An Army Wife's Life

Once upon a time I was a college student, then I was a teacher, and now I'm a mother. Technically, I'm currently a freelance writer... but really I am an ARMY WIFE. Expect to find... funny (at least to me) anecdotes, thoughts about la vida military, hopes, anxieties, dreams, commentaries on current events.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year, Part Deux...An Improvement

After the party was called off, I checked the mail and found a package with Chinese writing all over it.

I opened it and it seemed to consist entirely of styrofoam. Odd. I perservered and was not disappointed. Inside was a Christmas present from DH--a jasper bowl from China!

When we were last in NYC, we had gone to the Met and were fascinated by some jasper bowls; now I have my very own!

I also got another gift from DH, a "Who's Your Baghdaddy" tee, which I will sleep in tonight. I don't know how large DH thinks my pregnant belly will get, but right now I'm SWIMMING in the tee!

Best of all, DH called to welcome in the New Year with me!

Hope your New Year was also filled with joy and happiness...and I hope all of the non-preggers people drank one (who am I kidding? several...many...) for me!

Happy New Year! is going to be a dull one for me.

I had two friends coming over for fondue and cards, but one is pregnant and had an exhausting day.

Since two doesn't make for a real card game, we just postponed.

Not that I blame her, but I do wish I had known before I went out and bought cold cuts. I am a vegeterian, so it is a little harder to get rid of them.

Most of the rest of my friends are out of town, and I've actually had a migraine and a little nausea from my own pregnancy today, so I guess I'm just staying in.

I'm usually a big believer in making your own fun, but this is so last minute, I guess it is just not meant to be!

When I think about my last few New Year's Eves, it is kinda funny:

2005 - Dinner at the Yale Club in NYC
2004 - Fireworks and live music in the main plaza in Granada, Spain.
2003 - A jungle canopy ecolodge in Belize.
2002 - Flew out of Mexico City to attend a party at the Harvard Club
2001 - Party in a New York City dance club
2000 - Threw a party at DH's family's summer home out on the East End of Long Island

Oh, well, I guess the fun streak had to end sometime. Hopefully I can manage to stay up to watch the ball drop.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Wrestling With Cats

Well, no diagnosis on the kitty with diarrhea...but I have two liquid meds (one twice daily, the other three times) and one pill to give him.

One of the liquid meds must taste terrible because he freaks out and tries to spit it up.

It is so much fun to wrestle with cats when pregnant!

Also, I got my toxoplasmosis test results, but there was no doctor available to interpret them. Hopefully Monday or Tuesday there will be.

I really hope the medical part of this experience gets better once I am assigned to a midwife.

I just finished a major project so I'm off to clean. Tomorrow will be a day of cleaning and shopping and having fun...and then back to work on the next project!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Missions Begin

DH has begun his missions...and he told me before he went on the first one. Although I am glad he keeps me in the loop, that was a restless night.

I am a little concerned when I send his updates out to friends and family--I am somewhat afraid I'll give his poor mother, or more likely mine, a heart attack or nervous breakdown. Even though they are after the fact, he is rather unsparing with the gritty details.

Right now, our guys are doing "right seat rides," observing the guys they are replacing.

Following that, our guys will run the missions, with the experienced guys riding along--a "left seat ride."

After that, the guys who have been there a year will get to go home to their families and ours will take over.

On the first right seat ride, they encountered a demonstration--but the crowd was not hostile and seemed to be protesting the election results, rather than the American presence. Democracy in action--like any good democratic peoples, the Iraqis have returned to being peeved at their own government rather than just us.

DH also remarked on the unusual casualness with which Iraqi civilians carry their AK-47s, like commuters carrying briefcases.

DH believes that his training has prepared him well for these missions and I know he is doing everything possible to stay safe and keep his men safe. He has been given tasks that match his abilities and I feel better knowing that HE is the one in charge of these jobs. to finish work and then off to the vet. As if I wasn't worried enough already about toxoplasmosis and my pregnancy, one of the cats is sick.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Busy With Deadlines

I had a lovely Christmas Eve. I went to midnight mass at the Episcopal Church. Although I was baptised a few years ago, I have not been a regular church goer. I decided that I would start once DH left for Iraq.

The service was beautiful and, although the minister was not the most powerful public speaker, the sermon was very touching.

His words really made me think about how we put so much effort into making things right in our life when Christ has already done so much for us. Christ has already built us a Home, and given us Fellowship, and Perfect Love. Instead of fighting His gifts, we should welcome them into our lives.

On Christmas Day, I went to a friends house and just relaxed. I tried to pick something up for her on the way and was shocked to find everything closed. Unlike New York, I suppose there are not enough Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and Atheists to keep stores open on Christmas Day. I wonder if the Chinese restaurants are even open.

When I returned home, I received my best present--DH called when I got back and we opened our gifts together.

In his stocking, I wrapped up two photo albums with pictures of us and me from our many trips together.

DH sent me a beautiful gold watch from the Metropolitan Museum Store--it is based on a Byzantine design and I cannot wait to wear it.

This morning, I received word from my DH that he had completed his first mission safely. I had been holding my breath all night!

Other than that, I am busy with for the next couple of days, blogging may or may not be sporadic.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas from Baghdad!

I wasn't planning on blogging today but I couldn't resist sharing these incredibly cute pics of DH with the Christmas package I sent with him. I think I know what will be in his next care package--bed sheets! Ewww...

Merry Christmas

From Baghdad to Fort Hood,
Home is Where the Heart is!

From Our Home to Yours,
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Let your heart be light.
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away

Once again, as in olden days,
There'll be golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us,
Will be near to us once more

Someday soon, we all will be together,
If the fates allow
Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, now

* song idea stolen from Ruminations of Ordinary Life

Friday, December 23, 2005

Alone for Christmas

Perhaps the hardest part of being alone for Christmas is finding a way to stay busy.

Most people leave the area or they are spending time with family. They invite you, but spending time with someone else's family would just remind me of my family--in New York, California, Florida, and, of course, in Baghdad. I think it would be a little too much for me to see families celebrating Christmas Eve.

After our two visits to NY in November, I just could not justify going again in December. So, my mother is visiting me in January.

Most of the volunteer organizations have closed up shop until the New Year so everyone can be with their families.

