31 August 2009
I've heard nothing. Nada.
All I know is the nice Army HR folks at Fort Belvoir (Why, hello base envy! How are you today?) forwarded on my resume to the folks at Fort X, and I haven't heard a peep from anyone since. Best I can guess? The mid-level management position I've been doing the last 1+ years and the ridiculous fancy testing my current employer has us doing (which few other Cytotechs/Labs do) has landed me in the "Overqualified" bin. Now, I DO NOT say this to toot my own horn (I said toot!). I say this because with 5 years of experience, a major medical center on my resume, and Spouse Preference... you would think I would at least be able to garner myself an interview. Nope. No beans.
So where to go from here? I don't want to stay in this field anyway, I want to move on and do something that a) doesn't make me sad and depressed (cancer has a way of getting to you when you work with it all day long) and b) lets me use my creativity and biology degree more fully. But then what do I do? (Raise you hand if you are now singing an 80's song that I can't name right now.) High school biology teacher? Full on Biologist? Work for the CDC? The EPA? Or do I totally change things up and go get an Art degree? Do photography professionally? Find a way to mix the art and the biology? And how, after 6 years dedicated to another field, do I get the necessary experience to get a job that pays more than $JustLessThanDestitute.00/hr?
See, if all goes as planned, Swiss and I won't be at Fort X (knock on wood) for even a full year. So I won't have enough time to get my teaching certification. Nor will I have enough time to go back and get a Masters or whatever in Biology. So... I'm left with either not working (okay by me!) or trying to, at the very least, scrounge up some entry-level work that will help me out in the non-medical lab experience category. Sounds awesome, right? Ha! But... in this vein, a "seasonal biologist" position opened up at Fort X with the Nature Conservancy. And I am all like, Woah. They are a HUGE force to be reckoned with in the conservation biology realm (PS: In case you didn't know, my college major was Ecology, Evolution & Behavioral Biology. NERD ALERT!) and would be awesome to have on my resume. It runs November - April cataloguing and studying migrating sparrow populations on Fort X and is 100% entry-level. Not exactly thrilling stuff, but still... experience, a good name for the resume, and a pretty amazing company to work for (let's not talk about the $20/hr pay cut, the getting up at sunrise or working weekends bit though, okay?).
So, I'm going to apply (I think). Thankfully they requested a cover letter (unlike the cytotechnologist job at Fort X) so I can explain myself and why I suddenly want an entry-level job wandering through the scrub brush mist-netting birds and taking blood samples after 5 years at a leading medical center. It ain't glamorous, but if I'm lucky, it could be a good first step to reinventing my career... which is a pretty cool opportunity if you ask me. Now, where are my hiking boots and hip packs?
The past few weeks have felt pretty overwhelming. Like the precariously perched tower of stuff looming over my head just kept getting bigger, taller and more unstable, threatening to collapse at any moment. Poor Swiss has had to listen to all of my neuroses, the plethora of ridiculous expectations I've put on myself, and my frustrations with not being able to get things just so. And about my mangled toe. But he's been a rock. He's been a fount of perspective, calmness and practicality. Just as he always is.
With a bit of time and deep breathing and outside perspective (Thanks Britt!) I, quite clearly, saw that he was right about all of it. I need to let go of the things I can't fix, can't schedule and can't will into being. A few dollars here, a few last minute decision there... none of it will cause the world to end. Not having enough towels when I move down to Fort X? That is what the PX is for. Not knowing the details of the move to Fort X? All things that can be handled after R&R. Not having a hotel yet for R&R because we don't have any concrete dates? Small potatoes and an easy last-minute fix.
I need to shed these neuroses. I need to let go. I need to stop trying to be SuperArmyWife. I need to release whatever notion I have of what a good deployed spouse is. Army life doesn't let us plan things that far out, so why stress about it? This deployment means that I have to tackle most things alone, so why make it harder by setting ridiculous expectations for myself? R&R is going to be great no matter where we stay, so why waste time and energy making plans that will likely change 3 or 4 times yet? I need to stay focused on the things I can change. The things I can (and actually NEED) to deal with. The other stuff? I need to let it ride.
Since I've decided to do just that? The weight is so much less, the burden is lifted and this deployment seems 'doable' again (though to be fair, I'm only going on 36 hours-ha!). I can put my focus back where it belongs, on Us. It all feels a lot less scary now... that tower isn't as unstable, isn't as big and isn't as menacing. I can do this.
