The Diary of a Military Spouse.

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Here we are, as the ass crack of dawn and Ken has just fled the house with his pants on fire. 17 year in the military and he has perfected the art of fleeing “pants on fire” style. I shall be alone for the next three days and I would like to take this opportunity to tell the Army that I HATE YOU. We were informed less than 48 hours ago that there would be a 3 day field exercise starting today and everything has been pandemonium since, trying to meet the ridiculous packing and prep lists that always goes out with these things no matter how much notice he gets. In his case it is particularly awesome because we are still fighting this battle where they insist he still has gear issued to him HE DOES NOT, because he turned it in back at Ft Bragg when we left, and apparently proving that 200 times doesn’t get him issued new gear any faster or clear up the confusion.

In October his unit is supposed to be mobilizing SOMEWHERE for an entire year, but no one knows whether or not that’s actually happening, so we are playing the hurry up and wait game getting no information pretty much weekly. But we are all of a sudden being commanded to GET OUR AFFAIRS IN ORDER BY AUGUST because orders could be issued by September. “AFFAIRS” mean things like our wills, powers of attorney, legal matters, regular deployment stuff. Been there done it before, so I’m already in “deployment mode” in my head, but I do not like the jerking around game with no information still, even though I am used to it by now. I love the urgency of these new commands without orders too, because JAG will not see us without orders for these things (although apparently they will make exceptions with memorandums from commanders, but they don’t tell you these things up front. It’s one of the joys of being military for so fucking long, you LEARN how to pull teeth to get information)

I got an email roundup from a military source I subscribe to for the latest and greatest of military news and they sent me an email headlined:

“DARPA Unveils Advanced Humanoid Robots”, and it’s probably now my favorite and most sad thing to make fun of ever.

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HUMANOID ROBOT.

“KEN GET IN HERE, THE MILITARY EITHER JUST BUILT THE TERMINATOR FOR REAL, OR LIBERTY PRIME FROM FALLOUT 3! YOU’RE NO LONGER NEEDED AS A SOLDIER!”

When we got the field day requirements, and bullshit list of things to do by next month I said “Email them back and tell them you are no longer reporting to work as they now have HUMANOID ROBOTS to do this shit themselves, and your wife is just sick of this shit. Kisses”

This morning my response was “Fuck getting up at 3 am. HUMANOID ROBOTS. It’s where the budget is apparently going anyway, because it’s certainly not in your paycheck.”

Sadly, he still left me. He has to though. He keeps me under pretty good health insurance and with access to all the doctors and treatments I need for the most part. The heartache of letting him go for another whole year just sucks though. He’s my best friend. In every single way. And I’m not looking forward to it at all. We do really well as this military husband and wife team, and we have enjoyed taking the approach of helping soldiers and families in his career (he’s in the medical command, and I was a DoD Army medical civilian) instead of an aggressive soldier approach, but the military is still stressful, exhausting and taxing to deal with all it’s intrusion in every aspect of your life, even when you are perfectly healthy.

So I’m going to drown myself in some indulgences I bought to sustain me through the weekend, mixed in with some veggies for good measure, hang out with the cats, and wait for my soldier to return home. It helps that he does look good in uniform.

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Day before our first deployment separation together.

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You Shouldn’t Have To Explain Love

So in light of all the news of love the past couple days, of course it’s gotten me reflective to my own situation. Why wouldn’t it? I love my husband very much and we are very staunch supporters of marriage equality.

I feel like we are that couple that no one ever knows quite what to do with. It’s marvelous. He’s this super nerdy nice guy who’d jump in front of a train for a total stranger…..or a puppy. I’m a headstrong sometimes bitch who will cut you if you dare abuse the niceness of my husband, or try to legislate my uterus, whichever. We were brought together during such outwardly mundane circumstances (work). He was a small town boy (LIVIN’ IN A LONELY WORLD….sing with me!) who joined the military and ran into me, a city girl (WHO TOOK THE MIDNIGHT TRAIN GOING ANY-WHERE!), working at the Pentagon. We clicked, and that’s all she wrote.

Actually, that’s not “all she wrote.” We actually have one hell of a story of an evolving friendship and quite a backstory to go with it that’s led to this incredible thing we rightly and proudly call a not so traditional marriage we have today. (DON’T WORRY INTERNET, IT’S TOTALLY LEGAL AND NOT PERVERSE, AND THERE ARE NO ANIMALS INVOLVED, RAND PAUL).

