Sunday, December 31, 2006

Slammin the door on '06. Bring on 007

After three months of training and 12 months in Iraq, Terry returned home to us on July 29, 2006. The tour was the reason for starting this blog. He’s been home for five months and we’re almost at that 6-month mark where everything is supposed to be peachy. It’s not, but it's better than it was.

There’s been a trade off of “issues;” some good exchanges, like he can drive without swerving away from every bag, bottle, and branch on the road, and some bad. A lot of the PTSD issues are muted, or missed (I sleep through them.) Asher is no longer afraid of Terry though. In fact they are pretty close. Just yesterday when Asher got hurt, he ran to daddy and not me. We both recognized it as a milestone. We discovered that Gabey was actually embarrassed that his dad was in Iraq, because, as a Reserve family, he goes to a public school and there weren’t any other kids with parents deployed, but a few with parents in the military, so anything that makes you different in 2nd grade makes you "weird." I feel terribly that I didn't work harder to find families with kids who also had deployed parents that he could befriend and be super proud of his dad. That is my biggest regret in all this.

We did so many fun things after he got back. We postponed our Disney trip to the spring and opted for New York, Williamsburg, and lots of nights out alone or with friends. There was some fun recognition too. We were interviewed by the Pentagon Channel for a documentary and spoke at the board meeting of a nonprofit that supported our boys while he was deployed. We also were honored by another nonprofit that I’m now trying to get a job with. :) (Always the opportunist.)

We celebrated both our birthdays (his 30th). His parents visited for Thanksgiving and celebrated Asher’s birthday with us.

We finally committed to a church and have made some great friends there. Of course those we like the best are active Army. One of my active friends is moving in only two months. I am so heartbroken. She and I met and became fast friends towards the end of Terry’s deployment when her husband was at OCS. He’ll probably get deployed in 2007 and I wish I could be there for her.

Terry got his raise, the one he would have likely received had he not been deployed, but he did have to fight for it. In the end he even got the back pay and they backdated it to one year from when he started. It was a wonderful Christmas present.

So it wouldn’t be New Year’s without a look back at a crazy 2006. First, some stats. By a vote of 26 comments, Reuniting Part III was the most popular entry of the year.

Bloggers I miss (who I suspect are now blogging in anonymity)
Please come back to us!!

January 2006
Last year I pledged to read more, write more, better swimmer and take acting lessons. I hit all of ‘em except the acting lessons; and I attempted that one. My class was cancelled due to lack of interest! I was so bummed at the time.

I would soon be very depressed for the rest of the tour.

Feb 2006
The second half of Terry’s tour was the worst. Close calls, lots of death around him; I heard a lot of it. And it started to shake me up. It still does.

My love affair with iTunes began in Jan. I made about 12 CDs for Terry during his tour. These were some of my favorite songs.

Also Terry went back to Iraq after two weeks at home.

April 2006
I’m feeling really crazy at this point

May 2006
You gave shout-outs to Terry when things got tough over there.

Deployment Anniversary

Grey’s finale was more than a finale. I missed my husband. I missed my “wife” who was in Germany with her soldier on his leave from Iraq. I still miss Denny!!!

The surviving spouses equity act didn’t pass. Don’t stop calling and writing your congressperson whenever you think of it. We can’t bring their service members back to life: Those spouses deserve some real equity.

My first Memorial Day that meant more than a day off.

June 2006
The process of redeployment begins!! We hear what to expect when our soldiers return. Some foreshadowed issues did pop up too, when our soldiers returned…

Tough questions from Gabe that I will never forget

We meet President Bush

July 2006
Terry comes home! But you don’t hear about it until…

August 2006
A quick note to let you know he’s back

Then, part II and II’s sobfest.

Still one of the best memories after Terry came home…enjoying live music under a clear evening sky in the summer, eating ice cream, dancing.

September, October, November
I think you can remember the few posts that popped up those months. ;)

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Remember Me

I'm working on a stupendous end of the year post, but until then, you have to see this video over at HH6.

Love it.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas 2006

I have a full weekend for Christmas this year. Church this morning. Church tonight. Asher is a sheep in the church play. Gabe is a wise man (of 20 wise men :). I am a sewer extraordinaire.
In between our treks to church Gabe and I will be baking cookies. Chocolate cookies. Sugar cookies. Peanut Butter cookies. Yum. We will mix, and cut, and bake, and frost until our little fingers are stiff from frosting.
Last night Terry made pies. Pumpkin, cherry, enjoying a slice of pecan from the store while baking. We will relive the birth of Christ in a multiplex watching "The Nativity." We will indulge our boys and laugh at their squeals during "Night at the Museum." We will fill our day with songs and food and love. We have too many gifts, spent too much money.
We only think about today because this Christmas daddy is home.

Merry Christmas to my fellow bloggers and readers!

Remember our troops are without their families on this special day!!

Like we were last year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The truth about Milspouses

Anyone read SpouseBuzz? A post began, "If I wasn't milspouse..." and you finished the sentence. This was a really interesting thread because among the canned, "I'm proud to be a milspouse" comments (including my own) there were a lot of hurting wives and husbands out there. Spouses cheating on TDYs and deplyoments. Spouses feeling backstabbed by their friends. Failing FRGs. No one to call.

