on the search for this one. And she found me just what I was looking for. Only this time I am counting on her to SELL just what I had been looking for. Because now? Now I'm in the market for some sweet on-Post housing circa 1953 with stained brown carpeting, plain white walls and a tiny kitchen. I'm crazy like that.
The list of things to do?
1.) Remodel kitchen. Like, yesterday.
2.) Declutter, depersonalize and edit... this will be hard. I have stuff. Lots of stuff. And I like it, I don't want to pack it up... this isn't any fun!?!?!
3.) Maintain immaculate home... will be a challenge with a shedding, overly active dog and slightly slobbish ways.
4.) Pack up the unnecessary items, get our sappy photos off the walls and get rid of the junk. See #2 for appropriate whine.
5.) Have Mom do as much of this as she can while I am at work. Oops! Did I write that down?
6.) Spruce up yard, plant things, don't kill them.
7.) Have mini-meltdown on way home from Target after meeting.
8.) Shove my face full of Chipotle for dinner to soothe self.
Yeah, so consider 7 & 8 done. I think it is just me being weary of doing, well, everything solo. This is the stuff you are supposed to do WITH your spouse. This is the crap stuff that you help one another get through. This the stuff you do together, instead of relying on your mom or whatever. But alas, not for us. Anyway, I will work on 1-6, um, like NOW. Our agent is confident that we can sell the house, but the sooner we can get it on the market the better. She is trolling for potential home buyers who are currently renters (and therefore can accommodate the fact that we can't move out until November 1). I just have to get everything in order, pack some things up, clean, organize and pray for a real estate miracle.
And away we go! So, do y'all got any seller/staging tips you want to share? Because, seriously... I NEED THEM!!!
08 June 2009
I thought that since I would probably be complaining, er... I mean blogging about the trials and tribulations of said PCS, why not make it a series of how to (or NOT to) PCS. It's like a learn-as-you go thing for me, and I will most certainly welcome any and all tips/nuggets of wisdom y'all have to share.
So here it goes... Part 1.
Dudes, yesterday was productive! And it felt good! I contacted the realtor I bought my house from to meet and discuss when to list it (soon! think July), what needs to be done by then, and what contingencies I may or may not want to have (ie: stay in the house until November renting from new owners, closing date in November, etc.). She is coming over to the house tonight so that will be a super productive visit. Also, my mom is coming up this week so that should give me some great projects to task her with when I am at work. My only worry other than selling the house is our need to stay in it until November as Swiss's mid-tour leave will be in October and I would hate to put him and us in a hotel for all that time or someone else's house. We just want to be home. Know what I mean?
I also contacted to PPSO (Personal Property Shipping Office) at the local (tiny) Army post. I think I might have lucked out with being close to only a small post as the folks there are a) not swamped with customers/families/or massive restructurings (read Carson, Knox, Campbell, Hood and that whole 4th ID shuffle) b) uber friendly and c) able to give you quick and thorough replies to your queries. I might be in love with our PPSO contact. She gave me all the paperwork I could possibly need within an hour of my initial e-mail inquiry. She rocks. She also let me know my time lines and that I could opt in for a 'counseling' session that would mean I could actually MEET with someone to talk over the details and any other questions I may have as we get closer to the PCS date. Awesome!
And for the most important lesson I can give any of you with any sort of PCS on the horizon. FIND AN OBVIOUS, SAFE PLACE FOR THE PCS ORDERS. Ha! I spent about two hours tearing through 30 lbs of 'current' Army paperwork (some of which dated back to 2005) to find that one precious piece of paper. Ugh. Not fun. But I did find it so Hooray for me! So, yes, just make sure all your paperwork is in order and that you KNOW where everything is. Y'all know how the Army is... I will likely have to show those PCS orders and our marriage certificate no less than 73 times before this ordeal is over. (Oh, and a friend also told me that if you can't find said PCS orders, you should start by contacting the S1, who would be a part of the HHC... or at least that is how it is in Swiss's unit.) I also finally got my BIL to commit to finishing up the kitchen. Woot!
