Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 20-Your views on drugs and alcohol

Alcohol-In moderation it's great.  I love a good glass of wine paired with a nice meal or sitting and chatting with friends.  I love to sit with just Curt and have a glass or two to unwind once in a while.  Champagne is a great choice for special occasions.  I love the bubbly, fizziness of it tingling my nose.  Mix drinks are fun and best of all quite tasty, but again moderation is key. 

I don't like the smell, and I don't like anything that burns.  If it smells AND can keep it away!  I don't drink to get drunk.  I can't stand the feeling of being out of control.  I did it a few times when I was too young to know better, and well, I know better now.  It's much more fun to have a few drinks, enjoy the people your are with and not wake up feeling like the undead.  I just don't see the point.

I also am FIRMLY against drinking and driving!  I have a rule at our house, if you drink you stay.  Plan to hand over your keys because you won't be leaving until morning.  Unless you live in walking distance, and I do mean a few houses away, not a few miles, you stay or you don't drink, or call a cab or a sober buddy, but at my house you play by my rules.  I don't have many but the ones I do have I am firm on.

Drugs-I am against.  If they are illegal, they have been deemed that way for a reason.  If they are RX and not yours, GET YOUR OWN!  If you cannot get your own, you shouldn't be taking it. 

Illegal drugs are a HUGE no,no with me.  Don't do them around me, don't bring them around me, don't discuss them with me, if I find out you use them you can bet your butt I will do everything in my power to get you to stop and/or get you help to stop.  There is no excuse in my book.  If you ever bring them to my house, or around my child you can guarantee you will no longer be invited back until you get help.  Don't EVER put my family in jeopardy because of your selfishness!  I will not apologize for sounding harsh, I feel strongly about this.

Prescription drugs, if they are yours and used as directed they can be life saving at their best.  I believe strongly that prescriptions used correctly are a wonderful creation.  Used incorrectly however they can have detrimental effects.  It doesn't matter if someone is abusing their own prescriptions, or someone else's, it's always going to be dangerous and lead down a road of destruction. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 18-Your views on gay marriage

I posted the wrong day yesterday, so here is yesterdays

WARNING: Please remember this is my blog and these are my views.  If you think that you will be offended by something you read, you are free to skip this portion.  Please also remember I DO NOT sensor my comments.  I believe you have a right to say what you want, however, I also ask that you are respectful in your responses so that I may continue to not sensor my comments.  We are all adults, we all have our own views, please feel free to agree or disagree...RESPECTFULLY.  Thank you.

On to the topic at hand, how do I feel about gay marriage.  This is relatively simple for me.  I believe that people, ALL people have the right to love whomever they are drawn to.  Whomever they choose to love and be with, if that relationship is a truly loving, solid relationship.  I do not think that love should have boundaries.  Why should people be restricted to love only the opposite sex because that is what society deems politically correct? 

Clearly there is a large popularity of people whom for one reason or another are not attracted to the opposite sex.  Should they be forced into a loveless marriage just to please society and their family?  Not if you ask me!  I believe every person has a right to love and be loved, and if people find love I believe they have a right to marry the person they are in love with.  I was able to marry the love of my life and have since spent 7 years going through the ups and downs of marriage with him. 

Why should someone be unable to share the same comfort of marriage and all it brings, good and bad, just because they choose a lover of the same sex?  Some say marriage is just a piece of paper.  If that is the case, why can't gay lovers have the same piece of paper I share with my husband?  Why can't the share the same benefits I share as a married person on my taxes and my health insurance?  Please give me one good reason why 2 people who love each other with all their heart and soul are being told they cannot legally be together.  It's like a slap in the face.

We as a society are completely hypocritical.  We teach our children not to judge.  That people are people and one person is no different from the next, no matter their gender, race, color or creed, and yet we do not stand by that.  I see it all the time, people stare at the person in the wheelchair passing by, people whisper about the kid with all the tattoos and spiky colored hair, people point at the 2 men holding hands as they walk, and a hundred other instances I'm sure you, yourself have witnessed as well.  We judge people everyday on their gender, race, color and religion without even thinking twice.  We even judge ourselves, how many times have you thought "I'm a girl, I can't do that."  That is a flat out judgement based on your gender, and yet we do it ALL the time!

I would LOVE to say I don't do any of this, that I never judge, but I just proved to you that I DO!  Before Curt left, there were a thousand things I would have used that EXACT sentence for, now there are very few, but I am sure there are still some.  My point is, we are all guilty of some form of hippocracy, it's a matter of whether you choose blatant hippocracy, or inadvertent, in my eyes.  Neither is right, neither is okay, and I am not condoning any of it, I am simply saying it is part of life in our society.  Take responsibility for it.  TRY not to do it, own up to it when you do.

As for the gay marriage, I think it's hypocritical to allow 2 people of the opposite sex who have known each other for a matter of hours to get married simply because they fit the mold of what society expects a marriage to be, and to deny 2 people that have been in love, living together, and sharing a life, essentially married but without the paperwork, to be married, simply because they are of the same sex and are not what society wants a marriage to be....well I say it's time to GROW UP world!!  Watch the divorce rate DROP when you allow people who love each other for who they are get married!  Society is not stopping these people from loving each other, or living together, or even starting families, so I say let them marry!

You may agree, you may disagree.  I know what the bible says about marriage, but I also know that God gave people free will.  I say ponder that and tell me that people should not be able to marry the person they love.  I believe free will trumps all....God gave free will for a reason.  Let God do the judging.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 19-What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?

WARNING: Please remember this is my blog and these are my views.  If you think that you will be offended by something you read, you are free to skip this portion.  Please also remember I DO NOT sensor my comments.  I believe you have a right to say what you want, however, I also ask that you are respectful in your responses so that I may continue to not sensor my comments.  We are all adults, we all have our own views, please feel free to agree or disagree...RESPECTFULLY.  Thank you.

