Thursday, September 27, 2012

Because life is tough, sugar...

I'm not here judging anyone. I'm a quiet person, and I like to observe people and how they act, speak, etc. Lately it seems like everyone on social media is lamenting their children growing up. I get it, I really do. Every day Addison hugs me, then turns to Adam and says, "Look at how much taller I am than Mom!" If I'm outside or somewhere else in the house, sometimes I get scared because I hear a man's voice. It's not an intruder - it's my man-child who's voice has changed. It's taken some getting used to, trust me. It's inevitable that our children will grow up, God willing. It's our job as parents to make sure they turn into adults, productive adults and generally good people. That said, here I go.

Stop babying them. It's okay to treat them like a child, because they are. But to try to keep them young is nothing but a disservice to them. Life is tough, and it only gets tougher the older you get. Not teaching a child life skills because you're lazy or trying to keep them babies is wrong. Teaching your kid to tie her own shoes isn't going to make her suddenly grown up. It's teaching her a life skill she'll need. I know each child reaches different milestones at different times. If your child is ready to be potty trained, by all means, potty train them. I don't know about you, but the day I stopped wiping Addison's ass was one of the best of my life.

I've been extremely lucky raising Addison. So much so I'll say it again. I've been extremely lucky raising Addison. It's been easy. Just like I was good until I hit the age of 13 and turned into a teenager. We are close - he tells me things a lot of teenaged boys wouldn't tell their moms. I've always been open with him. There is nothing we don't talk about, out in the open, in this house.

YOU ARE THE PARENT. I've seen so many parents kowtow and bargain with a child in a store. I don't know what's going on in their lives, but if Addison had ever acted like that in public, he'd be dragged out to the car, not offered a toy of his choice if he would just stop, and me asking him over and over, "Okay, is that okay with you?"

Like I said, I'm not judging, just voicing my observations. Prepare your kids for life, for the ups and downs of being an adult. It's going to happen, no matter how long you give your kid a bottle. Do the right thing by them, for yourself and for the world. Life's tough - make them tougher.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Because we're all a little awesome...

It's no secret I call myself awesome - a lot. Do I truly believe it? Sure, I think we've all got all sorts of awesome in us. What I don't understand is why everyone doesn't tap into their own awesomeness.

It's taken me a long time, but for the past few years I've lived with self-confidence. It wasn't something that just happened one day. I evolved, I matured (only in some ways), I realized I really didn't give a shit whether someone liked me or not.

It seems like lately people are afraid to be themselves. They are attacked for their beliefs, their morals, their likes and dislikes, etc., and they take this to heart to believe that they are wrong. It takes a strong person to stand strong during these times. I really don't understand people who attack others in this way. Are they really that miserable with themselves that if your taste doesn't match theirs you're automatically wrong? Does it make them feel like the better person? Well, they're not, and trust me on this, because I'm awesome like that.

If I want to listen to Justin Bieber's CD nonstop, eat a box of Twinkies in one sitting, watch Jersey Shore and read Harlequin romances about cowboys, I will. If you just rolled your eyes, you may be one of those people I loathe. I should be listening to opera, eating organic veggies, watching a documentary and reading War and Peace, right? Who's to tell me that I'm wrong and you're right? (I don't do any of those things, for the record.)

It may be time time to check yourself. Live and let live. Be yourself. You know your best friend, your close friends, your family who loves you for you? There's a reason for that. Don't try to be someone else. We all have our trials and tribulations - no one is perfect and no one leads the perfect life, no matter how wonderful they may portray it to be.

Embrace your big nose, read your comic books, and watch whatever the hell you want to on TV. If you like it, you like it. Don't let the bullies get to you. You're awesome.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Because it goes both ways...

I'm a Republican and I'm not ashamed to say so. It seems that affiliating yourself with either party these days will make you subject to being called names, questioning your intelligence, and so on. This needs to just stop.

We have been a military family for 16 years, and if you research it, the majority of servicemembers vote Republican. Why? Because it's the best for our way of life. I believe in a woman's right to choose and gay marriage. But if by voting Republican makes it better for myself and my family, the obvious choice is clear. I have made sacrifices for my family, large and small, including leaving a job I loved after 10 years because it was best for my family.

