The Deployment Diary

Friday, April 30, 2004

Idiot Quote of the Day

Democrats should get some kind of award for making such idiotic statements.

Democrat Kerry Sees 'Moment of Truth' in Iraq

First of all, Kerry wouldn't know the truth if it bit him in the butt, but that's beside the point.

"I believe that failure is not an option. ... But it is also true that failure is not an excuse for more of the same," he said. "In light of all the mistakes that have been made, no one can guarantee success."

First of all, this has been a hard month for our forces fighting in Iraq. What a show of support, you sell out. You just killed several more of our people by encouraging the enemy to continue and step up attacks leading up to June 30th.

"It is not often in the whirlwind of this campaign that I am able to say yes to an invitation and make good on that commitment within a matter of days," Kerry said. "You don't come to Fulton to give a speech, you come to Fulton to honor a tradition and give the country and the world the gift of hard truths and a sense of hope."

There you go again, talking out both sides of your mouth. "No one can guarantee success" you stated. If that's your "hope" we sure can recognize your agenda. I really hope we don't get any more of your pep talks.

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Day 234 - It Was Time...

I could feel my pity party of one coming. For about a week now, things just keep piling up and piling up. Yesterday evening, I cracked. I officially needed a t-shirt with a big "L" on the front of it for  L O  S  E  R. 

The day just started off crappy - literally. I had put the kitty in the downstairs' half bath. When I put him in the bathroom, I of course put food, water and most importantly - his litter box in there too.

I put him in there to keep him from getting under my feet on the ladder when I'm working on a project. We welcomed kitty into our family back in November. He was so tiny. I guess I'm officially his Mom, because where I go he goes. Being scared of heights - and getting on a ladder with a cat is not the makings of a happy experience ;).

So, I thought I'd get ahead of the game and put kitty in the bathroom before taking our daughter to school. That way, I could come home, send a few emails that needed to be sent, write some in my blog and then get to work on the dining room before 9:30. Plenty of time, I thought, to get the second coat of mud sanded, the third coat applied, cut grass while it dries, then after picking up daughter from school, sand the third coat. Hopefully it wouldn't need a fourth coat and this morning (Friday), I could spend the morning cleaning up from all the sanding and by afternoon be ready to stain. I had a plan darn it lol!

Now, the downstairs' half bath is at the back of the house - it's door from the back hall is right next to the back door - I guess for those moments when you need to go as soon as you come in lol. As small a room as it is, it has two doors. One from the living room and one from the back hall (the back hall is off the kitchen).

The half bath is not original and was created some years after the house was built in 1913. We guess in the mid-1960's or so when two owners before us needed it due to age and health problems. As they became elderly, the husband could no longer make it up the stairs to the bathroom (as a neighbor tells it), so she had a downstairs half-bath added.

You know it's going to be one crappy day when you finish writing what you wanted to write, go to the kitchen to get ready to start sanding and the smell of cat poop about knocks you down. I immediately wanted to gag - and since the half bath has had its facelift, the thought of cat poo in there and the poop messing with my hard thought out schedule - well, I was not a happy kitty Mommy.

I figured if it smelled that bad, in that short of time, I'd better just get the bleach cleaner, the rag, clean litter and a big trash bag to save some trips. I open the door and from what I can surmise, kitty's litter box liner somehow got pulled down over part of the litter. Kitty decides this would be the perfect spot to take a dump. As a bonus, I guess he decided he needed to walk through it before exiting the cat shitter. In his defense, the poor thing was probably trying to cover it up and the plastic of the liner made it impossible. In his panic of not being Tidy Cat, he spazzed, he got four feet covered in shit and then decided to walk on everything to try to get it off.

Now, I've said I've tried to curb my obsessive compulsive ways. I have. However, cat shit covering my bathroom - especially one my babies use, well - it sent shivers. The thought of them touching something that had poop on it...oh NO! I took everything out of the bathroom. I dumped the litter box, put a new liner in it and fresh litter. Kitty watched as if to say, "Bet you don't try putting me in there again." The smart as, uh -hum, - alec.

I sprayed every area of the bathroom down in bleach and let it sit as I got the rugs washing and vacuumed the kitty litter that somehow had gotten everywhere in the midst of his battle with the poop on his feet. I washed everything down and ended by scrubbing the hardwood floor in there by hand with a rag....

Not a great start to the day.

So, now I'm pretty far behind my schedule, but I hurry up and get everything put away and get to work on the dining room. I turn on the little clock radio that is normally in our bedroom and listen to Neal Boortz while I'm working. I know, I said I was having a news break, but I enjoy working and listening to Boortz in the morning. By this time, it was almost time for his last hour which is usually pretty entertaining. Yesterday was no exception. I truly hope the next time I'm in Atlanta visiting family, he'll be scheduled to appear somewhere. I'd truly love to meet him in person.

I finish sanding the second coat, I put a third coat of mud on the few places that needed it and get myself cleaned up for lunch.

So far, so good. If I hurry I can still be on schedule! After lunch I do some dusting in the living room, I vacuum in here, I get the rugs in the dryer and put soap and bleach in the washer to run an empty cycle to clean out the washer just in case. I guess therapy is in order to really tame my OCD lol. I decided, since it was suppose to rain but hadn't, I could fit in some mowing after picking up daughter from school.

It's about 2:30 by this time and I figure I can take a break, check email and relax before heading to the school to pick up daughter.

I notice an email from the folks I just finished the job for. Now, to make an extremely long story short, they wanted a fun poll - not to catch demographic info or anything of that nature, just a fun poll. I installed this on the test site over a month before it went live. Everything was fine with the poll. Everything was fine until it went live that is. Now, they aren't happy because it has few votes and looks like the site is "new." Umm, it IS new, but ok, we can fix that.

I talk to them on Wed. I told them that since everything was completed, I was going to remove the program that controls the database. It's not needed and can be a security risk. Not likely, but why take a chance. They say that sounds great and wala - although STILL waiting to be paid, the job is complete.

So, imagine my surprise when I receive an email from them that lists a TON of crap to do the VERY next day. The emailed read as though the job wasn't complete, the conversation just the day prior hadn't happened and I'm still busting butt for them. I tell you, I wanted to scream.

I email back and state that I was under the impression that the job was completed. He emails back and says well, one thing listed in the previous email he had wanted and mentioned during the job. I misunderstood apparently (and it wasn't mentioned yesterday during our phone call or our emails), it's kinda late in the game, but ok - if that was what they were anticipating I'll make it happen. He goes on to say, please let us know how much you'd charge for the rest of it. We'd like it completed as soon as possible.

Well, two of the things they want is CUSTOM php programming to get info dumping into a database. You're talking a good amount of work! Remember, I'm a web designer NOT a programmer. If I were a programmer, I'd be making big bucks.

I didn't want to even TAKE the second job, because the first one through the holidays about killed me. However, I understood them wanting both sites to be done by the same person so the same system was being used. They upped the price and I agreed. THAT job was going to be it though. I was determined not to take another big job until after my husband returned. I wanted instead to focus on the house these last four months. I am TIRED of sitting at the computer all day every day.

I tell him I'd prefer to get paid for the first job before starting another. He emails back and says they are cutting a check today. Now when did this site go live?? And they are just now cutting me the other half of the pay? And I'm sitting here checking my mailbox every day? That's the money I planned to use to pay for our new bedroom furniture so I didn't touch any of my husband's "getting shot at" money. He asks if I could tell them how much for the other jobs so we can hurry and get started.

I went to get my daughter from school at this point. I'm angry that people I trusted would not have held up their end of the bargain and paid me yet. Then, dump another $1,000 worth of work in my lap expecting me to just do it for free - only to offer to pay me AFTER I say something. I resent the hell out of that, but mostly I'm hurt because I've known these folks for four years and I trusted them.

I come home and get to work cutting the backyard jungle. I tell you, the weeds and crap back there were knee high and it started to sprinkle. I only got the back yard, the one side near the road and behind the fence and garage before I had to call it a day. By this time, I'm so darned tired and I'm hurting pretty bad. I do not feel like cooking, so we run up to the local drive in and get something to eat to bring home. I order a side order of fried mushrooms. Not smart. The next three hours are spent destroying the upstairs bathroom. That cat and I make a great pair - I tell you. In the midst of all that I get babies bathed and to bed.

I come downstairs and start an email I know I won't send to my husband. He doesn't need to hear a bunch of whining. No matter how bad my day was, his is always worse in my opinion. I'm with our babies, I'm in the comfort of our home, I have TV - I can go to sleep when I am ready, I can go to the store when I want. Nothing I go through here compares to the rat hole he's living in right now and the danger that is the reality of all our people over there. However, I just needed my best friend though. To sit down and write him as though he'd just come home from work and I was telling him about everything.

And, in the midst, I sat here typing and complaining and sobbing. Telling him how tired I am of being alone and living without him. That when we're in our fifties, we'll need to sell this place, there's no way I'll be able to take care of it all on my own. Yes, I realize now as I type this that he will be home by then lol, but it was my pity party lol. Continuing on with the my sob story in the email, I tell him I can't even do a decent job of taking care of this house and the yard at the age I am now.

I just wanted to talk to him. I wanted to lean on him and for a few moments have him here with me - his never ending support to be here in the room with me to hold me up when I just felt I couldn't stand alone another moment. Not be the one solely responsible for both our lives here at home - responsible for our family all alone. Not be a single parent and payer of bills, be the waitress and maid, the lawn service and house renovator, the animal caretaker and secretary of all things that need scheduling, the supporter of our worried family, the web designer that doesn't deserve to be paid for her time...

