Saturday, June 02, 2007

''We like to say there are three kinds of soldiers: those that are deployed, those that have been deployed and those that are going to be deployed."

Interesting AP article on why 37% of the Army has never been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan despite others going for multiple tours. It's kind of a "duh" but still a nice reminder.

Those crazy Nederlanders.

Amidst public outcry, it has now been revealed that plans for a Dutch reality show where contestants would compete for a kidney was just a hoax.

Now some are upset that it wasn't real. You really can't please some people, I guess. But isn't it awesome that they managed to get people talking about organ donation and to realize just how hard it is to get transplant organs? I think it's awesome.

Take a look at your driver's license. Are you an organ donor? If not, have you asked yourself why?

Exhaustion sets in.

For whatever reason, Munchkin was perfectly okay for the first 36 hours after his surgery. In fact, you would have never known he had been under the knife with all the jumping, running and general Munchkin-craziness.

But...and with kids, there is always a but...that all changed yesterday.

During his nap, he woke up coughing so hard that he vomited. All over me, mostly, since he couldn't understand why his little body was rebelling against him in such an unexpected and painful manner and figured that holding on to me could somehow keep the demons at bay. A whole lot of vomit in my hair and a little Prednisone suppository helped with the coughing but then last night, he didn't want to go to sleep. He just cried and fretted to the point that he started coughing again. And I wasn't about to let it get out of control, poor guy.

So I did what any Mom would do. I bunked down with the boy.

I thought sleeping with my husband required perseverance but CPT Dick has nothing on our toddler. Munchkin is the most violent sleeper I've ever seen. And when you are sharing a twin bed with him, you can expect to be hit in the eye at least four times per hour. You know, when you aren't being kicked in the kidneys or being suffocated by his butt. As such, I was awake pretty much all night.

With a year and a half of sleeping through the night behind me, I have absolutely no idea how I managed to do this waking up thing several times a night, every night for so long. I am absolutely useless without sleep. So useless that I almost didn't comprehend the words when my husband woke up this morning and said, "Wow, I slept great last night! That was probably the best sleep I've had in months!"

All I can say is, it's a good thing that I'm too tired to punch him in the head.

I am so napping later.

Friday, June 01, 2007

My Daddy-Loving Fool

Munchkin is in a serious Daddy phase. When CPT Dick is here, Munchkin wants to be right next to him. When he's gone, he says "Daddy?" in such a way that I'm left thinking it actually translates to "What did you do with my father, oh-woman-not-as-fun-as-my-Dad, and how fast can you bring him back?"

I find it ironic that we may have solved Munchkin's speech problems just in time for him to be able to articulate his anguish at his father's absence during the deployment. My kid is only a little over two years old. His father will leave for nearly that long. How will that affect things? How can I pick up the slack so that my son's feelings for his Daddy will remain even with him so far away?

Everything these days -- the articles I read in the paper, emails and letters from friends, the neverending coverage of the war on television, even just the sight of my husband picking up my thoroughly delighted son when he returns from work -- seems to remind me that our time is limited, that it won't be too long before CPT Dick returns to the sandbox and everything changes.

And then I wonder where I will find the strength to do this, how I can make sure that our family survives whole and intact.

Well done.

NME rocks the body that rocks the party this month by featuring a naked Beth Ditto on the cover. Ditto, lead vocalist for the band, The Gossip, is known for shedding clothes while onstage. I think it's great that NME decided to put her on a cover. We could use a few more ballsy women like Ditto out there in the world.

So, people -- save your outrage. This is not gross or disgusting. This is what a real woman looks like naked. And there ain't nothing wrong with it.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Military Wife Forward #2856

You know, this one isn't totally horrible. Except for that part about MY President. That's a part I'd like to forget myself. And the scripture at the end also sort of takes away from the message.

