Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Breathe, Breathe, Breathe....

I've been looking through some of my old photos recently, taking a little walk down memory lane. There is a recurring theme in most of the pictures of me. Like...tank tops. Shorts. Skirts. Sandals. Skin that is visible and not hidden under 6 layers of clothing. When I realized my impressive sandal collection is going to be good for nothing except gathering dust in my closet for the next 3 or 4 years I started hyperventilating. It all came crashing together all of a sudden. WHAT am I DOING? I'm moving to Alaska? Am I OUT of my mind?? I'm a born and bred California girl! I love the beach! I love Disneyland! I love South Coast Plaza! What am I going to do in the Great White North in 40 below zero weather and nothing but a whole lot of snow and ice???


It'll be okay. I'll just have to take up snowboarding. Again. I tried once before in Germany, and all I managed to do was master the art of falling down. I woke up the next morning and felt like I'd been run over by a truck, trampled by a moose and rolled down a mountain. At least the rolled down a mountain part was accurate enough. I'll make some snowmen. Snow forts. Igloos. Wait a minute, I HATE snow! It's cold and wet and gets dirty and tromped all over the floor and makes everything gross. What am I thinking???


Okay. Enough is enough. Pity party over. I can't wear sandals? I'll just have to buy some super cute boots. And sweaters. Can we say Cashmere? Ooohh, and pretty scarves. I LOVE scarves. If I can't go to Disneyland, well...I'll live. The bright side of being stuck inside all Winter is that I have an excuse to scrapbook and have Buffy marathons. As for all this snow and ice? I'm just going to plan a vacation to someplace warm. Like Hawaii. Or the Bahamas. Or Mars.

I'll be fine. I'll be more than fine. I WILL flourish! I am an Army Wife after all, traveler extraordinaire and conqueror of impossible situations. Bring it on Alaska! You don't scare me...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Reason for my Insanity

You ever meet someone who seems normal at first glance, but the more you talk to them the more you realize that there is something just not right? Their laughter is tinged with that slight edge of hysteria and you realize they're walking that tightrope of "almost insane, but not quite". This, in my opinion, describes all stay-at-home mothers of small children. Especially if everyone else in the house happens to have a Y chromosome. We're all just one attempted egg-juggling on the carpet away from the looney bin.

You ever wonder why?

I can tell you why. Because little kids - little BOYS especially - are specifically calibrated to drive their mothers insane. It's their sole purpose in life. I think they get an award if they accomplish it before they turn 5. My almost 5 year-old Aiden is on the downhill slope, so he's working overtime. We had this conversation last night.

Me: "Aiden, where's the remote?"

Aiden: "The remote? I don't know."

Me: "You had it last, where did you put it?"

Aiden: "Where did I put what?"

Me: "The remote, Aiden. Where did you put it?"

Aiden: "OH, the remote. I can't remember."

Me: "Think. Where did you put it?"

Aiden: "I know! Someone sneaked in our house and was really quiet and took the remote to change the batteries."

Me: "Aiden. What did you do with it?"

Aiden: "Ummm...I put it...wait, what are you looking for?"

Deep breath. Deeeeeeep breath.

Me: "The. Remote. Control."

Aiden: "Oh right. The remote. I think I lost it."

Me: "You think you lost it?"

Aiden: "Yeah, I lost it in the couch. It fell down in the cushions and it's gone now. Sorry."

I search the cushions...ah! Success!

Me: "I found it."

Aiden: "Found what?"

Almost exactly six years ago, I was lying on a beach in Mallorca, Spain. I was sipping some alcoholic concoction I couldn't pronounce, with Mediterranean breezes softly blowing around me. It was quiet. The sun was warm on my face. I had a book. It was QUIET. This is why I'm almost insane. I went from sunbathing in the Mediterranean and hiking up to the Parthenon and drinking wine in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower to looking my son in the face and wondering if he's had a brain transplant with Dory from Finding Nemo. And just the fact that the first thing I thought of was a cartoon character from a Disney movie proves just how far gone I am.

So the next time you see some poor, harried mother in Target or Panera Bread with small children in tow and a look on her face that says she's got one foot over the edge, be nice. Don't think to yourself, "geez, would it KILL her to put on some make-up?" because she used to be a person, too.