Just for a moment I wanted only to be wife and Mom, the other half of my better half. I wanted to think of him cutting the side yard while I weed around the roses and pond. Taking a break together to watch our daughter who just got the hang of jump roping (she's been trying so hard) and us both cheering her on - the reality if he were home. I wanted a kiss before we both got back to the yard work. Instead of running to get something to eat to bring home, him firing up the grill and me coming in to get the meat ready and the side dishes started... After the babies were in bed, taking turns getting cleaned up to sit down in front of the TV together and wind down enough to go to bed.

Instead, it was me and my only link to him - this computer. Writing a letter I wouldn't be sending, sporting my big "L" and sobbing like a fool. I got it all out, I left the email open and parked myself in front of the TV to catch some HGTV trying to see if I could find some inspiration for our bedroom and get my mind off how stupid I was behaving. Several hours later, I came back to the computer, wiped out what I'd previously written and wrote him without the pity party.

Another day behind me. One day closer to when what used to be our reality will no longer be something I dream about, but can actually live again...

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Thursday, April 29, 2004


Yesterday, although an odd day, with a door opened that shouldn't be and roses arriving, was a good day.

I'm planning another one just like it today (minus the door and roses of course lol).

I got to work early on the dining room. I was able to finish sanding all the molding around the ceiling and all the dried drywall mud I'm using to repair cracks in the plaster. I know they make plaster repair stuff, but I got the drywall mud thing down when we drywalled the ceiling in the alcove of our daughter's room last year. Her room had huge cracks and using drywall tape and mud to repair them has worked wonderfully. After an extremely cold winter and extremely hot summer last year (expansion and contraction you know), knock on wood, but none of those cracks have reappeared. I'm using the same technique in the dining room hoping for similar results!

I put a second coat of mud on most of the cracks. A few small holes didn't need a second coat. There will be two or three spots that will need a third coat after I sand this morning. Two areas are corners. Corners are a little tough to repair. It takes some patience and careful use of the mud knife. So, I figure I'll be working on two corners and one area around the window that faces the neighbor's house. It had a crack near the molding. While using the sander, I guess it touched the wall and the vibration made the plaster crumble a bit there. Yesterday I used a small piece of the drywall tape and covered it with mud. Today I figure it will need another coat to make sure it's fanned out well so you won't be able to tell where the repair was done once it's painted. That's the trick - spending enough time fanning and smoothing to make sure your hand can feel no difference between the plaster and the repair before you paint. Time consuming for sure, but daughter's room was a zig zag of white from the drywall mud and you cannot tell where any repairs were once it had paint on the walls.

So, the plan for today is finishing up plaster repairs. Once the last bit of sanding is done, I'll vacuum all the woodwork and the floors well and then wash everything down. It's cloudy and looks like rain today, so I'll do some dusting and vacuuming in the house too to finish up the day - maybe even a load or two of laundry to get a head start on the weekend chore of laundry ;). Tomorrow, hopefully I'll be ready to stain all the woodwork in there. All the old woodwork should go quickly. The newer woodwork will need the regular stain applied first (to give it the red tint the original cherry has) before I can add the polyshade (a stain and polyurethane mix) to finish it up. I'm debating on whether putting the plain poly gloss over all of the wainscoting and plate rail. I guess I'll wait and see how pleased I am with just the polyshade.

I'm hoping by Sunday the woodwork will be dry enough to tape off where I can prime and paint the walls!! If that's the case, by Monday I should be removing wallpaper in our bedroom! I'm so excited about having our bedroom redone. After eight months, I'm truly ready to get our new bedroom furniture delivered!

So far, I'm sticking to my six hours per day schedule. At the rate I'm going, I just might make my end of May deadline to finish our bedroom before the heat of summer makes it impossible! I'm really looking forward to a few months of downtime before he comes home, no huge projects and our days being spent outside this summer!

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A Must Read This Morning

A great look at the press and the idiotic questions they asked President Bush during his recent press conference. Well worth the few minutes of reading. I cannot help but wonder how we would have faired during WWII if we had the press of today...


If you're not a regular reader of Rantingprofs, you're missing out on some great insight! I wish I had a tenth of her intelligence! Be sure to read her bio. It's quite impressive!

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Day 233 - My Fear?

I saw this question posted on a forum and since I'm taking a break from participating - and the question fit in with yesterday lol, I thought I'd write about here.

My fear? Here lately it's been this consuming fear of something happening to one of my children. I'm smother mother, but I've been watching too much news. Kidnappings, predators, 12 year olds strangling 8 year old neighbors...

I just worry more now about another child hurting them more than I worry about them running out in the street these days. I check on them often at night - it's just this huge fear all of a sudden even though I know it's not rational. Hence why I've taken a big break from the news. Even at night if I sit down at the computer, I turn the station to HGTV now instead of Fox News. It's a no news ban in this house right now lol.

Yesterday didn't help. I'm on the ladder in the dining room repairing cracks in the plaster above the doorway to the kitchen. I hear my little guy say he's going upstairs to "get something to play with." No big deal. He's three and up and down the stairs all day every day. About 20 seconds later, this blood curdling scream happens and he's crying and saying something I couldn't understand. I told Mother last night I never knew a half cripple woman could fly off a ladder, hurdle a dining room table and get up two flights of stairs so fast lol.

The last time he screamed like that he saw something in the back hall that scared him so bad he wouldn't even go in the kitchen for a week. He was two, and all he could tell us was he saw a momptner (monster). Dh and I never did figure out what scared him back there.

So here I am on my way yelling, "What baby? What happened?!! I'm coming!!"

I get to the landing and I understand what he's saying - the attic door is open. Every hair on my arms, head and my neck felt like it stood up. The attic door is in the hall upstairs and you have to pass it to get to his room. I guess when he went up and saw that door standing there open it scared the poopoo out of him. Hell, it scared me too.

So, I shut the door and lock it. It has a skeleton key. I give him a hug and send him downstairs. He heads on down and I call the rottweiler (who was guarding the stairs at the landing down to the front door), get the gun and go walk through the upstairs. I know - paranoid, but still. Someone could have gotten in when we were out and decided to hide in the attic or something (we've had three home invasions in our small town in the past six months). So I take that back - one of my HUGE fears as of late (again, thanks news) is something horrible happening to me (which is ok) but my children finding the aftermath (NOT ok). I told Mother last night, the thought of someone doing something to me and my children seeing that - and their lives being ruined emotionally would make me fight to the damn death.

Another fear were the damn squirrels (we have squirrels in our attic I recently found out). I didn't know how long the door had been open and one of the little things could have gotten in the house - and what if it bit my child or me and rabies... In an instant I'm playing out some attack of the killer squirrels in my mind and wondering if I shot the little bastard, how much it would cost me to have the subsequent damage to the house repaired - since I already have to pay the electrician (who never showed and someone to repair the house to keep the squirrels out). Do you see why I need a vacation folks lol?

So, from what I figure happened is, I didn't shut the door well on Sunday when my friend came out to visit. I had showed her the attic (hence how I know squirrels are up there since I do NOT go up there - it's a husband only area lol). The wind was blowing so hard yesterday, I figure it blew open the door I hadn't shut well. After the dogs and I did a walk through, I felt around the door and there's a big ol' breeze coming around that door. One of the windows in the attic is open and since I do not go up there, I refuse to shut it lol. When the electrician or the carpenter comes, they can walk the rafters in that area (and dodge knob and tube wiring) to shut the darn thing. The center of the attic is floored, but the area of the alcoves where the windows are has no floor.

So, there you have it. I'm afraid of someone hurting my children (even other children hurting my children now) and afraid of someone hurting me and my children finding the aftermath. I'm small, but I kick in doors people lol. If it's me or some intruder, I plan to be the one still standing explaining to the cops why I have a dead body in my house. Deep seeded (even irrational) fears can make a Mother one deadly creature...

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Gosh I Love Him II

The doorbell just rang. I thought it was the electrician that is suppose to show up sometime today.

Instead, I opened the door and there's a woman standing there with a dozen roses. She says she's from the florist in town and these are for me.

I stood there with a look of bewilderment I'm sure. I took the roses, thanked her and closed the door.

I opened the card with my name on it and it said, "To My Love on Our Anniversary."

Written in someone else's hand, his words were, "No Matter the distance between us, you are always in my heart. I love you baby!!!"

Our anniversary is next week.

I miss him so much it hurts. I guess my tears and I should go sand something in that dining room.

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We Read Because We Value You...

I read Arrogance on Bunker Mulligan this morning and had to go back to read it again after my third cup of coffee.

I'm really sort of surprised by the entry. I wanted to leave some comments there, but for some reason that entry doesn't allow for comments as others do. So, I figured I'd devote an entire entry here to my thoughts on the matter.

He asks, "Why should my perspective mean anything to someone else?"

That's simple.

I read there because I value his opinion. He's former military and has loved ones currently serving. He's a man that I assume to be a bit younger than my own father, but holds the same vein of knowledge and wisdom I wish to gain. When he has a thought on a subject, I want to read it. I want to understand what is happening through the eyes of someone who has more life experience than I. Someone who has military experiences - as I've never served my country regrettably.

There are two blogs written by men that I read daily - and value what is written. This entry on CPT Patti is an excellent example of what I enjoy about each of these blogs. They shed light on things that I would never know if it were not for them. They explain and elaborate - and they know not from just reading, but from actual life experience.

