29 October 2010

28 October 2010

Nooooooooooo!

It is totally snowing this morning. Not the kind that will stick or accumulate. But still. Snowing. It was 92 degrees when we left Texas. Boo hiss!!!

That is all. Carry on!

27 October 2010

Heaven on a plate.

So we made it back to Minnesota and Swiss' parent's home. We were greeted with hellacious winds, frigid temperatures and dreary weather, but there was a fire in the fireplace and my wonderful MIL made my favorite for dinner.... homemade potato pancakes with homemade applesauce (though Swiss totally went against hundreds of years of gastronomic knowledge and put Velveeta slices on his pancakes instead of applesauce). I mean, seriously, what more could you ask for?

We are glad that the trip is over, we are glad to not be in hotels anymore, and we are happy to have made it back safe and sound. And I won't lie... it is good to be back in the Midwest... it feels like home.

26 October 2010

Farewell Fort Hood.

Hello All.  I am Swiss.  My lovely wife has given me the privilege of posting my feelings on leaving Fort Hood and the Army; to put it plainly, leaving neither is difficult.  There is a lot that can said about getting to a new unit and watching things unfold from the perspective of the new guy along with the sense that you were never really welcome.  Looking closely at the last few years, I can see now that my final taste of the Army had to be one of bitterness... or I may have never left.  The only thing I truly will miss about the Army will be standing up for other people who can't stand up for themselves.

Hey all, it's me, Tucker again... I can say that leaving here is sort of surreal. Despite never wanting to move to Texas, despite Fort Hood being the lesser of three evils, despite the heat and enormous bugs and snakes... we made this place home. We said goodbye here, we had our homecoming here, we got to be us for the first time here. Now, I won't say that we liked it enough to want to stay here. Far from it. But I think living on an installation makes you feel more at home, like a part of a community, like you belong. That I will miss. I won't miss the scorching summers. Nor will I miss the hoodlum kids that taunt the dog and throw trash in our yard. But I will miss the thumping of Apaches on training missions, falling asleep to artillery rounds, and I will miss the bugle calls. I won't miss the 8 rush hours or the bad drivers. I won't miss the hugeness of this post, nor will I miss the cockroaches. But I will miss being one of us... an active duty spouse, one of the many in our ranks. I will miss being knee deep in the Hooah. Oh yeah, and the sunsets. I'll miss those. Nothing like a big sky Texas sunset...

In any event, being married to the military has been a trip. It has taken me (and us) places we never imagined, it has been the source of incredible highs and crushing lows. And it has led me to all of you, dear readers, for which I am the most grateful. I have grown so much in these few years with the help of your support and wisdom, and thanks to the Army (and the internet) I've meet some of the most amazing women with whom I will always be friends. Thank you for joining us on this journey, thank you for following all of our ups and downs, and I truly hope you all will stick around now that I am officially an Alumnus.


So off we go, leaving this chapter,this place, this life behind. There is a long road ahead of us (literally) and we can't wait to get started. But first, cue up the music... I'll take a little "On the Road Again" action if you please.

Hooah and farewell... for now,
<3
Tucker and Swiss

25 October 2010

Like a lizard.

So, I'm going to let y'all in on a little secret now that our time in the Army is measured in hours. We are stationed in Texas(!?!?). Which means it is still in the 80's here. In fact, this is my favorite time of year here... it is finally cool enough to enjoy the outdoors again and it is the perfect weather for evening walks. We can finally enjoy the spectacular Texas sunsets without risking heat stroke. Amen and hallelujah!

BUT. All this warm weather isn't really doing a good job of easing me into winter. In Minnesota we have September and early October to gradually, slowly, beautifully ease us into those cold, crisp late fall and winter days. I find that just looking at the forecast for Swiss's hometown (highs of mid 40's, lows in the low30's) alone makes me shiver. I think I've turned into one of those thin blooded pansified pseudo-Southerners.

So for the last few days, I have found myself soaking in all the warmth and sun I can out on the hotel balcony. Like a lizard. I am willing myself to store all this sunshine and balmy temperatures for future use. Sadly, I don't think it is going to work. Better get out the long johns and fleeces. Sad face.

