May 15, 2008


There is one thing I hate about action movies: the wives. The wives are always whiny, self-centered nags. Every action movie wife is Adrian Balboa, telling Rocky not to fight. I get so sick of it. How many times can we hear some snotty witch tell her husband that she's "sick of him putting the job ahead of his family"? And every action hero takes it, lets his wife treat him like dirt while he keeps on killing the bad guys. I can't stand it any longer.

You know, I'm glad my husband has a job that he puts ahead of his family. Because my happiness is not the most important freaking thing on this planet. He doesn't live to make my life perfect; he tries to do a job that's bigger than him, bigger than us. And I am proud of that, I respect that. And I would never dream of emasculating him by saying I can't understand "what he's become," that I can't believe he forgot Timmy's basketball game, that I can't believe that he somehow thinks ridding the streets of evil is better than being home at a decent hour every night.

Seriously, this is what movie wives do. They destroy their husbands because they want their husbands to put them first, above everything else.

That's bullcrap.

I will never forget the post that Joan wrote at SpouseBUZZ about TV husbands promising to make it up to their wives. My husband doesn't have to make anything up to me; it's reward enough to see him do a job he loves well and to make an impact on this world. And yeah, that may mean he misses Timmy's freaking basketball game from time to time. Get over it.

You know, I was stressed out today. I cried a lot and I wished someone was here in the house to hold my hand and tell me that everything was going to be OK. But not once during the entire day did I feel upset that my husband was in Iraq instead of here. Not once. His job is more important than my crying stints. We signed up for selfless service, and by golly I take that seriously. I would never dream of making him feel bad for not being home on a day I needed him.

But apparently TV wives sing a different tune.

I hate TV wives. Except Zoe Washburne, she was cool.

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Oh my goodness, I just had a hilarious thought: my baby is Schroedinger's cat.
Wow, that really cheered me up.

(OK, so not really. Observation won't actually cause the baby to be alive or dead, but for now it really does seem like it's both.)

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Yesterday I was supposed to go in and get more labwork done to make sure that the pregnancy is progressing. I was supposed to show up at lunchtime to do it. When I got there, I found that the nurse had forgotten to order the bloodwork. Naturally, it was lunchtime, so no one was around. I sat for half an hour until they got back from lunch to put the request in the computer system. I ended up getting the test done at about 1:15. When I called for the results, they told me that because I had gotten it done after 1:00, the results wouldn't be ready until tomorrow. Yeah, totally their fault.

I have been calling for the past two and a half hours this morning, and no one is answering the phone.

You know, I said I'm optimistic about the pregnancy, but I've realized what a panic I'm in that I can't get these results. It's like this time I need proof that the baby is not dead, since I carried a dead one around for seven weeks last time.

Someone answer the &%$# phone.


She finally returned my voicemail, two hours after I left it. My results don't look that great. Not dire, but not perfect. I won't know anything more until they can do an ultrasound in two weeks.

Two weeks of agonizing. How nice.


Sorry for the confusion. It's not that they can't get me in for two weeks; it's that ultrasounds are useless until the baby's at least seven weeks along. There's nothing they can know for sure until the heart starts beating. So we have to wait until then, which is two weeks from now.


I worked up the nerve to call back and mentioned that my husband is deployed and I'm sitting alone in the house working myself into a tizzy over this. The nurse reluctantly agreed to let me get my levels tested again tomorrow, but she said flat out that it was pretty pointless. Ewww. And this is a fertility clinic nurse, someone who should know better. All her patients are fragile and freaked out, and she acted all exasperated that I am nervous because she made me feel uneasy about my results. But how are you supposed to feel when someone reads you your numbers and then says, "Oh. Hmm. Have you had a miscarriage before? Oh." and gives you one-word answers to the questions that you're managing to choke out through tears? I mean, for goodness' sake. Nice bedside manner, lady.