Whoever wrote these questions obviously never heard the old adage never discuss religion, politics and baseball! :-)

Religion-I have varying views on religion.  I consider myself a christian, a Lutheran if you want to be specific.  I believe in God and Jesus, I go to church sporadically, I am somewhat confused by the bible and yet I find parts of it inspiring and enthralling.

I spent most of my childhood  in many different churches with different friends.  When I was very young and still in New Jersey, I went to church with my Nana to a Presbyterian church.  At the time I loved all the pomp and circumstance.  I sang in the choir and I carried one of the crosses down the aisle in my robe that was always a tad too big.  When we moved to Arizona I started to explore.  I went to different non-denomination churches with different friends.  I went to a synagogue more than once.  In the beginning of high school I started going to an LDS (Mormon) church with a friend.  I went for a few months, but I found that the commitment required and the beliefs did not fit with my life style and the way I was raised.  I moved on to a Baptist church I enjoyed a lot for a while, then to another non-denomination.  I lived with a girl who considered herself a wicken.  I read some of that and knew it wasn't for me, but still found it fascinating at the time.  I ended up back at a baptist church in my early 20's when Curt and I first got together. 

In the end we seemed to find our niche when looking for a preschool for Gunnar.  I was looking high and low to no eval, and my mom had said that I would know right away when I found the right one.  Well aren't mothers always right? (it's kinda annoying)  I walked into this preschool run by a Lutheran church that was also a private christian school.  I knew IMMEDIATELY it was the right choice.  I enrolled him that day after talking to Curt, and when he started, it was clear we had made the right decision.  We liked the school so much we decided to try the church.  For me it was a bit similar to the Presbyterian that I went to when I was little without the pomp and circumstance.  Curt seemed to like it to, and we agreed to become members.  For all the church hopping I have done, this was a big decision.  I had never actually been a member of any of the churches I attended. 

We went through the membership classes on Monday nights and it was a nice bonding time for me and Curt as well as learning a lot.  We were going every Sunday, but it seemed that every other Sunday Curt was getting a call in the middle of the service.  We would have to leave so he could go to work, and then we'd be lost on the next Sunday's service.  After a few months of the same routine we both got tired of it and decided we had 2 choices.  Gunnar and I could go without him, or none of us could go.  To Curt's credit, he opted for Gunnar and I to continue going without him.  I, however, was in no frame of mind to sit alone in church while G was in Sunday school, so I opted for the later, and we haven't been back since. 

That's just to give you a little background.  I have a lot of thoughts and opinions that don't fit into the traditional christian views.  It may come from all the different religions I have been exposed to, it may come from being raised by very liberal parents with different world views than most of the world around us, I don't really think it matters where it came from, it works for me and my family.

Just some examples of where my views don't fit the mold.  You don't need to agree or disagree, this isn't a debate, these are my feelings, views I have had for the majority of my life.  The God I believe in does not have a hell.  Yes, you read that right.  If He loves us all as much as the bible claims, and He gave us free will to do with as we choose, then the all knowing God I believe in knew what would happen with at free will.  He knew all the good and the bad that would come along with it, and He will forgive us ALL for our sins whether we repent or not.  We are ALL God's children.  I do NOT believe He would sentence anyone of us, no matter how haynes the crime to an eternity in the pits of darkness.  Now maybe there are different parts of heaven, for the people that were not do gooders on earth, I don't know, I haven't put that much thought into it.  I just know that I believe God, the God I believe in loves us ALL, the good and the bad, too much to watch us burn in an eternal fire for eternity.

I believe that EVERYONE goes to heaven.  Or that you get reincarnated first and go later.  I know that may not make much sense to a lot of you, but let me explain.  I believe that eventually we ALL go to heaven, but I believe that we live many more lives than just the one we are living now.  That feeling of deja vu you get, or the feeling of knowing a near stranger like you have known them for your entire life.  I believe that is because you have lived that before or known that person in another life.  People who seem to glide through life like they've done this a million times, people wise beyond their years (Gunnar).  I believe those people are what I call "old souls", people that are on their last of many lives and headed to heaven.  I believe that people like myself, people who make many mistakes, don't seem to heed advice well, live anxiously and unknowingly are "young souls".  We haven't lived many lives and have a lot yet to learn still.  I think that in each persons life there is a combination of young and old souls to keep the balance.  For example, I believe that both Curtis and I are young souls and that is why we were given a child that was an old soul to teach us and guide us.  I know that sounds backwards, but sometimes life is a bit backwards, and it works.  God has a plan and a way, and no matter how hard you fight it or stray from the path, He will find a way to bring you back.

As you can see by these few examples, what I think and feel doesn't fit the mold.  My views work for me.  Everyone one has a right to their own beliefs, I don't believe there is any right or wrong way to believe in God, or a Great Spirit, or a Higher Power, or whatever it is that you believe in.  If your beliefs are not doing harm to yourself and/or others, than believe what makes you feel good.  We have freedom of religion for a reason and God gave free will so that we can choose to believe as we choose and do as we choose.

I may be right, I may be wrong, but I am doing no harm, and I think God should be the one to let me know if my beliefs are on or off track, because He is the only one who truly knows.  We can only try to decipher what His will is.

Politics-I have a similar issue.  My views don't fit the mold.  I have varying views, I don't fit with one party but I am listed as a democrat.  There is a story behind that but you will have to ask my mom because not that I am old enough to know better I refuse to tell it. ;-)

To be honest I don't consider myself very political at all.  The reason being is because I don't feel like there is a ballot that would fit my views.  I am pro choice for the simple fact that I feel I DO NOT have the right to make that choice for another woman.  I do not know her background, her future, or her body.  I am pro life for myself.  I believe that every child should have the chance at life and I would opt for adoption if I could not care for a child I became pregnant with.  AGAIN...that is NOT a choice I could make for someone else.  Call me a hypocrite, call me whatever you want.  My blog, my views, my choice to make.

