Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hello Mr. Marine.

The last thing I wanted to look at for 6 hours was a man in uniform....

I know, I know, it sound RIDICULOUS... cause c'mon, I'll be the first one to admit that Sgt. in ACU's walking up to my dorm is one of the hottest things I've ever seen. Oh, and don't even get me started on the dress blues at Cav. Ball! Whew! The only thing that was better than my reaction to seeing him in dress blues, was his reaction to seeing me in that blue dress ;).

But ever since this deployment, I have a love hate relationship with seeing a military uniform anywhere. Don't get me wrong, I still think it's dead sexy... and makes me proud to know someone who wears it. But it just makes me think of Sgt. and brings back lots of memories... which is fine! There's nothing wrong with memories but when you miss someone so much... sometimes a small dose of memory is all you need. If you allow the gates to open then you'll eventually be drowning in fond or not so fond memories of your significant other which will inevitably cause you to miss them even more than you already do, and it utterly shatters this protective, positive attitude you've built up.

I recall one time I was in a bookstore reading (cause I rarely buy the book, I'll just sit in there and read for a few hours...) and out of the corner of my eye I see the distinctive green and tan digital pattern. I look up, hoping I'm wrong, but knowing I'm not, and I see exactly what I thought it was. A soldier. I tried to avoid my stare but when I couldn't I got up and moved to another chair out of the line of sight. Suddenly my book wasn't so interesting and I wanted to go home.

Another time the uniform got the best of me was at the airport. Ohhh the airport; A tremendous hodgepodge of peoples coming and going, cheerful hello's and tearful goodbye's. As soon as I got through security I knew it was coming. At the Starbucks I stopped at, I witnessed the unmistakable tight haircut and blue attire that was surely a new Air Force basic training graduate. Further towards my terminal there was not one, not two but THREE soldiers, walking in front of me in their ACU's with backpack in matching pattern to complete the ensemble. "Please don't turn to 26A, please don't turn to 26A" I thought to myself. I tend to get to the airport extremely early and usually have to wait over an hour for my plane to board. I didn't want to look at another man in uniform for the next hour and wish the entire time he was Sgt. Apparently God heard me! They definitely did not turn into 26A. God however, does have a sense of humor. They turned into 26B, the terminal right next to mine, who's only division is marked by a trash can and a large gap in seating. I did exactly what I figured I would, glanced up from my magazine for the next hour at the back of an Army blouse and had to control my urge to go over, tap the man on the shoulder and ask "So do you know Sgt.?"

Yesterday the uniform saga continued. We travel to colleges to recruit college students (novel idea huh) as counselors for our camp. This is typically done at summer camp and/or job fairs hosted by the school. This recruiting effort, I figured, would be no different than it usually is. There are typically a bunch of other summer camps, a long with other places of employment looking to hire young people for positions or internships. We go to sign in and are lead to our table where we'll be setting up when what should my wandering eye see? A USMC OFFICER SELECTION PROGRAM sign, on the table beside me.

Oh yes. Immediately to my right. Not across the room where I might be able to avoid them but strategically placed where I will not only be able to NOT avoid them, but I will be forced to listen to their introductions - "hi I'm Ssgt. Jones with the Marine Corps officer selection program" and their spiels "It's a tough program, ya know I turn more people away than I accept, we're not the girl scouts, we're the Marine Corps" (seriously, that's an actual quote).... All. Day. Long. It's not that this annoys me, not at all, I love the way military guys talk. They introduce themselves with pride and a sense of self worth. They talk about their service with such fervor and dedication. It's exactly how Sgt. is as well. THAT'S the reason I didn't want to listen to it all day... not because it irritates me, but because I miss hearing him like that. And yes, they're also in uniform. The entire time I'm trying to focus on my job and what I'm doing... and I manage pretty well except when there is a lull in the crowd and I can't help but laugh. I seriously have to turn away from them so I can giggle and arrange brochures on our table without looking like an idiot. It's exactly what would happen to me. Really, how could I expect anything else :).

On the drive home after our fair, I wondered allowed if that was some sort of sign. It's been a few days since I've heard from Sgt. at all and I'm a little bit worried, a little bit frustrated, and a lot missing him. "What kind of sign?" she asked. "I don't know, maybe like.... I'll be seeing uniformed military personnel around here soon. That's not a good thing." (I won't get the knock on the door but I'll get the second person phone call) "no, no, that wasn't even the Army, it was the Marine Corps... maybe it just means that you need to be patient. Having to stand there all day had to make you patient with yourself.... maybe that's what the sign is. Just be patient and know that he'll get ahold of you when he can, he misses you too, you know that." I smile to myself as I mull this over. I certainly like her sign better than the one I came up with, I decide I'll go with that. "Yeah, that's true... we'll go with that." I paused and then I added:

"You know what else that uniform makes me miss?" "whats that?" she responded. "I miss the way his butt looks in it... did you see that guy that showed up after lunch!"

If I have to stare at it for 6 hours I might as well enjoy it :).

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunshine and Starlight

I still really miss him. (like that ever changes huh?) I don't know what it is about this funk I'm in. It's irritating me to no end though. I'm so cranky, now every morning when my boss walks in he greets me with "hey grouch bucket." - it's all in good fun of course, but still. Even just this morning he walked in and said "uh oh... you're grouchy again, I can already tell." I laugh it off and say something to the effect of "ugh, I AM grouchy, this stinks! I'll be fine though." I hate feeling like the Debbie Downer. I'm fine at work, we joke around and goof off all day, all the while getting work done of course, but in my personal life I am just.... grouchy!!

The hormone thing should be dwindling at this point... although I know it's still there, I can't blame it ALL on that anymore. It's not Sgt.'s fault... just two days ago he wrote me a two word e-mail that said "P.S. You're beautiful." ......I think it's just the lack of contact. I'm not frustrated at HIM really, I'm just frustrated. I want to hear that he misses me also, that he's thinking of me also. Deep down I know he is, but I devote a lot of time to making sure he feels adored and missed and cared for and I feel like sometimes I don't get the same thing. Yes, he is deployed and yes, he's got a lot of other things going on over there, and no, I would never want me to distract him or make him unfocused but... just.... GAH is it too much to ask for a "I can't wait to see you, the next 6 months can't go by fast enough."