It's information more valuable, in my opinion, than any reporter can offer. It's information more valuable than any book written by someone who hasn't walked in the boots. It's personal wisdom, personal experience wrapped into what is happening today - and it's priceless.

When something is happening in Iraq, I check both sites often...especially when I'm worried. They have a way of explaining things and putting it all into perspective. They ease the worries of this wife who has a tendency to worry often, and for that I can never repay them.

Thank you. And please, keep writing!

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Day 232 - Gosh I Love Him...

I was talking to my friend last night. The one who came to visit Sunday. We were talking about our husbands and how handsome we think they are. I know, like two school girls or something, but the conversation just ended up there.

I told her, if I were a soldier and worked with my husband and not as his wife - just some soldier who ended up working for him, I'd be so in love with him I couldn't do my job. He's the picture of MAN to me - that symbol of strength and courage and drive - and good grief, put a uniform on the guy (or a goatee when he's on leave) and I melt even more. Honestly, when he's home, even after years of marriage, when he drives up in the evening after being at work all day (not even gone for a day or two), my heart starts pounding because he's HOME. To me, that's what tells me my marriage is strong and healthy - my heart races when I see him, I rush to meet him. I want to touch him and kiss him and hear how his day was. And, it doesn't take a deployment to make me feel that way. It's EVERY day.

Now, this was all said in fun. Women soldiers are professionals and have lives of their own. I was just thinking back to that 22 year old kid who met him by chance. This big man with a drill sergeant hat on, a voice that is so distinct and powerful - and a smile that honestly made my knees go weak. It was that smile, that first smile when he was introduced to me that the little voice inside me said, "THERE he is! That's him! That's the man you've been looking for." I cannot explain it. I can't. It sounds like some fairy tale I've made up, but it isn't. The thought "THERE he is!!" overpowered me and I was transfixed on his every feature, his every word. And from that moment forward I loved him. Each day we were together, I found more to love. Even to this day, each year I think I cannot possibly love him any more than I do -and each year I look back and the love has grown and is deeper and stronger than I ever could have imagined.

Those butterflies, this overwhelming love for him engulfs me when I think of him, when I write him, when I hug these two wonderful little people we made together. Honestly, even with him on the other side of the world, under awful conditions, that 22 year old I was, never imagined in her wildest dreams that love could be so absolutely wonderful.

I'm truly the luckiest woman in the world.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Day 231 - At a Crossroads of Sorts

I'm finding that things I used to enjoy - I no longer enjoy. The internet for instance. I used to enjoy discussing life with other spouses online. I used to have empathy even for the smallest problem that may arise and be posted by someone. Somewhere, along this year-long path, I've lost that. I find whining to be irritating. I've found people who search for drama through online boards to be irritating. I've found that while I take people as they are, the same cannot be said for others regarding me. And that last one deeply hurts.

I'm not perfect. I'm not anyone who remotely has all the answers. I'm no stronger or better than anyone else. I feel very alone though, where I used to feel a part of something bigger than myself and surrounded by friends.

I'm amazed by women who are not interested in this presidential election. Their loved ones will serve under the person who wins - and if the wrong person wins, their lives will be at stake - more so than now.

Right now, my husband has less than one year before he plans to hang up the uniform and retire. We'll be able to turn off the news and live in our small town ignoring the big picture for a while if we so choose. These other families will not. The person who wins in November will have the power that impacts them all and so many seem oblivious.

I'm so passionate and so concerned - and so frightened, I find myself feeling as though I am talking to myself. That I'm the only person who sees it for the truly huge thing that it is. The only person completely sickened by the fact a man who would sell out those who were fighting the same war he had just returned from, is now running for the most powerful office in the world - in another time of war. If he'd sell them out in 1971, if he'd vote against funding our forces TODAY in this war, he'll sell them out again and already has. He'll get them hurt. He'll get them killed. And my husband won't be the one dying as he'll have hung up his uniform.

These people are facing three, six or more years of service and seem as though they have little interest in what is happening. Little interest that the left in this country is leaning harder towards militancy and how that impacted the Vietnam war. How it could impact the ones they love. It's as if we have an entire generation that says "If I don't read it, if I don't watch it - it's not real." Where is the outrage that a scoundrel such as Kerry is even being considered for the Presidency? And what does that say about our country?

I just feel alone. I feel like my fear and concern has been turned into some fiction of my imagination. I'm tired of people who have their husbands sitting next to them - in the safety of their own living room, making a big drama about what is going on in Fallujah when my husband is right there and has been there for eight months - and we've yet to even get an idea of when they'll be returning.

I feel that if anything, I have a RIGHT to say it's time we take care of business in Fallujah. I've lived the aftermath as people out of that town set bombs that maimed and killed people my husband knew and loved. I've held my breath for twenty-four hours each time a bomb went off and lived in shear terror that it was my husband killed. All the while, idiot women who have loved ones who don't follow the rules and don't abide by the communication shut down, call to tell me THEIR husband called, is alive and well and the soldiers that were killed were from OUR group - before the news is even reporting who the dead belonged to. Nothing like that to add to your fear...

I feel I have a RIGHT to say enough is enough damn it. I don't want to know another family will be facing the rest of their lives without their husband. I don't want to know babies that have not even been born will NEVER know their father. People my husband knows, families my friends know - and the stories behind the scenes I will know that the press will never report. It weighs you down, it breaks your heart and it is day after day after day. And to have someone who doesn't even have someone SITTING THERE tell ME they have a stake in it, I want to puke. PLEASE. We all have a stake, we all do and I understand that. But some of us, although sitting in the safety of our homes, are living it along with the ones we love who are there DOING IT. It's not photos on our TV, but individuals whose lives have been altered forever due to those sitting in that ONE town of Fallujah. Holed up and wanting to kill every soldier, every Marine.

I do have a right don't I? To feel this so deeply and hurt so badly over the decisions that allowed this area to grow into a bigger and more dangerous problem than it had to be?

The news is reporting 70 IEDs have been found after the bombing we just did in Fallujah. Each IED kills on average two soldiers and maims many more. Think of the lives we just saved of our OWN people. And some person is going to remind us that there are civilians in this town? When we gave them every opportunity to leave and have waited almost a MONTH to take this town? Talk about the civilians to those who are facing learning to eat or hug their children with NO ARMS. Talk about civilians to children who will NEVER see their mother or father again. Talk about civilians to wives whose lives have been DESTROYED.

I feel so alone, in a sea of people who just don't get it. And for the life of me, I cannot make myself want to keep going back and being around them. I'm truly at a crossroads, and in the end, I may cut my losses and call it a day. Not ever to look back....

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Monday, April 26, 2004

Day 230 - It's Always Something

My friend I met through the FRG came out yesterday to see our town and our house. I told my husband I wanted to get her out here so she'd fall in love with the town, sell her house outside the installation and move out here lol! It's such a neat town with lots of old homes and has the feeling of going back in time when life was slower and neighbors cared about each other. It's just a great town to raise a family in! She really loved the town and our house. She said the house is NOT as bad as I make it out to be lol, but agreed the pepto pink bathroom upstairs was a bit much ha!

We went to a thing going on in the community and had a great time! She's so much fun to be around and her children are absolutely precious little people! She lives a good thirty minutes from us, but I'm hopeful this summer we'll both have more time to do things together to make the time go by faster until our husbands return. We get along so well and so do our children. We all had a great time! It's just nice to have a friend who values her marriage like I value mine, and isn't interested in hitting bars or anything of that nature.

The bad thing? I had something called Kettle Corn. I'd never had it before and it is popcorn that has a sweet, salty taste. It was ok, but I'm not a huge popcorn fan. It wasn't worth what I'm afraid is the culprit of my current situation lol.

I guess somehow it did a number on a tooth on the bottom in the back left side. Last night I was telling Mother about our great day when it started hurting. The gum back there is all swollen and when I woke up this morning, it's swollen and hurting under my jaw bone under that tooth. Bending over to pick something up today, sent pain all the way into my eye and ear. Ughh. I hate going to the dentist - but my face is warmer in that area and I'm worried there's some sort of infection going on. I would have called the dentist today, but our daughter woke up this morning with a sore throat and stayed home from school :(.

I was hoping by this morning it would feel better - but it's worse so I guess I don't have a choice but to go. Touching my jaw bone, it's swollen and hurts worse when I touch it. I just keep thinking, "THAT can't be good." I now have a constant dull headache on that side. I don't have anyone to keep my littlest one, so I'm hoping they will still see me even if I bring him with me :(.

It's always something, I tell you. Hopefully I'll be able to get in tomorrow and it won't be anything but a cavity or something. I have a feeling the words root canal will come up though. Yeah me!! Needless to say, the plan to work on the dining room six hours per day this week has already been shot to hell. Oh well, it will get done when I get it done ;).

Hope everyone has a great week. I may not be around too much until I get this throbbing jaw taken care of :(.

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Sunday, April 25, 2004

Idiot Quote of the Day

It seems the democrats are upset by a quote made recently by a representative of Pete Coors (running for Senate in Colorado):

The dispute started when The New York Times inadvertently published a photo of Republican Senate candidate Pete Coors above a story about a KKK member who murdered a black sharecropper. The Times published a correction Saturday.

Cinamon Watson, spokeswoman for Coors, said the error was "so outrageous it's kind of funny. It could have been worse. Pete could have been identified as John Kerry."

