Thursday, July 12, 2007

As if we don't do enough already.

"Ma'am, your ID and this name don't match."

"I know, as I was just trying to explain, I'm clearing for my husband because he's already in the field at his next duty station."

"You can do that?"

"Yep. With a power of attorney, which is right there underneath the clear sheet."


"Yes. I've already done so at three agencies before I came to see you. You can ask your supervisor though if you want to double check."

"No, I believe you. Wow. I didn't know you could do that. When it comes time for me to clear, I'll have to get my wife in on it. You know, cut some of my work in half."

"Don't you even dare."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Watching the boy learn.

It's amazing to watch my son figure stuff out. Yeah, yeah, I know -- I'm a total cliche. What parent doesn't like to watch this? But I just find it so amazing to watch him soak everything up like a sponge. I also find a lot of humor in the things that he's decided are worth pursuing and perfecting.

We're a raspberry family. Not a day goes by that our son doesn't get his shirt pulled up and have one of us blowing on his belly to make the tell-tale *thpppbt* sound. It makes him laugh and I love to make him laugh. He's reciprocated in the past by pulling my shirt up to expose my belly but so far he's not been able to figure out how to make the accompanying sound. Instead, he just sort of headbutted my navel, first in attempts to copy, and then, I imagine, in sheer desperation.

But yesterday, we were out in the yard blowing bubbles. He's only just figured out how to blow bubbles and even still he's only at about a 70% success rate. But while he was filling the yard with translucent little balls of soap, I couldn't resist giving him a big ol' raspberry. As I finished, he picked up the bubble wand and was about to blow another bubble when he stopped and looked at me. I couldn't figure out what was up so I came closer. And as soon as I was within reach, the kid lifted up my shirt, placed his mouth to my belly and blew.

It totally sounded like I farted. The sound reverberated throughout the whole yard. He was thrilled.

And you know, I couldn't have been prouder if he had just graduated Harvard. What genius! What problem-solving ability! My boy can do raspberries!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A bargaining chip.

CPT Dick wants to have another baby. Six months ago, I would have told you that I do not want to and totally meant it. I already have two kids -- him and Munchkin -- and I just can't stretch any further.

But the idea has started to grow on me a bit. But I am not keen at all about being pregnant again. And this is the dealbreaker. When I tell CPT Dick this, however, he immediately forgets about the bed rest, the hospital stays, my looking and feeling like a drowned rat, and, most importantly, our son's premature entrance into this world. He just says, "How bad could it really be?"

And so I read Darren Garnick's "Labor of Love," with interest. To surprise his wife, he wore an Empathy Belly (shown above -- on two teens, no less, I guess with the idea that it will stop them from having sex) for 24 hours so he could also partake in the bladder-squeezing, weight-gaining, back-paining joy that is pregnancy. I just wanted to give Garnick a big hug. What a great gesture!

So now I'm wondering how I can slip one of these babies on CPT Dick without him noticing and see what he says next time we discuss pregnancy.

Packing away a life.

I always find myself a little disconcerted right before a move.

Just before, after everything is packed up. When every last knick-knack and piece of paper are all tidily boxed up, the mattresses are leaned up against the walls and the furniture is stacked, just waiting to be loaded on to a truck. I find myself somewhat floored. How is it that a whole life can so easily fit into a smattering of cardboard boxes? Are all these things that mean so much to me, my personal talismans, really, at the end of the day, just stuff? The boxes break the illusion of home, I guess. And when I walk among them, it just all seems so strange that I garner so much comfort, so much of my sense of family and self, from what can be so easily stowed away.

Later today, the movers will come and leave Munchkin and me to a completely empty house. And with that knowledge, finally, I am starting to feel a little sad about our departure. I've fought so long and hard to get out of here, just with all of the Army's current transformation madness, that now that I can catch my breath, I remember that my husband and reunited after his last deployment in this house. Our beloved dog passed away here. Our son was born here. We made friends here. We watched the sunset as we drank wine in the backyard. Our kid morphed from a little baby into a full-on little boy here. We laughed and played and danced and rested and fought and made-up and blessed and cursed this way of life in which we've found ourselves all within these four walls. When there's so little history in any one place as a military family, I find myself futilely clutching at these memories right before a PCS.

