The Deployment Diary

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Day 264 - A Busy Weekend

Yesterday was a busy day. We got up and headed down to Lowes and Wal-Mart around 10 in the morning. I spent too much money at both places, but I think what I bought adds so much to the front of the house.

I purchased three hanging baskets of petunias. Two were fuchsia colored and one is a deep dark purple.

When we first moved in, we had these huge bushes in front of the house. They were so large, the took up half of the front yard. When my husband decided to cut them down (a story in itself) we found that behind the bushes, on either side of the front porch's steps, there were large urn like planters. There is a third on the side of the house next to the steps by the side door. There used to be a large porch there that had columns that matched the front columns, but a storm in the 1930's blew a tree over on it. A subsequent owner built an arbor over the side steps, but we had to take it down not long after we purchased the house. Termites had eaten it to shreds and it was covered in trumpet vines that were large enough for Tarzan to swing on. We were afraid a strong wind would either blow it through the windows or it would wind up in a neighbor's yard lol.

Back to the planters.

So, now that we know we have planters lol, I have tried different things in the planters. The ones out front get full sun. Last year's first choice of miniature rose bushes surrounded by Alyssum was not a good idea. Within three weeks (watering each evening) they were nothing more than dried out sticks. Then I put in some petunias that weren't mature. Forgetting to water them didn't help. They were toasted in a week in the 100 degree weather we were having last year in late July.

This year, I saw the hanging baskets and decided the petunias (which are perfect for full sun) would look beautiful in the planters. They were very mature and once I put them in, the flowers cascade down the sides. The fuchsia looks beautiful against the white planters. The planter on the side is in the shade, so I'm a bit worried about how the deep purple one will do. I'm hoping that it gets enough sun in the morning to make it.

I also bought red mulch to put around the bushes out front. I put the mulch from the edge of the steps to the porch down to the edge of the last columns (there are two side by side on each end). I'm thinking of putting some type of flowering bush that will do well in full sun on each end to balance everything out. I'm planning a trip next week to Home Depot to look for two more ceiling fans for our bedroom and our son's (found a perfect one for our daughter's room yesterday). While I'm there, hopefully I can find two bushes that will look pretty on either end of the porch.

Our flags were a year old and starting to look their age. I bought two new flags and put them up. I also moved the flag on the front of the house. It was over one of the planters and put shade on it, so I moved it down to the end of the porch. OH and I bought a red, white and blue bow to put under my yellow ribbon on our light post out front. We have a colonial style light in the front yard that cuts on at dusk. I thought the bow was so pretty, so I bought it ;).

I guess that's about all I bought. I mowed the front yard yesterday before I put down the mulch. Then I mixed up some of the weed/grass killer and sprayed down all our sidewalks, the driveway and the crack between the sidewalk and our porch steps. We have some pretty big weeds growing up through there lol. In a few days, it all should be brown so I can weed it all out. It worked great on the back patio!

Last night, I called Mother around 9 pm to tell her what all I got done around here. She said to turn on the Weather Channel because some bad storms were near us. By eleven, they were heading right for us. I decided to stay up, since our youngest would most likely hear the thunder and be up anyway.

Sure enough, around 1:45 or so, I heard him yelling. I jumped up yelling up the stairs (so he could hear me over the fan), "I'm coming buddy, hold on." By the time I got up there he was already at our daughter's bedroom door yelling for her to wake up, there was a storm!!! ha ha!

Yep, the wee hours of the morning and we're all UP ha ha. They came downstairs and we all waited out the storm together and had a snack. It was after three when the storm passed and I got them tucked in and back to sleep. Little guy of course was the first up this morning. He slept until 8 so I can't complain. I'm running on around 4 hours of sleep ha ha. We have some work on the backyard to do today though, so tonight will probably be an early to bed night for me ;).

I hope everyone's long weekend is going well.

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Friday, May 28, 2004

Dining Room Update of the Day

Well, the first coat of stain/poly mix you could really see the splotches of light and darker areas on the old molding at the ceiling. I tried the darker gloss stain/poly mix to cover it and it was too red. I'll save it for another project. I tried the gloss of the stain/poly mix that's the same color as the satin. It was too thin.

I went back to the original stain/poly and like an artist lol, I put on a thick coat, being careful to try to make sure it wasn't thick enough to run. I placed the brush almost flat to the wood, using the side of the bristles, put stain on the edge and then carefully covered the lighter areas thicker and then blended with the darker areas.

It took me about three hours to go all the way around the room, but I think it hides the lighter areas rather well. I finished around 5 pm, so it was still wet when the sun went down around 8:45 this evening. In the morning, I'll check it in the daylight when it's dry and see if it needs one more coat before the clear polyurethane. If it looks good, I'll start putting the red stain on the new woodwork. Then maybe tomorrow evening I'll be ready to put the stain/poly on that.

Everything will need at least two coats, so it will take probably eight hours for each coat on all that woodwork. Hopefully at the latest, by Monday afternoon I'll be finished. Then I can repair the two (yes I found another) cracks that keep reappearing and then prime and paint the walls! God willing, Friday after next, I'll be ready to rush upstairs and get to work on our bedroom.

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Day 261 - My Father-in-Law

My father-in-law is good friends with a congressman from my husband's home state. Soon after my husband deployed, the congressman had a flag flown in Washington in my husband's honor.

My father-in-law called earlier this week to let me know that the flag is in a package he's mailed and should be here on Friday. Along with the flag, there is a certificate that says the flag was flown in his honor and a display box.

My father-in-law said he'd put some Tasty Cakes in there for us (if you don't know what these are, they are similar to Little Debbie snacks and soooo good). He said he also put a small something or another in the package for each grandbaby - and a small something for me.

He said, "I'm afraid during all of this we've forgotten about you and I want to tell you how sorry I am for that."

I told him nothing could be further from the truth! He calls to check in on us often, he emails to see how we are - he's been extremely thoughtful of me and my feelings. I told him he's been wonderful and I hope he knows how much I love him. I think he got a little chocked up. I do love him dearly.

We've never lived close to my husband's home state to visit his family regularly. Through the years, he's come for short visits, but we've never had the opportunity establish a close relationship. One of the positives of this year is that I've had the opportunity to get to know him better. He's had the opportunity to get to know me apart from his son. We've had so many wonderful conversations - everything from politics to raising children and many conversations about how wonderful and loved his son is. Conversations we may not have had without this experience bringing us closer.

I feel truly blessed for having such a loving father-in-law. He raised a magnificent man and has much to be proud of.

We love you Pop.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

End of the Day Odds and Ends

The only bad thing about school being out is it seems like the days are getting longer. The day sort of went by fast when the afternoon was broken up by picking her up at school. It could also be that I'm constantly thinking of his return. Everything is about him returning. My every thought starts out with the fact there is only (hopefully) about three more months left of this being my life.

More About the Dream
Saturday night I made an entry about an odd dream I had. Sunday evening, he called. One of the first things I did was tell him about this dream and the fact it left me with such an odd feeling. It was so real, it was as if he was really here. And the quilted vest thing with button on sleeves, it was such a big part of it. A small aspect of the dream that stood out in my mind. He said that part was really strange, because (it being 4 in the morning there when he calls) he'd just dreamed it was cold outside and he was wearing that to work in the yard.

Goosebumps. It's not the first time we've done that though. A few times during this, he'll mention a dream he had and some of the details I'd recently dreamed of too. Odd things that just pop up in our dreams out of nowhere, that we've not discussed or emailed each other about. However, we'll both in the same few days have similar dreams or similar aspects to our dreams.

The Dining Room
The carpenter said the molding at the top looked like white pine to him. I guess it's old and I probably should have put a conditioner on it prior to staining. Some of it after it was stripped looked as though it had some chemical dripped on it and the red stain stained lighter there. In other areas, it is blotchy. The stain/poly mix is so much darker, I was sure it would hide some of that. It didn't. Then there's one entire section that was a bit darker than the rest (and it stained beautifully) when I stripped the paint off. It hasn't turned out as good as I thought it would and I was pretty upset as I was working on it. It does look better now that it is dry, but it's still a mess.

While at Wal-Mart today, I found the stain/poly that I use in a gloss! I've only been able to find it in satin, so I had planned to put a coat of clear poly over everything. I'll test out the gloss tomorrow and hopefully cut out one entire step to finishing this room! And, I bought a some of the stain/poly gloss in a shade darker. Since it'll be so high on the molding, I thought a darker second coat might even out everything. On the already darker section, I'll just add a coat of the clear poly to hopefully match it. Cross your fingers please that this half-baked plan of mine works. Otherwise, I have a real mess on my hands and I'll possibly have to start all over on it :(.

Photos
I read at Life Happens today that Blogger now offers picture hosting! So, plan on keeping an eye out for some photos! I'll be able to keep everyone who is interested in the progress updated and you'll be able to see the photos of how the projects are going too!

I'm trying so hard this week to finish up this dining room but it's the project that won't seem to end. There's another crack that has reappeared after the crack repair. Only I could have crack attacks that don't involve underwear. Ughh. So, as soon as all the woodwork is done (no way am I cleaning up all the dust again until the woodwork is finished), I'll have to tackle that before I can prime and paint. That's ok, while it's drying I can paint the radiator and clean the chandelier in there to try to stay ahead of the game.

Well, I'm off to sleep so I can hopefully get a lot done in there tomorrow morning. Tomorrow afternoon I'll be working in the backyard weeding that patio. Never a day where there isn't something needing to be done lol, but I can't think of a better way to make the days go by faster!!

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Day 259 - Are You Worried?

In the past week, I've been asked by several people if I'm worried about my husband coming home. Are you worried about how he'll act? Are you worried you both have changed? How will you be comfortable after a year of not living together, not seeing each other and not even being able to talk all that often?

The simple answer is no, I'm honestly not worried.

I think it was month six that I had a complete meltdown, emailed my closest friend with all these fears and worries about his return. She, with all her compassion and wisdom emailed back that my feelings were all very normal. Hang tight. I did - with the thought, "This too shall pass." And it did, for a while.

