Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ms. Jackson if you’re Nasty!

Since I finally received the final divorce decree last week, I decided today was the day to make the name change official. So over the course of two hours this morning, I undid the last four years of my life. My trip to the Social Security office was interesting. I headed there first thing this morning thinking I would beat the crowd a bit. But even at 9:20 I still ended up with number A50 when they were on A15. After sitting there for a few minutes, a man approached me who had completed his time at the window and handed me his number (apparently he had two) which was A26. Yipee! That cut my wait time in half. So I passed on my A50 to the man sitting next to me who had A68. I figured it was the least I could do. Then I had some random old drunk man (who had the decency to be sucking on a breath mint) sat down next to me because “I was the prettiest lady in the place.” I can’t decide if the married customer service rep who waited on me was trying to flirt or not when he told me I didn’t look old enough to be married or divorced. I most say it amuses me when people feel the need to express their apologies when they discover I am divorced. I think I surprise them when I give them a big smile and say, “No, even better… divorced,” in response to, “You are changing your name. Did you just get married?”

On a side note, I have a new addiction I have to share with everyone. Since moving to Austin, I have heard more people talk about one particular food item that I had not been able to acquire a taste for…sushi. After much discussion (debate?) with J over sushi, I decided to try a sample at HEB last week (see my previous blog). Much to my surprise not only did I enjoy it but I started craving it. So when J suggested that we try a new sushi place he had discovered Saturday night, I jumped at the chance. I haven’t ventured into the world of the uncooked sushi yet but I am sure it will only be a matter of time before I sample some of J’s rolls. However, here is what I had for dinner tonight:


One more thing that made me smile tonight: the guy playing ‘O Holy Night’ on the electric guitar in HEB. (Actually it was hard for me to keep from cracking up laughing!)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Niagara Falls and Austin Natives

OK…so I have decided that my neighbors must hate me. I am sure it is due to the fact that Maverick insists on barking (not just whining…full fledged baying) every morning while I am in the shower or any other time he is left alone in the kitchen while I am in the apartment. Their revenge for the noise created by my adorable pooch is to take showers at odd hours of the night and morning. Now one might wonder why taking a shower is such a bad thing. The fact is I have never in my life heard such terrible noise until I heard the sounds coming from upstairs when the shower is turned on. It truly sounds like Niagara Falls is coming through my ceiling. During waking hours, I can ignore the noise by turning up the volume on my TV or whatever other form of entertainment I might be partaking in. But the late night and early morning showers are enough to wake me from a dead sleep (and that takes a lot if you know anything about how I sleep). During the Thanksgiving holidays while my parents were visiting, my lovely neighbor (who by the way I have never even laid eyes upon) decided to take a shower at 3:30 in the morning. My father was still awake and was trying to determine why I was taking a shower at that time (yes, folks, that is how loud it is). So Daddy proceeded to come in my room where I should have been comatose and ask me what the noise was. Another night it was 2 AM. This morning I guess they needed to be into work early because it was 5:30. Now these aren’t short showers either. I am talking a half hour minimum. This morning’s wouldn’t have been so bad except I don’t normally get up till 7 (ah the joys of living close to work) and it also woke Maverick up who decided it was time to go outside. My dilemma now is this…do I introduce myself to my neighbor and kindly request that they be more considerate of the time they shower or do I suffer in silence until May 31st when I can run kicking and screaming from the apartment world never to return again?

Now on to the Austin Natives (sorry to cover so many topics in one blog but that is why this is called rambling). I have discovered one thing about people who live in this city in the short time that I have lived here and that is they do not like to venture too far from the confines of the community they live in. So those who live in South Austin stay in South Austin, those in North Austin stay in North Austin, etc. The fact become even more apparent to me when I was trying to tell my sister-in-law’s parents (who happen to live in South Austin) where I lived and worked in Northwest Austin. They have lived in Austin for many (30+) years and all I got from them were quizzical stares as they had no idea where I was talking about followed by the comment, “Well, we don’t go up that way much.” So I was determined not to be one of those people once I moved here however, the opposite is becoming quite true. The running joke with me is that if it isn’t off the 183 service road, I don’t know where it is. With the exception of the occasional trip to parts further north (Round Rock) and parts further south (Kyle), I have not left Northwest Austin (more specifically the 183 service road) much. So the thought of venturing too far out of my comfort zone (without the aid of my trusty tour guide) makes me feel like the shut in on October Road when he tries to leave the house. I break out into a cold sweat and start to have chest pains. So imagine my dismay last night when I return home from work and prepare to settle down for a night of classic Christmas cartoons only to discover that my cable box (which I have only had for 3 weeks) will not turn on. After a phone call to Time Warner, I discover that the easiest way to fix the problem will be to return the box to the cable company to replace it with a new one. This would, however, require me to venture off the 183 service road (thanks for the directions, J). So this morning I headed out on my trek to Time Warner located at the corner of Duval and MoPac. I found my desired location with little trouble (I was so proud) but the return trip was a different story. I swear the sign for MoPac South (which would return me safely to the 183 service road) told me I needed to turn left but once I approached the traffic light, I realized that I did indeed need to be in the right turn lane. With no way to make that happen, I proceeded through the light and found the next spot to turn around (at this point, the heartbeat was definitely racing). After turning around and making my way to MoPac South, I hopped on long enough to hop back off in a half mile at the Braker Lane exit (could have stayed on the service road). Finally, I had returned safely to the confines of my part of Austin and my heartbeat started to return to normal. The moral of this story is that I will no longer venture out of my limited travel area without said tour guide who needs to hurry home so we can continue Julie’s tour of Austin in the Mini.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Wait is Over

I woke up this morning feeling like someone was trying to rip apart my stomach which was not good since I knew there was no way I could take a day off work. Not quite sure what caused it but I can tell you that the casserole I ate leftovers from last night is going in the trash when I get home. So, I dragged myself around the apartment this morning getting ready and headed out into the cold for the 10 minute drive to my office. I remember that I hadn’t picked up the mail from the evening before because my car was loaded down with groceries from my first real trip to the grocery store since moving to Austin. So, I headed over to the mail center and opened my box and there it was…like a light shining down from the heavens…an envelope that read “Shelia F. Norman, District Clerk, Bell County, Texas.” Finally, after nearly a month of waiting, my divorce decree had arrived. I could now officially return to my maiden name. Suddenly I felt better and there is a little added spring in my step. So now I can start the round of name changes that will be necessary in order to make my transformation complete.

On a side note, I hate the HEB* near my office. I can’t believe I would actually say the one in Killeen is nicer but it is. At least it is bigger. I couldn’t believe how cramped the aisles were and it was laid out weird. I can only hope that the HEB that opens up closer to my apartment in the old Albertson’s on Wednesday is going to be nicer. I did however sample a piece of the HEB sushi (J would be so proud!) which I must admit was quite tasty. I almost went back and bought more to eat for dinner last night. Now if I could just find an HEB Plus I would be OK.

*For those non-Texans out there, HEB is the greatest grocery store chain which of course can only be found in Texas. And for me to say greatest it must be good coming from a girl who grew up in the land of Delchamps (oh how I miss those days). I was actually sad at the thought of leaving Texas because I enjoyed shopping at HEB so much. (I know…I lead a sad life.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Those of you who know me well know that Christmas is my favorite time of the year. So, you will be shocked to know that the Christmas spirit has not even registered on my radar this year. I don’t know if it is the divorce or the move or what but I just can’t seem to get excited about Christmas. As a matter of fact, I keep getting annoyed when I see Christmas decorations. I haven’t put up a Christmas tree in two years due to deployments and not being home for Christmas. This will make year number three without a tree which makes me sad. There are two reasons for this: the lack of space in my apartment and the fear of Maverick destroying the tree. The fact of the matter is that I haven’t even touched the boxes with my Christmas decorations in them. I promise I am trying to get myself into the appropriate mood. I hung a mistletoe air freshener in my car and loaded the cd changer down with all my Christmas cds. I even wore my first Christmas sweater of the season today. It isn’t working though. I did make the decision today to drive to Alabama for Christmas after all. I think that finally realizing I won’t be alone for Christmas will perk my mood up a bit. So…Ho, Ho, Ho to you all. May the spirit of the season be with you.