Do you think, if I ask really nicely, that the sunshine and warm weather would follow me North when we leave tomorrow???

22 October 2010

FAIL.

Thank you Army Hotel Group. For moving us from one hotel to another in the middle of a PCS when the LAST thing I want to do is move all our shit again. Awesomesauce. 


Also? Thanks for making me cry for the first time during this process. It shouldn't have been a big deal, but my last nerve seems to have been packed up with the rest of our stuff so, yeah my tolerance level for people's stupidity is now at zero. I blame you.

21 October 2010

Weather forecast for Minnesota.

Thursday: A chance of rain and SNOW SHOWERS. Cloudy and breezy, with a high near 42. 

OMG. I DIE. We are going to be there for that. I AM IN FLIP FLOPS RIGHT NOW! FLIP FLOPS!!!! I can't do snow yet!?!?!?! I'M NOT READY.

Seriously. I DIE. Dead. Lit-rall-y. Dead.

Know what I love about the Army?

Nowhere else do they wake you up for PT in the morning with canon fire. I'm telling you... nothing will kick you ass out of bed like good old canons. BOOM!

19 October 2010

Flaky support or old fashioned pandering?

So, I am fully aware that this next post is going to make me sound kind of country. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But I digress. So the hubs likes to watch hunting shows... I watch them with him because life is just better when we are both tucked into our respective corners of the couch (no other place in this house is as comfy as our couch... it is has been independently tested!). But on to my point.

There are quite a few of these shows that like to showcase military things... wether that be tours of bases/posts or featuring a veteran on a hunt or (disgustingly) gratuitous shots of combat video to make the show seem cooler. I've seen it all. Now, the shows where the veteran (be they wounded or not) gets to go on a free hunt to say Hey! Thanks for what you've done! I have no problem with. I appreciate that someone is recognizing what these (generally speaking) men have done for our country and freedom/democracy of others. These individuals and their stories are prominently featured along with the tale of the hunt. All fine and well in my books. The ones where they just showcase Cool Military Stuff and/or People, not cool. But that should be obvious.

However, I've noticed that not a single one of these shows (other than Ted Nugent's)- regardless of the military content they include- advocates its viewers finding out more about any of the number of veteran's organizations or donate money to said programs. The best they usually get is a passing comment at the very end of the show... no links, no phone numbers, no prominent display of logos and no sliver of time featuring them or the work they do. No one mentions the Wounded Warrior Project. No one really talks about the organizations that often makes these hunts possible, Project Healing Waters, The Armed Forces Foundation and Wounded Warriors Outdoors. Why?

The overwhelming lack of promotion for these organizations makes me wonder if featuring the Armed Forces and our vets (especially the wounded ones) in these shows is really nothing more than old fashioned pandering. It shouldn't be a surprise that most hunters and fishermen are of the conservative persuasion... and heavily support our military (as all folks should, regardless of political persuasion)... so is this just a way to play to your audience? I sure hope not.

But, with all that said, I still can't help but wonder why so many of these shows, with captive and sympathetic audiences, don't take advantage of the opportunity to promote the great work they are doing and get more like-minded supporters.

So long creature comforts of home...

Well, it's official. As of today, we are no longer residents of our home, but residents of the road. Tonight will be the first night of many that we'll be sleeping in hotels and longing for our couch. There will be lots of driving, lots of mooching off of family and a much anticipated reunion with our stuff some time in December. Until then? We shall be denizens of the road.

Wish us luck!!!

Pinterest.

So, I think the best thing I've discovered on the internet in my 8-ish months of Stay At Home Wifery is a site called Pinterest. You have to register and wait to be sent your notification that you've been added... but TOTES worth the wait. Okay, let me clarify that... if you are at all visual and like to have collections of magazine clippings and files on your desktop of awesome images you found on the web... Pinterest is totes worth the wait. Otherwise? I'd guess not so much. But it is a great way to collect images if you are planning any home improvement projects or need craft ideas or whatever... I'm a fan.

In any event, this is what the place looks like...