*sigh* I could just REALLY use like 30 minutes of his undivided attention. 30 min where he's focused on me, on us, possibly doting upon me if he can muster it. Phone call, IM, I don't care.... it's not that I'm not strong enough or can't handle this... I am, I can... I just don't want to feel like I'm having to do it alone.

Anyway, in an attempt to cheer myself up this weekend, I laid out and got a healthy dose of some vitamin D. Weather in Texas was in the 80's and I happen to be so blessed as to live right on a river, it was perfect. After the sunshine had thoroughly washed over me and I was able to catch a short nap under the Texas heat, I took a shower and got dressed. I decided the day was gorgeous and I was going to go take some pictures. I love taking pictures, and admittedly, I love taking pictures of myself... I hadn't sent any to Sgt. in a while because I hadn't taken any since about new years, so I figured it was about time and I knew he would like them. He always loves pictures. The pictures turned out great and I had fun, went into town and got supper and then relaxed the rest of the evening. As night approached the temperature dropped to a warm/cool consistency. I climbed up onto the roof of my apartment with a blanket and stargazed. It's one of my favorite things to do out here because the sky is wide open. The first time I ever saw a shooting star was out here. It's a good way to just reflect and calm your soul.

As I was laying up there I thought about Sgt. About how he would laugh at how I tried to climb up the side of that pillar and how I would've been able to hear that worried sound in his voice when I lost my balance the first time. :). I thought about how climbing up on top of the roof to star gaze probably wouldn't have been his first choice in how to spend our evening :) but he would've done it because it makes me happy. I thought about how he was probably just waking up on the other side of the world and I wondered if at any point he might pause and look at a picture of me or hear one of the songs on his Ipod I sent to him and smile. I thought about how the first thing he would've wanted this morning was a cup of coffee and how I really hope he got it. I wondered what he might do that day; go on patrol, set up at an OP, talk to Iraqi residents and maybe practice his Arabic on some of the IA or an interpreter. I smiled at the thought of hearing his southern accent spit out words like "Salam aleikum" "Shookran" "Enshalla."

I pray for Sgt. all the time, I pray for him more than I pray for myself, but that night up on my roof... I decided that instead of talking to God, I just wanted to talk to him. So I sent him a verbal letter, reciting things I might have written down at that very moment but instead enjoyed the thought of the words just floating up into the endless hill country sky. This is what I told him, (as best as I remember it anyway) -

"Hey goober. So I'm sitting up here and I almost didn't bring a blanket but figured I should just in case... it was a good idea. I think the thought of you not being here to cuddle with me or keep me warm makes me cold anyway, no matter what the weather is like. Ok... yeah I know that was cheesy but it's true. I wish you were here. I hate this deployment today. I don't hate it every day, I know that you love what you do, and I love what you do... I'm so proud of you darlin', did you know that?.... it's just that sometimes I wish I didn't have to expect things like little contact or disappointing phone connections. I will say this though, if it was the choice between this and having you or a "normal" relationship and not having you? I choose this. I'd choose you every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Yeah, I did just quote A Few Good Men, yes, I do know that movie involves the Marines and not the Army... sue me. I hope you're doing good and taking care of yourself. I'm doing fine, everything here is good, don't worry. Well babe, not much else to say, have a great day over there, I know I'll talk to you soon. I miss you so much, be safe please. Yeah yeah... I know, you're safe, it's worth repeating though. What'll we do tomorrow brain? Love, me.

Thank goodness the end of this month is almost here. I'm definitely ready to chalk another month up to "behind us."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kicking myself.


I miss him. I miss him a lot. I miss him a lot a lot. If you were Travis, one of the kids in my class last year... a lot a lot to you would mean "to the mooooonnnn and back". If you were KJ... a lot a lot would mean you would do anything to be able to hear his voice again, feel his hands, look at him physically standing there in front of you. If you were KJ.. a lot a lot would mean giving up, well, your self. Your sanity. I mean this is a little bit insane right? Almost our entire relationship has been built and cherished through a deployment, at a distance, away from each other.

We are coming up on another mile marker. Pretty soon, the mile marker will be one year. One year since I tearfully said goodbye to him standing in front of a line of cabs at an airport. One year since I saw the way he looks at me right before he kisses me. One year since he brushed the hair out of my eyes and said "remember how beautiful you are." One year. I've spent nearly 365 days without him. One year since we repeated Dane Cook jokes to each other and simultaneously turned to one another at the acknowledgement of a car alarm and said "helllooooooo I'm a caaaarrrrrrr." One year since he laughed at me and called me "goober" as I'm handing him an overpacked assortment of bags for a short weekend trip. I miss everything about him. I miss HIM.

It is as much a measure of heartache as it is of triumph. I've survived a whole year. A whole year where I still adore him as much (more even) as the first time he captured my heart. A whole year and not a day goes by that I don't think about him, miss him, smile at the thought of him. A year! A lot of people might agree... if you can do a year of this... you can do almost anything together. It's a mark of how far we've come and I'm proud of it.

The thing about it all is that I ask my self the question "this is a little bit insane right?" and then my heart answers "no, not even a little bit" - THATS the insane part. It's like it's the most natural thing in the world. That being with him, no matter what that means I have to endure, is completely and utterly perfect. Like the world fell into place. I can honestly say I have never been happier and just CONTENT with my life and who I am since I have been with him.

I'm sorry I feel like I'm bouncing all over the place right now with stuff I want to say.... am trying to say...

Earlier today Sgt. e-mailed and said he was back in. He said he really wanted to call me later if I'd be around. (uhhh YEAH I'll be around for a phone call from you, are you kidding?) I told him the best time would probably be between 12-2 since thats like lunch break time *insert note for new readers, he can only call me at work cause where I live has no cell phone signal* but that anytime would do. Well noon rolled around.... two o'clock came and went... no phone call. I was so dissapointed.