Friday, November 30, 2007

It’s a Big Deal

This will probably be the last post I will be able to label “Military” now that my life as a military spouse has come to an end. I received an email from Shawn’s old commander’s wife about a volunteer award they had put me up for in recognition of my time as FRG advisor. I didn’t think much of it because I knew that there were many awards out there for volunteer service and I felt fairly certain they were easy to get. So several emails later we were finally able to nail down a date when I could escape from work in Austin to head up to Killeen to have the award presented. My one criteria for this date was that it had to be before November 30 since that was when my ID expired and I refused to go get a visitor’s pass for an installation I basically lived on for the last two years of my life. So Wednesday was the day we chose since I also had to be in Killeen for a meeting about the church retreat. Little did I know when arrived at the ceremony just what a big deal this award was. I had been chosen to receive the Helping Hand Award which has to be approved by the commanding general for III Corps and Fort Hood. For those of you non-military out there, that would be a 3 star general (they only go to 4 stars). I was pretty shocked when I discovered this and even more surprised to find out that out of 30 applications for the same award mine was one of only 2 that were approved. I guess I did something right in my year of volunteer service. I was really sad to leave this unit. Now I remember why. These were great people who took a lot of pride in their unit and in their jobs. The camaraderie of 3d ACR was unmatched in any other unit we were affiliated with during my time in the Army. I am proud that for a small moment in time I was able to be a part of such a great group of people and that they felt I was worthy of such an honor.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Lazy Day

Thanks to the cold temperature and rain, today has turned out to be a very lazy day for Maverick and me. Puppy dog has pretty much not left my side on the couch since this morning, with the exception of jumping up to bark at the Pizza Delivery person. Mom & Dad left this morning to drive back to Alabama and hopefully avoid some of the post-Thanksgiving traffic. I should be unpacking the boxes that seem to be multiplying like rabbits around here but somehow I have gotten sucked into the reruns of the first season of October Road on the Soap Network (who knew there was a Soap Network?). Despite not leaving the house, I still managed to be hit on today. After muting October Road and curling up for a nap with Puppy, there was a knock on my door. All I could think to myself was that no one knows where I live so who would be here? Of course it was someone trying to sell me something. Some guy in some program selling books to help earn money for college (UT of course). During our conversation, he proceeded to ask for my number (to which I said I have a boyfriend…I don’t but it worked) and tell me I didn’t look a day over 19 (Ha! Yeah Right!). However, the 19 comment did make my day, especially considering my hair was back in a knot and I was wearing my glasses with no makeup. Of course I had to remind myself that this guy was trying to sell me something so of course he would do what it takes to butter me up. But that brings me to a point I have been pondering recently. I have received several comments about not looking my age over the last few months. That was something I used to hear a lot when I was younger but hadn’t heard much in the last few years. I now realize how much stress my marriage put me through. For the first time in years, I feel young and free and it shows. A huge weight was lifted off of me when I realized that I could move on and be myself again. The future has so many great things in store for me and I honestly can’t wait to find out what they are. So…here’s to the future and let’s hope Alabama pulls off a miracle today.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

An Austinite at Last

Well the day finally came for my apartment in Austin to be available. I can officially call myself an Austinite now that I have a job and a residence in this fine city. I woke up last Saturday and waited patiently for the movers to arrive so I could watch them pack my life away. Ten hours later I was sitting in my apartment in Austin surrounded by more boxes than I knew what to do with. Losing 200 square feet and a bedroom may not seem like a lot but it is for me since the majority of the space lost was in the kitchen. While I know I have a lot of kitchen gadgets, I still figured there would be some way to cram all the stuff into the cabinets and the pantry. Well, 5 days later I am still staring at stacks of random Pampered Chef products wondering where I am going to put all this stuff. And then there was the mystery of the missing kitchen box. Half of my everyday dishes made it into one box while the other half made it into another box. Well, once we (thanks to help from Mom and Jenny) unpacked all the boxes labeled kitchen or pantry, we realized half my dishes were still missing. After much searching, I finally located the last kitchen box last night on the bottom of the stack in the back of the closet in the guest room. Hopefully, I will be able to continue locating hiding spots for my serving dishes throughout the apartment after we indulge in a Thanksgiving meal at one of the local fine dining establishments. Yes, I should be cooking but given the above mentioned state of my kitchen, I think that would be virtually impossible. Mom and I are currently partaking in our annual Thanksgiving tradition of watching the Macy’s Parade before getting started on the day. I am ready to be unpacked and completely moved in. I am even more ready for my house in Killeen to sell. As for Maverick, I am not sure how he is adjusting to apartment life. He doesn’t seem to be a big fan of the whole walking on a leash thing and I really hate having to clean up after him. He also seems to think that he is protecting me from the “crazy people” jogging down the trail by our apartment by barking like mad and trying to run after them. I am worried that the neighbors will think I am abusing my dog because he insists on barking the entire time I am in the shower getting ready for work in the mornings. At least I know how to ignore him. I do think he is enjoying getting to spend more time with me now that I live 10 minutes from work instead of an hour from work. Well, it is almost time for Santa so I should run. Happy Turkey Day! Gobble! Gobble!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Caught off guard

Just when I think I am handling single life well, something comes along and just knocks me on my butt for a while. Yesterday afternoon I decided that a little retail therapy was needed after Alabama’s loss to Mississippi State. So I got myself cleaned up from packing and headed over to the Killeen Civic Center for the OWC* Holiday Bizarre. The last couple of years I had gone and found some great home decor items and gifts for Christmas. Little did I know how hard it was going to be to step back into my former life. No sooner had I walked in the door to purchase my ticket did I run into someone from Shawn’s old unit. Granted this was a wife I had been friends with but the first question I got from here was “I thought you moved.” So then I had to proceed to tell her about the divorce. I noticed myself tearing up as I talked about it and I couldn’t understand why because I don’t get emotionally about the divorce typically. As I moved on into the bizarre, I ran into two ladies from my church who had worked with me on the ladies retreat last year. Now, I haven’t been back to church since the Sunday Shawn left so needless to say I had to commence into another round of “This is Julie’s Life.” By this point I wasn’t too much in a shopping mood anymore. So I browsed the booths looking for something to jump out at me and there, on the last row, was the final straw for my nervous breakdown. The vendor made hand painted signs with snow families on them and you could even have a little snow dog attached to the bottom of the sign to depict your family. They are absolutely adorable. I should know. I have one hanging in my closet that I purchased from her last year. I was standing in her booth trying to come up with a way to create a sign just for Maverick and me when this overwhelming sadness hit me and I had to get out of there. Of course I hurried to the closest ladies room but being a busy civic center, I couldn’t get any privacy in there. All I could think to myself was that I couldn’t believe a silly little sign could upset me so much. I made it through the divorce being final and my anniversary all in one week (two days apart) just fine. But seeing those signs just brought me to my knees. I couldn’t handle it. I miss my old life. I don’t miss my husband but I sure do miss being married. So I went home and threw myself a small pity party. However, thanks go out to Katie for stepping in to see me through it. I knew she would understand.

*Officers’ Wives Club

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I should be packing but…

I just discovered something that I have to share with everyone. One of the lessons that I learned in my one and only cross country military move is that there are certain things the packers won’t pack. For example, you have to take the batteries and light bulbs out of everything which is annoying because you don’t want to break the light bulbs and who keeps the packages that they come in and how many things have batteries in them?!? Another thing they won’t pack is bathroom items such as lotions, liquid soaps, and shower gels. Apparently anything liquid they can’t pack. Who knew! Well, this time I am one step ahead of the movers. I went to Target (thanks, Brent!) and purchased some trusty Rubbermaid totes (purple of course) to load up with all of the extra bath items I have accumulated over the years. I have now realized one of the few things I got out of my 4 years as a military spouse. Apparently my trips to the various case lot* sales at the commissary have afford me a vast supply of items that I couldn’t possibly use all by myself. For example, I purchased a case of 12 bottles of dishwashing detergent at my first case lot sale two years ago. I still am using the detergent I bought. I am just now down to my last bottle. I also have 3 boxes of the trash bags I bought at the same sale left. However, the realization I came to today was that I now own enough liquid hand soap to last me for probably the next four years. (Did I ever mention that my ex-husband was a compulsive hand washer?) On top of the frequent purchasing of the foaming hand soap from Bath & Body Works that Shawn loved (and I hated), I also purchased a case of 12 bottles of soft soap last year at the sale but I have yet to use a single bottle of the soft soap (see the above comment about foaming hand soap). I would also purchase the foaming soap in bulk when it was on sale 3 for $10. I should have sent the foaming soap with Shawn since I am not a fan of anything anti-bacterial. Oh and please do not let me buy any lotion or body wash for at least the next year. I don’t use the stuff that much. Did I mention that I have already filled the two totes I bought yesterday and I still have lotion and body wash to pack? That’s right…I could keep a small country clean for the next year and not once have to visit Walmart to stock up on supplies. So…what do I want for Christmas this year? How about someone to come take all this stuff off of my hands!

