Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Didn't I get vaccinated for that?

Last night my son asked me if I had tuberculosis.

He was reading a book entitled Why You Wouldn't Want to Live in the Wild West (or something like that) and it had a whole page on diseases.

So he has evaluated my symptoms of the last two weeks and decided that yes, I have tuberculosis.

He might be right.

This morning when he gave me a good morning hug he told me to go take my temperature because I felt hot. "Even your hands, Mom," he told me.

And my temperature was 100.2 degrees.

Do I have a future doctor on my hands?

These last couple of weeks have sucked because I've spent the majority of them either hacking up a lung or asleep. But a lot has gone on 'round the ol' Tuna homestead. Now if only I could stop barking like a seal for a few minutes to sort it all out.

By the way, I am weeks behind on my e-mails, and some of you have sent me some wonderful ones. I appreciate your kind thoughts more than you could ever know and I will answer your e-mails soon! (Even yours, Honey.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Finding Power in Choice, Maybe

Okay, so here is what has been on my mind constantly lately.

To completely over-simplify things, this summer we have a choice. We can either move back to the bayou for the next four years (until my husband's retirement). Or he can deploy for a year and we can stay here.

Now remember, he'll be getting back from his current deployment in the Spring (I'll optimistically say it would be mid-March). And he'd have to head back out again for a year in June or July.

I say this is a complete oversimplification because it is. The powers that be might not really let him choose. They might decide they absolutely need his ass in the wilds of Alaska or in the middle of the ocean. There's never really any telling what the powers that be might do.

Two years ago, I would have loved to move back to the bayou. It was the devil I knew. But now I would hate to. If it were just me, I'd probably be okay with it. I do have a lot of friends there and the cost of living is cheap.

But the idea of taking my children back there makes me want to cry and cry. To the point where I was actually looking into boarding schools for high school. (It sounds crazy, but my daughter would be half way though high school when we would be able to retire and get the hell out of there.)

On the other hand, living without their dad for a year, right on the heals of living without him for six months can't be good for them either. But it would only be a year. And the rest of their lives would stay the same. Same school. Same great neighborhood. Same opportunities to become adults in a really wonderful area of the country.

Let's just say that I can't explain it all, but to me, this is a complete and total fork in the road of my children's lives. And there are no good choices. And we might not be allowed to make the choice at all anyway.

After sixteen years I must say, I am over being a military wife. I used to be so good at it. Now I feel like we have so little power over our family's future.

It is a very bitter pill for this over-protective and overly passionate parent to swallow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I didn't defriend you! I need you!

As if the rest of this shit weren't bad enough...

Facebook disabled my account for using a fake name. Which I am so I can't really fight it.

So if you think I defriended you, I didn't. I only had 43 Facebook friends.

You know...here's the thing. I was just thinking about this.

I got some crappy news yesterday and I'm going through some crappy stuff. And my husband is away and I barely ever get to talk to him. And I don't really have any close friends.

But I have you guys.

I can't talk to my parents about what's going on because they'll be upset. And I can't let my kids know what's going on because nothing is final and they don't need to worry about it too. That's my job. I can always write to my husband, but e-mail and chat aren't the best ways to discuss major life choices. Plus, while I am always honest with him, I want to be careful what I say because I know he is struggling too. I don't want him making hard decisions based on the words I spew when I'm just venting.

But I can always "talk" to you guys.

Except now I'm right back in that place where I wish I had never been Tuna Girl.

I started blogging back when everyone was anonymous. Everyone had blog pen names. Nobody used real names. That seemed completely crazy.

And with my husband's job, we both felt more comfortable having my blog be anonymous.

So I went ahead and said anything on my blog. Anything. So now, if my parents were to find my blog and read back, well, I would just die.

So I have these two separate worlds. And they can't cross.

So Tuna Girl can't be on Facebook anymore. And quite frankly, that was where most of my interaction and moral support was coming from.

I didn't need this shit right now.

How sad and pathetic am I?

Oh, well. I dug this hole. I'll sit in it all alone. It's just the timing that sucks.

And it's just, well, my real life/real name Facebook friends are so boring compared to you lovelies!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Hound of Hell

There are few good things about a deployment. But I think we all try to find the silver linings, if only to give ourselves the illusion that we have some control of the situation.

One of my silver linings for this deployment is that I inherited my husband's iPhone when he left.

Recently I was endlessly and aimlessly shifting through the phone's apps (I spend a lot of time checking and rechecking my e-mail these days) when I decided to see what music my taste-challenged husband had left me on his device.

And I found Dos Gringos.

Dos Gringos are apparently a group of singing, music playing and song writing fighter pilots. So their songs are all about our branch of the service and the experiences aviators all share.

I find it fascinating.

First of all, I am a complete sucker for male bonding. I find it damn hot. The CD was recorded live at a bar and I love to hear a roomful of guys belting out a war mongering tune.