I was planning on volunteering at a soup kitchen Christmas Eve, but now that I am pregnant and without a flu shot, I'm not sure it is the best of ideas. DH promised we could make it part of our family tradition for future Christmas Eve's.

Looking around, with 70 degree weather and just the kittens and work to keep me company, it hardly feels like Christmas.

Christmas Day I will have two presents from DH to open and I will be going to a friend's house. Hopefully the spirit will seize me at Church and I will be able to exhibit good cheer.

Entering Baghdad

DH's latest update:

The wake-up call came at xxx this morning: throw your bags on the bus, you're flying to Baghdad. Excited, we jumped into our body armor and loaded our remaining magazines with ammunition. Finally. During our time in Kuwait we had certainly acclimated, weathering sand storms, desert fog, and desert rain. Although the time in Kuwait may have been necessary to learn to function in the desert and stage our equipment for the trip north, by this point we all were ready to get on with our primary mission. After a two-hour bus ride, we strapped ourselves into a venerable xxx aircraft, the Army's favored means of air transport for the past 45 years, and took off on a turbulent, ear-popping flight.

Once we arrived at BIAP (the Baghdad International Airport), we hit a snag. According to the original plan, helicopters would pick us up for the final leg of the journey, ferrying us from the airport to our FOB (Forward Operating Base). But gunfire disrupted our airlifts, forcing some of us to find an alternative to the air. The unit that we are replacing had a few humvees staged at the airport, so I hopped in what I later discovered would be the lead vehicle of a convoy down the notoriously dangerous Route xxx. Fortunately, Iraqi Army and U.S. soldiers kept a careful vigil on the road, and we sped to the FOB without incident.

We were heartened by the Iraqis' high level of participation in the latest elections. Iraqi Army and private contractors are taking over many of the tasks that used to be the responsibility of the U.S. Army. Still, we cannot afford to let our guard down. About two weeks ago, the unit we are replacing lost a lieutenant to an IED. The gunfire at our helicopters this morning was another stark reminder that there is still a war going on, despite the recent electoral success.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Trapped Kitty - More Gremlins

After posting about my uneventful couple of days, DH called.

As if that was not enough excitement, Calypso got stuck under the oven!!!

Calypso has always been the trouble maker. The first night we had her, back in Oklahoma, she ran into a hole we did not know existed in the kitchen wall. DH got her out with a flashlight and we plugged up the hole.

We also used to allow the kitties out in our fenced-in backyard when we were outside, until one day while we were having a BBQ, Calypso ducked under the fence and DH had to jump over the fence to grab her.

When the cats sneak out the door, Loki just collapses on the concrete, Calypso likes to make us chase her like a greased pig, although she never goes more than a few feet from the front door.

This particular time, I noticed Calypso squirming around the oven as I was talking on the phone with DH.

I looked closer and saw that her paw was stuck. She was probably trying to grab a toy mouse.

While talking to DH, I tried to grease her paw with butter. No luck.

I tried reaching around to free her. No luck.

I tried to pry the oven up with a lever. That started her howling.

Worried that she might lose circulation or go into shock, I reluctantly said goodbye to DH, who promised that he would IM me later.

Just as I was contemplating whether to find a male neighbor or call the fire department, Calypso heard a noise and popped right out and was absolutely fine.

Little witch ruined my phone call, though. DH said she probably was upset that she was not the center of attention, and so got stuck on purpose. She is such a prima dona.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Pictures from Kuwait

DH has been incommunicado for reasons that will be clear later. In the meantime, here are some photos that should not violate any OPSEC concerns:

Vehicle line-up: You can see they are out in the middle of nowhere.

Dust storm: DH said they have experienced their first dust storm and a desert rain storm.

DH wearing a mask for protection from the dust storm (not because he is about to rob a bank).

A Desert Sunrise

Leadership living conditions while training. Not exactly private, huh? If it weren't hot, dusty, and part of preparation for war, it almost looks fun, though--kinda like boy scout camp.

Monday, December 19, 2005

We (Pregnant Ladies) Are Everywhere

On Friday, I missed a social at the Brigade Commander's wife's house. Not a smooth move.

I plead pregnancy brain.

Turns out the two other officers' wives in our Battlion forgot about the coffee, too.

Turns out one of the other two just found out she is pregnant, too. We're everywhere.

Seriously, though, I know this looks like Army wives just breed and breed--it really is just an odd confluence of coincidences, I swear! We've been here for a year and no one I know in the Army got pregnant the entire time. In fact, a ton of Junior League (non-military related) ladies got pregnant, instead.

This is her second and it is also the second time she and her husband conceived, without planning to, right before he left.

Deploying men must have super sperm...I think subconsciously, their desire to perpetuate their genes kicks into high gear, making their sperm extra fertile.

Saturday morning we wrapped presents at the P/X for a Battalion fundraiser and that night the three of us chatted and drank (Sparkling Cider for the preggers, Beer for the other lady) at her house...which was nice and relaxing.

Saturday I also went and bought a Litter Maid automatic Litter Box to avoid contact with the litter. I also got the food sealer (cheap! at Walmart) to package Family Readiness Group cookies for our soldiers.

Sunday I just slept and slept and slept...and did a little bit of work.

PREGNANCY UPDATE: Today I went out with one of my pregnant friends and bought my first item of maternity clothing (we were just browsing but there was a good sale so I got a cute skirt) and some of that anti-stretch-mark cream. I also bought some expectant father books for DH. I heard through the grapevine that he has been scrounging for books.

I have been holding back on most of the purchases, because I am superstitious about the possibility of miscarriage and every ache and pain brings it to mind. The other night I also spotted two pale pink spots. Although I am told that is normal, I will feel much better when I actually have my first appointment. I also am not getting morning sickness, though I do have other symptoms (mainly exhaustion). According to one study, however, pregnant women in societies with mainly vegetarian diets do not have morning sickness. So, maybe it is my veggie diet.

I am not getting stressed, though, because that would be bad for baby and there is nothing I can do about that, anyway. The Army life has definitely taught me to be calm in the face of that which I cannot change.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Ways to Support Our Troops

Friends and family often ask what they can do for me and DH. We appreciate their thoughts and prayers and are thankful that we are blessed with a wonderful support network.

While there are always things that might make DH's deployment easier and more comfortable, both of us want for very little.

So, these offers of help always makes me think of the soldiers who do not have such a large, loving group of family and friends.

