Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Day of Buffy

Halloween, schmalloween.

Today is the Day of Buffy! Buffy the Wonder Puppy turns three-years-old today.

Buffy knows that this day is all about her. She poos on your efforts to beg neighbors and strangers for candy. She looks cute and gets treats every day. She smirks at your pitiful attempts to dress in costumes. She knows that the proper attire for a fall evening is long, white fur accented with orange bows.

Her children sing Happy Birthday to her first thing in the morning on October 31st. They know what's important in life. They bring her extra treats and brand new toys. They even custom designed a new bowl to hold her fine cuisine and imported bottled water.

And when her mommy finds her "presents" on the playroom carpet on October 31st she spends an extra long time paying attention to her. Her words sound something like, "Just because it is your birthday doesn't mean you can poop wherever you like!" But Buffy doesn't care.

She knows that today is all about her.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Just in Time for Halloween

I'm not the kind of person who believes in the supernatural, superstitions or astrology. Except that I kind of do.

I've lived in two houses that were supposedly haunted. The people who lived in one house before us actually moved out just because of the ghosts they spotted. But I never saw a thing.

A couple of summers ago in our family house on Cape Cod, I kept seeing weird shadows out of the corner of my eye around the foot of the stairs. I never mentioned a thing but since then at least four different people have mentioned seeing weird shadows and human forms in the exact same place. It's creepy, but I'm insistent that if I don't believe in ghosts, I'll never see a ghost.

That's the way it works. Right?

And as for superstitions, well, I know that the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years because my son wore his little Red Sox shirt on every game day. He broke Babe Ruth's curse single-handedly. Or so I like to think.

This time around I'm wearing my Red Sox hat every game day. Except I forgot it today. If my Red Sox lose tonight it will be proof positive that what my family wears affects baseball games played a thousand miles away. Right?

And yes, I read my horoscope every day. The logical part of my brain can't imagine how the alignment of the stars when you were born can affect your personality and course of your life. But I can't help but notice that I fit every description of a Taurus I have ever read. And my daughter is a classic Cancer. And my son a perfect Sagittarius. (My husband is an enigma.)

Just today I was reminded of how eerily true horoscopes can be.

Last week I was reaching in my purse when my hand seemed to cease up. Both hands have felt sort of numb and painful for a while, but I figured if I ignored it, it would go away. That's how it works. Right?

The pain has gotten worse and worse and I know I need to see a doctor, but I've been avoiding and postponing it. Today my horoscope said, "Your latest health concern should be addressed, either with a change in your routine or visit to a professional. Take care of yourself!"

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Since when did the writers at start sounding like my mother? (And by "mother" I mean Patrick.)

But a couple of days ago my horoscope said, "You have a great deal of sex appeal." As far as I'm concerned, that is undeniable proof right there that it is all bunk.

So I'll keep ignoring that ghost by the stairs and I'll keep postponing that trip to the doctor. But I will go find my Red Sox hat.

Some things are too important to be left to chance.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Complete and Utter

I've had some rough times here and there in the past. But all in all my life is freaking awesome.

But last night, when my alarm went off at 3 a.m. so I could check on my son, and I stumbled to his door and just stood there smelling the pee and dreading waking him up to clean up, I just couldn't take it.

I felt utter and complete despair.

I just couldn't even imagine how I could keep this all up.

Then I woke him up, helped him clean up and change his sheets, crawled back to my own bed and overslept this morning.

And life goes on. And despair passes. And I have no choice but to keep this all up.

And my life is still freaking awesome.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Occupying My Mind

"So, how do you occupy your days?"

I had to sign some insurance papers today and the agent asked me that question.

" know...I don't know."

He totally stumped me! I had no idea how to answer that question.

I know he was just making small talk, but it made me laugh. There was a time in my life when answering that question the right way was extremely important to me. Now, it doesn't matter even one tiny bit.

It's funny because I had just been thinking about how I would be spending my days if our lives had taken a different path and we hadn't become parents.

Patrick called me from Brooklyn this weekend and said, "I wish you were here."

We say that to each other a lot. He loves New York and I love my husband so we'll probably never live in the same city, but it would be fun to be neighbors. As usual, I answered him, "Awww. Me too."