I know I am going to incite a riot here so please refer to the warning above.  I believe that EVERY child has a right to go to school.  I don't care if that child is in the country legally or not.  The child is not responsible for their parents actions.  I believe every child has a right to the essentials needed to live, food, clothing, shelter and an education.  How are these children going to make anything of themselves, to better themselves if we deny them these basic rights of humanity?

I believe that the politicians do not focus on what they are going to do, but what they want you to think they are going to do.  I don't watch the political campaigns because I cannot stand to watch one opponent smear another day after day.  It makes me sick.  In the end one of them is going to be running our country whether we like it or not, I don't want or need to know all of that persons dirty laundry, real or produced by overactive imaginations with nothing better to do.  I can't stand the bumper stickers..for OR against either party.  I don't care who you vote for!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 17-A book you've read that changed your views on something

I've read a lot of books.  I love to read, but I have found that I don't have much time for reading lately.  I do tend to read that my family refers to as "beach books".  Novels that tell stories, and don't require much though.  Books you can get lost in because they are completely different than the world you live in.  I love to read Nicholas Sparks, Janet Evonovich, Danielle Steele, and the like.  I also like a good mystery and I even got really into the Twilight series, which is not normally my style, but I really enjoyed.  Clearly none of these books have changed my views on anything.  I just wanted you to get an idea of the normal book I read for enjoyment.

As for a book that has changed my views on something, I have to really think about the different books I have read that are not fluff books.  I think it would be To Kill A Mockingbird.  I don't read books more than once.  Maybe it's because I read a lot of fluff, maybe it's because I don't like to read the same thing over again, maybe it's because I already know the story and how it ends.  I don't know for sure, but I do know that it is very rare for me to read something more than once.  I have read To Kill A Mockingbird 5 times, and only 2 were required for school.

I remember reading it for the first time in middle school, I was in 7th grade.  I actually got in trouble for reading ahead of the rest of the class.  I couldn't stop myself, I wanted to read more, I couldn't take my eyes off this book.  I was fascinated by the ultimately gentle Boo Radley, and that Atticus was willing to risk everything for justice, knowing that most likely in the end he would still lose. 

I was devastated when he did lose.  I didn't understand why justice didn't prevail.  I think that is the real reason I read it so many times.  I kept reading for a different ending.  For Atticus to win the case, for Tom to be free and for the town to realize who wrong they were.  It never changed, the ending was the same everytime.

I think somewhere along the way I understood that even though justice didn't prevail for Tom, it was more about Atticus taking on a case that was never going to be won no matter how right he was.  No matter how much proof he had or how innocent Tom was.  It was about teaching his children not to judge by what other think, but by what you know to be true.  Teaching them that a good man stands by his word and stands up for what is right in the face of adversity.

This was the first book that made me really understand that not all endings were perfect, but that they could still be good.  It pulled me from my world of thinking that everyone and everything was always going to be right because it was supposed to be right.  It made me realize that not everyone was good and had the best intentions.  I would learn this lesson again and again over the years, but I think this was the first time I really saw it.  

I still think this is an amazing book and I would read it again now, but there will always be a part of me looking for an ending where Atticus wins, Tom goes free and the town hangs their heads in shame.  Maybe someday the world will know my ending.  Until then.... 

I did it? I DID IT!!

I am horrible at math.  I have never had a knack for it, and it just baffles me.  I have had problems with finances in the past.  I was terrible at budgeting and even when someone helped me set up a budget I could never manage to stick to it.  Things...wants, always seemed more important at the time(s).

At one point Curt and I had someone take over our finances completely.  That got us in a better position financially, but we had NO freedom.  We were not even allowed to have our debit cards, we had to get them once a week to take out money for groceries.  It was very disheartening to be an adult and not have any control over your own money. 

As you can probably guess, once things got better and bills got paid off we rebelled and to back "control" of our finances.  I use the word loosely because at the time we still had not learned the meaning of control or budgeting.  Someone else had been doing everything and when we asked for "control" again it was basically dropped in my lap and I had no clue when anything was due or how it was being paid, etc.

I got it mostly figured out, and we did okay, again I use the word loosely, for a while.  Old habits die hard, and this was no exception.  Before we knew it we were in a bind again.  Not as bad, but surely not in a good place.  I found myself groveling for help again.  Only this time it was supposed to be different.  This time Curt and I were supposed to be part of the process, and learn how to do it ourselves.  The other person was just supposed to be there for guidance and to make sure everything was being paid.

It didn't even really start out that way, but I didn't realize it at the time.  I was just happy to be getting back on track.  From the beginning this person shut Curt out and hardly explained anything to me.  This person just did exactly as before, just with us in the room, and we were "allowed" to have our debit cards this time.  Let me tell you though, we had to get approval to use them.  Curt more than me, and if I was with this person, I was able to spend money we really didn't have (hindsight being what it is).  We were also able to spend copious amounts if we went out with them but not if we went out with anyone other than them. you see a pattern?

Long story short, it took a while, but instead of rebelling this time when we were ready to try again it was a bit more doable.  There was a notebook with all the information I needed, and I got that, and since I had been in the room most of the time, I had a general idea of what was going on.  I also didn't take things over completely by myself right away.  I did enlist the assistance of someone else, someone who let me do everything and just watched for a bit and answered my questions when I had them.

I now do it myself, with no assistance.  We have a savings with actual money in it, not just a few cents to keep it open (it looked nicer before we went to OK, but I never could have gone on a trip like that w/o help before). 

