Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm Baaaaaaack

Okay, so it's been a long time since I've posted. I have a myriad of excuses, but mainly, I just haven't thought there was much to write about and I haven't taken the time to sit down and process my thoughts enough to write something.


And here I am tonight, not sure what I'm going to write about, but I feel the need to write.


I've gotten a part-time job that seems to be heaven-sent. I make my own schedule and the pay is decent. Notice I did not say, "the pay is great". But, I can drop Baby Girl at school, do all of my inspections, and be there to pick her up when the car-rider line is still on go. These are things I like. All the perks of staying home (i.e. getting to be with my kiddo when she's not in school) but actually getting a paycheck. BONUS!


Baby Girl has made swim team, so she and I are spending 2 nights a week at the local pool. She's getting great exercise and I'm getting all caught up on Twitter and Facebook. You know, all the necessities. But, seriously, what swim team has done for my child's self-esteem I couldn't have pulled off if I praised her non-stop for the next 10 years. It is awesome. I highly recommend finding a sport/activity that your child loves and sacrificing the time to be sure they are at practices/lessons, etc. Highly worth it.


And since I'm bouncing around like one of those bouncy balls tonight, can I talk to you about what I cooked for dinner tonight? It was from the freezer section in The Walmarts. (Swim Practice from 6-7. DON'T YOU JUDGE ME!!!) Buitoni Shrimp & Lobster Ravioli with Garlic Butter Sauce. Oh. My. Gravy. (Props to Jet & Cord from Amazing Race for that new gem). That was some seriously awesome grub. Highly recommend! Highly.


Next random thing that is on a super-short to-do list if you are Military and have kiddos from ages 10-13. Operation Purple Camps. Google them. Bing them. Do whatever you have to do to find them on these here interwebs. They are free, week-long, sleep-away camps for military children. Did I mention they are FREE?????? Sign up ends in just a few days, so jump on it ASAP!


Okay, so I have to get on the phone with my boss and enter all the data from my inspections today, so I'll do my best to catch up here again soon!


Love y'all!

The Sarge's Wife

Thursday, April 1, 2010

*Sigh*

I can really tell a difference in myself today. And I'm not sure what it means about me.


Yesterday and the day before I was totally motivated to get things done around here. I mean, I have worked outside like I haven't in maybe forever. I have been a better housekeeper and was happy doing it.


As I said in my last post, Sarge didn't come home for his weekly visit last night. Since then I have been in a massive funk. I am doing my housework, but it is taking me twice as long as necessary and I really just feel like going to bed and sleeping. I'm sensing depression looming, but isn't it a little silly?


Why should I be depressed because he didn't come home in the middle of the week? He will be home this weekend and it will be one of our adults only weekends. Our children will be with their other parents, so we will have time to be together and reconnect emotionally. We will have two whole days for "us".


But still. Ugh.


So, I see this tendency in myself and I want to be and do better. I will get up off this chair, stop belly-aching about this, and keep on keepin' on. I'll do it with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. I am praying to God for my mental health and to take the anger and depression away from me. I know He will take this from me.


I think I need to call or text my husband and tell him I love him.


The Sarge's Wife

It Ain't Always Sunshine & Roses

I know that usually I talk about how proud I am of Sarge and how much what he does means to me and really to society at large.


Today is not one of those days.


Sarge lives away from home Monday through Friday because of where his job is located. I choose to live here because it is an awesome place to live and raise my child. He lives there because he is able to continue to be a full-time soldier and do what he loves. We agreed some time back that one of us would make the trip to the other's location on Wednesdays. It is something I needed more than him, but I really needed it.


Yesterday, you might notice, was Wednesday. Sarge didn't come home last week because of a busy schedule at work. I didn't say one word and took it in stride. But, it was Wednesday again. He had said he was planning to come here. I did not make plans to go there because of that. Then I get the, "I'm not sure I'm gonna make it today" text. Turns out he had administrative work that was assigned last minute and two funerals that were given to them literally that morning.


My head understands all this. My heart hurts and I'm really kinda pissed.


