So Happy to Be In Hubby's Pants...Now that I have your attention, I wanted to be sure and post about a personal triumph, albeit a vain one. Today, I am sitting at the desk in my office, wearing my husband's Levi's. Granted, for some, being able to fit into their husband's jeans would be a horrifying proposition. But, you probably haven't seen my husband. And, you also may not have ever experienced the horror of realizing you weighed barely less than your husband and that when you accidentally tried to strap on his jeans once, you couldn't get them over the tops of your knees.So, today is a banner day for me; my DVD-based trainer, Gunnar Peterson; the gunmetal gray magic exercise ball and even the death-inducing ellipitical training machine at the Y. We have collaborated to kick my ass and it seems like we're scaring it away, little by little.I have received word about my long-distance booty call dates and I still have time to polish off even more of my upholstery by then. Maybe not quarter-bouncing at this point, but I'm getting closer.
Proof Good People Still ExistI received a phone call last night that still has me feeling excited and hopeful. Surprisingly, it wasn't a phone call from my husband, but rather about my husband that created such a buzz.In his real life, outside his National Guard service, my husband is a driver for UPS. On his semi-regular route, he met & befriended the office staff at a local elementary school. The faculty and staff at the school proved to be wonderful, caring folks and my husband has kept them in the loop during his deployment by including them on his distribution list for e-mail and digital photos.A couple weeks ago, Brian said the office's secretary had e-mailed saying they were foregoing their Secret Santa gift exchanges this year and would instead, pool their money and purchase something for the guys in Brian's unit.Last night, I received a phone call from a 2nd grade teacher at the school saying her class had been keeping up with Brian via his e-mail and photos. They'd looked on the map to see where he is. They also talked about how people with jobs like Brian are away from their families and children. The kids decided they would like to be Brian's pen pals. All twenty-two of them have penned a note and some original artwork to be sent in a bundle along with some goodies the teacher is including. They are also planning to send him a care package around the holidays.And, they have invited my girls and me to their school on November 11th to be their guests at their Veterans' Day program. I am beside myself at the sweetness of the gesture & so happy that they feel good about doing such a caring thing. I also love that the political correctness that robs children of well-rounded educational experiences in alot of public school systems hasn't infested this particular school. Brian will be so surprised. I hope he can hold it together if he opens the package in the presence of his buddies...I am pretty sure that despite the gruff facade, his softy side will show itself.
How Do I Feel about John Kerry?The political discussions are heating up & one day, I just had a blinding need to get my thoughts down in another forum I post to. I thought since my Blogspot description says I talk about politics, I might as well lay it all out here for the general consumption:
In response to someone who said that our efforts in Iraq are a waste & that our President is a liar...
Hmmm. I guess standing up to a guy who puts people in rape rooms for fun isn't a waste of $ in my book, but maybe I'm missing something. As for lying I don't think Kerry's lawyers would be sending out threatening letters to television stations all over the country 'asking' them not to air the swift boat vets ads unless there is some truth to their allegations. I guess I find it a little bit of a contradiction that George Soros' funded organizations can make as many ads as his millions will buy and no one is supposed to have a problem, but let one group of people have something contradictory to ask Kerry about and it's an international incident complete with the threat of having FCC licenses jerked. Why aren't these vetereans allowed to speak their minds if they can afford to? Isn't that what campaign finance reform was all about? You have to pay to play? Well, they've paid so I can't see what the problem in their playing is. Oh! Unless you count the "suspicious" donation from a wealthy homebuilder in Texas who happens to be Republican. I find George Soros quite a bit more shady than some guy in Texas.
Kerry being "tons better" is also open to question. Again, since 'better' is a subjective term, we might define that differently. Someone who chooses to stand on 4 months of his life from 30 years ago, which was a time that he did everything for better than a decade to separate himself from, rather than his 20 years in the Senate is questionable to me, not better. He chose to make his 4 months of service the focus of his campaign rather than his Senate service. But, now that questions arise from that service, he cries foul. And, instead of joining the feeding frenzy to have questions answered that they created around Bush's service record, the media is crying foul too. Every time I've heard Kerry speak, it circles around to "when I was in Vietnam". I'm betting he can even order a meal at a restaurant and SOMEHOW it would relate to his service. He served his country which is admirable and honorable in my book. His absolutely irresponsible behavior after his service, however, makes him suspect in my book, not better.