*The suppliers will sell cases of various products at a discounted price which factored with the no tax status at the commissary makes things really cheap. These sales are held twice a year and look much like the release of the new Xbox last year.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Independence Day

So here I am in Portland for work this week training on our accounting software because every good accountant needs to know how to use the software her company provides. I was a little freaked out about coming out here by myself but I ended up making a friend in my class who happened to be staying at the same hotel as me. In the process of hanging out in the evenings after class, the details of my pending divorce came out. Yesterday morning I logged into my email during break to find an email from Shawn’s lawyer stating that she was taking the final papers to the court house that day. So I shared the news with my new friend. I have been through such a roller coaster of emotions over this whole situation that I didn’t really feel anything when I got the email. I guess it has all been a long time coming. This morning Michelle looked over at me and said, “Happy Indepenence Day.” I looked at her funny until I realized what she was referring to. And you know what, she is right. Today is my independence day. Today is the day that I get to start my new life. So when they released us from class earlier today I decided to do what every free woman does to celebrate…I went shopping! There is a nice mall across from my hotel and little did I know that Oregon doesn’t have sales tax. (NICE!) By the way, how ironic is it that tomorrow would have been my fourth anniversary!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Life in Fast Forward

So I feel like someone has hit the fast forward button on my life recently. Two months ago I had just returned from Hawaii and now I am staring down the barrel of my impending divorce. While I have come to terms with the divorce and the actions that led to the divorce, I am still a little overwhelmed at what life has in store for me. I started a new job two weeks ago which was a very good thing for me because it was more money and got me away from a situation I needed to be out of. I fully intended to move to Austin next month for the new job. However, after reevaluating my financial situation, I determined it was best for me to sit tight in Killeen until I get an offer on my house. To be honest, the thought of moving on scares me a bit. And I am starting to reconsider whether or not I made the best decision taking the new job. I now understand what my friend, Karen, went through when her husband retired from the Army earlier this year. The Army becomes such a way of life that you feel like you are losing your identity when you are no longer an Army spouse. I didn’t fully appreciate how much it was a part of who I was until the last few days. I started to think back not only on being married to military but also dating the military. With the exception of 1 or 2 guys, the majority of the men I have dated since I was 18 have been military in some way, shape or form. I almost don’t know how to function without thinking about deployments, PT, or NTC rotations. So it should come as no surprise that I have met someone whom I am interested in and (big shocker here!) he is also in the Army. I am not completely sure of his interest level for me as of yet but I do enjoy talking to him and spending time with him. However, he is heading to NTC next month and I feel like I am having a deja vu moment. I know I need to take things slow and somehow that is hard for me. I tend to jump in with both feet and that is what causes me to get hurt. So, I am working on backing off a bit and trying to let things take their natural course. I do want to get to know this person better and I would hate to jeopardize before it really gets a chance to start. So…what I need is suggestions on how to play hard to get. Any ideas? Pass them to me.

UPDATE: Apparently I suck at playing hard to get. So, Sarah, thanks for the advice. I will have to try it at some point but I couldn’t stick to it this time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Empty

It has been a stressful week already and it is only Tuesday. The packers came yesterday and packed Shawn’s stuff. Here I was in my house with three strange women telling them what was going and what was staying. And I just sat on the couch and wanted to cry. I can’t even explain how I felt. I just feel like I am being cheated out of the opportunity to be upset about all this. Everything is happening so fast. The divorce will be final in a few weeks. I start a new job next week. I even went on a date this past weekend. I am still trying to figure out how this became my life. Today was even worse. The movers came and loaded everything. Now my house is half empty. It was strange to open his closet and nothing be there. I am just trying to keep myself busy right now so I don’t stop long enough to process what is really going on. I went shopping after everyone left and bought new furniture for my house. Usually shopping makes me feel better but not today. I went to 4 different stores after I left the furniture store and I really didn’t want to be there. Part of me wants to be angry and throw things. Part of me wants to be sad. The whole of me just wants someone to hold me. So far I haven’t been able to give into any of it. I can’t cry. I can’t be angry at anyone but myself. I think I am just tired of being strong and need to be sad and scared a little bit.

Friday, September 21, 2007

My Status

OK Gang…I know a lot of you have been worried about me recently and I wanted to pass a long a status update. Believe it or not, life is good for me right now. I am handling things a lot better than I thought I would. I was planning on staying in Killeen for a while but, as we know, the only constant is change. I have accepted a job in Austin doing government contracting accounting. It is basically the same job I am doing now only more money and better benefits. So I will be moving to Austin in the next few months once I can sell my house here. I am excited about the prospects in my future. So thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. They have been greatly appreciated.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Next Step

Well, I know my last blog shocked many of you in blog land. Trust me it has been a shock for me too. All I can do now is pack up and drive on. I am amazed at how quickly this has all progressed. But I am trying to make the best of a bad situation. I have been trying to organize Shawn’s stuff into central locations in the house to make it easier when the movers come. I am ready for his stuff to be gone so I can redecorate the house. I know that sounds selfish but it is the one thing I have to look forward to right now. Well, I don’t have anything interesting to tell so that it’s for now.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Time for an update

Well, I have been fussed at because I haven’t been updating regularly and I do have a lot to tell. But, to be honest, I haven’t wanted to talk about what is going on in my life. That probably has to do with the fact that all I seem to be doing right now is talking about what is going on in my life. I could make a list of reasons I haven’t been posting recently like Mal did but I really only have one reason. My life is falling apart around me and I am doing everything I can to hold myself together. I guess the first thing to say is that I will have to change the name of my blog soon. In 60 days, I will no longer be an Army Wife. For that matter, I will no longer be a wife. Long story short, Shawn is moving back to Alabama for his next assignment and I am staying here in Texas. Once the shock of the whole thing wore off, I got really sad for about a week but now I think I am going to be OK. In many ways, this is the best thing for us and has been coming for a long time. However, I think I am still in disbelief that it is really happening and that it is happening as quickly as it is. But as the song that is playing on my TV says right now, I have to always look on the bright side of life. I have great friends, a good job, and a wonderful family to support me through all this. I know I will only come out of this stronger and a better person. This just isn’t a process I ever thought I would be going through and let me tell you it isn’t fun. So, that is it…my story for now.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Flying Under the Radar

I know it has been a few days since I have posted anything but that has been because I haven’t had anything to say. We have to attend a Hail & Farewell this evening. It kind of feels like a death march going to your own farewell when you don’t know what your next move is. Branch is still giving us the run around on Shawn’s next assignment. Every time he has talked to them we have been pushed back a week on getting a real answer. So it has now been two months and Shawn still doesn’t have a job. I am frustrated because I am staring a promotion in the face that is pretty much mine if I want it. However, I have to tell my boss that I might not be able to take it because I might have to move. The thought of moving is both scary and exciting. I am trying to look at it as an adventure for Shawn and I to go on but I don’t want to leave my friends and my job and have to start over again. I am just now adjusted to this place. I am not ready to pack up and do it over. But then there is the prospect of moving somewhere where we already have friends. That could be exciting. I just wish I knew the answer. If anyone can see into the future, please let me know where I am going to be in two months

