Wednesday, January 31, 2007

He who sweats the most will most likely fail

Some of the hats I wear on any given day at work include:

Payroll administrator
Benefits coordinator
Purchasing agent
Small item receiving
Human resources
Accounts receivable
Accounts payable - part time
Go-to gal
Call screener
and Yell-at-me-because-you're-pissed-at-someone-else girl

Right now I'm wearing the beautifully decorated Human Resources hat.
With it comes a lovely pair of golden she-balls that will induce
severe sweating and panicking for most of the employees in the plant.
For several weeks, in addition to the rest of my daily grind, I've
been working on a new employee manual and it's done.

In the past, our company has not done pre-employment drug screening
but that is all about to change. Everyone has signed our drug and
alcohol policy, which includes random drug testing so guess what's
coming up? You guessed it! I guess I might as well get new hire
packets done because I'm guessing we're going to lose quite a few

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

All things borrowed...

I'm borrowing this post...I was over at HH6's blog reading this post and I couldn't help but giggle. Baby Girl is only two but and can't shout out with the "I needs...", per say. I hear "Mommy" so many times a day that sometimes I wish I could change my name. Sgt. doesn't tell me that he needs something until it's the last hour of the last day and there are no options open. I've worked for ten years trying to change that but I swear it's embedded in the Y chromosome.

The first thing that hit home was missing socks. I'd love to hear the answer to the age old question but I just don't think anyone really, really knows. When BG was first home I used to pin her socks together so we'd always have a pair but then sometimes the pins would rust and left marks. I then used a lingerie bag to put them in but to be quite honest, I think it's easier to buy new socks than it is to keep up with the existing ones, at least at the Sgt. L household. BG probably has 30 pair of socks with less than half of them having mates. Long ago I started trying to buy all socks that matched so there would be no confusion as to what its mate should look like. The only problem with that is manufacturers change it just enough they don't look alike when you buy more and Heaven help Sgt. if he tries to match socks. I can't tell you the number of days I've had one black and one blue until I see it under the flourescent lighting in my office. My assistant pointed it out one day and the only thing I could think of was that I have another pair just like them at home.

What also hit home was about needing money for school. While BG is only two, she goes to a private school that goes from daycare through 12th grade. When she first started going to this school, she was in the baby class because we started after the school year ended and they lumped all little, little kids together. In August she moved up to the beginning toddler class and we got a notice for school pictures. Yes, even the babies and toddlers are in the yearbook. In the same month we got the stuff for a magazine drive. BG sold 9 magazines, half of which come to our house. Her prize: 2 suckers. She's the only one in her class who sold any at all because I thought it was the thing to do. In September they sold doughnuts. I did buy a dozen for my office because we love to live on the sugar edge. October was another fundraiser selling miscellaneous stuff. November they pushed for donations for Operation Christmas Child, which we do through our church, and had Christmas pictures plus selling candy bars. December they were pimping doughnuts again to raise money for a bonus for the teachers and, again, I bought a dozen for my office. Aside from the fundraiser for the teacher bonuses, the rest of the fundraisers went to the bus fund. Here's the thing: I pay her tuition/fees; she doesn't attend on charity. I can't keep supporting the bus thing because we live 25 miles from her school and they don't go that way. While I understand them being private, my purse clinches tight every time a new month rolls around. Sgt. and I are better off making a donation to the school/church so we can at least have a tax deduction. My hips and thighs will be better off, too.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tidbits about Me

