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.