Idiot Quote of the Day
Chris Gates, chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party, demanded an apology. He said Democrats are "out there campaigning positively on the issues, and the Republicans can't help but resort to the lowest level of insult and name-calling."

Emphasis mine. Colo. GOP's Statement on Kerry Draws Fire

Yes, you democrats are running SUCH positive campaigns. You're KNOWN for your honestly and taking the hide road during campaigning. Sure you are!


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Day 229 - Wisdom from MIL

My evening had plans of an early slumber lol. MIL (mother-in-law) called a few minutes to ten. We talked for hours about everything from fear to craft projects. It appears that although bumpy in the beginning of this deployment, our relationship has gotten back to where it once was.

Our conversation turned to politics as it usually does. My MIL is a diehard lefty. An admitted Tree Hugger, who even has a subscription to Mother Earth News.

I, on the other hand, am a gun owning southern republican, who even has a membership in the National Rifle Association. Rarely in years passed have we agreed much in the politics department.

However, in recent years, the lines have blurred. I think we both realize that this is a war of epic proportions. Not because the man we both love is in Iraq fighting the war, but because we can see clearly the broader war on terrorism - its importance and how it could impact our future and the future of our children.

MIL shared the following with me and I thought it is wonderful enough to want to share here:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Hoping everyone has a good upcoming week. It will be week 34 for us. Eighteen more weeks to go. Hopefully....

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Saturday, April 24, 2004

Making a Buck the Blogger Way?

I'm always amazed at those who can make a buck off a website that doesn't particularly offer anything other than their thoughts. My goodness, if I could find a way to do this for a living, I'd jump all over it in a New York minute!

Just think: you don't have to work for anyone and deal with the personalities and idiosyncrasies that come with the person. You can work from home or from a hotel - as long as you have a computer and an internet connection. You can work at your own pace and in your own time. Taking a vacation paid for by your blog offers you content for your blog. Your dog taking a poop can become a story of interest (maybe I'll prove this - my dogs pooping habits are funny) if you're short on inspiration.

However, I read the inflated server costs in some of these articles and wonder how - or why, anyone would pay such a price:
Many Started Web Logs for Fun, but Bloggers Need Money, Too

But the most talked about route to profit was selling advertisements that pay by the month or by the number of blog visits. Boing Boing (, one of the most popular blogs on the Web with its musings by four freelance writers, is considering adding sponsors as a way to offset its server fees of about $1,000 a month.

Now, I've ran another website for almost six years now. These days we average over a million page views per month and it is increasing each day. It has an interactive area where visitors can share their thoughts, along with static content. I pay around $15.95 per month to host it. The rest of the costs are time. How someone is paying about $1,000 per month in hosting fees is beyond me. With a quick search you can host a site on a shared server and the prices (along with domain names) are falling each year as more and more compete for business. I've never had a problem with down time or speed - or lacking the ability to incorporate any interactive feature I could think up and want. The server we use doesn't allow chatrooms, but truth be told, I'm not much of a chatter and not interested in something else to moderate and keep up with.

I've often read on different sites these enormously high amounts that it "costs" them to provide the site to us free of charge and the least we can do is donate, click an ad or buy a t-shirt. I think of it as the online guilt trip. "We provide all this to you free of charge and we're paying all the costs, can't you give us something for all the hard work we've put into this for you." Or, it can be the online threat, "Recently costs for providing you this site have become a burden. If we do not generate enough to cover the costs, we'll be forced to close down the site. If you enjoy this site, please consider making a donation before it becomes nothing more than a memory."

I'd suggest folks do a whois search on the domain name when someone touts that they pay an extraordinary amount. By doing the whois, you can find out who hosts the site. Then, surf on by their hosting site and see what the prices really are. Server space, bandwidth and email addresses are all usually included in that price. These days, if you host on a unix server, free mySQL database(s) and php are often included free of charge also.

Some list having to pay for message board scripts and I cannot help but wonder why. If you take the time, you can often find completely free scripts you can install yourself - along with just about any other program from content management systems (that can be used for blogs) to polls and forms for feedback. If you look hard enough, you can often find the exact same features in high priced scripts for free by people who want nothing more than to enjoy the art of open source.

There may come a day - here soon, that I tire of running a site of my own for other people. I will not, however, tire of building websites or enjoying blogging it appears. When that day comes, I will hand off the website - or close its doors and buy a domain for my blog and keep learning. Recently I've been debating the idea quite a bit. It won't be due to costs, however. It will be due to being happy and feeling fulfilled - and if I've learned anything these past eight months, it is being happy with what you do is most important. Life is too short and too precious for anything less.

Note: I want to be clear that I'm not questioning the costs quoted in the article. That just got me to thinking this morning. With them paying that much per month, I certainly wouldn't mind offering them some ideas on how to cut those costs. I don't know how anyone could afford that kind of money for a free service and not make a dime to recoup some or all of those costs.

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Day 228 - Procrastination Saturday!

I have so much to do around here before tomorrow. Here it is 11 a.m. and I've yet to accomplish anything. That, unfortunately, is the norm around here as of late.

Tomorrow a friend is coming out to visit with her children. We're going to go to a community thing here in town. She wants to see the house formerly known as the crack house before we go though lol! Maybe tonight (or today, heck I'm procrastinating - why not lol) I'll finally sit down and share the story of how my obsession with old homes came to be. Until then, just know when I saw this house, I instantly fell in love. My husband, however, thought I'd lost my ever loving mind ha!

At any rate, she's heard all about what I've been doing to the house and what all I have to complete before my husband returns. She's seen the photos of projects as they evolve. And, although she lives a short thirty minutes from here, we've yet to be able to get together where she can see the house and get a small tour. Tomorrow is the day.

Currently the babies are doing an art project in the living room. It's a mine field of sorts. Construction paper, tape, markers, a stapler (that only daughter can use, little guy has to ask for assistance), crayons, scissors and the aftermath of all those accessories. Life is good, albeit messy.

However, I have loads of laundry to do. I have a dining room to sand down to get ready to stain. I have a bathroom to clean, floors to vacuum and a kitchen floor to mop (that cannot be mopped until the sanding is completed or it defeats the purpose). I need to organize my desk and the overflowing toy bin in the living room. Oh - and of course cook meals and give baths and all the other things that are normally done around here.

The life of a procrastinator. Sit and waste time so you can worry about your sitting and wasting time lol!

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War Fighting of the Future

I ran across an interesting article this morning. I'm amazed by the technology we have. I cannot help but wonder about all the things that are being used that we don't know about.

Just think what will be available ten years from now.
Are You Ready for Some Spyball?

Evil doers: if a soldier tosses what seems to be a rubber tennis ball into your secret hideaway, he does not want to play a set of doubles. He wants to spy on you.


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Friday, April 23, 2004

Coffin Photos

I've read both sides of the issue. I've debated myself, I've shared my view and refused to continue the conversation with one person due to the fact I had no interest in the person's view to begin with.

My feelings are:

My husband belongs to the United States of America as long as he's a soldier. In truth, even after retirement, they can call him back if they want to - and he has to return. Even after retirement, he belongs to the United States of America.

While serving this great nation, we sacrifice and so do our children. We do so with little complaint - other than the occasional bad day where we say we've had enough - to ourselves of course. Then we pull ourselves up and get on with living for the day they return - all the while being proud of the job they are doing and the character and pride in which they do it.

Truth be told, in life he belongs to this country. To go where needed. To serve and protect this great nation. To give everything he has and is to the mission and to his soldiers.

The least this country can do for the families of those who pay the ultimate price, is afford us the right to mourn in private. To not see the photo of our loved one's coffin on the front page of the local or a national newspaper. Not see photos of our loved one's coffin on websites. Not see these photos used by people against the war - the very people many of our loved ones detested.

In life, he belongs to this country. At the very least, in death he can finally belong only to me - where as his wife, I get to make the decision on whether or not I want these photo shared. We are deserving of that right and if nothing else, we have earned it. Honor our dead by respecting the privacy of the ones they leave behind. The ones who must find a way to face and live life without their husbands, fathers, sons, mothers, wives and daughters.

Military families deserve that much thought, respect and dignity. WE DO. They belonged to this country in life. In death, they finally belong only to us. Their memory belongs to their family and that memory should not begin nor end with a flag draped coffin.

We ask little of this nation. It is the least the citizens of this nation can do in return for the sacrifices and losses we willingly volunteer for in defense of this wonderful nation. Allow each of us to decide for ourselves...

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This is Normal?

Sunday (Day 222) night, it dawned on me that I'm comfortable. Not happy, not completely devastated anymore, but comfortable living alone. The thought struck me so hard, I had to sit down. I know, one the first sign that I'm going crazy.

I had put the babies to bed and came downstairs to retrieve the coffee cup off my desk to prepare for my nightly adventure of online surfing. My night starts by brewing coffee before heading upstairs for the babies' bedtime. That way, by the time I make it back down, I have hot coffee waiting and I can get a cup, head to the computer and read the latest and greatest in the blogosphere.

Sunday night, I retrieved the coffee cup, almost made it to the foyer when the thought of my being comfortable struck me. THIS is normal I thought. THIS is what I look forward to each evening. To surf blogs and see what perfect strangers that I care about, (regardless of whether I've ever shared an email with them or commented in their blog) are doing and saying about what they are doing and reading. THIS is normal. THIS is my routine now, I thought.

Prior to this, the coffee was made by my husband. His coffee is so much better than mine. After dogs were fed (me) and babies were bathed and put to bed (husband), we'd fill our cups and either sit in our matching recliners in the living room or sometimes on the front porch - and discuss our day.

