30 July 2009

Thursday, you suck.

Okay, so it isn't that bad but I have already had to clean up poop in my house. Dogs suck. Then I had to walk to work in the rain. Never fun. And then? MY HEEL BROKE. At 0825. Now I have to shuffle around work like a geriatric old lady with osteoporosis. All day long. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.

And my cute shoes! They are ruined! These are the only shoes I have that go with my favorite dress. The one I am planning on wearing to pick up Swiss for R&R in. Now I have no shoes. And now that I want classic but sexy tobacco colored leather pumps with a stacked heel... I will not be able to find a single stinking pair. Gah!

Oh, and my Lab Director (aka: my boss's boss) whom I told yesterday that I was leaving in November, came by my desk today and asked me if I wanted to be called Tucker A or Tucker T. I said it depended on what the A and the T stood for. His response? A=Abandoner and T=Traitor. Nice right? So I chose T just to be spiteful.

But in other news, someone is looking at the house again today. Fingers crossed that there is an offer on the way, but I doubt it. Selling houses is no fun I tell you! My parents are coming up for the weekend, so that will be interesting. That is a lot of dogs in one house. And a lot of people. And there is a dinner tonight with the in-laws too. But that isn't anything a little (okay, a lot) of wine can't fix!

Okay, well I guess I should go work or something. I hope y'all are having a better Thursday than me!

29 July 2009

Enlisted goats?

I think this story is just plain cool. Utah Natty Guard? Bonus 5,000 Cool Points.

Creativity? Check. Mutually beneficial solution to a really big problem? Check. An answer that doens't involve heavy machinery, large sums of money or unproven technology? Check. 1,200 hungry and furry firefighters? Double check.

Jason Garn checks on his goats, which the Utah Army National Guard is using to create a firebreak on Camp Williams, near Salt Lake City, Utah. The goats have proven their worth during more than one fire season by consuming brush that would fuel wildfires. Photo credit Lt. Col. Hank McIntire

28 July 2009

Serendipity or stupid coincidence?

So any of you who have been reading this blog for a while now know that I had no intentions of working after we PCS to Fort X (at least until Swiss retires, then back to work!). Most of this decision was based on the following facts: 1) My career isn't common, so jobs are hard to come by, 2) I'm an Army spouse who will only be in town for about a year, who would hire me? (and I'd hate to contribute to any negative MilSpouse connotations for employers), and 3) I'm not at all sure I want to continue with this job course when Swiss retires and we move someplace new and fabulous. So yeah, that was settled. No work for me, just walks with the dog, cooking great meals and loads of time to paint or practice my photography skillz.

Then I stumbled across something strange today: An opening at Fort X's Medical Center for exactly what I do. And the pay is gooood.

So what is a gal to do? I mean, this feels like a bit of a coup, I have 5+ years of experience (which legally speaking is a big deal for my career) and spousal preference, it is a job I should easily (knock on wood) land. It is an employer that certainly understands the Army lifestyle and won't hold it against me if I have to leave in a year. And it is super close to home. I'd be able to come home every day for lunch with Swiss. I'd be able to contribute a sizable sum of money to our savings. Gaw, just a year of working and saving it all would be at least a 20% deposit on a sweet ass house with land. Or three new cars. Or two new cars and a fat trip to Europe. Do you see where I am going here?

I hadn't planned on working. But this feels like a giant sign from the Big Man upstairs saying, not so gently, "TAKE THIS JOB!" Am I going to miss all the planned free time? Absolutely. But will that extra sum of money in the bank make life post-Army all that much easier? Definitely. So I guess that's the verdict then. ...off to spend some quality time with the applications portion of USA Jobs!

UPDATE: Application successfully sent. And the USA Jobs/Army resume builder wasn't too cumbersome to use (thank you copy & paste!). I also felt like, for the first time, being a military spouse might actually get me something good other than a discount at a hotel. ha! Wish me luck folks! :)

26 July 2009

Sort of like dating.

So lately it has started to feel like Swiss and I are dating again. No, obviously we are not going on dates. But you see, our entire dating relationship was done long distance. Really, the whole thing. We had nearly every weekend together, and the assorted weeks off here and there, but we didn't live in the same town until 2 weeks before we were married. And yes, there is a point to this!

See, when we were dating, we relied on a lot of phone calls to get through the weeks, to maintain the normal progression of our relationship and, well, to get our fix of each other. We always talked about anything and everything, hour long conversations about how I paint or how you would go about painting something, politics, evolution, being silly, or intent discussions about where we would live, how our house would be, trips we planned to take. It was wonderful and made all of our time apart less unbearable. Funny, that is exactly what we have been doing for the past twenty some odd weeks.