But then he stumped me.

"If you didn't have the kids, would you have come to New York while your husband is deployed?"

I think he was expecting an, "Oh, yes, of course. That would have been fun!" kind of answer. But he unknowingly set off a think bomb in my brain.

What would I be doing if I didn't have kids?

I probably wouldn't have been able to take off for New York because I either would have joined the military myself (I had thought about it), or I'd have some other job with limited vacation time. Or maybe I would have been a writer who could work from anywhere. Or maybe even, as Patrick suggested, I would be doing the military wife/charity volunteer thing that I'm doing now anyway.

It boggles the mind.

But I can't think about it for too long, because I have to go occupy my day. I think the next time someone asks me that question I need to have a better answer than, "Blogging and surfing porn."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Leggo My Ego

In a recent online exchange I jokingly told my husband to be careful of inflating my ego. To which he replied, "Too late."

I was a little hurt by that. Considering how much I hate myself, I'd hardly say that my ego is inflated. So I asked him, "Do you really think I have a big ego?"

And I got back a one word answer. "Yes."


Now I was more than a little hurt, to be honest. But it's hard to argue effectively online with your spouse while he's under mortar attack (exaggerating, but still...) so I turned elsewhere for moral support. I texted Patrick.

"My husband just accused me of having a big ego! I don't have a big ego. Do I?"

Yes, I use full sentences, spelling,and punctuation when I text. But, anyway...

Not long after, I got Patrick's halting reply.

"Rock. Hard place. Me."

What the fuck? Now, that deserved a return phone call.

When I got Patrick on the line he was actually a little speechless. Those of you who know him can pick your jaws up off the floor now. I've never heard him stutter or grope for words like that before.

Here I was, slogging through life thinking most people saw me as self effacing, a little timid, and hugely humble, yet the people who know me best think I have a huge ego. I was flabbergasted.

I guess maybe there is a fine line between cocky and confident. Apparently I've tripped head first over that line and landed on my face.

Both of the men in my life fell all over themselves trying to explain that they thought it was good that I was confident in myself in some ways. I'm not sure I believe them.

Like most people, I'm not good at receiving compliments. Inside I know that I am a fraud. For whatever thing I'm being complimented on, I have a host of faults that obliterate it. But I've learned that it is most polite to say, "Thank you," and move on.

Maybe my compliment-accepting technique needs some work.

Or maybe I really do need to embrace this egotistical side. Maybe carrying around a big ego is better than carrying around a suitcase full of self doubt and a duffel full of self hatred.

It's got to be easier on the back.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Nine years.

As of this week, we have been stationed here on the bayou for nine long years.

We've lived in this house for seven of them.

Both of my kids were born here.

Yes, my kids were born on the bayou. And if recent events are any indication, they could be completely raised here too.

For years we've been saying that we will most likely move before my daughter starts fourth grade and my son starts first. We expected my husband to be selected to attend a certain school and move on.

He wasn't selected. It sucks.

My whole outlook on our future changed in a matter of moments.

Since college, my husband and I have been working toward something. We were working toward his success in a career which he loves. Whenever a decision had to be made, the first question we asked was, "How will this affect his career."

Oh, sure, we considered how a decision would affect the family too, but when your breadwinner's career is so entwined with your family's lifestyle, what's best for his career is usually what is best for the family.

Besides, we wanted to experience the world.

Now suddenly, his job just may be a way for him to earn income.

For the first time ever, we're considering throwing our hands in the air and accepting this place as home. As much as I hate this place (and I do) there are things I love about it.

We love our kids' school. We're on the school board. We've given more money than we can afford to the school. Would it be so bad to let them stay there?

I've grown roots these last few years. Roots I've never had before. I have friends and associations I never even expected. I'm a big fish in a little pond.

I'm comfortable.

It's a huge decision. Do we fight for what my husband deserves? Or do we accept this life as ours?

I'm torn. I'm a little helpless. I'm not so angry anymore. I can see more clearly now.

I'm just still a little bit shocked that I can see us making a permanent life here.