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May 14, 2008


When I was in high school, my brother and I wanted to see From Dusk Until Dawn. We finally rented it, and he was going to watch it with his friends and then bring it home for me to watch. As he was leaving his friends' house, he dropped the VHS tape and accidentally stepped on it, cracking the tape, making me unable to watch it.

I am reminded of that frustration today.

If you remember my saying so, I love crappy action movies. Our Blockbuster queue is filled with them now that my husband is gone. So I watched First Blood the other night (the first Rambo movie, to rubes like me who didn't know it wasn't actually called Rambo.) That movie is freaking weird. Why are some Oregon cops harrassing a guy who just wanted to eat in the local diner, to the point where they're all getting killed over it? Whatever, Stallone is hot.

So I returned the movie and was all set to watch First Blood II tonight.

Now imagine me saying "Weak. Lame." in my best Cartman voice: They mailed me another copy of the first movie.

I wanted Cambodia, not Oregon again.

Weak. Lame.

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I just got my first letter in the mail from my husband, sent from Kuwait. In it he compares something he heard in the SF community to a part of Jonah Goldberg's book. Gosh, I love that man.


Speaking of Jonah Goldberg, he compares Obama and Reagan in a recent interview:

First of all, Ronald Reagan which at times does sound superficially like Barack Obama's: Reagan talked about a shining city on a hill, and all that kind of stuff and he had this wonderful rhetoric about patriotism and unity and all these kinds of things. And I'm sure you could find all sorts of other comparisons between Reagan's rhetoric and Obama's. But at the end of the day, Reagan was romanticizing not government but the glories and wonders of the American people and what they can do with God's gift of freedom. Which is an enormous distinction.

Reagan still believed that government wasn't the solution, it was the problem. And Obama's approach is the exact opposite of that. Reagan comes from the National Review tradition of believing that a virtuous, a truly virtuous society can only be the end-product of a free society. For virtue not freely chosen is not virtue as Frank Meyer might say. And Obama's whole shtick is that we must be unified and hopeful for what the government itself can do for us. Michelle Obama says Barack Obama is going to cure and heal our sickened souls. From my perspective, we have a Second Amendment precisely to keep governments who think they are in the soul-fixing business at bay.

I don't want the government to try and fix my soul. When Barack Obama has his door-knocking volunteers go around, they're instructed not to talk about issues but to talk about how they came to Obama in the same way that people talk about coming to Jesus. That scares me. And that's not Reaganesque. Reagan's whole approach-I think Obama's gift for oratory and for seeming like a decent and compelling personality that you'd want to know and you enjoy listening to, that kind of stuff is Reaganesque. His ability to read a script is Reaganesque and I think those comparisons are perfectly legitimate just as I think comparisons between Mike Huckabee and Reagan on that score-his ability to connect with people are fair. But in terms of philosophy, the last thing in the world that Reagan represented was the idea that we should sort of turn politics into this quasi-religious enterprise where a great leader using government can redeem the society and deliver us to some sort of utopian place where we all sort of have to work together, that's not Reaganesque. That's the opposite of Reaganism.

That's good squishy.

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May 13, 2008


My husband's buddy also mentioned that he was a little worried about me, that too much solitude was going to make me batty. He joked that I'd better not turn into Emily Dickinson.

And while there is no frigate like a book, I too worry about having so much alone time.

But if my solitude could get me anywhere near writing something like this, it would be worth it.

My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me,

So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

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I've come across a complaint that SpouseBUZZ is too cheerful of a place. Man, I think it's sad that anyone would dislike the site for that reason. I just think we try hard to see the glass as half full.

Being of that mindset, I loved the post over at Fifteen Months called My Top 8 Tips For Surviving Deployment. My favorite is #5:

5. Everytime you feel like you want something from him to fulfill something missing inside of you, think instead of what you can do for him and the voids he must have being so far away from the colorful landscape of America. If you feel unloved or ignored or sad, do something that you think will make him feel loved, wanted, less alone. Instead of focusing on what things are like for you, try to think about walking in his boots a little bit every day.

All eight of them are such good advice for keeping deployment in perspective.