Last week I mentioned a phone call I had with a friend who is having trouble after her husband's return. Not long after, I read online about someone else having similar problems.

After talking with my friend having trouble, I'd sent my husband an email about how people change and some of the trouble some are having when they returned. I mentioned the LT who came back to our installation, got drunk, tossed a chair through a window in a bar, assaulted a police officer, later was found he was drinking with his subordinates and screaming he was a "war hero" to the jailer. Ironically, his jailer WAS a war hero - although retired; a real hero.

Not long after, my husband called on a Sunday. He mentioned the three soldiers who killed a buddy for getting them kicked out of a strip club in Georgia (I believe it was). He said these are folks who would have wound up in jail - war or no war. He said too many people are using the war as an excuse to act stupid. Yes, some folks see some bad bad stuff and will need help dealing with what they've seen, what they've experienced - but they don't kill their wives and they don't kill their buddies. He explained it so much better than I am, so please don't take issue. I'm not giving this conversation the credit it deserves. He just said, some people are assholes, plain and simple. They were before they left and being in Iraq now gives them an excuse to be an asshole whenever the mood strikes them and have a crutch to blame it on.

He said a lot of people will have problems with their relationships when they get home and the majority of them had problems before the soldier ever deployed. These problems aren't repaired just because they are separated, they are strained even more. They come back and think all will be perfect and when the same problems are waiting on them, the relationship skids to a halt. The spouse blames the war, the soldier blames the war, when in reality the exact problems were alive and well before there ever was a war.

He told me he's changed a lot in the past months just as I have, but he feels they are all changes for the good. He says he appreciates things now that he'd taken for granted. He says he has more patience. He said, "I'm not coming home having turned into an asshole. I can guarantee you that."

Through the weeks, we've talked a lot about how we think things will be when he returns. If nothing else, my husband and I are excellent communicators. We love talking to each other and always have. My favorite time of the day is always after he gets home from work and he tells me all about his day. Or, when he returns from the field and he has so many funny stories to share. I love listening to what he did, what his soldiers did and who said what ;).

I tell him I'm worried about all the tears. That he'll get sick of seeing me burst into tears for no other reason than the fact I'm so overwhelmed with happiness that he's finally home. He says he's worried I'll get sick of him being right up my butt lol. The entire 30 days he's on leave, he's going to be stuck to me like glue.

Do I think there will be things we'll have to work through? I'm sure. He's coming home to retire. That frightens me more than him coming home and having problems with anger and aggression. I know he is stressed about finding a job, paying the bills, being the man of the house and supporting his family. I would like to get at least a part time job opposite hours, just to help bring in some extra money AND get out of the house some. He says no, he's always supported this family and if he has to work two jobs, that's what will happen. We planned for me to stay home and we're sticking to that plan according to him. According to me, we'll just see about that ;).

There's also all the losses they have suffered. He lost two of his good friends in the same incident. Soldiers have suffered some horrible injuries and their lives will never be the same. Young soldiers with young wives and small children have lost limbs. I don't think he's dealt with it. If anything, he's put it aside to focus on his job and just making it through. At some point, the emotions from the memorials and the loss will come to the surface. I plan to be there when he's ready, to listen - and to be his rock to lean on if needed.

I can't think of a time my husband has ever yelled at me or our children. I cannot imagine him coming home and doing so. My friend, they've always been yellers, as long as I've known them lol. That is there normal. It's just escalated, I think (not being there, I can't say). I can remember coming home from being at their house and my husband saying he couldn't imagine us talking to each other like that. I agreed. We have this mutual respect for one another and if we do get mad (all couples have arguments), we do the silent thing for a day or so, then sit down and talk about it.

No marriage is perfect, but if there ever was a good marriage through and through it is ours. We have our ups and downs, but we face them together. Just as we'll face this reunion and the settling back into normal life. It's just another experience that brings us closer together and makes our foundation stronger. I look forward to us making our way back together, getting reacquainted, sharing our lives. I cannot wait to face life as a team again and work through what life tosses our way - together.

I'm not worried. I'm looking forward to it!

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Monday, May 24, 2004

Difference Between Republicans and Democrats

A friend sent this to me a few minutes ago. I thought it was a perfect explanation lol!
A Republican and a Democrat were walking down the street when they came to a homeless person.

The Republican gave the homeless person his business card and told him to come to his business for a job.

He then took twenty dollars out of his pocket and gave it to the homeless person.

The Democrat was very impressed, and when they came to another homeless person, he decided to help.

He walked over to the homeless person and gave him directions to the welfare office.

He then reached into the Republican's pocket and gave the homeless person fifty dollars.

Now you understand the difference between Republicans and Democrats



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Week 38 - A Typical Monday

Thankfully, last night - no dreams ;).

Over in Iraq, the internet and phones have been down off and on for the past week. He's been able to email here and there though. He usually calls on these internet phones, but last night they were down, so we were stuck with AT&T. We were cut off three times, but each time he was able to call back. As always, it was so great to hear his voice and just talk.

Today, I was busy online this morning which wasn't my plan :(. I really couldn't avoid the situation. I have known since last Friday that come Monday, I would most likely have to deal with it. I hope I did ok. At the very least, I hope I didn't make the situation any worse than it is (hopefully was).

I put the red stain on the molding near the ceiling this afternoon. Woohoo! After weeks of procrastination, I finally DID something in there ;). The stain says it has to dry for eight hours before I can put anything else on it. Midnight will be eight hours. I'm really debating staying up until midnight and putting a coat of the stain/poly mix over the plain red stain. That way, by morning I can see how well it matches the door facing. If it looks good, then after running some errands tomorrow, I can put the red stain on the wainscoting. I didn't want to even think about touching that wainscoting until I saw how the molding near the ceiling turned out. I'm terrified of ruining the wainscoting and having to paint it or something.

We had meat loaf, mashed potatoes and green beans for dinner. I'd planned for corn, but for the first time in my life I've seemed to run out of frozen corn lol!

I've stopped saving leftovers. We never eat them anyway. So, the dogs ate really well tonight. Their bellies are so swollen they can barely walk lol. They've been out three times tonight ha! I'm sure by morning they both will be begging me at 6 am to open that back door for them.

Little dog is sprawled out here by the computer desk. I went upstairs to check on the babies a few minutes ago and the rottweiler is in our son's room. His room has the air conditioner in it, so she's stretched out in front of it. She was snoring so loud, I don't know how in the world little guy was sleeping through it. I tell you, that dog snores like a man ha!

So, there was my Monday. Now that our daughter is out of school for the summer, I have to keep checking the computer to make sure what day it is. I just can't keep up.

We are down to:
14 weeks
3.5 months
And it is ALL I can seem to think about! I have to stop obsessing over how close it is getting or the time is going to crawl to a standstill!

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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Interesting Weekend Read

Emphasis mine.
War has butted up against the postmodern world—in which enemy armies are expected to collapse rather than to be destroyed. Violence used for humanitarian purposes—ceasing mass murder or state fascism—is deemed by its very nature as amoral. Television editorializes that those who fight in uniforms are killers and those in robes and scarves freedom-fighters—even when the former are seeking democracy and the latter tyranny.

In reaction, all of our recent mistakes are mostly a result of a misplaced sense of restraint and worry over our utopian critics —not arresting or shooting the initial looters, not employing and reforming the existing Iraqi army, pausing outside Fallujah, letting al Sadr reach Mahdist stature, and allowing Iran and Syria easy infiltration into Iraq.

Each time we sought not to mete out terrible justice to a few hundred, thousands more lost confidence in us. Our military has crafted the tactics to win—whether in the streets, desert, or air. But we must unleash them to destroy the enemy first, and, SECOND, therein allow others to follow to win hearts and mind.
A Mixed Report - Grading the War

Excellent article.

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Too Tired to be Productive Today

After staying up so late last night and then being up within an hour of going to sleep - I'm dragging today.

I'm not sure if I mentioned the electrician came this week. I know I mentioned the ceiling fan. At any rate, my husband has been worried since he left about me having the electricity updated. I promised him I'd take care of it. The breaker box downstairs was small and maxed out to where nothing else could be added to it. It didn't have a main shutoff either. The meter on the outside was so old, the wires were still in CLOTH lol. It was time to update it ;).

At any rate, it rained Monday and Tuesday. The electrician was here Wednesday and Thursday - and Friday was the last day of school and a scorcher. I decided Saturday we'd go out early in the morning and get started on the yard.

After breakfast and getting everyone dressed, we finally made it out around 10 yesterday morning. It took me from 10 until 1 to get the yard cut. Not weeded or anything, just mowing the jungle. The grass get so high so fast these days.

We came in for lunch and stayed in until 3 or so. Then headed back out until 5 to clean up the lawn mower and sweep the sidewalks and drive (the part I dread most). All three of us were soaked from sweating, so before I even considered cooking dinner, we all went up and got our baths. I think I washed ten pounds of dirt off the three of us.

Between the busy day, staying up late waiting for the tornado watch and the storm to pass and then the dream - I don't think I was able to go back to sleep until almost four. The babies were up at 7:30, so of course I'm up at 7:30 lol. I'm so beat!!

From sitting on my rear all winter, it's no surprise I'm out of shape. My shoulders, legs and arms are sore from the yard work yesterday. That's pretty darn sad. Oh well, hopefully I'll get some muscle out of all this lol. I've gotten a little on the soft side lately.

I did get an email this morning. Not a better way to start the day these days ;). We probably won't get our weekly phone call this week. The phones he uses are down and the last time he tried the AT&T phones, it would never put his call through. I'll keep the phone close just in case though.

Hope everyone has a great Sunday!!

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257 - Odd Odd Dream

What is it with these dreams of mine lately? I'm up at 3 in the morning after not being asleep for an hour. No one can dream that fast can they? Don't you need so many hours to get in the sleep that is deep enough to dream? Maybe it is the heat - being out in the sun all day and being so tired. I stayed up too late because of a tornado watch and a storm I was waiting on to pass us over.

On to the dream...