Not at him, at myself for getting my hopes up. Everyone who's been through a deployment for even a month knows that expectations are not your friend, especially when it comes to a phone call or plain 'ole hearing from your soldier (marine, airman, guardsman, sailor). However, I did, I got my hopes up and when he didn't call I was like "dang it... I knew you shouldn't have done that." I figured he'd probably fallen asleep since he had just gotten back in. Well, a couple hours later, he called!!

Yay me :). Apparently he got sidetracked doing other things, cleaning his weapon, paperwork, down time... whatever, and realized how late it was. (side note: my hormones and emotions are all over the friggin place right now which doesn't help things) He apologized though and so I left it at that. He called, thats all that mattered right now. We started to talk but he was so out of it. Just "uh huh" answering my questions and just giving the impression that he really didn't want to be on the phone right then. So of course I ask:

"whats wrong with you? Just tired or what?"
"it's 2am and I'm tired"

So what is the first thing that comes out of my mouth?

"Well go to bed then hon."

UGGGHHH why did I say that. I don't WANT him to go to bed, I want to talk to him. And so of course his response was


He sounded a little irritated when he said it too. He said he would talk to me soon and we said goodbye. I thanked him for calling and he said the same thing he always says when he calls and I thank him for it... "it was totally selfish"

I didn't even get to tell him I missed him :(

Who wants to guess the million things that are running through my mind NOW? I feel guilty for not being strong today. For being on the verge of tears because I miss him so much. I feel guilty
for sounding like I didn't want to talk to him when I told him to just go to sleep. I feel guilty for not telling him how much I care about him before I hung up the phone. I wrote him a short e-mail apologizing for sounding snippy... but still.

I'm still nervous about having these moments. These moments where I just really miss him and really need and want him here. It makes me even more nervous to tell him about it. I think I'm terrified one day he's going to say "Listen... this is obviously too much for you, I knew I never should've dragged you into it.... I'm sorry but maybe it's better if we just seperate for now"

Which, isn't the case! It's not "too much" for me... and damn it, I AM strong. I've done a year of this. I'm still not down to double digit days so I have a few more months to go and I'm ready for it. Bring it on. I'm never worried about me not feeling strong enough or not being able to do it, I think I'm more worried that he doesn't see it.


I just miss him, a lot a lot... and is that really so bad?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Yes, I am highly aware of how crazy I sound.

Today anyway.

First of all, I'm a tough girl, I have survived kidney stones (if you've ever had them, you KNOW what I'm talking about... if you haven't... they say it's as close to the pain of unmedicated natural child birth a man can ever get. I am not a man, and we've already established that I am not ready to have children so.... yeah.). I have lived on my own since the ripe age of 17. I have sustained lots of injuries from unwaivering clumsiness. I'm not a big crier, although I have my moments. I can usually deal. But if I say something hurts, IT HURTS! He sits there and tells me:

"well... just give it a few more days. I don't have a magic wand that can just make the pain go away. I think all you need is a little reassurance that you're going to be fine."


First of all, this is all coming about from the fantastic wisdom tooth extraction that I was so thrilled about a few posts back. That was a week ago. It started hurting after it was supposedly "healed" and I can feel something back there. I decided to give it a few more days but over the weekend I was near tears anytime anything touched it (toothbrush, food, etc.). I have constant headaches, can't chew or bite down on that side... somethings isn't right.

So following strict instructions, I cleaned it out with warm salt water again for about two min. (every few hours) Took a couple 400mg ibuprofen (every few hours) and rested until today when I could get in to see my dentist.

Second of all, don't say stupid childish things like "I don't have a magic wand to make the pain go away?" REALLY? YOU DON'T - wow, thats terrible news because I was certainly hoping your "magic wand" (does the fact that this last sentance triggered a snicker about sexual inuendos have anything to do with the fact that I haven't seen Sgt. in almost a year??) - sorry as I was saying, I was really hoping that your "magic wand" could fix THIS problem like it tends to fix everything else that goes wrong. (read: deployment, my car breaking down, screaming children I babysit...)

Now, upon first reading this, you might assume that Sgt. is in bigggg trouble. No. The snarky comment came from my dentist. In fact the strict instructions to rest and take ibuprofen and clean it out with warm salt water... THAT came from Sgt. - Riddle me this Batman, how does my boyfriend seem to take better care of me from 1,000's of miles away than my dentist does when I'm standing in his office?

Freakin nightmare. Actually, he's usually really nice, although I didn't appreciate his comment today, I get what he's saying. Apparently the problem is some bone thats sticking out of the socket and the gum tissue should heal over it if I give it a couple more days. Just kinda have to stick out the pain and discomfort. *sigh* FIIIIINNNEEEE.

That was all bright and early this morning. So after leaving the dentists office with little more than a pat on the back (at least no fee which is good) I decided to stop at Starbucks on my way back to work for a little treat, courtesy of me. I'll be the first person to admit, I am a LITTLE bit of a coffee snob. Not in general, I like my Folgers in the morning at my apt. but if I'm gana go into starbucks and pay 4 dollars for a coffee... I want what I want. Usually (brace yourself) I get a Triple grande, low fat, no foam, extra hot, extra carmel, carmel latte. Today though, I went through the drive through so I decided to make it a little more simple for time sake. All I wanted was a grande, no foam, extra hot, carmel latte. Not hard. Really. I get my coffee and hit the road back for work.

I go to take a drink and what is the first thing I taste?? FOAM!!! - I'm sorry, I must've been vauge when I ordered a latte with NO FOAM... I can see how that leaves a little bit of room for interpretation.

So... if you're keeping track: painful weekend + very little help from my dentist + wrong coffee order + (this part is new) not sure how Sgt. is doing cause every e-mail is centered on him giving me advice and well wishes... AND me feeling bad for complaining so much about it (I'm sure he's got his own issues) = my mind had HAD IT.