1. I always put my left shoe on first but take my right one off first. Same with my pants.
2. The cans in my pantry are by color and type with one shelf for miscellaneous stuff.
3. All the hangers in our house are white plastic.
4. My sock drawer has been in the same location my entire life and it shook me up when Sgt. moved it.(upper right drawer of dresser and he moved it to middle left).
5. When we go to the big mall, we always park at the same store because there's always a lot of parking available and we go through the store into the mall and to the right. The last time we went, Sgt. wanted to start on the left side and it took a LONG time for me to adjust to it. (It loops around and it's 3 miles inside).
6. I love hot fudge brownie sundaes, sans the nuts.
7. I love cheese and most things cheese.
8. I don't like milk but I have to have it in my cereal but I drain the spoon for every bite.
9. I'm hooked on Cheez-Its right now.
10. I don't like tomatoes in their raw form. I will eat them in soups, chili, spaghetti sauce, etc. but not raw. I wish I did like them. In the south everyone eats tomato sandwiches in the summer and I've always wanted to but...
11. I don't like mayonnaise, which would make it hard to have the tomato sandwich. I will eat it in potato salad and the such but never on a sandwich.
12. My career is no where near what my college degree is in.
13. I'm an insomniac.
14. Weight Watchers worked for me but I'm a drop out. I've been starting over on Monday for almost 6 months now.
15. I had my tonsils out in May '06 to help with throat infections and sinus surgery so I could breath. Since then I've had 8 throat illnesses and I still can't breathe. Plus, the doctor cut my
epiglottis in half so I can't say "L" words without sounding like I have a speech impediment.
16. I own 8 pair of black pants. Oprah says they're slimming so I figure if I can't be slim, I might as well give the illusion of it.
17. I love 80s music. B0n J0vi rocks! I love the feather bangs and his too-tight pants.
18. I'm a t-shirt ho and have one from just about everywhere I've been plus the one from Iraq Sgt. bought me.
19. I can't stand it when you tell someone thank you and they reply with "Uh, huh" instead of "you're welcome."
20. I only eat red Popsicles and jello. I used to only eat red Starburst and suckers but I will eat all colors of Starburst and venture out for an apple Bl0w P0p.
21. I have no tattoos.
22. I love cookbooks and read them cover to cover like most people read a novel.
23. I'm in the process of writing a cookbook as a fundraiser with part of the proceeds going to support our troops through various organizations. Check back for details.
24. I love the beach even though I'm so pale I could glow in the dark. I went to college in a beach town and we used to schedule our classes around the sun. Ever since college I wear minimum of SPF30 and a hat. I don't have any wrinkles.
25. I decorate cakes.
26. I like fine point pens and prefer black ink over blue.
27. Being a mom is the greatest experience of my life.
28. When I eat a sandwich, the mustard has to be in a clockwise swirl starting from the center working out. Sgt. doesn't believe that I would know when he does it backwards but he doesn't stray from it.
29. I've only traveled outside of the United States one time and never again will I fly cattle class for a flight that long.
30. My favorite color changes a lot.
31. I've never been on a cruise but I've made Sgt. promise he'll take me on one after he gets back from Iraq this time. If he doesn't have to deploy I still want to go.
32. I hate emptying the dishwasher. I'd much rather load it.
33. Except for when Sgt. isn't home, I never: wash my own car, mow the yard, take the trash out, feed the dog. When he is gone my car goes through the automatic car wash and I have someone come and do the yard. I do feed the dog and get the trash out to the street on trash day.
34. I very seldom wear a jacket and don't think I own anything that would be classified as a coat. It's a small sidewalk jaunt to the car, I have an hour commute to work and about 20 steps into my building so I don't really need one because I'm always inside. Besides, I'm super duper hot natured and think the perfect weather is sunny and 62. However, I do wish I had one today. It's 21* with 20mph winds. It was cold pumping gas, which is something I used to not do until I started commuting 88 miles round trip per day. Sgt. will still usually take it and fill it up on the weekends.
35. I take my shoes off as soon as I walk in the door and never wear them inside our house - not even slippers. I take my jewelry off second.
36. I can't stand to hear people suck their teeth.
37. I never ate an omelet until 1999 while we were at Disney World. I can't seem to make them and flip them in half so we have "egg mountain" at my house.
38. I remember my very first phone number.
39. I don't like dark beer, red beer or beer in green bottles. I don't really care for restaurant microbrew, either.
40. I only have 8 pictures hanging on the walls in our house. I have a phobia about holes in the wall. I have lots to hang and even special hooks that leave teensy tinsy holes but can't bring myself to do it.
41. I love the smell of ocean air.

Weekend Wrap Up

Sgt. had drill this weekend and other than the fact it was freezing
cold in the field, he came home in a wonderful mood. He has been put
in an E6 slot and given a new job (can't remember what it is, though).
I'm proud of him. He has been with this unit since the summer and
has done a great job since he's been with them and they will put his
package together and submit it for a promotion.

We had a long eye to eye talk last night about happenings. They are
on high alert and three units have requested they be attached with
them. Even though a Colonel was there giving a white-picket-fence
speech, the Captain pretty much said get ready to go. It seems as
though everyone is just waiting for the call. No tears shed. Only
hugs given.

BG has the cutest little outfit of camouflage pants (they are pink and
green flowered camouflage) and she wore them to preschool Friday and
all day pointed at them and said, "Daddy" because her daddy has his
ACUs. So cute. I put them back on her yesterday and when he got home
we had a little mini-photo shoot with both of them in their uniforms.
Great pictures. Big smiles. Huge hugs. No card in the digital
camera. Needless to say, after that wasted 10 minutes, BG was done
being cute and we only got a couple of cute ones.