Perhaps he's standing on his four months of service because if people actually looked at his Senate record, there would be even more questions. Like, how many times CAN a person vote to raise taxes in his lifetime? And, how are we expected to remain a safe and strong nation if EVERY major weapons system brought before the Senate in the past 20 years got a "no" vote from Senator Kerry? Or, my favorite question to ask would be, "Is body armor REALLY too much of an expense for our soldiers fighting in foreign lands, Mr. Kerry?" Perhaps had our military not been so decimated by an administration headed up by someone who spent 8 years getting his knob polished underneath his desk rather than paying attention to his job, we wouldn't have 1000 dead service members.
I have no patience for someone who thinks he knows better than we do. John Kerry has married well. That's about the best thing I can say for him. And by well, I mean on paper b/c Teresa Heinz-Kerry has mistakenly thought that money buys you the right to appear as ill-bred and brash as you like and people will give you a pass. She is the furthest thing from a first lady as I can imagine, save the co-President in pants, Hillary Clinton.
But, it isn't about personality issues. It's about having a core compass and I simply haven't seen evidence of John Kerry having one. Someone who changes his mind & his views to suit the situation is not the kind of person I think our nation needs heading it up now. I also don't think turning over even more of my money to a government that thinks it can spend it better than I is something I'd like to do anytime soon. And, his monstrous spending plan's money will have to come from somewhere & that's from people actually earning it.
Life is a series of choices, for better or worse. I don't like the idea of putting people into office who will take away things I have rightfully EARNED b/c they somehow have decided that I don't deserve it. I work hard. I've made good decisions. I help my friends and family who fall on hard times. I don't have a problem with rich people because I am determined to be one someday. And, when I buy my SUV, I won't have a problem driving it b/c in buying it, a salesperson has made a healthy commission, auto workers built it & earned a salary, a truck driver who delivered it still has a job, and the guy who washed it for me will get a tip.
With the way my life is so chock full of things-to-do, it doesn't take much to make me feel impressed with myself.
I've been staring at a big cardboard box since March. In this box were all the items removed from my master bathroom when my husband and his buddies gutted the bathroom to completely remodel it. The room has been useable since the end of May, but I didn't start using it until nearly the end of June...it just seemed wrong to use it when Brian had worked so hard & he was away training, unable to see the fruit of his labors. I just continued to use the girls' bathroom & was happy doing so.
But, back to the box. There it sat. It stared at me almost daring me to come over and just try to find a place for all the junk inside it. I can't ignore inanimate objects as well as I can ignore annoying people, so I had to give it a go.
Last night I considered my options and decided I wouldn't go to bed until that box was no more.
I found that much of the stuff fit in my new bathroom and even more of it was pitchable. The garbage men probably LOVED me today.
I also had a few moments when I uncovered my husband's colognes, shaving paraphenalia and the like...all those smells. I really miss him.
But, now the box is gone. I feel really good about it; I breathed a sigh of relief to see it go. If I could get the rest of my home organized as quickly and in as determined a fashion as I did that box, I wouldn't be able to contain my excitement!
One thing in my room that will be exactly the same as it is now when he returns next year? A pile of his favorite, well worn t-shirts. I'm not washing those until he's home again. When I need a quick pick-me-up, those shirts come in very handy!
It isn't because I wasn't near my computer or even that I didn't procrastinate a bit yesterday by being on-line. Oh, no...it was much more sinister than that. Bill Gates and his minions at MSN were out to completely incapacitate those of us with even the slightest mental instability when it comes to placing meaning on the absence of communication.