First these three Chinese men are in my dream - no there was something again about being at table and signing something. People I knew from high school were there. THEN the Chinese people lol. One really large Chinese guy is going to kill me and the other two men or something. So, I wake up. I think I wake up anyway.

I'm on the couch. I hear someone come in the house from behind the couch. I hear my husband say, "Oh God, Baby." Not in a bad way, but in a whisper. Like relief almost but it wasn't relief. I can't explain it, but not relief. Sorrow maybe?

Then, he's kneeling down in front of the couch and he's taking off that Army green quilted thing - like they wear under their BDUs in the winter. He is pulling his left arm out of that vest/quilted thing and I'm just opening my eyes and start to put my arms around him. The next thing I hear is him walking through the foyer.

Then I wake up for real this time. And because he's just come in from behind me - no outside door there, I'm trying to figure out where the hell I am. For a split second I'm trying to place myself in our home in AK of all places! We haven't lived there in over two years! I realize I'm in our living room. And this strange dream I just had makes me sit straight up on the couch. And I realize I did hear that floor in the foyer make it's distinct sound - and then I hear my son crying...

So I get up and go into the foyer and my son isn't crying. It's all quiet. I stand there for a minute trying to make sure he isn't crying. I know I heard him crying. Not a sound but the fan upstairs that blows cool air to the other end of the hall...

I tell you, this was the oddest thing. A dream that I wake up from, only to still be dreaming - and that dream to be so odd, almost scary because it was as though HE WAS HERE, and the sound in the foyer I figure I must have dreamed....

I came over to the computer to see if he'd emailed to relieve this out of whack feeling I'm left with from the dream and he hasn't emailed. It was such an odd experience, I thought I better write it down or there was no way I'd remember it in the morning.

Odd - spooky odd. I would have swore on my life that man was in our living room. I heard his whisper so clearly...and in a tone I've never heard him use. Now the air conditioner upstairs just kicked on and I about jumped out of my skin.

Good grief. Three in the morning!! I'll never get anything done in that dining room tomorrow :(.

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Friday, May 21, 2004

Day 255 - One More Season

I remember when I went to register our daughter at school this past year. Much like the tables in my dream (odd now that I think about - maybe that's where the tables came from), they had long tables set up in front of the stage. Their lunchroom is also used as the school's auditorium. You started on the right end and worked your way left. Each "station" had paperwork to pick up and to sign - and chairs to sit in as the people at each station gave and received information they needed about your child.

At the last station was the school secretary. An extremely nice woman and all the children adore her. This last sitting place was also where the new principal was located. The previous principal retired after the last school year. They had a paper to fill out about any special needs your child has such as allergies, medications, emergency contacts and so on.

Mrs. E introduced herself as the incoming principal. She asked if there was anything going on at home that I felt the school should be aware of. She gave examples of a family member with an illness, recent divorce or death.

I remember very vividly that I looked at Mrs. S (the secretary), my eyes filled with tears and I said yes, we did have something going on at home that I had planned to speak with her teacher about before the year started. Her father was deploying to Iraq for a year a few weeks after school started. I wanted to make sure the school was aware so if they noticed any behavioral changes, they would contact me. Also, if she was sad and asked to call or go home any day, that they call me immediately whether they felt the situation was under control or not. If they had it under control, I still wanted to be aware so as a family, we could work through any feelings that may arise.

After my parents divorced when I was eight and we moved into a new house a year or so later (in another state), going to school some days was hard. Two years later, there would still be those days where I'd get to the bottom of our driveway and have this huge uncontrollable fear come over me. I'd have to turn around, go back in the house and tell Mother I felt bad and wanted to stay home. Thankfully, I rarely ran a fever when sick unless I had strep throat so she never insisted on a fever to allow me to stay home, and I didn't like missing school often, so Mother would let me stay home. She'd go on to work, but I still felt so secure at our house. Those days the fear hit, I'd be afraid for some reason that I still cannot explain, that she'd not come home either. Daddy was an absentee father for the most part, which he says he will regret to his grave. I just had those days where the thought of leaving the house and not ever seeing Mother again would paralyze me with fear and I would want to stay home.

I worried that after my husband left, our daughter may have days like that. Or, get to school and have these types of feelings and want to come home. I wanted the school to know in no uncertain terms that they were to call me if she was upset for no reason or for any reason. I felt strongly that those first few weeks after he left would in a way, set the tone for the rest of the year. I wanted us to pull through it together and with her gone seven hours of every weekday, I would depend on them to be my eyes and ears.

I remember the morning my husband left. He wanted to drive her to school that day. He wanted those few minutes with her alone, to say good-bye. When he walked back through the door after dropping her off, I don't think I've ever seen so much pain in his eyes. Those two are so close. Like me, she's a Daddy's girl and he's her entire world - as she is his. I think seeing his pain when he came home and when it came time for him to hug our son goodbye who at two, couldn't grasp what all the fuss was about, was more painful to experience than my own goodbye. That night after he left, I hurt so much for me. However, I hurt more for the three of them. The three of them collectively would pay a much higher price than I, sacrifice so much more and it broke my heart in a million pieces - and still does.

Those first few weeks driving her to school after he left and sitting in the parking lot listening to James Taylor's Fire and Rain waiting for the time to go in and meet her after school, were some difficult days. I'd sit in the parking lot and stare out the car's window at this huge tree in a house near the school. The sky behind it would seem so peaceful especially the days where the moon could be seen. With James Taylor's voice singing a song that just seem to bring it all home, tears would stream down my face and I'd occasionally move my sunglasses enough to wipe the tears. I'd wish that this warm day was a spring day instead of one in the fall. We still had an entire year's worth of seasons to make it through and those first weeks I wasn't so sure I would - or could.

I would sit there and try imagine what I'd be feeling that last day of school knowing I only had a few months left until his return, compared to the months we would have behind us. Would I be ok by then? Sitting there staring at a moon I could see during the day and wondering if he could see it where he was - and trying to sob without people walking by noticing or my son in the backseat hearing me, I knew I was not ok at that moment.

Won't you look down upon me, Jesus
You've got to help me make a stand
You've just got to see me through another day


I truly felt during those weeks I just could not go another minute, another hour, another day.

And here I am. The last day of school. I made it this far, when I was not so very sure I would with a semblance of sanity left.

Our little girl made it with wonderful grades and scored the best in her class for reading and phonics. She did such a great job this year despite what she held on her shoulders and the weight within her heart. I'm so very proud of her.

Our sweet boy. Despite the initial setback when Daddy left regarding potty training, he's now wearing big boy undies - even to bed. He knows his numbers, colors and ABCs. He is a source of great pride also.

One last season to make it through. By the time the heat has lifted, the leaves are changing and the cold wind blows, he will be home with us. Our family back together. All under one roof, all hopefully healthy - all safe.

It is so close, yet I can't help but feel it is still so very far away. We have made it this far though. We have. And only one more season to go...

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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Day 254 - An Interesting Email

I don't get too many emails from The Deployment Diary, but the few I get are written by such caring people. I feel so very blessed and thankful to hear from people who are so loving and compassionate. Wishes of a quick and safe return, offers of prayers or the most recent, a thank you.

It means so much to me that somewhere out there, my little corner of the net (often filled with Pity Party For One material and little else) has helped someone. What I write about my feelings gave someone an idea of what they may feel if their loved one must leave for Iraq. Due to this email, I'm determined to do a better job at this and take it more seriously by devoting more time to it. If it can help a person prepare for some emotions they may face - or more importantly, help someone avoid traveling the pity party trail on some days as I've done too often, something more positive than I ever imagined has come out of all this. Due to that, I will work harder at this and hopefully do a much better job.

I read an email last night with quite a few questions. I read it several times. It was already late, so I decided I'd better not start a response or I'd be up too late for a fourth night in a row. Somewhere between last night and today, I realized the questions were so good and so thought provoking, I'd answer here.

For YOU... what has been the most difficult moment of the deployment? Him leaving? The beginning months? The rumor mill? Anticipating him coming home? I look at your countdown and it just seems SO AMAZING to me that the army can take someone away for SO LONG.

It Was A Cry in the Closet Day touches on that topic a little. At each stage, I often think this is the absolute hardest and certainly the worst is behind me. Nine months later, when I think of the day he left, I still want to cry. It was the most emotional experience and the first time in my life that my heart hurt so badly that it felt like physical pain.

I have to say though, the worst is when the news reports his brigade has lost soldiers and the time span of them reporting and the families finally being notified. It is those times that I feel my spirit trying to break. It is those times that fear I've never experienced prior to this grasps my soul and slings me around in every direction until word comes that he is ok. He's been deployed before, but I've never experienced so much death and life altering injuries of people we know and care about. I've never had to contemplate how fragile our existences are and how quickly we can be robbed of a tomorrow.

I'm sure I will experience these days again before he is finally home with us and safe. I will never get use to them though. I will never handle them stone-faced. It is just not how God made me. We all have our breaking points and it is during those hours of not knowing if I'll ever see him again that brings me to the edge of my breaking point. It's worse than the good-bye, being a single parent for a year or living a lonely existence. It is the worst when I have the deep, almost primitive need to hide from the worry that one of those being reported could be him - and I cannot hide. It's there and I can only wait - and hope that this year separated does not turn into the rest of my life.

I try not to discuss the "potential deployment" with him.. as we have agreed to "cross that bridge when we get there"... but sometimes it just makes me very anxious. Did you have that same situation of "waiting for him to get the final orders"? How did you deal with that?

In a previous deployment we had 48 hours notice. This time, we had a little over a month notice that they would be going to Iraq and where. The orders were unexpected and sudden so we didn't have months of speculation. We had a date not too far off in the future and it was a mad rush to get everything in order and having to share our last few weeks together with his parents making last minute trips to see him. I couldn't enjoy our time together because I was constantly fighting tears and trying not to make leaving any harder on him than it had to be.

I really feel such sympathy for HIM... after all, he is the one who can't see his girlfriend, friends, family, home or dog for a year. But I still get to "continue with my life". So, I try really hard not to overburden him with MY feelings of "being left behind"... because I know that he will have many of his own feelings / emotions to deal with. Did you ever experience this?