28 August 2009
There is gossip coming out of the Sandbox. Which is a new change for our unit, last time both of us heard about it first on Facebook from the FRG. OPSEC FAIL. But I digress. Near as I can tell there are about 5 different iterations of said gossip. New locations, old locations, temporary locations, same locations. Change. No change. New duties, new units, old units, promotions. It is all rolling in hot and heavy... new rumors every day. Some bigger and grander than others. Some wide in scope, some small. And of course, all with about as much credibility as financial advice from Bernie Madoff.
Of course there are implications to many of these changes. Should they take place. Implications that, personally, will likely up the ante so to speak. The likelihood of any of these things coming to fruition is small... but it makes me think long and hard about so, so many things. It makes me realize how 'easy' the past few months have been, honestly, for both of us. It makes me catch my breath, breathe deep, steady myself and repeat over and over again that there is not a single thing I can do to change it. If it will be, it will be. No matter what I think of it. I have found my peace with these rumors and their implications. I have accepted it and will deal with whatever comes our way with as much grace, calmness and objectivity as I can muster.
I have faith in my husband. In his character, his skills, his abilities and the fact that he is a damned good soldier. He can handle anything that comes his way and he will do whatever task is asked of him with the benefit of years of experience and his calculating, analytical perspective that I've grown to admire and respect. All I can do is sit back, wait for word, and have faith that no matter what happens, he will do his job to the best of his ability (whatever that job may be) and do everything in his power to come home safe and sound.
I have been pretty even keel in the wake of all these rumors. I have been able to keep my head about me and see the big picture, see that I can't change anything in all of this and that all it is, as of this moment, are words being batted around like a dozen beach ball on graduation day. But it doesn't take much to chip away at the protective shell of my carefully constructed cocoon of serenity and zen. It might be a photograph (like these), a short video, a turn of a phrase in a news piece, a passing thought that lingers too long. Then the doubt and worry and fear start to seep in. Today, I am the little girl with her finger plugging the leak in the dam. So far it is working. I just pray that there are no further reasons for that leak to grow into something much bigger and much more menacing...
And please, if for some reason you think what I wrote violates OPSEC, let me know and I will take this post down. As objective as I try to be, I realize that this might come off quite differently to any number of readers, so I welcome your feedback. Thanks...
Last night I did a Jillian Michaels "Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism" video. Holy Hell. That woman tried to kill me. But in all seriousness... it was a kick ass cardio workout for 45 minutes. I totally had to take breaks. I need to build back up to that stuff man. But the things is, I feel good now. I feel like I actually DID something. I feel like I am going to be a hurtin' unit later today. And that is great- because it means it is working. Remind me of this when my quads & hammies are so sore I can't sit down like I'm not in my 3rd trimester. And no, I am NOT in my 3rd trimester. Just in case you were wondering.
This weekend brings finalizing our PPSO documents and scheduling the consultation. I get to make some Gooey Butter Cake (if you have not had this, try it, it is easy and scrumptious!) for "the Germans" who apparently "are coming!" As in, "The Germans are coming!" They are really my MIL's family from the motherland coming stateside for a visit. I haven't met a single one yet, so here's hoping it goes well! I also get to research hotels in town for R&R. I am increasingly thinking this was a LAME idea on my part to close on the house before Swiss came home. But alas, it is already done, so hotel shopping here I come. I'll be shipping off the last pre-R&R care package and sending of my dear, sweet DSLR camera for repairs too.
And also, because this is funny and ridiculous and made me giggle. And the Onion is awesome. Behold:
Is Using A Minotaur To Gore Detainees A Form Of Torture?
Happy Friday Everyone!
27 August 2009
25 August 2009
I took Swiss's truck in for its 100,000 mile tune up. I figured it would be around $2,000 to get everything done and I was oddly blase about the whole thing. I mean, I was freaking out about the $1,000 we need to bring to closing, but this $2,000? No biggie. WTF?
Anyway, for the first time I played my "Deployment Card" when I dropped it off at the dealership... not because I thought it would net me a discount, but because I hoped it would prevent them from screwing me over. Like a pity play or something. Well guess what? Not only did they not screw me over, but the very nice gentleman I was working with found a way to give us a 25% discount on it all. That's $500 people. Five Hundred Dollars! SWEETNESS!
And one of my closest friends, Val, and her husband are letting me borrow their fancy HD digital video camera to document all of our stuff for the PPSO bit. Fun, no? But still, awesome that I don't have to take 3978 still pictures of our stuff, I can just whirl around the house capturing all of our junk. Rad.