Yes, dear visitor to this hallowed blog spot, I spent most of my time on-line yesterday repeatedly refreshing my hotmail inbox. The "refreshment" frenzy was so intense that I now think I have given myself arthritis in the first joint of my index finger. I left-clicked more times yesterday than I probably would in a week's time and my poor finger is sore and swollen to prove it.
The object of my obsession? Two unanswered e-mails from a new friend whose on-line company I have been enjoying very much. We met, by chance, on a discussion board for those with deployed family members. We quickly figured out that our husbands are in the same area and thus, alot of our specific experiences are very similar. We exchange e-mail several times a day and I enjoy reading what she has to say.
However, I posted something to the discussion board around the same instant that I sent her an e-mail I knew she would be very interested in...and, after 24 hours, not only did she not reply to my post on the board, she also did not respond to my very informative e-mail. So...I sent her another e-mail updating her on my progress with the document I'd promised to forward to her in my original, unanswered e-mail.
Still no response.
Despite the availability of several benign possibilities--she's busy, she took a day off work, she can't log into her e-mail, etc.--my mind went straight for the logically flawed conclusion that something in my on-line post offended her and now she hates my guts.
Needless to say, the law professors trying to impart the wisdom of logical reasoning on me so I can do well on the LSAT would be sorely disappointed in my inability to see the fallacies involved in my cause/effect determination. And, the faculty of the department from which I graduated and in which now I teach would be appalled at my callous disregard for the commonly held belief that the only thing communicated by silence is silence. Any meaning given to that lack of communication is one that the "receiver" puts on it. Sorry, guys...this problem is bigger than all of us.
Today, however, after much sleepless tossing and turning over my dilemma, I logged into my hotmail account. I received two e-mails from the hotmail administrator informing me that my two e-mail transmissions to my new friend have been delayed. In fact, there is no guarantee that even now those e-mail have been successfully dumped into her inbox. And, the program reassured me, I don't have to re-send my e-mail, but I should just be aware that it is delayed.
Does this program not realize that many of us who send and receive all this e-mail probably rely way too much on mediated methods of interpersonal interaction?! I don't have face-to-face conversations with 99.9% of the people I e-mail. This lack of human interaction may very well explain my cagey, wild-eyed response to the lack of an e-mail reply. However, I am still perturbed that it took 48 hours to get the skinny on my e-mail.
Just to prove, however, that I am not as normal as I may at first appear, this hasn't cleared up my angst. The questions swirling now are: how will I know when my e-mail has been delivered? If I don't know when it's delivered, how will I know if she has simply chosen not to respond? Maybe she is really disgusted by what I posted and therefore, hasn't e-mailed me at all?
I only hope that she is more balanced than I and that she isn't sitting at home wondering, "Why hasn't Melinda e-mailed me for two days? Is she mad at me? Is it my turn to e-mail her? Did I say something she could have taken offense to?"
Nah. I'm pretty sure she has better things to do. And, I hope she never, EVER stumbles on to this site because I would venture a guess that she wouldn't want a needy nervous nelly as a friend in her real life.
I think it's safe to say that with a good 1/2 year left to go on this deployment, I'm officially over it. In fact, I would venture a guess that I was officially over it before it even began. I'm ready to call it all off and just tell these jokers who are in charge of my husband's return date to send him home.
It isn't that he's gone that is the hardest. In even my most emotional spot, I realize what he is doing is important and I'm proud of him for making the commitment to do it. I wouldn't have wanted him to flake out or be ineligible to go or any of those things, however, now that he is gone, it would be nice if those around him had some good, common sense.
Had I ever had the compulsion to enlist & I could have stomached the yelling and physical exertion of basic training, I'm not sure if I would have risen from the rank of PFC. I think things that benefit me in my real life would have caused me more trouble than good in the military.
Take, for instance, my need for organization. I don't merely plan the big picture; I like to have a five-year plan for my five-year plan. I don't deal well with ambiguity nor am I fond of last-minute changes due to poor planning. It's not that I'm inflexible; I'd just rather plan for the inevitable snafus than scramble around fixing them when they occur.