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Last night my husband's friend commented appreciatively on my KitchenAid mixer. I told him it was my Surviving Deployment Present to myself. I remember how I had to force myself to get it because I thought it was so frivolous. A present, just for not falling to pieces in one year.

And then I learned that other wives had gotten enormous honkin' diamonds and Saabs.

Until today, I had never heard of a "push present," which apparently is a new trend. Husbands are supposed to waste money on wives when they deliver a baby, in addition to the money they waste on ridiculous old Valentine's Day. And I have a feeling that it probably goes down a lot like other people's Surviving Deployment presents did; nothing like blowing a huge wad of cash right when you need it most in life. I would think it was sweet if my husband got something for the baby or a little thing for me. But I sure ain't countin' on it. And I know for a fact that he would not buy expensive jewelery and I wouldn't want him to.

I don't think it's weird to get your spouse a gift; in fact, I've already got something in mind for my husband. But it's not a requirement, for heaven's sake.

My "push present" will probably be an increase in my life insurance policy.

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May 12, 2008


So my husband's single friend came over for dinner tonight, and he asked how I was doing, both with the deployment and with the baby situation. And during the course of chatting, I mentioned the miscarriage, and I also asked him if I could put him down on my list of people to call should I have to endure a casualty notification.

He started to panic and said that we'd better change the subject. I couldn't figure out why, until he said, "I'm afraid you're going to start crying and I don't really know how to handle that."

I laughed and said I hope he doesn't think I'm that fragile. I told him that I haven't cried even once since my husband left and that I'm really feeling quite good and normal.

I'm not sure he believed me.

Really, I'm fine. I'm like creepy fine. I keep waiting for the shoe to drop, but I don't feel sad at all. I'm sure at some point I will get a little weepy, especially if hormones start kicking in, but I don't feel bad at all right now.

But apparently it took me two weeks to cry last time, so I guess I have another seven days.

But also like last time, I just don't suffer.

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It's funny the things that strike you about a person.
And it's nice when they don't label you as teh crazy.

Yeah, my button love. I started collecting them when my mother gave me a jar of buttons that were my great grandmother's. Now I have thousands, all over the house. I have buttons filling lamps and buttons in vases and in jars tucked all over the place.

My relatives even threw me a button bridal shower and collected buttons from anyone who had them. That's how I was able to make this:


The funniest button story I have was when I expressed my love for buttons while living in Sweden. My friend's mother took me to her work so I could sift through all the buttons I wanted. Sadly, she worked at a sort of daycare for mentally handicapped adults. I don't know what that says about me, that I want to play with the same things they do.

So when Sis B and I turned the corner in the yarn shop, I walked open-mouthed to the button rack. And these are high-end buttons, which you buy individually, not the card kind you get at any old store. I ooohed and aaahed, and she was a good sport and pointed nice ones out with me.

The button love is intense in our house.

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Oh my gosh, I miss my husband so much right this moment that I can't stand it.

I found a blog post that I'm dying to discuss with him. Yeah, we don't get enough telephone time to discuss blog posts.

“I hope the officers of her Majesty’s army may never degenerate into bookworms.”

Husband, if you're checking the blog, you simply must read that post and also the comment by SmittenEagle it references. And then write me a letter about what you think!

Actually, I already know what you think.

When my husband started Civil Affairs training, he was given a stack of books to read. He was dismayed to learn that, months later, some of his classmates hadn't read any of them. And we're talking Bernard Lewis level books, not Lawrence of Arabia (which my husband read on his own two years ago). He was so frustrated that people could be in a class about the Middle East and have so little motivation to learn anything about the Middle East.

He, on the other hand, is a studier. He has a reputation in his unit for being a bookworm, a brain. And while my husband is a danged genius, really all he's doing is reading books on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran. That should be a given for anyone in his branch of the Army. Instead, when he went to the branch library to check out a book on modern Iraq, he was the first person to ever have checked it out.

There's no danger of bookworms among his peers. Sadly.