These days, it's me and a computer screen. Visiting blogs to feel as though I'm having that nightly conversation of how days were - however one sided it may be. Smiling at some thoughts, wanting to yell a "YOU GO!!" after reading some, and shedding a tear for others.

And Sunday night, it was comfortable - normal. It was my life and what I anticipate each evening. I no longer expect to see him walk through that door - and it dawned on me, because after eight months, what would be strange, is if he DID walk through that door. And I cried.

I cried because my life seems routine without him. My life is his and he's not here - and he's not been here for so long I can't remember the last time I stared at the door trying to will him to come through it. Trying to find my hold onto the reality vacuum that it was, and not fly into despair because he isn't coming through that door any time soon.

Instead, it's normal, yet it seemed so not normal to feel that way. After all, I'm happily married, I'm loved by this man and I'm deeply IN love with him. He's everything to me and I thank God daily for us having met by chance and the wonderful, beautiful life I have because of our meeting.

I sat in the recliner and wondered - if this is normal, if this is routine, how will we get through those first weeks of being together and THAT not being normal to either of us? We've never lived an entire year apart. What changes haven't I gone through - I've changed so much it's easier to discuss what hasn't changed. What changes he has gone through after knowing young men that have lost limbs and best friends who are dead too young....and seeing starving children who beg for food and water. Children, little children who should be playing and enjoying being loved are instead begging for the basic necessities of life and this, to a man who loves all children, hits his heart so hard.

How much we've changed and to think he's going to walk through that door and things are just going to instantly go back to what once was is naive. And I got angry. Angry at me and my stupidity for not having considered the numerous ways we will be different and changed. And angry that people are barbarians and we have to go to war to begin with because they want us all bowing to their brutal assed god (no capital letter for god when referring to allah, sorry - not gonna do it) and the idiot clerics and terrorists and these murdering bastards. Angry at Bush for not having had our military kick the crap out of the entire country instead of sparing cities like Ramadi and Fallujah and not taking care of Sadr when he first opened his idiotic mouth and allowing him to grow and get headlines - when all it would have taken was one well placed sniper to give him the eternal sand nap he deserves the first time he opened his pie hole...

Then it was just me, my coffee cup and my favorite blogs as I wiped the tears, put away the anger and got back to my normal. Filling the coffee cup, making the trek back to the computer and checking in with friends I don't know, and wondering how it came to be that I sit here and he sits there and this is normal.

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Day 227 - Down Time Equals Time to Think

I apologize for not writing - to the few that read regularly ;). The job finished on Monday and every time I sat down to write, nothing made sense.

I'd start on one subject and in a matter of paragraphs I'd either be contradicting myself or on an entirely new subject that had little or nothing to do with where I started.

It was obvious that 1) either the exhaustion had reached new levels or 2) I'm nothing more than a big contradiction. I prefer the former ;).

So, I took a few days. After trying to sever my thumb Monday night while my mind wandered when washing dishes, it was obvious three hours of sleep each night is not healthy nor prosperous for my hands ;).

I went to sleep last night at 7pm after putting the babies to bed. I woke up at 9pm. One of my husband's soldiers who had ETS'd out of the Army before the stop-loss started, called to check in. It seems my husband has an impact on a lot of people. I'll brag and say he's a great leader. A leader people follow because they want to, not because they have to.

When he was a drill sergeant, I went to the last graduation of recruits he'd have, since he would be coming off the trail before the end of another cycle. He was an OSUT (One Station Unit Training) Drill Sergeant and the cycles were long. He had about another three months on the trail and we'd be moving.

After the graduation ceremony, I was surprised to see so many young men and women coming up to my husband with tears in their eyes. Young people who hadn't had a father - or parents at all, some with extremely hard lives prior to joining, telling me and my husband what an impact he'd had on them. How they would strive for the excellence he'd expected of them - every day of their future careers. How they appreciated him for being so hard, yet so caring and willing to go the extra mile for them. Many conveying he was the closest thing to a father they'd ever had.

I knew my husband was a great man. I knew what an impact he had on my life. However, to hear soldier after soldier come up and want to shake his hand and shake my hand - and express words of love and admiration, reduced me to tears. It made me see my husband, the importance of his job and the years he had dedicated to the Army in a new light. He didn't care if the young women were coming from abusive relationships or a bad home life where they were abused or not valued as the special people they are; he didn't care if the young men were former gang members or had brushes with the law or punks who hadn't a clue when they arrived. To my husband, they were all soldiers now, all valuable people in their own right and it was their future that was important, not their past. He judged them all the same, by their actions in the moment, not the past. He was hard, but fair to each one equally.

And still, in the years after, although no longer training brand new recruits, he is leading soldiers in the most dangerous of places and still impacting them as he did so many years ago, as the scary intimidating Drill Sergeant with a heart of gold. A young man calling in the middle of the night to see how I (a woman he has never met) am doing - and how my husband is doing while still fighting in the deserts of Iraq, impacts me. It makes me even more proud of my husband - if that is possible. It makes me miss him in ways I never knew imaginable. I know deep down they need him more than I at the moment. However, at times of exhaustion, I'm selfish and wish I too could see him and be lead by him. But mostly, I just wish I could be held by him and tell him in person how much I love him and how very proud I am for all that he is and all that he does.

I love you dear, regardless of where you are, the miles that separate us and the months we endure life without you. Words can never do justice to what lives in my heart regarding you. A heart and soul that patiently awaits the day we're finally reunited...

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As JFK Records Are Released, Questions Arise...

I will note here that Kerry has never acted as a true hero tends to act. True heroes normally attempt to downplay what they have done and often give examples of others' heroism to show that there are others more worthy of the title.

People who receive medals often do so hesitantly. An example of which I read just this morning, in an article that I found through trying to grok. Those deserving of medals often could do without the reminder of what caused them to be observed as the heroes they are:
Stranded Marines fight to last bullets

Sergeant Sagredo does not want a medal for saving his men. “A decoration would only remind me of what happened. This is something I want to forget. Unfortunately, if it doesn’t affect me now, I know it will haunt me later.”

Kerry, however, has touted his services (his four month of service mind you) as something more than it is and was. And, coming under political pressure that he might not otherwise would have come under if he hadn't questioned the loyalty of a young Bush to his country for choosing the National Guard. As if, those in the National Guard are not currently giving their all and more in defense of this nation in our Global War on Terrorism. But alas, he did and now his records must be scrutinized as critically (hopefully) as Bush's were. Only, Bush was honest about his service and Kerry, if his actions of the past also coincide of his toutings of his service, has not been truthful to a fault. Allowing his campaigners and others make his service into something it wasn't - thus diminishing his credibility to the swing voters even more. The ones that matter in this election season.

Once again we have a campaign blurring of the truth for their own gain and reporters, who are fair, announcing these discrepancies as all good reporters should:
Discrepancies noted in Kerry's record

Vietnam combat records posted on John F. Kerry's campaign website for the month of January 1969 as evidence of his service aboard swift boat No. 94 describe action that occurred before Kerry was skipper of that craft, according to the officer who said he commanded the boat at the time.

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe this is just the oversight of overzealous campaign staffers who know no better. However, I have a feeling this won't be the last of the half-truths we hear regarding Kerry and his  l o n  g  four months in Vietnam...

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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Kerry Camp Offers Some Military Records

It appears the Kerry is feeling the pressure and is reluctantly releasing some of his records. I'll be interested to see what is released and if anything other than vague reports are made public.

Ken Mehlman, President Bush's campaign manager, accused Kerry's campaign of waffling on the release of his military records, saying the campaign's position on Tuesday to release the records in "due diligence" is contrary to Kerry's comments on "Meet the Press" that the records would be made public immediately.

"Senator Kerry's record of nondisclosure and his flip-flop on this issue should concern voters," Mehlman said.

In other words, even when regarding his own military records, he waffles. Quite sad, really.

Kerry Camp Offers Some Military Records

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Monday, April 19, 2004

Day 223 - A Rambler's Ramble...

The job sort of took a hiatus over the weekend, so it gave me some much needed downtime. I took advantage of it and actually got a few things accomplished around here.

Saturday, we ventured out to Lowes and purchased three boxwood bushes and two azalea bushes. The azalea's were on sale for $1.99 each. If I didn't have such a small car, I would have bought the six they had left.

We came home and cut the back yard. The lawnmower has this bar you pull back (it lands even with the bar you use to push the mower) in order to crank it and keep it running. When you are ready to turn off the mower, you let go of the small bar and wala - mower cuts off. Thanks to my neighbors cutting the sides and the front yard, I only had to tackle the backyard. However, when I pulled the mower out of the garage, the bracket for the bar was hanging off. I had to figure out how to put it back on so it'd pull the wire correctly for the mower would run. How it came off in the first place is still a mystery. It's still not on there correctly, but it works. I'll have my Dad fix it when he comes to visit ;).

It was so hot outside, my daughter's face was beat red from jumping rope. We had a good time though despite it feeling like we skipped spring and moved directly into mid summer ;). We planted the three bushes in front of the porch and the two azaleas at the end of the porch.

I purchased six six packs of petunias. Our daughter and I got the hanging baskets from last year out of the garage and put seven petunias in each of the five pots. Four hang on the front porch and one hangs on the garage. She had so much fun helping me plant them in the pots.