And then there's the other thing. That other big thing breathing down my neck which I've neglected to really pay attention to amidst the other madness. The deployment. My new home will be the one where my husband leaves us. I think I already dislike it a bit just because of that.

But even as I am saddened to leave, I also find myself anxious to start this new adventure of ours, to see what the future and this new duty station holds for us. If we can manage even a quarter of the happiness we've had here, I'd say we're pretty well off.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Oh no, they didn't.

But yes, they did.

Introducing the new "Par-Ass Hilton" butt plug. You, too, can buy your own little piece of Paris memorabilia at (how wrong is it that there is even a business in making butt blugs from celebrity faces? Who thinks of this? And then who has the balls to actually write it up as a business plan?).

I remember thinking during the Paris prison coverage that she should crawl up someone's butt and disappear. But I wasn't being literal. Sadly, someone else had a similar thought and decided to make it a reality.

Seriously, you can't buy publicity like this.

(Side note: I need someone to get married so I can bring this to the bachelorette party).


So the movers will be here at the crack of dawn (or two hours late, whatever will be most inconvenient for me -- If I were a betting woman, my guess is that they'll show up just as I'm dropping Munchkin off at daycare) and I'm trying to get as many things on the move checklist done.

But with each I manage to cross off the list, I think of two more that I should do. And those two things I can't do with my two-year-old wanting to "help" me. As I started putting all of our cleaning supplies in a box to put in the bathroom, Munchkin picked up a small bottle of bleach and started shaking it like a maraca. As I counted DVDs by putting them into piles of 10, he decided to rearrange my piles when I was about halfway through, totally messing up my count. When I started taking pictures down from the walls, he climbed up right behind me on the step stool and tried to demand the nail once I had it free of the wall. And I cannot even fathom the reaction if I started trying to pack up a box of toys for the week or two we will be without stuff or started disassembling the octopus of wires and cords from the DVD/TV set up. My poor heart couldn't take it.

So instead, I'm making a list of things I can do once Munchkin goes to bed tonight. 'Cause, as someone once said, there is nothing worth doing that can't be put off until the last moment.

The 7 Wonders of the World.

A website, The New 7 Wonders, conducted an online poll to name what the world believes should be the new 7 wonders of the world. The results were announced yesterday. The winners were:

-The Great Wall of China
-Petra in Jordan
-Brazil's statue of Christ the Redeemer
-Peru's Macchu Picchu
-Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid
-The Colosseum in Rome
-India's Taj Mahal

Which is a fine list, I suppose. Most of those are pretty darn impressive -- particularly Petra and the Great Wall.

But I was amazed that the Great Pyramids in Egypt did not make the cut. I mean, they were on the original list -- one of the ancient wonders of the world. And even today, they are still a damn wonder. How could they not have gotten enough votes? So I decided to take a gander at the 21 finalists.

And you know, I have to say I was a little disappointed.

Maybe it's me, but although I do think places like the Kremlin, Neuschwanstein Castle and the Statue of Liberty are beautiful, they are not wonders of the world. I searched on the website for their operational definition for "wonder" -- did it have to be built by a certain date? without modern tools? serve certain purposes? -- but the only gleaning I could get was that it was based on tourism numbers. Which is not how wonder should be defined. That means that the items on the list are going to be ones that are household names, fairly easy to get to or featured in an action film.

Which means that wonders like the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum in Malta (picture above) and the Tikal Temples in Guatemala were not included as selections. Serious bummer.

So my list? Granted, I haven't been to all of the places on their list. But if the vote were up to me, here's what I'd choose, based on the places I've been:

-Malta's Hal Saflieni Hypogeum
-The Great Wall of China
-Aya Sofya in Turkey
-The old city of Dubrovnik, Croatia
-Macchu Picchu in Peru
-The Great Pyramids in Egypt
-Kiyomizu Temple in Japan

What are your wonders of the world?