I was sitting alone in one of those loud, casual steak houses that you find all over the country. You know the type--a bucket of peanuts on every table, shells littering the floor, and a bunch of perky college kids racing around with long neck beers and sizzling platters. Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd over the rim of my glass. My gaze lingered on a group enjoying their meal. They wore no uniform to identify their branch of service, but they were definitely "military:" clean shaven, cropped haircut, and that "squared away" look that comes with pride. Smiling sadly, I glanced across my table to the empty seat where my husband usually sat. It had only been a few months since we sat in this very booth, talking about his upcoming deployment to the Middle East . That was when he made me promise to get a sitter for the kids, come back to this restaurant once a month and treat myself to a nice steak. In turn he would treasure the thought of me being here, thinking about him until he returned home .

I fingered the little flag pin I constantly wear and wondered where he was at this very moment. Was he safe and warm? Was his cold any better? Were my letters getting through to him? As I pondered these thoughts, high pitched female voices from the next booth broke into my thoughts.

"I don't know what Bush is thinking about. Invading Iraq . You'd think that man would learn from his old man's mistakes. Good lord. What an idiot! I can't believe he is even in office. You do know, he stole the election."

I cut into my steak and tried to ignore them, as they began an endless tirade running down our president. I thought about the last night I spent with my husband, as he prepared to deploy. He had just returned from getting his smallpox and anthrax shots. The image of him standing in our kitchen packing his gas mask still gives me chills. Once again the women's voices invaded my thoughts.

"It is all about oil, you know. Our soldiers will go in and rape and steal all the oil they can in the name of 'freedom'. Hmmm! I wonder how many innocent people they'll kill without giving it a thought? It's pure greed, you know."

My chest tightened as I stared at my wedding ring. I could still see how handsome my husband looked in his "mess dress" the day he slipped it on my finger. I wondered what he was wearing now. Probably his desert uniform, affectionately dubbed "coffee stains" with a heavy bulletproof vest over it.

"You know, we should just leave Iraq alone. I don't think they are hiding any weapons. In fact, I bet it's all a big act just to increase the president's popularity. That's all it is, padding the military budget at the expense of our social security and education. And, you know what else? We're just asking for another 9-11. I can't say when it happens again that we didn't deserve it."

Their words brought to mind the war protesters I had watched gathering outside our base. Did no one even appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and women, who leave their homes and family to ensure our freedom? Do they even know what "freedom" is? I glanced at the table where the young men were sitting, and saw their courageous faces change. They had stopped eating and looked at each other dejectedly, listening to the women talking.

"Well, I, for one, think it's just deplorable to invade Iraq , and I am certainly sick of our tax dollars going to train professional baby-killers we call a military."

Professional baby-killers? I thought about what a wonderful father my husband is, and of how long it would be before he would see our children again. That's it! Indignation rose up inside me. Normally reserved, pride in my husband gave me a brassy boldness I never realized I had. Tonight one voice will answer on behalf of our military, and let her pride in our troops be known.

Sliding out of my booth, I walked around to the adjoining booth and placed my hands flat on their table. Lowering myself to eye level with them, smiling I said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation. You see, I'm sitting here trying to enjoy my dinner alone. And, do you know why? Because my husband, whom I love with all my heart, is halfway around the world defending your right to say rotten things about him."

"Yes, you have the right to your opinion, and what you think is none of my business. However, what you say in public is something else, and I will not sit by and listen to you ridicule MY country, MY president, MY husband, and all the other fine American men and women who put their lives on the line, just so you can have the "freedom" to complain. Freedom is an expensive commodity, ladies. Don't let your actions cheapen it."

I must have been louder than I meant to be, because the manager came over to inquire if everything was all right. "Yes, thank you," I replied. Then, turning back to the women, I said, "Enjoy the rest of your meal." As I returned to my booth applause broke out. I was embarrassed for making a scene, and went back to my half eaten steak. The women picked up their check and scurried away.