We went out to eat and he told me about a couple of other projects
that are in the works and asked my opinion of them. I'm supportive of
them because he is and he'll do a great job no matter what it is.
They are all great opportunities and hopefully they'll come to light
this year. Since BG was in uber toddler mode, we took her home and
let her run around and she did collapse about 7:15 and slept all the
way through the night. Yippee for me! Well, I should say I guess she
slept through the night because I didn't hear her cry so either she
did or I was just dead to the world. Sgt. and I had some quiet time
to just talk and enjoy each other's company and he started snoring
around 9:00 since he gets up around 3:30.

Glad he's home. I miss my soldier when he's gone - even for a
weekend. I missed him greatly in 2005 and I'll miss him even more
this deployment. I'm trying to keep an open mind and a good spirit.
That with prayers, we'll all make it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

More of the same...

I've blogged for years but always with someone knowing who I am...this time it's just me and those of you who find me in one way or another.It's the best therapy I've ever done. One day posts will move on to something of more substance.


New night vision goggles have arrived at the armory. That makes two shipments of new gear/weapons that we know of; the first was new M4s. Still, no budget for uniforms so Sgt. L is still wearing his belt with a newly added notch and when they go in the field, he wears his old
Navy field jacket. He didn't want to take it but I insisted and he was glad I did; it was 18* that night. I told him if anyone gave him any lip tell them his wife said he had to wear it. :) No one gave him any lip and he didn't have to say, "My wife said so." All were happy.

He leaves tomorrow night for another weekend of combat training, which they were told in at the end of summer was their new training and for no specific reason. Those who have been around a while know that nothing happens without some type of reason, especially with the
military. His CO has been emailing the major on other issues and threw in there about a deployment. The answer was to the tune of, "I can't tell you what you already know." It seems to be some code. I'm trying not to let my guard down and we are still planning for a deployment. It's the only way I can cope.

Last night we took the front off Baby Girl's crib and turned it into a toddler bed. She was so excited to be a part of getting a brand new big girl bed with a brand new soft blanket and pillow. She climbed up between the safety rails and "practiced" going nite-nite. Sweet. It was going to be a better transition than I envisioned. Well, that lasted for all of a millisecond. Yesterday BG had her two year checkup and is weighing in at 26 pounds and 32" tall. She also got the last shots she will need until she's 4. The new nurse wouldn't let me hold her; she had her lie down with me at her head holding her down and she held down her legs and gave her the two shots. BG did VERY GOOD until the last second of the last shot and she broke out into crocodile tears. Since she was so good we scooted through a drive through and she got a Sprite - big treat for her. A few hours after we got home, the initial dose of Tylenol was wearing off and she began to show us her leg where her "boo-boo" was and at 6:00 she pretty much passed out - but only with me holding her. She did not want to be put down. Usually our bedtime routine starts at 7 pm and she's out by 7:45 or 8:00 at the latest. Every time I tried putting her down, she wailed. When I put her on her new soft bed, she turned purple and I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head she screamed so hard. So, I held her until about 8:00 and I was starving so I got us up and ate a sandwich. Sgt. came home from the gym and she was not about to have any part of her daddy...all mommy all the time; at least when she's not feeling well. I ate my sandwich, we
grabbed up her blanket and cup of water and set off for her to sleep with us in our bed. It's not something I do regularly because she is a horrible bed partner and we think she needs her own room but last night was different. She snuggled next to me and when Sgt. came out of the shower she immediately chanted for daddy. She snuggled with him until she fell asleep. It was a rough night for all of us. Usually Sgt. doesn't get up with her at night because he drives a truck during the day and has to get up at 3:30 a.m. for work but last night he did so I could sleep since I was up with her all the night before. They got up and she went potty and went right back to sleep. Sgt. is going to miss that if he gets deployed. It isn't often BG vies for Sgt.'s attention but when she does, he eats it up with all his might. He loves her. He loves her without a doubt.

When Sgt. deployed in 2005 we didn't have any children; it was us and the dog. For days the dog followed me around I thought she just missed him, because you know dogs are like that, right? Wrong. She was hungry. Sgt. fed her before we left for the airport and she eats for a couple of days and we fill her bowl back up. That's one of the 4 things that only Sgt. does and I didn't think to look at the bowl. Once I fed her she was back to her old spot in front of the living
room window admiring the world and I was vapor until it was feeding time again. I didn't forget any more. I packed his sea bag with all the things he would need for three months. He was "embarrassed" that I used a round tupperware like cake container to put the squishables (i.e. toothpaste) in and packed using the packmate bags that allowed us to put everything he needed and some plus a pillow. Come to find out, my ideas weren't all that crack pot and many others had done the same thing. He had all he needed and his squishables were still in tact. See, Sgt., you don't give me enough credit.

