Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Please, not now.

So. What is one to do when the month long "vacation" you've been looking forward to since June with the love of your life, starts to slowly slip away piece by piece? You cry... or yell... or cuss a lot. In my case, all three.


1000 mile trip, makes sense to take the car in to get it looked at prior... ya know, just to be on the safe side, get a tune up, etc.

24 hours and a $550.00 estimate on repairs later makes for a very unhappy girl.

In fairness, I took the car to a mechanic shop whom the owner is a close family friend of Sgt. I trust them, and I trust them not to screw us. I also believe them when they say "Your rear break cylinders are leaking, and no, it's not safe to drive" - although... it was breaking fine before, but no one else seems to go along with that line of thinking, least of all Sgt. So what if my break lights been on... I just keep filling it up with break fluid, problem solved! Ok, ok... maybe I didn't take the BEST care of it... but I did what I could.

Sgt. called me this after noon to give me the bad news. I cried silently and he said things like "So we need to reevaluate the plans and make sure what we're doing is best for you and for us" - trying to reassure me with other statements like "I could drive down during my fall break" "you could fly up for a four day weekend" - No, my dear, I can't. A round trip ticket right now would cost near $500.00. If that's the case, why don't I just fix the car. And... as selfish as this sounds, a four day visit here, with your family, although incredibly welcomed, is NOT the same. No, I would never ever ever turn down the opportunity to see him, but that's not what I'm so sad about. I know I'll get to see him if I'm not able to drive up for the month... but it's not the same. The whole point is for us to FINALLY be able to spend a significant amount of time together, doing normal everyday things with one another. It is so incredibly heartbreaking, I can't even explain it.

I know, I know, I'm complaining about only getting to see him for four days, how selfish and arrogant of me. Not long ago I would have been thrilled with just that. In fact many nights, I begged God for JUST THAT. But this was supposed to be a growing time for us. A chance to get to know the city, to talk about moving, to... DO... and now I'm just waiting again and it hurts.

We haven't made the official decision yet as to what to do. We're trying to consider all the options. But the fact that not going even IS an option, just hurts. My head hurts, my stomach hurts... but most of all, my heart.

I know he's disappointed also, but I seem to be taking it worse, which I guess is normal.

GAHHH!!!! ......... is it really that unsafe to drive with leaky breaks? :(

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hi, this is the Army, we just wanted to let you know, we're still here.

Know how I know?

7:00 am - me - "Yeah I had a nightmare you were in Iraq on patrol and, I don't really remember it all (fib) but it was strange"
Sgt - "Well my dear, I can assure you, I'm not in Iraq and I'm not on patrol"
me - "*smile* I know! Best news ever!"
Sgt. - "*pause*... Yeah, I guess"

2:00 pm - Sgt - "Hey babe, what are the chances that your first Tuesday here you will be available most of the day?"
me - "haha, VERY GOOD, why, do you have plans for me :)?"
Sgt. - "lol well... would you mind receiving my household goods from Germany... I've gota call Ft. Campbell back and give them a day"
me - "haha, no problem hon"

5:30 pm - me - "So what are you up to?"
Sgt. "Cooking dinner"
me - "Yumm what is it?" (he's a great cook by the way)
Sgt. - "Fish and rice pilaf.... it's a good night before PT test dinner"
me - "ah... I see"

Less than a week till my drive to Tennessee!! I can't wait!! Annnddd I finally got a call for an interview up there! If you're the praying type, please say a prayer for me in my job search in TN... it's been... slow going. One whole month with my Sgt. :) ahhhh... bliss!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

So I need your opinion...

Well, I don't know why I make definitive statements anymore. It's just funny how life doesn't ever really seem to go exactly as you planned. (I like it though... keeps me on my toes :))

Case in point... a few months ago while Sgt was home on R&R, we discussed what we would like to do should he get Green to Gold and come home. We both agreed at the time that we didn't want to live together before we got married, but that we did however want to live in the same city... and since he would be the one kind of in a more concrete situation, I would be the one to move.