Lately our conversations have been flying by just like old times, the content varied and engaging, the smiles and laughs plentiful. It is good and we are good. But man, it makes me miss the real life version. You know, the one where we are sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine or lounging outside by the fire pit with spiked cocoa or walking around the neighborhood having these conversations in person (dude, we totally sound like lushes!). It is odd feeling like you are back to the dating phase with the man you married. I feel like we are stuck back where we were a year ago... like we haven't made any forward progress. Obviously I know this isn't the case, but still. It feels weird.

I suppose you can chalk all of this up to just being ready to be DONE with this deployment. I mean, things are going fine, I am doing fine, Swiss is doing fine. But yeah, I'm ready for him to come home. He's the most awesomest person I've ever met and dammit, I miss him! Well, only twentysomething more weeks to go...

24 July 2009

LiveBlogging: The PCS, Part 6... or is it 7?

Okay- this one is going to be short: I have successfully gotten us on the waiting list for housing at Fort X. In about 5 or so months, some sweet* senior NCO housing should be ours. And I did it all by myself... mostly. It was super helpful having the assistance of a digital sending machine (not to be confused with a standard scanner) at work... it puts as many documents as you want into one handy PDF file and it is way faster than a fax. So yeah, I got off track.

We are on the housing list. And that is one step closer to this thing being done! Now, I just need to remember to call the nice lady around 45 days before I want to move in! Happy Friday everyone!!!

*this totally depends on your definiton of sweet.

23 July 2009

On Healthcare Reform.

Not to jump on the bandwagon, but this struck me as a pretty succinct argument for reform:

"I've been inspired by the tenacity of U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. His recent reflections in Newsweek make clear that social justice must be the underlying principle for healthcare reform, an idea LIVESTRONG seeks to embody, just as he has throughout his career. And there's a lot of reform that needs to happen. Despite the fact that the U.S. spends more than any other industrialized country on health care, we do not achieve better outcomes on leading health indicators like infant mortality and average life span. Too many Americans live without health insurance (and I was once a member of that club). Too many people don't have access to care. It's simply inexcusable.

I know mountain climbs pretty well. What President Obama and others are encouraging in the United States with healthcare is a tough climb – no doubt. To Senator Kennedy's point, though, we have a chance right now to initiate a major shift in our healthcare system. If we succeed in making a significant and substantial change, it will be the first in three generations. It is the common expectation in many countries that every citizen should have access to quality, affordable healthcare, part of a moral investment in social justice. Why not in the United States as well?"
-Lance Armstrong

You can read Lance's whole letter here on his site, but I think he brings up a lot of good points. We, as Americans have the attitude that we can (and will) do anything and everything better than everyone else. Of course, we don't always reach these goals, but we have always had the mentality to strive for them and work hard to make them happen. Isn't that what the "American Dream" is all about?

So why does better, cheaper, safer healthcare for EVERYONE not make this list? Why are folks so opposed to it? Why is there resistance? Is it the (likely) misconception that making it accessible to all will lessen the quality? That isn't the case in Europe. Is it that many don't want their 'hard earned' dollars to go towards higher taxes that may be necessary to implement this?

Let me just say this, I am beyond lucky because I do work at one of the best hospitals in this country, and I get my healthcare here with low insurance rates. I do not know what it is like to be uninsured. I do not know what it is like to have a serious health issue (knock on wood). But I do know that if I were in either of those positions, I wouldn't want to HAVE to work at a hospital to get good cheap care. I should be able to get that if I work at a gas station, as a teacher, a fireman, or as an artist. It shouldn't matter what I do or how much I get paid to do it. My health is no less valuable than the CEO on the other side of town or the slacker living off Daddy's big money just because they can afford it.

There is a way to make this work. It will take creativity, less pull from special interests (Pharmaceutical Companies, Insurance Companies and Litigation-Happy folks out there- I am talking to YOU), and hard work. But if the entire European Union can do it, WHY on Earth can't we? Answer: We CAN. And we should. NOW.

22 July 2009

Mentally moving on.

I know we all do this. You know, once a decision has been made, you move on with your life in accordance with said decision. Even when the effects of the decision are months away from coming to fruition. Am I right?

Once we decided we were for sure leaving this place permanently (i.e. not coming back here after retirement) I chose my last day at work and have, ever since, been in varying degrees of checked out. I'm still here enough to do my job and do it well, but the long term implications of plans or future goals in the workplace hold no weight or concern for me now. I'm in the moment, and for now, it is working.

