Friday, November 23, 2007


I am bone tired of people expecting me to wave some magic FRG wand and get them help when they won't lift a finger to do anything for themselves.

I just don't understand why people refuse to plan for "what if's" and then expect the FRG to clean up their mess. Case in point, the soldiers were in the field. We had one spouse that was in a car accident and really messed up her arm and back. She has three kids under 4 years including a 5 month old. She couldn't really take care of them or pick them up. So she wanted her husband home.

And you know? The guys were training in country, it was close enough to the Thanksgiving break, so we got him home. And in the couple days before he got back, we got her some help with the kids and brought her a few meals.

But when I called her recently to check up on her, I mentioned that we didn't have an emergency plan in place for her and why didn't I come over to bring the forms to her? I suggested that she and her husband could discuss what they might need if this ever happened again, who they feel comfortable watching her kids, etc. And I told her that I'd also bring her some information about childcare options in the community and other information for the future. 'Cause you know, when the guys are in Iraq, the likelihood of her husband being able to come home is not that high. I said it was probably wise to think of this of the accident as a practice run. What if it had happened when the guys were deployed? It's always better to be prepared.

Do you know what she did then? She yelled at me! She said no one watches her kids but her and that the Army needs to keep its promises about taking care of families. If she needs her husband home, that should be all it takes to get him there. She told me I could take my emergency plan form and shove it up my ass (literally). Apparently, she has also been rather unkind to some of the ladies who helped her prior to her soldier's return. She told all of her neighbors that the meals made for her "sucked" (and of course, it was brought by one of her other neighbors) and complained about the way others watched her kids.

Note that this was a totally different attitude from before -- when I was arranging help and assisting her with the Red Cross message, she was real sweet. And I can't help but shake my head because if she had filled out her stupid emergency forms, she'd be able to tell us who she wanted to watch her kids. Heck, there is even a space on it to write down food preferences and allergies, so she could have gotten a meal more palatable to her personal taste. But why bother? She got her husband home. Who needs the FRG after that?

Although she might. Her husband will be returning to the field with the others for the second half of the training exercise. Should make for some interesting phone calls.

Another thing to take up with my therapist.

You know, because Alistair Cookie's penchant for eating pipes may make us want to smoke (or eat pipes, too!). Oscar may be too depressing. And any merchandising possibilities without Elmo just weren't worth the bother.

We actually bought both Volumes 1 and 2 for Munchkin. And I gotta tell you -- he loves it. He likes to count along with the Count. He digs the Ladybug Picnic and seeing Bert ice skate. He sings the songs. And God forbid, it is helping him to learn his letters, numbers, shapes and colors.

I'll let you know if I notice any lasting damage.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Yes, you've used my towel even though I put out a clean one for you. My toothbrush, too, even though yours was just in the rucksack that you threw on the floor of our bedroom, stinking of mud, sweat and way too much nicotine. And you complained about the kind of beer I bought and forgot to thank me for making you a special dinner even though you never bothered to specify what time you'd be home exactly.

But home, you are. Our son is thrilled. And as I see you teaching him how to use a hockey stick (and in doing so, making even more of a mess than usual), I find that all the irritation may be worth it.

But check back with me in a few days, just in case.


Someone posted Mary Oliver's The Summer Day on an online forum I frequent. I've been experiencing a bit of family drama recently so it fit my mood perfectly. And as I read it, I took it for what it should be, even if in reality it is just coincidence -- one of those weird karmic gifts. Thank you.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down- who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Your questions answered.