Yesterday, I had planned to head back to Lowes and get three more boxwoods for the other side of the porch. After he swallowed the magnet, I decided that was a sure sign that Sunday would be better spent at home ;). The wind was blowing so hard, it was for the best. 50 mph wind gusts throws my little car all over the interstate.

So, we shifted plans and I decided it was high time to tackle the upstairs. I'm a month behind my regular spring schedule. Usually, the first few days we can open the windows, I spring clean and downsize the unnecessary stuff we've accumulated throughout the year. This year, with the job, I've just not had time.

Yesterday turned out to be the perfect day for it! I'm so proud of our daughter. She was not in the least interested in cleaning up her room, much less cleaning out her room ha! I started in my son's room and when she saw how organized and neat everything turned out, she decided her room would look better if she cleaned it up. She had piles of things she was throwing away. By the time I was ready to dust and vacuum her room, she told me that although she didn't think cleaning could be fun, she really had a good time! Music to an obsessive compulsive's ears lol! We really cleaned up the upstairs and organized it so well! It felt really good to go up there last night to give them baths and not think of (and see) all the things that needed doing. The only room that is left that needs attention is the Army room. I figure I will do that room later. I am just not in the mood to face the Army room :(.

Today, I plan to organize and spring clean the downstairs. I'm ashamed of how bad my desk looks. There's also all the toys in the toy box downstairs. Oh my, the thing no longer holds them all - it's time to toss some things ;). I think I'll tackle that one after night night time to keep down the battles about what is going and what is staying ;).

I got word today that tonight they will be ready to go live. So, hopefully tonight this job will finally be completed and I'll get my other half of pay! With that and the taxes, our savings will finally be back to what it was before we bought the house. I'm hopeful it will be enough to ease any concerns he has about retiring, so next year at this time he will be a civilian or almost a civilian. We both love this area so much - especially our neighborhood, and don't want to have to move again.

He's leaning towards trying to get on with the Post Office. I know some government jobs you can't also receive your military retirement until a certain age (which I think is idiotic - you worked for it, you should get it). Does anyone know if that includes the postal service?

Lastly, after the job is done and the downstairs is clean - it will be time to focus completely on finishing that dining room so I can get started and finish our bedroom upstairs before it gets too hot. I am positive if I can devote four to six hours a day on the dining room, I can have it finished up in two weeks. Hopefully by May 1st. If I can get in our bedroom and work four to six hours per day in there, maybe I can finish it before school lets out. That would leave me the entire summer to focus on the yard and going through the Army room and basement and downsizing things we're keeping just for keeping's sake ;). I'd like to have every drawer, closet and storage area completely organized and downsized before he comes home. I have about four months left...if I can just keep motivated I may can make this a reality!

Hope everyone has a good week!

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Kerry on Meet The Press

I saw this posted on a message forum and thought it was too good not to share.

On Meet The Press Sunday, Kerry had an interesting take on creating his 10 million jobs as planned if he were to become President. Lets keep in mind that he has berated this president's handling of the economy over and over. Even though, we all know full well if Bush hadn't pushed the tax cuts as he did, the economy would be worse off due to the terrorist attacks on our country and the subsequent war on terror.

Senator, again, in the interest of candor and clarity, you have promised to create 10 million jobs...


MR. RUSSERT: ...and cut the deficit in half in your first four years.

SEN. KERRY: Yes, sir.

MR. RUSSERT: If you don't achieve those goals, would you pledge that you would not seek re-election?

SEN. KERRY: Well, it would depend on the circumstances. If I don't because there's a war or something terrible happens, of course I'm not going to make that pledge.

It just proves, only democrats are allowed to take into account wars and disasters when it comes to the economy heading south on their watch. We won't even go into the fact we were already going into a recession at the end of Clinton's term.

Also, a newsflash for Kerry: We are already at war. Does this mean you are anticipating not meeting the numbers of your pledge and already have your talking points ready on why you didn't achieve your promise? If you were to win that is...

Meet the Press - April 18

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Sunday, April 18, 2004

Day 222 - The Military Spouse Curse

Ask any military spouse. He or she will tell you, the curse is real and it awaits the moment the soldier leaves to rear its ugly head. Every spouse has his/her stories. We eventually learn, that no matter how bad, no matter how grueling, there will come a day when we can look back on the experiences and laugh.

The Military Spouse Curse is this: if something bad is going to happen, it will happen when the soldier is away from home. I have example after example I could share. Here are two:

Date: June, 1998
Where: The boonies of North Pole, AK
Soldier: Gone to the field.

We had just moved into the only place we could find in the interior that would allow dogs. The neighbors from hell lived above us. A female Army LT lived next door who felt our pain of dealing with the family of six upstairs who slept all day and partied hardy all night.

We had barely gotten settled when my husband was to leave for the field. No problem. I had a new puppy and an eleven month old baby to keep me busy. As with all places you move into, each has it's own quirks you find out about as the time passes. For this one particular "home," it was the back door. You see, you could turn the handle on the inside to get out - even if it was locked on the outside. This spells disaster for the woman who has never lived in a place she hasn't locked herself out of.

It was 7:30 in the morning, the morning he left for the field. Daughter was in the high chair enjoying some dry cereal while I cleaned up the breakfast dishes. The puppy husband had wanted was needing to go out. I took the puppy out the back door, but the step was too high for the baby to get into the yard. I stepped out the door a bit farther to pick up the puppy and place her in the grass. Just as I reached, my foot moved and the door slammed shut behind me. Panic sets in as I find, to my horror, the door is locked.

My baby is locked in, I'm locked out, the LT next door has already left for work, the crazy neighbors upstairs were away, the closest neighbor was too far to run to and leave my baby in the house alone. What if she choked? I couldn't get to her!

The windows were double glass - very thick, and all I had on the porch was a wicker table. It wasn't going to break that glass. I run around to the front and look in the dining room window. Daughter is happily eating and watching Barney. I start to cry...I'm the worst mother in the world. She could choke (can you tell I have a fear of my babies choking?) and it's all my fault for even opening a door - much less going outside while my baby had FOOD!

Panic grips me even harder. I push on the front door. The door, mind you, I had dead bolted BEFORE taking the dog out the back. Why of course! My thinking was, while I had my head out the back door, someone could sneak in the front door and steal my child! I had just seen something on a Lifetime movie the night before with that very scenario! But of course it could happen, in the sticks of Alaska!

I push on the front door. It gives a tad - the door and the door facing are not a snug fit. A word about me, if I'm mad or I'm scared, when tears start to flow - get out of the way. I have lost my mind and downshifted into crazy woman. Approach at your own risk.

I take my shoulder to the door. OUCH! It gives a bit more though. I take my shoulder to the door even harder - it gives more, but I think I've hurt myself. Standing in my sandals, I remember that my legs are the strongest part of my stick woman body. I'd just spent 8 months lifting weights to lose baby fat and get into my old clothes. I'm wearing the darn sandals - but kick the heck out of the door. I notice it's splitting around the deadbolt area. This is good!

I look in the window and tell daughter (who was not worried), not to worry, Mommy's coming. I'm sure this child thought, "I'm not positive I want that crying crazy lady getting in here! Who is that tear stained faced, medusa haired mad woman out there calling herself mommy? Daddy??! Daddy?! Someone's taken Mommy and replaced her with a monster!"

If my child will need therapy, this will be the childhood memory that will cause it.

I go back to the door, sure panic engulfing me - and kicked the hell out of that door over and over until it swung open. I ran in and hugged my baby....

Then I do what I do whenever something happens, I call Mother in hysterics. I'm surprised the poor woman isn't on Prozac just to deal with her daughter ;).

She answers the phone and immediately says "Ok, calm down. What happened? First things first. Is the baby ok?"

I take a deep breath and explain the entire scenario, ending with - I've just demolished the door and the door facing and now have to call my landlord. The woman who is awful to deal with, didn't want to rent to us because of the dog - and explain that because of a dog she didn't know we've added to the family, I have just destroyed the front door. Husband is gone and I will probably get us evicted.

Long story short, the landlord came out and to my surprise, laughed. She couldn't believe that stick woman here kicked in the solid wood front door that was on her rental unit. She of course, didn't find it funny enough to not have me pay for the repairs, but eviction was off the table. I believe it cost us around several hundred dollars for all the repairs. I've blocked that part from my memory though due to the sheer trauma of it all lol.

Husband called about an hour after the incident to say good-bye before he rolled out. I explained the situation and he laughed. Only his wife would kick in a door...why hadn't I called him? After I explained I couldn't find the phone we kept in the pine tree (rolling eyes), I had little choice living in the STICKS lol. Reminding him how much I love the fact he volunteered us for Alaska. It's not easy being married to me ;).


Date: January, 1999
Where: The boonies of North Pole, AK
Soldier: Gone to JRTC.

Three days before he left, the Explorer ate a belt. This belt should get at least 70,000 miles on it, however, it was eaten at 20,000 miles. The Ford Dealership replaced the belt and the second belt was soon eaten also. They finally decide it needs a new part, and that part will take over a week to get in. Meanwhile, my husband is leaving for a month, we only have one vehicle and Ford does not offer loaner cars when their under-warranty vehicles crap out.

Short version? Baby and I are stuck in the sticks with no vehicles - at the mercy of Ford to come get us when the Explorer is ready.

Just as luck would have it, a huge snow storm happens the week they should be coming out. By this time, the rental we live in has been sold and our new landlord is a man. A man who thinks all women are idiots.

Day one of snow storm I call the landlord and tell him the snow plow guy hasn't plowed our drive. He calls back to say he talked to snow plow guy and yes he has. I say, "I'm looking out my window and I can assure you he has not been here."