Before I go any further, please know that I am VERY excited about moving to Tennessee. I can't wait. There's nowhere else I'd rather be than HOME... and my home is wherever he is. I'm also incredibly excited about our future together. Discussing and dreaming of our life in the years to come is one of my favorite things to do, and Sgt. is equally enthusiastic. I love him more than anything and there is nothing I wouldn't do for him. I am confident he feels exactly the same way.

We have, however been discussing getting our own place together for economic reasons. Realistically, we know that the majority of our time will be spent at one place or the other together, and it doesn't exactly make sense for us to pay rent on two places when we'll be at one the majority of the time. Also, it will allow us to save money and invest in a future for us, so that way we can do things like... pay for a wedding, buy a house...etc. I completely agree with this line of thinking. My original concerns for moving in together before we were married were the following:

1. What if, God forbid we decide we don't like each other and we break up. I am in a city I'm not familiar with, 1000 miles away from all of my friends and family (depending on when this would happen, seeing as I'm sure I'll make new friends in Tennessee) - that's not really a situation I'd like to find myself in.

Fear number one has been assuaged, seeing as, I am confident in us and in where we are heading. I know... I know... no one ever thinks it'll happen to them, but I can't see into the future, so all I have to go on is where we are now in our relationship, and based on that, the concern of me ending up in that situation is slim to none. And, of course, if that does end up happening, I'm a tough girl, and personable, and independent. It would be possible for me to build a life completely separate from him if it came to that.

2. I don't need a trial run to see if I want to marry him, and spend the rest of my life with him. I don't think moving in together should ever be looked at as a "test" or "let's just see how this goes" because it is most certainly NOT that for me. If I'm going to move in with someone I'm dating, it's because I am intending on living with them for the rest of my life... although I don't like dishes left after dinner overnight... it's not a deal breaker. I believe love should be bigger than that.

Fear number two is also not an issue anymore. I trust him, and I believe him when he says "this is not a trial run. You are the person I want in my future, no question." We have spent many many hours, discussing everything you could think to discuss before you know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone. We've done the "101 questions to ask before you get engaged." We've built an incredible foundation for whatever may come - and I am confident that his reason for asking me to move in with him is not because he wants to "test out" what kind of housemate I'd be.

3. I don't want to take away that time from our marriage. I don't want to move in together and then get married and go back to life exactly how it was before. I don't want to get married and feel "not married" because life remains the exact same. I don't want to cheat ourselves out of that time in our life as "Newlywed's".

Fear number three is where you guys come in. It's still something I'm a little concerned about. Now, I agree, moving in together isn't what makes a marriage work (or fall apart) - and deciding who's couch set gets to stay isn't what makes you "feel married" but... I guess my questions are these:

Did you live with your spouse prior to getting married, and how did that affect you both after you were married? Did you struggle with the "but life is the exact same" feelings?

For those of you who are girlfriends or fiance's and living with their significant other, do you struggle with that fear as well? If not, why not? How do imagine it will be different, or does that matter?

Sgt is very respectful of my concerns, and I know that he will go along with whatever I want. The thing is, I want to move in with him, the thought is exciting, but I also don't want to set us up for failure later on. We've already began looking at and been in contact with apartments in the city we'd like to live in, and we're going to look at a couple when I get there in a little over a week (!!! YAY!!!) - it's not so much the moving in together that I'm worried about... it's the getting married after living together (even though that would be the end result... as per the "no trial run" theory) and feeling disappointment in ourselves because we don't "move to that next step." - Maybe just getting married has a profound effect on your outlook on your relationship, and if that's the case, let me know! Never been married before so... I wouldn't know :).