I also have a real disdain for those who operate without a true sense of how their actions affect others. Even if an individual has zero regard for consequences, it would be a real plus if he/she acted as if he/she did. A couple seconds worth of dialogue could to a long way to cementing loyalty not only from the soldiers, but also from their families and supporters. Let's face it, it's hard to respect someone over the long-term whose actions make your children cry. It's one thing if you don't have a choice in the matter; it's a total other thing if your actions are simply careless.
Although, this might just be me. It seems that, for some reason, I am unable to just let go of how I think the world should work and be completely and utterly controlled by things I have zero control over anyway. Even knowing that I have zilcho control doesn't dissuade me from harboring ill will toward those doing things that are asenine beyond comprehension.
Maybe that's the rub?
I'm more or less aggravated each & every day by my lack of say in what is happening in my own life. The level of hardship is increased exponentially when others who actually could lighten the load only pile more on by making decisions concerning my family as an afterthought. Perhaps that's what I can't abide by because I don't run my life that way nor do I allow my household to function like that.
Whatever the case, the remaining six months are going to be long.
I wonder if people ever regret their vanity plates like some people regret their choice of tatoos?
I have noticed an increase in the appearance of vanity plates even on cars that appear to cost less than the plates themselves. With so many people expressing themselves in this fashion, I wonder how many regret their choice?
This morning, I saw a vanity plate that indicated an "Optimist" was the registered owner of the mini-van. The woman behind the wheel, screaming into the cell phone wiping tears from her eyes didn't appear to be the actual owner of the mini-van...after all, how is bawling hysterically "optimistic"?
Then, there was a luxury SUV with the plate indicating a "Blessed" person owned the vehicle. I'm finding that one to be a bit more believable as those being able to afford such a nice ride probably aren't doing too shabbily on the business end.
I'm not sure I could ever commit to a vanity plate; much like I'm not sure I could ever commit to a tatoo. The only thing you can count on not changing is your name and I saw "Melinda" on a plate for the first time yesterday morning so that idea is shot to smitereens.
I'm also sure Angelina Jolie isn't the only person who has ever gone under the laser to remove an ex's name from their bodies. Ouch!
So, for the dentist who encourages us to "Floss M" and the colleague who wishes the "4S B WTH U" , thanks for the highway distraction! I'll continue to ponder what I would put on a vanity plate if I were in the market...
If you want to put me into a panic mode worthy of strapping a paper lunch sack over my mouth, hide my cell phone.
It used to be that if I forgot my cell phone at home or in my office or lost it in my bag, it was no biggie. Now, though, every time I don't have my cell phone, my husband calls from overseas. Seeing that "one missed call" message is enough to make me cry...literally.
I consider how spoiled I am by technology. Phone calls at all or even e-mail are so wonderful to have when staring down months of separation. I think about my grandparents and what they must have gone through when my grandpa was in the Navy during WWII. My grandmother, very young and very alone with three small children, must have nearly gone mad waiting for word. Of course, if you asked her, she'd say she'd write and then wait...what else was there to do?
From an outsider's standpoint, it still seems like the military operates under the "hurry up & wait" philosophy. And sometimes, the addition of technology to that already volatile mix doesn't do much to help relations on the homefront. Wives often ponder "If there are computers with internet access, why is it that he hasn't e-mailed me in days?" Or, "He has a CELL PHONE for crying out loud! Why can't he just call?!"
The unknown is always the worst. Being left without word for days isn't ideal. It seems, however, in our society of instant messages, where there is a general disdain for even dial-up connections anymore, we forget that some things stay the same. When someone is in the military, their time is not their own. I'm sure there are spouses who write hundreds of letters in their mind that never get mailed and fall into bed for a "nap" that turns into hours of sleep from exhaustion, thus missing a chance to stand in line at the phone banks.
I try to remind myself of these things when, even though I'm so tired I can barely focus, I am finishing up a letter to my husband. Or, I spend my only free time of the day to gather things to send him that I think he'd enjoy. I remind my friends whose husband's are deployed of the same thing and then thank my lucky stars that my husband isn't as lax as some of theirs about contacting me when he can. He's had his bone-headed days, but after discussing the expectations for both of us, we've come to an understanding of sorts.