Day two of snow storm. I call the landlord and tell him the snow plow man has not been out - at all. We are now waist deep in snow. He again returns my call to inform me that yes, the snow plow guy has plowed it twice now, and insinuates that maybe I should get a life and stop bothering him. I tell him that Ford is on their way to pick me up to get our vehicle. They can't get down the drive. He says, in no uncertain terms, that he sure hates it for me.

With little choice, I carry my eighteen month old, my purse and her car seat through waist deep snow in some places, a half mile to get to the main road for the Ford Courtesy Van service to pick us up. As I make my way through the snow, in the cold, not only carrying our baby, but 50 pounds of crap along for the trek, I'm thinking about how much I'd like to thank my husband again for volunteering us for Alaska.

Upon returning, the Explorer makes it down the road, but gets stuck half way up the drive to the house. I leave the truck running, with the baby inside (checking three times to make sure the doors are not locked) and get the snow shovel off the porch. I procede for the next hour, to dig a trench from where the truck is stuck, to the front of the house. Afterall, it has to be close enough to be able to plug in.

I finally, soaking wet and frozen, call the landlord again. This time, I'm not so friendly. I tell him what I've just gone through to get the darn truck close enough to the house to plug it in. If he doesn't get that snow plow guy out here, I'm calling JAG and getting the Army involved. Angry, he says he's on his way out and he's not thrilled. He has no idea why I keep calling him. The snow plow guy has billed him for two trips out there to clear the road and our drive. He just called to let him know that he had just finished plowing our drive - again.

Imagine my glare as Mr. Man pulls up an hour later and HIS truck gets stuck in the waist deep snow that I'm only imagining. I would be lying if I said I wasn't gloating - asking him how in the world his truck also got stuck in imaginary snow. He asks to use my phone. After several minutes of angry landlord finally being angry at snow plow man - it seems that snow plow man was indeed plowing. The problem was, he was plowing the drive on the OTHER end of the road. Someone had been getting their drive plowed for free. That evening, I took photos of the plow man who finally showed up and cleared our drive. The mountain of snow to the right of our unit, took until the end of June to fully melt. That's how high it was.


So there are two fun stories of my experience with the Military Spouse Curse. Admittedly mild in comparison to some of the stories I've heard from friends and read online at spouse forums. I have often said we all should ban together and compile a book of our stories. It shows the strength we have, the ability to handle it on our own - when we have to. These stories should be a source of pride for us all. We face catastrophes, we overcome. We are happily married, yet must be independent and resourceful. We are, military spouses.

And I end with today's experience, the latest dealings I've had with the Military Spouse Curse. The experience that made me think of all the things that have happened when my husband has been gone through the years. All the things that have happened during the last seven months.

My youngest runs to me holding his throat. As stated above, my babies choking is a huge fear of mine. I jump up and ask what is wrong. He says, my magnet, I swallowed it. I'm sorry Momma!

The magnet was a grandparent gift. It's a set of small round magnets and straight stick like magnets. They can put them together to make all kinds of shapes. Both babies have enjoyed the gift, and we've had it over a year with no incidents. Their creativity while playing with it has been amazing. They've made dog shapes, houses, the pictures on the box - you name it they have thought it up and made their own versions. We've really had a lot of fun with this toy.

I saw him playing with them in the chair. Apparently, we decided to put one in our mouth for safe keeping while we tried to build our latest creation. I guess somehow, we swallowed.

I stayed calm. He was talking, so it had gone on down. He cries and says it's in his belly. I tell him everything is ok, but we'll call the nurse just in case. I talk to the nurse advice line and she says because it's about the diameter of a dime, he's drinking and acting normal, he should pass it within several days. If he's not passed it in three days, we'll need to go in and see a pediatrician.

Then, she says, her concern is lead. My heart drops. I have an old house. I have read about lead and work hard to protect my babies from it when doing any projects. She says she wants to transfer me to poison control to make sure that it's not toxic. The box did have a choking hazard on it, but nothing about it being toxic.

Poison control gets the name of the toy and puts me on hold. Thankfully, she comes back on the line and says that it is nontoxic. To just watch for him to pass it and follow the advice she's sure the nurse gave us.

So, now we wait. Thankfully, although potty trained, he still uses his potty to go poo poo. We tinkle in the regular potty, but haven't transitioned to the balancing act on the big potty. It should be rather easy to look for the round magnet. It won't be the most fun job in the world, but I guess it's better than having to go fishing :(.

Welcome to parenting. Me? I put a button in my nose for some reason when I was three. My son? He has a round magnet for a snack. Poor kid. It's just genetics apparently ;).

Too bad Daddy is missing all the fun. Darn Military Spouse Curse ;).

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Saturday, April 17, 2004

Absurdity in its Purest Form

Are you ready for absurd? THIS is absurd:

Democratic presidential challenger John Kerry, lashing out at the White House's "twisted sense of ethics and morality," accused Republicans on Friday of distorting his record and attacking his patriotism.

Kerry, at an outdoor rally on the University of Pittsburgh campus, used an American flag and the national anthem to fire back at Republicans who charge he is weak on defense for voting against some weapons systems and an $87 billion bill to pay for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You see, it is perfectly ethical to say that President Bush was a deserter and/or was AWOL. It is perfectly ethical to call this president a liar, but never offer facts to back up this claim. It is perfectly ethical to demand Bush release all of his military records while refusing to release your own. It's perfectly ethical for your wife to hand out asses of evil pins at a house party/fundraiser on your behalf. It's even perfectly ethical to call a secret service agent a SOB when he accidentally knocks you down on the slopes.

However, do not question this Senator's voting record. To do so is questioning his patriotism and that, sir, is out of line!

How dare you point out that I voted to send people to war, but voted against funding it! How dare you point out that while I berated this administration for not being prepared, not having the proper body armor (among other things) in this quagmire called Iraq, I voted against the money to pay for it! How dare you! That insinuates I'm unpatriotic! I cannot be unpatriotic! I spent four months in Vietnam! Do you hear me? I was wounded three times (and no I won't release my medical records describing said wounds) during my tour in Vietnam! Never mind I came home and proceeded to sell out every person still fighting in Vietnam (many on their second year tours). Never mind the lies I told while selling them out. I served my country in combat for four long months and that trumps any vote I cast just a few short months ago!! I am a confessed war criminal. I not only spoke out against those war criminals in Vietnam, I allowed my view to be heard so loudly, so clearly, so boldly, that my comments were used against my own citizens who were prisoners of war!

"I'm tired of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and a bunch of people who went out of their way to avoid their chance to serve when they had the chance," the Massachusetts senator said. "I'm not going to listen to them talk to me about patriotism."

Mr. Kerry, if your brand of patriotism was and is considered acceptable, America would be in a world of hurt. Your tactics of patriotism you have and currently employ are also being followed by your bloated supporter, Ted "the drowned" (as in booze and young women) Kennedy. Not long after Kennedy made comments on your behalf, young Sadr (who you have already sided with concering our closing of his paper that called for attacks against our troops) repeated almost verbatim Kennedy's "Bush's Vietnam" statement. How grand it must feel to once again show America your brand of patriotism! To once again be giving aid and comfort to those who seek to kill our service members. Allowing your words to be used by the enemies we are battling, these words that give encouragement to our enemies.

"They don't think twice about trying to pretend to America that I somehow don't care about the defense of our nation," Kerry said, paraphrasing wording in the Star Spangled Banner.

Fortunately, even the simple minded will have to no look further than your own words and actions to know, without any doubt, you care nothing about the defense of this nation, nor the ones who fight and die defending it. We have to look no further than your wife's words and actions to know she shares your sentiments also.

I distrust you. You are appalling and vile. However, most importantly, you are a danger to this country's national security...

Kerry Hits Back at White House, Defends Patriotism

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Interesting Point

I was writing a few emails tonight while listening to After Hours with Cal Thomas on Fox News. He was sharing letters from viewers with comments about previous shows. One person wrote in and had an interesting point. I thought I'd share it because it so simply explained what has really bugged me about the left on issues of freedom of speech. Of course, I'm bothered by many more ideas coming from the left, just so I'm clear ;).

In short, the writer said the left tells conservatives to turn the channel if we find a TV show to be too violent or sexual - or not rent/see a movie. If it bothers us, we have the freedom to "look the other way" and not be offended.

At the same time, none on the left are willing to do the same when it comes to the Ten Commandments in a court house or a nativity scene in public places during the "winter holidays." Another example of the left's tolerance for others - don't dare refer to Christmas as Christmas, we must call it winter holidays.

To clarify, the writer gave two examples, but after thinking about all the ways the left tries to force America to conform to their beliefs and cease certain activities, the nativity scene example is mine. I couldn't recall past the Ten Commandments once I sat down to write this. You get the idea of the writer's point, though.

You see, conservatives are suppose to learn to be tolerant. The left is determined to teach us to be tolerant. However, liberals are the only group of people who should never be offended. They should never be asked to look the other way because they are tolerant of others. Well, as long as what they are asked to be tolerant of fits within their agenda. Otherwise, it's time to start the lawsuit machine to force the rest of us to be tolerant of their intolerance.

I'm so glad we've cleared that up; said dripping with sarcasm lol.

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Friday, April 16, 2004

Day 220 - An Exhausting Week...