I can only relate to those last two gripes, I think in part because our marriage had been through the ringer long before the deployment, but we held it together, so we were stronger, but also as a Reservist, he doesn't go away as often. However, it worries me that so many spouses feel so angry and hopeless when so much is expected of our military.

We were interviewed by the Pentagon Channel several weeks ago (sorry no link) and my husband said that if families aren't happy, soldiers aren't happy and they'll start leaving. I guess that wasn't exactly prophetic since retention is low right now, particularly among captains. An article I read earlier this year talked about West Point's class of 2000. One third left after their five year obligation. And Captains from any commissioning source are leaving in droves.

Terry thought about it. In fact after he was in that IED he was like, "I'm done." That one moment of thinking he could die out there sealed the deal for him, but after the dust settled we couldn't give up 13 years of service just like that. Anyway, I digress.

I may have been naive when I went into this deployment, and post-deployment experience, but now I think that the military is failing families in a lot of ways, don't even get started on how widow(er)s are treated. True, spouses have to be proactive too, but when they're frantically looking for help and there is none, who is responsible? Terry's getting a lot of attention from local hospitals because he had a brain injury and I thought, does everyone get this kind of help? He practically laughed, "of course not!" If you're NOT proactive about getting help, you pretty much don't. But I guess that's true for anything in life. I think it's also partly because of our location, partly because we absolutely refuse to be stuck with any medical bills later on down the road, which were a result of his tour, and I think partly because he represents the military well, and isn't afraid to say if he thinks the military isn't doing it's job right, i.e. tell the world that we're not being taken care of. But what about the specialist who goes back to college after watching friends be blown to pieces in Iraq and now silently battles PTSD, but doesn't want to appear weak, or admit he needs help? Or what if he is married? Who is taking care of his wife? Whose job is it to reach out and not let them fall through the cracks?

This may be old news, but it really worries me; especially now that Bush is talking about upping troop levels. Of course I'm worried that they'll scratch out the every 4-5 year rotation clause for Reservists and call us up in the next year or so, but mostly I'm worried about my active duty friends who have lived without their spouses for so long. One who is on the verge of losing her marriage altogether.

Read some of these comments and tell me what you think

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year

In today's blog post:
  • Updates
  • Christmas to do crap
  • Britney
  • SeaTac Airport Christmas fear

I think we're all still in turkey comas. My blogging friends are all MIA.

I have not been writing much because my eyes are sore from job hunting on the web. (I even have to get my eyes checked because I find myself squinting at the screen a lot lately. But I think glasses would make me look smart. Don't you?)

And hooray! Terry finally got his raise (nearly a year later than he would have if he had not deployed, but I'm trying to focus on the positive here folks). But, we still can't afford a house until I start bringing something in. It will happen soon. I'm just believing...and there's always the Johnny Rockets that just opened up down the road. eek!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile, Gabe is taking TaeKwonDo, and just earned his first blue tape. Whatever that means; he's proud of it

Asher, well, he's three now, which only means he has more words with which to con us all out of disciplining him. He says, "But I'm a BABY" or "But daddy I'm your son." Seriously. He says this.

Can you even believe that Christmas (yes, I said CHRISTMAS) is just around the corner? I have to sew a sheep costume, make mashed potatoes for 15 people, commit 10 Christmas songs to Gabe's memory, buy our Christmas "I'm eating 5,000 calories today" feast, and buy Terry's gifts - in the next 10 days. Oh, and try to get a job. And make trading card ornaments with my kids' faces on one side and their "stats" on the other. And ship six presents to my family. And force my children and husband to watch Meet me in St. Louis, Little Women, and It's a Wonderful Life with smiles on their faces while eating popcorn, and sipping hot chocolate just so I can believe I'm etching a holly jolly Christmas into their memory.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

I'm also organizing a badly needed girls night out. "The Holiday" and gallons of alcohol are on the to do list. That's a nice segue to the juicy part of this blog that, if you've hung in this far into my pointless post, you will want to comment on.

Three words. Britney and Paris. They have reached new depths of worthlessness. I'm hoping the EPA will storm Ahnold's office and demand we deport them to suck another country's air, so anyone D list or lower can breath what good oxygen there is left in L.A. And I'm ashamed that I get sucked into their vat of stinking nothingness whenever I see a headline on MSN Entertainment cry, "OOPS, SHE FORGOT HER PANTIES AGAIN!" and then click on the link.

"Dear Santa,
Please run over the Pantyless Pack and deliver their gifts to 777

And lastly folks, I must say to my people of Seattle: SERIOUSLY????? YOU TOOK DOWN CHRISTMAS TREES SO THE ENTIRE COUNTRY CAN SEE YOU COWERING IN YOUR HEMP SHOES AND L.L. BEAN PARKAS RATHER THEN JUST PUT UP THE DAMN MENORAH OR HELL, EVEN LET HIM SUE? You redeemed yourself and replaced the trees, but I am terrified to tell anyone that I called Seattle home at one point. Grow some. And I don't mean trees or weed.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good flight.