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!