Oh do I ever. I will write him about something that went on here that irritated me or a hard week with two little ones sick while I was sick ;). I get it all out and then feel like a heel. I know that my worst day here is better than his best day over there.

I can go to the bathroom and not want to gag from being in a porta-potty with 100 (or more) other people's business sitting there boiling in the heat. I can call my Mother when I want and talk for as long as I want on my cell's free minutes. I get to see our babies every single day in person, not through a photo.

No matter what, his job and surroundings are harder than anything I will ever experience. I admire him and everyone who has volunteered to serve their country. They go off and live in conditions worse than any prisoner in our country experiences. They keep us safe so we all can take everything at home for granted and not question the price of freedom because of the brave and exceptional people who pay that price for us. To say my very existence pales in comparison to the man I married is an understatement. Him and people like him are the true spirits of America and so few appreciate all they have done and continue to do in order to ensure our freedom.

Also, I know that I have never met you..... something tells me that if we met.. we would be friends.

I think you are right. We would probably be great friends!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Day 253 - Living Through Dreams

Our youngest has been sick this week. He's never taken naps. However, this bought of cough and runny nose has had him napping after lunch. I've ended up napping when he does - which has interrupted my ability to go to sleep at a decent hour at night.

It's odd really. At night, I rarely dream. This week, while our son and I would nap (him on the couch and me in the recliner), I've had have such vivid dreams about my husband.

Yesterday, I dreamed my husband was home and it was awful. In the dream, nothing happened other than me doing every-day things. He wasn't IN my dream, I was washing dishes or vacuuming and thinking, "I'm MISERABLE with him home! I can't believe for a year I had lived for this moment and now that he's here, I can't stand the sight of him! I cannot believe he's turned into such a butt, such a miserable human!"

Of course, the dream really bothered me when I woke up. Am I more nervous about his return than I think? Although not imminent, each day we're nearing the time when real excitement about his return can begin. Deep down am I concerned that I've changed or have gotten so used to being alone I won't want to share my life with him again? Even though when we talk on the phone, he sounds like the same man I said good-bye to, am I worried that he'll return this miserable human that hates his life? In turn, I'll be miserable. Will we ever find our normal, happy life again?

After a lot of thought, it dawned on me my feelings in my dream are the exact feelings a friend is experiencing. We've been friends since 1995. Shortly after moving to a new duty station, we met and after years of us not living near one another (or even seeing each other), through phone calls we've stayed in touch and remained friends. She'd called last week pretty late in the evening and her family just having PCS'd, was living in guest housing.

Her husband returned from Iraq right before Christmas and is completely miserable. A once hands on Dad, he now refuses to lift a finger to help with their children. He's angry all the time she says and reacts to things differently. When she asks, he says something about Iraq and then changes the subject.

The evening she called, we talked for thirty-five minutes or so while he was gone. They'd had a horrible argument and he'd left. She had to end the call quickly when he returned and I've not heard from her since. I've been worried of course, so I think my dream had more to do with me worrying about her and not being able to offer anything more than: I'm so sorry things are so bad right now. Hopefully when you move in to your new place, things will settle down.

Needless to say, I felt pretty useless. I have been thinking about her a lot, but have no phone number to call and check in with her. I hope just by listening I helped in some way. I really hope I hear from her soon...

Today, the power was off while the electrician updated the breaker box and wire from the pole to the house. I have no idea how little guy and I slept in the heat, but we did.

I dreamed I was in this glaring white classroom of sorts. An Army classroom with long tables and chairs lined up on both sides of the tables for people to sit in. I was signing in and talking to other spouses about how much we miss our husbands. About that time, at the back of the room a door opened and my husband came through - wearing his drill sergeant hat of all things and BDUs. It was so hot in my dream and he had sweat pouring down his face - but I still ran up to him and hugged him so tight and kissed him. Someone said, "All 1SGs are now wearing drill sergeant hats."

I have no clue the purpose of that dream, why the hat, the tables and chairs, the stupid statement etc. I have a 8 x 10 photo of my husband on the wall above my monitor - which was taken when he was on the trail so he has the hat on. I look at it every day, several times a day. I'm sure it was hot in my dream because it was hotter than heck in here - 90 degrees with not so much as a fan going with no electricity. Hugging and kissing him when he was so sweaty, it reminds me of when he'd had been to the gym and come home. He'd say "oh I'm sweaty, let me get a shower before you hug me" and me telling him I didn't care if he stunk lol, I was hugging him - and did ;).

His eyes under that hat in my dream. It was as if I were 22 again and looking into his eyes and seeing my soul. For the first time in nine months, I saw my husband and felt him hug me, even if it was only through a dream.

One day closer to his return. I hope the days keep going by as fast as they seem to be going this month. We're already to May 20th!

I miss him more each day and I cannot wait to hug him again. Sweaty - or not, but preferably in real life - although I'll take another odd dream as long as he's there...

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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Support Our Wounded!!

Please consider writing a letter or sending a card to our wounded. Some are not receiving any mail or visitors. That thought just breaks my heart. Together, we can make sure ALL of our wounded know they are cared about, respected and appreciated. Please email this to your friends and family and ask them to email it to their friends and family. WE CAN make a difference!

To Any Wounded Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine

Please find below, the information to send cards and notes to our wounded servicemembers. Please note that Airman are included in both addresses:

To any Sailor, Marine or Airman
Ward 5E
National Naval Medical Center
8901 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20889

To any Soldier or Airman
Ward 57
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue
NW Washington, DC 20307-5001


Some of our servicemembers in the above mentioned Medical Centers are not receiving visitors or mail. Please consider helping to remedy that problem. The Medical Centers have asked that you not send balloons, flowers or gifts, but highly encourage cards or letters.

Please pass this information on to your communities.

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Monday, May 17, 2004

Week 37 - I've Had Some Good Luck

I've been lazy. Not much of a shock really. Last week about the only thing productive I did was clean my kitchen and bathrooms - and do laundry. Tomorrow, I'll be doing laundry again. Mr. Suave is out of shorts again. Our little one has to hurry up and get out of this stage where he's changing clothes several times a day.

The job folks finally paid me last week! I mailed the check off the next day. When I wrote the bills out on the 15th, it had already arrived at my bank and been deposited. It will be the last time I do any work for them though.

The dining room has been neglected. I just haven't been interested in getting in there to work on it. Around ten this morning, I was on the receiving end of a momentary surge of energy, said I was going to check the news one more time online and then get to work. Umm, never happened ;). I sat right here at the computer most of the day reading my favorite blogs and neglecting my own ;).

The electrician showed last week to get half his payment up front. So, the check for the job came and half of it immediately went back out. Isn't that the way it always works lol?

He was suppose to be back out this morning to update our box to a 200 amp. The one we have has safety issues with no main shut off and it being wired to capacity. No more can be added to it.

We had some bad thunderstorms though, so he called this morning and said he'd try to make it out on Tuesday. He'll also be replacing the wire from the poll to the house, so working outside during thunderstorms would have been counter-productive to his health. If it's raining tomorrow like it's being predicted, he'll probably not make it out until Wed. I'm not brokenhearted about him not showing in the least. I'm really dreading being without power an entire day. Figure it will be a perfect day to tackle the yard if the grass is dry enough though. After all this rain, the grass is already knee high again.

Yesterday we took a road trip to Lowes. I needed to get a ceiling fan for the living room before the electrician showed. When I first walked into the lighting area, I spotted a pewter type fan and thought it was pretty. I looked across the ceiling and saw another. We made our way over to it and in an instant, I was in love. It had more details and the glass for the lights look milky and old world. I had found my fan in record time.

I searched the boxes and couldn't find it. About that time a nice associate showed and asked if he could help me. I pointed out the fan and said that was the one I wanted.

He looked it up in the computer and came back over. He said that the vendors had just been there and that fan should have been removed. They are no longer making them and he doesn't have any in stock. I told him I'd keep looking then.

Of course, that fan was perfect and none of the others I saw came close to being as pretty in my opinion. It looked as though it would be a perfect fit for our living room and no matter what color we ended up painting this room - it would have still looked wonderful.

After another twenty minutes of looking, I was about to settle on one of three that I'd found to be halfway decent. I was let down really. None of the three came close to how much I had liked the pweter one.

About that time the associate came back and asked if I had any luck. I told him not really. He asked if he got someone to help him pull the display down, would I be interested in buying it. I told him I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Off he went to get a ladder on wheels and another person to help him remove it. The babies and I went to the garden area to kill some time until they were finished. As shocked as I am about it, I didn't find one other thing in the entire store that I just HAD to have lol. I usually have to talk myself out of buying several things each time I visit Lowes ;).

So, we go back by lighting and put the fan in the cart. We make our way to the checkout. This is when more good luck graces my presence ;). The ceiling fan was $186.00. When the cashier rang it up, this particular model was on sale for $130.00. Once I paid, the register spit out a $20.00 rebate for me to mail in and get a $20. Lowes gift card. Woohoo! I ended up saving $70.00!!

Well, there you have it. I've been lazy. Mostly sitting in front of the computer reading. Tomorrow is Tuesday though and I refuse to have another week pass by where I accomplish nothing in this old house. I hope tomorrow, motivation finds me ;). After staying up this late though - the chances are looking slimmer by the minute lol.



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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Day 245 - Sick, Sick, Sick

Yesterday, last night - and still this morning I've been sick as a dog. If someone would like to just shoot me and put me out of my misery, it would be most welcomed.

I put in a call to my doctor yesterday. Usually he's pretty good about calling me back. Not yesterday. Of course not lol. I'm praying this morning he will return my call. One of my friends called last night and I think I scared her. Nothing like greeting the phone with tears and "I'm so sick I think I might die." She offered to drive out and get me and the babies and take me back to her house to help. I thought that was so sweet. Where I found such wonderful friends is beyond me, but I feel extremely blessed by them.