Remember that our troops are adults who volunteered (or at least re-enlisted or continued their commitment) during wartime. Even so, these warriors who fight for our nation deserve our support (regardless of our political beliefs).

The Soldier You Know

If you know a soldier, many soldiers are comforted by news from home, well wishes from friends and family, and images of their home town.

Take some pictures and get everyone to write a message on the back of the photograph. Gather up some local products that will ship well and send a care package.

If you do not know a soldier, there are programs that will match you with soldiers (such as Any Soldier or Soldier's Angels).

Send Letters and Packages

Regardless of whether you are offering your support to an old friend or a new friend you found on a website, do not underestimate the value of a simple letter. Soldiers like to know that we are behind them and appreciate their loyalty and their sacrifices.

Postage is the same as sending anything to a domestic destination. Letters and packages tend to arrive more reliably (anecdotally) through priority mail. Priority mail is not much more costly than regular 1st class and can make the difference in your package arriving and arriving in a timely manner. Packages may take up to 20 days, but I spoke with a postal worker whose son is deployed and he said most packages arrive in 10-12 days.

Since some will want to send more, there are a number of websites that provide suggestions and possible theme ideas for CARE packages.

Iraq now has a number of P/X (Post Exchanges) that sell most of the items soldiers need. So, as per this article posted at The Patriette, sending specialty or local products is more in need now than razors and baby wipes. At the same time, some soldiers are not near a P/X and would still appreciate those essentials. Soldiers also share and any care package will be put to good use. When in doubt, just ask!

Pressurized items should not be sent through the mail and some items are prohibited to our troops in theater, such as alcohol or pornography.


For the bakers out there, Nestle has some Tips for Sending Baked Goods. Others suggest adding a slice of bread to absorb excess moisture and wrapping in tin foil. I've also heard that Pringles containers make for good packaging. I have bought a food sealer to use for our Family Readiness Group (FRG)--I am the co-leader.

Remember that chocolate does not survive well in the Middle East.

Agencies and Organizations That Help

If you are still unsure of what to purchase, USO Operation Care Package takes the guess work out of sending a care package. You donate money and they pack and ship and you can still send a personal message with your package.

If you have a company or an entire school or town who would like to maximize your donations, consider Adopting a Platoon.

Beyond the Mail

If Care Packages are not quite your cup of tea, there are a ton of other ways to help. Remember when donating to a charity to do your research:

Operation Hero Miles allows you to donate your unused airline miles so troops can fly home free and family members can visit wounded soldiers for free.

Valour-it provides wounded soldiers with voice-activated laptops while they are hospitalized.

The Fisher House is a home-away-from home for the families of seriously ill or injured soldiers receiving treatment.

Beyond Active Duty Troops

Please also do not forget the children of our fallen warriors and our veterans.

Donate to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or send a Valentine to Any Veteran.

Here are some more ways to help.

As you can see, whether you have prayers, time, or money to spare, there are a variety of meaningful ways to support our troops.


Cell Phones For Soldiers: They hope to provide as many soldiers as possible with prepaid calling cards for now, with an ultimate goal of providing banks of satellite phones, video phones and VOIP communications. Through generous donations and the recycling of used cell phones from drop-off sites across the country, they have already distributed thousands of calling cards to soldiers in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Care Package Fun

Today I felt a sharp pain in my tummy. That scared me a little because I had heard sharp pain = bad. But it was very quick and I have a tendency to overreact to these things so I decided to call the women's clinic rather than go in.

No answer.

Called again later. Someone picked up after two rings (WOW!) and put me through to a nurse. The nurse said this is normal... if the pain is severe and sustained and/or is accompanied by bleeding, that is a problem.

So, I went about my errands. I finally got all of DH's equipment off and sent my first CARE package. (DH, if you are looking, stop reading)

This is a food one--powdered gatoraid, pretzels, summer sausage and cheese pack, Starbucks coffee, spices, etc.

The next one will be a sports package. A 1st Cav guy told me that one of the best packages they received contained footballs, soccer balls, and frisbees.

I also baked cookies (not for DH, I'm waiting until he gets to his final destination for that to ensure maximum freshness) for my Daddy. A couple of years ago, Daddy complained that since I moved out, we haven't made Christmas chocolate chip cookies together. Now, I do not remember this tradition, but I went along with it last year and baked him some yummy cookies. This year, I am sending them with the 4th ID gifts.

I'm such a Daddy's girl.

DH was able to IM and webcam tonight so I got a real treat. I have not been getting much work one with all these errands and the pregnancy exhaustion so I should get some work done.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Webcam Wonders

DH decided to experiment with the webcam in a Cyber Cafe tonight (or this morning, his time). I really need to get me one of these!

Seeing his face made me SOOO happy! You can tell he just got back from PT.

I am really tired right now but that perked me up. DH reminded me I have to pamper myself because he is not here to do it. He suggested a little bowl of Cherry Garcia iced cream so I think I'm going to get a bid bowl out right now.

This morning, I sent my first "CARE" packages off--really it was a bunch DH's equipment he could not fit in his bags. Tomorrow I can start sending the fun ones. Some friends have given me great ideas, which I'll share later.

Last night I also ordered him some equipment to be sent directly. For those who are trying to pack for deployment right now, you should get a high-powered, hand-held, rechargable spotlight, and a slingshot as well. The slingshot is for discouraging those who get too close to the convoys. Apparently now the soldiers have to fill out tons of paperwork everytime they discharge a weapon. So, the slingshots streamline the process while still affording some protection.

I also set up a wish list for him on so he could get videos, books, and small electronics (a USB mini-mouse) from friends and family members who want to send him things. to wrap Christmas presents so I can send them off tomorrow to New York. The cats are "helping."

@#$%&**! Ft. Hood Women's Clinic

I did not want to lay this on DH so I am going to vent here.

Trying to get an appointment at the Women's Clinic is tougher than labor.

Well, I cannot really say that yet, but it is pretty darn tough.

First, you cannot use the normal appointment line. You have to call directly.

Then, they never pick up the phone. Not even an, "We are experiencing high call volume, your estimated waiting time is..." or a "Women's Clinic, please hold."

It just rings and rings and rings. The five or six times I've called (at different times of day), I've allowed it to ring about two minutes before giving up.

When you FINALLY get someone to answer, they can't give you an appointment for a month...and I said I could take ANY time on ANY day.