It is essentially an online idea board (or boards, you can make as many as you like)... you can post your own images, images you've found... and you can peek at what everyone else is pinning. Srsly, I can't tell you how many images I already have pinned for our future home (Beth, you are totally smirking now, aren't you?). But anyway, it is super cool and I've found hundreds of amazing things there and I figured why not share it with you, dear, lovely readers.

So, happy Pinning dear readers and I hope it comes in handy for some of you! That's all!

18 October 2010

2 years.

Happy Anniversary Swiss!

These last few years feel like a total blur, in the best possible way, and I still wake up every day thinking that I'm luckier and happier than any girl deserves to be. We've lived 4 places since we've been together and we are on our way to place number 5. In our first few years we've tackled a deployment and an insanely stressful job hunt, we've traveled from one coast to the other, from the top of this country to the bottom and so many places between. We've weathered family storms and reintegration and living 1,000+ miles from everyone we know. And we've laughed nearly every step along the way.

I don't think I'll ever stop being fascinated by the endless ways you combine strange food items,  nor the way you can fall asleep anytime and anywhere. I'll always be grateful for your sense of humor and infinite patience. I will always be in awe of your wit and your encyclopedic knowledge of the most random things. And I am so excited to start this next chapter with you.

Sometimes I wish I had known when we first met that you were the One. But then again, our story wouldn't be as entertaining... and I did figure it out pretty soon. I look back on these years together and I can easily say that they've been the best of my life. And I can easily say that I can't imagine life without you in it. You've made me deliriously happy and I feel so blessed that we ungracefully stumbled into each other's lives. Thank you for making marriage seem (relatively) easy and for being such a good tutor in all things Army. In short, you are the best and I love you so damned much!


So, Happy Anniversary to the man I always hoped I would find, the one who puts up with all my quirks and still makes me laugh, the one who loves me despite every one of my well developed flaws. You have no idea how lucky I feel to call you mine. And I love you so, so very much.

17 October 2010

Our fridge is now devoid of any and all foods with nutritional value. We only have beer, milk and OJ.

Just though you should know that.

Detroit like you've never seen it.

Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre Photography. Amazing stuff, you should totally check out the link and have a look...




"Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies 

and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.

The state of ruin is essentially a temporary situation that happens at 
some point, the volatile result of change of era and the fall of empires.
This fragility, the time elapsed but even so running fast, lead us to watch them one very last time : 
being dismayed, or admire, making us wondering about the permanence of things.

Photography appeared to us as a modest way 
to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state."

16 October 2010

One more Retirement FYI. Or two...

So all of my previous retirement stuff can be found here and here (this one was featured in the Blogs section of the Army's Stand To site and I didn't know it until today- super cool!).

But here's the thing I want y'all to know. (Which I wish we knew). Housing WILL NOT give you your all clear stamp early, and you can't fully clear- and therefore get your DD-214- until you've cleared housing. So, I would suggest that y'all just book yourselves a week or two in a hotel or on-post lodging and get the housing situation squared away sooner rather than later. Otherwise you will be like Swiss and I are now... somewhat akin to jobless college kids home for summer break. Lots of TV and aimless meandering around the house with tiny sporadic bursts of packing.

Back to my point. Seeing as how we did not do this... Swiss can't clear post until the afternoon of the day we plan to leave. And go to finance and to the S1 and get the DD-214 and his retirement awards. Then drive half way from here to Minnesota. Jealous, aren't you?

We shall file this under things I wish someone had told us 6 months ago. And believe you me... that list is turning into a doozie.

Also, here are my sage two cents on all things pertaining to the VA: Do your homework. Looking into the Post 9-11 GI Bill? Find out how long the turn around time is on the applications (weeks, lots and lots of weeks) so you can work with your school accordingly. And get to know the process, which can be convoluted and confusing, so that when you start to navigate it you'll at least have an inkling of what you should be doing. Unhappy with your disability percentage? Find out who to contact with your dispute and get your medical records in order. Like tippy toppy shape. Know them backwards and forwards.