I started to get teary eyed, my throat started to burn, I was trying so hard to hold it in but just couldn't. I started to cry... and not just little tears, I was weeping in the car. All I could manage to say was "aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh!!! WHY?! Why can't SOMETHING go right today?!"

As I'm crying I have the mental clarity to realize "you are crying... sobbing.... because there is foam in your coffee. *Does the math*... OOOOHHHHHHHHH" (sorry male readers - ) I'm totally PMSing. BAD apparently. I hate it when you realize how crazy you sound but you can't do much about it at that point.

It's times like these where I think "ya know, maybe it's not a terrible thing that he's deployed... if he was here to have to witness this, or worse bear the brunt of it, he might check me in to the ward."

** I know or am pretty dang sure that Sgt. has no idea about this blog... I sort of like it that way cause I'd like to show it to him when he gets home but.... incase (or for future reference) thanks for caring and trying to take care of me babe. :). I appreciate it!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Some things never change.... but lots of things do.

Well, I sure hope everyone out there survived Valentines Day without too much incident. Sgt. did in fact send me an e-mail... both when Thursday arrived in Iraq and when Thursday arrived back here in the states. I was quite content when all of a sudden my phone rings later that afternoon "Hey darlin'"

I love the sound of his voice.

I was pretty surprised he was able to call actually, I was expecting him to be "out" for a couple more days but I was thrilled none the less. (Not because it was Valentines Day, but because it was the first time I'd gotten to hear that southern draw in a week.) While we were on the phone, in the background I could hear the relentless sound of water smashing into the CHU with impressive force. Seems like the Iraqi sky was a bit angry that evening. "It's raining here babe so the connection might not be great, the internet is running really slow." I smile when he says this. Ever the soldier, he always gives me a sitrep prior to any normal conversation. "haha, it's fine honey." The delay is longer today so at points we talk over each other but it's ok, just another of many things we've worked out between us over the last few months. We can now talk over each other but still hear what the other said. I suppose it's a "training of the ear" of sorts.... lots of skills are born out of necessity. Of course we still do the occasional..

"sorry, what did you say?"
"wha wha wha wha"
"*silent thinking trying to guess/decipher*.... sorry hon, I still didn't hear that"
"Hooowwww wwaaassss yyyoooouuuurrrr ddddaaaayyyyy"

We began talking and catching up on the last week. Not a whole lot to report on either side but we somehow didn't have trouble finding things to talk about. He's doing good! While we were on the phone he was opening the Valentines Day package I sent him, I heard him get really quiet so I asked what he was doing.

"reading the journal you sent" - he was talking about the "thank you for..." thing I made for him, (I talked about it a few posts back and one of these days I'll figure out how to link a post but I'm kind of being lazy right now.)

I listened as he read and smiled at the different memories each one brought up. The rain in the background didn't seem so angry anymore.... now it just seemed calming. We laughed together at the funny ones and I could hear him sigh with a sense of longing at the more intimate ones. It was then that I got quiet. So of course, in true Sgt. fashion he asks

"what are you thinking about?"
"oh yeah? Whys that?"
"I don't know really, I still can't figure it out, it happens all the time though." - I tend to make sarcastic comments like that in the middle of a situation nearing emotion... I have yet to decide if it's a good thing or a bad thing. - "no, I was actually thinking about this day last year.".............

Last year Sgt. was getting ready to PCS to Germany. The entire week prior to Valentines Day he had been packing, making sure everything was in order, processing, and all that fun stuff that goes along with moving to another country (military style). He had been up, safe to say, till at least 3 or 4 every morning. Valentines day gets there; it's coincidently his last day on post as well. After that day, he was going on leave for three weeks and then moving to Germany. Valentines Day was going to be the last evening we would spend together before I saw him off at the airport. The fact of the holiday is not really the important part. It just happened to fall on that day. I was still in school and was supposed to have a biology test at 8:00 the next morning (notice how I said I was supposed to... I overslept and woke up about 10 min. till my test... I didn't want our last few min. rushed so I skipped it, and I don't regret it.). In spite of the fact that he was absolutely EXHAUSTED, he still wanted to make Valentines Day special. I tried to explain to him that it's not that big of a deal to me but he wasn't hearing it (I've mentioned how stubborn he is, right?). He did exactly what he set out to do, it was very sweet and very special and incredibly funny all at the same time, cause he could hardly keep his eyes open while eating the take out we ordered. haha. I still laugh thinking about it.

Fast forward back to present time. We began talking about this day last year, laughing about how tired he was and talking about the take out buffalo wings we picked up for dinner.

"I'm sorry I can't be there... I wish I could be, go all out for ya, you know that right?"
"I know honey, it's not a big deal, don't worry about it."
"Riiiigggghhhhttttt.... uh huh.... it's a big deal, it's ok."
"haha it's really not"
"it should be, it's ok if it is"
"you wana know what's a big deal?"
"what's that?"
"all that stuff in that journal you just read... that stuff is a big deal..... that's the important stuff; the rest of it is minor details."
"ha, very true"

We started talking about other things and then he had a knock at his door. He came back and he said...

"ya know, there are only two things that are still the same from the last Valentines day to this Valentines day."
"oh yeah? What's that"
"I still think you're amazing..... *pause* and I am also incredibly exhausted."
"hahahaha, gata be up early?"
"yep, and now even earlier."

We began our winding up of the phone call and said our goodbyes. He let me know his usual, when I might be able to expect to hear from him, and when I definitely shouldn't expect to hear from him. (also known as a tentative in and out schedule) and finally hung up the phone.

Ya know, there are only two things that remained the same for me (well, probably more than two but for the sake of witty writing I'll just say two.) from last Valentines Day to this one...

1. I still think he's amazing
2. I'm once again counting down the days till I get to be with him again.

**A few hours after our phone call, feeling particularly lucky that I just got to talk to him, a phone call comes to the office.