Us moving in together makes sense. It allows more stability for me moving... and the opportunity to go ahead and do it. Financially it makes more sense for us both, and we would like to buy a house in the future. (Sgt is thinking within 6 months... my idea was, after we get married... move into our house - which we're also still talking about, nothing in the works yet so there's still a good amount of time to ask all the "what ifs") - It makes sense because being with the man I love, makes a LOT of sense... but am I setting us up for failure?

Any opinions, personal experiences, thoughts, you knew of a friend who..., whatever, would be greatly appreciated!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Creepy crawly things

I have seen 3 cockroaches in the last 12 hours. 3. To you, this may not seem like a big deal, but I have a slightly larger fear of cockroaches than most. Refer back to the Godzillapede post for a reference. But really... I think it stems from a long long time ago when I was maybe 8 or 9, a cockroach crawled up my nightgown while visiting a family friends home and well, things just haven't been the same since. In any case, they're freaking me the hell out. I've had to work long long days at the office to finish up a project I'm working on, for which the deadline is this weekend, and I am having a really hard time concentrating seeing as a cockroach just fell from the ceiling not 30 min. ago. I threw something at it and it scurried away, but now I'm having a hard time moving.

To make it clear, I don't work in some run down old building... I just work in the hill country, sort of an "outdoors" type of job, even though our office is indoors, it was built in the 1920's and then remodeled some 30 years ago... we're not talking state of the art stuff here, just cozy... and apparently contaminated with cockroaches.

With the bug situation at hand and the fact that I am stressing out about said work project (due in 6 days, which must be finished before I can leave to see Sgt.) - I could really use something to calm the nerves down a little bit.

Or at least some bug spray.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I really miss him on Sunday.

Ok, I really miss him all the time, but particularly Sundays. Maybe it's because Sgt. and I are avid Sunday enthusiasts. Maybe it's because he loves to let me sleep in on Sunday's while cooking me breakfast and then waking me up with a perfectly made cup of coffee and telling me that whenever I'm ready, breakfast is waiting. Maybe it's because one of the things we have only been able to enjoy together ONCE in our entire relationship is going to church together on Sunday, and it's something we'd really like to do together more often. Whatever the reason, I really miss him this Sunday.

Two more Sunday's and I'll FINALLY get to wake up with him!

And yes, he did make pancakes this morning :-\ bummer.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Has anyone found the remote? & funny story OTD

Ya know.... that remote that you can use to pause or fast forward or rewind life? No? Dang... well, let me know if you get lucky!

I'm anticipating that the next 3-4 months will FLY by for me. Currently, I'm job hunting in Tennessee and have applied to some really ideal positions, but haven't heard back yet so, please keep me in your prayers if you have some room to spare!

Last night Sgt. and I were making plans for the holidays, looking at flights to go up north to visit his family, flights back to Texas to visit both our families, flights to Tennessee, drives to Tennessee and back... all of it. Can anyone say busy? or EXPENSIVE... sorry, we've already established that money is a "thing" with me.

All of it's exciting though, I enjoy planning things together. Last night we also talked about the move, and looked into U-Haul rentals and such. If anyone knows of the most economical way to move an apartment three states over, PLEASE leave me a comment! I will sing your praises all the way through Arkansas.

We haven't picked a date yet, just a time frame; "After the holidays." Right now we're trying to focus on October, getting to THAT point and then worrying about the other stuff. Sgt. always says that if I have a downfall, it's "Letting tomorrow take away from today" - with the thought that I don't allow myself to look forward to one thing because I'm worried about another. Sometimes I have to remind myself that looking into the future is ok, but planning too far into the future usually has it's drawbacks. I should tackle one thing at a time... and right now, that should be organizing, packing, and getting everything ready for my October trip.

Can't wait though, one more week down!! That means... TWO more weeks and I'll be back where I belong... next to my guy :). I'm a believer now that the first two weeks after parting is the hardest... and the last two weeks (while difficult because you just want it to get here) tends to be taken up with preparation... so it's not so bad. (Trying to be positive here) I can't wait to get to him.