Monday, July 16, 2007

Finally Home

Shawn missed my birthday by 25 minutes. I arrived at the gym to pick him up at about 12:45 on Thursday morning. We finally got home an hour later. I was exhausted Thursday at work. However, I was excited because part of my birthday present was a trip to Fredericksburg for a little R & R for us. So we got the plans in place and headed out of town after my doctor’s appointment on Friday. It was nice to escape for a couple of days. Fredericksburg is a great little German community about 2 hours from here. We had no idea prior to moving here that there was such a strong German influence in Central Texas. It is actually quite interesting. Shawn did the husbandly duties of carrying all my bags while we shopped on Saturday. I think we both enjoyed the laziness of the weekend sleeping to nearly 9 each morning. I was ready to head back on Sunday since I missed Maverick very much. He has been having a hard time being boarded recently and was very happy to have Shawn home. I wasn’t sure how much Maverick missed Shawn until I saw his reaction to him on Thursday morning. He went crazy when Shawn walked in and that was after only a month. I hate to see what he will be like when Shawn leaves for Korea.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

OK…so today is the day I have been dreading for the last year. I am officially 30 today. And you know what…it isn’t so bad. As a matter of fact, I think everything is going to be OK. It will actually be better than OK. I got a reminder why I married my husband today. Shawn is not the best when it comes to picking out gifts for me so I didn’t have high hopes this year with him being so busy before he left for NTC and currently being gone. Recently things have been tense between us due to job stress and not enough time together. But he made me forget all that without hardly trying. He hid my birthday present in his closet before he left for NTC last month. So when he called this morning and gave me the location of my present. I must say I was surprised that he had been able to hid it so well since I never saw anything clear the bank account or the credit card. So I ran home from work and this is what I found hiding in the closet:

He did really well this year! Also, we are running away for a much needed escape from reality this weekend. I am really looking forward to it. Oh and he comes home from NTC tonight…well, 1 AM in the morning…but it is better than nothing. Gotta love Army time!

Reasons I Love Living in a Military Town

This is going to be one of those random blogs that is just me talking about something that makes me happy. I obviously live in a military town. Fort Hood is the largest military installation in the United States. I grew up having respect for the military but not ever really thinking much about it. Then my brother joined the Army right before I graduated from college. I then was able to stand a little taller because I was the sister of a soldier. After 9-11, fear hit me. I realized then that war was inevitable and I was scared about how it was going to effect my brother and my family. Then I met Shawn and my whole perspective changed. Clay went to war in OIF I. During the time he was gone, I got engaged and married to Shawn. Shortly after our wedding, Shawn deployed for the first time. It was during that time that I began to get frustrated with the lack of understanding from those in the civilian world over the life we lead as a military family. Shawn and Clay overlapped in Iraq by about a month. After they both returned from Iraq, Shawn and I got orders to the same installation Clay was stationed at. We ended up here in Central Texas and Shawn deployed again. Clay left a few months later leaving me completely alone in a strange town 700 miles away from home. I am telling you all this to help you understand a small portion of my background with the military. I definitely went through a trial by fire being a new spouse married to an officer and not truly understanding everything that was going on around me.

That all being said there are some things that I truly love about living in a military town. It isn’t all wonderful but there is a better sense of understanding for the life we lead. If I had to choose between going home during a deployment and staying here away from my family, I would definitely stay here. I am surrounded by people who are either going through or have gone through the same thing I am dealing with. I don’t feel the pity here that I felt at home being the only person most of my friends knew that was dealing with the separation of a deployment. The patriotic spirit in this town is amazing. Everywhere you turn you see “Support Our Troops” signs and American flags. It just makes you proud. I think the Fourth of July celebration on post really helped me to appreciate it more. I mean where else can you see soldiers in uniform holding the flags of all 50 states while Black Hawk helicopters hoover over head and canons fire. It was amazing. Then there are the random sights that just truly make you smile. While waiting in the airport for my flight home two weeks ago, an older gentleman walked up to a soldier getting ready to return to Iraq from R&R and asked him, “Has anyone thanked you for your service today?” Or how about the Korean War Veteran in a local Mom & Pop joint paying for the meal of a couple sitting at the table next to him because he knows the young man is a soldier. These things just make me happy and proud of my husband and his job. It is different for him because it is his job but for me it is the life I chose when I married him. That’s all I have to say about that. Thanks for letting me have my moment.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Rest of My Trip

I already posted a blog about my trip to Mobile last weekend. I am happy to report that the rest of my stay was much better than the process of trying to get there. It was so great to see Ronda and her little one as well as Auntie Martha and Suzanna. We stayed busy but we still found time for wine and popcorn as well as a lot of girl talk. I got some much needed perspective on some things I have been dealing with recently. That is the great thing about being around people who really know you. They understand you enough to know how you truly feel about things. I am not going to say I got all the answers I needed but I am at least headed in the right direction now. Baby Scout and I hit it off and became fast friends over the weekend. After all, she takes after her Auntie Ju Ju in so many ways.

I do miss being home and being around all those I love. I will have to plan a trip home again sooner than this one was. Mom and I headed back to the Lone Star state on Sunday afternoon. We were worried that the day was going to turn out much like my trip out there when I received the text message that my flight had been canceled. However, we were able to get on an earlier flight out of Mobile that actually worked to our advantage. Once in Dallas, our departure gate changed 4 times and the flight kept getting delayed but we ended up only being two hours late arriving home. It was so nice to see my own bed. I determined that I didn’t want to spend anytime in an airport again for a long time. I am still trying to figure out if there is a way we can drive to Hawaii next month.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

My Trip to Alabama

As you know if you read my last blog, I was really excited about my trip home for the weekend. If I had known the ordeal I was going to go through just trying to get out of Texas, I might have reconsidered the trip. The day started out innocently enough with IT guy taking me to the airport since we both live on that side of town. However, things quickly turned ugly when I walked into the airport and saw the line waiting to check in at the American Airlines counter. After being dropped off I realized I had left my cell phone at the house and had to send IT guy back to my place to get said cell phone. Little did I know how much I would need the phone later on during the day. Once I had my cell phone in hand, I proceeded through security expecting to be boarding a plane at any minute. That minute did not come until four hours later when my flight to Dallas finally arrived at our local airport. After finally arriving in Dallas, I discovered that I could have made the original flight to Mobile that I had been booked for before they moved me to a later one. Well, I wish I had been on that plane. My 3:30 flight was canceled so I was placed on standby for a flight that was to leave at 5:30. However, with 23 people on the standby list, I felt my chances of making it were pretty slim. Something was making me think that there was a reason I didn’t need to go to Mobile that evening. Once the time came to board the 5:30 flight that didn’t actually leave until 7, I was still standing in the airport hoping to get home. At that point I was begging the airline to get me close to Mobile. So I got placed standby on a flight to Gulfport, MS which is an hour from Mobile. So at 8:00 I was finally boarding the plane and calling Mom at the same time to come get me from the airport. After arriving in Gulfport and making the drive to Mobile, I headed to the airport in Mobile to see if my luggage had arrived. Sure enough my luggage had made the 5:30 flight that I had not been on. However no one was at the counter to give me my luggage. So I climbed on the luggage scale and retrieved my own luggage. After all what were they going to do, arrest me for stealing my own luggage? I finally arrived at my final destination at 11:30 that evening. In the amount of time it took me to arrive in Mobile, I could have made the 12 hour drive. I just hope that I don’t have as many problems trying to fly back tomorrow.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Procrastination

So…I am going home tomorrow. I am really excited about the trip home mostly because I get to see my friend, Ronda, whom I haven’t seen in two years. In that time, Ronda had a baby and I haven’t ever met my adopted niece! I really can’t wait. I am also excited because it has been nearly six months since the last time I went home. That may not seem like a big deal to most people but to me it is huge. Last year I went home 6 times while Shawn was deployed. That was over an 11 month time period and two of those trips were more than a week long. I never thought I would be able to handle going this long without a visit home but I haven’t had much of a choice. However, that being said, I can’t seem to bring myself to finish packing. I started last night by lining up all my clothes and shoes on the guest bed to make sure I had everything. It has taken me four hours tonight to complete the task. I just can’t seem to get motivated and my flight leaves at 8:30 in the morning! I am basically done now. I just have to load my laptop in my carry on and switch out purses. I probably should iron my clothes but I don’t feel like doing that either. I just hope I get moving in the morning so I can make it to the airport on time.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Life This Week

