27 December 2009

Feasting on asphalt.

Okay, so the snow in the Midwest totally FUBAR'd my plans. I'm still here at home being held hostage by the great (ahem) states of IL and MO. I am hoping to leave tomorrow, and more than that I'm hoping that the housing office will be sympathetic and understanding and give me a new appointment on Tuesday. And the cable company too. BOO HISS.
Anyway, that's the update. Eff you snow!
**** UPDATE****

Just can't wait to get on the road again... something, something, with my friends... I can't wait to get on the road again! do, de, doo, de, dooo, do, dooooooooooooo. Or something like that...

As you probably have guessed, today is the big day. The truck is packed, Fletcher is set to ride shotgun and do his best Goose to my Maverick, and we are heading South. This PCS? It ain't gonna know what hit it! (Okay, at the rate we've been going, that isn't at all going to be true, but hey, positive thinking!)

The truck is stuffed to the gills like a proper Chipotle burrito (juuuuuuuust about to burst, and btw? YUM.), plenty of snack are stashed away for the both of us, and many, many miles of interstate are stretched out just waiting for us. I'm certain we will get a wide sampling of the spectacular array of rest stops, gas stations and junk food this country has to offer and rest assured, there will be pictures. Also, I'm sort of giddy about the prospect of 2 straight days of McDonald's and Burger King (maybe even the occasional Hardee's/Carl's Jr!). Score!?

Anyway, wish us safe travels, pray for good weather, and we will catch you on the flip-side... Live! From Fort X! (that should have sounded like the intro to Dancing with the Stars if you said it right.)

24 December 2009

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Happy Chrismahanukkawanzawahteveritisyoucelebrate Everyone!!!

I want to wish you and your loved ones a very wonderful holiday season... I wish you all joy, lurve, laughter, full bellies, full glasses and a tremendously spectacular 2010. Holy crap. 2010!!!

Thank you for standing by me through this demanding, challenging, emotional-roller-coastering, exhausting year! Thank you for your kind words, your snark, your laughter, your wisdom... thank you for calming me, ranting with me, sobbing alongside me, and celebrating with me. I am so lucky to have found all of you, or you to have found me as it were, and for your camaraderie, friendship and generosity of spirit.

May 2010 be better, in every way, than this past year for you and yours. And I look forward to all of the hijinks, ridiculousness, drama and laughs yet to come!


22 December 2009

Foiled again!

Gah. Well, the good news is that 1) we have a house, 2) we have a cable/internet install date and 3) I was uber-smart and packed a bunch of necessary items for indoor camping. We also have a ship date for our household goods... only it isn't until the New Year. The 4th to be precise... just shy of a week after our move-in date. Boo!

No, it isn't the end of the world, but I just find it amazing that of all the things we as MilSpouses rally against, we seem to find this bogus week-or-more-without-our-stuff thing to be not only normal, but acceptable? Really? Maybe this is the reason people do DITY moves (aside from the extra money)? Maybe this isn't an issue when you choose to live off post? I don't know. But it does seem ridiculous to me that if you are moving into on-post housing, you shouldn't have to wait a week to get your stuff. Like really, what if we had kids? What if we had special needs or something? How is this acceptable and how has no one bitched about this already? (Okay, I assume folks have bitched about this before, but why hasn't someone tried to make a change here that would actually benefit families?)

So, tell me your PCS stories! How long have you had to wait to get your household goods? How easy was the process? How have you coped with being in housing without your stuff (with or sans kidlets)? And what would you do to make this process easier? What are your solutions to make PCS-ing easier on families?

I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this!

21 December 2009

Cementing my everlasting love for Stephen Colbert.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Early Christmas present!

GUESS WHAT? We got an address! And an upgrade (are you singing the Beyonce song too? I am!)! So there is a call & e-mail in to the Transportation Office, the cable installation is set up, and I can finally stop worrying about how this is all going to shake out. Hallelujah! And I will have my house in order before the big holiday. Phew!

I am beyond grateful for the very kind housing lady who hooked us up with a nicer house and an earlier move-in date, and also for being understanding about the holiday (they are letting me move in next week even though it is open now) and for kindly walking me through this since it is my first one and my Human Army Cliff Notes is in the Sandbox. Nice people make me happy!