Of course, I said no. I don't know about the rest of you, but when I'm sick I prefer to be sick in my own house. All I can say is I'm so glad this old house's plumbing has held up lol. Sorry if that's TMI.

At any rate, if you have a moment, please say a prayer that I can talk to my doc today - this morning would be even better lol. I have to get groceries today...I could kick myself now for not going last week. We're even almost out of bread! Something I have never run out of before. I have no idea how I'll pull off getting groceries.

At least I'm upright today. Yesterday I spent the day in the recliner wishing for death...

Prayers would be so helpful. Feeling like this and taking care of two babies, two dogs and a cat (who is still crazy) is not my idea of a good time lol.

Until I'm not aching all over and rushing to the bathroom every five minutes, I'll be out of the loop. Hope all the Moms had a great Mother's Day and hope everyone else has a good week.

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Sunday, May 09, 2004

Day 243 - Yeah, it's Mother's Day

On my first Mother's Day, we were moving to Alaska. My husband had just returned from a deployment to the middle east. With him gone, I had to get his orders where they needed to be, schedule movers and everything else it entailed. He returned a few short weeks before it was time to pack up and head out.

We stopped in the south to visit my family on our drive cross-continent. We had a wonderful time. Just being together after him being deployed - and him being able to be with us 24 hours a day while we were PCSing was so great. I remember that long drive as though it was yesterday. Rarely was the radio even on because we were so busy talking. The few times we did turn it on, it was to find a weather report. Through the mid-west and into Montana we ran into some pretty bad storms. The one in Montana - it was huge black wall you could see miles ahead of us. I'd be lying if I said the look of those clouds didn't scare me ;). It truly was a great trip.

That first Mother's Day, we were at my Aunt's house. He gave me a ruby and diamond ring. Ruby is our daughter's birthstone. I rarely wear it, but today after I get done staining woodwork, I might just put it on. He's always been so thoughtful. Today is just another day without him though. Nothing special, just going through the motions until life can get back to normal.

Yesterday, we worked in the backyard all day. It was so hot and I'm now sporting a farmer's tan. The weather said today would be hot and sunny, but thunderstorms likely late this evening. I guess Mother Nature didn't get that memo. We woke up to rain this morning. I've sat around all morning reading online and wasting time. I need to hurry up and get busy around here.

Yesterday was pretty productive though. It turns out that the bush next to the pond is lilac. While it was blooming I had to turn off the pump and fountain because the small petals from the blooms would clog up the pump. It's not blooming now, so I cleaned out the pond and got the pump and fountain going again. The pond is close enough to the back of the house where I can hear it in the kitchen. I love that sound.

I used the weadeater (after going back out to buy some line for it) all around the fence and got that taken care of. I bought us two ferns to put on either side of the front door. I also bought this stuff that kills grass and weeds and sprayed down the entire back patio with it. I'm wondering if now with the rain, it washed it away and I'll have to retreat everything next week. I guess time will tell. The older gentleman at the hardware store said it sterilizes the ground. He puts it on his drive every April and nothing grows until the next year. Another older man walked by while he was telling me how great it worked and also said it worked great. I'm just not sure about the rain so soon after treating it.

So, now it's time to fix lunch and get to work on that dining room. I tell you, I'm so sick of that room I could scream lol. The large picture window in the front of the room has three separate windows within. Maybe I can get a photo of it and link to it to show what it looks like. I have two of those three to finish and then I can start with the reddish stain on the lighter wood. The original woodwork is cherry according to our carpenter. The french doors are pine and the wainscoting is birch. So, I have to put this reddish stain on before I can put the antique walnut so it will have the same red hint that the original woodwork has. It just irritates me that the room was probably all done in cherry originally - and some moron decided that ugly blue green painted over wallpaper under the chair rail and ugly dark blue with flowers in it wallpaper above the chair rail would be more attractive...

I'd love to find photos of this house before anyone touched a thing in it. I'm sure it was quite breath-taking back in its day. Oh well, that's why I found this house. That's why when I looked in the windows I could see past the ugly...to take it back to its former glory one step at a time. I just wish somedays the steps didn't take quite so long ;).

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there!

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Saturday, May 08, 2004

Day 242 - A Busy Week

It's been a busy week.

First off, the folks I just finished the job for still haven't paid me the other half of my money. So, I decided I wouldn't be adding the poll to their other site and I would not be agreeing to do any more work for them. They needed a page put together for a want ad they were running. I did do that - and now that I think about it, I have no clue WHY I did. After all, they haven't paid me for the work we agreed on and THAT page was not part of the deal.

They've emailed no less than 20 times this week. I've answered most of their questions. Questions, I'll add, that I've answered repeatedly prior to this. I'm pretty darn mad over not being paid. As usual with work for them, the project we agreed on had other aspects added as we went along with no added dollars to the pay. Not that it matters, they didn't even pay me what we agreed on lol. So, I've lost a lot of money on this one and I'm really so mad I'm seriously weighing my options on what I can do to get my money. If I were a spiteful person, I'd remove my work from their server until I was paid, but I'm not. If they can live with themselves cheating me out of a big chunk of change, I can live with it. We all end up paying the price for our short comings eventually. The ol' what comes around goes around thing.

I worked in the dining room a lot this week. I've got most of the old woodwork in there stained. The problem I have is the sun coming through the front picture window. It puts such a glare from the sidewalk, you can't see the wood clearly enough on the window to stain it. I had planned to get in there last night and work on it and ended up sitting on the computer all night. Sooo productive lol ;).

Today - I need to cut grass. We seem to have gone straight from winter to summer here. It's been in the 90s all week and cutting grass in that heat is NOT my idea of a good time ;). Maybe we'll wait until after supper when it's cooled off. I need to run up to the local hardware store and get some grass/weed killer for the back patio. It looks like I have small bushes growing up through it this year lol.

So, I'm off to get busy. I have way too much to do to sit here any longer unfortunately. It sure would be a great day to sit by the pond with a fruity something or another drink and get a tan though lol!

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Friday, May 07, 2004

It Was A Cry in the Closet Day

Another entry from early last month...

Not too long ago my husband had wanted me to find some weight lifting stuff out of the Army room and send it to him. This is our spare bedroom where all the Army garb lives. Boots, uniforms, dresser with Army undies (I'm sure he'd appreciate my calling them that manly term). All his plaques and awards - in boxes. He refuses to have an "I love me wall" in our home he says.

I avoid the room at all costs. I'd had a good several days and the minute I walked in the Army room I felt the huge emptiness of my life without him engulfing me. I couldn't find the things he wanted. I went to the closet and there were all his BDUs hanging just like he'd left them.

My mind screamed, "don't do it! DO NOT DO THAT!!" And, I did. I leaned over and smelled the collar. In an instant - it was as if he were in the room. The many nights he'd come in the door in those uniforms and I'd hugged him. The feeling of the material on my face, it brought such strong feelings to the surface. Smelling that distinct smell the uniforms seem to have from the starch - and wishing just for one second he was standing there so I could hug him. Before it was over, I'm in the closet, face buried in one of his uniforms sobbing.

Since then, there have been several times I've ventured in the room to cry in the closet. It's the closest I can get to him and sometimes I just need to feel close to him for sanity's sake. I miss him so deeply and just being able to smell the smell that brings feelings of love, laughter, comfort, safety, security, passion, happiness - and more all rolled into one is my saving grace.

Some women will sleep in or with their husband's t-shirt. I go hang out in his closet and sob on a uniform wishing he were standing there in it. Therapy anyone?

Was yesterday THE rock bottom? I hope so...
Yesterday was the hardest day of them all thus far and I'm fearful to even admit that. Afraid of what tomorrow or next month may bring. I'm finding that each time I think, "this is the worst thing I've ever been through in my life," that God is not far behind to prove that no - worse things can happen.

The day he left. I thought saying good-bye to him was the hardest thing I'd ever had to do in my life. I thought it was rock bottom. Things would get better from there.

November, the deadliest month was emotionally hard. The fear, the anxiety. I thought once the holidays passed, certainly rock bottom I would not see again.

January, my husband lost two of his close friends in an instant. A commander and First Sergeant of another company. Again, rock bottom. So many tears - and emotions that I'd never experienced in my life. I thought, get through February, spring will come and you will NOT see rock bottom again.

And then there was yesterday...

I posted yesterday morning determined to keep track of my emotions throughout the day through my blog. That's why I started this. To follow my emotions as they happened. To somehow eventually take all the info of what I'd learned and been through and possibly do something positive with it that could help others in the future.

The events that transpired afterwards - well, all bets were off. It was all I could do to keep myself upright and not a crumpled mess in the kitchen floor begging God for strength.

Soon after I posted about the attacks, I sent an instant message to my friend here in town. Her husband is in another company at the same place as my husband. I hadn't heard from my husband and she hadn't heard from hers. We both said we'd have our cells nearby all day and agreed to keep each other posted.

I sent out an email to our parents. I wanted to cut them off at the pass with emails and calls asking if I'd heard from him. I told them I hadn't but we'd been told last week communication would be sketchy this week. I'd probably hear from him on Friday.

The rest of the morning I followed the news online. The more I read, the more worried I became.

It was time to go pick up our oldest from school. I knew my friend and I would be standing outside the school talking after they were let out. I was looking forward to just talking to someone else living it at the moment. My friend works, so she always arrives about five minutes or so after the bell rings. My babies and her baby wait in the hall for her and then we all walk out together.

We waited and didn't see her daughter come down the hall. My daughter sees her teacher and asks where her friend is. The teacher says that she left early today. I immediately am listening closely now. I take a few steps forward and can feel the tears coming into my eyes and I ask her if everything is ok. Her teacher says she's not sure, that they had called from the office telling her to send her up to the office, that Mom was there to pick her up early. By now the tears are on the edge of rolling out of my eyes. She says she's sorry she doesn't know more. I thank her quickly and put my trusty "never leave home without them" sunglasses on and thank her. The babies and I make our way to the car.