We also decided to just stick with on-post housing once we get down to Fort X. We've lived there before and if given the opportunity, we will choose the same community we were in before. All of the homes consist of a small galley style kitchen, large living room, 4 bedrooms and 2 baths in a ranch style duplex. I have already mentally started moving our furniture in. Which room will be the guest room? Which one will be our office/studio? Where will I put the sofa? Will the dining room set fit? It is a task I enjoy, like a giant puzzle where I get to rediscover all of the great items we have, the functionality of our furniture and mostly, because it means a new start for Swiss and I. One were we actually live together. What a novel concept!

Lately, I have been taking this mental moving on to new levels... I'm planning and researching how I want to decorate our home after retirement. Which is sort of hilarious given that we have no idea where we will be, let alone what type, size or style of home we will have. Apartment? House? Will we buy or will be build? No idea! But I do find that this process, the sorting out rooms that I love the look & feel of, finding colors or fabrics that I find inspiring, trying to imagine us in the rooms in magazines, figuring out what things I just can't live without, so relaxing and energizing at the same time. I get to use the right side of my brain (side note: take this test sometime, I am 47% Left, 53% Right, which I find fascinating as I am a scientist by trade and all that Right brained business has no place in a lab.) and think abstractly about spaces and color and feel. Which is so not what I do here at work. It is beyond refreshing.

Anyway, I totally beefed up my Daily Goodness Blogroll over to the right (down just over half way) with a ton of beautiful sites that are chock full of inspiration. All this planning and right brained thinking has me feeling much more settled and content, less anxious and uncertain. Maybe it is because this is a tangible thing I can work on, something that I can actually DO without input from an Army office, fill out forms for or cross my fingers to accomplish. Funny what a little paint and design can do for the soul.

21 July 2009

On unnecessary shirtlessness.

Okay, first off I realize how stark a contrast this post is to the last one. But forgive me because I saw something on the walk home that begged to be blogged about. Public shirtlessness. It is an odd quirk of mine, it is something I loathe and generally find to be gratuitous, narcissistic and completely unnecessary.

By my Stay-back-100-meters-or-you-will-be-shot Army Neighbor no less.

Beer belly? Check. Random quasi-tribal large tattoos? Check. Giant white socks with black high-tops? Check. Excessively baggy/long shorts? Check. It was like a perfect storm of suburban pseudo-fit white-guy faux pas.

Now, to be fair, I have a sub-set of situations in which public shirtlessness is okay. Doing physical activity in 90+ degree heat? Sure. If you are either one of these men: Exhibit A and Exhibit B? Yes please. Swimming? Employed as a life guard? Totally appropriate. But pruning the hedges in front of your house at 4:30 on a cloudy 77 degree day? Not so much.

Gaw, I wouldn't even 'let' Swiss run around in public without a shirt on. Besides the extra effort of batting away women on my part (wink), I just can't think of that many situations in which it is truly called for. Furthermore, (not to get all feministy on y'all) but it certainly isn't acceptable for me to roll on out my front door shirtless, braless and prune my hedges. Wait, that just sounded like a euphemism for something dirrrrty. Never mind. Would the neighbor dudes like it? Probably (because it involves BOOBIES!), but let me assure you, I am no Angelina Jolie, no one wants to see my belly or love handles and I am sure that the neighbor ladies would sneer and cackle until I was shamed into a shirt. So why does Mr. Check-out-my-guns-but-please-ignore-my-beer-belly get to do it? Someone please answer this for me!

Anyway, that is my random rant for today. I am interested to see what weird things you all take issue with... do any of you share my dislike for male public quasi-nudity? Please share and make me feel less like a prude. Thanks.


I was going to write a post today about my stepson and brother in law and how family can be a pain in your behind. But then I stopped by Soldiers's Angels Germany's blog and got not only a reality check, but also a healthy dose of all that is right with our country. If only every fallen soldier got a homecoming like this. I cried like a baby (at work, no less) and felt so much pride, so much honor, so in debt to this man and his family... we, as a country, can never repay or replace what they have lost, but the very least we can do is honor them.

Rest is Peace Sgt 1st Class John C. Beale
Riverdale, Georgia, Georgia Army National Guard 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
May we never forget you or the sacrifice you made for us.

WARNING: This video is long, about 12:35, but worth every second. And it WILL make you weep openly, if it doesn't you are a lost cause. It is also worth noting that all of these people came out to honor this soldier after only a small notice was posted in the local newspaper listing the route and approximate time. It makes me so hopeful and thankful that people do still care. Especially when it counts the most.

18 July 2009


*Note: You must sing this like you were at a Def Leppard concert, though no spandex is required.