So that is where we stand now. Next tasks? Get on housing list at Fort X, get house ready for listing, and review the scary checklists. Ready... Break!
Not only did you shave your head, but you traveled to Iraq to support and entertain our troops, you constantly keep these wars on the public radar and you support organizations that support troops and their families (Yellow Ribbon Fund and DonorsChoose.org). You seriously rock. And I love you for it!
Be sure to watch the Colbert Report this week. The shows filmed in Iraq at Al Faw Palace are airing Monday-Thursday. 11:30 Eastern, 10:30 Central on Comedy Central. All the cool kids will be doing it!
07 June 2009
Kid A is this sort of entity that bounces in and out of our lives for various reasons on a somewhat constantly quasi-frequent basis. I don't say this to imply that we don't want him in our lives. That isn't the case at all. Its just that he isn't a constant in our home. He is like an earthquake... you don't know when he's coming, but he arrives with a bang and you always know it when he's there. And that is mostly a product of his mother, not him. P has full custody of him, but when Swiss is around and she doesn't feel like being a parent anymore, Kid A ends up with us. Nothing like making the kid feel wanted, right? So he bounces in and out of our lives... in and out... in and out...
Anyway, Kid A showed up at our house again today with his friend. No big deal, but it is the second day in a row after not seeing him for a few months. I like hanging out with him and I like that he is comfortable enough with me and likes me enough to come over when Swiss isn't here. But then he went and said that he wanted to move in with us after Swiss gets home. And I can't help but feel like I'm either getting played or getting set up to have our hearts broken by him one more time.
See, Kid A's mom isn't what you would call a good parent. And I can say this without any personal feeling about her clouding my judgment. She's smoked pot in front of him when he was 10, she's 'tried to kill herself' (a half-assed job mostly for attention), she's let him essentially fail most of Middle School, and she never disciplines him. He's become quite a handful under her tutelage; he lies, he is defiant (beyond the usual teenage norms), he is unmotivated and he doesn't know that being strict (us) is different from being mean (his mom, she's a fighter and a yeller).
But under all of those rather large issues, he is a good kid. He just takes the easy way out, because he always has one. He lies because that is what he has been raised with. And he doesn't try because no one expects or asks him to. He needs structure and discipline and love and someone who is going to push him to be something more than a gas station attendant. He needs us, but living with us is a heck of a lot harder than living with his mom. So when things get tough, he goes back to her. And we have done this 3 times now since Swiss and I have been together. We even tried to put him with his favorite uncle (Swiss's brother) temporarily while Swiss was deployed. Every time it is the same routine, things get hard and he bolts to his mom.
Of course there is a flip side to this. When he does live with his mom he recognizes the differences, he knows that he isn't her top priority. And eventually he realizes that he should have stayed with us, or his uncle. But how many times are we going to get on this carousel? Every time Swiss tries to do the right thing for him, he ends up with his heart broken because Kid A bolts for his half-assed mom whenever you try to do the right things and be a real parent.
So yes, that is the saga of Kid A. He hasn't had it easy, but he has a habit of choosing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. I can't help but wonder why it would be any different when Swiss comes home this time. And I can't help but wonder if he really would move to Fort X, if he really would go to court so we could get full custody (which is absolutely necessary), if he really does want to live with us. I just don't know what to believe or what to do. So I guess, for now, I'll just settle for being the cool step-mom that he can hang out with when he wants do.
I don't know what else to do.
06 June 2009
This is how the night went: Sit down to watch movie, drink wine, answer phone to talk to Swiss only moments before the doorbell rings (?), answer door and see Swiss Jr. (must come up with better name for him- let's go with Kid A) and his friend standing there. Let Swiss talk to Kid A, entertain 14 year old kid I've only met once in the meantime, have abbreviated conversation with Swiss and then proceed to watch the boys play an hour of Guitar Hero (not to be confused with Sitar Hero though).