I can't recall ever being this tired in my life. The deadline for the design job was today. They send me 90% of the content I had waited on/needed all week to be finished in time for today - on Wednesday. I had planned to spend all day Wednesday at the computer, that way I could still follow through with my new plan of being asleep by 11 pm every night. Instead of sending it that morning, one email after another, all holding no less than three and up to 10 attachments started coming in around 4:30 pm. So, having little choice, Wednesday night I worked through the night. I figured if I went to sleep, I'd never wake up lol. I was that tired.

Yesterday I left early to take our daughter to school so I could pick up milk and a few other things and make it home by 8 am and get started. With only taking breaks to feed babies and get a child to and from school and baths and bed time, I finally finished up the last of the changes and additions last night around midnight.

I had not emailed anyone that had emailed me this week, so I sent a few emails out and collapsed on the couch close to 1 this morning. We woke up around 6:30 and it's apparent that I did not get nearly enough rest. I'm more tired today than I was yesterday having not gone to sleep at all!

This morning, several more changes have been taken care of and we're waiting on the graphic guy to send me several new images. This evening I'll install the tracking system. Hopefully they will look over everything very carefully this weekend, we can make any changes and plan for Monday to go live with it. Then, I will finally have some much needed free time to sleep - well, first I have to clean this house that has been neglected all week :(.

Later Today....
I never found the time to finish this entry earlier today, so I'm revisiting it tonight hopeful to at least write ONE entry before going to sleep.

The plan was to cut grass after picking up our daughter from school. It was close to 90 degrees this afternoon. When I went to pick up our little one from school, that kind of heat after 60 degrees all week made me feel like poo on top of being so tired. I decided instead we'd go to bed early tonight and I'd get up in the morning and cut the grass before it got too hot.

I was getting ready to feed the dogs and had put them outside to take a potty break while I got their food ready. Both of them started going crazy, so I went out to see what all the fuss was about. Four neighbors had surrounded the fence. I'm so tired, I look as though I've been on a four day drinking binge or something, my eyes are such road maps and glassy :(. I'm ashamed to admit I was not in the mood to visit.

The lady who lives a block away says her husband is going to cut my grass. That they haven't been able to do anything for us since my husband left and he wanted to do this. I told her to please go and enjoy their Friday evening together and not spend it working on my yard. That I'd planned to do it this evening, but it was so hot, I was going to get up early in the morning and get out there and do it before it got too hot. She said they were not listening lol. He wanted to cut the grass and I might as well just go on back in the house because they weren't listening to no. I thanked her profusely. They are such kind people and the grass had once again gotten so high it would have taken me several hours to cut it all.

My other neighbor asked if I'd like a beer. She's a nice lady - probably between my age and Mother's. She has a grown son and lives alone. I declined and told her I was so tired, I'd smell it and it'd knock me out ;). I don't drink, but didn't see the point in going into all that at the moment.

The first lady asked how my husband was and if I'd heard from him. I told her with everything going on, we aren't able to communicate like we were. It's hard to get used to not talking through email several times a week like we had been, but we've only got four more months or so...

She made the comment she didn't know how I kept sane. That they are always thinking of him with everything being so violent over there. Of course, my eyes fill with tears and I tell her I've never lived in shear terror before. That I thought I had known and met fear in my life, but I now know I hadn't a clue prior to this. This is fear and it's an every day feeling you can't escape from. I never did sob - I'm so proud of myself. Only eyes filing with tears, score one for the tired woman ;). Going on five hours of sleep since Wednesday, it's no small thing that I didn't burst into tears. I again said, we only have four more months hopefully and this will all be behind us and I'll get my boring, no drama, easy-going life back.

A bit more small talk and the babies and I came in to get them ready for bed. It's finally dark out and they've finished the yard. I'm sitting here with the windows open enjoying the smell of fresh cut grass. It's one of my favorite smells in the reminds me of summers when I was a child. That was the smell of summer being on its way, school getting out and having my days and nights to play; to be a child.

It's funny, several things this week have made me remember feelings of my childhood. A song on the radio, a conversation with Mother, now the grass being cut... I'd be lying if I said I haven't wished several times I could go back to being a child. Where worry and fear were not something I had truly ever been introduced to. Wishing I could go back to when someone else took care of everything and my job was to eat, sleep and go play. Just a few moments this past week where an overworked, overstressed woman had longed for simpler times. Wished for that feeling of being surrounded by people who loved her - instead of living in fear and being a two day drive away from the closest family member.

As my grandmother used to say, If wishes were horses......

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Sunday, April 11, 2004

Day 215 - R & R, What is the True Story?

I read with interest Sarah's R & R entry this evening. If this isn't the norm throughout the Army, the leadership within the Army needs a swift kick in the tail.

The way I understand it, lower enlisted soldiers go first. No questions asked. Among the lower enlisted, those with babies due - the command will try to work the R & R time to coincide with the due dates if at all possible. Soldiers with family issues or a sick family member that would not necessarily qualify for emergency leave via a Red Cross message also take priority. After that, some draw names, others go alphabetically - but it always starts at the bottom and works its way up.

Rarely (at least from my friends' experiences who have husbands that have already returned from their one year trip) do all soldiers in a company get to take advantage of the R & R program, regardless of what the news would have you believe. Unlike Vietnam (since so many love to compare OIF to Vietnam), soldiers don't get weekend passes to Baghdad or Jordan to toss a few back, raise some cane and rest up - at least not that I'm hearing. Many are spending the entire year in combat, with no escape other than when they sleep - if they are lucky enough to dream about home when they sleep.

NCOs take care of their soldiers first and foremost. At least, that's what I have witnessed through the years watching my husband and his close friends do their job. When NCOs and officers start putting themselves at the top of the list for R & R, someone from above should make the proverbial shit roll down hill.

This was a subject my husband and I had discussed before we even knew he'd be heading over there for a year. The topic had come up on a message board I frequent. He was sitting in his recliner not too far from the computer desk. I asked him if he went over, if he was offered it, would he take the 15 days to come home or would he pass on the opportunity?

Both of us were torn. We felt even a day together was better than nothing. However, when you are gearing up to go - you don't really have an idea of the conditions you'll be living in. You can imagine what it will be like, but until you get there and see how good you'll have it - or how bad, there's only speculation. You're heading over with everything from how the area will look to how violent it will be, as nothing more than how you can imagine it.

After about an hour of me reading responses from others to him and both of us discussing the different emotional aspects, we both agreed that it would be better for all of us, even if offered, that he stayed put. He thought it would make it too hard to get back into the groove that he would have had prior to the break. That while you're there, you have your mind focused on the job, and the light at the end of the tunnel when you roll out for good - not having to go back into the thick of it a few weeks later. He felt he might lose some focus, saying good-bye again in the same year for the same place and job would be a strain.

I felt that we'd become accustomed to the day in and day out mundane that is life for the most part when he isn't home, if he were deployed for a year. Two weeks is barely enough time to get comfortable as a family again and we'd immediately be shoved back into the emotional roller coaster that is those first weeks to a month after he leaves. Getting through the "last time we heard this song, last time we drove down this road he was telling us about..." or "last time we ate pizza..." Idiotic things I do when he leaves - but through the years seem to be the norm for me. Once I make it through all the "last times," I start to feel more level. More apt to look forward instead of constantly behind me. Fourteen days would be just enough to take me return to the heartache that is day one.

The children, we both felt would suffer the most. It would be just enough time to open the wound that is - when Daddy leaves. It could possibly cause them to regress farther than even the original goodbye - from our little ones handling the separation fairly well, to not handling it at all.

After a long discussion, we decided that no, even if offered to all soldiers (which at the time we didn't think was a possibility, but the program was so new I could find little information about it online), if he were to deploy for a year, he would stay put. When we were finally reunited, it would be the reunion, not just enough to remind us in reality - instead of our dreams and memories, of what all we are missing by being separated for such a long time.

Of course, later on we were facing that year apart personally. Again, we talked about R & R. I had wondered now, that we weren't discussing a hypothetical but the real deal, if either of us would have changed our minds. We hadn't. We sat outside on the porch and pretty much reiterated all the feelings and concerns we had discussed months earlier.

At that point, I still wasn't certain how the R & R program worked. Honestly, I'm not sure if there is a set standard beyond each company having so many slots each month and it being left to each command as to how they are doled out. I've not located any standards issued by the military online yet - but haven't really searched either. If someone has a link, I'd be interested in reading it!

I do know for my husband's company, they have started at the bottom. The general consensus of the spouses back home is, by the time they get up the ladder through E-5 possibly a few E-6s, it will be about time for the program to be stopped to prepare to come home.

I've read one or two spouses post at online sites that their husbands' units started at the top and their specialist or private didn't get the R & R. I felt then as I feel now, those folks making these types of self serving decisions should get their rears in a sling.

Do I feel all servicemembers doing a year there should get some time out of their work environment? Yes, I admit that I do. Even if it's just a few days at a relatively safe palace in country where they can watch some TV, not have to be "on," spend extra time on a computer or telephone with home. I've not thought to ask my husband what his thoughts are about everyone at least getting a few days somewhere to relax a bit. For me though, I can't help but feel a year with no down time (other than when you're washing your clothes, showering or trying to catch a few hours of sleep) has to be hard - without even taking into account how dangerous it is there.

Most wives I have talked with say they'd gladly forego the R & R, just send them home 15 days earlier than planned so this deployment can finally be over. If only those at the Pentagon had asked our opinion...we could have saved them millions in movement costs ;).

Is your loved one deployed? How has the R & R program worked in your and your loved one's experience?

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