"Hi this is so and so with the flower shop. We have a delivery for KJ.."

He also sent me flowers. :) I'm a pretty lucky girl.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

And there you are.

I think we dream about each other so we don't have to be apart so long. If we're in each others dreams... we can play together all night." - Calvin and Hobbes.

I have been having the strangest, "normal" dreams lately. Usually it comes about because as I'm falling asleep, I'm searching for Sgt. in my mind. Searching for a specific memory of the two of us, searching for his face, an image of his smile or the like. It's almost like, as I'm drifting off to sleep, I say "where are you?" and then..... there he is. He just shows up. What's strange about these dreams is... we're not together. It's like I'm watching a movie and there is a split screen. On the one side there is him, in his world right now and on the other side, there is me, in mine. But we can see each other, we are talking to each other... we can feel each other, but we're just in different worlds. I suppose that's not so different from our current situation (sans the split screen I get to watch). Anyway... in my dreams I'm thinking "Sgt... hello? Are you there?" and then split screen forms and he shows up... he's just like "Hey beautiful.... there you was your day?" It's so normal. Our conversations that is... (I don't know how normal these dreams are but I don't really care.)

Usually he's either A. in his bed and just laying there facing me, and I'm laying in my bed facing him but the rooms are different (obviously) or B. sitting on the ground, leaning up against a crumbled building in full gear... like maybe he is tired or just got off guard or something and I can definitely see the room around him and I'm laying in my bed facing him (I'm always in my bed) or C. Sitting in the front seat of his truck, again in full gear... working. So there we are... and we just talk. Except we talk about the things that we don't normally talk about when he calls or when we're e-mailing. In my dreams we start off with pleasantries, "how was your day?" stuff and then the conversation turns to me telling him that I'm scared that he's going to come back and say something to the effect of "Thanks for all the support, really, mail call was great, but I mean... now I'm home... and not lonely so.... I'll see ya around alright?" or I tell him that I miss him and it's hard, or I tell him about the stuff I really wish he was here for. And in my dreams (like I assume he would be in real life if I mentioned these things) he just listens with a smile and then is quiet for a second and touches my face and says something reassuring like "it's ok hon. I know, but I'll be home soon and then it'll be ok. Don't worry so much ok... for me? I miss you so much, you have no idea. It's gana be ok. You're doing so good, just hang in there alright, please." and then we just kind of sit there with each other.

Now I am no dream interpreter... but it's possible that these conversations are my subconscious worries (blah blah psycho babble) and since I'm too "proud" (only word I could think of at the moment) to bring them up, I bring them up in my dreams. Which is true, I'll admit from time to time those thoughts do cross my mind. But overall I'd say I'm doing pretty good! I'm not miserable. I don't have to drag myself out of bed every morning. I'm doing fine. Of course I miss him and wish he was here... but you just play the hand you're dealt. Anyway... on top of these odd, so natural conversation, dreams.... I can feel him there.

I hate admitting it... but I am starting to forget. (and hey, for almost a year I guess that's not so bad) I'm forgetting the way his hands feel and just the general feeling of someone being close to you. Cuddling with you, interlacing your fingers... that sort of thing. However, in these dreams... I can feel him there. I remember one really vividly where we were in our respective beds but we were holding hands (ok so in real life, reality, I had my own hands together while I was asleep) and I was slowly waking up... and so in this half awake, half asleep stage... I could feel his hand there. Weird, I know... but I like them, these dreams.... I haven't told him about them (probably because I don't want him thinking I'm all frazzled and worried back at home... that's really not the case and besides, these dreams offer reassurance from "him" so it actually works out pretty well) but it would be interesting to see if the places I see him at in my dreams look anything like the places he's actually at. Who knows. Does anyone else ever have these dreams?

This weekend was really good! Again, didn't do a whole lot, got the car washed, did laundry and hardcore cleaned the apartment, bought a new dress (which I love and already wore...), watched some cheesy chick flicks and laid out in this amazing weather we're having.

Sgt. called on Thursday. It was a really good talk :). Nothing over the top... just normal conversation, like we would've had anyway if he was back in the states. These are probably my favorites because I like when we feel normal... in such an abnormal circumstance, it's nice to have some consistency. He's doing good. Went to the zoo! If you can imagine that... he said they have lots of birds and a few lions. Apparently they don't have the same "keep 200 feet back" rules that we have back here. I imagine it's more like a "high adventure" zoo of sorts :). He said he got lots of pictures, but I know that doesn't mean I'll see them anytime soon. hahaha. He enrolled in a college class which is awesome! I'm really proud of him. We also talked about my looming dentist appointment to discuss the possible extraction of my wisdom teeth. I hate the dentist... and I thought I had been blessed with not having wisdom teeth but a week and half's worth of headaches plus a few hard white things poking out of my gums back there have proven that theory wrong. So yeah... like I said, we just talked about life stuff. Loved it :). He ended the conversation like this -

Sgt.: "Well darlin', I'm glad I got to talk to you, it'll probably be about a week before you hear from me again. There's a lot going on with our schedule and so I'll be in and out a lot... I'll be able to get online and check stuff but just don't be surprised if you don't hear much from me for about the next week... I just don't want you worrying yourself to death." Me: "it's ok hon. I know, no news is good news." Sgt.: "uh huh... I know how you are. I could probably take off all my gear and walk around in my sector without a dang thing happening.... I WISH it was more dangerous. I'm probably in the safest place I could possibly be." Me: "uh huh... I know you do. Ok fine, I believe you... so you don't have to prove anything, keep your gear on goober." - Men. Sheesh. :)