I read a comment months ago that said all Republicans are idiots. Nice blanket statement there, twatwaffle. This is one of the most ignorant comments I've ever seen. They might have well said a person is wrong for what color skin they have what and what sex they are. It's this sort of political crap that really boils my blood. Here's a mirror, now go fuck yourself. (I know, I have a bad potty mouth, get off my fucking back, I'll try harder, okay?)

By the time November rolls around, I think most of us are going to be annoyed to high heaven by each other. Sorry, but a million postings of Democratic leanings are not going to sway me. I am adamant about keeping an open mind in every situation, and trying to see both sides of something. It seems most people aren't willing to do this. Your loss, bud. Do some soul-searching, think about what your morals and convictions are, not everyone else's, or your parents, or your significant other. Think for yourself.

That's my opinion. If you don't like it, here's your mirror.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Because this is what I want to tell deployed spouses...

I consider myself an almost-pro at deployments. No one will ever be a pro, because that's just the way life is. Just when you think you have a handle on life during a deployment, Murphy's Law sneaks up and bites you in the butt. (Both cheeks, by the way.) Many times Adam will ask what we had for supper. I pause, then whisper, "McDonald's." I feel bad that 1) We ate crap food; and 2) I didn't cook. Yes, we have take-out a lot more often when Adam is gone. It's just easier, and here's why.

I'm not a "single" parent, but I am parenting alone. Adam does what he can, but it's hard when you're on the other side of the world. Throw in the fact that Addison is less than 3 weeks from becoming a teenager, and moody, sulky, you name it, he's it. At least 10 times a day I want to bang my head against the wall. There's nothing I can do about this other than count my blessings and move on.

I often feel overwhelmed (only maybe five times a day) when Adam is gone. There's always a million more things to do, and they constantly hover in the back of my head. While I'm trying to do my part, I'm also doing Adam's part - yard work, taking Addison fishing, etc. I refuse to feel sorry for myself, though, because I enjoy that time with Addison, and know Adam would give it all up in a minute to be able to spend that time with him. It's no secret Addison and I are extremely close to the point of being co-dependent. We've been together through every deployment, just him and I. We've been each other's support system.

I guess I've really gotten off the point I'm trying to make. When Adam is gone, life is different. We don't try to emulate what it's like when Adam is home. We do our own thing. We have to, because life is different. Cake for dinner? Sure. The rules are little more relaxed, and that's okay. If we have an hour between baseball games, well then yeah, we're going to McDonald's for supper. If we want to stay up late and sleep in late, we do.

I make no apologies to anyone on how I run things during deployments. Everyone has to adjust to being alone, being the only parent, the only relative in the same state. Some things will fall by the wayside, other things will figure prominently into our every day life. That's just how it goes. While I don't know what it is like to fight a war in a foreign country, Adam doesn't know what it's like to be the only parent for months on end. We don't try to compare what it's like for either of us. We say thank you to each other for what we both do, and show appreciation for that.

If you want cake for dinner tonight, eat the cake, even if your spouse isn't deployed, because really, life's too short to not enjoy cake.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Because I Get to Be His Mother...

When I was pregnant, I sat down in the recliner in the nursery, and talked to God. I'm not a very religious person, but I promised I would be the best mother I could be if he would please send me a good kid. God not only answered my prayer, but He went way above and beyond.

Every parent thinks their kid is perfect. I know Addison isn't perfect, but in my eyes, he's pretty dang good. I not only love him, I also like him. He makes me laugh, he frustrates me, he makes me proud all the time, and I'm a lucky girl to be able to call myself his mother.

Being a mother isn't easy. I worry, I fret, I wonder if I'm doing it right. I see my job as his mom as getting him ready for the world, for real life when he's an adult. Life is tough, so I refuse to shelter him. I may be a bit lot unconventional at times, but he understands. I'm honest with him. Being a military child for all of his almost 13 years has made him resilient. He's gone through things most children haven't, and for this I'm grateful. He knows the heartache of missing his father while he's deployed, of knowing he's in a dangerous land, yet he soldiers on. He's seen me cry when we lose a Ranger overseas. I want him to grow up to be a good man, a productive member of society, to know that the world owes him nothing, and it's up to him to make the kind of life he wants.