I'm hoping that eventually my sanity will return. I refuse to believe that it's gone for good, but rather that it's taking an extended vacation. It took one look at my kids and decided to get the hell out of dodge, but it'll be back. Probably when my kids get married and have kids of their own. Then I'll be able to laugh along with MY mother at the great karmic wonderfulness of the universe.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Close Enough For Government Work

With our upcoming PCS to Alaska, we get lots of what the government refers to as "entitlements". Meaning - benefits the Army gives you to aid you in your trek to wherever they are sending you. Since Alaska is considered an overseas location, we're entitled to a lot to get us there. One of these entitlements is shipping our vehicle at government expense, so we don't have to drive it up there. Sounds good, right? Drop the car off at the port and hop on a plane, easy as pie. As my 2 year-old says, NOT. We've shipped cars through the government twice before - once on our way to Germany and once on our way back. And you thought they made doing your taxes hard? Ha.

First of all, it has to be very clean. I don't mean vacuumed and emptied of all fast food wrappers and dead french fries. I mean, CLEAN. Absolutely no dirt, whatsoever. A toothbrush would be a good investment when cleaning your car prior to shipping. The phrase "close enough for government work" does not apply in this case. Not only does it have to be sparkling clean, but your fuel level has to be at a certain level, and your tires must be clean. Difficult to manage when you have to drive around to get your gas level at the right place. In light of this, Chris decided to clean the car this weekend. When he said, "I'm going to clean the car out so you can go to the commissary later", I thought he meant he was going to take his TA-50 (Army crap) out of the back and maybe gather up all of his empty Monster cans. After about 2 hours he comes inside and says he needs my help with something - my muscles, to be specific.

Now, considering the fact that my husband's muscles alone probably equal half my body weight, I couldn't imagine what he could possibly need me for. I walked out to the garage to see all the seats in my car scattered in the driveway. Yep, he unbolted the seats from the car and took them out. He needed my help in maneuvering them so we could clean and vacuum and scrub the heck out of the carpet and the interior. It took 2 days.

So now my car is super clean. I don't think it was this clean when we bought it. The trick now is keeping it clean for the next month and a half or so until we ship it. So the kids are going to walk EVERYWHERE. :-)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Moving, Mouthiness and Mind Control

I always have high hopes of being able to blog every day or every other day. Lord knows I never have a lack of things to talk about. And then I remember that I'm an Army Wife, mother to two crazy little boys and smack in the middle of getting ready to PCS to Alaska. I barely have time to shower some days.

As I mentioned, our move to the Big White North is fast approaching. I'm not sure how it got to be the middle of September already but it's here, and if all goes well we'll be leaving Cali in two months. Which means I've had to seriously get my butt in gear. Alaska is not your average PCS (if there is such a thing as an average PCS), there is a lot more to think about and do to get ready. And we're not exactly prepared for sub-zero temperatures, considering we live in the Mojave Desert and we are still having triple digit heat in September. Coat? What's a coat? And it's not just us that have to get outfitted for the extreme cold, we have to take care of our trusty Ford Explorer, too. Can't have my baby freezing it's batteries off up there...

I've spent the last couple of weekends going room by room with garbage bags and sorting, purging and organizing all of our stuff. It's been great! I had so many bags filled with junk bound for the thrift store and the trash pile, it was taking over my garage. So yesterday I called for a bulk trash pick-up for today and we spent the evening piling everything outside. To include my beloved Lazy-Boy sectional sofa that Chris decided had taken enough abuse and needed to go.

I've also been dealing with an almost 5 year-old with a seriously bad attitude. Aiden seems to think it's okay to order me around and then have a total meltdown when I refuse to drop everything and do his bidding. It's been really frustrating to have absolutely everything turn into a fight lately. He's learning the hard way that disrespecting his parents has consequences. I'm just hoping that Jack is sitting back and taking serious notes, cause I really don't want to go through this again in a couple of years.

One thing about Aiden though - he has a very active and colorful imagination. I think his brain functions on a completely different level from everyone else. Scientists would love to study him, I'm sure. He also has an over-abundance of confidence. The idea that he can't do something has truly never occurred to him. Just yesterday I asked him where his brother had gotten off to, and he told me that he had taken over Jack's mind and made him hide in the closet. He told me this in the same nonchalant tone you might use to tell someone you're out of milk, or the clothes are done in the dryer. Where he gets this stuff, I have no idea. Chris told him it's not very nice to take over people's minds, they might not like that very much.

Anyway...Life is calling...again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I couldn't let this day go by without a mention. It's been nine years since the unthinkable happened and yet I can hardly remember what it was like before. Our current generation of soldiers consists of a lot of men and women who weren't even in high school yet when 9/11 happened. As seriously old as that makes me feel, it's also heartening. Our youth are stepping up to the plate and defending this country as their parents and grandparents did before them. The threat is still there, but as long as we have brave men and women who are willing to sacrifice for a cause greater than themselves, I have faith that we will not fail.

And to all those who have fallen defending our freedom, I offer an old Irish Blessing:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand

Let us never forget.