Since then I've gotten a couple e-mails. He already got the packages I sent Monday. (quicker than usual! yay USPS) but said he didn't open the Valentines day one all the way... he is going to wait till Thursday. I'm glad. I totally forgot to tell him which package was which but he held off himself so that's good :) haha. We'll see what he says about it all. I'm actually not expecting anything from him on Valentines day. I really don't mean that in a bad way because he's really good at the romantic stuff. Last year was the best Valentines day I've ever had (and it was with him of course) so it's not that he's oblivious to the day or anything. I don't make a huge deal out of Valentines day.... that is to say I don't expect a huge deal made over it, I don't feel unloved or uncared for if I don't get a big show.... it's a sweet day I think, but in the grand scheme of things, it's just another day. More of a reason for me just to be cheesy and crafty than anything else. Anyway, got off track... I'm not expecting anything because 1. he's in Iraq. 2. I just don't think it's crossed his mind a lot. He'd probably be all butt hurt if I told him that, (same way he was when I told him I wasn't expecting a Christmas present "that's mean, you should totally expect a Christmas present, why wouldn't you") but it's true. I just don't think Valentines day is at the top of his list of priorities (and I don't think it should be). Now... if I see that he got online and then didn't send me a "happy Valentines day babe!" message... yeah I'd probably be a little miffed... but I actually will be really surprised if anything arrives, if it does, great(!) but if it doesn't it'll be exactly how I expected it to be. And I don't think that's a bad thing at all.

Stupid dentist is tomorrow.... ugh. I wish this could be one of those times where Sgt. could LITERALLY just show up :).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What I really meant to say....

(Post 2 for the day... I wanted to share my adventures in babysitting story but for those who aren't interested I thought I'd get back to my regular blog topic.)

Valentines day is coming up. This means little to me seeing as I won't be doing much for valentines day except maybe bumming around the apt. in my pajamas that evening and watching chick flicks. I did get Sgt.'s packages off this Monday! You'd probably be surprised at how hard it is to find ranch flavored sunflower seeds in this town. I found them though... at a little gas station in the center of town (the 4th one I'd been to... after of course the big grocery stores). Sunflower seed crisis averted. It sounds rediculous but I really would've felt bad or dissapointed if I wasn't able to get them for him. I did send him a valentines themed package... and yes, I put heart and lip shaped confetti inside the cards. Sue me. :) (I did however put a warning on the outside of the cards that it was probably best to open in private and over a trash can.... that's fair right?) I sent him some movies that we had watched together before, his favorite coffee and some valentines candy. Nothing over the top but I wanted him to get something. And... in admission, I did do something a little cheesy/mushy/heartfelt - whatever you want to call it - I made a list of all the things I appreciate him for (all the ones I could think of over a few days anyway) and wrote 'em down. They range from the very simple (thank you for teaching me how to use chopsticks) to the emotionally complex (thank you for holding me when I need to be held... even if it's just through the phone). I'm not sure how much those things will all mean to a soldier who just got in from a few days at a COP and would really just like to brush his teeth and take a shower but hey.... sometimes you just gata be the girl that you are. Anyway, thats in there too. In Route to Iraq as we "speak."

The last time I talked to him was Monday afternoon. He called right before I left for work and it was great to hear his voice again. The conversation wasn't long since he was heading for bed and it was pretty late on his side of the world but a phone call is a phone call. It's wierd because sometimes I feel like we have nothing to talk about. Throughout the week there are so many times that I think about him or wish he was here, there are things that happen that I just want to tell him about immediately, but then we get on the phone and.... I've got nothing "Things here are good honey, just working, same old thing..." That seems hardly worth the effort of calling all the way from Iraq. It's a catch 22 though because when I do have a lot to say or even if I do go into minute detail about everything going on here, I feel like all I do is talk about myself, when all I really want to do is listen to him talk. It's the nature of the beast known as OPSEC though... there's not a whole lot he can say except "I'm good, I'm ok, I had a bad day" I can't ask why... well I can (and often do) but all I get is a reminder that "You know I can't go into it hon." - yeah I know. It sucks... did I ever tell you that? I look forward to the day when we don't have to discuss his day using air quotes (ex. "out")

Also, this video game thing.... I'm not going to complain to him about it because realistically I'm GLAD he has a way to decompress and take some time to himself and just do something pointless. It's good for him. But, the last time we talked, he said something and it's almost funny the way it came out because I KNOW he didn't mean it like this and I'm glad I'm secure enough to know that but he said "Sorry I didn't call earlier, we got in around 6pm *his time* but I got this new game in and have just been playing it ever since we got back from chow." he called me at about 1am his time. So yeah, he said that and then he said this which is the follow up statement that makes the first one valid to the "it came out wrong" theory - He was apologizing for not calling a lot these past few weeks and I was telling him it's ok, I know he's got a lot going on and that it's hard sometimes because when we DO get to talk there's not a whole lot to say (refer to earlier paragraph) and he said "well, it's not like we have to talk for an hour... I'd rather just talk for five min, see how you're doing, let you know I'm ok, hear your voice, that sort of thing." - Pause... reflect.... The angry girlfriend might think "so you 7 hours playing video games but you only want to talk to me for five min.?!" lol but really, I get what he's saying. It's better to talk for a short amount of time and check in on each other than to spend an hour breathing on the phone and repeating "I can't go into it." and I know it's not a "I'd rather play video games than talk to you" thing. On the level that it sounds like anyway. It was just one of those things where you get off the phone with each other and you're kind of like "well.... that was... nice?" He also sounded really tired and just sort of flat. All I know was I missed Sgt. a lot after that phone call.... but I had a tiny bit of fear that we were growing into strangers.

We're not.

Confirmed by e-mail (of course) a day or so later. He was back to sounding like his old self again so who knows, maybe it was a bad day, maybe he was tired, maybe he's in Iraq in a war zone and doesn't always have the capacity to be sweet and charming and deep and I shouldn't worry so much (not that I do).... yeah. Thats probably it ;).