The first available appointment is almost a month away, in my 10th week. That appointment is to FILL OUT is not even the first exam... no doctor, not even a nurse.

Lord only knows when my first examination will even happen...probably not until the 14th week (or more) since I am not high risk.

When I say this is unacceptable, they rattle off the number of women they treat. That they are busy is no excuse for the powers to have no procedures in place for making appointments at least!

I was polite, explaining that I am not questioning their individual job performance. I felt like screaming at them though, for their absolute lack of empathy.

I do not understand why the service has been so good at all the other clinics on post but they leave the women's clinic so backed up. They REALLY need to staff this place.

You would think pre-natal care would be a priority. Everything I read has emphasized its importance. The sad thing is that even as I worked up the chain to ask that they look into this, no one seems to care. They seem to think it obnoxious (and I swear, I really was polite) that a pregnant woman is interested in getting pre-natal care in a timely manner. What if I was not a big researcher? What if I did not have access to information? I could make some big mistakes before that appointment...isn't that the point of decent pre-natal care? To help women care for their babies early on in the pregnancy in order to PREVENT problems from happening???


Okay, happy thoughts, happy not want to stress out baby.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

On the Eve of Elections

DH called tonight (!) and sent me an update (!) from Kuwait--wow, phone call and e-mail in ONE NIGHT!!! He says he will not sleep, just go straight through to PT. I do not think he has quite adjusted to the time change yet.

Go to sleep, Love!

Week 1: Eve of the Elections

A dense, implausible fog has blanketed my corner of the desert. Visibility is, at most, 50 feet. As the mists rolled in, my soldiers and I talked about our expectations for tomorrow's national elections in Iraq. After interim government elections in January and the October Constitutional Referendum, this is the third time this year that the Iraqis have participated in national elections -- a fledgling democracy is hard work. There are reports that insurgent leaders have told their foot soldiers not to disrupt the polling places with violence. It seems that they are watching the results with as much anticipation as we are.

My battalion has been here for a week, unloading equipment from massive storage containers and getting it prepared for the push northward. Electricity, phone service, and running water are often interrupted in our camp, but the several months that we spent training in the field have prepared us for these minor deprivations. In fact, between the internet access and phones, the amenities here are lavish. My only worry is that our soldiers are billeted in giant tents, which do not make for the most healthful of environments. Three soldiers in my battalion have already come down with pneumonia. Despite these few hardships, my soldiers are in high spirits and are even getting restless to cross the border. In the next week, we will finish test firing all of our weapons and will performing some final training exercises.

The trip over was memorable. After saying goodbye to our loved ones in the middle of the night, we boarded buses and sped to an Army airfield. I got my smallpox shot before the flight (the worst side-effects should hit me in the next few days), and away we went. We refueled in Bangor, Maine and Hahn, Germany. In Maine, a dozen veterans or so had assembled to greet us and thank us for our service. Their respective organizations provided cookies and free cell phones for us -- the phones were much appreciated. This outpouring of support put us in a good frame of mind for the remainder of our journey.

When we got to Kuwait, we quickly found that we were no longer in a garrison environment. Before our drive to the Camp, our escorts handed out live ammunition like candy -- without the reams of paperwork that we had come to expect at Fort Hood.

We have at least 52 weeks over here. Soldiers have bought decks of cards, throwing out one card per week. One Specialist told me that he was holding onto the Ace of Spades until the very end.

Committee Craziness

Last night and this morning were spent at committee meetings.

Last night was for Divine Desserts, to benefit the Children's Advocacy Center. I felt like I had some good ideas. At the same time, I just do not know enough people around here to be a truly effective fundraiser. Last year I got us a silent auction prize that went for $150, but to bring in the big bucks, you need to know people.

The woman doing the table centerpieces is doing Angels. As a New Yorker, my first reaction is that is a little too religious...but I guess it is just fine around here. To me, though, that does not exactly scream sophisticated and cosmopolitan. The theme coes well with the idea of watching over our county's children--but the evening is more of a fundraiser social event than an educational event about the cause. Just my opinion, though.

I also thought it odd that they are looking to both very upscale food vendors and also soliciting from Chik-Fil-A. Ah, well, what do I know? I'm just a vegetarian, anyway!

Last year was gorgeous and I am sure it will all come together beautifully this year as well.

When I got home, two of my friends conference called me. They tried to persuade me to come visit the Northeast and travel with them. Then they started to talk about how they are not ready for babies because they change your life too much. It was so hard not to spill the beans.

This morning, I was off to Month of the Military Child Festival, for which I am helping to plan the Entertainment and the PR. As the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Junior League, I have also set up a "Done in a Day" project where League members can volunteer for to run rides and games at the Festival for the morning.

After my meeting, I finally managed to shop at the 4th ID museum shop. I bought it out. I also found adorable frames in the P/X for DH's grandmas; they have a metal silhouette of a soldier saluting on the right side of the frame.

So, now I just have to wrap and ship and sleep.

Pregnancy symptoms so far: VERY thirsty, kinda hungry, sorta tired, unusually upbeat and positive, especially considering how much I miss DH.

I've been talking and singing to baby, even though I know the embryo has no ears yet and even if it did, it cannot hear me. Ah, well, makes me happy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Impossibility of Running Errands on Post

I was too exhausted to blog yesterday.

I sent DH the pictures of my pregnancy tests...he liked that. Can you see why I had trouble with the first one?

The night before I called the appointment line to get a pregnancy test because the Army will not trust that I am actually pregnant until one of their clinics administers a pregnancy test.

The appointment line told me (about five times) that I could walk in ANY time.

So, at noon, I went on post to a Brigade-level "steering committee" meeting.

For those who are not familiar with the Army's organizational structure, the highest level is Division, then Brigade, then Battalion, then Company (or in the case of Field Artillery, Battery). Each company is also broken into platoons and each platoon has squads.

Basically, the Brigade Steering Committee is when all of the Battalion-level Family Readiness Group (FRG) leaders (usually the Battalion Commanders' wives) and the Brigade FRG leader (the Brigade Commander's wife) and the Rear Deployment Commanders get together to share information and work out kinks in the system.