So, that is all I have to say about this topic for the time being. Once this whole brewhaha is over with (FYI- it takes up to 45 days from your formal retirement date to get your disability percentage) I will have a big ole' summary for you guys.

Because this is too awesome not to post.

Overhaulin'.

So, since we are like T-10 days from moving on from this whole Army thing... I think it is time to do a bit of a blog overhaul. So, don't be surprised if you check back and this place looks a whole lot different.

And I won't lie, the content is gonna change too. I'll still talk about the military and the things that get me fired up. But there will be more 'normal' life stuff and random things I feel like posting. More photos, more casual. I don't know what the overarching "theme" will be of this blog, but it will still be me in all my eccentric glory... I hope you all stick around and that you like the changes that are a comin'.

Happy weekend everyone!

12 October 2010

Detaching.

So, I've been thinking about this retirement thing. Not in the what-have-I-forgotten-to-put-on-the-list way... but more philosophically. What I've pretty much come up with is this... in some ways it is like preparing for a deployment. No, the fear and worry and anxiety aren't there (at least not in anywhere near the same levels) but the distancing? The whole steeling yourself against what is going to happen thing? Totally happening.

Swiss and I both find ourselves slowly withdrawing and disassociating from all things military. Obviously it isn't because we don't care anymore. And I know it isn't because all that stuff suddenly doesn't matter. I think it is just our way of preparing to live a life where the military isn't front and center every day. You know, kind of like you do with your spouse before they leave (we all do/did that, right?) for battle. You have to get yourself ready for the new future in front of you that doesn't include that person (hopefully, just for the time being). In our case, that person is the Army.

It is certainly easier to do this now that Swiss is on terminal leave... his only duties are to go to the occasional VA appointment or stop by different offices to get his papers stamped. He doesn't have a work schedule anymore, no PT, no forced family fun, nothing. We are just two non-working folks who happen to live in on-post housing. Is it almost like we are slipping, quite easily, into the retired mode where the only thing we need from the military are the PX/BX and Commissary privileges... and the retirement checks.

I know that this is a time that Swiss was VERY ready to have come. He is ready to move on and not be a soldier anymore. He doesn't have that romantic view of what it means to be in the military... this unit and the deployments have worn that away. He sees it for what it is and is ready to do something else. And I know this is helping him through this process, which I am sure can be difficult for many.

As for me? Well, I don't think I've been a part of this whole machine for long enough to develop serious attachments. Yes, this has been our life for the last 3+ years, but I sort of view it (at this point anyway) as a chapter in a much bigger book. At times, yes, it was all consuming. Absolutely. And at times it was the biggest driving force in our lives... dictating places and times and 100% responsible for enormous emotional burdens and fears. But. It was temporary and we got through it. So yes, I too am ready to move on.

But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that this feels a little sad. I know we'll always be a part of this family, but  the thing I loved most about being a military family is the sense of community. Being part of something bigger, having a network and an instant, understandable bond with all the members of this community. Yes, that I will miss the most. But hopefully, either via this blog or other social networking venues, I'll be able to keep the mainline flowing to these relationships and this fabulous community. Because, at the end of the day, it is the people that make our military great, and it will be the people that I miss the most.

11 October 2010

Put on your Military Speak Decoder Rings folks!

This PCS is driving me bananas. And my dear husband’s ever changing POA is messing with my OCD and if he keeps it up, it is all gonna be FUBAR. The SA is getting out of control and I really just need for things to get back on track in our AO. ASAP.

05 October 2010

We have a home!

Yesterday I accepted a job at a lab in South Dakota. (!?!) I won't lie, it isn't a place I ever thought we would end up, but the town we'll be in is nice, the scenery is beautiful and I'm lucky enough to have family who lives out there. So yeah, either way it'll be an adventure!

We are currently in the process of clearing and getting the house ready to vacate. Which, currently, means I am speckled in white Army Issue housing white paint. It's gonna be a hectic few weeks and I'll update then... and then you'll have to help me figure out what the future of this blog will be... because in a few short weeks I won't be an Active Duty spouse anymore. Crazy!

03 October 2010

News!

I have exciting news that I will share with y'all just as soon as the real folks in my life know!