So I mentioned before that my wonderful friends have found an abundance of things to keep me occupied during this temporary separation. This week has been the perfect example of that. I think Monday has been the only night that I came home and stayed home. Poor Maverick probably thinks Shawn and I have both left him. Tuesday night was dinner at the Olive Garden with Jenn and Ginny. Two and a half hours of girl talk over pasta and drinks really does the soul good. I don’t think we stopped laughing the entire time we were there. When my TV Guide arrived earlier this week, I discovered that the Dancing with the Stars Tour was coming to Austin Wednesday night. So online I went to purchase tickets. I dialed up Jenny (my sister-in-law in Austin) and last night I was off to the land of the longhorns to partake in one of my passions in life. I must say seeing the dances in person was 100 times better than watching them on TV. Tonight it was off to a local high school with Jenn and Diane for a community theatre performance of High School Musical. I hadn’t seen the show before and, while it had its cheesy moments, it was cute. I won’t say it was the best show I have seen (after all my trips to Broadway, that would be impossible) but they did the best they could with the talent they had available to them. I felt sorry for the little girl who played the lead in the show. She obviously hadn’t practiced in the shoes she was wearing in show because she slipped twice on the stage. The evening was made a little more enjoyable by seeing IT guy and his kiddos there. I am sure I will have plenty to do this weekend as well. Jenn and I are getting massages this weekend at the local day spa. I am sure I will end up shopping again some how. That always seems to be the best way to occupy my time. After all, I do have to plan for my trip home next weekend.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rambling Thoughts

It has been nearly a week since Shawn left for his 5 week stay in the desert. I have to say that I am realizing more and more what a fabulous (or, as Jenn would say, fantabulous) bunch of friends I have. My schedule for the next couple of weeks is cram packed with events and gatherings that will keep me busy and help the time past quicker. In addition to my trip home in two weeks and Mom’s subsequent visit to Central Texas, I will hardly notice that Shawn is gone. I am truly grateful to be surrounded by such wonderful people.

Maverick, on the other, is noticing Shawn’s absence. I caught him sitting in front of the door to the garage the other night just staring waiting for it to open. It is sad because he doesn’t understand. He is used to it being just me in the house with him since Shawn was deployed when I got him. Actually, I would think he would be a bit relieved to have Shawn gone since I am clearly the favorite pet parent. We have been getting in some good quality time. I feel like we have returned to deployment mode a bit, watching tv sitting in the recliner together all night. It has been a nice little break from the stress we were under before this trip began.

We are still waiting for news of a new contract at work. I really hope that we get it. Some big changes will happen around the office if we get it. Not to mention that it will double our work load since we add nearly 100 more employees. We have heard through unofficial channels that we got the contract but I don’t know when the official word is supposed to come out. I think we might hear something next week once our president gets back from his cruise. I certainly hope so!

Well, I don’t have any exciting plans for my Friday night. I just ordered a pizza (yes, second time this week) and I am thinking that pay-per-view sounds like a winner. I could clean the house but I think I will wait until tomorrow. Cleaning seems like a good plan for Saturday plus a trip to the post office to mail somethings that Shawn forgot to take with him.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

So It Begins…

The day finally arrived for Shawn to depart to NTC at Fort Irwin for 5 weeks. As is fitting with all things military, drop off time was 1 AM. So here we were scrambling at 12:15 to get to his office before said drop off time. Fortunately, we live close to the installation so it doesn’t take long to get there. Leading up to today, I have had mixed emotions about him leaving. After 2 deployments, 5 weeks isn’t that long but it is still hard to have him gone. Part of me was ready for him to leave so I wouldn’t have to deal with the late nights at the office anymore. Then I think about everything I have to take care of in his absence. I feel like I am running on autopilot right now. We said goodbye in the gym parking lot and I got in my car to drive home. We have said goodbye so many times now that I get numb when the time arrives for us say it again. The trip home was a blur. I made it home safely but I didn’t even notice what was going on around me. The car knows the path from Shawn’s office to the house so well that it drove itself. Now it is 1:30 and I can’t sleep. So I am nursing a glass of the remaining amaretto that was in the fridge. I am hoping that will dull the ache and put me to sleep. Tomorrow two of the other wives and I are heading out of town for some depression shopping after brunch. Should be fun!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thirsday Thirteen

13 Things that Made Me Smile Today

1. Talking to IT Guy

2. IT Guy’s son paying a visit to my office

3. Jason’s Deli with the girls

4. All things Pampered Chef

5. Leaving a note on someone’s car

6. Changes at work

7. Text messages

8. Puppy love

9. Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

10. Play time

11. Being alone with someone special

12. Pink

13. Completing this list

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ten on Tuesday

10 Occupations You Wanted to be When You Were Young
1. ballerina

2. teacher

3. nurse

4. dance teacher

5. pharmacist

6. writer

7. psychologist

8. fashion merchandiser

9. doctor

10. stay at home wife and mom

Notice the one occupation that is missing from this list?!?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Saturday Shuffle

So I decided to jump on the bandwagon since I haven’t posted anything in a while and try my hand at a Saturday Shuffle. I am still pretty new to the ITunes world so I don’t have a big variety yet. And some of what I do have, I am embarassed to even admit it is there. But…here I go:

1. Luckenbach, Texas - I had to add this song since Luckenbach is about 2 hours from where I live. Shawn and I visited there last year after he returned from deployment #2.

2. Not Me from Aida - I saw this show three years ago in NYC and absolutely feel in love with it.

3. Americans We by Gramercy Brass - A flashback to my high school band days. I have a special love for a good Sousa march.

4. Son’s Gonna Rise by Citizen Cope - Not too sure how I ended up with this on my playlist. It came from an album I had to download to get the one song I wanted.

5. My Home’s in Alabama by Alabama - Pretty self explanatory for anyone who knows anything about me. If you don’t, read my 100 things about me list.

6. I’ve Got a Dark Alley and a Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth by Fall Out Boy - see number 4.

7. Hill Country Here I Come by Tommy Alverson - I live right next to the Hill Country in Texas. For some reason, I felt the need to download several songs about Texas.

8. A Little More You by Little Big Town - I think this is the first album I downloaded. Just liked it. Not really sure why.

9.Middle of Nowhere by Hot Hot Heat - See numbers 4 & 6. Why does it keep going to this album?

10. Like Father, Like Son from Aida - See number 2. However, this is one of my least favorite songs from that show.

So now I have joined in with the rest of the Her Hangout crowd. Let’s see if I can keep this up. Next up I am aiming for a Thursday Thirteen.

My Life Right Now

Things have been pretty tense since I got the news about Shawn leaving his current unit. I should be happy because the change eliminates deployment #3 for the time being. However, the Army, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to replace the deployment with a year-long hardship tour overseas. OK…so it isn’t a war zone so I shouldn’t complain but it still means a year separation. Another year by myself…Great! I am an old pro at the married yet single military lifestyle. There are a few good points to this whole thing. I won’t have to move or leave my job. The not moving thing is great because I was just starting to get comfortable here in Central Texas so I won’t have to start over and make new friends. Plus all my friends from Shawn’s current unit will be going through a deployment while he is gone so I will have my semi-single friends to pal around with. I am mostly glad about not leaving my job. I just moved into a new position in the accounting department and there is talk of making me the accounting manager. That is a move that would absolutely thrill me. I would be one step under the comptroller and it would finally put me on the path I want to be on career wise. Shawn is hoping to keep us here at least through the end of his career so I can stay with my company since the future potential there is really good. I just hope his new assignment doesn’t ruin our trip to Hawaii in August.

On another note, my friend, Jenn, is planning a killer girls only bash for my big birthday in July. Since DH will be training out in Cali on my birthday, she decided it would be the perfect time to have a Pure Romance party. I can’t wait. I have decided it will be the bachelorette party I never had. Lots of jello shots and margaritas will be included. It will by far be the best birthday party I have ever had. I will need it too since I am not thrilled about turning 30. I am thankful she took it on herself to do this for me. She is a true friend. Besides, Shawn doesn’t think birthdays are a big deal nor does he understand my concern over being 30 so he wouldn’t have planned anything for me if he was going to be here. He has missed two birthdays since we have been married and will likely miss next year’s as well. So it typically ends up just being another day.