Our Battalion Commander's wife did not come to Ft. Hood and so a Battery/Company Commander's wife has taken the job in addition to her Company-level responsibilities and my FRG leader and I are trying to help her out. On top of this, two of the Battery Commanders' wives are unable/uninterested in running their FRGs. So, my friend is basically worried about 3 company-level FRGs and the Batalion-level issues, as well.
The meeting really drove home how inadequate the communication has been between our Rear D and the FRG leaders.

The newest issue is the mailing address. Most soldiers do not get mailng addresses before they deploy because these are likely to change. Some of our soldiers did and we were told to start mailing. Then, word came out from the Brigade Commander's wife, hold off on mailing--part of the address will change. So, we put that information out. When the men spoke with their wives, they told their wives that the FRG was wrong, the address is good. Apparently the unit already there offered to hold mail for our guys.

The problems with this are:

(1) If leadership in theater is contradicting the FRG, no one will trust anything we say.
(2) Having another unit "hold" your mail is not really a reliable deliver method.

Since we cannot mail anything in time for Christmas delivery, the whole thing is silly. Why not wait and give your mail a better chance of reaching your soldier?

I was in the meeting for THREE HOURS. Then, I went to get the Pregnancy Test...walk-in hours were over. Great.

So, I went to the 4th ID gift shop to Christmas shop. Nope. Closed.

That evening, I fielded issues with our "virtual FRG." There was a complaint in my inbox from a woman in another Battery. She did not think FRG meeting information was getting to her in a timely enough manner and wanted written reminders and was not happy with the amount of information she had received about the deployment. So, I responded and Cc'd the FRG leaders for her husband's battery and the Rear D commander.

We send written and phone reminders in our battery, but we also have the Commander's wife as the leader AND she has me as her co-leader.

Sometimes I wonder if people realize we are volunteers!!!

As it turns out, her FRG leader did not even know her husband was attached to that company.

I told the battery FRG leader that I would write her a nice e-mail back, explaining that she had added this wife to her list and thanking her for volunteering to help distribute written reminders about the meetings.

...but that's just me. I'm like that.

Today was a little more productive.

When I went to do my volunteer AVID tutoring, however, I found out they have finals. Because the school was closed last Thursday, I did not get the reminder. No tutoring now until January. I am a little bummed about that because I find it very energizing...but I could use the time and the rest.

So, off to the clinic.

The nurse called me into the office and her first questions were first day of last period and method of conception. I explained that we were trying to conceive and I had taken two home tests. The nurse asked, "And you want to know if you are pregnant?" I responded, "I know I am pregnant; I just want to be able to make a doctor's appointment and the Army won't let me until you test me."

Stupid paternalistic Army.

I took the test and waited. A different nurse announced the results...she acted as if she had this momentus news to tell me, "Were you trying to conceive? ... are pregnant!"

No kidding.

The second nurse was very nice, though, she talked to a doctor for me and I convinced them to run blood tests for toxoplasmosis (if I contracted it a while ago, I'm safe) and for iron levels (since I'm a vegetarian).

She told me not to worry too much about the iron--apparently green leafy veggies are an even better source than red meat. Heh... I enjoyed telling my carnivorous husband that. He's been trying to convince me I have to eat meat when I'm pregnant. I eat tons of spinach, nuts, avocadoes, and plenty of yummy veggies and fruits.

The doctor, though, was an extremist about the cats...she said I should get rid of them. Fat chance. I've done enough research about this to know that indoor cats RARELY get toxoplasmosis and if I've already been exposed (from an outdoor cat I had when I was younger or from when we first got the cats), I'm safe.

I will know my blood test results in a couple of days. The nurse gave me her direct line to call for the results.

I'm considering getting an automatic litter box, although they are costly. In the meantime, I have a mask and rubber gloves and I am washing my hands REALLY well. Even that is probably overkill for indoor cats, but it sets my mind at ease.

I would like to be able to talk to a less overly-dramatic doctor to get some more legitimate advice, hopefully my OB GYN will be more helpful.

After the clinic, I tried the 4th ID museum gift shop again. Still no luck.

The car must have warmed up, though, because after 8 days, I was finally about to raise the little back window (it refused to go all the way up the night DH deployed)!!! YAY!!! I can park in my driveway again, instead of fiddling with the garage door every time I want to go up.

So, home again, home again, to work and eat and nap.

I may go to a Junior League committee meeting tonight for our fundraiser for the Children's Advocacy Center if I have the energy and go get some work done now.

So, a much more productive day than the previous day!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Blogging for Two

DH finally called and so I am pleased to announce this special offer:

If you continue to read my blog, you will not only find out about the life of an army wife, not only the life of an army wife who is active in the family readiness group, not only the life of an army wife who is active in the family readiness group and whose husband is will also find out about:

The life of a PREGNANT army wife who is active in the family readiness group and whose husband is deployed.

All for the same Low, Low Price of: FREE! So, please keep reading and commenting.

I have just been absolutely crazy to tell DH. I wanted to tell him first and I did not want to do it over e-mail. Most of the phones have been down where he is. He waited online for four hours to call me at 2:00 am their time--and he said it was worth it!

When he said, "Hello, Love," I answered, "Hello, Daddy"

He asked, "Why do you say that?"

I replied, "Well...I think you had better get used to being called, 'Daddy.'"

DH was so cute...he kept asking, "Are you sure? How sure are you?"

I explained that Thursday night I had taken a cheapo test and then the next day I went out and got one of the digital ones (that say "Pregnant" or "Not Pregnant"). Besides, I am four days "late" and I am normally like clockwork. I will go to the doctor tomorrow for a test because military installations require it, but I'm pretty darn sure.

Normally, we would probably wait until the second trimester to spread the news.

Although we are a little concerned about telling people so early, we are going to tell our parents and grandparents now.

Partially because I want to be able to call my mom and talk to her, because DH will not be available like that due to the deployment.

Also, since I do like to drink wine, most of our local friends will figure it out soon and I do not think it right that grandmas and grandpas (and great grandmas and great grandpas) are the last to know. One of my friends (who is just a couple of weeks more pregnant than I am) has already been pestering me with questions because she knows we have been trying. She is a nurse and she knows that I should know by now.

I just called my Mom and Dad and Mom is not home for another hour. I'm going crazy just waiting to tell them!

In other news...Saturday I went to the Junior League's "Christmas Coffee."

We have been collecting ornaments to decorate a tree for a family in need. I am in charge of organizing these "Done in a Day" projects for my chapter and I collected more ornaments at the Coffee and held a little raffle for those who donated.