So I realized that I "talk" A LOT on this blog. I am one wordy girl. Which I suppose is the point, I mean, how much fun would this blog be to read (assuming that it is fun to read) if I never wrote anything? But for today, I just thought I would pipe down, sort of, and post some photos. So here ye go!

Our house, up for sale. Squee! Ain't she cute? I'm going to be sad to leave her, but if the price is right, I'm guessing I'll get over it! ;)

Noble Sir Fletcher Colbert Schnitzellicker. He looks so handsome here! Don't be fooled!!!

Me... KNITTING! Seriously, I get how to cast on now... that is huge! I suspect the wine had something to do with it. Isn't the color of the yarn purrty? It's Peruvian... ooooh!

4th of July fireworks, as seen from our back porch. The tripod Swiss's parents got me for Christmas did wonders in getting this photo...

My Mom (in the brown) and her best friend playing Guitar Hero. Awesome.

Okay, that's all I have. I hope y'all have a wonderful Saturday and guess what? We are almost half way done with this deployment. HOOAH! :)

17 July 2009

On kindness and asking for help.

So, a couple of weeks ago Swiss mentioned that the guys he is stationed with (he is the only one from his unit, all the other guys are from another unit) are BORED. Not necessarily with work, but mostly when not at work. See, they are in a remote JSS without much for services or entertainment. Nothing to do when work isn't calling, nothing to read. He said they were sorely lacking any and all reading materials... I thought, Hey! I can fix that! So I set out to buy a ton of magazines to send the guys.

Then I realized that at around $3.95 a pop (if not more), it would take more to $100 to fill up a box, plus postage. We aren't poor, but that's a lot of loot! So I sat and stewed on this. How could I procure reading materials at little to no cost without having to run around town and beg grocery stores/bookstores/etc for their unsold wares? I was loathe to ask folks I know for help, please don't ask me why because surely I don't have a good reason. But finally I sent out the only slightly begging e-mail to some select co-workers. I asked if they had any old Dude Magazines (remember: Infantry) that they would be willing to give up, so that I could send them to Swiss and his fellow soldiers.

I was nervous about sending this e-mail. I didn't want to sound like I couldn't fix this myself. I didn't want to inconvenience anyone. I didn't want to sound like I, or the guys, needed pity. Lame, I know.

But happily, 6 folks (only 2 of which have actually met Swiss), brought in armloads of magazines to share... everything from Bowhunter (Swiss will LOVE these) to National Geographic to Men's Health to Outside to Sports Illustrated. I got enough to fill two flat rate (the big kind!) boxes, both of which I am sending out today with big bags of Starbursts and Twizzlers. And it made me all fuzzy and warm inside, I might have even teared up a little. I also brought in a card, thinking that perhaps the folks who donated these magazines would want to say something to the guys. Then I thought better of it, what if they thought that was lame? What if they were only doing it because they knew me and felt obligated? What if they didn't have anything to say? But again, I was so wrong. They wrote the kindest, sweetest most grateful comments. And once again, I got all warm and fuzzy inside.

I am SO glad I asked for help, because they helped me accomplish something that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own. And together, we fixed a simple problem, we made life a tiny bit better for the guys over there. It feels good.

So the moral of the story is that, while we assume folks don't care because they don't talk about it or don't act as advocates/supporters of our troops, when push comes to shove... some of them do. Some of them will lug 5 pounds of magazines to work so that your husband and his co-workers have something to read. They will write kind sentiments that you never knew they felt, and they will help when you need it, as long as you are willing to ask.

That, my friends, is a wonderful thing.

16 July 2009


This story puts my PCS woes into sharp focus, it makes me thankful that I have a PCS to look forward to with my husband, it makes me remember that they are all in danger regardless of what the news tells us, and it makes my heart break. It will make you cry. It will make you grateful for all that you have. It will make all of your own issues seem tiny in comparison. It will help us all remember.

And this story will help the memory and life of Lt. Brian Bradshaw live on, with honor, dignity and grace.

It is good to know that, while the rest of the world was more concerned with the life and death of a pop star, our armed forces were focused on a man that mattered, a man that made a difference, and a man who made this world a better place. Whether the masses knew him or not.

Rest in Peace Lt. Brian Bradshaw. We won't forget you.

15 July 2009

LiveBlogging the PCS: Part Ohmygodarewedoneyet?, or 6

Ahhhh, Army housing. You and I have sort of a love-hate relationship. I love that you don't involve any leases, are located on post, are roomy (at least at the hub's rank) and easy to acquire*. I hate that you are sterile, have suspect oddly colored brown carpeting, are subject to frequent fly-overs and I get such a limited selection of what kind to live in.

