Friday, November 10, 2006

More on Non-Essential Equipment.

So as I said in my "About Me" section, soldiers are often instructed to leave behind all non-essential equipment when heading off on a mission. This isn't just a slight on the military, mind you. We've all heard the line "if the military wanted you to have a family, they would have issued you one." And boy, there is a helluva lot of truth to that. But there is also an aspect of being "non-essential" to your soldier, too.

I'm convinced CPT Dick is part schizophrenic. He is able to compartmentalize his life in such a way that when he does deploy or go off to train, he mentally cordons off anything having to do with home and stashes it away in the back of that nobby head of his until he's ready to return. This was incredibly hard for me at first. He often doesn't think to call and if and when he can summon the gumption to write, I'll rarely get more than a line or two about nothing in particular. With time, I've come to accept it and, in theory, understand it. But I don't like it one bit.

CPT Dick just returned from a couple weeks away in the field. We didn't hear from him much while he was away and when we managed to get hold of him, it seemed like it was more of an inconvenience than a happy surprise. What's sad is that as more time goes on, the more I get used to this arrangement. And I find myself being able to compartmentalize life the way he does, too. But for me, it is not effortless. Each leaving and homecoming is jarring for me, making me feel one million different ways at once and unsure of which is the right one.

I don't have a mission to accomplish. I don't have the needs and lives of 150 guys to champion. And I don't have CPT Dick's calling to serve to help me justify these behaviors. Instead, I have all the reminders that CPT Dick is not here, a son that misses his Daddy and an empty mind that starts to consider what else might be out there for me. It makes me wonder if there might come a point where if I put my husband out of mind for long enough I will lack the ability or desire to bring him back to the forefront. I hope it doesn't happen but I can see the possibility.

But for now, I will enjoy the few days with CPT Dick before he disappears again and I'm left wondering whether this is really the life for me.

Ding Dong, Ol' Rummy's Gone.

He's gone, resigned, now admitting that maybe he and his crew made a few planning faux pas. His replacement seems to be an interesting choice but it remains to be seen whether there is actually any time for real change to happen.

But for the most part, conservative or liberal, most folks I know in the military are applauding Rummy's resignation. They may believe wholeheartedly in the war in Iraq but not the way it was being administrated. Me, I'll just be happy not to see his smug smirk when he declines to answer questions.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

You may wonder what I'm doing here.

I certainly do.

I decided to start this blog to chronicle my life as a military wife and all of the general craziness that goes with it. A lot of it will probably include tirades about the FRG. After all, if it's a hot enough topic to get a storyline on "The Unit," I'm guessing I'm not the only one who is full up on FRG crazy.

For those of you who don't know, the family readiness group (FRG) is basically a military-organized group that helps support the families (hence the clever name). When the guys are deployed, this group can be a huge help in traversing the mucky mire of the military world. When they aren't, it's generally a job that involves a lot of crafting, being seen and trying to manage far too much gossip. And yes, I am an FRG leader for a company in garrison.

Friends and family find my new role quite funny. They point and laugh at the heavily tattooed girl they thought they knew who now spends her weekends manning bake sales and planning Christmas tree lighting ceremonies. What happened, they ask, to the girl who votes liberal, made out with her favorite musician after a chance encounter and willfully strolled topless past the Austin city police station on a dare? They wonder how CPT Dick managed to talk me into all this stuff that I would have snottily turned my nose at before.

And here's the simple answer. He asked me.

I should have known that when he asked I wasn't going to like it. That when a man quietly, calmly asks you to do something (but only if you want to) after so many years of marriage, it can only mean no good. But I was still all googly-eyed from post-deployment sex and didn't see the forest for the trees. And so, here I am. Fielding phone calls about girls in the barracks and how so-and-so's kid pushed someone else's kid on the school bus. It is an education, to say the least.

I hope that this blog is a place where I can share the joys, the fears and of course, the total inanity of my life as a military wife. Maybe some will resonate. Maybe it won't. But hopefully you'll keep reading just the same.

A tisket, a tasket...

A fucking Christmas basket.

The holiday season around here is a busy one. At exactly 12:01am on the day after Labor Day, the planning begins. And once you take off your Halloween costume, be prepared to spend at least one day of every weekend in the coming months partaking in mandatory fun events. Christmas tree lightings, holiday parties, military balls, ornament decorating parties, fun runs -- you name it, we're probably doing it. After a while, it becomes exhausting especially when my ideal Christmas involves multiple viewings of "A Christmas Story," slightly burned cookies and a bottle of Glenlivet.

But to add even more insult to injury, these things are never quite planned to the extent they should be. A few people get together, and become so inspired by what CPT Dick calls the "good idea fairy," they come up with a - *gasp* - good idea for some event. It will promote family togetherness! Unit, errr, unity! But alas, somewhere in between all the dolphin clapping for brilliance, they forget that it will actually take a fair amount of doing to get it all pulled together. And when these good ideas are discovered in Bible Study or perhaps during a random trip to the PX, the purveyors of said ideas need to effectively communicate what they need to other people in order to actually accomplish it. Unfortunately, the necessity of this is not well understood in my world. Well, not until 12 hours before go time, anyway.

And so, I must come up with a Christmas basket.

One of this year's good ideas is a raffle for Christmas baskets. As an FRG leader, apparently, I was supposed to create one of these incredible baskets. And I was supposed to do so yesterday. This is all news to me. And when I received the panicked call asking where my Christmas basket was, I could glean no more information from the messenger. I have no idea how much I should spend, who's paying, or what the theme might be (and note: with military wives, there is always a theme - life might cease to exist without a theme). Apparently, when I missed the ladies' chapel group, I missed out on all the guidance.

So now, instead of getting some work done or playing with my kid, I get to spend my afternoon racing around for the perfect components of a holiday basket without any fucking clue of what exactly that should entail (I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that the purchase of an actual basket won't be too cliche). I'm not really crafty anyway, but given the information I have, you can bet that my basket is going to be either totally ghetto or four times the size and cost of everyone else's.

All I know is, the next time the "good idea fairy" comes out to play when I'm around, I'm going clip that bitch's perky little wings. And now, if you'll excuse me, I must go shopping.