What I love the most about our story is this: IT’S OURS. Some people know the abbreviated version of events. Our closer friends know more of the intimate details. However, there are only two people on the planet that know some of the most important memories of all involving how everything came to be when we started legally sharing the last name of Woodland, and that’s Ken and I. I intend to keep it that way, because I’m complicated like that.

But I’ll tell you this. Our original wedding rings were purchased by hopping off the Red Line of the Metro at Union station and bought from a street jewelry vendor. We took a cab to the courthouse in Arlington and were legally married in a law office underneath a Jerry’s Subs and Pizza. No one mentioned God, nor did we bear any vows to a religious nature. (Gasp! No! Those Atheists have gone and ruined the sanctity of marriage!) We promptly had 5 shots of Jameson at an Irish bar to celebrate after. There were no witnesses. And I was married in my sneakers. Hell yes. I love the city.

And these are ALL the wedding pictures we actually have.

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When Life Gives You Lemons?

I’m not sure how to view life on most days. Could be the situation, could be my mood issues, I really have no idea. I have so much to like, and be thankful about, and I am. But for us it seems that for every door that opens, a window closes somewhere, which I believe is the exact OPPOSITE of what that saying is supposed to be. Two steps forward, one step back, that sort of thing. Health wise, my pain seems to be pretty good lately, but I’m struggling with fatigue. I’m sleeping well, but only for about 5-6 hours a night. I’m struggling a lot coping with what I used to be able to handle/do and what I can do now. It’s a mind and body change, and its not easy at all. In fact, with chronic illness there is a mourning aspect of your life prior to illness and making things as best as you can for yourself now. I’m about to meet a whole host of new specialists and I’m looking forward to the pain doc because he does chiropractic work as a course of treatment and that means my healthcare will cover it! 

We’re still dealing with military BS. We’ve had to fight to get our correct healthcare reinstated since Ken came off active duty. He still has to go to NC to check in with his new reserve unit, yet he hasn’t been able to get any info on where to go to do that by the end of the month, and he started trying to hunt people down over 3 months ago to get a jump on this. Now he has 3 weeks and school for him begins in two. We’re also facing disqualification from unemployment because he is using the GI bill for school full time and apparently the state might feel that’s enough because the GI bill pays our rent. Never mind car notes, insurance, phone service, internet, food, gas, etc. We really just wanted him to get a feel for school before throwing work into the mix again, just for one semester even. I feel bad that it might be added back onto his plate after all. It also means having to get a second car is back on the table, and we were temporarily happy to save money to put that off as well. But nothing is carved in stone yet so we will see. Its just a roller coaster still of anxiety and uncertainty.
We are now a proud new Aunt and Uncle again. Rhys Patrick Amis arrived this week, and for the first time, I was able to hold him before he was more than 8 weeks old! It makes moving closer totally worth it. I’m crazy about Kate and Liam, but there is something so special about holding a newborn for the first time and just softly talking to them, even if its all nonsense. Its peaceful. I’m going to try to think about it all week and let that feeling work on my mood for a few days. 🙂

It’s June Already?

Hello blog….. It’s been awhile. But so busy, I just haven’t had the time to update. That and I haven’t felt like it. Seriously. There are just some weeks where I have no urge to write and I just sort of wait around till I do again.

We’re moving in two and a half weeks or so. We signed the lease to the house, have a little money all set up, and are working through the moving process here. Also moving forward with all the things Ken needs to do for school. A return trip to Richmond next week will get him all good to go with his placement tests! Movers are scheduled, housing inspections are happening, I’m freaking out….. so all in all, kinda normal.

I found out that I have a disc injury in my spine, with some degeneration. That medical nightmare has been fun. I’m really tired of retarded docs, and difficulty getting pain management medication. I thought that being a documented pain patient and signing a pain contract would make this a little easier, but the incompetent clinic where I get my care has made it anything but. I can’t wait to leave here.

I’m having some bad mood swings and panic issues. I don’t really feel about writing about them right now, but I figured out how to tell my shrink about it today so that it makes sense. I can’t keep functioning like this.

We’re babysitting, or dog sitting rather, the most adorable dog this week….. it’s like watching animal planet in our house with the cats and her. Oliver has decided that she’s not that bad, and certainly not going to deter him from living his life, and Finnegan has discovered he can dominate her simply by staring. Over all he’s coping, but he’s not happy about it.

Making my mind get with the program!

I had a couple things just cross  my mind to be looking up online this morning, but within seconds, my memory went blank. Like in the time it took me to open up a new tab on my browser it was gone….. lol.

So here I am, doing a little post to keep my plan of writing regularly in tact.