I have given up any semblance of normal family life so that my husband can do what he loves and feels is his duty. I have sacrificed sleeping in the same bed with my husband, waking up with him, and just sitting on the sofa watching tv. Normal, everyday, things lots of wives take for granted.


I don't usually give myself pity parties. This is a life I chose. I knew who I was marrying when I married him. I moved to the small town we live in because my parents and grandparents live here and my husband has spent more than half our marriage deployed to various parts of the world.


I could totally move to where he is. But I won't. I refuse to give up a life I built while he was off serving our country. I life I built and that he said he would retire to over two years ago.


So, here I sit. Pissy. And it doesn't help anyone or anything, but at least I can vent about it here.


Thanks for listening.


The Sarge's Wife

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Hero's a Hero, No Matter What


My hubs, The Sarge, is a leader of the team that performs full-time Military Funeral Honors for the State of GA. He spends his days honoring our veterans who have served our country in times of war and times of peace. He leads a team of young men who are dedicated to giving these men and women the honor they deserve at the time of their passing. Their days generally consist of several funerals at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, GA and passing along final honors to family members who are grieving the loss of someone incredibly important to them.





On Wednesday, Sarge and his team performed a ceremony of a different kind. You see, there was a homeless gentlemen who had been found deceased on Christmas Day 2009. He lived in a wooded area near the metro Atlanta area. He was found by another homeless man who was checking in on his buddy because he had not seen him and was worried.



The county where the man's body was taken tried diligently for three months to find some family member to inform of the man's passing. They found no one.





The morgue knew the man's identity because of his good friend and had confirmed that the man was a veteran. They contacted the Georgia National Cemetery and asked if they could give the man a final resting place. GNC immediately agreed. They then asked Sarge and his team if they could give the man the final honors he had earned with his service to this great nation of ours. The Honor Guard immediately agreed.




So, Wednesday came and, worried that the man would have no mourners, they had some of the soldiers who were on duty at the Canton NG Armory there to honor this gentleman. At the time of the service, the homeless man who found and identified his friend came to the cemetery to mourn his friend. He was the one soul in this world who seemed to even know that this man was no longer with us. No one knows how the man got to the cemetery or how he was going to get back to where he normally camps. He stood in his jeans and flannel shirt as the Honor Guard carried out their mission. He wept silently for his friend as "Taps" was played on the bugle and the soldiers saluted his fallen friend. The soldiers presented the man with the folded flag, representing the gift of service his friend had given the United States. He said simply that he was proud to have had the opportunity to know his friend.





Yes, we have soldiers who fall in battle and are saluted by their communities. We have veterans who pass away and are mourned by those who knew and loved them. But, we also have veterans who are the "invisible" in our cities and towns. Veterans who have no family to even know they have passed. I cannot tell you how proud I am that my husband and his team are proud to give all veterans the honor and dignity they have earned upon their passing.





These men are my heroes. These men are heroes to us all.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

After Much Delay, Wecome Home Bravo Troop!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of going to a celebration:






Signs were hung.




I hung out with my friends, the wives, so excited for them and emotional beyond explanation.





Pride for one's soldier...


Eagerly awaiting...





"Welcome Home, Uncle Tim!"...





HERE THEY COME!






Honoring our heroes...




"Hi, my name is Daddy"..

Clark and Bonnie Turner ready to plan their "real" wedding...

God Bless the Cav Scouts of the 1-108th!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Here Comes the Parade!

Tomorrow I am travelling with Baby Girl up to Canton, GA. Sarge is based out of there for his Military Honors Unit with the D.O.D. But, that's not why I'm going. I'm going because his military brothers, heroes every one, will be returning HOME from De-Mobilization after spending the last year in Afghanistan.


The town of Canton is having a parade to celebrate these soldiers home.


We are having a ceremony and celebration at the Armory following the parade.


Sarge will get to see some of his best friends that he hasn't seen in a year. I will get to see my friends and their children with the husbands/fathers that have been gone for over a year. It will be a great time and a huge celebration.