Here's the kicker, and the reason I told you all of this.  I just did our taxes.  Let me expand a bit.  I have always had someone (like the person doing our finances) or H&R Block do our taxes.  Not this year, I DID OUR TAXES!!  No one else, no help, just me, myself and I!  That may not sound like much to some of you, but to those of you who know how I dread math, and for those of you who know how the last 4+ years have been, this is HUGE!! 

I do have to admit my anxiety kicked in a bit and even though I have had them done since before I left for OK, back on 2/9/11 I waited until last night to submit them.  I wanted to be absolutely, completely, totally sure I had everything I could possibly need.  I figured I had given it plenty of time since most years we have our refund by now.

So it's a first for me, and I got confirmation from federal and state that both e-files were accepted today.  I call this a victory!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 16-Someone or something you definitely could live without

I've been thinking about how to answer this without being selfish or sounding conceited.  Saying something like..I could live without having to pay bills, or I could live without the extra weight I'm caring around.  Let's be realistic though.  No one is ever NOT going to have bills.  We all have them, it's part of being an adult.  I suppose the only way to avoid them would be to live homeless on the streets, and from my POV, I would much rather pay my bills and have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food in the pantry and a vehicle in the driveway, than live on the streets with no bills.

As for my weight, that is my own conceited, selfish, want.  I have lost weight, but not enough for my liking, and until I feel like I have lost enough, it simply won't be enough.  I assume, even then there will be different "wants" from going from one extreme weight to another, but that will have to be a bridge I cross when/if I reach my ideal weight.

So if I am going to do this honestly, like I promised from the beginning, then I have to dig deep.  I have to get passed the "wants" and figure out what I need to live without, because that's really what this is about, if you're digging deep.  What do I not only want but need to live without?  Anxiety.

I know that living without anxiety in my life completely and totally is out of the question.  Everyone has some level of anxiety.  I think to some extent a small level is even healthy, it keeps you on your toes, doesn't let you get bored.  My level of anxiety on the other hand is not a "keep you on your toes, don't let you get bored" kind of anxiety.  It's more like a "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" kind of anxiety.  I'm the kind of person that can come up with 100 if not 1,000 "what ifs" and not the good kind, for any situation in about 2 minutes.

That was part of starting this blog for me, learning to look at things in a new way, learning to see the good before the bad, or to avoid seeing the bad altogether.  I can assure you I am no where near avoiding looking at the bad things, but I am concentrating on seeing the good.  I even manage to focus on the good before the bad on occasion.  It doesn't happen all the time, I wouldn't even say I'm up to 1/2 the time yet, but I am A LOT closer than I was 6 months ago, and I'm doing better now than 3 months ago.  Each day is a step in the right direction.  Sometimes there are days when I feel like I have taken a step back, and some days when I feel like I have taken 3 giant leaps forward.

I know I'm making progress, and that is a great thing.  That doesn't mean I wouldn't love to wake up tomorrow and not have to fight this battle.  Sure that would be the easy way out, sure I wouldn't learn as much if I woke up and no longer had to fight my anxiety demons everyday in everything I do, but I can't say I wouldn't take the offer, that would be a lie.  I also know that there is no quick fix, and I won't wake up tomorrow free and clear no matter how much I want to or wish to, so it's okay for me to be honest and say I'd take the deal since there is no deal to take.  The truth of the matter is I have to do this the had way.  I have to take the long road and work through it each and everyday.  I have to take a step back to take 3 leaps forward.  That's just the way it works, and as long as I continue to make progress, I am going in the right direction.  If I start to feel myself slipping back into old patterns, reverting back to letting the anxiety control me rather than me attempting to control the anxiety, then I know I have a bigger issue at hand.

In the mean time, progress is progress, no matter how slow the road I travel to get to where I need to be, I am headed in the right direction at my speed.  That's why it's working so far.  I am pushing myself, but I know when to say when without giving up.   

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 15-Something or someone you couldn't live without, because you've tried living without it

I will say this, I can live without things.  It wouldn't be my first choice, but we've done it before, and I would do it again if I had to.  We've lived without cable, and a computer, with minimal minutes on our cell phones and a tighter budget than I care to remember.  We've lived with only 1 vehicle for a long time, with 3 adults and an infant in a 2 bedroom apartment, that was cozy.  Yet we have NEVER been without food, clothes, water, heat, air conditioning, plumbing, all the things required to live a comfortable life.  We have always had the everyday things we all take for granted, like the things I listed above, and a roof over our heads, a vehicle, whether it be 1 or more, we had it and it ran.  I have never gone hungry or cold, I have never had to walk to work. 

In fact, the times I refer to above, when things were so tight, and we didn't have the "luxuries" were because I wasn't working.  Curt and I agreed to go without those things so I could stay home with Gunnar. 

So when I saw this question, I knew there were quite a few things I could live without.  I can live without the material things life has to offer.  What I cannot live without, what I will not live without is love, trust, honesty, and communication.  These are the building blocks for a relationship that can surpass all trials.

I know this would not have been the same answer I would have given a short time ago.  I would have easily answered with one of the many material things above, but I have learned a great deal about myself in recent months, and I know now that the real things I could not live without are not material or physical.  They are the things I get from my most valuable relationships. 

My marriage first and foremost. My husband has stood by my side through good times and bad.  We have been married 7 years as of 2/21/11 and have had many trials throughout our marriage, yet never once has he abandoned me in my time of need, nor has he even given thought to jumping ship during even the roughest of times.  Instead, his willingness to see our marriage through those dark times is what gave me the courage to stand beside him in his quest to join the Army.  I knew that it was time for me to stand by him, no matter how difficult the task.  A marriage is about give and take, and all I had been doing for a long time was taking.  It was my turn to give something back to my husband.  I can tell you that this decision has only brought us closer and reminded us both of how much we truly love each other and that there is nothing we won't do to support one another in our time of need.  It's an amazing feeling to give a small piece of that back to him after he spent so long giving to me.