Today Ken starts his epidural back injections. Fingers crossed that he gets some relief. He accidentally took my medications last night, to include 2 klonopin and a lyrica, so he was a nice hot mess this morning trying to get him off to his company for formation. I had to drive, chuckling the whole way. At least he got a great nights sleep last night, haha. Tomorrow, is my pre admission appointment for my surgery on Monday, and I haven’t even had time to worry or stress about it, which is probably a blessing in disguise. I know its going to be fine, its minor, and minimally invasive and I have high hopes that it will fix at least one issue that’s been plaguing me for the past 10 years.

I learned last week that not even our military is exempt from fear of not bringing home a steady paycheck. Only difference is, they still have to report to work, AND not get paid, or face punishment to include time in military prison. Nice huh? My heart goes out to all those military families living paycheck to paycheck, like us, but with children, and to those trying to maintain the home front while their loved ones are in combat zones. I know how upset/stressed I was, I can only imagine the magnitude of fear they went through. And not that Congress reads my blog, but just in case I want to tell the Legislative Branch of our government to get its shit together, stop acting like 6 year olds on the playground and DO YOUR JOBS. Stop using the media and people’s livelihoods to put pressure on YOUR side of the political agenda. There are enough under informed people voting on politics in this country on issues they don’t need any more reason to flip out and be ignorant. Rant over.

I’m  excited and terrified at the same time to move forward with our plans to relocate to Richmond this summer. I know this is a common mix of emotions for anyone facing a big lifestyle change like this, I’m just trying to find my way of working through it.

onward and upward with today.

It’s my Blog and I’ll Whine if I Want To……Whine if I Want to.

So I wrote one of those therapeutic letters to my father, where you know, I get everything off my chest. I thought I would need to call him first to get all hot and bothered to bang it all out on the keyboard, but trying to do it cold turkey, I sat down to write finally early last week. And to my surprise, I “banged” out 4 pages all on my own, no additional rage needed. I’ve read it back to myself a million times, I’m supposed to go over it with my therapist, but he cancelled this week, and I really do think it gets to the point. I think for total release, I NEED to send this to him, to figure out just where we stand, him and I. But I haven’t mustered the courage to send it. I think I am waiting on talking it through one more time with my therapist.

In the meantime, we are leaving for DC on Wednesday morning, to take care of some business with my grandmother and check out the Cherry Blossoms with the new camera. This might be a total disappointment though, seeing as it still wants to be snowing up there in APRIL. Enough already with the snow. I want flowers.

On the way back we’re detouring in Richmond. Hopefully to get a better grasp on Ken’s school enrollment and financial options. I also have a list of places to stalk to see if perhaps our new home later this year is there.

I’m of course still jumbled in the head because Murphy’s Law combined with the Army constantly throws a wretch in my get-up on a daily basis. I’m so worried about Ken, whose back pain is getting worse. I’m worried about what the Army is going to do about it, and if its going to delay all our relocation plans this summer. I’m worried that our financial struggles are going to continue, and our debt to income ratio is going to massively spike. We speak to a pain specialist tomorrow about Ken. Its the same people I went to last year ironically, who apparently do not manage illnesses like Fibromyalgia, which is funny, because the definition of Fibromyalgia IS chronic pain. And on top of all that juggling, I’m having a spell of not being able to mentally cope with my own illness and the idea that it’s a lifer. I’m also tired of treatment advice from family that I repeatedly tell them I can’t afford only to be told “well sometimes we have to make sacrifices to find the options to deal with our health”. Yes, because I’m sitting on a pile of money over here that I’m neglecting to use to explore alternative treatment. Thanks for that reality check, I’ll get right on that. UGH.

Daily Moans…C’est Le Vie

Sharing one car in our house for the moment, for the most part isn’t so bad. In fact, sometimes it saves money because it can prevent one of us at any point caving and spending money on something we don’t need, simply because we do not have the car that day to get there. But if there are no pending appointments or duties for the day that requires one of us to have the car, we have to decide in the mornings whether I drop Ken off at work, or whether I run the risk of being stuck without the car and needing something during the day. And with my pain, mornings are the worst, so I pretty much NEVER feel like running him to work. Then when the pain meds kick in finally and I think I could be productive, its too late. I’m carless. Such is life though right?