Later that evening, I went with another Junior League member whose husband is also deployed to Salado. They have a little Christmas stroll with food vendors, carollers, pictures with Santa, and all of the stores stay open late. It was a lot of fun and between the fresh air and the exercise, I got a good night's sleep for the first time since DH left!

Well, I have to clean this place and go to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Friday, December 09, 2005

E-mail Love

We've got a thing...and it's called e-mail love...

This morning I received a note from DH on e-mail. The AT&T call centers are down where he is and the lines are "interminable" (DH usually does not exagerate, maybe he is picking that up from me?) for the limited MWR phone access.

So, he says e-mail is the way to go...but I NEED a phone call!!!

There is also another Communication Breakdown... the Brigade Commander's wife has told us the Iraq address may change--do not send out mail to the address they put out prior to deployment.

DH e-mailed me saying that the FRG should tell all the women the address is good--stop confusing them.

We have a Rear D (the leadership that stays behind) meeting on Monday so hopefully that will clear things up because I REALLY want to send some letters and CARE packages to DH!

At least I sent one along with him. I felt so bad--he had to keep unpacking and repacking his carry-on to make it fit. Hopefully it was worth it. I sent him with a tiny artificial Christmas Tree, ornaments, a wreath, a Santa hat, two CDs of Christmas music, and a stocking with a little present. He says one of the other LTs is jealous.

DH says they are still on Texas time...and they were just bouncing off the tent walls last night. They are basically out in the middle of nowhere--"drifting dunes and blowing dust"--and all of their water has to be trucked in.

He has had plenty of time to read and has already finished Gates of Fire : An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae, a book I recommeded to him. Following the famous Spartan stand, it is a great examination of the concepts of honor, duty, and brotherhood in battle.

Today I mainly baked. I keep forgetting things in the supermarket and have to go back.

Then I went to a friend's surprise party for her husband (bringing moist chocolate chip cookies). She used my suggestion and told him he had to come home for an intimate birthday dinner and then had his commander "keep him late" unexpectedly. We all parked around the corner so as not to ruin the surprise and it all worked.

Well, hopefully DH will call tomorrow!

Celebrity Addiction

When I'm not working, volunteering, hanging out with friends, or posting on a milspouse support board, I spend WAY too much time reading Overheard in NY and reading Celebrity Blogs.

I was NEVER into Celeb gossip before. I do not know what happened. Maybe it is nostalgia for NYC, maybe it is just that I'm spending more time on the computer. I do not know.

The reason I'm sharing this with you right now is this funny post on Dlisted about Perez Hilton. Basically, he has become "friends" with Paris Hilton, which some readers believe makes him less aggressive in posts about her.

This is the same access vs. objectivity argument that goes on with real journalism and politics, including with the whole "embedded reporter" controversy in Gulf War, part deux. That just cracks me up.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Be My Baby?

What I thought I would be doing right now:
Drinking a bottle of moderately priced Cabernet or Red Zinfandel, all by myself.

What I am doing right now:
Working and Blogging.


Well, DH and I started trying to conceive several months ago. The first month, I was sick during the crucial time. The second month, DH (who is ordinarily healthy as a very healthy horse) was the one feeling ill. The third month, DH's field problem was extended.

So, for our fourth attempt, I bought an Ovulation Prediction Kit--the kind that gives you a smiley face 24-48 hours before ovulation.

In previous months, we missed the key days, but were in the given area. As a result, I was not that hopeful about this fourth try. Still, I took three pregnancy tests before DH left with the hopes that if I was pregnant, we would be able to share the news in person. All were negative. Up until today, I was pretty sure our most recent attempts had not worked.

I've been waiting for that unmistakeable sign that I am not pregnant, like I wait for a bad houseguest--I do not really want her to come stay with me but since she is probably coming, I'd rather just get it over with.

While I was out running errands, I bought a pregnancy test, just for kicks. The commisary only had a super-fancy expensive one and a cheapo one. Figuring the point was likely to be moot by the time I went home, and having had no problem with other cheapo brands in prior months, I went for the cheapo one.

With no unmistakeable sign in sight, I took the test. Most tests, for those who have never seen one, have a "control" window and a "results" window. You usually see a line in the control window so you know the test is working and then another line, or a "+" sign, or something else in the test window. Well, I look at the proper time, and I do not see squat in the control window.

Hmmm...wait another couple of minutes. Still, nothing.

A dud? I take it into better lighting and see the FAINTEST line in the control window and a similarly faint line in the test window.

Bad test? Wishful thinking? Or positive result?

Tomorrow I will run out at buy another test if the unmistakeable sign does not arrive. In the meantime, I thought I might answer the obvious question:

Why the heck did you and your husband want to conceive right before he deployed?

Well, there are a number of reasons.

Most of the military wives who have gone through most of their pregnancy and the birth with their husbands deployed(they almost always say "by accident" or that they were not really trying) urge strongly against this. Still, after listening to them, we decided to try.

Obviously this is not the "perfect" time due to the deployment, but there never is a perfect time--especially in the military.

First and foremost is that we are ready emotionally and financially. We are both in our late 20s, have traveled extensively, and have had some time to enjoy our marriage with just the two of us (four years last June). In fact, I was beginning to worry that we were too content; that the longer we waited, the more difficult it would become to introduce such a big change, like a baby, would be too scary.

Financially, DH took a big salary cut going from the law to the military, but we have some savings, cost of living here is much cheaper than NYC, and I have now found a way to keep earning from home. We own a house with three bedrooms, something that did not seem that attainable in the near future in NYC.

DH and I both also want a big family. I told DH that maybe he can take his sweet time as a male, but if he wanted me to be the mother of those children, we had better get started soon. I wanted to start our family before I was 30, and DH knows that his deployment could go longer than 12 months.

Finally, there is the most emotional of the reasons. God forbid something happened to DH, I would want to have his child. Logically, there is something absurd about this. More young males, including soldiers in garrison, die over here than over there. Anyone can be taken from us at any time. DH feared that having a child would also make losing him even more difficult. I believe that it would give me a purpose in going on.

I know that I want to have children with my husband. I do not know if I could ever commit myself like that to another. As hard as it would be to face a future without DH, it would be harder to know that we would not be able to fulfill that dream together.

Y'All Are Wimps

Okay, Texans think they are so tough, but they cannot handle a little weather.