So I guess all of this madness as of late has helped me be so much more Zen about Army life... you know, after all the stuff that has gone down the past few months, I am just so much more "mneh, whatever..." about mostly everything. I'm not sure it is 100% a good thing, but for now I'm chalking it up to a silver lining in the deployment. Hey, I'll take whatever I can get.
Oh, side note. We got one of the monthly HOOAH! Our Unit Rocks! (patent pending) newsletters from the guys in Iraq. I read it. I rolled my eyes no fewer than 8 times and nearly hurled twice. I mean seriously, who are these guys? And why is my husband SO different from them?
I think sometimes I forget that the majority of Army guys are decidedly not like Swiss. Which of course means the Army looses tons of cool points. But still. I can't deal with that brand of guy. Too much machismo. Too much dick swinging (yes, I did just say that, sorry, there's really no other way to make my point...). Too much false bravado. It's like being in a Rambo movie all the time, only with guys who you just know are less like Rambo and more like Tommy Boy (only less funny). Ugh. Anyway, it certainly makes me appreciate the rare breed of soldier I have. Smart, witty, kind, thoughtful and the type of badass who doesn't have to shout about it. Now that is something to be Hooah about.
23 August 2009
20 August 2009
Okay, I know this wee blog of mine just got really photo heavy really fast. But alas, there's lots to share!
So, DC was 78 shades of awesome. The company was wonderful (LAW, Army Wife Life & Never Apart in Heart - you ladies are amazing!), the sights were fantastic and I may or may not have fallen in love with the city. And can I just say how flat out great it was to be with other MilSpouses who just get it? Who are going through the same things as me? Who just understand all the lingo, BS and STUFF that goes along with this life of ours? It was delightful.
I will write more about it all later, but heres the lowdown on the photos in the collage:
(L to R, Top to Bottom) Me and the White House, Vietnam War Memorial, Statue at the Vietnam War Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, Me and Mr. Colbert in the Smithsonian American History Museum, the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, the Washington Monument, Me and some mighty tasty beer, the ladies on the mall, the Korean War Memorial, US Marines Memorial (aka: Iwo Jima), the National Cathedral, the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and lastly serious on-post housing envy at Fort Belvoir.
18 August 2009
Swiss? Vikings fan.
Me? Packers fan.
Swiss? Favre fan (because he is under the completely delusional notion that Favre can bring a ring to Minnesota. Love you Sweetie!).
Me? Favre loather (see definition: prima donna, traitor, money-grubber, self-righteous and moron).
Part of me is glad that Swiss is in the Sandbox (Hey! I found a reason to be glad he's there and not here!) and won't have access to his parent's subscription to the NFL Network or cable in general. This way he won't have to watch the pain, suffering and losses that Favre will inflict upon his beloved Vikings. He'll just have to hear about it. I, on the other hand, will have to watch this hot mess unfold... it will be like watching my Dad cheat on my Mom. Yeah, let that visual percolate for a while.
Saddle up Viking fans... you are in for one heck of a ride, but much like the infatuated girl stalking the BMOC who is drunk at a party... he might go home with you, but he ain't gonna give you a ring and he's gonna break your heart. Have fun!!!
I'm just bummed Swiss won't be here to watch and squirm (literally) through every week's Quick Fires and painful eliminations on Top Chef (this is totally how last season went, with me watching it and Swiss pacing in the hallway during the suspenseful parts, or just ignoring it all together until I told him who won- Combat Tested or not, the man does NOT like suspense!). And I'm bummed that I won't be able to force him to sit and watch all the drama and ridiculousness and flamboyance that Project Runway made famous. Le sigh.
But hey, I can think of no better way to spend nights sans Swiss... a little wine, a little drama, and some awesome TV. Yes, this is the life of a deployed spouse... jealous aren't you???
17 August 2009
2.) A/C still doesn't work. Inspector Mark is a tool and is totally trying to take advantage of me. Which makes me one Angry Army Wife (patent pending). My Realtors agree. Now must find new HVAC guy to assess the situation. Will NOT be happy if I have to pay out of pocket for Inspector Mark's asshattery and FUBAR-ing of my A/C.
3.) Got word back from the buyer. He wants a few small things fixed, fine by me. But (biiiiig BUT), he wants me to replace the water heater. WTF dude??? Replace it? You mean the perfectly functioning, working, hot-as-hell water producing (albeit slightly vintage) water heater? Are you out of your effing mind? I SAY NO FREAKING WAY.
4.) Realtor will be telling other Realtors that we are entertaining new offers. Because this buyer? OUT OF HIS GODDAMNED MIND.