The same can be said for my relationship with my parents and sister.  Love, trust, honesty, and communication are the core of these relationships too.  My family has always supported me as well, they are there no matter what, through the good and the bad.  They have been there to pick up the pieces more times than I care to count, and they have been there to celebrate accomplishments as well.  Their honesty can be brutal at times, but those seem to be the times I need the brutal honesty and no one else wants to bare the burden.  Their love is unconditional, and I have always trusted them as I know they have always trusted me.  Communication is the hardest part of any relationship I believe, and my family remains no different, but we do our best, and we work through it when we are "human".

I believe that true and lasting friendships come down to the core values as well.  If you don't have love, trust, honesty, and communication in any relationship, then you don't have the foundation for a lasting relationship.

So it is those things with which I cannot live without, love, trust, honesty, and communication, because without my husband, my family and my friends my life would be truly empty and void of all that I hold dear.  So no matter how much I like my material things, I need the things I have listed above in my life.

As for the someone, that is easy, Curt and Gunnar.  I don't think I need to say anymore, those are self explanatory.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 14-A hero that has let you down (letter)

This one is really hard for me.  If you asked me to write about someone or more than one person who has been a hero to me, I could do that without hesitation.  Writing about someone I considered a hero who let me down is more difficult.  The people in my life whom I have truly needed have always been there for me when push comes to shove.  If you are looking for a sob story about someone who let me down and ruined my life, and how I have never been the same because of it, I'm sorry but you will just have to find another blog for that.

This is about the truth.  The truth is that everyone has let downs in their lives, but I have never had one so traumatic that it effected me enough that I need to digress about it now.  Some people consider sports figures heroes and are let down when they retire, or make fools of themselves, some people consider singers, actors, models and the like to be their heroes.  I never have, and I don't intend to start now.  Those people are all great in their own right, but they are not my heroes.

My heroes are people like my parents who have always been there for me even when I wasn't a very "likable" person, or when I needed some "tough love" instead of a bail out.  They were also right there to bail me out when that's what I needed too.

People like my husband who has been by my side for nearly 9 years through more bad than good, but never misses an opportunity to tell me how much he loves me, how beautiful I am, or what a great wife I am.  Even when I'm not being any of those things.

People like my son, for the simple fact that he makes me want to wake up every morning, that he brings a smile to my face everyday, and that he is the light of my life.

People like my friends, new and old.  The ones who have supported me in the past, who are supporting me and and who will continue to support me for the unforeseen future.  Those who have laughed with me, cried with me, and bitched with me.  The ones who answer my questions, even when they know I may not like the honest answer.  Those friends, you know who you are.

People like the soldiers I met, and the ones I look forward to meeting.  The ones who are laying their lives on the line everyday to protect our freedom, our liberty and our purist of happiness.  The ones who don't think twice about running toward the bullets, bombs and grenades, but are suddenly shy the moment a stranger stops them to say "Thank you" for their service.

Those people are my heroes.  They are the ones who will not and do not let you down.  So, I am sorry this is not on par with the way it was supposed to be, but this is my blog, so I am adjusting as I see fit.  I hope you are not disappointed not to see a sob story, but I think this ends up being a much better read.


Yesterday was a lot of things for me.  It was my 7 year wedding anniversary to the most amazing husband I could ever ask for.  It was also the first of those anniversaries we have ever spent apart.  It would never be my first choice to spend that special day away from my husband, but yesterday instead of cursing the fact that we were apart I was singing praises because I was able to hear his voice.  He's in AIT now and things are a bit more lenient.  If he had still been in BCT I would not have been blessed with the sound of his voice shortly after I awoke wishing me a Happy Anniversary and telling me how much he loves me and how proud he is of me.

You might wonder why he was telling me he was proud of me...he's the one doing all the hard work.  All the training for war and he's the one serving our country, yet he's proud of me?  Yesterday I had to take Gunnar for a series of complex medical testing.  He was a brave little guy and I put on my bravest mommy face and didn't shed a tear no matter how many needles went into my little man over then next several hours.  Right now we don't have any answers, just a lot of questions.  I can tell you, having Curt's voice resonate in my head helped me through.

Yesterday may not have been perfect by anyones standards, but we made it through together.  It may not have been the worst we will deal with and it surly was not the best, but we managed.  Distance has nothing on our ability to make it through whatever life is going to throw at us.  I know that now.  

I'm getting me, that's not exactly right.  I'm figuring out who I  am.  I am a strong woman who can do many more things than I ever imagined if I set my mind to it.  I can be me and still be a good wife and mother.  Supportive to my husband and son without losing myself, instead I am GAINING myself in the process.

Who knew the best part of me would come out when I would have to deal with the most difficult decision we ever see if we could survive apart.  Yet our marriage is thriving, we appreciate each other more now than ever before, we have a deeper love, a stronger bond, and greater respect for one another.  Who knew?

Yesterday may not have been a perfect day, but everyday is still a blessing, and I am thankful for each day I am given and the lessons I learn from each. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 13-A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days (write a letter)

This one says to write a letter, but it doesn't say to who or why, so I'm going to do this my way.  No letter, just why this means what it means to me.

I enjoy all types of music, from rap and rock to christian and alternative.  I like the 50's, 80's 90's.  Other than death metal, there isn't much I won't listen to or at least give a try.  When it comes right down to it though,  I am a country girl at heart.  Country is the music that touches my soul the most.  I have always been a big Garth Brooks fan.  I know exactly how cliche that sounds, but it's the truth.  Garth was my first country concert, and the man can PREFORM!  To this day I would love to see him in concert again!  Once is just not enough.