~Here's your funny story of the day!!~
*sorry honey... it's too good not to tell and re-tell*

As I've mentioned before, there are times when I'm PMSing that III don't even like myself. I'm cranky, emotional, pissy, and basically nothing he says is taken the right way. (Same story, different verse, right?) And oh, how I love that man, because he tolerates it... TRIES to be patient... tries to give me whatever I need - space, a loving affirmation, sometimes both at the same time - which makes for a difficult place for him to be. This last time... I was just particularly cranky and emotional. Poor guy. So one night, after a particularly exhausting day on his part... I receive a text message that says:

"Hey baby. I just saw this commercial for this new birth control called *name.* Its supposed to help with PMS symptoms. Love you."

*Insert uncontrollable laughter here*

So I wrote back asking if he thought I should look into it and his response was:

"Just thought you might want to know!"

Fair enough babe, lol, fair enough.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I've wondered to myself a lot today how long it might take a couple to settle back into normal life after a deployment. Probably because I am half of one of those couples. Not that it's taking longer than I expected... not at all, I think it's more of, I'm just trying to take a step back and evaluate and observe how we're doing.

I also think it's a little different for us because with a typical deployment, the soldiers come home, usually in groups, and there is a return to the community as a whole. However, since Sgt. left for Green to Gold, and jumped nearly immediately into school full time, sometimes I get the feeling that we were rushed to open one chapter before getting the opportunity to close another, and that somewhere along the way, we carried the ghosts of the deployment over with us.

Of course my idea is just what I imagine, having never been through a deployment other than this one, having never had to deal with one ending other than the way this one did... but my general idea is the soldiers come home and then they, and the families, have some time to put the deployment to rest. Often times block leave is taken, soldiers go back to work, but they're home "on time" and there is a sense of leaving the deployment behind and rebuilding a "normal" life.

In a sense, Sgt.'s deployment is still going on. He's home, yes. But his guys are still there. It must be a weird transition to not only try and adjust to you being home, but at the same time, a part of you still being there, because they are there. Maybe. I don't know. I haven't talked to him about that and sometimes I think to ask, and then it gets caught up in the moment.

In truth, part of MY deployment is still going on. I've said before that Sgt. and I view his deployment as something we went through together, neither of us alone, however with that still being the case, our deployment journeys were very different (as they will always be). He got home, we rushed to spend some time together while getting everything ready for school to start and now we're apart again. It almost felt like a shorter version of R&R. I find myself still doing things I did while he was deployed. I still hold onto my phone and make sure it's always within hearing distance... even though I know if I miss his call I can call him back. When I go into the store, I still look for things I think he would enjoy... I was in the store yesterday and found these large bags of Ranch flavored sunflower seeds and a piece of me immediately thought of care packages and what I would put in the next one. I am still buying cards, every time I go to the store. Granted, I still send them to him and he likes getting them, I like sending them... but I also know it is a ghost of my deployment, buying greeting cards for him. I noticed the other day that when I've logged onto my myspace and go to his page, the first thing I always look at is when his last log in was. Not because I'm checking up on him.... but because when he was gone, it was a way to see if he was still alive. If he'd logged in recently, I knew he was, if he hadn't, it would have to be determined another way.

See what I mean though? These things I attached myself to, and trained myself into... they're slowly fading away but they still linger. Like ghosts. Some days, I look back at the deployment and see a mountain we climbed, a journey we took, and I'm proud. Other times, I look at it starring me in the face and am disheartened that the scent still hangs in the air.

Sgt. and I were talking about it this morning. How the "honeymoon" portion of the redeployment is fading away. Which isn't a bad thing, and I don't intend for it to come out in a negative way... we're just trying to settle into normalcy... which now that I think about it, is not something we've ever been in, so maybe it's less settling into and more LEARNING normalcy.