Which brings me (finally... geeze, my posts always seem so long!) to my last point. This was also posed as a question in my mind after reading another blog. (The most recent one by Kaboom: A soldiers war journal... it's in my "check this out" section over <---- that way.) I never know what to say. I love telling him about my days, and talking about the things he CAN talk about. I like hearing that he misses me and telling him I miss him, to be safe, that I'm thinking of him, that I'm proud of him... but do those things help? Does he know how much I mean them? They're not empty words or things I just say, there is a lot of care and concern and hope and meaning behind those words. I just don't know what else there is to say ya know? I don't think there is anything else you can say. I certainly would never say "I know how you feel" cause thats just a bold face lie. There's no first hand advice I can give him, hell he's the one thats been through this once already. Maybe thats why I say those things so often... because there are so many other things I wish I could say or knew how to say... but since I don't, those are the sentances I use to convey an array of emotions. I know how much he misses me and cares about me, he doesn't have to tell me all the time for me to know that (although it's always nice to hear) and I guess I just hope that he is the same. That even though I can't say everything to make it better .... I would do anything to be able to.

After this deployment is over.... I don't want to do anything but lay around on the couch and talk about something that we've done the day before.... together.

I'm not ready to be a mom.

Not ready at all. Not that I was planning on it happening any time soon anway but if ever you needed a measure as to how soon you might be ready to don the "mom" title or hone in on those maternal instincts... babysit a 7 year old (boy here to forth to be refered to as Thing1) and a 4 year old (girl here to forth to be refered to as Thing2) overnight for a few days... that will surely do the trick. Based on my "measurement" of recent... I've got about oh... 8 years to go? Which is fine, that'll give me plenty of time to get married (eventually and to whomever God intends), travel, pay off some student loans, buy a car that doesn't squeek... ya know... important things.

I agreed to watch the children of a couple of my coworkers while they were out on the road for camp recruiting the past couple days. I mean hey, they'll be at school pretty much all day, and I've babysat them before, no big deal. (insert laugh track here). First of all, there is a big difference to a child who knows that mom and dad will be home in a few hours and we get to play "Chutes and Ladders" with KJ for a little bit - and mom and dad are gone for a few days, so the person who will be making your breakfast, your dinner, taking you to practice, putting you to bed and signing your homework is not the same person who's been doing it the last 7 years. Now, before I go any further, please understand, I LOVE KIDS. I was an elementary education major in college. I work at a childrens summer camp that caters to ages 6 - 16. I've been babysitting since I was 12 years old and I have taken countless classes on child development and "how to reason with a child" and "discipline 101." I love kids. I love spending time with them, I love their ability to understand the simplist and most complex circumstances as pertaining to their own world. I love their candor. Working with and helping children is one of my strongest passions in life. So... with all that said, lets return to the tale.

I would call myself an average babysitter. But as far as what parents are probably looking for I am a Mary Poppins of sorts (not trying to toot my own horn, just giving you a mental picture). I actually do have a bag that I bring, I have face paint, colors and paper, I can juggle, and if you're lucky I'll bring along some balloons and my pump and can make balloon animals. Entertainment for the masses. I'm also fair, I will not let your child get away with things that you wouldn't let them get away with... I am patient and am CPR & Lifeguard certified and work for a place that does national background checks every year. C'mon.

All you moms are probably laughing right now because if you are a mom, or have babysat children for days at a time while their parents are away, you would realize that NONE OF THIS HELPS! Those kids could care less. Sure it works for a few hours, but after that they get over it and are ready for their world to fall back into place.

My first night we had gymnastics practice so I picked Thing2 up from daycare and brought Thing1 with me. Stopped at sonic per moms instructions and got food before practice and then sat and watched as Thing2 practiced her cartwheels and climbed all the way to the top of that rope to ring the bell. I had fun watching her, she's so funny! Thing1, while mostly disinterested and still a little perterbed that I insisted he get something other than cheese sticks for dinner, sat and played his nintendo DS. Practice is over, it's about 7pm and we head for home. Thing2 is supposed to be in bed by 7:30 so we get to the house and I tell Thing1 to start on his homework and when all his homework is done and his reading is done (insert info: I wanted him to bring his homework to gymnastics to do it there but mom said he could do it when he got home... fine whatever.) he could watch American Gladiator if there was still time before bed. He immediately walked over to the TV and turned it on because he knew his show (AG) was on. I turned around... almost aghast at his blatant disregard for my instructions... and walked over to the TV and turned it off. I looked at him and with a more firm voice said "I want you to go to the kitchen table and do your homework. When that is finished, we're going to do your reading. After that, if there is still time, I will let you watch American Gladiator before bed. Now please, go and do what I just asked." Thing1 looked at me for a moment and then got up and went to the kitchen. Good I thought, I've got this under control. I took Thing2 into her room to get pajamas and then we walked back towards the front of the house to the bathroom to get her teeth and hair brushed. I go and check on Thing1 and he's in the kitchen... PLAYING HIS NINTENDO! I walked over, stood next to him for a moment while he ignored me and said "Thing1, turn that off right now and start on your homework. Your attitude is very disrespectful and if you keep it up, you're not going to watch anything before you go to bed wether you have time or not." He turned it off, I took it up and he very forcefully unzipped his backpack to get his homework out. He was angrily slamming his books down and opening them with rage but I thought it best to ignore this particular part of his tantrum, and in fact didn't care if he was angry as long as he was doing what I said.

Thing2 and I then have a long dissagreement about brushing teeth. "I don't like that toothpaste" "yes you do, it's the same one you use every night" "it's gross" "well it'll only be for a min. and then you can spit it out and drink some water" "I don't need to brush my teeth" "yes you do need to brush your teeth" "hahahaha, I like your necklace" "Thing2 we have to brush your teeth" "why do you have that stuff on your lips" "it's lip gloss, I just like it, open your mouth"
Finally she complies and we get the pre-bed ritual finished with. I take her into her room and read her a story to calm her down and Thing1 comes into the room.... "I'm done" "ok, well as soon as she's down, we'll do your reading." he starts kicking a balloon around in her room and obviously this is not what I need while I'm trying to get her to calm down they begin to argue about who's balloon it is and I am starting to get frustrated... "Thing1 please stop, go into the kitchen, we'll be done in just a min." He rolls his eyes at me and huffs at the request, turns and stomps out. I call him back into the room. I am NOT conceding control to a 7 year old. "Thing1, I'm going to tell you right now, your attitude is not gana fly. It's not ok, I don't know why you're acting like this but I don't appreciate it at all." so he then leaves the room. FINALLY Thing2 is in bed, and lights are out....