I knew when I was pregnant that this child was going to be my one and only shot at being a mother. It was my choice. I have been beyond blessed having Addison as my son, and am thankful every day that God gave me him.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Because this is why I support gay marriage...

I fell in love with an 18-year-old boy who was just graduating from high school. I was 21 and this wasn't my first rodeo. I broke up with my boyfriend on our one-year anniversary and was out on a date with Adam that same night. Sure, I could have played it safe and stayed with that other boyfriend, and gotten married, had kids, and had a secure life. But I didn't. Adam was leaving for basic training in two months, and we packed a lot of living into that two months.

My point is this: I fell in love. Did I want to date a guy who was leaving for months on end and know that eventually I would have to move to wherever he was, leaving the only life I had known, along with family and friends? It wasn't my ideal life, but I did it. Because I love him. Same reason we've been married almost 16 years now, and we're still living the Army life. It would be nice to have a husband who has a regular schedule, who doesn't deploy, and I know will be around for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and more. This is our life, and I love it.

I can't imagine if someone or something told me I couldn't marry Adam. This is why I support gay marriage. Who are we to say someone can't get married because they're the same gender?  Is their love any different from the love a man and woman feel? Love is love, plain and simple. Marriage isn't easy, so when two people decide they want to be together (hopefully) forever, who is anyone to say they can't? I always try to put myself in someone else's shoes before I form an opinion, and this is why I feel this way. I know there are people against gay marriage for personal, religious, etc., reasons, and that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and belief. But, until you are denied something most Americans are not, it's easy to have that opinion and belief.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Because he won't be in the Army forever...

Sometimes I come up with brilliant ideas, or at least what I think are brilliant ideas. I think I may have a winner with this one though.

Adam will hit his 17-year-mark in the Army this August. We'd both like him to retire at 20 years. Then what?

My idea - together, we will provide marriage retreats and classes. Not just ordinary classes, mind you, but classes I think will improve every marriage. Are we qualified? Who cares? I think so. When I see celebrities who have a 6-month-old baby writing parenting books, I snicker. Our marriage has gotten better and better with each passing year (almost 37 16 of them), so you be the judge.

A sampling of classes and workshops I've come up with so far:

  • She'll Put Out More If You Actually Buy the Tampons She Added to the Grocery List;
  • Having Another Baby Will Not Save Your Marriage - DUH;
  • Cleaning Involves More Than Lining Up Shoes Against the Wall;
  • Pretend You Enjoy the Lifetime Movie Network;
  • She Will Always Need More Shoes, So Just Shut It;
  • Let Him Go Golfing on the Weekend - More Time For Lifetime Movies;
  • Men, They Are Your Children - You Are NOT Babysitting Them;
  • Dr. Phil and Oprah Have Nothing On Us - Truth;
  • Enjoy Your Time Together. You Never Know When You Won't Have It;
  • If You Tell Her She's Fat, Say Hello to the Hand;
Since I know you will all want to attend these amazing classes, let me know what else you'd like to see. The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Because it doesn't have to be a statistic...

While watching the Today Show yesterday, my ears perked up when they were talking about how couples who live together before marriage are more likely to get divorced. Really? Well, that's just one more statistic that can kiss my ass. I'm sick of statistics.

I began hating statistics while watching sports. Random, I know, but, being a diehard Patriots and Red Sox fan, I've seen my teams go to the World Series and Super Bowl numerous times in the past few years. When I see things like, "Statistically speaking, the Patriots have never won a Super Bowl while trailing at half time," I yell like a mad woman at my TV. So? Who's to say this isn't the one time when they will win? Take your stats and shove them you-know-where.

Adam and I did live together before we got married. We're also both children of divorce. We are a military family, and he is in a special operations unit. I'm pretty sure that, according to all those statistics floating around out there, we should not still be married. You know what? We are, and every year brings us closer together, makes our marriage stronger, and makes us happier as a couple.