Yet it is not Garth I find myself turning to on those days I need a pick me up, or the days I need some music I can have a good cry to.  I find that I most often put on one of my many Tim McGraw Cd's.  There is so much verity to his music, I can always find something for the mood I'm in.  Whether I need to jam out while I'm cleaning, remember that my life is not that bad and suck it up, have myself a good cry, or remember a great time, I can count on one of Tim's songs to do the trick.

I'll give you a few examples:

Indian Outlaw-

The chorus goes:

"I'm an Indian outlaw
Half Cherokee and Choctaw
My baby she's a Chippewa

She's one of a kind"

Curt is half Cherokee and Choctaw, so one time I asked him what a Chippewa was.  He grinned from ear to ear and told me it meant "little white girl with blond hair and blue eyes".  In my gullible, love sick way, I believed every word of it.  It wasn't until a few years later that he admitted to me that he had not idea what Chippewa actually meant, but I still like Curt's version.

Live Like You Were Dying-

This one means so much to me because it was played at one of Curt's brother's weddings, and all of the brothers and the wives (or girlfriends) got in a big circle with our arms wrapped around each other and danced together.  We all sang along at the top of our lungs, and the circle just kept growing and growing as the song went on.  I think whole the room was in it before the song ended.  That song is always a wonderful memory of such a happy time, and reminds me to live life to the fullest.

Tiny Dancer-

It's a remake of Elton John's 1972 song that I have always been a fan of, and Tim just brings a new voice to it.  I usually don't like remakes, I prefer the originals, but I do enjoy this one.  It brings me back to my childhood.  I know I grew up in the 80's and 90's but I was influenced by music from all eras.

Find Out Who Your Friends Are-

The chorus says it all:

"You find out who your friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas to get there fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me' or 'it's way too far'
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who your friends are" 

These are the friends I want....these are the friends I now have.

These are just a few of the songs that stick out for me.  There are many others, but I would probably end up listing the majority of his songs, so I figured I would leave it at this.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jenni's Army Wife Lessons

These are in no particular order, just some things I have learned since joining the ranks of the Army Wives:

  • Family first, and family no longer means just those who share your name or your blood
  • Distance really does make the heart grow fonder
  • It's okay to pray a little more selfishly now, 30 seconds is just not enough, go for at least 5 minutes
  • Your phone will remain permanently attached to you when your spouse is away, and yes that means in the bathroom too!
  • Sleep  is a thing of the past, you can't even dream about it, because dreaming requires sleeping
  • The mailman will either be your best friend or your worst enemy, it just depends on the day
  • Take the time to write a letter, even after BCT.  It will mean the world to someone you love
  • Send a card just because...getting mail brings a smile to peoples faces
  • Only travel in sneakers, heels are much too painful, your friend(s) will understand and so will your spouse
  • A direct flight, or one where you do NOT have to change planes is worth the extra $$
  • Clicking your heels twice when you reach Kansas does not get you anywhere any faster...ruby slippers or no ruby slippers, believe me when I say I've tried
  • Always carry some cash when you travel, you never know when a toll road will lead to your final destination...Thank you Lt Col, I will be forever grateful for this advice
  • Even snow, ice and 6 degrees is not as bad as you think when it means you get to see the 2 loves of your life in 1 place after an extended period of time...throw in a best friend and you barely even notice the frigidness
  • GPS's and Post's don't communicate well (if at all)..a word to the new Army Wife
  • Asking questions will save a lot of time...and probably a lot of searching
  • Resist the urge to salute every person you see in a WILL look like a fool if you do this (no I didn't do it, but I did have the urge quite often...shh don't tell)
  • Remember the US Army sicker on your back windshield next time (every time) you feel your road rage coming on.  You now represent the US Army as well...
  • Another reminder, EVERYTHING you do reflects on your spouse.  Think before you speak and/or act
  • Learn Army "speak" it will make you life much easier, and communication with the world you are becoming part of easier to, just my opinion
  • If the Army says to be somewhere at 2100, that really means 2030
  • The Army is never wrong, even when the Army is wrong
  • Be prepared to "Hurry up and wait" it is going to be a large part of your life for the next x amount of years
  • The only thing consistent about the Army is change, you can get used to it now, but it's just going to change
  • I am convinced the definition of organized chaos was deemed by the Army, or at minimum the military
  • Love like you have never loved before, you may not have tomorrow to do it again
  • You can be independent and still ask for help
  • Never refuse someones offer to help, and always offer your help when you can
  • Always have your camera..and extra batteries
  • Take tons of pictures
  • Stop saying "goodbye" and learn to say "I'll see you soon"
  • Sometimes it's okay to cry a little, it doesn't make you weak, it makes you human
  • Don't forget to enjoy the little things in the chaos of this new life, take time to be with your spouse and child(ren), the computer, cleaning, errands, can all wait another hour while you spend quality time talking, reading, cooking, whatever makes you happy
  • Sit down for your meals, even if you are not hungry, take that time to talk about the day
  • A George Foreman grill with the removable, dishwasher safe grill plates is a MUST for those of us (that would be me!!) who refuse to touch a propane grill with a 10 foot pole for fear of setting off a ticking time bomb...YES, I AM a wimp at heart
  • There is a time to be neurotic, and a time to just go with it and enjoy the little time you have with the ones you love, the sooner you figure out which time is which, the sooner you will adjust and enjoy this life we lead

Day 12-Something you never get compliments on

Hmmm....I am sure there are a lot of things I do not get compliments on, but I have never actually sat down to think about it.  I often disregard the compliments I DO get, but that's a different story.

I'd venture to guess I don't get complimented on how neurotic I am.  It's not a good trait in excess, especially the excessiveness that I have it in.  In fact it is probably the thing that drives the people around me crazy the most.  I get told to calm down, take a breath, and suck it up a lot, or to stop repeating myself, or any number of other things when I am about to or have already gone off the "deep end".  I often repeat myself when I am upset, frustrated, or confused.  I'm sure you have already seen this in my writing.  When something is difficult for me to discuss I tend to ramble and repeat.  I often write the way I speak or vise versa.