After finishing my meal, and while waiting for my check, the manager returned with a huge apple cobbler ala mode . "Compliments of those soldiers," he said. He also smiled and said the ladies tried to pay for my dinner, but that another couple had beaten them to it. When I asked who, the manager said they had already left, but that the gentleman was a veteran, and wanted to take care of the wife of "one of our boys." With a lump in my throat, I gratefully turned to the soldiers and thanked them for the cobbler. Grinning from ear to ear, they came over and surrounded the booth.

"We just wanted to thank you, ma'am. You know we can't get into confrontations with civilians, so we appreciate what you did."

As I drove home, for the first time since my husband's deployment, I didn't feel quite so alone. My heart was filled with the warmth of the other diners who stopped by my table, to relate how they, too, were proud of my husband, and would keep him in their prayers. I knew their flags would fly a little higher the next day. Perhaps they would look for more tangible ways to show their pride in our country, and the military who protect her. And maybe, just maybe, the two women who were railing against our country, would pause for a minute to appreciate all the freedom America offers, and the price it pays to maintain it's freedom.

As for me, I have learned that one voice CAN make a difference. Maybe the next time protesters gather outside the gates of the base where I live, I will proudly stand on the opposite side with a sign of my own. It will simply say, "Thank You!"

To those who fought for our Nation: Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know. GOD BLESS AMERICA ! Please pray for God's protection of our troops and HIS wisdom for their commanders. Pass this on to as many as you think will respond. "Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need I ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior."

Too perfect.

Back when "The Lord of the Rings" movies came out, a few of my friends who are crazy Muppet/Star Wars fans mentioned that they were disappointed that Peter Jackson did not enlist Muppet Studios to help create some of the characters for the film. They dreamed of a Muppet Gollum.

Yes, yes, I know. They have way too much time on their hands. But apparently they were not alone. Someone took the time to recreate the movie's battle at Helm's Deep (or Ham's Deep, as it were) in a store window using only Muppet characters.


And they wonder why we yell.

A friend of mine once worked at an airline counter. She took the job with grand visions of free flights to Tahiti and good benefits but only ended up with way too many working weekends and an ulcer. And even though it was a good job and there was room for advancement, she quit less than a year into the gig. Why? Because people were always yelling at her. Every day. Every flight. All the time. I remember her telling me, "You know, you want to really take the measure of a man? See how he reacts to a canceled flight or being bumped."

There is probably a lot of truth to those words. After all, travel these days is painful enough when it works the way it should. When it doesn't, it's just torture.

It would be nice to say that the blame rests with all those unruly passengers. But the truth of the matter is that airlines purposely overbook flights. In a recent New York Times article, the author discusses how and why airlines do it. But what's different now? You won't always get bumped from the 4:00pm to the 6:00pm flight. Instead, you may find yourself flying on the 6th of the month instead of the 4th as originally planned.

So in honor of my friend, next time you get bumped, don't yell at the counter agent. It won't make her work any better or faster. Write a letter to your airline and denounce their overbooking measures.

Bouncing back.

You would never know that my son had a surgical procedure done yesterday. The hardest part really was just keeping Munchkin from eating those few hours.

He's now running around like a crazy man, demanding croissants and racing his Matchbox cars along the hardwood floors.

Given that I'm a little depleted from the whole experience, it makes me want to climb into a rocking chair, grab an ear horn and shawl and tell passers-by how youth is totally wasted on the young.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


BostonMaggie put up a stunning Memorial Day post by Major Mike Nachshen. He got it spot on, especially this:

And while Eric and Sarah are surely heroes who died for their country, I'll remember them not as towering figures to be worshipped, but as people who laughed, loved and brought others happiness while trying to make the world a better place. And perhaps most importantly, I'll remember that they had people who loved them, and still miss them and think about them every day.

Too often, people remember the wrong part. Yes, they were heros. Yes, they fought and died for your freedom. But sometimes, that makes it easy to distance what they really meant to the world. Their legacy is so much more. Remember that above all else.