At least until the kids hit high school.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Let's Be Frank

Okay, guys. Let's get down to the nitty gritty. It isn't going to be pretty and it isn't going to be fun, but it is going to be all me.

I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.

In the last couple of weeks I have barely slept at all. The sleep deprivation hasn't helped my mood or personality any. In fact, I've become quite nasty.

But these last few days have been the worst.

My husband got some very disappointing career-related news. He was not selected to do something that he really wanted to do. I am disappointed, hurt, frustrated and mostly angry on his behalf.

I'm angry at the world right now.

I'm angry at the women who keep telling me that they understand what it is like to have my husband be deployed because their husbands work past dinner time most nights. And I'm sick of well-meaning people telling me that my husband is "almost home" or he'll be "home before I know it" or that he'll be home in "no time now".

My husband will not be home for at least two and a half months. Most of the people who are saying these things to me would dissolve in a puddle of despair if their husbands were leaving for two and a half months. Never mind the four months my husband has already been gone.

I'm mad that the world seems incompetent. I'm mad that people lie to me. I'm mad that you can't get good service anymore. I'm mad that after living here for nine years, I still can't understand half of what people say. I'm mad that I've lived her for nine years!

I'm just fucking mad.

So, I've decided that I need a nemesis. I need one horrible person on whom I can concentrate all of my anger.

And I've found her.

She's someone I have to deal with a lot and she is a self-serving bitch.

And if she puts me at the bottom of her fucking meeting agenda one more time, even though I'm not on her committee and I'm just wasting hours of my time sitting through her stupid meetings, I'm going to slap her.

I'm going to punch her in the neck.

This could be fun, because you know in real life I do nothing but smile at this women. Oh sure, I manipulate the situation so that I come out looking good and she comes out looking like the bitch she is, but I smile at her all while I'm doing it.

Hopefully, thwarting my nemesis will relieve my anger enough that I'll be able to write again. And maybe it will yield some good stories.

Because there ain't nobody meaner than a military wife who's gone without sex for months and months. Bitch better watch her back. I've learned from the queens.

*three snaps in a circle*

Monday, October 15, 2007

Confessions of a Soccer Mom

I never, ever intended to be a soccer mom.

I swear.

I think my first mistake was buying the mini van. Oh sure, I had all kinds of rationalizations. But the truth is I was starting out on a long and slippery slope.

The next thing I knew, my daughter was four-years-old. She needed exercise. We needed something to do to get out of the house. Soccer was just sort of...there.

I think soccer is one of the few teams sports that very little kids can manage.

In that first season the very dear coaches had to hold her hand on the field. She spent more time crying because she was hot and watching the ball go by than anything else. But she loved it. She loved dressing up in her cute little uniform and being with the other kids.

The next year, Daddy decided to take a turn coaching. Oh, was that a mistake. We have learned now, when you coach a team, it is always your kid who is the hardest to coach. There were more tears. But she wouldn't hear of quitting.

But the next year, she was finally old enough to play on an all-girls team. Her coach was great and he really started to teach them about the game.

By second grade, she was on a team with all of her friends from school. And that's when I shed my sweet, little sideline mom veil and because the monster that I am today.

I guess it's because her friends' parents are my friends. Because they know me, I don't feel so shy. And so I end up standing on the sidelines screaming, "RUN!!!" like my child is about to be engulfed by flames or eaten by a monster.

I suppose I've gotten worse and worse because my daughter actually seems to respond to my hysterics. If Daddy cheers at all, it makes her weepy and upset. But when I yell my head off, she actually gets aggressive. She really does run.

That kid who held her coach's hand that whole first season has turned into a decent little soccer player. And I've turned into a nut.

Yet, my daughter begged me to coach a softball team next season. We'll see if we can get through a season without any tears. (Would you like to place bets? The odds are way stacked!)

Hopefully I won't have any nutso parent's in the bleachers yelling their heads off. Don't you just hate people like that?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Reality Check

Today I had just a little taste of what it must be like to really be a war wife.

Most mornings, I get up about five minutes before the kids to read my e-mail. My husband almost always sends me one during the night. This morning I had no e-mail, but that isn't so out of the ordinary. Still, when I got home from dropping the kids off at school, I checked my e-mail again.