I get home and immediately send her an email saying I'm worried and to please let me know everything is ok. She usually lets me know when she'll be picking her up early so I know not to wait. I thought it was just too much - her daughter was fine this morning. She was fine this morning. My imagination got the best of me.

I go back to the headlines and read the latest on the deaths in Iraq. Then the real closet day begins. It's them. It's not Marines or Army from somewhere else. It's our loved ones and now my friend has picked up her daughter early for an unknown reason and I'm petrified.

An email comes in. It's from a spouse I've never met, but one who is on my distribution list for FRG info. We've emailed a few times, but we've never met in person nor have we ever talked on the phone. She says "Are you there?" I email back and say I am and ask if everything is ok. She emails back and says no. Can she call me? I email her back my number, tell her I'm sitting by the phone.

First, she has to confirm I am the wife of so and so (more to do with rank than my husband - all 'bout the "rank" you know ughh). I say I am and she said she thought so. She said she just "can't sit on this info any longer and needed to tell someone."

I'm keeping my cool. I'm talking calmly and softly - she sounds wound up tight. Now, this is the part I'm not clear on. Either a soldier over there called her - or a soldier over there called a friend of hers to pass on the info. Either way, a soldier got to a phone even though COMMUNICATION IS CUT - and called home to interfere with the way information is suppose to be passed on to the families.

She says this friend called to tell her all five were our people, but HER husband was not one of them. He just wanted her to know that her husband is safe and ok so she didn't have to worry about what the press was saying. Then of course, instead of just being thankful her husband is still on this earth, she just HAD to tell someone.

The only question I asked was, "How reliable is this person?"

She replied, "Well, he works directly for the COL."

My response was a tart, "well that doesn't necessarily mean anything." She says true, but she knows he's reliable.

I guess it never dawned on her that MY HUSBAND COULD BE ONE OF THEM. How wonderful that she knows her loved one is safe, but now I know that the press is reporting their Division. I know my friend picked up her child early. Now I have this spouse from our company's FRG calling to tell me all five were OUR people according to a source that is over there and who should NOT have been on the phone. Thankfully she had to go quickly - because I was two steps away from reaching through the phone and wringing her neck.

I walked to the kitchen. Much like the day he left, I sort of walked around in circles in the house trying to figure out what I'm going to do. I pick up the phone and call Rear D and ask to speak to our Commander. He gets on the phone and I tell him what the press is reporting. I don't mention names, but that I'd just got off the phone with a spouse I've never met who says it is our people. That the rumor mill is in full swing and I thought he might want to know. He said he knew - I thanked him for his time and we hung up.

He didn't confirm or deny. No denial is as good as a yes without me even asking. I didn't bother to ask. I knew he couldn't tell me anyway.

And the tears begin.

I hadn't heard from my husband since Sunday. Not really unusual, but communication has gotten so much better these last months it is a bit odd. He doesn't tell me anything that goes on over there - we prefer to talk about what he's reading, what our babies are doing, what he is looking forward to doing to the house when he gets home, about retirement.

I'm standing in the kitchen again looking out into the backyard where the pond is - and the patio set we purchased right before he deployed that he never had a chance to sit at even once. The only thing I could think of was to call Mother. By now, it's around 4 pm. She's still at work, but there's no way I can wait until she gets home.

She answers the phone and I say, "Hey, are you busy?"

She says, "No, how can I help you?"

She doesn't know it's me. I said, "Mom, it's me." She says, "Oh my goodness, what is wrong? Are you ok? Are the babies ok? Is it Jim?"

I start trying to make my way through the last hour of everything and end with, "I don't want to have to live the rest of my life without him. I don't know why this woman had to call ME - and now I'm scared that my doorbell is going to ring and, I don't know what to do. Please tell me what to do!!"

In other words, I'm coming apart at the seams. Literally. And Mother is now upset. She loves my husband like her own she often says. She thinks he's as wonderful as I do. And the only thing she can say is she doesn't know what to tell me other than pray and have faith that he's ok. That if I need her, she'll be on her way and she'd do anything to be closer so she could be here with me while all this is going on.

I immediately felt so awful for calling her. What did I want her to tell me? Now, I've done nothing but worry someone else because someone worried me - and everything feels as if it's spinning out of control. We talk for a few more minutes and I tell her I'll call her tonight. That I'm ok, I just needed to hear her voice and not to worry. I'm going to get supper started and get the babies baths and on to bed. We hang up after telling each other we love each other.

I catch my friend on her cell phone. She said her daughter had a bit of a tummy ache so she picked her up early, but everything is ok. We promise to keep the other informed when/if we hear from our FRGs. Her FRG is so much better than ours. I figure it will be from her I will get any news at all through official channels.

I get my babies supper and baths and try to keep it together. They both get tucked in with extra hugs and kisses. I'm watching them hug each other before night night and feel so blessed. My little people that God has trusted me to raise. They are so precious and even in the midst of all this, I feel the prayers - because I'm still sane enough to thank God for our children and for trusting me enough to have them and share my life with them. They are safe, tucked in and now it's just me.

I walk into the Army room and go for the closet. I had held it all in as long as I could. It was a cry in the closet kind of day for sure...

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Day 241 - Going Through Archives...

There have been several times I've started entries and ended up copying and pasting them into my email's draft folder. Sometimes, I'd just stop writing in the middle in order to keep myself from continuing with the pity party. Other times, I felt that it was too easy to piece together things if I posted them at that time. In the next few entries, I'm going to highlight some of them...

When my husband gets home, I'd like for him to see what I was living while he was living a different reality. When he called earlier this week, he told me "not to worry." I asked him to imagine he read online that three city blocks here in our town were leveled. The news doesn't report where exactly in our city, or if it was women and children or just men... (like they often don't report if it's Navy, Marines, Army etc. over in Iraq at first). People were dead, 50 more injured and he knows it's where I am. A day or two would pass before he could get word from me as to whether we are ok. "Now" I said, "you try not to worry."

He said, "yeah, I get your point."

Yeppers, I betcha do ;).

I'm So Tired of Being Alone

It's been the week from hell. I have several entries written, but decided to sit on them for a bit to decide if I really want to share them. Maybe I'll finally go back and reread them tonight and make that decision.

Day 208. No email this morning. It's Sunday, so I figured that meant no weekly phone call either. I went out to water the flower and grass seed I'd put down in the backyard and decided to take the phone just in case.

I'm in this terrible mood. I don't know why. I've been in a good mood all weekend. Today - I'm sore. My legs, my back, shoulders and arms are sore from all the yard work after six months of sitting on my rear. I'm tired. I worked in the yard all afternoon on Friday until almost dark, all day on Saturday and then stayed up late working on the job online all weekend. Today I did 6 loads of laundry. Our son has decided he's a fashion guru. Every time he goes upstairs for a toy, he comes down sportin' a new outfit - including different shoes "zay match better Momma." While I put away every article of clothing he owns today, I really wanted to scream "STOP THE INSANITY!!!!!" lol!

So, the babies are bathed and in bed. The dishes are washed. Animals are fed. Now, the added chore of watering all the greenery in the backyard has to be done before I can sit down and get to work. I take the phone with me just in case and mentally tell myself how stupid I am for even getting my hopes up.

I water the roses first. All the while thinking about when I planted them last year and how pretty they will be when they finally bloom this year - and he won't be home to see it.

I go to the round planter in the middle of the brick patio. The tulips I put in last year are blooming. Gorgeous red tulips and pretty greenery has filled in the area. I water it all and think how pretty a fountain in the middle would be - maybe a birdbath with a fountain. Why bother? He's not going to be home in time to enjoy it.

I move on to the pond. I spent yesterday fishing decaying leaves and rocks (thanks son lol) out of murky fart-smelling water. I get the shop vac out and suck bucket after bucket of nasty smelling water out of it and dump it. Once empty, I clean it well (sucking that dirty water out of it) and then fill it back up with clean water and the blue dye. This blue stuff does something to the water to keep algae from forming - but is still safe for birds. The pump and fountain are back in there and the sound is so wonderfully relaxing.

But, I'm mad. Mad at the world this evening. I'm mad that the greenery this year around the pond is even more beautiful than last. The ivy on one side is really taking off, the bush has leaves already - soon the lilies will bloom. And, he won't see any of it. All this beauty and it is ALL OURS - and he won't be able to even enjoy a week of it. Everything will be dying by the time he gets home because it'll have started getting cold.

I want to kick something, so I move on to the areas by the drive. We have a big tree that produces these gorgeous white blooms. It's not a dogwood and none of my neighbors know what it is, but everyone agrees that it is one gorgeous tree. Unfortunately, the shade has kept grass from growing next to it all the way to the drive and I'm sick of dirt washing over the tiny cement retaining wall onto the drive every time it rains. I dug it up the other day and weeded and then put grass seed down. On the other side of the drive, I have about a foot of dirt between the drive's small retaining wall and the picket fence. I decided instead of having to cut that little bit of grass with a weed-eater, I'd plant flowers instead. I bought a box of assorted wildflower seeds at Wal-Mart. I dug up that area and then put the seeds down. I made my way over and watered the sprouts of the flowers first. I'm really surprised that they are already sprouting. The grass seed on the other side (fescue) hasn't done a darn thing yet :(. I'm watering all that and the phone rings.

I drop the hose, I take off running to the porch rail where I'd left the phone. I get the phone and it's a number I don't recognize. If husband is calling, it always says "unknown."

I'm ready to tell whoever it is I'm busy and I'll have to call them back say, next year when I'm not in this nasty mood. I say hello and hear that "I'm calling from the other side of the world" familiar sound. It's him.

I'm so damned tired. And, I'm so damned tired of being alone every-single-day-of-my-life. Also, I'm so relieved after the week military spouses across America and abroad have lived (including me, the news hound) - that I'm HEARING his voice. I cry. But of course! Great way to start off a phone call as usual. I am so tired of being a schmuck.