Last night, the school where I volunteer tutor for AVID posted a two hour delay in anticipation of less than an inch accumulation of "wintry mix."

This morning, I wake up to bright sunshine. I look outside. The grass is a bit yellow and frozen, but the roads are clear.

I get in the car and drive over to the school. No cars in the parking lot. Now why would I check to see if school had been canceled when there is NO SNOW OR ICE ON THE GROUND? While teaching in Massachusetts and New York, I've woken up at 4am to clear 8 inches of snow off my car so I could drive to work while it is STILL SNOWING.


I guess they just want to use their emergency days now that tornado season is over?

So, I drive on post to run errands and I notice they have SALTED AND SANDED THE ROADS.

This is TEXAS, people. I know you are not used to wintry weather but you all DRIVE TRUCKS FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD!!!

Of course, around here, it is probably better if people stay off the roads during an ice storm...or after an ice storm...or while it is raining...or at night...or during the day, for that matter. This city is known for bad driving.

At least I got a giggle all day from people warning me to "be careful out there."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Boots on the Ground

DH has arrived in Kuwait, where he will spend a couple of weeks acclimating and preparing his platoon for their mission.

We said our goodbyes Monday night at his Battery Office. Of course, it really is not goodbye.

We are still together in all of the ways that count--the distance is only geographical and the separation merely temporary.

Between formations (when all of the soldiers line up together for the purposes of accountability and information distribution) and weapons draw, we had time to chat and just sit together.

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Although an office building full of soldiers is not the most private of places and florescent lighting is not the most romantic ambiance, we enjoyed those precious hours.

After the final formation, late in the evening, the soldiers boarded a bus. It is difficult to pick your soldier out amongst the sea of digitized camo, but I managed to spot DH. I waved and blew kisses enthusiastically and, to my surprise and no doubt much razzing from his fellow warriors, he blew me a kiss in return.

Surprisingly, I did not cry at all. I cried earlier in the day, very briefly. DH was helping me with getting a new cell phone and I simultaneously wanted him to take care of things and wanted to just go home and cuddle. I could not take the conflicting emotions and started to sob a little. After a few minutes, though, I recovered, with only red eyes to betray me.

Another of the women did cry. She said that the bus driver came earlier than planned and that we did not have time to say our goodbyes. Although I think it is no shame to cry in such a circumstance, I am a little proud that I held it together for DH.

I know there will be a time in the future, when I will feel his absence very strongly, and lose control and cry. DH and I are very close. He is not just my husband, he is really my best friend, and much, much more. We are very different people but we share a lot of the same interests and do almost everything together. We turn to each other not just for unconditional love and romance, but support, advice, and strength. We learn from each other and experience life together.

For now, the deployment just seems surreal. It seems as if he is just on a field problem, or training again. There was a moment yesterday when I heard a car door, and thought, "That's DH." When I realized that this sound would not mean DH's arrival home for quite a while, my heart dropped.

I suppose if dwelled on it, I would be very sad. Right now, though, I am just taking one day at a time.

I returned home, exhausted, and yet I could not sleep. So, I wrote DH a letter and played with the cats. Finally, around 3:30 am, I collapsed.

Soon after, I was awoken by a phone calls from DH. At the Killeen airport, a religious group gathered to pray for the soldiers and phones were also passed around so the soldiers could call their families.

In Maine, our soldiers were once again greeted by the locals. Veterans and their wives gathered to wish them well and pass around the precious cell phones. These nice Freeport Flag Ladies take pictures of the soldiers arriving.

I really appreciated these phone call updates from DH--they are usually more reliable than the "official" information.

As if to prove that the Army is better at fighting than administrating, six hours later I received word from our Battery Family Readiness Group (FRG) Leader that our men had landed in Kuwait.

Surprised, I asked if she was sure that they had, in fact, landed in Kuwait. DH had told me the plan was to stop in Germany and then go on to Kuwait. Maine to Kuwait in six hours, even by direct flight, would require the Concord. Yes, she repeated, Kuwait--but she would check and get back to me. A few hours later, she called back to let me know she had verified and I should call my list of spouses.

Well, a few minutes later, DHcalled--from Germany. As verified by the snow on the ground, they were, in fact, in Germany, not Kuwait.

On the homefront, we are already dealing with the usual rebellion of inanimate objects. In case you are not or do not know a military spouse, it is an accepted fact that appliances, cars, and gadgets all wait until the servicemember is gone to ambush the spouse (see the Stolen Car Story).

Already we are receiving reports of heaters on the fritz, car windows that will not go down (mine), and other willful objects.

Tonight, a rare Texas winter storm is blowing in. The high school where I volunteer as an AVID tutor has already declared a two hour delay. For a little one-inch ice storm? Nothing a New Yorker like me cannot handle, and it is fun to watch the Texas natives in full-blown chicken little routine.

Today, I waited and waited for a phone call. Finally, at 9:30 pm, the FRG leader called.

Boots on the Ground: our soldiers are in Kuwait.


"Yesterday, December 7,1941 - a date which will live in infamy -- The United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

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Never forget, on this day, in 1941, our ships were attacked in Pearl Harbor and 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians were killed.

Remember all those who perished serving our nation in this attack and in wars and conflicts throughout history.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mrs. Claus Must Be a Military Wife

After deep consideration, I've determined that Mrs. Claus must be a Military Wife.

Defined to the general public by her husband's job, Mrs. Claus works tirelessly to encourage Santa. In songs, films, and storybooks, Mrs. Claus is rarely mentioned and, when she is, she takes a back seat to Santa.

We military wives know, though, that she is so much more!

Obviously, Mrs. Claus has a kind heart and a soft spot for children and animals.

When Santa is off flying around the globe, she keeps her concerns and tears to herself--although we all know she has more than her fair share of grey hairs!

While Santa is gone, Mrs. Claus keeps the home fires burning. She supports her husband's mission and looks out for all of the elves. Perhaps she even leads a support group of some sort.

Even when Santa is home, he is so busy at work that Mrs. Claus hardly sees him. Mrs. Claus understands that though she may be last on Santa's schedule, she is first in his heart. Despite Santa's workaholic schedule and regular absenses, Santa and the Mrs. are still very much in love.

Santa's salary is not published, but I suspect Mrs. Claus clips coupons to support a household of hundreds of elves and eight reindeer (plus the new addition--Rudolph) and let's not even start on her heating bill!