There was still no news from my husband, but I couldn't help but notice a news headline on the sign in page.

"Two dead in attack on Baghdad base."

Normally, when my husband is deployed I avoid any media coverage of anything. Even the most realistic and stoic of us can let our imaginations run amok when our loved one is far away and in danger. But I couldn't help but click on that link today.

And yes, there was a mortar or rocket attack on my husband's base.

Two people were killed and forty were injured. While I know that there are thousands of people on that base and the chances of him being hurt or killed are next to nothing, I still couldn't help imagining...what if?

The thought of him not coming back to us is unimaginable. Strangely, the thought of him being wounded is even harder to imagine.

I hate to admit it, but I spent the rest of my morning sitting in front of the computer refreshing my e-mail over and over again, waiting for word.

When he finally called me around noon, I didn't feel relief. I felt stupid. I felt silly. I felt embarrassed.

"We are at war, you know," he told me.

I know, but when you're a military wife you spend years telling yourself that your husband is safe because he flies a safe aircraft and he's good at his job. You tell yourself he's safe because he's not really near any action. You tell yourself he's safe because he has to be. No other option is acceptable.

And when you realize that he's not as safe as you like to imagine, it hits hard.

But I only overreacted for a few hours on a beautiful October morning. There are too many wives, mothers, husbands, fathers, children, families, and friends who have had to deal with the reality.

I can pretend all I want that my husband is just as safe over there as he would be here at home. But it's not really true.

Believe it or not, I think it helps me to have that reality check.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The City Boy Does Bayou Fabulous

It has been ages and ages since I've fallen back on an old blogging staple and told you all about my weekend.

That's because I have no life.

But I actually have something to tell about this past weekend!

Last week sucked major donkey ass. By Thursday afternoon I was ready to lose it. I have seriously never felt so alone or so much of a failure.

But I had something to look forward to. We were exactly half way through this deployment and my best friend was coming for a visit.

I can laugh about it now, (or actually, I can tease him mercilessly about it now) but Patrick's trip from New York City to the bayou started out on the wrong foot. In a move worthy of only sitcom characters and tourists, he went to the wrong airport.

It's a good thing he's a skinny, little, running bitch because he had to sprint between gates in the Atlanta airport to make it to the last flight out. But the kids were thrilled to get to stay up late and pick Uncle Patrick up at the airport.

On Friday morning, I took the kids to school and Patrick and I had the whole day to ourselves. We did the authentic suburban housewife thing and had pancakes at IHOP and shopped at Target. But we also explored a gallery/design store that I've driven by a million times and never ventured in.

It was so nice to have Patrick here. I don't think I even realized how alone I've felt until I had someone here to just be myself with.

After school, Patrick babysat my son so I could take my daughter to her violin lesson without her little brother in tow. The last time he babysat here, my son left a softball-sized surprise in his diaper. Luckily he's past that now. The boys decided to go for a walk instead.

That evening, Patrick did a very brave thing. I hired a sitter and Patrick and I headed down to the art festival to man a food booth fund raiser for the kids' school. Not only did he fry up corn dogs, dish out pizza, and serve up Icees but he had to socialize with a couple of Southern moms and their husbands.

Of course he charmed them down to their very last y'alls.

It was definitely a World's Collide moment for me. I always get a little nervous when two separate parts of my world come together like that, but I don't really know why. I think I'm always a little nervous that people are thinking that my husband is being duped. I truly don't care what people think of me, but I don't want anyone to ever think anything less of my husband than he deserves. And here I am showing up all around town with a handsome guy in tow.

Which is why I outed Patrick the first chance I got.

Okay, that's not true. I outed him because the conversation naturally flowed that way. But still.

Patrick got to meet a few of my closer friends, which was very nice. He also got a chance to see me in a way that I'm not sure he ever has before. He got to see me in my element, doing my thing, with my friends. Of course I'm a giant dork so I'm not saying that it was a treat for him or anything.

On Saturday we returned to the festival with the kids. Their violin school performed on stage. They both played great but there was a poking incident at one point. While it was nice for me to have my kids close together on stage, I think my daughter would have preferred for her brother to be way across on the other side.