No marriage is perfect. If you say yours is, you're a big fat liar, and I already don't like you. Unless you like the Red Sox, then I'll let it slide. We've had our ups and downs like any other couple. The difference is, we don't let the downs define our marriage. We've learned that the time we do get to spend together is, for lack of a better word, precious. (I don't like that word but I'm using it.) Why would we spend that time fighting, or doing our own thing, when we could be enjoying each other's company?

I understand that marriages end every day, for a myriad of reasons. I'm not questioning someone's reason for getting divorced. What I'm saying is that if you truly love your spouse, and can make it work, it's worth a shot. There are tons of circumstances when a marriage should end, but I'm not going into that - there are too many variables, and frankly, no one's business but their own.

Statistically speaking, I should be the modern-day Elizabeth Taylor of marriage. I refuse to give into those stats, because I'm my own person, and I'm also too stubborn to believe in any of that. Even Kim Kardashian will someday find her prince and be married forever. (You can read sarcasm, right?)

I believe in marriage, in my marriage, and no statistic otherwise will tell me so.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Because there's always a positive...

Nobody wants to see their loved one deploy. You worry, you fret, but ultimately, you keep living. There have been deployments when I was miserable the entire time - that's my fault. Throughout the past 10 1/2 years of deployments, I've had the opportunity during that time for a lot of self reflection. You can always find a positive in a negative. Maybe not in math, but I wouldn't know because I suck royally at math.

This deployment I have decided it's time to stop abusing my body. I'm not 21, 29, 35 ... I'll be 38 next month. It's time to start revering my body, not treating it like a landfill. (I don't smell - that's the difference.) It's time to switch from 12 Bud Lights to two Sam Adams. I have responsibilities I can no longer try to sweep under the rug. I'd like to be in shape. That's not going to happen, no matter how hard I rock the beer belly, until I get off my ass and do something about it. I will say this, though - don't even think about touching my donuts. I don't believe in chucking absolutely everything I enjoy that may not be good for me, otherwise I'll be a miserable bitch who will eventually cave, drive to Dunkin' Donuts, and slam down a dozen chocolate frosted lovers.

Because I'm not thinking about what's for supper next week like I do when Adam's home (who doesn't love hot dogs and mac and cheese three times a week?), I have the time to think about other things. I can think about what I'd like to go back to school and get a degree in; I can roll around ideas in my head for what I'd eventually like to write a book about. What I'm saying is, I have more room for thoughts and ideas, not trying to jog my memory for what day our next mandatory social is planned.

Sometimes those thoughts aren't so much fun. While folding laundry today, I remembered a light bulb is out in the ceiling fan in the living room with the VERY tall ceiling. I'm 5'2" - where's the 6'3" dude when I need him? Other than that, I try to keep my thoughts positive. Negativity during this time will drag you down, beat your ass, and make it a miserable experience. It's a perfect time to think about your dreams, plan for your future, research where you want to go on your next vacation.

I'm not Sally Sunshine. I am slowly growing from a pessimist into a willing optimist. It's pretty sunny on this side.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Because this is what it is like to send your husband to war...

*This is my own personal experience. Everyone experiences different emotions, feelings, etc.

I've been saying goodbye to my husband since 2001, and sending him overseas. The next time I'll have to start using my toes to keep count.

It never gets easier saying goodbye. I know the day is coming, yet I try to appear strong. I know I'll be okay, but that dread knowing the day he leaves is coming can be paralyzing. It usually manifests itself into illness and physical pain for me.

I remember every goodbye. There is always a fleeting moment when I can't help my brain from wondering, Is this the last time I'll ever touch him, kiss his lips, see his face? It's an awful thought, not one I try to acknowledge, but this is the reality of being a military spouse.

The first few days are the worst. When a Miley Cyrus song makes me start crying while I'm driving, I know it's okay, but damn you, Miley. Really? Bursting into tears at any given moment is a given. So if I tend to hole up in my house for a few days, that's why. I give myself a week at the most to be sad, to be lonely, to be angry, to adjust to the reality that while he is away, I'm on my own. It's me and my son against the world.

Little things can make my heart feel like it's breaking. The first morning I wake up and see his pillow and remember he won't be using it for awhile makes me teary-eyed. Doing the laundry and folding his clothes he just wore a few days ago is no easy task. Seeing friends describing their family time and fun plans for the weekend on Facebook sends a stab of anger through me. I've learned to not be so bitter. This is our life. We will once again have our family time, but for now, it's not the same with 1/3 of the family not here.