5.) 2 months till R&R. Cannot wait!
6.) Want to know why I can't get whiskey in my coffee at Starbucks. Oh sure, flavor shots till your eye bleed, but where's the stuff that will temporarily make me feel better about items 2-4? HUH???
14 August 2009
Between my job running me into the ground like some poor horse on the Pony Express and the broken washing machine (the motherboard, of course, $300+ to fix, natch), the malfunctioning A/C post inspection (Midwest! August! Humidity! Fun!), having a total meltdown on the phone with Swiss last night and Fletch spilling his completely full water bowl all over the kitchen this morning... I am feeling decidedly like the bug.
I'm off to DC for the weekend to visit some really amazing Ladies... there will be sight seeing, wine/beer drinking, kvetching, knitting and Colin Firth watching.
I am hoping to return feeling much more like the windshield.
Have an excellent weekend everyone! See you on Monday...
13 August 2009
This is totally how I feel. I would love nothing more than to pass out on the floor and sleep, with my ACU clad hubby next to me. Le sigh. Not to be...
Between work running me ragged, the stress of the house selling/3 hour inspection/etc, the general deployment malaise and the late hours I've been putting in (blame the knitting!) I am running on fumes. So blame all that stuff for my lack of posting... I just don't have the gumption to put thoughts to screen, nor do I have a strong enough opinion on anything to warrant a post. Sorry. I think this weekend in DC will be rejuvenating and good for my general being. Let's hope, because this in no way to get through a week.
11 August 2009
"... The anger doesn’t come because Matt left. He had no choice. This situation is entirely out his control. It’s out of my control. Sometimes I think it’s even out of our government’s control. I don’t feel angry because I’m alone. I’ve been alone before and I like to think that I’m independent enough to handle it. Perhaps I’m angry because this war is happening at all. I’ve long felt opposed to the action in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I know myself, and I know I’m not the type to feel such consuming anger about something general, about something as large as a country or as a war. I can feel disappointed and depressed, yes. But I think I’m angry because I’m afraid. Someone I love is somewhere quite dangerous, and I’m very afraid.... I like the idea that I can blame my anger, which feels both helpless and useless, on evolution. My brain just isn’t made to feel this terror for a danger that resides half a world away. I’m not programmed to think of such opaque realities, of such theoretical monstrosities.... And I have to remember to be aware. I need to be aware of my anger, and of my fear. I don’t often know where these feelings come from, but I am prepared to look them in the eye and deal with their presence. I will take it one day at a time, and I will think about Matt, who doesn’t have the distraction of holidays and picnics to shield him from unwanted emotion. And I will think about my friends, who feed me cake and keep me busy and watch fireworks on the street in front of my apartment after the sun goes down."
"A sandstorm rages outside my makeshift office on a U.S. military outpost in eastern Afghanistan. Soldiers lean into the wind, their noses pressed into the crooks of their elbows, squinting as they scan for shelter from the stinging wind. The rocky desert mountains surrounding the camp are now all but obscured by the enveloping haze.Eventually, the dust will subside and tonight’s full moon will emerge, casting a glow over our base that in any other setting would seem peaceful. Here, however, the illumination offers would-be attackers an opportunity, and it can be deadly....Gardez is a bewitching place, hardened, like its people, to the elements. It is steeped in a history of violence that has repeled the most determined of marauding armies. Only a few miles to the east and south lies the border with Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, an inconsequential demarcation from a bygone age of empire to which the tribal Pashtuns here pay no mind. Indeed, it is in the infinite caves and canyons of this sliver of Pakistan that the Taliban now launch daily attacks against us."
"Where was home for me? I asked myself. Who do I rely on?
I had struggled with these questions many times over the last few years, but they now seemed so simple. The answer to both of course was Molly. Having moved myself five times in two years across three continents, Molly has been the only constant in my life. She has kept me grounded, connected somehow to a comforting if ethereal notion of home. Molly has been a rock.And she is what matters most right now. Not the work, which will mean little in seven months. Not the ring, which can be replaced. What’s important is that I do better at letting Molly know how much she means to me, how I couldn’t do this without her, how everything reminds me of her. Even the most exotic oriental headwear from a far-off desert land."
09 August 2009
07 August 2009
06 August 2009
SO, like I said yesterday, his initial offer was essentially $10,000 below asking price. Not cool as that would mean we would have to bring a total of $7,000 to closing. No thanks, mmmkay bye! Not quite. I counter offered at $1,500 less than listing price (because that would bring us right up to the price where we gain almost nothing, but loose nothing either). Apparently the buyer and his realtor were "Shocked" at the counteroffer.