And moreover, there is the whole process of applying for you. One would think that, with PCS orders, marriage certificate, proof of citizenship, promissory note for firstborn child and a Get Out of Jail Free card from Mr. Monopoly himself, one would be able to get housing on post quiet easily. But alas, one would be WRONG. Silly Rabbit, on post housing is only easy if you are physically present on post to get on the waiting list.

Once you geographically remove yourself from any offices that contain housing folks that could help you, things start to get exponentially harder. See, gone are the days of the fax and the actual paper application. Ha! That is for dinosaurs and anthropologists... paging Dr. Jones! Lady Army has gone electronic. Lady Army got all fancy on us in the last 6 months and has thusly rendered me, who is supposedly technologically savvy, useless as an Army Spouse. How you ask? Let me present the evidence:

First, refuse to let us re-open an application that was from a mere 8 months ago. I get this, because y'all told me it was because ranks change and promotions happen and yadda, yadda, yadda. But when I assure you that NOTHING has changed in said 8 months? Hmm, still no go.

Then, refer me to an online application form. Sweet. I can do online applications! But, require me to know random and seemingly unnecessary information about my husband. Like his ETS date. And his last DOR, even though you already asked me if he was promotable. Because these things matter when you are trying to decide if I live in planned community I or II. Right. Then, give me two separate places to list myself, the spouse. What to do? Why, list yourself in both! And then ask me to, not once, but twice, give you the location of where we intend to PCS to... even though this is a specific application for housing at said location. Yes, Lady Army, you are the Queen of redundancies. Long Live the Queen! But then, as a final act of ruthlessness, tell me that my application cannot be processed because "The following characters are not allowed `~!#$%^&*()_-+={[}]'<>?;:/ Please go to the following field and take out the unsupported character. Accessibility". So I go to look for said Accessibility field and guess what? Jokes on me! There is no Accessibility field! hahahahahahahhhahahahaah.

So what is a girl to do? Why yes, send an e-mail to the listed address for Tech Support. Then laugh manically when said e-mail gets returned due to delivery failure. Then smash head on desk. Then drink wine and whine about it on Twitter. Yes, this is exactly how my Tuesday night went.

Finally, call and leave a rambling message on the Housing Office's answering machine begging for help. When she gives you a secondary web site to check, go there and, with the assistance of your husband on the phone from Iraq, fill in all the nonsensical blanks and hit submit. And as one last salute to the madness, completely contradict what the nice lady at the Housing Office said. And by that I mean, she said I didn't have to send any of our million sheets of legal jargon (aka: PCS orders, next of kin, marriage certificate, Hall Pass from 7th grade, etc.) until one month before the intended move-in date, when they called me, they would ask for it. The web site? Wants to me scan them in and send them along rightthisminute. Sigh. What's a girl to do?

Simple. Drink more wine. Which is exactly what I am doing as I type this.

The plus side is that our application, for better or worse, right or wrong, is now in the hands of the Housing Folks. The downside? I may have done everything wrong and Fletch & I will be living in a tent somewhere remote on post, hoping the feral pigs and cougars don't get us while we sleep, waiting for dear, sweet Swiss to get home a bail us out. Meh, I suspect wine can fix that too.

I wish I had a moral to this story, but I do not. Just that this process gets one, big, fat DO BETTER. And that wine fixes everything. That is all. Oh, and please cross your fingers that Fletch and I may procure actual housing with four real walls upon our move to Fort X. I'm guessing Swiss won't appreciate the rustic nature of a tent after 12 months in the Sandbox.

*I vehemently redact this statement. VEHEMENTLY!


This video had me choking back tears at work this morning. LAW blogged about it today, go check out her post.

This is how our heroes should be honored, this is how we should show our appreciation, gratitude, respect and reverence. No protests, no disrespect, no mad media dash. Just solemn respect and grace. After all, these men gave their lives for the most noble of reasons, they did what so few had to courage to do, they gave everything so that others could be free. May we never forget them...

14 July 2009


So, Mr. I Need to Move Into Your House RightThisMinute pulled his offer. I am pleased about this. And that feels odd. But seriously, 3 weeks? I think I would have ended up hopelessly addicted to both No Doze and Red Bull. *shudder* No thanks, homie.

Anyway, there are two scheduled showings today and a Realtor-Only Open House. My fingers are still crossed and I am still waiting to talk to someone from PPSO who has actual clout to get the skinny on how much time I really need to get the ball moving. And Swiss, being the wonderful husband and miracle worker he is, managed to get a shiny new Power of Attorney for us, so that we can legally sell this house without risk of me ending up in jail for forgery. (Even though his name isn't on the title or deed, our state makes him half owner since we are now married. The old POA we had didn't go into selling property since we didn't think he counted as an owner- mistake!)