There I go again, off on another tangent.  There isn't much else to tell you on this one, it's pretty cut and dry.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 11-Something people seem to compliment you the most on

If we are going with the current day to day cosmetic compliment, it would be my weight loss since I have lost roughly 60 lbs in the last 8 months or so.  It is now becoming a more dramatic change, however when I started this challenge I said I wasn't going to focus on the cosmetic, or "easy" answers like this one.

So if I were to delve deeper, the thing that people seem to compliment me the most on would probably be Gunnar.  I am often told what a good child Gunnar is.  How well behaved he is and well mannered.  He is not shy and is happy to hold a conversation with an adult, be it a soldier in uniform, or the person standing next to us in line or my grandfather.  He takes great interest in technical things like building rockets with my dad, Lego's by himself, a volcano with Curt or watching the science channel instead of the Disney channel (at his request).

Gunnar has straight A's and his reading is absolutely stellar!  He is continuously getting 100% on his weekly spelling tests and also doing phenomenal in math.  I can assure you the math and spelling cannot be attributed to myself OR Curt, so I'm not sure where that is coming from, but we are both so proud!

Although Curt and I are Gunnar's parents, and yes we taught him the basic manners of please and thank yous we don't feel that we can take full credit for the wonderful child we have.  We were blessed with having a very easy child from birth.  I think this was our gift for going through such a difficult pregnancy, but that's just my thought.  Gunnar has always been a very affectionate child.  That, Curt and I will take full credit for.  We are both very affectionate people, and are happy to have a child who is not concerned about showing his love for others.

As for Gunnar's general goodness, I truly believe it is just something that he was born with.  Something that is a God given trait, just like his father.  He is a great kid, and I don't think that we can really take credit for much more than teaching him the basics.

That being said, G-man is by no means perfect, please do not take that away from this.  He is still a 6 year old boy who gets too wild, who talks too much, who interrupts when I'm talking and can't keep his hands to himself, but he's a BOY!  If that's the least of my worries, I think I have it pretty easy.  He still gives me hugs and kisses when I drop him off in the morning.  He is still thrilled to see me when I pick him up in the afternoon.  He still asks me for "luvin" time in the evenings or on the weekends.  I know this won't last forever, so I cherish these moments while they do last.

So as nice as it is to hear that I look good because I have lost weight, knowing that I am raising a kid who is a good human being will last a lifetime, and that's what this is all about.  I just hope we can continue on the same path with the little man.  He's an amazing kid, but we have a lot of challenges yet to face.  I have complete faith that with Curtis by my side Gunnar will become a wonderful man, husband and father, just like his dad.  Who knows, maybe even a soldier too...time will tell.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 10-Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn't know

I have worked very hard recently to get the toxic people out of my life.  If you have read the rest you know who the main toxic people were.  At this point in my life I am happy to report that the are few if any toxic people in my life.  If there are any, they are people that simply have to remain in my life, if you get my drift.  In this respect they are not so much toxic, but more of an occasional pain.

I can say there are not any people currently in my life or that have passed through my life that I wish I didn't know.  I have said it before and I will say it again.  I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and there is a reason for everything.  I believe everyone currently in my life and everyone that has passed through my life has been for a reason.  Whether for a lesson, for comfort, for friendship, or for another unknown reason, there is always a reason, it just may not be know to me.

I do find that hindsight is 20/20 and I tend to learn more after the fact than I do during the actual encounters.  I also find that I am much more open to the lessons of life now than I was when I had toxic people blocking my views.  I am still figuring out who I am and how to be the best me I can be, but it is a lot easier when I am making my own decisions and leading my own way instead of following someone else, toxic or not.  I won't be following anyone anymore, but I will be by my husbands side all the way, just as I know he will be by mine.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 09-Someone you didn't want to let go, but just drifted

Sorry for the delay, with the trip to Ft Sill, and life being a bit crazed since we've been home, this is the first chance I have had to get back to the challenge.

I can think of a few people in my life that have drifted further than I would like.  My friend Nicole lives farther than I care to think about and is now married and I wasn't able to be at her wedding.  My friend Brook is only a few hours away, but we hardly talk anymore because our schedules are just so off every time we try to meet up.  My friends Azia and Kelly from the shore when I grew up I have nearly lost touch with except for the Facebook statuses I read, and I think of other friends from my teen years that I would love to reconnect with and names fly through my head, but there is one that really stands out.  Matt.

Matt and I were the best of friends, we were nearly inseparable, except for the fact that we went to different schools.  We met in middle school at church.  A bit ironic considering Matt didn't care much for church or anything relating to it, but I digress.  We hit it off immediately.  He actually started dating one of my still best friends, Khrys.  I was the go between, that's how we became such fast friends.

From the beginning he would let me do almost anything to him.  I've died his hair, painted his nails, given him a facial.  I even have pictures when he let me put curlers in.  He was like the best girlfriend, in male form.  We spent the night at each others houses, and neither of our parents cared because it was purely platonic, and neither of us saw the other like that, yet we were both VERY protective when one was in a relationship.  We never thought anyone was good enough for the other person. 

That inevitability is what led to the demise of our relationship over 8 years later.  During our senior year I introduced him to a friend from school named Heidi.  At some point they started dating, but didn't tell me, I' sure for the above reason.  I was upset by the betrayal, but also because I didn't think she was good enough for him.  He thought differently, and soon chose Heidi over me.  I found out after graduation that he had proposed and they were getting married.  

The Matt I knew was totally opposed to marriage, so I was baffled.  The last I heard they were married.  I found her on Facebook and sent a friend request, with no reply, but I have been unsuccessful in finding him.  I would love to make amends and know how he is doing and let bygones be bygones and see my old friend.  Who knows, maybe someday our paths will once again cross in this huge world that is often so very small.