So this is totally my early Christmas Present for the god(s) above and I'm thrilled to be able to get one huge monkey off my my back. And a lot more square footage to decorate when I get there! HOORAY!

PS- it's nice to write a post that isn't all sturm und drang (Thanks Tim Gunn!)... thanks for standing by me through all this drama and un-fun stuff!

20 December 2009


Can I just say that this is probably the single worst week ever for me to have PMS? I mean, Christmas without Swiss, moving 1,200 miles from my family, 20 hours in a car with a dog, relocating to a new place where we don't technically have an address yet. I am an emotional tinderbox right now.

And I am so over it.

I want to be excited, not sad. I want to be giddy, not filled with trepidation and worry. I want to have my cake and eat it too... and that just ain't gonna happen. I am an emotional wreck waiting to happen. I feel like I am one sad commercial, one sappy song, one loaded moment away from a total emotional collapse. I fear the epic meltdown that will likely accompany driving away from my family, straight towards an empty house in a place where I know no one and Swiss isn't due to return for a month or maybe longer. This isn't me. This isn't how I roll. I am strong and am usually able to keep it together. This deployment has put me through the wringer and I didn't fall apart. So why do I feel like I'm about to do just that now?

Maybe this is all a part of the last month & change of a deployment. My tolerance for the bullshit that goes along with deployments is now nil. My patience for this to be over is non-existent. My ability to shoulder the emotional weight is maxed out. And worst of all, I don't want to hold this all in until Swiss gets home. I don't want to do a year's worth of emotional downloading in one fell swoop when he gets home. But I don't know how else to deal with everything that is maniacally swirling through my nugget and piling up in the corners of my mind. I don't want to sweep it under the rug, lock it away and not deal with it- I fear that would leave me jaded and bitter and a more emotionally detached person than I am comfortable being.

The other thing is this: I finally feel like I am giving up my life for the Army. All along I never really felt that way. More than anything I was just following Swiss wherever the Army sent us because that meant we got a life together again, it meant we could be 'normal'. I was always able to focus on that, on the good, the new, the exciting. Now that I am about to drive 1,200 miles away from my family, my friends, my normal and my life... I resent it. I think I am actually angry about it. I hate that I won't be able to go to Summerfest with Beth in July, that I won't get to go fishing and hunting on the Mississippi with my Dad this spring. I hate that I won't be able to see the ones I care about with just a short jaunt in the car. I hate that I don't get to try the new menu items at my favorite restaurant or go with Valerie to more wine tastings there. I hate that I won't get to go to lunch with my Mom and her best friend. I hate that I am going to miss out on so many parts of the life I built. Now, I understand the give and take here. I understand that while I am giving up all of that, I get to live a normal life under the same roof with my husband. That isn't small potatoes by any measure. But I guess I am just bitter that in order to have that, I have to give up everything else.

Do any of you have tips for how to deal with these parts of PCS-ing and reintegration? How to not be bitter about rearranging you whole life for the Army? How to not completely overwhelm your spouse but still manage to deal with the crap you've (both) been through? And one more thing: Is all this normal??? Am I off my rocker? I don't think I could handle being insane too...

16 December 2009

That sinking feeling.

You know the feeling when you are handling something all on your own (like a PCS) and have your own game plan that you think best suits your needs and your timeline (since you are doing it totally by yourself and all)? That assurance and calmness that comes with having a plan and solutions to the tasks ahead of you? And you know that feeling when your spouse, who is 7,000 miles away and not PCS-ing with you and has been gone for 11 months then tells you how your plan is flawed and that you should do it a different way?

I hate that feeling. That feeling is usually followed by my head hitting the desk so hard I see stars. And that feeling? I has it.

I hate that discussions about this PCS always leave me feeling like I'm doing it wrong. Not that Swiss isn't supportive, and not that he doesn't do a good job of telling me I'm kicking ass. He does. But the conversations about all the other ways I could be doing it? The talks about why don't you just get down there super early and stay at a hotel? Why don't you do this? Why don't you do it that way? THEY. ARE. KILLING. ME.