Oh well. I don't even care anymore that it seems I cry every third day like clock work. I'm working on this design job until the wee hours 7 days a week, raising our two children alone, restoring a house, now that it's warmed up trying to improve the exterior of our home, volunteering with the FRG again (long story), trying to support my in-laws, trying to support other military spouses online even when I can't support myself - and I'm just damn lonely. And, it's not a lonely of lack of friends or family support. I have three wonderful close friends and my family has been so very supportive of me during this. It's a lonely that can only be filled by him. He's my closest friend, my favorite person in this world. Life is just extremely lonely without him.


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Thursday, May 06, 2004

Day 240 - That Cat's DRUNK!!, said the dog...

Yesterday was the day. It was time to get our kitty neutered. He had a set most men would be proud of. They had to go...

I was able to bring him home yesterday evening. He only puked once, so that was a plus. Having nothing on his belly was a real plus for Mom here.

Last night the poor baby was so drunk he couldn't walk. The dogs would watch him try to make it across the living room. Kitty would lean, wobble and just lay down wherever he was. Dharma dog would go over, sniff him - then look at me as if to say, "yo - you see that cat? Something's not right with him. I've talked with Chelsea dog and we both think he's drunk. Where was the party?"

This morning he got his dose of pain medicine. He was sitting near the window and I took the syringe of stuff and gave it to him. He shook his head as if it tasted bad - then, slowly sat back down with this "ahhh" look on his face, then closed his eyes...

Right now, he's watching the curtains blow in the wind. Normally, he would be climbing said blowing curtains. This morning though, he's watching them as if they are going to the beat of Pink Floyd's The Wall..."cewwwwllll curtains man..."

Never a dull moment.

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Monday, May 03, 2004

Prisoner Abuse

I had not planned on commenting. Many other people are writing about it. Many who know much more than I. However, I saw a press conference this morning that was pretty disgusting. I'm so mad over this I figured I'd use my blog for what it was intended for - to help get my emotions out instead of keeping it all inside.

First off, I want to see people punished severely for this. These animals will get soldiers still fighting in Iraq killed for the actions they are guilty of. They should pay for those deaths with their own lives. I would not mind seeing them executed. I want an example made of them. There is NO excuse for what happened in that prison.
7 More U.S. Soldiers Reprimanded for Abuse

six of the soldiers - all officers and noncommissioned officers - have received the most severe level of administrative reprimand in the U.S. military, a military official said on condition of anonymity.

The official said he believed investigations of the officers were complete and they would not face further action or court martial. However, the reprimands could spell the end of their careers.

You know what? This isn't good enough. This is ridiculous! A letter of reprimand that "could" spell the end of their careers? Boot their sorry tails out of the military TODAY. They should ALL face jail time. I don't care if they were looking the other way or the ones perpetrating the offenses - they ALL should pay a hefty price for the lives that will be lost due to these incidents!

The officers get letters of reprimands and the soldiers they are responsible for will get jail time? Is that what the plan is? This is called sweeping it under the rug people and we should NOT stand for it. What this group of idiots has done to our country is treasonous in my opinion. They have done more to harm our efforts in Iraq and the safety of our troops in that entire region than Al Jazeera could have done with their reporting in a full year. They should pay for this with their lives!
Command Errors Aided Iraq Abuse, Army Has Found [warning: The descriptions of the crimes are quite sickening]

The Taguba report, as well as other documents seen Sunday by The New York Times, also reveal a much broader pattern of command failures than initially acknowledged by the Pentagon and the Bush administration in responding to outrage over the abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison.

It appears that these soldiers were not the only ones failing the Army and our country. These soldiers should not be the only ones paying the price for what went on in that prison. Administrative action? I'm sickened.

What the hell is wrong with the Pentagon? Each day it appears we have more and more idiots and weaklings running the show. They have a portly bearded idiot cleric holding a town hostage and cannot get a plan together to take care of him quickly. They allowed this idiot to go from an irritation to a full-blown problem. We're sitting outside Fallujah saying one thing one moment, doing the exact opposite of what we say the next moment. There is a place for diplomacy. That place was before this town became a household name by BURNING people alive and these animals beating and hanging scorched corpses from bridges. The weaker we look people, the more troops will die over there. And right now, if we're looking weak to this Army wife, just imagine what we're looking like to those who want us dead? And now, we can't do anything but slap the hand of people who lead soldiers and allow them to abuse prisoners? I'm outraged!

The other evening I heard the mother of a SGT involved in this. She said something about him not being trained in the Geneva Convention even though he asked repeatedly. The guy is a prison guard here in the states. Does Mommy realize how stupid she and her son sound? His defense is he didn't know the Geneva Convention, so it's not his fault his actions were disgusting, criminal and abusive? Ok, then lets blame Mommy for not teaching her son how to be HUMAN!! I don't know squat about the Geneva Convention. I know nothing about detaining and caring for prisoners. However, even I know what they did was disgusting, inhumane and despicable! How anyone could witness this - much less stand there with a damn cheesy ass grin on their face and pose for pictures is SADISTIC!!! Lady, don't waste your breath. I'm not buying the load of crap you're trying to sell. Your son should be thrown UNDER the jail.

I don't care if a General himself walked in and said, "You make these prisoners appear to be masturbating. Strip them down naked and make them climb over each other and make pyramids, make them simulate sex acts." I would have said NOT on your life buddy. Kick me out of the Army, I'm NOT doing it.

I told my MIL yesterday when we were discussing this the same. I told her there's no doubt in my mind if I were over there, I'd have no problem killing someone if it was me or them. I wouldn't think twice about it. It's war and me killing someone trying to kill the me and the people I work with would be part of the job. However, there is NO WAY I could abuse a prisoner - orders to do so, lack of training - whatever the excuse, I could not and would not stand for it. I just couldn't treat another human that way...even one that might have killed a buddy. I could see me possibly roughing someone up in the heat of the moment if I didn't keep a firm grip on my temper if they'd just hurt or killed a friend, but what these pictures portray? Never. I couldn't do it and I could NOT look the other way and not report it to someone if I saw it going on. If I had to get my family on the phone and tell them to call our Senator or something to get someone to listen to what was happening - I would NOT look the other way. It goes against everything I am and believe in, it goes against everything that I know about the Army AND our country. I would not be a party to something like this and I could never look the other way!! If I did, I feel I would be just as guilty as those responsible!

These people deserve the most severe punishment our laws allow. I'm for prosecuting them under UCMJ and then bringing them all up on charges of Treason for aiding the enemy. These photos will give our enemies another reason to fight. It will bring some into the fight who would have otherwise stayed out of it. These images will be used to recruit more terrorists to bring the fight back to our shores. These people have set back the entire war on terrorism and they should pay a hefty price for doing so.

A letter of reprimand for those officers in charge? Excuses of not being given a copy of the Geneva Convention? Give me a damn break.

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Sunday, May 02, 2004

Day 236 - So Much For a News Break

MIL called today asking if I'd seen the news. I hadn't of course. Other than following the Fallujah thing online and trying to figure out what in the world it is we are doing, I've been glued to HGTV. Once she told me what she'd read - I, of course, had to go read. It wasn't long after that a friend forwarded an email from another FRG. The news isn't good.

So, now I wait. I'm just plain emotionally exhausted. I'm so tired of living in this kind of fear not knowing if he's ok. The good news is Rear D hasn't called to tell me he is hurt and no one has come to our door. By tomorrow this time, I'll feel a bit more secure and will put the fear aside to wait to hear from him once communication is back up. This year cannot end soon enough. If you have a moment, please say a prayer for all our service members in Iraq.

Today I did nothing in the dining room or the yard. I watched my babies play. I sat and stared at the TV. Tonight I cried off and on. I'm just exhausted and have no reason to be...

Hope everyone has a good week.

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Saturday, May 01, 2004

Fallujah

I've been following the Fallujah situation closely. Since the arrival of the former Saddam General, I've been really confused.

I'm not really sure what to make of all this. I happened to mention it to my husband tonight on the phone. He'd not heard about the General arriving in Fallujah. I told him when he checked his email, to browse a news site to catch up with what is going on. He said he barely has time to read my emails, much less go read news. I guess I'll send him some articles on email so maybe he can print them out and catch up when he's trying to go to sleep or something.

Ok, back to the purpose of this. I'm having such a hard time understanding what is going on and why, I thought I'd write out my thoughts. Sometimes if I write about it, a light bulb will go off lol. I'm pretty sure that will not happen on this topic. There just seems to be so many possible reasons we've done this and I have a feeling we won't know the complete picture of what is going on behind the scenes for years possibly.

When I first read about a former Saddam General arriving in a Limo (and I can't remember if the news reported that or I read it on a blog - so don't quote me on that one), then these idiots dancing in the streets showing the "V" sign for Victory with their weapons and of course shouting about that peaceful religion known as Islam - well, I was pretty darned disgusted.

My opinion is that normal every day Iraqis want a democracy, they want freedom - and they despise terrorists as much as we do. However, those we are fighting only understand one thing and that is brute, overwhelming force. Anything less in their ego, fanatical religious mentality, is victory. Anything less and they regroup and come back for more. To many of those we are fighting, this is a religious calling where better opportunities, kind smiling soldiers and an outstretched hand of friendship will never work. It's not about anything but a Jihad (sounds like a rap song lol). Those people must die and until we kill them, they will keep trying to kill us.

So, pulling our Marines back, putting in some Iraqi special force that is made up by people we have no background on, lead by a former General in a murderous regime - well, it makes little sense to me. I'm still not sure if what they are doing will work, if what they are doing has a bigger picture to it we just cannot see or know right now. Only time will tell I guess.

Since the first headlines came in through email updates I'm signed up for about the General and our repositioning farther out of the city, I've searched for commentary online to try to make some sort of sense of it. Until tonight, I really couldn't find a plausible reason for us giving deadlines and saying they have days to hand over their weapons or we are coming in - only to do exactly opposite of what we said we were going to do.

If I had to guess, the best reason I've heard so far was said by someone on Fox News tonight. He said the General is in the town and was taking control of matters. Here soon, the Marines would be doing patrols in the city also. The goal was for coalition forces to move freely throughout the city without being fired upon. This way, we could finally get IN the city to start working on schools and roads and improving the infrastructure of the town.