Here we go. My responses. Hopefully, they are somewhat interesting!
  1. Why do you call your husband CPT Dick? You mean, besides the fact that he is so good at being one? Or are you hoping that it's because he's gifted in the down there department? (And I'm not telling on that one). Really, it's just one of those stories. A few years ago, we went to a wedding. The groom's drunk uncle, for whatever reason, was convinced that my husband's name was Dick. And he kept seeking him out and saying, "You know, Dick..." and spouting off his opinions of the administration and the war. It just became funny. And when we went out other places later, I'd just start walking up to him and saying, "You know, Dick..." and we'd laugh. When I started to think about what to call him on this site, that story just came to mind. And, oh, I have to say, I find it so much funnier with the CPT in front of it (but not quite as funny as I'll find it when he makes MAJ).
  2. Where do you live? Germany. We've been stationed over here, at different kasernes, for several years.
  3. Are you really a writer? I guess so. That is how I'm making my living these days. But I don't blame you for doubting me. I find it kind of funny myself.
  4. You mentioned in an earlier post your former life as a grad student. What did you study? And, what was your concentration? I studied neuroscience and cognitive science. I concentrated in human/computer interaction. I never finished my PhD, though. After a few years in, I realized that though I love learning, academia is not the place for me long-term.
  5. How did you become a freelance writer and how does that work for you? What do you write about? Getting to writing for an actual living was kind of a fluke. After I turned down a job opportunity over here because of my pregnancy, I was feeling a little lost. I'd never not worked before (at least not by my own choice) and I was getting more than a little stir-crazy. I generally journal during those kind of manic times and thought that there might be some essay fodder in there. The fabulous Jody Mace, the kind of writer I'd like to be when I grow up, kindly shared the name of an editor for a small paper in the South that published essays. I sent them one. They accepted it. And it was never that easy again. But I kept at it. I didn't think it would be a full-time gig but I did enjoy writing essays. So, I tried to learn everything I could about the business by getting involved with freelance writing groups, services and forums and reading fabulous books like The Renegade Writer and Six Figure Freelancing. As for how it works for me, it's just about perfect for my life right now. It's a job where I can be creative, work from home and technically be a stay-at-home Mom and still feel like I'm contributing to the Gross National Product. I generally cover parenting, healthcare and neuroscience topics. And then, of course, when I can think of something brilliant, I write personal essays in the creative non-fiction vein.
  6. Does your husband know about your blog? Yes, he does. He's never really read it except once when I had a draft post open and he saw that I referred to him as CPT Dick. He suggested another name that sat better with him - Conan the Love Warrior. He then wanted to switch it up to Conan the Love God. I tried to accomodate his request but just couldn't do it. So, the short answer is that yes, he knows and isn't really interested in hearing me talk crazy on the Internet. After all, he gets to hear me talk crazy every single day.
  7. Do any wives from your unit know about your blog? Yes and no. Some of them know that I do blog anonymously. I highly recommend it as a venting tool. But most of them aren't all that computer savvy (at least that they've admitted) and none of them have been interested enough to ask for the URL.
  8. How do you deal with the FRG? Honestly? Some days I really do wonder. But what I try to do is be honest with people about what I can and cannot do and what is important to me. And my son's care and my work is important to me. And then I put in time where it fits. Like, I may not be your bake sale girl unless you want burned brownies but I can design and print you out some flyers for the event right quick. Computer stuff is easy for me and easy to fit in to my schedule. And that is what works without driving me crazy. As for dealing with the FRG during deployment, I guess you need to remember that you get what you give. The FRG is going to be much more adept at helping you if you hit some problem if they know who you are. Offering to help in little ways -- making some phone calls, doing those flyers, proofreading the newsletter -- might not take as much time as you think and can help get you in the know. And believe me, when your husband is gone and you haven't heard dick in three weeks, you are going to want to be in the know when you can be.
  9. How do you feel about the way congress is handling spending appropriations for the troops? In particular, spending with a hard withdrawal date? Well, honestly, I don't blame Congress for trying. They are dealing with an executive that doesn't want to budge and are using the means that they have at their disposal to represent their constituents' interests. With that being said, I don't think it's the best option. The message I'd send to both the Bush Administration and the Democrats fighting so hard for a time limit is that military leadership should be making the military decisions in a war. But neither of them would listen to me anyway.
  10. Did you ever read the Sunday List of Dreams? No. I'll have to check it out!
  11. And, for the clincher, where did your friends buy the 24-inch black rubber dildo that you mentioned on SpouseBUZZ? At a store in Atlanta called Inserection. My friend went in there to buy some penis ice cube trays and party hats and walked out with a horse dildo. Just goes to show you never can tell what you might find on sale.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another one for the crappy idea file.

So, like, if you are ever blowing bubbles with your kid in the kitchen because the weather is totally rainy and nasty, and while blowing those bubbles, a bunch of the bubble liquid gets on the floor, so when you are done, you think, "You know, it's just soap. I'll just wipe it up and then mop with some water. It'll be just like wet Swiffering!"

If you do ever do this, smack yourself. Or call me, and I'll smack you. Trust me, it will hurt less than when you slip and eat it after "mopping" while running in to get your kid a cup of juice.

There's weirdness on both sides.

Shrek the Third is out on DVD. Did you know? I did.

Mostly because since it arrived in the mail, my son has insisted on watching it every possible second he can. Never underestimate the allure of a farting green ogre.

I was talking to a friend back in the states last night, decrying my newfound ability to quote pretty much this whole movie, and she said that she would not be buying it for her kids, even though they wanted it.

"Why not?" I asked. And I expected some comment about too many fart jokes. My friend is a staunch liberal in most ways but since she had kids, she tends to follow Tipper Gore's lead on what her children should watch and listen to.

"It's a pro-life movie."

"What?! How do you figure?" I needed her to explain this to me. Yes, in the movie (spoiler alert!), Shrek and Fiona become parents, and Shrek does voice some concerns about becoming a father, but I missed the part where they were made any statements referring to or condemning smushsmortion. Somehow, I imagine a subplot where Fiona and her princess friends picket the local Planned Parenthood clinic wouldn't mesh with the fairy tale theme.

"It is. It's subtle but the agenda is there."

"Where? I really have no idea what you are talking about."

"That song, 'Never Been to Me' is on the soundtrack. And it's used in a scene where it makes absolutely no sense. It's a statement. Trust me."

I pushed a little more but she was getting a tad defensive. I decided to drop the matter and check out the lyrics to the song.

Now I well remember Charlene's 1970's hit, "Never Been to Me" for two reasons: First, I used to sing along with it to the radio when I was a little girl. I guess hearing her 7 year old belt out, "I've been undressed by Kings and I've seen some things that a woman ain't supposed to see" vexed my mother a bit. And it became an issue because she kept switching the radio station every time it came on, which made me just want to listen to the song even more.

(Tangent story: the same thing happened to my friend, K, with her daughter. Except her five-year-old decided to sing along with Ludacris' "What's Your Fantasy." Somehow, my singing about being undressed by royalty seems totally tame in comparison to "I want to lick-ick-ick-ick-ick you from your head to your toes." But I digress).

The other reason I remember the song is because it was used in one of my favorite all time movies, "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert." And let me tell you, Hugo Weaving owned that song, I tell you, owned it! Maybe it was the giant fake eyelashes. So whenever I hear the song, when I'm not thinking of my mother overreacting, I pretty much think of transvestites.

But still, I don't remember anything about it being a pro-life anthem. So I looked up the lyrics. And what did I find?

Yes, the song is still cheesy as ever. No surprises there.

But there is this one line:

Sometimes I've been crying for unborn children that might have made me complete.

Which I guess, if you stretch and squint your eyes and really, really want it to have a deeper subtext could be construed as pro-life. But I think it's a reach.

So now, as we watch Shrek the Third, for the 3654th time, and now I'm all looking for something that probably is not there, I am wondering if I'm the crazy one or if I just inspire it in the people around me.