I'll spare you the details from the rest of the evening as this post is already long enough but it turned into him having a massive tantrum, calling his mom and dad and then hanging up on them every 10 min. (Note to self: If my kid ever hangs up on me, especially when I'm trying to talk to him about being disrespectful to his babysitter... oh man... just WAIT till I get home...) He slammed a door in my face, kept thrashing around and crying if I would go near him. I wasn't freaked out or worried or feeling like I couldn't handle it. I don't care if he cries all night long, you respect adults. Period. End of story. And when I tell you you're doing homework before you watch your show, or that you're not watching your show now because of the way you're acting... thats EXACTLY what I mean. He was absolutely beside himself and shocked that I wouldn't let him watch it later on. (the parents give in too easily in my opinion)

After he was finally settled down and FINALLY in bed (a good 30 min. after his bedtime) I went to decompress and watch some comedy central.

And I'm sure if you're still reading along.... you'll nod your head in agreement over this moms... at 3am, Thing2 comes into the room I'm sleeping in and is standing there just starring at me sucking her thumb. I don't know how long she was standing there but when I woke up I almost screamed! It scared the crap out of me! "I'm scared" "what are you scared of?" "my room" at this point I was too exhausted to take her back to bed, and explain that a room is nothing to be scared of... I just said "do you wana sleep in here?" "yes" So she climbs up next to me and I try and fall back asleep. Try being the operative word here since her constant moving, rolling, and flinging of legs and arms makes it hard to drift back into slumber. She even takes my hair out of the pony tail because she likes to play with it when she's sucking her thumb (I've seen her do it to the mom all the time so I just figured it was her thing, whatever) - at 4:30 she says "I'm hungry" "well, it's not time for breakfast so you're gana have to wait and go back to sleep" eventually she went back to her room, and I woke up at 5:30 to get myself ready before they got up....

Night two was very similar although less crying. The mornings were ok... just very rushed. We did have a nice debate about which clothes Thing2 wanted to wear that morning. Weather has no bearing on her perception of fashion and style apparently.

All I know was 2 days was enough.. I was fine, the kids were fine, but I was ready to give them back. I'm not ready to be a mom.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The most uninteresting weekend.... ever.

Dear Friends, Please stop sending me youtube montages of soldiers in Iraq, specifically ones that include sad music, folded flags, crying men, and/or crying children saying their goodbyes. Thanks. Love, KJ.

Their hearts are in the right places but geeze... you can only watch those things so many times before you want to cry and fly to Iraq to pick up your significant other. Don't get me wrong, I think they're very sweet and I'm sure the object of said videos are to instill a sense of pride and respect for military members. But trust me, I'm good in that department. Pride? Check. Couldn't be more proud of the man I adore, the job he does, the values he stands for and the country he serves. Respect? Check. I respect the job he does, the courage he has and the man that he is. They're nice videos... really, but I don't need or want to watch them. They make it incredibly difficult to go about your day with some amount of strength and resolve... particularly when you're already an emotional mess because it's "that time of the month." I'd MUCH rather watch videos of soldiers duct taping each other to things, dancing and lip syncing to Britney Spears or testing their kevlar out by running into buildings. Send me those things... atleast they're FUNNY! (speaking of... have you SEEN the one of the soldier who lets someone put an electric fly swatter up to his.... "junk"? Hillarious)

This weekend has been good. It's Superbowl Sunday! Whoo hoo. I love football. Go Giants. (unless of course Dave Thomas, graduate of my Alma Matter and tight end for the Patriots gets to play... then go New England!). I'll probably head over to a friends house later on... her and her husband are having a little get together and it'll be nice to catch up. After that I think I'm going to head out to Sgt.'s family's house.

Friday I was planning on going shopping after work for care package stuff. Well... I then watched one of the aforementioned youtube videos and was a sobbing mess. I decided that it was probably best to avoid the store for a while since I was worried I'd see someone I knew (small town and two grocery stores... it's highly likely) and then they'd ask how Sgt. was doing and I'd lose it. So I picked up the apartment some, ate supper, and took a little nap. I woke up around 9:30pm and decided I wanted to go to the store now... not sure why, I wasn't planning on going grocery shopping till the next day but I think it was more out of boredom than anything else. So... went to the store, wandered the aisles for a little bit, got something for breakfast for the next morning and was going to get one of those face mask things but they had cosmetics closed off due to restocking or something like that. Jerks. Don't they know "left behinds" who have nothing better to do in a small town on a friday night might just want to pick up some beauty products at 10pm?? The nerve of some people huh. Talk about poor customer service. :) Made it back to the apartment around 11:00 and went to bed. Saturday I DID go shopping (and did get that face mask)... ran a bunch of errands and picked up a to-go order from one of my favorite restraunts in town. I don't normally do that, I usually eat at home or maybe get some fast food since it's just me. I'm not nearly brave enough to actually eat inside a restraunt alone yet, but I figured to-go was ok and it was better food than anything I could pick up at a drive through. You should have been in the car on the way home though... totally wierd. I had also picked up some coffee from Starbucks for Sgt. and since it was freshly ground I had the aroma of coffee and mexican food battaling against each other. I won't be reccomending that to "lysol" anytime soon. The mexican food won out by the way... took a while but the 15 min. drive back home proved to be too much for the coffee. My life is shockingly uninteresting.

Talked to Sgt. a little bit. He's doing good... he was able to get an x-box and bought "Guitar Hero." :) I'm not a huge fan of video games... except that one. I LOVE it! I'm excited he got it, it's something we can share now even though he's gone. Hopefully he won't have much time to practice and I'll still keep up my high score over him :) unlikely though.

Everything else is going good.... just same story different day.