After they played we ate fair food. Patrick even went all out bayou style and had gumbo and dirty rice. Then we perused the artists' booths for a while enroute to the children's activity area.

I was so incredibly grateful to have Uncle Patrick with me just then. Trying to keep two kids happy with all the available activities by myself would have sent me over the edge. We were all hot and tired and the kids had been on stage for an hour. Having another adult, especially one who loves my kids, to help shepherd them through each station was just what this tired mom needed.

I think we earned a night out. I hired the babysitter one last time and Patrick and I set out for a fun evening.

We ended up spending the evening doing local things I've never done before. We started off at a restaurant I've always wanted to try. We killed some time in a bookstore looking for gay authors on the shelves. (They were few and far between.) Then we headed to the gay bar.

Yes, I said the gay bar. We only have one here. It's location in an old railroad station made it seem a little creepy from the outside. But I had done my research and knew that it was supposed to be a fairly decent place.

That whole experience was quite surreal for me. First of all, when we walked in every patron at the bar was glued to the college football game on the televisions. Even the tranny bartender was yelling at the screen. I've been to a lot of gay bars (for a straight girl) , but I've never seen one like this.

And our drinks only cost 9 bucks. Nine bucks! And I got Grey Goose.

Once the game was over, we explored the massive place to find three different dance floors and a performance space. I was surprised but pleased to find a very diverse crowd. I guess I'm used to big city bars where there are so many gays and lesbians that they can segregate into their own cliques and their own establishments. But the crowd here was a mixture of every kind of LGBT person under the sun. And they all seemed to know each other. It was a friendly place, though no one but the bartenders talked to us.

But the drag show was an abomination.

After the bar, we headed to a casino. Although I've been to a couple of events at the local casinos I've never actually ventured onto a gaming floor. Patrick and I mostly ended up gawking at the freak show of humanity. And we ordered breakfast and coffee before heading back home.

On Sunday we went to brunch and the boardwalk. But Patrick's visit came to an end all too soon.

I spent most of Sunday afternoon explaining to my son that he couldn't go home with Uncle Patrick. Both kids cried when we left him at the airport. And the dog still hasn't forgiven me for sending her one true love away yet again.


It was so wonderful to have my friend visit. I know that this damned bayou isn't exactly at the top of the list of places he'd like to visit. But Patrick took time away from his life and his work to give me some much needed companionship and fun. We were all exhausted by the end of the weekend, but it was worth it.

By the way, if you talk to Patrick ask him to demonstrate the new accent he picked up. Y'all will done think he done lost his mind.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Delicate Flower

Funny. I tell my husband this all the time. There is no one more dainty and delicate than me.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Smile as Wide as All Get Out

A couple of weeks ago, I was lazily flipping through our soon-to-be-defunct base paper when an image startled me so much it made me jump.

It was me!

It was a picture of me surrounded by copy about me directing people to my "other blog". I only mention it because it surprised me so. And it made me feel a little dirty. Like I'm a whore, paid to write drivel and then promoted without my knowledge, consent, or support.

But, hey. The fact that they used my little blog head shot makes Patrick a published photographer.

So I felt a little gun shy while I was perusing the last issue of the paper. I turned every page sort of half-hoping not to see my ugly mug, yet half-hoping that my employer at least finds my drivel worth advertising for another week. (Gotta keep those Carrie Bradshaw-esq checks rolling in.)

I thought I was prepared to see myself again upon turning each page, but no. This time I gasped when my face came into view.

This ad was larger. Or at least it was wider. My face certainly was so.

Someone doesn't know about maintaining photo proportions. My photo was stretched by width, but not by height.

And I appeared in the historic last issue of our base paper with its seventy-five year history looking like Jabba the Hut.

How befitting.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Well, they are a funny people.

Patrick and I were talking on the phone this weekend. We were laughing and he was teasing me about sex toys and I had to stop him and say, "I have to call you back. I have the girl with me."

Which made my daughter accuse, "You're hiding something from me, Mom. I know it!"

"Oh, it's nothing," I told her. "Uncle Patrick just thinks he's funny. You know he's a jokester."

To which she replied, "Well, of course he is, Mom. He's a Canadian."