To stay busy, I bet Mrs. Claus pitches in with the toy making (although it really is someone else's job), bakes hundreds of cookies (we all know how Santa feels about cookies), and volunteers her time (she is just as generous as her husband).

Since I feel like I know Mrs. Claus, I would hazard a guess that she has a paying job, too, to take her mind off of her husband's safety and to help with the bills. Although we know her for her kindness, Mrs. Claus is smart, independent, and a self-starter. However, since she has to work seasonally and values family life above all else, I doubt this job fully uses her considerable skills and training.

Although her husband has a dangerous job that takes him away from his family and that he does selflessly, with little compensation, Mrs. Claus focuses on the positive.

Mrs. Claus is married to a real life hero, after all, and she is surrounded by love and good will.

Given all of this, I am sure Mrs. Claus is one of us...

...We who also serve--the military wives.

And do not forget the most convincing evidence--who else but a military wife would follow her husband to the freakin' North Pole!?!?!?

You have permission to pass around if you credit me ( and link to this post. Feel free to add to my list in the comments section.


We Interrupt Your Normally Scheduled Blogging for a Plug...

Here's an Arab Muslim blogger who LIKES freedom, democracy, and the U.S....he even organizes anti-terrorism vigils in Egypt, in defiance of the police. He's also funny. I read Sandmonkey pretty much every day.

Please consider voting for him in the Best of the Middle East or Africa category in the 2005 Weblog Awards.

Dear everybody,

My blog was nominated yesterday for the 2005 Weblog award in the best middle-east or Africa blog category, and let's just say that the competition is stiff ( i.e. I am getting my butt-kicked). This is why I need you to go there and vote for me, and not for any of the other blogs on that list. You shouldn't vote for them anyway, because not a single one of them is as informative or as funny as my blog. Not to mention, I have it on good authority* that they are all boogerfaces and have cooties, oh yeah, and hate freedom, motherhood and apple pie. I don't. I support all of those things. Do you? Show it by voting for me. Not convinced? Well, I didn't want to say this, but they also eat babies for breakfast, admire Hitler and like to kidnap and molest dolphins. Not to mention they talked shit about your Mama. You gonna let them get away with that? I didn't. I defended her as the nice virtious lady that she is! See, I care for you! I got your back. So show that you got mine and vote for me. It will only take you a second, but it will mean the world to me. Really. I swear. Now do it already! It's what your mama would want you to do!


The Sandmonkey

Sunday, December 04, 2005


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Well, we are getting close. I do not want to give specifics because of OPSEC (Operational Security), but suffice it to say we are very, very close to deployment.

On Friday night, DH and I had a wonderful date. First, we ran some errands. I needed Christmas garland and a tree topper for a Junior League community service project the next morning. So, we went out to get some Christmas decorations for our house, as well.

I've also been very excited to get a new digital camera with more zoom, quicker "shutter" speed, and an image stabilizer, so DH made that an early Christmas present for me.

We also needed some things for the cats. While we were in PetSmart, DH was extra sweet and we purchased a cat tree for the kitties. We had the $30 one from Walmart that goes all the way to the ceiling, but Loki (our fat cat, topping the scales at 17 lbs) kept knocking it down. So, DH sprung for this one and the cats LOVE it.

On the way out, DH picked up some "Christmas mice" for the kitties--he's a tough guy but a softie for cute, little creatures.

When we got home, we put on a Christmas CD and broke out the egg nog (virgin for me--we have been trying to conceive and there is a possibility it worked--more on that, soon). With carols in the background, we decorated our mini-tree. DH is a fan of the giant, real tree--the kind where you can barely put the topper on. However, since DH will be deploying soon, I picked up a 3-footer. We also watched Alfie (the recent update), which was cute but not particularly interesting.

The following evening, we had friends over for cards and cheese fondue. I also made Rosemary Chicken and Goat Cheese turnovers, stuffed Zucchini florettes, baked brie, and sweet spiced almonds. My friend is pregnant so, in addition to the wine and cocktails, we had apple cider and Christmas Eve Herbal Tee from Stash Tea.

So, those were our last "dates" before deployment and they will last me many months.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Present Day

I'm going to leap ahead to present day, since DH is about to deploy. I will be updating several times a week know so others can follow along for the deployment. I may fill in other details at another time...

We've known this deployment was coming for over a year but it didn't really seem real for a long time. The first time it actually hit me was about a month ago when DH packed up his "toughboxes" with equipment and I saw how empty our spare room was. (Most military families have a large closet, a section of the garage, or a spare room that houses the can try to organize it but your best hope is really to just contain it in a spot you can hide when company comes over.)

Right now we are having lots of "lasts," with careful care to add, "for a year" or, "until you return."

I guess I am a little supersticious about these things.

For a few weeks, I felt like DH did not understand how difficult this is for me. After all, I have it easy, right? I do not have to go off to the sandbox and try to help people who want to kill me. I KNOW it is tough for him, but he has his responsibilities to keep him from dwelling on it. He can actively work to protect himself and his men...but all I can do is offer long-distance moral support.

Everything has been about him this last month or so. Even in normal circumstances I am very happy to do things for DH and you cannot really deny something to a man who is about to go off to war. Still, I was feeling a little left out.

We flew off to NY for DH's leave in early November (leave just happened to correspond with his birthday), and then AGAIN for Thanksgiving (which is a big family holiday for him). Because the command cannot give straight answers about leave and passes, we had to buy both sets of tickets last minute--paying an outrageous ammount of money. This is the least of my complaints...but due to OPSEC (Operational Security) I probably shouldn't mention most of them right now.

When we went to NYC the first time, we bounced from his family, to friends in the city, to my family, with all of these sleeping arrangements and plans being made last minute.

We had a wonderful time, but it was just so exhausting for me!

Of course, I do not want to deny any of this to DH...but if it had been up to me, we would have only gone to NY once, and saved the money and stress.

Well, DH and I had a conversation about this a couple of nights ago and I was not really sure he understood. I've learned not to push things too much with him, though, so I just expressed my feelings and we went to sleep.

The next day, he shows up around lunch time to take me out to a lunch date. On the way, I asked what we should do during his "last" weekend before deployment. He asked me, "What would you like to do?"

I have to hand it to him, he may not be psychic, but he really does listen and he does try.