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After our fateful trip to the emergency room in December, I had to go see the doctor the next day to schedule my D&C. I pulled into an extremely packed parking lot, save for an empty row of Expectant Mother spots right by the front. I broke down sobbing in my regular person parking space, far from the front door. It was another reminder that I had lost my chance to use those spaces.

So today as I drove up to the hospital to get my bloodwork done, I got a grin on my face thinking that I could park in one of those spaces! And wouldn't you know, they were all full.

But next time, next time I will be able to.

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My husband's two friends from Farsi class share an apartment (because we've all seen the state of the barracks around here). They come over often for dinner, but we had never been to their place. My husband goes over there one day and comes home and, on a stack of Bibles, says, "Man, their house is clean! And so tidy! Not like ours." Heh. That gem of a compliment was made to me on Valentine's Day, no less.

So the first time I go to their apartment for shooting day, I nearly have a heart attack. Three single junior enlisted soldiers live there, and I swear to you I would've eaten off the floor. It was immaculate.

And all of a sudden I felt mighty ashamed of all the times they'd been in my grubby house.

Two of the roommates deployed last weekend, so my husband's buddy is all alone, just like I am. My husband told him that we should hang out while they're away, and he promised his friend that he didn't have to fear him Marsellus-Wallace-style. And that I wouldn't snort heroin up my nose and have to be jabbed in the heart with a syringe.

So his buddy is coming over for dinner tonight while the gettin's still good, while I can still cook before morning sickness sets in. I'm making him my favorite: saltimbocca alla Romana. Then I thought we could watch the "Fun With Veal" South Park.

Thus I've spent the entire morning on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor. And cleaning windowsills. And vacuuming. And doing everything I can to hide the fact that a full-time soldier keeps his place cleaner than a full-time wife does.

Seriously, they make me look like a slob.

Back to work.

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May 11, 2008


I read the book Gates of Fire because Neil from Armor Geddon said that I reminded him of a Spartan woman. What a compliment! I loved the book when I read it during the last deployment. My husband picked up the book about a year after he returned from Iraq, and he was almost mad at me: "Why didn't you suggest I read this book sooner?" Heh.

I'm reading it again now, and I noticed that my husband marked some passages when he read it. I love to see what he marked, like a window into his mind, illuminating what's important to him.

Like this passage:

War, not peace, produces virtue. War, not peace, purges vice. War, and preparation for war, call forth all that is noble and honorable in a man. It unites him with his brothers and binds them in selfless love, eradicating in the crucible of necessity all which is base and ignoble. There in the holy mill of murder the meanest of men may seek and find that part of himself, concealed beneath the corrupt, which shines forth brilliant and virtuous, worthy of honor before the gods.

And this passage, which I know must have struck a chord with my husband. If I were to say that anything haunted my husband from his first deployment, it would be that he wishes he had done more:

The secret shame of the warrior, the knowledge within his own heart that he could have done better, done more, done it more swiftly or with less self-preserving hesitation; this censure, always most pitiless when directed against oneself, gnawed unspoken and unrelieved at the men's guts. No decoration or prize of valor, not victory itself, could quell it entire.

I like these marked passages; it's as if my husband is here beside me, reading aloud the things he finds interesting. It's nice to hear his voice in the house.

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If you have a quiet moment today, please reflect for a second on our dear internet friend Debey. Think of her and all the other mothers who have lost their children in Iraq and Afghanistan, and maybe take a minute to go tell her that you're thinking of her today, that we are grateful that there are mothers out there who raised sons like Gunnar.

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May 10, 2008


Rose Michelle wrote a post called If It Weren't For War...

I dare say, I would probably be living the same boring day over and over. Waking each day, dreading what was to come from a mundane job, same relentless chores, and never ending errands. I'd probably live next to the same people for 20 years and never know their name, drive the same route every day never seeing the beauty around me.

If it weren't for war, I'm never have married an American hero, be inspired by those around me or treasure the littlest moments such as making dinner with my husband or dancing on the porch in the moonlight. Maybe they're right, it sounds like such a horrible life!