To which I say: HAVEN'T YOU EVER BEEN TO MEXICO? This is how you barter folks. This is wheelin' and dealin' 101. What, was I supposed to counter your offer with, oh, I don't know, $8,000 less than my listing price? ARE YOU EFFING MAD? Why are people so thick? So he slept on it and will maybe make another offer today. Which is fine, I just wish I could send along a note with my counteroffer saying something to this effect:
Dear Prospective Buyer,
While I appreciate that you are looking for a deal, this is a house, not a used sofa at a yard sale. And while I can understand wanting to get a good price, honestly you are a damn fool if you think I'm going to take it in the shorts for thousands of dollars out of the kindness of my heart. I'm just not that nice. And I know what the comps are. I ain't stoopid.
Furthermore, I am fully aware that you qualify for the $8,000 credit from the government as a first time home buyer. And I can do math. So I know that you are essentially trying to get this house for a whopping $18,000 under the listing price. And that, dear Buyer, is batshitcrazyinsane. I would also like to point out that y'all being "Shocked" by our counteroffer isn't making me more pliable and worried or more likely to take a $7,000 hit with a smile and a Thankyouverymuch. It makes me think you have no idea what you are talking about and that you have never been to Mexico.
Also, I know that you have been looking at houses since February and that your mom and dad love this house. Personally, I hope they either browbeat you into making a reasonable offer or shame you publicly for being so insulting. Or that someone else comes in with a legit offer and steals it away from you. Like I said, I'm not that nice.
In any event, please consider making a reasonable offer (ie: not batshitcrazyinsane) and keep in mind that while you are under the impression that "allowing" me to stay in the house until November is a big deal. It isn't. Not at all. And it ain't worth $7,000 to me even if it were. So yeah, that's it. Hope to see your reasonable and non-insulting offer in the morning.
Mmmmkay, bye! ~Tucker
So we will see what happens today. The guy who made the first offer came back through last night and we have another showing late this morning. Fingers crossed we get some reasonable offers. And also, in other news, my Dad got his act together and now everyone is on the same page (aka: the right page, and the page that I am on). Thank God for my Mother.
Oh and did anyone else notice that it is starting to stay dark out later in the mornings? Because 0500 this morning wasn't nearly as bright as it has been. What? You weren't up at Whythehellisitstilldarkout'o clock too? Hmm. Want a free puppy????
05 August 2009
04 August 2009
First off, the Marine Corps League National Convention is in town this week. It is awesome. Why you ask? Well, because I don't think there has been this many MilFolks in town maybe ever. And there is another conference next weekend for the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States National Convention (EANGUS) which is also cool. I love walking to work and seeing clusters of retired Marines sitting outside my Caribou drinking coffee. This morning I saw a particularly jovial groups outside and, as I walked by with my Large Cold Pressed Coffee (yum), I said "Thanks for your service Gentlemen"... they looked momentarily shocked and then one said Thank you in return. It was nice. It made me all gushy inside. I like gushy.
Second, I was scrolling through my flickr account this morning looking for a picture of Swiss to post. There was going to be some great picture of him and I would say how awesome he his and how much I miss him. Instead I started crying. Because I do miss him. I miss him so much. The kind of missing that makes your chest tight, makes you short of breath sometimes and the kind that brings you to tears if you think about it too much. And besides... what's not to miss about this face?
And lastly... yesterday I told my boss that I was leaving. It's a decision I am (and have been) 110% on board with, but it was still hard. This has been my AO. I went to school here, I started my career here, I worked my way up the ladder here. I am very grateful for all of the opportunities I had, all of the things that made me good at what I do, I have learned so much in the six years I have been here. I am beyond grateful for the amazing folks I met... Val, Emily, Shari, Angela. But it is time to go and I feel very calm and certain about this decision. Thankfully my boss was sweet about it, she understood, and she told me she would have done the same thing if she were in my shoes. Which is all I could have asked for. And wholly unlike my boss's boss who has been pouting, making me feel guilty and asking me if I want to be called Tucker A or Tucker T (A=abandoner and T=traitor) ever since I told him. And he's former Navy. Nice, right? Ah well...
So it is starting to feel like this chapter is coming to a close. Which is both sad and liberating. I am beyond excited about moving and being home with Swiss and getting on with our life. I am sad to leave all that I have built for myself here, but what is waiting for me down south? So much better.
Ooh! And one last thing... I've got a few more names for my photography gig over here. Go check them out and let me know what you think!