I mentioned Shawn’s training in California. He leaves next week for a 5 week stay in the desert at the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, California. I can honestly say I am ready for him to leave for a little while. I am hoping that this will cure some of the tension between the two of us. He has been so busy getting ready for this exercise that our home life is suffering. I need some time to miss him instead of being mad at him all the time. I am tired of the frequent late nights at work and, no matter how much I say or don’t say, he doesn’t seem to care. I told him it would be easier on me to have him deployed because I wouldn’t expect him home. I guess we will just have to see how I feel when he gets home in mid July.

Booked plane tickets to go home today. Yea! I finally get to get out of Texas for a few days and get to spend some time in Alabama. That makes me happy. I have been missing home really bad recently and need some family time. I was beginning to think I wouldn’t get to go home again until Christmas. Mom is coming back with me for the week of July 4th. It will be nice to have her here and she can visit with Clay (brother) in Austin while she is here.

Lastly, I have to mention a new show that starts tomorrow night. Lifetime is previewing a show called Army Wives. It looks good but I am going to have to tune in to see how accurate it is. So far the clips I have seen tell the story of our lives pretty well but there are some exaggerations. But tune in if you want a glimpse into my world. It should be fun.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Somehow in the midst of my company’s trip to Dave & Buster’s, I over looked the fact that last Friday was Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Last year was the first time I was aware that there is such a day. At the time I wasn’t working so I was able to participate in the MWR (Morale, Welfare & Recreation) hosted trip to a neighboring town for a day of shopping. Military Spouse Appreciation Day was created by President Ronald Reagan as a way to recognize the silent ranks. It falls on the Friday before Mother’s Day every year. The sad thing about Military Spouse Appreciation Day is that away from the military community you won’t hear anything about it. So, I feel it is my job to make the rest of the world aware of Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Do me a favor and find a military spouse and thank them for everything they go through. The soldier, sailor, marine or airman’s job doesn’t end with that individual. It carries over to the family who have to carry the burden of living without someone they love and dreading every knock on the door. I often hear thanks for my husband’s service but not as much for my service. The Army will tell the spouses that even though they don’t wear the uniform, they serve too. This is so true with the deployments and PCSing. It all effects us. Please realize that I am not saying all this to get your thanks. I am saying it so that you can thank those around you. Do you know someone in the National Guard or Reserves who is currently deployed? Make sure you let their spouse know that you appreciate her for standing beside someone in the armed forces. Those simple words go along way. I can’t tell you the number of times I have teared up at a complete stranger telling me thank you for everything I do. Sometimes it is just what you need to make it through the day. Now, I am going to go remind my husband to appreciate me.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Late Night

Here it is 2:25 in the morning and I am sitting here with a glass of wine trying to figure out why I can’t sleep. Is it because Maverick decided that snoring in bed would be fun tonight? Or is it the wonderful news that Shawn gave me that we might have to move this summer? I am devastated right now. I should be happy but all I can do is cry. Shawn was told two days ago that he was being moved from his current job to another position in another part of the unit. OK…I was a little sad by this because I would be leaving all the friends I had made in the current unit and the volunteer position with that unit to move to another unit. That I could handle because I would still be able to see my friends. However, this evening I got the news that the other position won’t be available to him. Unless the Army can see it in its cold heart to give him another position with another unit here, we will be moving. Just when I was starting to be happy and comfortable here. Man, I love the Army! I don’t think I could ever say that I love living in Texas but it has become home and I enjoy it. There is a lot to see and do. It has grown on me. I have friends here now. It has taken nearly two years but I actually have people to hang out with. I have a job that I like for the most part that has a lot of future potential for me. But that could all change in the next two months and I will have to start over again. Shawn still has to go to NTC in California to train for more than a month in three weeks which I think is insane. But his replacement won’t be here yet. After that, who knows! I just hope we can work out something to stay here. I never that I would say that but I really don’t want to leave. At least not yet. On the brighter side of things, this means that Shawn probably won’t be deploying in the fall after all. Like I said, I should be happy. I just don’t know why I’m not.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother’s Day

I am pretty sure I have mentioned on here before that I have no desire to be a mother. I am not going to say that those feelings have changed but I will say I am starting to feeling guilty about it. I am fortunate that I married a man who feels the same way about children that I do. I still can’t help but wonder what is wrong with me that I am not genetically predisposed to the “Mommy Gene”. Being in a military town only makes matters worse. Women try to fit pregnancies in between deployments so that means there are a ton of pregnant women around within the few months following the return of one of the installation’s major units. A perfect example of that is the fact that I was out shopping for baby gifts for three women in my Sunday School class today. Now our class runs about 20 people on an average Sunday. We are not talking a huge number. Not to mention the two showers I have been to already this year for other women in the class. And that is just at church. That doesn’t even count the wives that are associated with Shawn’s unit or the ladies at work.

Of course church today was focused on mothers. The pastor recognized all the mothers in the congregation and I couldn’t help but wonder if I would ever want to join that club. I agree with what the pastor said about children being a gift from God but I just don’t know if I can do it. I see these women deal with the military lifestyle and raise children primarily on their own and I don’t think I could handle it. I could hardly handle a puppy by myself the last time Shawn was gone. Could I really take care of a baby by myself? My husband frequently tells me that he married me because I had the strength it would take to be a military spouse. However, I believe that having a child to deal with on top of everything else would push the limits of my strength. It is hard enough to take care of myself and go it alone. I can’t imagine having to take care of someone else who can’t take care of themselves during a deployment. So then, why do I feel so selfish for feeling the way I do about having children?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Big Surprise…Yeah, Right!

OK…so it really wasn’t a surprise when my mom called yesterday and told me she saw a report about the Department of Defense releasing a list of the troops that will be deploying soon. Of course, Shawn’s unit was on that list. While that information may be a surprise to the civilian world, it is no big shock to those of us who have been living the life of preparation. We have known since Shawn changed units in September that this was on the horizon. No orders didn’t mean it wasn’t going to happen or that something might change. I have tried telling that to my mother-in-law but some how she doesn’t believe me. The funny thing to me is my mom was one of the many people in the US who missed the annoucement about the troop extensions. I guess I take for granted that the news that is important in the military world isn’t as relevant to those on the outside. I just hope that the extension is a sign that this crazy situation will be coming to an end soon.

On a side note: I want to apologize for my disappearing act. I have not had much free time recently. Not that it is totally an excuse but I also haven’t had much to say. I have been disappearing from a lot recently strickly out of a need to be alone. I hope to break out of that soon.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Pentagon extends Army tours in Iraq

It is not often that you will find me addressing something that is political in nature. That is a subject that I try to stay away from simply because it annoys me more than it benefits me. That being said, I do vote and take part in the democratic process. However, I am a military spouse and I speak up when something happens in Washington that effects my life and my husband’s career. A friend of mine who is also a military spouse posted this bulletin on MySpace yesterday. I believe it says everything that all of us as spouses are feeling right now with the Pentagon’s announcement to extend the length of tours in Iraq. I want the war to end for reasons that are purely personal and selfish in nature. I don’t agree with the protestors or the politicans who want to end this. I don’t know if I think their arguments are valid. I simply know that I have watched my husband leave twice and everytime I fear he will not return. I know that I am preparing to go through this process all over again. Only this time he will be gone for a longer period of time. Some might say that three months isn’t a long time. My response to that would be try only seeing the person you love once in a 15 month period. My husband and I aren’t talking about it. I think we just don’t know what to say. There is nothing we can to so I guess you get to the point where you just don’t fight it anymore.