I've found solace and joy in my fellow Army wives. We lean on each other, help each other out, and we are not embarrassed to call each other and admit we're having a bad day. It's a nice feeling knowing there are friends going through the exact same thing.

It's also nice to have my civilian friends, who, for a fleeting moment, make me feel normal. I like when they ask me how Adam is doing. They care, and that helps.

I won't lie...every minute, every hour, every day I worry. I worry for Adam, for his fellow Soldiers, my fellow wives, for my son, for Adam's mom, you name it, I worry. More than worrying, though, is a feeling of pride, even hubris in knowing my husband is among the few who voluntarily sacrifices his way of life to do his job. There is a feeling of pride that we spouses experience that is hard to put into words.

This is my experience. This is my life. Thank you to everyone for their support of our troops. It means the world to all of us.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Because sometimes it just happens...

To be brutally honest, I have wrestled with the ups and downs of depression for many, many years. Sometimes I can feel myself slipping into a funk, other times I can look back and see when I was not doing so well. I've gotten really good at identifying when I am not feeling emotionally well. This is one of those times.

It's not something I will bring up in a casual conversation, unless I trust you. I in no way am trying to garner sympathy - it's quite the opposite. Since I'm able to recognize when I'm not doing well, I feel it's only fair to let those close to me know I'm going through a rough patch, but I do know it will get better, so please bear with me. I tend to hole up inside myself. It's hard to do much of anything. Sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other is hard. Some days taking a shower is a major accomplishment. The good days far outnumber these bad days, so no need to worry.

I have been able to pinpoint exactly what's got me in the doldrums. I miss my family, and not in a "I'll go visit and feel better" kind of way. I miss living near family. I haven't lived in Massachusetts since 1996. My family is Adam and Addison, and when Adam isn't around, it can get very lonely. It would be nice to be able to drop by my sister's house for a visit, or hang out with my cousins who I haven't seen in years. I've been able to reconnect with my cousin Ryan through Facebook, and it saddens me I don't know him better. I don't know a lot of my family better because of our circumstances. Home is where the Army sends you, but home is also where my family is, which happens to be 1,000 miles away.

I'm sure there are a lot of military families who feel the way I do. Maybe when I win the lottery I'll buy my own town down here in the South (because it seems like all of my New England family is sick of the cold weather) and move everyone down here. I'll be the mayor, of course - because I said so.

I know I'll feel better, maybe in day or two, or maybe in a week or so. That's the thing about depression - there's no telling how long it will last. In the meantime, I'll keep on keeping on, and keep fighting with all of my might to keep my chin above the water, because even though I may not feel great, I'm still an Army wife, and not even depression can beat me.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Because you'll blink and miss it...

I'm no expert on parenting. In fact, when I meet people, I usually throw it right out there - I parent unconventionally. I don't always do everything right when it comes to being a parent, but no one does.

I have a hard time when I see or hear parents complain about spending time with their kids. (A quick side note: Addison and I are no doubt co-dependent. Spending so much one-on-one time for the past 12 years is my excuse, along with the fact we have each other to lean on during deployments.) I LOVE school vacations, days off, and weekends. I miss him when he leaves for school. He has pointedly asked me to NOT be home when he gets home from school, but I can't bring myself to do it. This is starting to sound creepy.

What I'm saying is, I enjoy his company. Not all of the time, because I am human. Addison is a talker; I'm usually pretty quiet. There have been times when I have said, "Please, for the love of God, just stop talking for five minutes."

I understand the need to vent, the need for alone time, and the wish that my family lived in the same town so I could actually drop him off there for a weekend. If Carol Brady had been a real person, no doubt she would have told Alice to watch her kids because she was meeting Mike for Happy Hour down at the local bar. If those damn happy kids got unruly, they could always go out back for some potato sack races.

I had one child by choice. I knew what I could handle and one was it. I have a lot of respect for anyone who chooses to have children, period. I also have respect for people who choose not to have kids, for any reason. That's their choice. I grew up saying I was going to have six kids. Then I realized what having six kids would actually be like. If I had just kept going, and had my own spawntourage, I would probably have my own show on TLC right now.