I say Onward and Upward. Hopefully some of the activity over at Casa de Tucker y Swiss will result in new offers and we can get this mess over with. Though the prices of extended stay hotels is, in a word, INSANE. I fear that I will end up living with my in-laws. Not sure how I feel about that one yet. Blargh.

Okay, back to work. Next agenda item is to insert toothpicks in my eyes so that they stay open. And try to mainline more Diet Cokes without my coworkers noticing.

13 July 2009

Offer. Counter-offer.

So, the weekend was awesome and the wedding festivities were fantastic. But I have photos to upload, so that will be a post for later. However, I can share this, no photos needed: We got an offer on the house. On Friday.


Okay, okay, I had to take a deep breath too, because it was almost insultingly low for the house not even being on the market 24 hours. And they MUST move in by the 4th of August. Ha! The PPSO folks at our nearest base recommended at least 3 weeks to get things moving. That would be today. Ha hahahahahah. I'm thinking this one ain't gonna pan out.

We have counter offered twice, the last one will be my final offer. We are right around the "magic number" that will possibly prevent us from having to pay that $3000 at closing and with all the hoops I'd have to jump through to close and get moved and get organized with the PPSO folks I think our counter offer is reasonable. I'm just taking all of this as a good sign that there is interest in the house. My realtor is hosting a realtor only open house tomorrow, so fingers crossed that there is more interest coming. Or that this buyer comes to his senses and accepts our counter.

Now, I'm off to find out what the monthly rates will be at the extended stay hotels around here! Have a great Monday everyone!

10 July 2009

Wedding weekend.

Okay folks. I am outie like a bellybutton for the rest of the weekend (Yay vacation day!). My bestest friend in the whole wide world (that isn't my husband) is getting married this weekend. Yay Beth and Ethan!

So, this wedding weekend means I will be out of the blogosphere, twitterverse and interwebz for the next couple of days. I intend to imbibe plenty of libations, eat well, sleep in and celebrate with a purpose. Because it isn't every day your best friend gets married, right? Plus my date is Beth's teenage sister who loves Project Runway, Sex and the City and high heels... me thinks we will get along splendidly!

Enjoy your weekend, soak up the good weather and relax. Y'all have earned it! And if you have some spare good thoughts, throw them out into the great wide universe for good real estate karma (for us!) and a wonderful happily ever after to Beth and Ethan.

09 July 2009

Hardcore history.

Okay, this will likely seem like it is coming out of left field, so bear with me. I love history. Despite my penchant for all things creative and scientific, I am a closeted history buff. I read histories and 'historical fictions' for fun, I love historically based movies of any and all sort, and I am in love with a history podcast: Dan Carlin's Hardcore History.

Dan Carlin isn't a historian. But he is a creative thinker, a great speaker, and an awesome story teller. He made the Punic Wars exciting and fascinating for crying out loud. Really! The Punic Wars... do you even remember learning about it in school? Anyway, he does most of his podcast with a story teller vibe, which I think is the best part. He tries to tell the stories from the viewpoints of the people who lived through it, not as a cold, unfeeling outsider. Which makes these tales completely engaging... so yeah, if you are down with history and dig podcasts (FYI, they are great for driving/road trips) go download some of his podcasty goodness!

Go check out the archives... the topics are both varied and extensive... and awesome! NERD ALERT! (And if you need/want recommendations from this nerd, I particularly like the ones about the Plague (Bubonic Nukes), the first Blitz episode (History Under the Influence) and the Punic Nightmare series 1-3). Fascinating stuff I tell you!

Okay, this PSA is now over. Proceed with your day!

08 July 2009

LiveBlogging the PCS: Part 5

Also know as: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The good? The house is officially on the market. Papers are signed and we are off 'n running.

The bad? Having to keep the house spotless, smelling fresh (aka: not like dog) and organized.

The ugly? Best case scenario means we will have to bring $3000 to closing.

I understand that this is what we are choosing. I understand that the market is bad. I understand that since we've only been paying on the mortgage for 2 years the amount we owe is too much to really make a profit. But it sucks because we have an adorable house, in a good & desirable neighborhood, we updated the kitchen, it is a gem. And we are still going to be out money on this deal. Aaah, the joys of PCSing.

We do not qualify for the HAP program. Missed it by a few months. We don't want to rent because a) we are going to be 1,200 miles away which is too far to keep tabs on a tenant or be good landlords and b) we have zero intention of living here when he retires. Too much drama and baggage. So that leaves us with taking the hit, sucking it up, and praying for the best.