I'm worried that I will forget what it feels like to hear his voice for the first time in two weeks. That sense of relief and longing and happiness. I'm worried that I will lose the ability to "pick my fights" because some things just really aren't worth getting into, not when the person you love only has a few minutes to talk. I'm worried that the appreciation for every single moment I have with him, when I see him walk into a room, when I feel his arms around me, will slip away because it will become "normal." While I look forward to us adjusting to him being home and falling into whatever this normal is.... I want our normal to include those things, I don't want us to forget...

And maybe that's why our deployment ghosts are still hanging around... so that we are reminded there was once a time not long ago (really, like literally a month ago) when a phone call was more than just a phone call and an "I love you" or an "I miss you" was not just the ending to a conversation but rather a reminder to the other that no matter the distance and no matter the obstacle, the other was never far from our heart.

Some days, the ghosts are a good thing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Steps to prevent insanity.

Step 1. - Calmly open your front door and set purse and keys down in orderly and completely normal fashion.

Step 2. - Remove shoes

Step 3. - Lay face down into bed **this will also work on a couch** and place pillow in front of face.

Step 4. - Repeat the following sentence as many times as necessary at a larger than acceptable inside voice


Step 5. - Take a deep breath in and out.

Step 6. - Start coffee or make hot chocolate, whichever you prefer.

Step 7. - Change into comfy lounge clothes

Step 8. - Create haven of pillows and soft lighting (candlelight is preferred)

Step 9. - Turn on movie

Step 10. - try your very best to relax.

Editors note ** - Does not work in the event of Children (and I'm sorry for that)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


My boyfriend loves me unconditionally and here's how I know:

He remained completely calm and supportive and encouraging while on the phone with me as I was in my tiny apartment freaking about about this -

"What is that" You ask? Well, my friends, it's a Scolopendra Heros Castaneiceps (ok, so I have google) - which in my language last night sounded more like "A GIGANTIC RED HEADED CENTIPEDE!!!"

I got home from work last night and was changing when I spotted something on my ceiling. My place is done up like a log cabin (literally, the interior is wood and rock walls) and it has rope trimming in all the places where the ceiling meets the walls and the ceiling meets the other part of the ceiling. Well THIS thing was crawling on my ceiling (on the rope specifically.)

Now, I am not a freak about bugs... I can deal with most of them. I don't like June bugs cause they fly in your face, but I can handle it. Spiders I'm fine with. Scorpions, ok. Even snakes don't phase me but two things I can not stand are Cockroaches and Centipedes. Out of all the creepy crawly creatures that live out here, this is the one that found it's way into my apartment. I'm just lucky I guess.

Now Sgt. called pretty much right as I spotted the thing so he got to go through the whole journey with me. (Lucky him) I am doing all the stereotypical things a girl does when she sees a bug - screeching, backing against a wall, freaking out about the slightest tingle of hair in my face or odd feeling beneath my foot, saying "ooooohhhhh eeeeewwww he's so freaky!!", and generally developing some SERIOUS anxiety over this. I just stand (against a wall) starring at it. I can't take my eyes off of it because if I loose sight of it and then it disappears that will REALLY freak me out.

Sgt. is being calm, - "It's ok baby, listen, do you have anything you can get it off the ceiling with, like a broom or something"
Me(freaking out) - "NO! I am not going to stand underneath it and try and sweep it off the ceiling, what if it falls on me!!"
Sgt - "Ok, well what is your plan honey. You have to kill it... I'm sorry I'm not there to rescue you, I would kill the centipede if I was there, but I'm not, so you're gana have to do it baby."
Me - "oooooohhhh I HATE THIS! This thing is creepy! I wish you were here! I miss you! UUUHHH it looks like it's going to fall! EWW it's hanging from the ceiling! Oh my God, I hate this"
Sgt - "it's gana be ok"

At this point (and this is how I know I'm PMSing) it was all a little overwhelming and I started to cry. But not just cry, bawl.