But I will also be spending time remembering the 8 families of soldiers in the Unit that did not make it home from war. I know that 1st Sgt. Blair's wife went to Ft. Stewart to see her husband's soldiers come home, because her husband couldn't. He was watching over them from heaven.


My heart breaks for these families. But it swells with joy overflowing for my friends who finally have their men back in their arms. It is thrilled for the men who get to sleep in their own beds, under their own roofs for the first time tomorrow night. The men who for the first time in their recent memories can sleep totally relaxed, without worrying about attacks from strangers who want to kill them for being there, for trying to make things better for them and their countrymen.


I am so proud of all these soldiers. I am so proud of these families for making it through one of the toughest times in military life. I will be standing with my friends and waving my flag full of pride for my husband's Troop. And I am sure that pride will come in the form of flowing tears and cheers.


I'll post pictures from this great day tomorrow. Please check back and see my friends in one of the most joyous times of their lives.


I'm proud to be family of the 48th Brigade, 1-108th, Bravo Troop of the Georgia National Guard!


HOOAH!

The Sarge's Wife

Friday, March 5, 2010

Things to Do:

Motivation.


I just ain't got it.


I don't know why; I'm not feeling blue.


My house needs the clutter from yesterday picked up. I have some laundry that needs doing. I want to have the house vacuumed and dusted before Sarge gets home for the weekend. I want and desire all these things.


As a SAHM, I know that these things are my career. I know these are my responsibilites. Here's the thing though - no partnership track or raise to motivate me. And Sarge certainly isn't going to fire me. He knows that his rank has nothing to do with my authority.


And yet, here I sit, typing. I've checked Facebook and played Bejeweled Blitz. I've checked Twitter and checked out links to neato new blogs my bloggity friends have recommended. I've read my favorite blogs. I've even entered a photo of my cat in The Pioneer Woman's current photo assignment. I've gotten things done.


Hey! I've gotten things done! I have been motivated today! And now, I think I will move on to my Household 6 responsibilities.


After all, the Army wife is nothing if not dutiful, punctual and committed to task.


Oooooh, but here's my picture for the contest:


Ok, now I'm gonna get to my housework!

Love y'all!

The Sarge's Wife

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What I Learned at The Wal Marts

I went to the Wal Marts yesterday for a few necessities. While I was there, I learned a few things:


1. Those pictures from the "People of Wal Mart" website are real. If I'd had my camera with me yesterday, I totally could have been published on that site.


2. I could never work as a checker at the Wal Marts these days. Don't get me wrong, when I was in college I spent every school holiday in the checkout lane at our local KMart. It is TOTALLY not a pride thing, I just don't have the patience.

I used the "self-check" lane because I only had a few things and the lines were long. There were three things that were just not going to scan for me. I straightened the bar codes. I wiped them in case there was some kind of condensation on it. I was about to absolutely lose my mind. Baby Girl was worried that SHE had done something wrong. I did everything but call those things children of God.

Thank goodness for the patient girl half my age attending to the self-check lanes, because she finally keyed the items in and I was on my way.


3. The ground beef in a tube stuff is just as good as the stuff in the styrofoam trays. It was extra lean, left hardly any grease in the pan, and was an actual pound, not a pound and a half, a pound and a third, or whatever the trays turn out to be. It was less expensive. It made my lasagna yummy. I'm a changed person. I'm no longer a meat tray snob.


4. The "Great Value" brand cheezy-poofs are the way to go. Baby Girl declared them delicious. And for the coup de gras, she said she could "taste the Wal Mart in them." She explained that they were "extra cheesy".

I don't think the Walmarts would use the "tastes like Wal Mart = Extra Cheezy" ad campaign, but I laughed so hard, it was well worth the trip.

Friday, February 26, 2010

SLEEPOVER CITY

Tonight, Baby Girl has two of her BFF's over to spend the night. Sarge is on duty this weekend, so it is all Girl Power around here.

