02 Mar

File Under: It’s Funny Now

There are some perks to working for the Army. Steady paycheck, health care, job security, assigned housing (or an allowance). There are also some drawbacks with this cushy life. Deployment, bureaucracy, lots of moves, bureaucracy, changes in career trajectory, bureaucracy…  So this morning I was looking through old paperwork, trying to find something, and ran across a fax cover sheet that made me snicker. It was written by a coworker apparently following up on something in regards to paperwork my husband submitted.

Dear Mr. _________, _________ Housing Office

Please note that this was given to Ms. _______ in your office (who incidentally refused to sign the DA Form 200 stating: “I’m a civilian … we don’t sign for anything!”). A DA Form 200 is a routing sheet used to identify a date and person who accepted important paperwork. As evidenced by the loss of this paperwork, I suggest you change your policy.

Happy Monday. Enjoy your new work week!

16 Feb

Deployment Blog Day

A few days ago, TS&WGH, AKA Mr. Incredible, AKA my husband posted on his blog about pictures of flag-draped coffins. His timing happened to coincide with the kids and I watching a TV show featuring a soldier that brought me to tears, and so got me thinking.

It wasn’t a Lifetime tear-jerker movie, nor a raw news report. It was “Underdog to Wonderdog” a bit of fluff on Animal Planet where a team makes over a sad case from an animal shelter and gives it a happy new home. What made me cry was that on this particular episode the dad of the recipient family was deployed to Afghanistan and the dog was supposed to help one of the kids through the separation. At the end of the show, the girl got her dog, AND, as my kids predicted, dad returned home at the same time. Deployed parents miss so many small but important moments in their family’s lives and this family was no different than any other out there. The tears flowed on TV and at my house.

Soldiers are generic in a way. They are (or at least were, before the catch phrase became “An Army of One”) trained to step in for one another. They shed their individualism at Basic Training and are rebuilt as one unit. It makes them better at what they do. What it also does is make each one a part of a greater whole.

So, when one soldier returns home in time to be a part of welcoming a new family member, then there’s hope that they all will return to witness such moments. When one is brought home solemnly in a flag-draped casket, that could be any soldier — even mine.

In 2003 my husband’s battalion lost a soldier in an IED attack. He was in another Company, not my husband’s (simplified, Divisions are made of battalions, Battalions are made of companies, Companies are made of platoons and Platoons are made of soldiers). I personally had never met this man. But, when we went to his memorial service at the chapel on post I choked up as soon as I saw his boots with the carefully placed weapon and helmet. When individuals went up to pay their respects to the empty boots the faucet started flowing. Those could have been my husband’s boots, or my neighbor’s, a friend’s, even those of my uncles who served in Vietnam, or of my grandfather who fought in WWII.

Speaking of my grandfather, he never had much to say about his service when I was growing up. Neither did the uncle who we saw often. It wasn’t until Mr. Incredible joined the Army that Granddad became a fount of Army stories. He loved to hold court with my man. By proxy he and I became closer too. When he died a small honor guard played Taps and folded the flag on his coffin, then gave it to my dad. Since that day, I choke up at the sight of most triangularly folded flags (I say most because we also have a folded flag that was flown over the US capitol on the day Mr. Incredible was commissioned as an officer; so that one has happy memories). These flags hold proud stories.

They may just be pictures, or clothes, a song, or a simple gesture, but in the context of the military, they can represent so much more.

30 Jan

Totally non-Fascinating Stuff

Wanna know how to make even the most recalcitrant kid giggle? Play Go Fish with Hawaiian fish cards.

Skill-wise we are way beyond Go Fish, but I saw this deck as I was killing time while my car got serviced and had to have it. It’s been very fun — you try saying Lauwiliwili’nukunuku’oi’oi (longest Hawaiian fish name)! It’s been a small help in entertaining us as I try to cut the kids’ TV time while expending as little as possible of my own energy.

It’s funny as I go through the day and debate with myself if what we’re doing is blog-worthy. This week, I’ve considered plenty, but nothing really worth the effort of sitting down o write about. We did meet some of the Ace of Cakes crew (Duff, Erica, Sophie, but no Mary Alice :-(), while they are borrowing one of the Dining facilities on Schofield Barracks (where we’re stationed), however weren’t allowed in the kitchen to see them in action. If you’re curious though, tune in to their season finale (I’m guessing a few months from now) where they make a cake for LOST (love that show) and honor an Army pilot with a Blackhawk cake (complete with turning rotors says Duff).

I’ve also considered writing about my current ennui. I’m tired, and tired of being a single parent. We’re only two and a half months into Mr. Incredible’s deployment, so I know I need to, as they say in the Army, “Suck it up and drive on,” but I’m allowing myself a little wallow first. This got me to thinking about whether or not I’d talk deployment on my blog. It’s in no way related to fiber art, but maybe here’s an opportunity for a window into the life of an Army wife. Although all the stereotypes you see on TV are true, at the same time none of them are true either, and unless you live the life, many may not have a clue what makes our lives unique. I told our neighbor/friend today I had just gotten to the “tired of being a single parent” phase and she responded that she’d already been there, done that. We tend to go through similar stages, but everyone does it at a different pace. It used to be that the first week and then month were the hardest, but since we’ve had short (four month) separations just about every year, and the kids and I moved here without Art, maybe it’s taken us a little longer to really miss him. He’s not really been a part of our Hawai’i life, so there’s no gaping hole where he should be. But right now I’m just tired from being “on” all the time. Next week should be good because the kids actually have school all five days! I’m guessing we’ll get our groove back and then by the time we get to the “It’s been four months now, shouldn’t dad be coming home soon” phase, we’ve got summer fun with my MIL all lined up. I can’t say what the second half of the deployment will bring, as we’ve done up to eight months apart, but this is our first 12 monther (I’m so glad the powers that be realized that 15 months is just tooooooooooooooooooo long).

Meanwhile, Mr. Incredible is having a very good day on the other side of the world. 🙂