I see so many moms on Facebook wishing their child a happy birthday, and they always ask, "Where did the time go?" Addison is at that age where he would rather spend time with his friends than his parents. He's slowly slipping through our fingers, on his way to adulthood. Don't let those years you want to rip your hair out and wish Play-Doh was never invented go by too fast. Some day you might look back and realize those were the years you want back - when they let you kiss them without being embarrassed, when you're the prettiest woman in the world to them, when they want to marry you, not Katy Perry.

Get down on the floor and make a robot out of Legos. Put on the tiara and drink the pretend tea. Go to the zoo, the park, Chuck E. Cheese (they have beer there for a reason), go outside and catch fireflies, a snowflake on your tongue, or whatever you want to do.

The next time you're having a bad day, when you are wishing they are 18 and out of the house, go listen to "Teach Your Children" by Crosby, Stills & Nash. I guarantee you'll cry.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Because it's not a competition...

I have a confession to make to my civilian friends. I used to roll my eyes and exclaim, "Oh, please. Get over it," whenever I'd read a status update that said, in general, "My husband is going away for business for two weeks. What am I going to do?" I wanted to reply with, "Bitch please. Spare me. Is his life in near-constant danger? Is he being shot at? Is he praying as he rolls through the streets of Afghanistan to not hit a landmine? Then STFU."

My mother taught me an important lesson a few years back that made me rethink my meanness and self-pity. If that is what is awful for you, it's awful for you. Who am I to tell you how you should feel, and what you should think? This is our life, and your life is your life. You may not know what my life is like as a military wife, and I don't know what it's like to be married to anyone besides a soldier.

Now, for my fellow military spouses - it seems like we all like to play the "Who's got it worse?" game. "Yeah, well my husband is at a school for two months and I have four kids, so it's harder for me," or "My husband has more rank and works longer hours than yours." Come on. Knock that shit off. This is what makes it divisive among us spouses, and it's time to quit it.

I look at each and every wife on the merit of her, not her husband's rank. If I like you, I like you because of who you are, not what I think being your friend will do for my husband's career. If you insist by defining yourself by your husband's rank, unit, etc., I can guarantee you we'll never play beer pong together. Officer wives are no better than enlisted wives, and enlisted wives are no better than officer wives.

In my Utopia, we support each other, not try to one-up each other. I'm not saying there isn't support - Adam's unit, in particular, is amazing in the way others will go above and beyond for any reason. One of my first assignments when I worked at the newspaper back in 1997 was covering a luncheon. I had a neighbor, who was obviously born an asshole, constantly yell at me across the loop, "Ranger, Ranger, where's my Ranger?" Adam was away training at the time, and I suppose this dude must have hated his own life and was jealous. Anyway, I'm at this luncheon, and who is seated at my table? Two men who were in charge of Adam's whole unit. I introduced myself and one of them asked, "So, is everything going okay while he's gone?" Me, never to be the shy one, answered back, "Actually, no." Long story short, that wonderful man contacted the other soldier's chain of command and I was never harassed again.

I don't want this to come across negatively. I'm just saying I've seen too much of this "I've got it worse" attitude. You know what? Someone always has it worse, so count your blessings, get over it, and let's play some beer pong.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Because this is how it is...

Let me tell you a little secret that some of you already know - it's not easy being a military spouse. It's not easy being a spouse, period, but when you throw in deployments, long work hours, etc., life can be particularly difficult.

That being said, this life will either make you or break you. I hadn't planned on marrying a guy in the Army. I had my life set. Then that funny little thing called love hit me and one of us (not me) was getting married as a teenager.

There were many, many times I thought I couldn't do this. I literally did break, but with the help of friends and family, much like Humpty Dumpty, I was put back together again.

Through the 15 years of being a Ranger wife, I've done a lot of things I thought I would never do. I always thought I'd have a husband, father, uncle, cousin, etc., around to help me when I needed something. All of my male relatives live in Massachusetts - I live in Georgia. I've had lawnmowers die on me during deployments, but did I go and complain about it? Hell no. I hefted my ass into the truck, drove up to Lowe's, and bought a new lawnmower. I added the oil and did everything I had to to make that thing run.