The day I left Sgt. at the airport was one of the hardest days of my life and they would only get worse for me. Now, worse is relative to each person and while I understand that others have more hardship than I, it was worse based on my life. My grandmother passed away 12 days
after Sgt. left for training. My mother called and told me she was not doing well and I needed to go see her. I went to the nursing home before church that night. She was laying there and had lost so much weight she was pretty much just a shell gasping for air. We had a DNR and grandma had lived a God-filled life and was satisfied within herself. At church I asked our congregation to pray for her. They did. Grandma died that night. We buried her on a Wednesday in her home church cemetery about 3 hours from our town. I drove down that
morning and back that afternoon. I stopped and bought some tulips on my way down and my mom's best friend held my had during the short graveside service. I felt as though my world had been set on it's ear. My husband was in combat training 14 hours from our home getting ready to deploy. I had no children. My mother and dad were as distraught as I was and I was empty. Ms. T. held my hand and meant it. I was glad she was there. A week after that, Sgt. found out they were leaving about 2 weeks ahead of their original date so I booked a flight, rental car and hotel room. I flew Friday night and would be able to see him for half a day on Saturday and all day Sunday and have him back to base by 5:30 Monday morning. We had the best time together. We shopped for BG and he picked out some things for her. After 41 hours of just being together, we packed up and I took him back to the base. That empty feeling was there all over again. I said good bye to his room mate and friend and we made our way back to the parking lot. Sgt. cried, which isn't something he does a lot. I cried, which is something I do often. We said our good byes and they were starting to gather for formation. He hugged me tight and told me
he loved me. As I drove off, I looked back in my rear view mirror and he was standing there waving at me and blew me a kiss. I cried all the way to the airport and sat waiting for my flight. Alone. Empty.

I got home and began the wait of all waits until I would hold my beloved in my arms again. He was able to call me for about a week after that and they were on lock down and I wouldn't hear from him until they arrived in Kuwait. Well, at 2:38 a.m. I got a call they were at their stopping point along the way. I was glad to hear his voice. It was then that the time between phone calls would be unknown. I was living my day to day life in the luxury of my home with all the comforts and he was beginning the dirtiest, hardest and most emotionally taking task of his life. He was going to war. One week later he was in a war zone.

Throughout his deployment, I often thought I had no right to be upset with him being gone. After all, I had no children to worry about and explain where daddy was and what he was doing, I was okay financially and there were so many more people in the world who had things much
worse than I did. Oh, how I missed him. I traveled to meet some e-pals while he was gone and had a wonderful Labor Day weekend jaunt. When I got ready to leave, the gal I traveled with was about to leave to adopt their child and told me, "I'm not ready for this." Yes, she was. She had journeyed for a year to get to the point she was at and she was ready. She was ready because her husband was home to meet her at the airport and one week later they would board a flight to end the greatest journey of a lifetime; bring their daughter home. Me? I did okay through most of the flight. Because it was a holiday weekend, the airport had opened an extra over-flow lot and I got off in the wrong lot. Smart. I always park in the same area so I don't make that mistake but didn't this time and my mind was flooded so I just.could.not.remember. It is one of the lots you can't get out of unless you are a vehicle and the gate slides. No way out and there wasn't another shuttle coming my way. A nice old couple picked me up and took me to my lot. I couldn't find my car. I wandered and wandered. I was pushing the panic button but nothing happened so I couldn't follow the sound. A pilot stopped and offered to help me. No, thank you. I walked two more aisles and there it was. The car I bought the day their hooch got hit by a rocket. I sat and cried in the parking lot. I cried down the interstate and I called my mom. I didn't want to go home to an empty house. I simply didn't want to do it. But, I didn't want to drive the extra hour to my mom's house, either. So, I picked up the dog at the kennel and went home and cried by myself.

214 days after he stepped foot onto foreign soil, he stepped foot back on U.S. soil. I stood in a tropical storm, front and center, with my poncho, a borrowed umbrella and American flag. 5 1/2 hours later the lights of the plane broke through the gray rain clouds and landed. What a glorious day it was. My husband was home. He was home safe. There were no losses. Some were injured but none died. That was the most glorious of all.

I made many friends that day standing in the rain. Not friends I've talked to again or even email with but women who "knew" me and my life. They knew exactly what I had felt and for the first time I felt validated. It took almost a year to give me the comfort in knowing it was okay to have my feelings and it took 16 strangers to do it. Thank you, ladies.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Rambling on and on and on...