Me (sobbing) -"I hate this stupid thing. I miss you, I wish you were here. GAH!! UGH, it's creepy and I'm scared and why is it in my room! I can't do this... I miss you"
Sgt - "baby... listen to me, talk to me, whats wrong?"
Me - "I don't know! I don't know why I'm crying over a stupid bug, I just *sob* wish I didn't have to do this right now... I wish you were here."

The entire time he is calm and caring. Deep down he was probably wanting to laugh his ass off but on the phone with me he remained serious (except when I told him I didn't want to throw any of my good shoes at the thing... that got a laugh) and supportive. I devised a plan to throw my flip flops at it in order to knock it off the ceiling.

Sgt - "Good babe, then what are you going to kill it with?"
Me - "ooooooo I don't KNOW! UGH.... I just want it to die. Do you think the fall would kill it? I'm scared it's going to crawl on me or jump at me"
Sgt (obviously a little humored now) - "Honey... not that I'm an expert, but I think the trajectory range of a centipede is only about one foot... if that."
Me - "What if it crawls on me, I just want it to crawl outside"
Sgt. "Do you have the door open?"
Me - "NO! What if more come inside!"

I found a board in the corner of my room... which I'm not sure why it was there but now it serves as my centipede killing weapon, and we decide I'm going to throw shoe, then smash with board. Simple enough. I throw three shoes, and miss completely. I'm a horrible shot apparently. As I'm talking to Sgt. again though I hear it fall.


I jump on my bed and start to freak out again but he remains calm and tells me to get down and to kill it, now is my chance. I get off the bed (at a long far distance away) and it looks like the fall might have shocked him because he's just writhing around and flipping in one place.... I finally do it, I smash it and then lay on my bed starring at it to make sure it doesn't move.

After all this was finally over, my nerves were shot. The entire episode took about 45 min. and afterwards I just wanted to lay there. I apologized for freaking out and Sgt. just kinda laughed and then said "honey, it's unconditional love, even if you lose it over a centipede, I'm still gana be here" :)

So... there it is. We survived the great Godzillapede, and afterwards I made some coffee, lit a few candles, and watched Sleepless in Seattle. Yay for being a woman.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tossin' and Turnin'

All. Night. Long.

This long distance part is difficult. It's different. I wouldn't say Iraq was easier, I worry much less now and the added bonus of getting to talk to him multiple times a day helps to ease those days on end of loneliness and frustration but knowing he is only a plane ride away... and still not being there, stinks.

I know, only a few more weeks and I'll get him for a whole month (well, he'll get me for a whole month, I'm going back to TN for October) but... I don't want to wait a few more weeks!!! I know, that sounded slightly like a 3 year old throwing a tantrum but I'm pms'ing as well so maybe.. it WAS a little bit of a tantrum, sue me.

I miss him. I can't sleep. Not just I wake up in the middle of the night, I mean I really can't stay asleep. It takes me about an hour to fall asleep once I lay down and actually commit to it and then I toss and turn all night long. Every 45 min. I'm waking up and looking to see what time the clock says. Granted, between those 45 min. I've been having some wonderful dreams about the two of us, just leading our lives and being together, but I really wish I could sleep through the night.

Maybe it's because we always talk right before we go to bed. I miss him all day long and he is constantly on my mind but it's easier when I'm at work or have things to occupy my time... at night I lay there and I can hear his voice and I just wish I was there.

I really shouldn't be complaining, he's home and he's safe and we are doing great and it's not like we weren't prepared for the continued separation once he got back. It's just, tonight, all that won't make it any easier either.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tennessee Trip!


I can finally sit down and blog about Tennessee and what has been going on in my life.

On the one hand I have just been constantly in motion… I still have not completely moved into my apartment which I moved boxes and furniture into about 3 weeks ago. On the other, I just haven’t been able to organize all those memories and thoughts. I tried a bunch of times, believe me. But I just continued to ramble on and on about every single detail and then I would inevitably start to miss him a lot and it would dispel any desire to continue.