If it weren't for war...

It reminds me of when I wrote this:

Today I started thinking that if 9/11 hadn't happened, my life would be quite different. My husband was slated to join the Army for four years of Finance. My guess is that he would've completed his commitment and taken his business mind elsewhere for more money. Certainly he wouldn't have stayed in and chosen to learn Farsi. We'd probably be somewhere in the Midwest, working and living like most of our peers.

If it weren't for war, I wouldn't know how precious my husband is. I wouldn't relish every day with him. I wouldn't be as proud of him as I was every time he got a perfect score on a Farsi quiz. I wouldn't cherish every moment with him, knowing there will be months and years of our lives apart. I wouldn't have such good Perspective, knowing that dirty laundry on the floor or dribbles of pee on the toilet rim means that at least he's home and safe.

I wouldn't have read so many books about the Middle East. I wouldn't know Iraqi geography. I wouldn't crochet squares for Hand-Crafted Comfort. I wouldn't write so many letters.

My life would be less immediate, less fulfilling, less lived.

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Deployment Silver Linings

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We got our Pelosi Money yesterday, but there's nothing we need to buy to help stimulate the economy. We had intended to spend it on sod for the backyard since we're having a really hard time making grass grow on sand, but the sod laying company can't get into our backyard unless we tear down part of our fence. That seems like a bad trade-off to me, so we're not going that route right now. Other than that, I can't think of anything to spend it on. Thanks for funding our IRA, Congress. You meatheads.

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May 09, 2008


This afternoon I went and met up with Sis B. She has the cutest freckled nose and the most perfectly shaped head I've ever seen. (That sounds weird, I know, but it's meant as a compliment. She's lovely.)

We had a wonderful afternoon of talking our heads off. And my favorite part was when we mentioned my car, and she immediately asked me how many miles to the gallon it gets. We compared notes on our cars' gas consumption. In this nutty Army world we live in, surrounded by SUVs and F-150s, it felt so nice for someone to notice and speak appreciatively of our little, efficient cars.

I can't wait to see her again the next time I'm in "Tayhoss." I hope she introduces me to her armadillo friends.

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Dragonfly found an interesting opinion piece called Anti-War Wounds. I don't relate to every opinion in the article, but it's well-written and makes a good point about "being the 'we.'" And about how it feels when people don't get that.

My husband fights this war. He risks his life every day. We have both made sacrifices for it. And to hear them say that it’s “a waste of time,” that it “will never make a difference,” that “we should call the whole thing off” — well, if that’s true, I’m not sure I’ll get out of bed tomorrow morning. There has to be a reason that our family — and thousands of others — are enduring this.

Yesterday someone called to say goodbye to my husband before he left, not knowing that he'd been bumped forward. And in the conversation, this person asked if my husband thinks that being in Iraq is worth it, if his job means anything, and if he thinks we should've gone there in the first place. How do you answer that question 1) politely and 2) succinctly? And then what do you do when that person says, "Well, I don't think it was the right idea in the first place"?

All I could answer was that my husband reads countless books, articles, and blogs about the Middle East. He's no robot blindly following Bush's orders. And he will do the best job he can with the brain he's been given so that he does make a difference down there.

You know, I've heard the saying that the soldier is the most anti-war person because he actually sees what war is, but I don't think I ever want label myself as anti-war. To me, that's like being anti-pollution or anti-cancer; it's a meaningless term. (I've written about this before.) There is war in this world we live in, like it or not, and sometimes you have to fight it. And if that time comes to my family, then that makes me pro-war. Do I think this time in Iraq has been perfect or easy? No way. But I don't have a crystal ball that can tell me what the world would've looked like if we hadn't gone to Iraq five years ago. It's possible the world might've been worse off. So you fight the war you're in with all you've got and don't waste time thinking about what might have been in some alternate dimension.

So please don't ask our military families to discuss that alternate dimension. It's pointless and off-putting.

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