So cross your fingers and wish us luck! Also, let me leave you with one little tidbit of useful information: When filling out your Power of Attorney before a deployment, if at all possible, have your significant other sign off on ALL items, even if you think they don't/won't apply to you or your situation, because you never know what obscure state laws might trip you up. Not that I would know or be in a complete panic or anything.

And hey, PCS... just so you know... we aren't going to be friends when this is all over. Mmkay?

UPDATE: I (by I, I mean Swiss and my parents and I) decided to up the listing price by 5K for the time being to see what kind of offers, if any, we get. I don't know how it will all pan out, but I figure that if someone is interested, they will just lowball an offer and we can negotiate from there. Swiss is totally unconcerned about the potential $3000 loss, which is keeping my inner panic from turning me into someone who is obviously, outwardly unhinged.

07 July 2009

Did you know...

That Swiss and I, despite being a "couple" for the past 3 Julys, have never spent a 4th of July together? I just realized that today.

Isn't this just so military of us?

Not that it is a big deal, but with 2 summers of Warrior Forge for his ROTC assignment and now the deployment, you can see why we've never gone to see fireworks together, host BBQ's or relax in lawn chairs by a lake. Not til next year I guess. But then we are going to make up for it in style... even though I'm not quite sure what that would entail! But I do know this, you are all invited!

06 July 2009

A question.

Okay, so at the almost halfway point (with a few months to go before R&R) I'm starting to feel the effects of being separated from Swiss for so long. I don't know how much of this is because we are newlyweds, how much is because I am still new to Army life or how much is just because this sucks.

Do any of you sort of forget what it feels like to be married? I'm not saying that I don't feel like I am married or anything like that. I just mean, do you ever find yourself in the middle of a deployment trying to remember what it was like to have someone else in the house, to cook for two, to wash underwear that isn't from Victoria's Secret or to have to come to a consensus to watch TV? Do you find yourself trying to grasp what it is/was like to cohabitate, to have someone else physically in the house at almost all times?

Because I sort of feel like all that stuff is slipping away... I remember the times when all those things were normal. But they don't feel real, it feels like something that happened a long, long time ago... in a land far, far away.

Am I weird? Never mind, don't answer that.

Please don't misconstrue this as me not wanting to be married or contemplating single life again or any other ridiculousness. I am very happily married. It's just that right now I feel more married rightthisminute to my cell phone and the idea of a husband than I do the person on the other end of the line. Does that even make sense?

I've started sleeping in the middle of the bed again. I eat dinner on tiny plates at my computer. I use up all the hot water. I buy less cheese and more fruit. I watch SATC reruns whenever they are on. Somewhere along the line this became my new normal. And I don't like it. I liked my old normal that involved Swiss at home, cooking for two, having a 'side' of the bed, bushing my teeth with someone else standing next to me, the smell of soap that isn't from Bath & Body Works and sweaty PTs on the floor. Know what I mean?

Sigh. I know my old normal will become my new normal again when Swiss is home, but somehow this new normal feels really foreign and lonely. I like being married. This imposed geographical bachelorette business? For the birds.

Come home soon Swiss... I'd like to get back to our normal again. I miss you...

LiveBlogging: The PCS, Part 4

Dudes. Seriously, getting a house ready to put on the market is A LOT of work. I mean, I have moved before and had to clean and all that stuff. But nothing like this. This house sure as heck better sell in a jiffy... because it looks pretty fly if I do say so myself!

My Mom and my Almost Mom Carolyn came up this weekend and for just the cost of a nice dinner and drinks, they helped me scour, clean, touch-up, organize and stage the house. We did everything from mulching, painting, shampooing carpets, to buying pretty plants, framing pictures and cleaning windows. The place looks 84 kinds of sharp and hopefully I will be meeting with the Realtor on Thursday to get this thing rolling. Phew! Now, all we need is a buyer! Cross your fingers all- with any luck I will be living in an extended stay hotel suite by late August/September!

I think the best pieces of advice I can offer anyone doing this are the following:
1.) DON'T BUY A HOUSE. I'm not kidding. Just don't do it if you have any inclination that you will be moving soon. ... Okay, I am sort of kidding. Owning a house has been awesome, but the stress of selling one with a PCS looming and a deployed spouse has been, well, not fun. So I say avoid it unless you are lucky enough to homestead at a particular post or have no real intentions of leaving even if PCS orders do come down.

2.) Get some help when you go to clean/detail it for sale... not only is it a lot of work, but it helps to have an outside perspective to edit/purge your personal items and stage the rooms you have done your way. I can't stress this one enough... my Mom and Carolyn were able to help out tremendously by telling me to can certain items, bring out others and rearrange furniture. It looks SO much better and I wouldn't have been able to do that all on my own!