I don't want to go down early and stay in temporary lodging with my spastic dog and all of our valuables sitting in a truck bed in the parking lot. I don't want to unpack the truck just to re-pack it 2 days later- by myself. I don't want to leave for Fort X immediately following Christmas. I don't want to turn down this housing and wait until he gets home and hope that we can get back on the list. Don't we all remember how stressful getting this one was? I don't want to re-game plan this now. I want to keep going. And mentioning all the other ways I could/should be doing it? Makes me feel like I'm doing it all wrong and wasn't smart enough to figure it out on my own.

I hate the resentment I am feeling for the first time in this deployment. I hate the feeling of frustration and anger and the disheartening, overwhelming sinking feeling of "I can't do this anymore". Of course I will do it. I have to. I'm not a quitter and quite frankly I don't have much of a choice. I won't have a breakdown over it because honestly, if I did? The flood gates of 11 months of million kinds of bullshit will come out and I won't be able to stop it. I don't want to resent my husband. I don't want to walk away from this deployment jaded and angry. I don't want to be bitter. I don't want to be the person I have become in the last 40 something weeks.

I want to be me again. I want to be us again. And I want this to be over. Like yesterday.

15 December 2009

LiveBlogging the PCS: Part 12-ish, or Shoot Me Now.

Okay, so this is it: The Final Countdown. Or so I thought. In actuality, it is just one more asinine speed bump in a process that I am 110% confident doesn't have to be as complicated as the Army has made it. Let me correct that: This situations categorically would NOT be near as complicated if we were choosing to live off post. Which at this point is seeming like a better and better option. Ugh. But I better back up and explain myself...

On one hand: We have housing!

On the other: We can't do a damned thing to prepare, schedule, or arrange our move in. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. And I get to go 7+ days without my stuff in an empty house.

See, I just got off the phone with the office of the housing development we are assigned to. They can tell me that the house we will move into has a fenced in back yard (yay!), but they can't tell me the address until maintenance hands the house back over to them. And they don't know when that will be. And they can't do anything for me or give me any other information until that time. Which, again, they don't know.

None of this would be an issue, other than the fact that all of our stuff is in storage down there. I can't schedule delivery until I have an address. And it takes around 7 days to get your stuff after you've called the office. Yup. 7 days. 7 days with no bed, no TV, no couch, no dishes, no microwave, nothing. With the New Year Holiday throwing in a few (3) extra non-working days... which may very well make that 7 business days more like 10 or 11. Thank Maude I packed an air mattress, shower curtain, sheets and towel.

The other bonus to this situation? They can't actually tell me when I am going to be able to take residency. They told me that the "goal date" for me to get down there (mind you, this is a 20+ hour/2 day drive for me so I can't just *poof* show up there) is still the 29th, but there are no guarantees. So I guess I'm going to have to get some reservations at the on-post lodging? Hooray. And by that I mean not.

I find this all so unbelievably frustrating and beyond ridiculous. Pray tell, why can't they give us the address, if only to be able to schedule delivery of our stuff ahead of time? But then again, why would I want to do that? Camping in my new house with a dog for 7-10 sounds like a riot. And by that I mean not. Good God- what if I had kids??? What if we were a family of 5 trying to move in? And how did anyone ever think this was the best way to do this?

I guess this is one of those "undies-in-a-bundle" Army moments for me. I'm pretty damned understanding of all the bullshit the Army puts us through. But this one? Not at all. We are uprooting our entire lives, our home, everything we own is in storage. I've been living out of suitcases for almost 6 weeks now. I would think the very effing least they could do would be help us make this transition as fast, easy and un-stressful as possible. Instead I'm calling 6 different numbers to the Transportation Office (none of which work) to try to see if this is really how it works and dealing with an uppity and utterly useless contact at the Community Housing Office.

My next calls will be to the Rear D to see if anyone can help. I refuse to believe that this is the status quo and that families moving down there are routinely waiting 7-ish days to get their stuff moved in. I refuse to believe that there is no way I can get the address of our new home ahead of time so that delivery can be scheduled. I refuse to believe that I have to be physically present at Fort X in order to schedule delivery. And I refuse to believe that the Army cares this little about families. But then again, I've been wrong about the Army before.

Ugh. Is this over yet??? Please???