I continue to marvel at the strength and fortitude of the women of my grandmother's generation, however. Who, with even less than we have today, made it through an awful time in our country's history with grace and courage. I want to be more like her as I face down these seemingly endless months.
For the first time in my life, I am going to have a passport. I applied for my very first passport today...what a grown-up I am. I've only ever been to Canada. The furthest I've ever flown was to Hawaii for my first honeymoon. Since then, I've only vacationed within the friendly confines of the good, ole continental U-S of A.
As I have noted, my husband is currently serving our country overseas. And, as fate would have it, there is a possibility that at some point this fall, he will receive a few days off from all that service and I will be able to meet up with him in parts unknown.
This leads me to my next shocking discovery about myself. I would fly a really long time for nothing more than a glorified booty call. Oh, sure. We can talk about reconnecting and having meaningful conversation face-to-face, but let's be realistic: for the first day or two of that leave time, it will be all about not talking too much. How could it be anything else after months of forced abstinence? People don't deal with that very well. It's not really what I signed on for, you know?
At any rate, when he first deployed, I was opposed to the idea of international travel for tons of very good, moral, ethical, and practical reasons. Give me a few months of no nooky, though, and I'm already looking for the best flight deal to the unnamed location and I don't even know when I'm going!
I will also note that although I went through two unmedicated labors and deliveries of my daughters because of my irrational fear of needles, I am in the process of being immunized for international travel as well. I find myself wondering: Am I really so base and weak that I am willing to overcome phobias and the like so I can end this sex drought?? The answer is an unequivocal YES.
I am no sex camel. I have found that increasing the quanity and quality of the encounters doesn't diminish the need for more; it correlates, in fact, to a higher degree of need. So, I wasn't actually helping myself before he left...I was setting myself up for a bigger withdrawal period.
Aside from this international trip, I am planning a super island vacation upon my husband's return. I wonder when I'm old and gray if I'll be okay in admitting that the only times I ever needed my passport were for trips based solely on the need for sex?
I read an article today where 5-year-olds are developmentally on track if they are incessant chatterboxes. And how, as parents, we need to politely tell them when we need some quiet time. Hmmm...perhaps I should have found this article before M1's incessant talking became an issue for me?
I am very tolerant of her talking because even now, I am known for being, well, a bit verbose. I've also harbored some very painful leftover childhood angst about the not-so-nice ways people pointed out my talking issues as a kid. However, I might say that I am paid quite handsomely now to speak for hours on end and have people listen. Although, I'm sure there are students in my classes who would like to tell me to shut up too.
I remember before M1 could speak, I would think, "Gosh, I just can't wait to hear her little voice saying words!" Now, she says words all the time...lots and lots of words. And, sometimes, I find myself zoning out on her. I don't mean to, but I can only hear so many stories about her teacher, Miss Denyse's dog Jewel, before I'm ready to drive into a utility pole.
Interestingly enough, M1's conversations don't fall victim to the taboos of polite society that adults routinely do. Case in point, M1 is currently in the process of conducting polling research for the Bush-Cheney campaign...although they don't know it. EVERYONE is subject to her, "So...who ya gonna vote for?" question. I'm thinking if they'd put her in charge of a phone bank, our state would no longer be a swing state!
The great thing about all the talking, though, is that for a very long time, M1 has been able to tell me how she feels, what she needs, and why she's doing what she's doing. After a Class-A Freak-out tonight, she apologized profusely and told me she wasn't sure why she was acting so horribly. She said that when she starts thinking about her dad; missing him while he's so far away, she just starts to feel so badly, she doesn't know what to do with the feelings and soon she's being mean. I thought, "Hey, kiddo, I can relate!"
Although I'm pretty sure my ears will melt and slide right off the side of my head before this developmental chatterbox stage comes and goes, I guess I should be thankful that someone as nice as M1 wants to talk to me. I'm sure I'll be reading this post when she's 14 just WISHING I could get her to talk my ear off once again.