So yeah, my night was hijacked by two teenage boys. And Guitar Hero.
And can I just say that, while great to see Kid A because it has been months, it is sort of odd to have two 14 year old boys just show up on your doorstep at 9:35pm on a Saturday night. Am I wrong? And they WALKED here. (Granted, his mom P lives only 3 streets up from me, hence our overwhelming urge to not stay here). Anyway, that was my very odd Saturday night.
Oh, and I got screwed out of my evening phone call with Swiss. THAT SUCKS. But, you know, I did get to watch about 15 different GH songs played on Expert. That will mess with your head, for cereals. The end.
Yes, the military.com patented OVERKILL worksheets freaked me out, but honestly, I don't think the Army portion of this move is all that scary. Perhaps I will even have lucked out because I'll get to work with the folks at a MUCH smaller post and get some (hopefully) good one-on-one interactions that will make that portion go smoothly and relatively painlessly. I am confident about what I need to do with the housing office at Fort X, mostly because Swiss and I have done it before down there and I am familiar with the staff for our housing community. I am even prepared for the inevitable (again, hopefully) few months spent transitioning between civilian life and Army wife life. I've got like 4 contingency plans for that- all of which are perfectly serviceable options. I've got all of that under control. It is good.
What can't I control? The housing market. Selling this house. Finding a buyer. Yes, this my friends is what is setting off alarms, sirens and putting my panic button on high-alert. DEAR GOD WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO IF THIS HOUSE DOESN'T SELL? I am not going to have a job at Fort X so it would be tough to pay 2 house payments, and I categorically WILL NOT stay here after he comes home. So yeah, we HAVE to sell this sucker. I'm panicking to the point of sending my real estate agent an e-mail this weekend telling her we had to meet. NOW. Yes, the move is nearly 7 months away, but the Holidays are in there and yeah, we've got to get this sucker on the market!
So yes, I have deciphered my panic and at least now I have some good direction. Anyone want to buy a house???
Anyway, I went over to military.com and looked up PCS checklists... lists help me plan, they are the salve to my panic. UNTIL YOU MAKE ME EIGHT CHECKLISTS*. Seriously, there are 8 of them... for one PCS! And some of them are multiple pages long! That my friends, was no salve, that was salt in the wound. Eight lists in an of themselves were panic inducing. ZOMG! Eight! How the heck am I going to do this and not eff things up terribly, lose all our furniture, fail to acquire on-post housing, and end up living in our tent somewhere behind the Railhead with only Army issue sleeping bags and MREs? Sigh.
I am relatively certain wine, ice cream and the wisdom/help of much more experienced MilSpouses will render this experience much less horrid than it is now playing out in my mind. I also think that if I just let my anal-retentive tendencies run amok it will help immensely... think binder for said checklists, giant calendars (oh wait, already have that), obsessive calling of pertinent players and manic documentation. Yes, yes, I can do this. REALLY! I can!
Oh Lawd, please say yes!!!
*This was also somewhat reminiscent of Martha Stewart's Wedding Checklist that was 12 pages long... also panic inducing. People, checklists are supposed to make you feel better, not feel like you WILL NEVER GET ALL OF THIS DONE. Just saying.
05 June 2009
What was it, you ask, that got me thinking they were military?
Could it have been the GWOT Veteran license plate? Sure.
How about the giant ARMY! flag hanging in front of the house?
Yep, that sealed the deal. Awesome. Why you ask? We are around 110 miles from the nearest Army post, and that one is teensey... so there aren't a lot of military folks in these parts other than the handful of recruiters at the office down the street.
I got all sorts of ideas for introducing myself... envisioned BBQ's this summer or at least a beer or two with hopefully some really nice Army folks, just like me. Another twee set of folks who get it, and right around the corner!
And then I saw this on the tire cover of their Jeep Wrangler XL.