3.) Buy lots of cleaning products and paper towels... I went through more Shaklee Basic H (LOVE THIS STUFF) this weekend than I have in the last year, but I didn't get high on chemical fumes and with the concentrate on hand, I was able to make more and more and more as we needed it. Is this a shameless plug for a great safe and green product? Sort of, but seriously, you are going to need about 4 times more cleaning products/tools/implements than you think you will. No matter how clean you keep your house!

4.) If and when you do paint, be sure to keep all the extras well labeled and on hand. We did a ton of tiny touch ups to the trim and the walls, it looks freshly painted and it was easy peasy because not only did I know where everything was, it was all clearly labeled. Even the stuff from the previous owners! Score!

5.) Keep all of your owner's manuals, warranties, paperwork and brochures pertaining to the house in one central location. Mine is all in one binder clearly labeled by room. It came to me all in one folder, which was awesome, but Mom organized it even better and it looks fantastic. Nothing says "I was a good homeowner! Buy this house!" like these little touches.

Now to get on the housing list at Fort X. Do you think they will let me simply reactivate our previous housing application with only date changes to be made? STOP LAUGHING! It could happen!!! Wish me luck folks! *Okay, y'all were right to laugh. No beans on reactivating applications... must go home and fill out 926 questions with answers. AWESOME.

04 July 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

Eighth Avenue Patriot, originally uploaded by Tucker&Swiss.

Enjoy the day and remember what it is about, and remember those fighting to keep it that way...

02 July 2009


I don't know what it is, but lately I've been feeling antsy and angsty and generally unsettled. It has nothing to do with the PCS, that much I know. I suspect it has everything to do with all the turnings of the tides over yonder in the Sandboxes. I don't know how many times I have heard "All of our troops are out of the city!" in the last few days and then how many times I roll my eyes. (Not to mention the inevitable, "So does this mean Swiss gets to come home?" No. No it does not.)

They are not out. Decidedly not. Anyone who knows anything knows this. So why the charade? Why the lip service? Are we afraid to say we were wrong and they aren't ready? Do we not want to hurt feelings or relationships so we just go along with the plan anyway? Or are we just not ready to give up control, so we just say we are? In word but not in spirit? Or worse yet, are we still there because we didn't have a good place to move these guys to? Ask around and you might be surprised by the answers you find...

Somehow our guys went from soldiers to "Advisers" overnight, and somehow this means they are no longer "troops"? Wha? And what's worse is that somewhere the truth got lost in the translation and it seems that folks think the war in Iraq is now over. If only... Gaw, lately it seems like it is just beginning again, albeit in a new format. Violence is up. Attacks are up. Security is uneven at best.

And this major offensive in Afghanistan (with one KIA already) and the DUSTWUN soldier too... it all makes me nervous. It makes me edgy. It makes me realize that even though things seemed 'easy' and 'safe' for a little while, they aren't. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Troops are still dying, losing their legs, anything else you can (or can't) imagine. There are still mortar attacks, IEDs, the works... This isn't easy, this isn't over and the danger isn't gone. And all of this brings the fact that Swiss isn't safe, none of our loved ones over there are, into sharp focus. And that scares the crap out of me.

So I guess the nerves, the angst, the antsyness... all just par for the course. This is what it feels like when your loved ones are at war. It ain't a fun place to be. But then again, most of you know that. And you know this feeling. Maybe you are feeling it right now too...

At the risk of sounding hokey, the only thing I can think to do is keep these guys and gals in your thoughts (or prayers if that is your bag). And don't let the folks around you forget. It isn't over yet and we all need to remember that. Do it for them, for their families, or even for me... just one in the endless sea of worried, nervous and angsty spouses. Until they all come home. Okay?

I know it isn't much, but it is something. And right now I'll take anything that will help me feel even a little bit better about this.

Funny randomness.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jeff Goldblum Will Be Missed
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorJeff Goldblum

Very, very funny. And also, my love for Stephen Colbert only grows with each passing day. And the buzz cut is still hawt. (but no need to worry Swiss, he's no you!)

01 July 2009

Because we all need more baby gorillas.

There. Those should have made you sufficiently mushy and gooey inside. And unless you are cold and heartless, you should be smiling. Nom nom nom.... baby gorilla. Seriously, how stinking cute is this little guy? And he just got a new surrogate mom... which is good because otherwise I would have tried to adopt him and then there would literally, one day, be an 800lb gorilla in the room. Awkward.

Okay, Carry On! Happy Wednesday all! Thanks for humoring my gratuitous baby animal post, it's my inner Jane Goodall coming through... (Oh, and don't forget to vote on my new studio name thingy in yesterday's post!)