Check out all the fabulosity that is going on at Ft. Franks (if you can see through the grainy video the flip took in the dark):


video

Boom Boom POW! And now for something a little sweeter:

video

Taylor Swift would be proud!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Deployment Nostalgia

The guys from Sarge's unit will be returning home from Afghanistan sometime this weekend. (I know when it is, but there's this silly thing called OPSEC and if the Taliban happen by my blog, I can't risk them knowing when a group of Army Cav Scouts may or may not be returning to the US.) Anyhoo... Watching my friends prepare for the return of their soldiers has me reminiscing about the last deployment they returned from almost four years ago.



Nostalgic about a deployment. I totally need therapy.




It was 2006 and Sarge and I had met on Match.com during his deployment to Iraq. After four months of constant communication via telephone, webcam and email, this man I had never laid a finger on but had fallen so completely for it was ridiculous, was coming home. To me. In the flesh. SWOOOOOON.



Up to this point I only had the sound of his voice, the power of his words and a grainy smile over a webcam to go by. We sent TONS of pictures back and forth. This was the first one he ever sent me.





If he got any more rugged and manly looking I probably would have died on the spot. A handsome man, in uniform, wearing sunglasses and carrying an M-16? I mean COME ON!



A few weeks before coming home a mysterious package arrived in my mailbox. Sarge told me to be sure to have it in my purse when I got to Ft. Stewart to meet him on the Parade Field. At least once a day he checked to make sure I remembered that I was to put the package in my things for Ft. Stewart. Being a blond from birth, I totally appreciated these reminders.



After the welcome ceremony, the sea of uniforms and family members parted and MY soldier locked eyes with me and literally RAN into my arms. We hugged, kissed and cried. Then he said into my ear in his deep gravelly voice, "Nice to finally meet you." I could have dropped dead on the spot and then gone to heaven completely happy and fulfilled.



But, no, this tough, rugged, handsome soldier is a true romantic at heart and after snagging the package out of my purse without my knowing when first hugging me, he pulled this move on me...


got down on one knee, in front of all those people and asked me to be his wife. All I heard was a woman screaming, "OH MY GOD HE'S GOT A RING!" Flashbulbs went off and we were on the front page of the Savannah newspaper the next day. Thank goodness those reporters were there, because I have one heck of a photo to help me remember that night and that feeling forever.

And you were wondering why I was nostalgic about coming home from deployments to war!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dog Portrait Entries


I entered a Photography Assignment on the Pioneer Woman website. The assignment is for dog portraits. This is the photo I chose to enter yesterday.I realize Baby Girl is in this one, but it was so candid looking and captured both her spirit and Elwood's so completely. I love the lighting. It was during what is termed the "sweet light" of sundown yesterdayl. Yes, they are in the absolute center of our road. Luckily, we live in an area remote enough that this doesn't matter 98% of the time!



I plan on entering this portrait of Elwood today. It is during the same "sweet light" time. He's a handsome man, no?

Please let me know what you think of these. They are taken with a simple "point and shoot" Kodak camera. I don't have Photoshop, so obviously they are untouched. I'd love to know your opinions!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Peaceful, Easy Feelin'


This morning I swam. I swam for almost an hour. I swam 20 laps. I swam backstroke (because water gets up my nose doing freestyle these days - stupid pug nose!). I swam with the kickboard. But mostly, I just swam.
I was the only one in the pool for the majority of my swim. While I occasionally obsessed over the amount of water I was obviously displacing all by my lonesome, mostly I just exercised, felt my body working and pulling itself through the water. I counted my strokes. I worked on breathing slowly and consistently. I thought a LOT about my life and where I want to go from here. It was incredibly peaceful and totally good for me.
When I was pulling myself out of the water I felt like I had the long, lean swimmer's body I had long ago.
Then my feet hit the pool deck and I looked down at myself. "Well, damn!".