11 December 2009


So something interesting has happened this past week. We found out about housing on Tuesday (sorry for the lag in posting) and I got all sorts of giddy about it. Now? I find myself homesick for a place I've never been to. Correction: I've been to Fort X, I've lived in a house in the same housing community we are now assigned to and therefore I know exactly (more or less) what our home will look like. But I've never set foot in the house we will move into at the end of the month. Anyway, yes, I am homesick for a place that never has been home. Weird, I know.

I think maybe, more than anything, I am homesick for the idea of our life there. Swiss will be home. We will have our stuff. Luggage will only be used for trips, not makeshift dressers. I can get a routine going again. I can feel settled again. We can get on with being us. We can have something that is completely ours again.

I'm sure that right now that all sounds and seems way more romantic than it actually is (laundry! cleaning! cable bills!). But it will be ours. And at this point, I can't hardly remember what it was like to live with Swiss. All I can remember is me living alone in my house, going on about my routine, just trying to make the days go by faster. My memories of our "normal" life revolve around makeshift living arrangements and mentally gearing up for a deployment. We were only married 2 months before he deployed (join the crowd, I know). They are memories tinged with fear and worry... that was a time of stress and pressure and the looming uncertainty of the future ahead of us. Things were good with us but there was so much extra drama swirling around us and so much build up for the deployment that it colored everything we did.

I am sure that our new life together at Fort X will have its share of drama and worry and the like. But somehow I am certain that this new home, this new start, this new normal will be so wonderful if only because there won't be a deployment looming and we can just focus on us being us. That is a luxury we haven't had in a long, long time, if ever.

I am so grateful for my family for putting Fletcher and I up for this time. I am thankful that I have such a supportive family who is willing to rearrange everything (sort of) for Swiss and me. But also, I am tired of being an imposition. I am over making it work. I am ready to get back to being my normal independent self. And I am ready to start being a wife again.

I know it will come. It isn't that far away... but these last few months have left me feeling more anxious and disheveled than relieved and excited. Moving in to our new home and getting our life set up again? I think that will go a long way towards getting me excited and thrilled for Swiss coming home.

10 December 2009


So, wanna hear some good news? We got housing! And not just any housing... the housing we were supposed to get (they tried giving us JNCO housing)! And the move in date? Exactly the one we wanted. Booyah!

I leave for Fort X shortly after Christmas and I will be all moved in (note: I did NOT say unpacked) by New Year's Eve. Hopefully I will have cable/interwebz by then! Gah! I can't put into words how excited I am for this next chapter. I am thrilled to have our own space. I'm stoked to redecorate and (after 4 months in storage) rediscover all the awesome home decor goodies I know I have. I am giddy about getting the house ready for Swiss's return... I am ecstatic about the thought of my own bed again! Hooray!

It is such a great feeling to have something go how it is supposed to go. It was touch and go for a while there, but everything ended up working out just how it was supposed to and that makes me really happy. Now we just have to enjoy the holidays, pack up the truck, and make the 1,000+ mile journey to our new home. I hope Fletcher likes road trips!!!

In other news, Swiss is back on the day shift... just as we were getting our new routine going. Boo! He got a new job that will require him to move locations for the 6th time this deployment (no, I am no exaggerating) and will also require him to be one of the last guy in his division to leave. Double boo! However, all that being said, the tentative dates still put us juuuuuuust under a year so I suppose I can't complain too much. Besides, it wouldn't do me any good!

So, that is all that is new here. I wish I had more gusto and gumption to write more, but that's all I've got for now! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

07 December 2009

Holiday spirit.

What? You don't have a holiday dog/elf hybrid of your own? Dude, you are totally missing out.

01 December 2009


Gut reaction? I think it is what we need to do, though I hate what it means for our military family.

I thought President Obama's speech was very good and I think that the goals, time lines, narrow focus and specifics will go a long way to remedy and address the issues that arose in the Iraq war (goals that were too broad, no urgency due to no timeline, etc). I am no analyst, I am no General, but I feel like this decision was reached without undue haste, with deep regard to the cost of our troops and country, and with the wisdom of past failures. This plan will be changed, this plan will have pitfalls... but it will also have successes, it will have results and it will provide a timeline to gauge our progress and to assess changes that need to be made.

If we must be at war, I would rather we be thoughtful and concerned about the outcomes. I would rather we be specific and decisive, not open-ended and vague. I would rather follow a CinC with a clear vision and a complete understanding of all factors at play. In short, I support this surge. Even though we as a military community will bear the burden.