During the days I find myself wading through online paperwork for his upcoming financial aid and veteran’s benefits until my eyes can’t focus right. It’s THAT much reading and processing to make sure its all done right and that we understand what we’re doing. They say they money is there, but getting it all put in place right to use is enough to drive anyone nuts! And then balancing that out with our financial planning/budgets, grocery lists, actually MAKING meals that are in the best interest of both of our diet’s, and dealing with anything the Army throws at Ken, and coping mentally with my health, pain and fatigue, I feel a lot of the time like I’m gonna break with so much on our plate. And someday….SOMEDAY….. I will work exercise into this life, I swear to it.

I have so many things I’d like to do for some fun now that good weather seems to be more consistent around here. Things like a random day trip to the beach for some photo practice, or things of note around town just to get out of the house. But if gas prices keep being what they are being, we won’t even be doing that! But I’m looking forward to the Cherry Blossoms in DC at the end of the month when we are up in town for other business we have to take care of. It’ll be fun and maybe peaceful to hang out at the monuments with them again, I’ve missed them a lot since leaving home.

Army Strong.

I want my life back
 I want my husband back. And I am just straight up tired.
 
Ken handed me a free notepad and pen this morning that the company handed people
it had a motto on it…
 
“wanting to get more out of life is stong……. getting the most out of life is Army Stong”
I looked at Ken and said…. “that’s EXACTLY why we’re getting out….. we want more out of life”.
 
The army sucks the life force right out of you
I think that’s what happens to the people who are nothing but HOOAH HOOAH about the army…. they have no life force left to be anything else. Ken has been waiting for end of day formation since 2pm. (Wednesday afternoons are supposed to be “family time”. This almost never happens.)  He’s probably doing next to nothing. And now they are dumping shit on him for tomorrow, at 6 pm. This is the story of our day every day.  They sit around the majority of the day doing nothing then they tell them….”tomorrow is an inspection of every piece of clothing and equipment the army has ever given you….be ready”.  We are talking about 5 pages itemized crap that he has to put together and find. All when he gets home from work….whenever that is.
 

We Army spouses are supposed to just put on the good face and be proud of their hero.

 
Its no wonder that soldiers do not adjust easily to life on the outside of the army when they get out.  Its like letting someone on parole after spending 30 years in prison.
 
 I used to think when he was deployed I didn’t care what he was doing with the Army when he got back as long as he came home every night….that thought seriously got me through the deployment.
but now that he’s back and I have to be reinvolved with all the mindsucking bullshit  that goes on everyday with him….he might as well be deployed, I am basically just as unhappy.
 
Rant over…. I must go get Ken now before he gets sucked into that place all night.

Good Morning to me….

I don’t know if its the stress being lifted over deciding to leave the Army, the fact that I have daily vicodin, or the new bed that allows me to actually sleep, but I have been getting up at 6 am like its no big thing. And I really like it. Just that much more time to indulge my OCD tendancies of overplanning things….. this morning I’ve been checking out “green” houses, for the house we really want to build in oh……a long time aways still. And I’ve been having dance party and coffee while waiting for Ken to get home from formation. We’re attending a seminar about scoring a federal job, which is the whole goal for getting out of the Army for us.

This morning aside, I have been really unexplained depressed lately. Crying spells, anger spells, the whole bit. I mean I know its hard dealing with my body literally falling apart, and the fact that I have terrible self esteem, and we have several big outside stressors, but I feel like I am going unusually crazy lately. I feel like all this change, even the good sets me into a spiral of confusion….and that which we don’t understand brings anxiety, another friend I know all too well. I’m not sure if maybe I need to try different meds, see my therapist more, or what. I could do the latter two if my therapist/shrinks office would at least call me back. Don’t you think its dangerous of a practice that specializes in helping the batshit insane, to not keep up with when their clients reach out and call them for help? Maybe it’s just me. But I seriously feel like I might go postal on them at any moment over all this.

ok, something good…. think of something good for the day….. Ken’s with me all day and I’m surrounded by my two very faithful furry beasties.

Creature of Habit.

So, today I find myself at home, venting, when I should be at “resume writing class” with Ken. 12 years post high school and I am still “skipping” class for the same reason: a combination of ADD and anxiety. I want to help him nail the perfect resume, our future depends on it, but at the moment I want to frolic. I deal with the split personality I seem to have between my rational mind and my artistic one…..

Maybe I’m just overwhelmed. (You’d think I would be used to that by now). We toured our new house on post yesterday, what will hopefully be our last stop before trying to settle into civilian life in Norfolk or Richmond out of the Army.  That being said, I love the new place…..  I can’t stop thinking about it or getting excited to move in a month or so…..

back to class….hopefully I’m not gonna get busted and scolded by Ken.