Monday, February 22, 2010

JWism #1

I moved this over from Momsbuzz, where my blog used to be, because a)It's funny as hell and b) I needed something light to follow-up that Debbie Downer post of mine earlier tonight. Enjoy:

JWism #1
First, let me tell you who JW was. He was "Daddy" to my hubs, The Sarge. JW was a Master Sargeant in the Army, served in WWII and Korea, and retired to mule farming in rural Alabama. JW passed away before I ever met The Sarge, and I feel like I missed out on lots of fun. Periodically, I'll be adding JWisms to my blog, mostly because I'm stuck about what to write, and these are true southern gems! (If you get offended by these sayings, I'll apologize now. JW was no saint, and neither am I!)

JWism #1:
"That boy's happier than a sissy in a dick tree."
Interpretation: That boy is really, REALLY happy.
(Don't say I didn't warn you!)

Happy Monday,
Dona

In Case You've Missed Me...

Remember me?
(Ignore that cheesy man on the left. It's just Sarge.)


As I sit here and type this, I have finally unburdened to a friend how I've been feeling the last several months. I feel pretty good about getting it off my chest, but now worry that it will soon be all over Madison (since that IS the small-town way). She would never tell to hurt me or spread gossip, simply tell out of wanting our other friends to know what I've been going through, add me to their prayer lists, etc. Since I let the cat out of the bag to her, I might as well write it down here. Share it with whomever chooses to read this or happens upon it by mistake.





It all started in August. I had been working at a job for friends as an Administrative Assistant, where an I.T. guy and an attorney shared me. It wasn't high paying. It wasn't high stress. It paid me enough for our family to have dinners out and trips to concerts and such. It was incredibly family friendly. These guys know me and know that during the week I am the lone parent to my child and as such have to be there to drop off/pick up/volunteer/go to the doctor, etc. My parents are fabulous about helping out, but I have this thing about being the one to raise my child. But, I digress.





In August, my I.T. guy lost a major client. This eliminated the funds he had to pay me to do what it was I did. I was going to have to start working part-time for the attorney. Which was fine. The Army was continuing to pay my husband well to do a job he loved. Then, two weeks later, the attorney I was working for (who specializes in real estate law, and we all know how well the real estate market is doing) decided that he could no longer afford to keep me, either. I hold absolutely no anger toward these men. This is business and with this economy, I totally understood that the part-time help had to be the first to go. And besides, the Army was continuing to pay my husband well to do the job he loved. I decided I would just stay home again and look for something to open up, as it always has tended to do for me.





Then, my husband's orders ended. And the State of GA decided they didn't have the money (yet) to continue him on similar orders. They would be happy to pay him for day-to-day work while a Technician position came available with the D.O.D. He worked everyday for those four weeks of October. Everyone told him he'd be on orders before he knew it, they'd pay him for the days he worked, and if nothing else the Tech position with the D.O.D. would come through eventually. While all of that was worked out, my family went without income (other than my child support for Baby Girl) for SIX WHOLE WEEKS. And when all the money finally came in, there was a week of pay that was lost somewhere in the system and has never been made up. He had to take the Tech position (which to be truthful is the more steady position, you don't have to rely on someone to decide that you need to be on orders, it is just a job). This Tech position pays pretty much what he was making before. With. One. Huge. Exception. No housing allowance. The housing allowance for my husband's pay grade equals about $15,000 a year. THAT pays our mortgage, folks.





So, since November, we've been playing a mad game of "catch-up" with bills, etc. Just when it seems we are there - BOOM - something else hits. I know this is life, but I've had about enough of this, and I'm waiting on my Lottery Win to happen anytime. But then, I'd have to waste at least $1 on a ticket for the lottery, and I've gotta tell ya, that just ain't gonna happen.





Since October/November, I have basically shut myself off from all my friends in Madison. I have been embarrassed and ashamed because I can't do the things that we've always done together. Lunches out. Birthday presents. Little trips out with our girls. I quit going to Bible Study, Sunday School and Church, because at any point, I might just bust into tears and then everyone will want to know what's going on with me. I'll tell them and then spend a week or more worrying that I spent what little time we had together with it focused on me and my problems. I don't want to be the subject of later conversations, and I do constantly wonder about if I really have friends, do they think of me as a friend, blah blah blah. (I have issues from High School. I still struggle to move on from those issues. I need therapy.)