Getting it all done.

Today is D-day. The surgery. And somehow, someway, I got everything managed so that I can blissfully (not!) take my son to have his mouth forcibly opened in a vice-like contraption and have bits of his throat cut out.

First, I convinced the very hung-over mechanic to finish enough of my car so that I can drive it. I won't even go into why it wasn't finished when he said it already was. I'm guessing that the burden of all the memories inspired by Memorial Day drove him to drink. Or starting the weekend earlier than planned. So now I'm driving around town with a crushed grille, but at least I don't have to worry about the car overheating. Small favors, right?

Second, I scared the clerk at the clinic to give me a print-out of Munchkin's lab results. Apparently, you need the doctor to do this thing. Why, I don't know. But guess who was on vacation? The doctor. But luckily, I was happy to be scary enough to make the poor girl behind the counter bend to my will.

Then I got Munchkin to all of his pre-op appointments so I can hear once again the risks of anesthesia. Whee!

And then finally, I got all of my work done for the week so I can concentrate on helping Munchkin recuperate. I am good to go.

And how did I do this, you may ask? I re-prioritized, I freaked out a little and I demanded that people help me get things done. I refused to take shit or be dissuaded. I delegated. I fought the good fight for love. I am a Mommy, hear me roar.

But what I totally did not take into account is that my son wouldn't be able to eat or drink for 6 hours before the surgery. I mean, I read it on the little sheet. The doctor told me. I knew it on some level. But I didn't realize just how cranky a hungry kid can be. Mostly because at any sign of crankiness, I'm all too happy to shove a few animal crackers down my kid's gullet. Without food as a crutch, I find myself a little lost.

So now, between the stress of getting to this point and a really grumpy boy, I am so ready for the doctors to bring the anesthesia on. In fact, I'll be asking for a whiff or two of the stuff myself, you know, for my nerves. Where's the harm?

Now, if only I can figure out how to demand not only a painkiller prescription for the Munchkin but a few Vicodin for myself.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Seeing the sites.

Every day, on the beach, this man was only a few feet away. He owned not only this red thong but also blue, yellow (and almost transparent) and green versions.

Sexy, no?

The raining, pouring thing.

Munchkin's surgery is scheduled for Wednesday morning and the fates are conspiring against me actually being able to take him to it. It's a good thing I don't believe in signs or else I'd be cancelling his appointment and heading over to some fortuneteller to get him a little voodoo charm to bring on the talking in tongues.

My car has been in the shop the past week and so I've had to share with CtLG. It hasn't been too bad as we spent most of the week on vacation not needing a car at all. But even though I arranged with the shop to pick up my car today -- you know, Monday -- and even asked the mechanic if he would be open on Memorial Day -- you know, Monday, the HOLIDAY -- he said, sure, no problem. He'd be open at 9:00am. Just like any other day. He then went on to bore me with a very pat speech about how if he doesn't work, he doesn't get paid. Given that he's bleeding me dry over these car repairs, I'm finding it hard to sympathize.

But I digress.

Can you guess what happened next? He, of course, wasn't open at 9:00am. Because today is a holiday and though you can't get paid when you don't work, you can't really barbecue and drink beer in the oil change bays either (well, at least, not when people are looking). And the voicemail message assures me that they are closed today, Memorial Day, a HOLIDAY, and will be open tomorrow. Which would be fine except that tomorrow, Tuesday, NOT A HOLIDAY, CtLG can't take me to pick up the car as he's scheduled to be in meetings two hours away. So now I'm scrambling to figure out how I can get the car in the morning and still get Munchkin to a few pre-operative appointments. Should be fun for all.

Not to mention, I am supposed to pick up Munchkin's pre-op blood work tomorrow from the clinic. Since I was unable to follow up on it, and you know, it's an Army clinic, I have a feeling that might be missing, too.

Tomorrow may be one of those tequila kind of days.