Something happened today that will affect my family, every person I see daily, and over 200,000 others. If you were watching the news channels about three hours after the stories were posted online around 8pm EDT, you would think we were all affected by Don Imus or even Sanjaya on American Idol. But you would be wrong. The defense secretary announced today that the deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan were extended from 12 to 15 months. Maybe we missed it (we do live in Hawaii) but I doubt it. How in the world is it more important that one man made some sexist and racist remark about a basketball team and got fired? How is it more important that Sanjaya is still on American Idol? The fact is, it’s not more important, especially to the three proud Army wives sitting in my living room right now or to the countless others affected by this.Some people will say “It’s just three more months” and yes it is just three more months but put it into perspective. My husband will deploy at the end of this year, all we know is he won’t be here for Christmas. This means he won’t be here next Christmas either. In fact, the next time he will be home for Christmas our son (who is now four) will be seven years old. Fathers who missed the birth of their children could now also miss their child’s first birthday as well, like my friend Jason who is currently deployed.

I love that the plan says that the troops are guaranteed a year at home between deployments, as if it’s a favor to us. This doesn’t take away from the fact that they will be in Iraq or Afghanistan for longer than they are home. I’m sure it also doesn’t take into account that while they are home they are out in the field training for weeks or months at a time. Soldiers I know who are preparing to deploy later this year are spending at least one week in the field per month and will be going for desert training for two additional months. One week per month adds up to 12 weeks a year or three months, add in that additional two months and that’s five months of training. So, in the period of one year we will actually get to see our husbands a total of seven months. That doesn’t even take into account going to work every day, or the 24 hour shifts they pull for other duties.

I’m also happy they were so generous to pay everyone an additional $1000 per month for the extra time they’ll be deployed. If you calculate that out, it averages $1.38 per hour. If you worked at a job paying $6.15 an hour, you would make an extra $3.08 per hour for overtime. So someone who flips burgers or mops floors is paid more for time and a half than our troops who will be serving their country for an extra three months. Just imagine if someone paid you $3000 to miss three months of your child’s life, their first birthday, their high school graduation, your brother or sister’s wedding, your 5th or 25th wedding anniversary would it be worth it? Hardly.

In writing this I’m not looking for sympathy or words of encouragement. I want others to realize this is so important to so many people and affects so many lives and it is not okay. I’m not a protester or anti-war activist. I am a wife who is proud of her husband and what he does for his country. I am a wife who wants her husband home as much as possible to see his children grow up. I am a wife who thinks my husband and all the other soldiers have done their jobs and done it well and now it’s time for them to come home.

100 Things about Me

OK…so I finally finished the list. Here it is!

  1. I was born in Alabama
  2. I currently live in Texas
  3. I have a Masters degree in Business Administration
  4. I graduated from two different Southern Baptist colleges
  5. I am a huge college football fan (ROLL TIDE!)
  6. But I only discovered the joys of pro football this year (Go Cowboys!)
  7. I don’t have any children
  8. Nor do I want any children
  9. But babies love me
  10. I love my dog
  11. I love the water
  12. But I hate the beach (sand, yuck!)
  13. My favorite color is purple
  14. I hate the color orange
  15. My favorite flowers are roses (pink especially)
  16. I want everything around me to be neat and organized
  17. But I hate to clean my house
  18. I am a true shopaholic
  19. I love all things Pampered Chef
  20. I own more than half the catalog
  21. I bought the majority of it since I moved to Texas a year and a half ago
  22. I am a volunteer for the Army
  23. I work full time as an accountant
  24. I do my own taxes
  25. I watch entirely too much TV
  26. I have a Tivo and a DVR to help me with that
  27. I am extremely competitive
  28. I will be 30 in July
  29. I started dancing when I was 5
  30. I still dance today
  31. My mother is my best friend
  32. I talk to her every day
  33. I have been married for 3 years and 5 months
  34. Of that time, my husband and I have yet to spend 12 consecutive months together.
  35. I love all things Harry Potter
  36. Dr Pepper is my favorite soft drink
  37. I went to the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas last summer
  38. I have been to New York City 5 times
  39. I have seen 8 musicals on Broadway
  40. I love musicals
  41. I wanted to be a Rockette
  42. But at 5’1” I am too short
  43. My favorite musical is 42nd Street
  44. I met Clay Aiken at Thoroughly Modern Millie
  45. I have Vanessa Williams’ autograph
  46. I bought earrings at Tiffany’s just to get the blue box
  47. I went to Disney World on my honeymoon
  48. That was my 7th trip to Disney World
  49. But I have never been to Disney Land
  50. I hate a fear of hot ovens and sharp knives
  51. I voted for President Bush
  52. I support our troops
  53. My undergrad school was three blocks from a military academy
  54. I have dated someone in every branch of the armed forces
  55. But I married a soldier!
  56. I have two brothers
  57. One lives in Alabama and one lives in Texas
  58. I have three sisters-in-law
  59. My parents have been married for 43 years
  60. I was born two days before my mother’s 36th birthday
  61. I love to scrapbook
  62. But I have not touched my stuff in months
  63. I am a picky eater
  64. I am a NASCAR fan
  65. I have been to Europe
  66. I was in the Macy’s Parade in high school
  67. If I had my choice, I would have never left Alabama
  68. I hope to never live outside of the South
  69. I am not a fan of snow or cold weather
  70. I do not know how to drive a standard
  71. I collect shot glasses
  72. I own more than 60 pairs of shoes
  73. About ¼ of them are under my bed
  74. I am terrible with plants
  75. I hire someone to do landscaping for me every year
  76. I am allergic to grass
  77. I have never mowed the lawn before
  78. I was a cheerleader in middle school, high school, and college
  79. I wish I could sing
  80. I also would love to be able to play the piano
  81. I just got a promotion at work
  82. I love seafood
  83. But I don’t like to eat it at non-seafood restaurants
  84. I don’t watch soap operas
  85. I prefer the food network
  86. I think Paula Deen is fabulous
  87. I want to be a writer one day
  88. I don’t have my dream job
  89. I enjoy reality TV shows
  90. I like to read
  91. Mystery novels are my favorite
  92. I want to be a good friend
  93. I like being the center of attention
  94. I love to act
  95. I drive a Toyota
  96. I have been with Cingular (the new AT&T) for 7 years
  97. I have been out of college for nearly 8 years
  98. I have been out of high school for nearly 12
  99. I wouldn’t want to go back to either one
  100. I love my life

Monday, April 9, 2007

Time on my hands

Our accounting program has been down for two days at work so I am doing everything I can to occupy my time since I have to sit here until 5. I figured now would be a good time to catch up on my blogging since I have nothing better to do and I have been delinquent in advertising my oh-so-exciting life. Shawn returned from the field a week ago still damp from the downpours we had all week including a few tornadoes that apparently were near my house. The weather was bad enough that my boss sent us home early that Friday. I guess I was napping while the tornadoes were circulating because I missed them on the news report I had on all afternoon. That crazy weather led to a beautiful weekend only to be followed by freezing temperatures for Easter. Yes, it snowed for Easter in Central Texas this year. I am not a fan of cold weather or snow for that matter. I prefer warm climates for that reason. Shawn wasn’t as uncomfortable as I was. He didn’t seem to understand my anxiety once I realized it was indeed snowing for the third time in one day and was now sticking. (I promise to post pictures of Maverick in the snow later.) It did make for a nice, relaxing evening at home complete with a fire in the fireplace. By Sunday morning, the snow was beginning to melt and the ground was nothing but mushy by mid-afternoon. So much for the snow. It is supposed to be in the high 80s on Wednesday. Now that is the weather I expect in April. Hopefully I will be able to wear my Easter dress to church next weekend since I was going to wear sandals and a sleeveless dress in 40 degree weather.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hen Party

Last night I had what Shawn calls a “hen party” better known to me as a Pampered Chef party. (Oh, how I love Pampered Chef products!) Apparently, in my husband’s world, women are hens and when we get together it is a hen party. However, much fun was had by all. There is just something great about getting a bunch of women together to just be women even if you don’t all know each other. A few weeks ago, my church sponsored a ladies’ retreat at beautiful conference center in a nearby town (somehow everything is nearby in Central Texas!) It was the most refreshing and relaxing weekend I had had in a long time. Shawn and I had been dealing with a lot of stress about the upcoming deployment before the retreat but life was much happier afterward. It didn’t hurt that he greeted me at the door with flowers upon my return and I had only been gone for 24 hours. The other ladies and I that planned the retreat are already talking about what to do for next year’s retreat. I would love an escape like that once a month. Massages and facials are great but it was so fun to sit up and giggle like teenagers at a slumber party. The big difference now is we are all married to the boys we were talking about.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Have I ever?