When I have seen my lady friends out, I try to always be smiling and have "the jokes". On FB and Twitter I'm full of one-liners and how excited I am about seeing my husband. I've told no one that this financial struggle has taken its toll on my 3 year marriage, and though we are still very much in love, we are both stressed and strained and have actually fought alone and in front of our kids (and we swore we'd never do that). We have talked and talked about things and our marriage is as strong as ever, and it's a good thing... cause we don't have the money for outside attractions. It's just us. And as it has always been, "just us" is pretty darn good.





I guess to end this, I should say that in general I am pretty happy. Thanks to my wonderful parents, we will never do without and we will always have a roof over our heads. We are lucky. So many have lost their homes.





I told my friend this afternoon that today was an "I opened my bedroom curtains type of day", because so many have seemed so dark that I have holed up in my room and wanted to disappear in the darkness. I am determined to move through this and I want to do it with my friends at my side.





I am writing this today to get all of it off my chest and to move forward from here. I will either find a job or not. I am seriously considering going back to school to be a nurse, because I am and always have been a caregiver at heart. Mostly, I just want to put it out there to say, "If you haven't seen me much, this is where I've been." I'm doing everything in my power to get back in my social and church activities. And hey, we can sure eat lunch together, but I've got some salad and sandwich fixin's at my house. Let's just head over there!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Favorite Picture from our Snowstorm Last Week



Isn't this gorgeous and serene?








I'm going to try to remember it like this when I have to mow around all those trees and rake up all those leaves next fall.
But for now, YUMMMMMMMMM.

Snowpacolypse 2010 (Middle GA Edition)






As I sit and type this it is a sunny 70 degrees outside. Last Friday night, enough snow and ice fell in middle GA to make the world stop. Hard to believe, but that's life in the South.



Anyway, last Friday night was the annual Daddy/Daughter Dance at our local Rec Department. Baby Girl was all dressed up and waiting for Sarge and Sugarpop to get to Madison from NW Georgia where Sarge works and Sugarpop lives. He left at 4 p.m. to make a drive that normally takes two hours. Baby Girl was sittin' on G, waitin' on O.




Isn't she just gorgeous? New dress, hair in rollers for almost and hour and even had on mascara and lipgloss. If she wasn't ready for that dance, I don't know who was!



But as it inched closer to 6 p.m., the time for the dance to start, Sarge was no where close to home. The snow and ice had slowed the interstate to a complete crawl, because y'all KNOW we can't drive in a few flakes of snow down here. He called and said, I'll be lucky to make it there by 7:00, but if you'll iron my clothes, we'll get there and do this thing! Then it started getting darker and colder and the roads started to ice up. Needless to say, even trying his hardest, Sarge didn't make it home in time to take our two girls to the dance. Baby Girl cried, and I cried a bit too at her heartbreak, but Sarge promised he was going to take all three of his girls out for a fancy dinner on Saturday night to make up for missing the dance. Everyone was expected to wear pretty dresses and the corsages that had been bought for the girls for the dance. After that, Baby Girl perked up a bit and looked forward to morning when she could play in our close to 4" of snow.









The girls were up and at 'em early the next morning, making snow angels and getting soaking wet and freezing.



There's Baby Girl on the left and Sugarpop on the right. They tried making a snowman and this snow just wasn't wet and sticky enough to work, so they decided to make a "wall" out of snow. I called it the wall to defend our home Ft. Franks. Trust me in this small Mayberry of a town, that wall is about all the defense we need!


But, anyway, the girls got to play, we had hot chocolate and a fire in the firepit out back and roasted marshmallows. Fun was had by all of the Franks and we got to go to that fancy dinner Saturday night, too. Only, there are no pictures of that, because I am "Mom of the Year" and forgot my camera.
Hope all of you got to have fun out there in it, too!




P.S. Black Dachsies named Oliver HATE, HATE, HATE the snow.