Secondly, the music explores a side of my husband's personality that I'm not all that familiar with.

To me he is a total family man. He's kind of soft spoken, except when he's not. He's sort of shy. He's a homebody. He's kind of sweet but mostly he is placid. He has one default facial expression and it is pretty dower. I mean, I can get him going, but for the most part, he is as even keeled as they come.

He very rarely ever goes out with friends or hangs in the O' Club bar after work.

But I know that at work he is stubborn and passionate about what he does. He yells. I've heard stories. He's an old crusty colonel now. He drinks Jack and has been known even to smoke cigars. (Though only on special occasions. Right, honey?)

Nobody knows his name. They all call him by his call sign. Everybody.

He could be a character in a movie. But I never see that side of him. I only hear stories (and see the Jack bottles).

It's when he goes TDY that he gets loose. That's when he goes out and has a good time with his friends. I've gotten the drunken phone calls. I've heard the stories. I'm not allowed to tell the other wives.

And so this CD with song titles like, The Legend of Shaved Dog's Ass and My Wife's Vibrator and lyrics like...

"I spent five months TDY, and the bitch spent all my money."

And the one that is stuck in my head...

"...raining fire from above for the freedom that we love, we are the hounds of hell and the bloody dogs of war."

...I am reminded of my husbands alter ego.

He is a warrior. He's seen combat. I should remember that.

But, still. On the desktop of our computer is a picture of my husband in his plane during his first post 9/11 deployment. He's wearing the baseball hat he wore on combat flights. He's wearing his headset and a mic.

And he's wearing a big fucking smile. His smile. His happy smile.

And I just can't think of him as the hound of hell or dog of war.

He may be a warrior, but mostly he is just...


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Occasionally I miss it wicked bad.

One of my New England friends took her baby out trick-or-treating dressed as a lobster.

In a lobster pot.

She put her baby in a pot.

How awesome is that?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Rich, and How They Stay That Way

How did our middle class asses get here?

You know, they say the rich get richer and they are right. Part of it might be the way wealth builds, but mostly, it is all about associations.

So, we are not rich. By far. My husband has a government job and I don't work. But we are fucking lucky. Through the generosity of family, we are able to give our kids opportunities we never would have dreamed of ourselves.

It all started when we picked a preschool.

Now, I picked a preschool for my three-year-old based solely on the kind of experience she would have. I wanted her to go to the school with the best academics and the best spirit. So I wormed our way in.

Little did I know the type of lifestyle I was setting my kids toward for life. Choosing that school led to violin lessons, Junior League invites, and inclusion in an inner circle I had known nothing about.

The first time we went to a preschool friend's house for a party, and they had valet parking at the circular drive leading up to their freaking mansion...I knew we weren't in a mill town anymore.

Eight years later...

We're still middle class. Maybe upper middle class. We have some savings. We're upside down on our house. (Isn't everyone?) We still live pretty much paycheck to paycheck. (But combat pay helps!) But we have a financial safety net most people don't have, and our kids are still going to private school.

But the level of school, um, let's say "prestige" has gone up a notch.

Now that my daughter is a preteen, it has hit me hard.

A few weeks ago, she got an invitation in the mail for the cotillion season at a country club. I put it in the recycling. Since it had a fee I assumed it was like all the other pageant-type schemes we've been getting "invited" to since our daughter was born.

Then we went to school that day and I found out that it was a thing. All the sixth graders go. Unbeknownst to me, my daughter and her friends had been planning for it for months.

So I came home and dug the damn invite out of the trash.

Does this mean I'm raising a deb? Does it?

How the hell did that happen?

Now my daughter wants to go to a summer camp for girls. Desperately. But not any summer camp. Oh, no. The summer camp. A summer camp that has legacies. Apparently, it's a thing.

Here's the thing about us. We're not going to say "no" based on just the principle that it is a rich girl thing. We've been researching the heck out of the place. And it looks awesome. We think it will be a wonderful experience for her.

But now she'll be a "_____ Girl" for the rest of her life. And that's a term that has some clout, especially in this region. In fact, as an alumnae she can bring her husband and children to Family Camp. She wants us to go to Family Camp. But we can't. I spent my summers in my own dang backyard.

It's the associations that make the rich get richer.

Hell, we get discounts at businesses in our area just because of where my kids go to school. (Free cookies at Subway anyone?)

The cop's kid in me thinks it is not right. But the parent in me says, "What the hell!" If my kids can have an easier life than my parents had, even then my own husband had, why would I deny them?

My kids are part of a society that my husband and I never really will be. We're pretty much depending on his military rank and our stunning personalities to get by.

Luckily we have learned one really important lesson along the way. Rich people are not bad people. They're like most people. Most are pretty okay. Some suck major ass. And some are really awesome.

We're pretty damn sure we're raising some awesome ones.

So my "_____ Girl" is going to cotillion.

And I find myself asking yet again, "How the hell did we get here?"