From my understanding, little to no reconstruction has happened in the cities of this area. You can't rebuild anything if you're constantly under fire. So, if we could get in there and start improving things, possibly it could turn the tide of this area by providing jobs and improving the standard of living. These towns are shit holes - literally. People just throw their garbage on the streets. The water is dirty and unhealthy due to sewage problems - and the list of just basic needs that are not being met goes on and on. By improving things as we have in other areas, maybe they think this will finally take care of the area and cut down on attacks. By having Iraqis in control of the city - Iraqis trained to fight terrorists, it takes the American face off of the operation and quite possibly, someone would take a job for the police force, the Army or a reconstruction job instead of $1000 to leave an IED on the side of the road.

Another idea is that even the little bit of action we've taken in the area thus far has us looking bad to the main stream Iraqi. It has even caused Kofi (I robbed the Iraqi people) Annan to tell the US to use restraint in Fallujah. The press saying we bombed a mosque when we bombed a WALL outside a mosque. Maybe we just have to try every possible thing we can before we bomb them back to the stone age where these terrorists still reside. We've tried negotiating. We've called in the Governing Council to try to negotiate. I think even Bremmer went to Fallujah or met with some from Fallujah. Heck, even clerics around the country went to Fallujah to try to negotiate. I guess we can't remember that we do NOT negotiate with terrorists. Possibly, we're trying this General and Iraqi force as the last resort. When the Marines do the first patrol and come under fire despite our efforts, we finally dust off the copy of Shock and Awe and remember how it is that we win wars. How we can topple an entire regime and sit outside ONE city for a darn month and still be no further along baffles me.

Maybe they are trying this Iraqi force thing out in Fallujah - where there's not a whole heck of a lot to lose. Sunnis already hate us due to their position and power going in the can with Saddam. There's nothing special about this area other than this is where Saddam's biggest support came from. Whereas, the Shias thus far have been middle of the road. They don't love us, they don't particularly hate us yet. They just want us to hurry up, get done and get out. However, they are the majority of the population and Sadr is holed up in one of the holiest cities in the region - Najaf. We can't go in and get him because some terrorist or follower of Sadr (also terrorists in my opinion) would blow up one of those "holiest" mosques and blame it on us. Then, we'd have even bigger problems. Maybe they've decided to give this Iraqi force lead by this General a chance to clean up that area. If we're making good progress, do something similar with Najaf...I read somewhere a small group in that area have started targeting some of Sadr's militia.

Oh well. Lots of maybes lol. I have no clue. It's very thought provoking and I've worried about it and read about it a lot over the weekend. But, it has an eerie sense of either we have a darn good plan that we can't elaborate on but it will turn the tide of this entire thing, OR Rumsfeld has no clue, the State Department has their hand too much into war fighting - and election year politics are framing military decisions.

I don't want to think about the latter. I've always respected Bush for allowing the military to do the military's job and not micromanaging. I've thought Rumsfeld was a great Secretary of Defense by making military leaders answer tough questions and think outside the box. But, these latest events give the impression that we're a bunch of hot air, we haven't got a plan and we're now trying to fix a flat tire with a band-aid.

I still have faith that there is a plan, that Bush puts our national security before politics, that Rumsfeld has his Generals making sound decisions and the State Department is not running a war. For a more interesting and intelligent read on the topic, I'd suggest Belmont Club's latest analysis, Retreat, Hell!.

Update: Belmont Club is providing a link today for information regarding the small group that is reportedly targeting Sadr's militia. You can read more here: Mystery group wage war on Sadr's militia

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Day 235 - Another Busy Day

Yesterday, I did nothing. Yep, that's right. I didn't do one thing to the house. It felt pretty good actually lol.

This morning, the babies woke up early for some reason. I woke up with my two sweet little people saying, "Momma, is today Friday or Saturday?"

Daughter was confused and didn't know if we were going to be late for school. I stayed up late watching HGTV last night, and in my confusion, I asked what time it was. She said it was 6:45 - and it dawned on me...it is Saturday! We all usually sleep until at least 7:30 on Saturday mornings.

I got them situated with some juice, started some coffee for me - and realized that I felt like I needed to throw up. Not a great way to start a Saturday. I got on the couch and within an hour or so of just laying there and watching some TV with them, I was feeling better. I got them some breakfast fixed, I got myself a cup of coffee and caught up on some reading online.

It was suppose to be cold and rainy today, but around lunch time the sun was shining. I got the babies some lunch and skipped it for myself. My tummy was still not feeling so great. After they ate, they wanted to go outside. I told them I at least wanted to sand down some of the stuff in the dining room and see if anything needed another coat first. So, I sanded and three spots needed a fourth coat.

There's a crack above the window facing our neighbor's house. It was a hairline crack so I didn't use tape. Well, apparently the darn thing needed tape because once the mud dries, there comes the crack reappearing. This time I took the mud and tried to press some by hand into the small crack, then took another coat and smoothed all that out. At last check, it looks like the fourth time is the charm.

Two other places didn't really need a fourth coat, but I wasn't happy with one small place in one corner right above the new plate rail. I decided if I didn't do something with it, that one little spot would drive me nuts for eternity. No one else would have ever noticed, but I would have known it was there lol.

There was another place above the new french doors that didn't smooth as well as I would have hoped. I thought, hell if I'm going to spend this much time, I might as well do it right. One more coat isn't going to keep me from being done by May 1st - today's May 1st and I'm not done lol. So, I took my time and put another coat of mud on those places. I'm planning on sanding here in a few before I shower. That way, if it all looks good, I can start cleaning all the dust up in the morning and get to staining.

After I got the mud on, the babies and I got our shoes on and headed outside. I bought some of the Scott's weed killer fertilizer mix a few weeks ago. I finally thought to put some put down on the grass soon enough after it was cut to work. Our yard looks like a dandelion farm lol. This stuff is suppose to kill that. We'll see how it works.

My husband bought one of those handheld seed spreaders last year. I figured that would work to spread this stuff out. The only bad part is the thing filled up weighed more than I thought it would lol. You hold it with your left hand and turn the little thing with your right. Our backyard isn't huge, but it's not tiny. I would get going pretty good and I'd have to go back to the garage and fill it back up lol. I did get all the areas I'd cut the other day done though.

After I got done with that, the babies and I headed to the front of the house so I could cut the grass up there. So, for now, the entire yard is cut lol. At the rate we've been getting rain, I figure I'll be cutting grass again by Wednesday lol.

Our front porch was so dirty. There were spider webs all between the columns and above the windows. I took a broom and brushed all those down. Then I got all the wicker off the porch and hosed off everything. It's so dusty here, the white porch was a light tan lol. I knew it was dirty, but I was really surprised to see all the dirt that washed off it. I washed everything down and it looked so pretty and clean when I got done.

After that, I swept all the sidewalks down and for the first time this year, I'm really pleased with how the outside of the house looks.

Our new neighbors were out today. They purchased the house next door to us, but it's going to be their retirement home so they only come on the weekends to work on the house. We were friends with the previous owners and the inside is very pretty. I'm not sure if they are renovating or just staying here on the weekends until he retires from wherever it is he works. If I remember correctly, our old neighbors mentioned they were from another town that is several hours from here.

On that side, we don't have much of anything in regards to property. There's a cement line (for lack of a better description) that runs about eight feet out from our foundation. It's in the ground, so you have to look to see it. On the other side of it is a flower bed our previous neighbors had planted. On their side, a railroad tie in the ground sort of corners it off. Well, our previous neighbors had tulips planted along there. They are done blooming now and there are leaves and some trash that has blown into it.

The new neighbors cut the grass every weekend and work a lot in the yard. It was just odd that they were leaving this flowerbed looking like that. I was cleaning the porch and I got to thinking - maybe he doesn't realize that it is their's.

When I saw him out, I said hello and that I had a question for him. He met me out there by the flower bed and I asked him if he knew it was his. He said he thought it might be, but wasn't sure so he had been leaving it alone. I told him I didn't know if he knew it was his, and I didn't want him to think it was mine and I was leaving it like that lol. He said - if you don't care, I'll just mow it all down. I told him that was fine with me ;). That I'd thought about it, but since it wasn't mine I didn't want to mess with it lol. Within five minutes - he had his mower out and the ugly overgrown flowerbed was GONE. Personally, I think hedges there to separate our property would look so pretty, but I sure as heck don't want to pay for it, so I wasn't going to suggest it ;).

I also mentioned the tree in his yard that has limbs up against my house. They are small branches, but when the wind blows real hard, the noise scares our daughter. I told him about the 50 mph winds we had the other day and how it was making a big racket up there hitting the house. He looked and the branches are (even with no wind) on my house. I didn't want to be a meanie and say "yeah and we had the house painted a little over a year ago..." It was what I was thinking though lol. Not to mention, one of the branches is on my new roof - and it cost a small fortune to roof this place.

He looked at that tree and the tree in the front of his house and said, "Yeah, both of these need to be cut back. We'll get that done." Whew. I'm hoping if they cut back the branches, it might discourage more squirrels from eating another hole in my house and getting in my attic lol. But, at the least, the branches will get cut back so when the wind blows it'll stop scaring daughter, not to mention stop beating on the new paint job lol.

The evening ended with my husband calling. He'd emailed earlier this week saying he'd be calling today instead of on Sunday. Both the babies got to talk to him and we were able to talk for a while. Him being able to call every week is such a blessing and so much better than those first months where we couldn't hear each other's voices at all.

It's when it gets time to hang up, I have to try really hard not to get choked up. I just hate to hang up. For those minutes we're on the phone, it's like he's right up the road instead of so far away.

When we hung up, I decided it was just too soon for another pity party lol. So, I went out to put the stuff back on the porch since it had finished drying and took a lot of photos of the outside of the house to send him. I thought he might like to see what all I've done this spring. I got them emailed out and now I'm sitting here rambling along in my blog lol.

Guess I've bored everyone enough and should go sand some in the dining room, get a shower and try to get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a productive day in the dining room - I hope.

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