After listening to all of President Obama's speech, I was beyond pleased to find both Swiss's concerns and mine addressed (which at times are quite divergent), and walk away feeling like, finally, we have a POTUS who isn't short-sighted, who sees the big picture and who is willing to engage in thoughtful, concerted, honest dialogue about the issues facing our country, our military, and our world. It's about damned time.

Also, for the record: I cannot tolerate the media, pundits, analysts, politicians (on both sides) and opportunists who took this serious matter, this issue of national and world concern, this commitment of 30,000 of our bravest men and women, and turn it into a chance to up their political stock, extend their 15 minutes of fame, or goad the other side for future electoral gains. Also, when it is obvious within the first 20 seconds of you opening your mouth that you only heard what you wanted to hear, you loose all credibility. Just so you know.

The end.

Military musings.

Ugh. So the surge. THE SURGE. It has already sparked debate in my household... I agree with the plan (this would be the "shitting" portion of my previously held position of "shit or get off the pot") generally speaking... even though I know as well as most of you what this surge means... and I hate the price that we will have to pay for success.

It means extended tours. It means increasing the OpTempo once again. It means tapping into a well that is already running dry. And worst of all, it means that my friends, my military family (and possibly Swiss and I), will have to pay the price... paid with fear, worry, trepidation, loneliness, holidays spent alone, a year without their loved ones, living with the omnipresent cloud of a loved one at war... every day. It will be paid with blood, sweat and tears. It will be paid with lives lost too soon. It will be paid with young widows and children who will never grow up with two parents.

I shudder to think about all of the other families getting ready for this surge. The ones who will leave yet this month... the ones who are getting the calls to ready for deployment. The ones who's hearts sunk when the final word broke today- knowing full well their families would be the ones bearing the burden. The ones who's lives will be put through the ringer (wringer?) in every imaginable way. The ones who will live this next year on the edge of their seats... afraid of the news, the phone ringing, the unfamiliar sedan in front of the house... the ones who will live in fear of the ringing of their doorbell.

But more than anything... watching the CBS News and hearing the reporter say that these troops would be there for "just one year"... my temper flared, my voice rose two octaves and I was using my outside voice inside. JUST ONE YEAR? Just. One. Year. *gasp* I've lived that year. I'm still living it. There is no "just" in one year. That is every holiday spent alone. That is 360-ish nights alone in your large bed meant for two. That is a full year of mowing the lawn, raking every leaf, shoveling every last snowfall alone. That is a full year of involuntary single parenthood. That is countless missed birthdays... missed first steps... missed first anniversaries... missed nights spent like any other normal couple across this country. There is no "just" in a year.

Inevitably, my rant turned into my least favorite (and admittedly touchiest) subject. "They signed up for this." And you know who said it? My parents. My blood began to boil. My rationality went out the window. I KNOW he chose this. But in no way, shape or form does that make this easy or fun or not horrible. And then I was told that "that isn't what I meant, it isn't personal". How could it not be personal? These are real people who have to enact this surge... families torn apart... IT IS, AT IT'S VERY ROOT, PERSONAL. It couldn't not be personal, if for no other reason, because this surge could lead to Swiss's retirement paperwork being denied. Which means he will be part of this surge. Another war. Another deployment. Another round of God Please Just Bring Him Home, every night, every day. How much more personal could it be?

I don't think I will ever get over how disconnected the American public is from this military lifestyle and all it entails. I understand that living it gives one a unique understanding an outsider could never match (Maude knows I didn't get it until I lived it). But I don't see how the general public can be so flippant about it. "Its their job." "Its about time." "They should send more" ... I want to shout that there aren't more to send.... they can't keep this up... this is taking its toll in ways you can't even begin to fathom!!! But I know, no matter how I say it, it will fall on deaf ears... because it isn't their spouse. It isn't their kid. It isn't their sibling. And it isn't their concern. It's just another talking point... another way to grade a President... another game to armchair quarterback. And it isn't personal.

So, to all of you who are or will be touched by this: May your loved ones come home safely, may this conflict end swiftly and without loss, and may your family, friends and whomever you pray to give you the comfort, support, love and reassurance you need. And know that I will be here for you.