Tennessee was amazing. It’s almost as if every time we're together, we learn more about each other and fall more in love. We were busy the entire time, I don’t think there was ever a day where we just had “nothing” scheduled, but that was ok with me, I loved doing regular things with him. We shopped for furniture and did paperwork. We unpacked and cleaned… (wow, did we clean!) We went grocery shopping for about five meals I wasn’t even able to cook due to getting home at 8 or 9 almost every night. We visited friends and went out to eat. We drove, we drove a LOT. We went and visited his family in Indiana. – Want to know what’s best about all those things? The “we.” :).

Sgt. And I also went to his ROTC activities. That part was interesting. I suppose an adjustment period is normal for everyone who comes home… I expected that, and I also expected that the transition from “deployed Army” to “ROTC Army” wouldn’t be the most fun thing he’s ever done… but what I didn’t expect was how hard it was going to be, for me.

The first day we did things for his ROTC stuff was easy, I just went up to the school with him and kind of tagged along as they did a weight and height assessment and then we went to supply to see if he needed anything from there. I met a couple of the cadre and instructors there, simple stuff. Day two he had a PT test early in the morning. He did better than I think he expected to and then a couple of hours later he had his ceremony as an induction into ROTC. As the morning went on I could see on his face that he was growing more impatient. I could tell he was becoming frustrated. All of the students practiced the ceremony preceedings first before the colonel came out. It was mediocre at best and Sgt. Didn’t look happy at all. The colonel finally came out and there were only a couple of family members and myself there to watch. He came over so I proudly stood up to introduce myself and who I was there to see. We chatted about Sgt. and he told me they were all excited to have him there. The ceremony came and went rather quickly and then Sgt. and I had to go to the supply room for one more thing…

They originally told him he would be able to wear his combat patch on his uniform. Since in ROTC they wear the same ACU’s he has worn for the last 6 years, it would have just remained where it always is, on his shoulder. However during the ceremony proceedings, while they had some time to wait around, a few of the senior ROTC cadets, who were also prior service, came over and told Sgt. that he was going to be asked to take them off. “We know it sucks man, we hated it too but we had to do it. We’re trying to get the rule changed but right now it is what it is.” Sgt. tried not to be too defensive and we went and got the ROTC patch that was to replace his combat patch before the two hour break we had before the next “mandatory fun” event we had. When we got in the car he finally let out some of his frustrations and it was obvious that he felt a little like a fish out of water. He being the fish, and the Army, his deployment, his platoon, who coincidently at that time was probably on patrol – they were the water. The combat patch was still on as we pulled out of the parking lot and he was venting to me about how angry it made him. I was upset about it to, I wasn’t sure why at the time, but for some reason… it just hurt. We were driving to get some coffee when he handed me the patch,

“Can you do it please”

I took the patch from him and my eyes started to well with tears. I didn’t want to. Not that I didn’t physically want to take the patch off and put the other one on, if anyone was going to do it other than him, I wanted to be the one… but I didn’t want him to have to take it off. He has spent almost 3 years of his life in that country fighting this war and earning those patches. Everything we went through, the up’s and down’s as a couple trying to thrive through a deployment, was represented in the simplest way, by a patch on his arm.

The mood in the car was solemn and you could feel the emotion in the air. I had paired tears running down my cheeks, he didn’t even want to watch or do it himself. I paused for a moment and looked at the patch, and then I took it off. The sound of the Velcro was very representative of my heart tearing in two. This all sounds very dramatic… but, it was. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is. Not really the fact that he couldn’t wear it anymore (we agreed he would keep his combat patch, along with his stripes in his pocket, so they are still with him) – just the fact of what it represented. A part of his life, of our life, was over right then. If there was ever a ceremony for transitioning from combat soldier to college student I think this one is pretty damn fitting.