I'm sitting here listening to my husband snore and my toddler has fallen asleep to Elmo. I really should be napping, too, but for some reason I just can't. We went and had baby girl's two year old portraits done today and her daddy knew better than to think we would walk out with the $9.95 package. Well, we got it but along with another $130 to go with it. After sticker shock, a trip to Gymboree to use my Gymbucks and a quick pass through a couple of other stores, we made our way home singing out loud to keep BG up and not nap in the car. We got home, threw in Elmo and I left her to go to sleep so I could do the same but I'm here.

Every day I Google looking for more information on troops that will be deploying to Iraq and it's always the same information and the link is highlighted purple so I know I've been there already. Hubs' guard unit is attached to an active duty unit that was already scheduled to deploy in May. Those guys know but his unit doesn't. Makes me wonder. His was one of the first to go in 2003 and now are hanging on to see if they'll go back now. There is one guy in his unit who has been talking to the Chaplain a lot lately. His wife is a crackhead and he has filed for divorce. It is her 2nd or 3d time through rehab and he just couldn't take it anymore. He has three kids 11, 7 and 2 and she just recently signed over custody to him. The two year old was their surprise baby when he came home from Iraq last time. He's wondering if he should file for hardship. He doesn't have anyone to care for his kids and is worried that everything he has left will crumble around him but he also wants to serve his country with his fellow soldiers. My heart breaks for him. I've offered to have his kids come to our house or us go to his so he can get a haircut, go have a beer or do whatever it is he needs to do by himself. What else can I offer to do? I wish there was more. His 2 year old could play with mine. I could entertain his 7 year old but his 11 year old I'm not sure about. She's had a tough time with her situation and has started to lash out and it wears him out and understandably.

No matter how hard I think I have it, there is someone who always has it worse. I recently read a blog about Perspective written by a milspouse and it touched me greatly. In it she referenced that she pulled perspective from a good friend who became a widow when her husband was killed in Fallujah. Wow. I've known people to die but I've never known anyone super close to me who has. The closest is an aunt who lives in Alaska whose husband committed suicide 10 years ago. But, I was in my 20's, she was in Alaska and I didn't know him all that well. His memorial service was the same weekend of my wedding. I wasn't sure how to react/respond. I knew my heart broke for her and it broke greatly. Since then, everyone has moved on and she hasremarried, etc.

I often wonder how I would react if I got that dreadful visit from the Army. I often dream about it and wonder who I would call first. What would I say? Would I make them go next door to get my neighbor so I didn't have to hear it alone? Would I call my mother who lives and hour away and tell her to get over now and make them sit in the driveway until she got here? I know I shouldn't have the thoughts but I do. It's a fact if he goes back to Iraq it could happen. There are over 3000 other families whose loved ones have met their maker and my heart aches for them. The first time Hubs got ready to come home, he sent his footlockers with some of his belongings and I sat on the front porch and cried as hard as I think I have ever cried. It was the first step in him coming home but there were so many other families who were getting the footlocker but there would be no welcome home ceremony to attend. It's sad. It's heartbreaking. I believe in my husband and all our troops. I often get asked if I support the war. It doesn't matter what I think. There are more people who know what is going on than me and it's so easy to be an armchair quarterback. I think it would be a huge mistake to pull out now and I think that is the reality of it. It's a sacrifice. It's a hard sacrifice to make. Hubs is a reservist. He re-enlisted in August with the full understanding of the possibility of a second tour, possibly a third before it is all over. But, I'm a worrier and it's what I do best, I think. I guess it's a good thing worry doesn't cause hair to grey otherwise I'd be white all over.

I guess enough rambling and incomplete thoughts for now...I'm going to snuggle next to Hubs and catch a couple of winks before BG wakes from her nap.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

When vs. If

We are preparing for when vs. if. It seems to be the best way to
handle the possiblity of a redeployment. Some say it's premature to
begin to worry but it's not them who are having to deal with it. So,
kindly keep all negative words and comments away from me and my
family. You do what you have to do, we'll do what we have to do.

Hubs has an active duty friend who has heard that the brigade will be
called. Yes, it's still kind of early. Yes, it's still speculation.
Unfortunately, too many rumors that fly like that tend to end up
truths. Besides, it was leaked several months back to all the
newspapers and the higher ups back pedaled to try and dispel it. It
doesn't get leaked if it hasn't been talked about.

New weapons arrived at the armory this week. Budget empty for new
uniforms but shiny new weapons arrived.

I will pray and I will pray hard.

God keep them in your hands and give them the strength, courage and
knowledge to take care of one another to finish their task and come
home safe. All of them.