I borrowed this from Psycho Mommy because…well…I thought it was an interesting way to get to know me even more!
Bold the ones you’ve done…
01. Bought everyone in the pub a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula.
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said ‘I love you’ and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Done a striptease
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long, and watch the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Touched an iceberg
20. Slept under the stars
21. Changed a baby’s diaper
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
23. Watched a meteor shower
24. Gotten drunk on champagne
25. Given more than you can afford to charity
26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
28. Had a food fight
29. Bet on a winning horse
30. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
31. Asked out a stranger
32. Had a snowball fight
33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier
34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
35. Held a lamb
36. Enacted a favorite fantasy
37. Taken a midnight skinny dip
38. Taken an ice cold bath
39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
40. Seen a total eclipse
41. Ridden a roller coaster
42. Hit a home run
43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days
44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
45. Adopted an accent for an entire day
46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
48. Had two hard drives for your computer
49. Visited all 50 states
50. Loved your job for all accounts
51. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
53. Had amazing friends
54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
55. Watched wild whales
56. Stolen a sign
57. Backpacked in Europe
58. Taken a road-trip
59. Rock climbing
60. Lied to foreign government’s official in that country to avoid notice
61. Midnight walk on the beach
62. Sky diving
63. Visited Ireland
64. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
66. Visited Japan
67. Benchpressed your own weight
68. Milked a cow
69. Alphabetized your records
70. Pretended to be a superhero
71. Sung karaoke
72. Lounged around in bed all day
73. Posed nude in front of strangers
74. Scuba diving
75. Got it on to “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye
76. Kissed in the rain
77. Played in the mud
78. Played in the rain
79. Gone to a drive-in theater
80. Done something you should regret, but don’t regret it
81. Visited the Great Wall of China
82. Discovered that someone who’s not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog.
83. Dropped Windows in favor of something better
84. Started a business
85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
86. Toured ancient sites
87. Taken a martial arts class
88. Sword fought for the honor of a woman
89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
90. Gotten married
91. Been in a movie
92. Crashed a party
93. Loved someone you shouldn’t have
94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy
95. Gotten divorced
96. Had sex at the office
97. Gone without food for 5 days
98. Made cookies from scratch
99. Won first prize in a costume contest
100. Ridden a gondola in Venice
101. Gotten a tattoo
102. Found that the texture of some materials can turn you on
103. Rafted the Snake River
104. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
105. Got flowers for no reason
106. Masturbated in a public place
107. Got so drunk you don’t remember anything
108. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug
109. Performed on stage
110. Been to Las Vegas
111. Recorded music
112. Eaten shark..
113. Had a one-night stand
114. Gone to Thailand
115. Seen Siouxsie live
116. Bought a house
117. Been in a combat zone
118. Buried one/both of your parents
119. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off
120. Been on a cruise ship
121. Spoken more than one language fluently
122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
123. Bounced a check
124. Performed in Rocky Horror..
125. Read - and understood - your credit report
126. Raised children
127. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy.
128. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
129. Created and named your own constellation of stars
130. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
131. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
132. Called or written your Congress person
133. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
134. …more than once? - More than thrice?
135. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
136. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
137. Had an abortion or your female partner did
138. Had plastic surgery
139. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived.
140. Wrote articles for a large publication
141. Lost over 100 pounds
142. Held someone while they were having a flashback
143. Piloted an airplane
144. Petted a stingray
145. Broken someone’s heart
146. Helped an animal give birth
147. Been fired or laid off from a job
148. Won money on a T.V. game show
149. Broken a bone
150. Killed a human being
151. Gone on an African photo safari
152. Ridden a motorcycle
153. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
154. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
155. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
156. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
157. Ridden a horse
158. Had major surgery
159. Had sex on a moving train
160. Had a snake as a pet
161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
162. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
164. Visited more foreign countries then US states.
165. Visited all 7 continents
166. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
167. Eaten kangaroo meat
168. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground
169. Been a sperm or egg donor
170. Eaten sushi
171. Had your picture in the newspaper
172. Had 2 (or more) healthy romantic relationships for over a year in your lifetime
173. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
174. Gotten someone fired for their actions
175. Gone back to school
176. Parasailed
177. Changed your name (my last name)
178. Petted a cockroach
179. Eaten fried green tomatoes.
180. Read The Iliad
181. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read,
182. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them
183. …and gotten 86′ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was you
184. Taught yourself an art from scratch
185. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
186. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
187. Skipped all your school reunions (not on purpose)
188. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
189. Been elected to public office
190. Written your own computer language
191. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
192. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
193. Built your own PC from parts
194. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
195. Had a booth at a street fair
196: Dyed your hair
197: Been a DJ
198: Found out someone was going to dump you via LiveJournal
199: Written your own role playing game
200: Been arrested.

Lazy Sunday

Today has been a typical day in our little world. Shawn left me and Maverick in bed this morning as he headed off to the gym before church. Once Shawn returned, I was showered and partially dressed. Thinking we were good on time, we didn’t rush and as is typical, ended up being about 10 minutes late for Sunday school. After big church (yes at 29 I still call it that), it was off to lunch and a quick trip to the grocery store. Shawn is currently weed eating the front yard while Maverick sunbathes in the back. I should be finishing the house cleaning we started yesterday since I will be having company over tomorrow after work. Shawn will be in the field all next week so I will get some much needed me time. As much as I hate when Shawn is gone, I get really used to having time to myself and being able to follow my own routine. Everything changes when Shawn is home. It took me three months to get Maverick back on track and not waking us up in the middle of the night when Shawn returned from his last trip to the sand box. I get to watch chick flicks and all my tv shows without someone fussing at me for it. Well, I guess I will go check how Junior is doing at Bristol and head back to the housework. Shawn must have decided there was enough grass to mow because the lawnmower is now running. Later!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Growing Old Gracefully?

I will be turning 30 this summer. With turning 30 comes a lot of thoughts of getting old and whether or not I have accomplished all I wanted to accomplish by this age. I keep hearing that life begins at 30 but I doubt the truth to that statement. My body is telling me on a daily basis that I am not that young anymore. I have my sore knee and my bad back. However, I have been able to convince myself up to this point that I still looked younger. That was until a couple of nights ago when I had one of those moments that all women (and some men) fear. I was going through my nightly routine preparing for bed. You know, brushing the teeth, washing the face. My part was off so I picked up the brush to brush my hair when I noticed something shiny catching the light in the mirror. At that point, panic set in. So I reach up and grab the offender out of my head and proceed to show it to Shawn. Now my first thought was that it was a residual blond hair from my days of highlighted blond hair that are not too far past. However, with much consultation from my soon-to-be salt-and-pepper husband and comparing the strand to the closest dark towel in the bathroom, we determined that it was indeed a gray hair. So there you have it. That rite of passage has taken place. I have found my first gray hair. After all I have been through in the last 3 years, it should come as no surprise to me. However, I suddenly feel the need to return to my hairdresser and start the highlights again.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

RIP Stephen Watts

I got one of those calls today that you are never expecting and dread once you know what they are about. An old friend of mine was found dead in his apartment Monday night. Stephen and I met in high school when I was dating his best friend but continued to be friends even after Jason and I broke up. As a matter of fact, we went to his prom together junior year. Imagine my shock when Mom called me at work to tell me that she had heard on the news last night that he had died. Of course the circumstances of his death are unclear. He died from a single gunshot wound and was found by his roommate. Stephen was a police officer in Daphne, AL. My hope is that it was an accident because I don’t believe that Stephen was the type of person to commit suicide. While we hadn’t been close in years, Stephen was always a happy person. I just can’t imagine him being in such a pit of dispair and wanting to take his own life. But then you never know. I haven’t seen Stephen since my wedding three years ago but I was happy when we reconnected on MySpace last year. I just still can’t believe it is true. The world will definitely be a sadder place without Stephen in it. He truly was a wonderful person and someone I was privileged enough to call my friend. Stephen, you will be missed.