I didn’t expect it to hurt the way it did. And maybe hurt is the wrong word, maybe the word is shock, but whatever it was, I was feeling it.

A large part of why it hurt me also, was because it hurt him. At that moment I believe he felt very much like something was being taken from him and he was a little worried about what he was trading it in for. He wants to go to school. He wants to become an officer and lead soldiers. He will, and he’ll be amazing at both – but another part of him wants to be back in Diyala, back on patrol, back with his guys. Not because he wants to leave me or leave home, not at all, but because… that’s what he does, and his guys are still there, he had to leave them and I don’t care who you are – leaving people you care about behind never feels good, even if it’s the right thing.

While we sat down for coffee, we talked a little about it, and I told him it made me cry. He then said, yet another of one of the sweetest and most meaningful things he has ever said - "Well, you earned that patch just as much as I did." I don't really agree with him on that, I think his job is much more difficult but the fact that it shows how much he appreciates what I did and how I handled his deployment meant the world to me.

The good thing about all this is as far as I can see that has been the most difficult of the readjustment period. I keep reminding him that it’s ok to not be in constant motion or constantly busy 24 hours a day. I also remind him that not a month ago, he was still there, so of course there are going to be some difficult periods of time getting used to all these changes at once, but we’ll do it together.

Other than constantly being busy, there were times when we just got to lay on the couch for a few minutes. Usually late at night. Or lay in bed and talk before falling asleep. One particular night he was holding my hand, then held it up and said something like “ya know, something awfully sparkly would look really good on that finger” – take that for what you will :). Some of my favorite times were when we were driving. The road trip to Tennessee was wonderful. Took two days, and we had some amazing conversations about our future together, future children, goals, dreams etc. We also had fun blasting the good songs… turning on the seat warmers and then waiting to see how long it took the other person to realize, and kissing each others hands while cruising down the highway. Life is really amazing with him next to me.

When the evening came for me to leave, it stunk. Nothing dramatic, not a lot of tears (although when I walked through security and turned to blow him a kiss they came), but also, not a lot of words. We just enjoyed being for the moment. While I was getting everything ready to load into the car, I heard him walk into the living room and say to his room mate “This part suuuuuuccccckkkksssss” – I KNOW what you mean my dear.

Ever since I’ve gotten home there’s just something missing. I don’t sleep as well at night, although I make it by. It’s not that I want someone there; it’s that I want HIM there. I’ve been buying a lot of knick knacks and decorative items for my place – but I’m pretty sure it’s just “void shopping” – ya know, that trying to fill something thing. I mean, it’s like it was after R&R, we’re fine… life goes on, we’re making it through, but we miss each other a lot. The bonus this time around is we get to talk on the phone whenever we want!! Which tends to be multiple times a day :). We’ve talked a lot about weddings and such the last few days. Day dreaming together I suppose. I could say I think he’s going to propose soon, and I could say I bet he waits another year – neither would surprise me and for once, I really really don’t want to know! This is one surprise I hope I don’t find out before it’s that moment. One would be amazing, the other would be just fine too :), I’m going to love the man no matter where he or I is in the world and no matter which stage of our relationship we’re in…. besides, I’m used to waiting for him anyway, right? :).

I’m so unbelievably excited about October, which is when I will be going back up there for the month, but also for the rest of our lives. Puts a huge dopey grin on my face just thinking about it.

Anyway, I’m glad I could finally tell you guys all about it and bring you up to speed! Things are good, Sgt. is good and enjoying school (and it seems like ROTC as well). It seems as though his deployment just sort of ended out of nowhere, but old habits are still dying hard. He left me a voicemail and I compulsively saved it because, that’s just what I do… nevermind the fact that I can call him right back. All in all though, we’re moving into this next phase just fine, not always gracefully, but just fine. And WE as a couple are doing fabulous!!