One Christmas Eve (of course, during another deployment) my washing machine started leaking water. Murphy and his Laws can suck it. I didn't sit and cry, or call someone and bitch about how unfair life is - I once again got in the truck and went to Lowe's. With the help of my fellow Ranger wife, we brought the new washing machine in the house and I got it all hooked up and running.

I'm not bragging, I'm just stating the facts here. Shit is going to happen whether your husband is at work, in the field, deployed, at a school, etc. While it's nice to depend on others, and certainly, my fellow Army spouses have definitely always been there, you have to learn to depend on yourself. Did I want to have to euthanize our first dog, Adam's dog girlfriend, without him? No, of course not. Unfortunately, he was in Iraq. All I could do was send him an email to please call me when he could.

This is your life as a military spouse. Don't let it break you. I wouldn't be the tough-as-nails chick I am today if I had not had all of these experiences. I can also bench press 500 lbs., but that's a different subject for another day.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Because we all like the familiar...

Here's my Oprah post. Although I loathe everything about her, a lot of people seem to find inspiration from her. Well, she's off the air (Really, how many of you religiously watch the OWN Network? Pfffft) so I'm taking over, via the Internet.

I'm a creature of habit. When I find something I like, I stick to it. The only sandwiches I would eat through my elementary school career were pb&j and liverwurst. Don't ask about the liverwurst, because I have no idea as to how that came to be. I'd rather lick a monkey's ass than eat one as an adult.

I'm almost at the maturity level to think to myself, "This will hurt in the morning/cause me to lose a tooth/leave a scar." I'm evolving into a person who desires to try new things - new foods, new books, new almost-everything. Are you?

I've discovered I love to read YA dystopian novels. I want to learn more about mythologist, writer and lecturer Joseph Campbell ("Follow Your Bliss" is attributed to him). I prefer McDonald's any day of the week to any other food, but I'm willing to try new foods - I never knew how yummy scallops were.

It's not that I'm afraid of trying new things - it's that I crave the tried and true, the known. It's time for me to step out of my comfort zone and be more adventurous.

So what are you going to do to step outside your comfort zone? Try your hand at golf? Learn a new language? Maybe there's a movie playing and you think "You couldn't pay me enough money to go watch that." Go see it. Why not surprise yourself with what you may find you actually like?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Because We're Moving On Up...

Today was Adam's first paycheck of the new year. I noticed it had increased, wait for it ... a cool $10. Wow! That's $20 whole bucks a month! Of course the first thought that went through my head was, "Hot damn, time for a bigger house, and oh yeah, our vehicles are a year old, time to upgrade those bitches! Mercedes-Benz, here I come!"

I lie. My first thought was, "What the hell?" Color me spoiled, I guess. This is why I'm a Republican - the pay raises under Republican presidents have always been more. The majority of the military is Republican for this very fact. But enough about politics, because the first person who tries to argue with me politically will get a whole lotta Erin fist wherever I choose to land it.

I admit I am sheltered to a lot of the real world. Here's where my civilian friends can help a girl out.

Adam has been with the same company (U.S. Army) for 16 years. He's been in the same UNIT (75th Ranger Regiment) since he graduated from Basic Training, Airborne School, and the Ranger Indoctrination Program. Currently he's a first sergeant, and along with the commander, they are in charge of anywhere from 200-250 men at one time.

In the "real world" I don't see how a $20 a month raise would be rational for a civilian counterpart. We get benefits, and we appreciate these. Healthcare is free. And the healthcare also sucks ass. I switched mine so I could see a civilian doctor. I pay some out-of-pocket, but it sure beats being sick and being told by the Army clinic that sure, they have an appointment in a month! Damn skippy!

I'm in no way complaining about living the military life. We love this life. Adam loves his job, and I love that he loves that. That's a whole lotta love 'round here. We have gotten fiscally smart the last 10 years and do not live beyond our means. No credit card debt, y'all!

But, it still seems like a slap in the face to a man who has given 16 years to his country, deployed 9 times in 10 years, and works tirelessly. It's also a slap in the face to every member of the military.