04 June 2009
I mean, let’s be honest, this is likely a short list for all of us… but I wonder what the common themes amongst us are? Age? Music? Genres? Movies? TV? Pure cheese factor? I'm so intrigued!
Okay, here’s my list:
Elementary School – Wild America with Marty Stouffer (okay, PBS & nature shows in general), cooking shows, all things arty... drawing, painting, doodling, any of it, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Oldies, the Sound of Music and U2.
Middle School – Counting Crows. That’s it. Nothing else. Those were some rough years. (And "Omaha" is still my favoritest EVER.)
High School – Giant tote bags (anyone else remember those ESPRIT bags?), softball (though I was playing loooong before HS) and marching bands. (NERD ALERT!!!)
I find it hilarious that in all my formative years of music listening, I only picked two truly great bands and one movie that I still love to this day. Man, I had some CRAPPY taste as a kid. Of course, I found loads of cool stuff in college, but hey, who didn't, so that doesn't count, even though it would make me look waaaay cooler than this list does. Clearly my early years were my best… I PEAKED TOO EARLY!!! It’s all been relatively downhill since then... Sigh.
So pony up and spill the beans because it is your turn… I can’t wait to read your responses! Oh, and happy Almost Friday!
03 June 2009
Swiss did call, all is well now with phones and internet. Building no longer there. Swiss is good. Thanks for the good thoughts and for putting up with my rants. Much obliged!
Why is it so damned hard to have working phones and internet in the MWR areas for our troops? Because you know, calling home and stuff isn't really important. And lets not all forget who is likely responsible for the maintenance and status of these phones... evil KBR. See I told you the effects of the Kool-Aid wouldn't last long. Aaaarrrrrrrrgh. Grr. Pffft. EFF!
Just so you know, this totally wouldn't be as annoying if I wasn't especting a phone call, but when you expect one and don't get one, this one gets surly. CONSIDER ME SURLY!!!! EFF YOU AND YOUR NON-WORKING PHONES! Also, really annoyed with how I am able to go from normal to crying in like 60 seconds flat. I blame PMS and the Army. Not cool man, not cool.
And while I am at it, I would also like to say a big thank you (read: eff you) for so kindly rationing out my husband to me, because he isn't like, you know, GONE for the whole year. I really do appreciate the challenges of getting everything you want, need and wish to say in a half hour phone call. It's like a game! A GAME THAT I HATE. In case you care.
I have been a POC (Point of Contact) for our unit since they deployed, all I ever had were phone numbers and magically now I have e-mail addy's too! And the two ladies I was never able to contact? Yep, they are alive a kicking with apparently new contact information. MAGIC I tell you! She is so stinking organized and friendly and quick on replies and gosh-darned HELPFUL. I heart her. Plus she has the same name as me and spells it all funny too... we get all sorts of confused when we read e-mails now. Lame, I know, but still, it is cool.
And I don't want to dis on our past FRG leader... she was a super sweet lady, but man, she has 6 kids under the age of 10 so I have NO idea why she or anyone else thought she would be able to do this job well. I would say that she is a scatterbrain, but hey, 6 kids that age would make me scatterbrained too! At least she tried, right?
But yeah, I am super stoked about the new FRG leader, that ours is actually functioning the way it should be, and that someone is taking the time to do it right. Maybe it feels extra important to me since it is my only tie to the unit and post since I am living so far away, but yeah, I am pumped! And I am actually excited to be participating and be a POC and a part of this giant Army machine. Don't worry though, I only took a sip or two of the Kool-Aid, I am sure it will wear off soon! ;)
01 June 2009
So instead, keep these people and their families in your thoughts.
Hope that the man who did this get what he deserves in this life AND the next, and that people start realizing that nothing about murder is "Pro Life".
And do whatever you can to help stop this and this from ever happening again, because no matter what you believe, these men are not the ones that need to be discharged from the military (see SisB's post on this topic, she's spot on as usual, Kanani too.). These men are all that is right with the Armed Forces, regardless of who they sleep with at home.
And that is all I have to say about that.