If you feel the need to try to point out anything related to the military life, and have never walked a mile in our shoes, don't even start with me. That said, I have some gold nuggets to go purchase.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Because I Want to Let You Know...

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love how I'm able to keep in touch with old friends and relatives I haven't seen in years. I love being able to write on Adam's Facebook wall when he's deployed. I love meeting fellow bibliophiles and Boston sports fans on Twitter.

But here's what I hate. And I would be happy to never, ever see any of this on social media ever again:

1) "My two-month-old just said her first word!" Lady, no she didn't. She's two months old. Get a grip. She was probably pooping and let out a grunt that sounded suspiciously like "da."

2) If you think you may wake up the next day and regret what you posted on Facebook or Twitter, don't post it. (Drunken fun posts excluded. Those are always welcome. Only so I don't feel like the only one.) I'm sorry your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, mother, father, blah blah blah sucks. There have been enough of these posts to make me cringe when I see them. Just because you can post it doesn't mean you should. It's embarrassing for you and for those of us who read it.

3) I'm sure your baby is cute and you love him/her. Sometimes I'll even look at more than one picture of your kid. That is, until you start posting the same baby in 500 pictures in a month. Unless that baby is teaching the dog how to jump through a flaming hoop one day and teaching Grandma how to use her cellphone the next day, a few pictures here and there will suffice.

4) Constant whining. ENOUGH. If your life sucks that bad, maybe it's time to take a look at it instead of posting about it, and figure out how you can change it, even if it's a small change. After a while, do you notice you don't have any comments on such posts? It's because everyone hid your whiny ass.

5) For the love of God, can we please use proper spelling and grammar? Some posts I can't even read, and it's not because I'm old, SMH! I weep for the future of the English language. Stop making up your own spelling of words. My laptop screen is way too full of red ink from me correcting your lazy ass.

6) The next status I see that says along the lines of "OMG I'm so sad/upset/mad" I'm going to comment and say, "Awesome!" If you're that sad/upset/mad about something, get the hell off the computer and deal with it. Sympathy trollers will never receive an ounce of sympathy from me, because they're just that - they want sympathy. I am not cold-hearted (only 3/4, I have a working 1/4 "Give a shit" chamber) and I've offered sympathy, encouragement, etc. to those who actually tell why they are like they are.

7) If the best you've got to say is, "I just ate cheese!" then really, why post inane comments? No one cares. Honestly. No one cares. I'd rather hear what kind of bowel movement you had (ghost wiper? endless wiper? the kind that makes the toilet water splash back up?) That's just me. I'm gross. I'm also frustrated by posts you'd be better off saying to yourself in your head. Or keep a small notebook so you can jot down these random thoughts of your own genius.

These are just a few of my pet peeves about social media. I have more - but these are my top seven.

I don't hate babies, or you, I just get easily irritated sometimes. This is one of those times. If you're offended, maybe you see yourself in this post? Sorry I'm not sorry for not feeling bad. Opinions, which these are, are like assholes - everyone has one.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Because I Need Your Help...

Last year my goal was to read 52 books. I reached that early in the year, so I upped the number to 100. Lo and behold, I ended up reading 150. Yowza. I read a lot of good books and I read a lot I could have done without.

That said, I have decided this year I will focus on my writing. I don't consider myself a "writer" per se, but this blog has helped me as an outlet to my thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc., ever since a friend suggested I blog during one of Adam's deployments in 2007.

So, here's my problem ... I'm not very good at coming up with what to write unless given a prompt. I once took a writing class in college and I hated it. Why? Because the whole semester we had to come up with our own ideas of what to write for each paper. I loved working at the newspaper because I was told what to write about.

This is where y'all come in. What would YOU like to see me write about? If you know me, you know I don't have a problem voicing opinions or feelings (to a certain extent). I refuse to be negative though, so that's off the table. I've slowly turned myself from a pessimist to an almost optimist. I've found it's a lot easier to be happy if I'm not always crapping on everything. I've learned to appreciate the little things, the things that make me happy (books, hoarding candles, and fabric softener that smells really good).

Let 'er rip ... "Erin, you should write about _________."