Oklahoma trip for BCT Graduation

For all of my meticulous planning, we ran into a bit of a snafu before we ever left the house on Wednesday morning.  I dutifully checked our flight shortly after I got up, only to find a big red X followed by the word I had been dreading...CANCELLED.  I called my mom in a panic, and she reassured me that I would get there, just not on my original flight.  I called the airline and was able to book a flight for a bit later.  It was not a straight flight like the original, so Gunnar and I would be changing planes in Kansas City.  Something I had gone great lengths to avoid.  Not only was there no sign of Toto when we got to Kansas, but I tried clicking my heels 2 times and we still didn't get to Oklahoma any quicker.  I realized later when I saw a young girl with sparkly red shoes that it was my shoes that had been the problem all along.  I will have to remember to bring my ruby red slippers next time I pass through Kansas.

We made it to OKC (Oklahoma City) and got to our rental car.  It was another 85 or so miles to Ft Sill, and lucky for me I met a wonderful Lt Col. on the flight who was nice enough to let me know that I-44 from OKC to Lawton/Ft Sill is a toll road.  For those of you Arizonans who have no idea what I'm talking about, it means you have to stop every so often and pay a lovey person x amount to drive on the road you are taking.  Cash money ONLY!  Had I not been told, my AZ butt would have been SOL, because I had no cash on me.  Lesson 1 of MANY, NEVER travel without cash!

Needless to say, we made it through the snow, frigid temperatures, multiple gate and road closures on post, and found our hotel.  Gunnar was a trooper, although I believe he thinks mydon'ts and hold my hand's thrown in for good measure.  Did I mention it was a mere 6 degrees when we pulled into Ft Sill that night? vocabulary the first day or 2 was reduced to, NO! Ice, Watch, Stop, Be Careful, Ice, NO!  With a few

The next day was Thursday and the first day we would get to see Curt, but it would be on the Army's terms.  This was called "Family Day".  Curt's portion of Family Day was not until 11am, so we first went to my friend Shawnda's husband, Brent's Family Day ceremony which was right before Curt's.  This was great because not only did we get a feel for what was coming, but we also get great seats for Curt's.  Once the Family Day ceremony was finished we had to wait for the platoon to be officially dismissed, and we were strongly "encouraged" not to rush the formation.  By the time Gunnar and I got across the parking lot of ice and snow, the formation had already been dismissed and it was all we could do not to run straight to Curt!  This did not stop me from stepping right into a 2 foot pile of snow...what a way to see him for the first time after 6 weeks, huh, covered to the knees in snow!  Leave it to me to make a graceful appearance!  After hugging us both, he promptly swooped down to brush the snow from my jeans before whisking us away to meet everyone in sight.

Each was introduced by last name only, unless it was a spouse, parent or sibling, and then I had the pleasure of getting both names.  Luckily I was already pretty familiar with most of the names I was hearing, either from letters, or from our all too brief time together over Christmas.  It was great to meet everyone in person, and put names with faces.  I can honestly say this was the most amazing group of people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  Each shook my hand, and Gunnar's, and by the time we left we were all hugging our goodbyes, or "see you soons" as I now no longer say good bye, or am learning not to.

We went to lunch with quite a few of the wonderful people I had met and had a great time!  After that we headed back to the hotel.  Gunnar and I were not feeling quite up to par and we just wanted to relax with Curt.  We spent time relaxing and just being together before we headed to dinner with our dear friends Brent, Shawnda, and their son Parker.  We had a great dinner at Olive Garden that had been a long time coming.  I am pretty sure Shawnda and I had been planning it for about 6 months!  Before I knew it, dinner was over and it was time to get Curt back to his bay.  It is a very strange feeling to drop your husband off to sleep somewhere else knowing that you will be just a mile or so away.

Friday was the actual graduation.  We started the morning with Brent's graduation.  A perfect example of the inconsistency of the Army.  We were told Brent's graduation would be at 9am so we lined up in the cold outside the auditorium at 8:15ish to get good seats.  What we found out, along with MANY other families, was that this information was wrong and graduation did not start until 10am.  The auditorium staff was nice enough to let us into the front of the building so we did not freeze until the main seating opened up at 9:45am.  Once seated things went smoothly, and both the boys were good.  Gunnar and I went to get something to eat after Brent's graduation while we waited for Curt's to start.

Lucky for us, Curt's started on time, and it had warmed up a bit by the time we had to wait to get in for his.  Poor Gunnar was so tired by this point he slept through the entire thing, including the Army band.  I am very proud to say, Curt graduated with honors in the top 5 percent of his class.  It was an amazing feeling to watch him walk across that stage, I can only imagine the pride he had, because the pride in me was overwhelming.

After graduation everyone had to be picked up at the bays.  This posed a challenge for me, as my GPS doesn't work on post, and as I said above, multiple roads and gates were closed, causing lots of detours.  I was fortunate enough to have the wife of one of Curt's good friends lead the way, and even pull over on the side of the road to wait for me when security decided I would be a good person to pull over for a routine check since my rental didn't have a post sticker.  We caravaned with parents of another of the wonderful soldiers I met while I was there and got to the bays along with 100's of other people.

After finding Curt among the many soldiers we decided to look for a few things around post that we wanted.  First stop was finding the teddy bear in ACU's that Gunnar has been coveting for some time.  He saw a picture of Parker with one and hasn't stopped talking about it since.  That turned out to be the easiest of our "wants" to find.  Next on the list was a pair of miniature ACU's for Gunnar himself.  This is also something G-man has wanted since the first time we met with a recruiter.  He knew they existed because he has had a miniature flight suit, 2 to be exact.  When he grew out of the first one, he promptly requested a second from Great Papas also known as my mom's dad.  The mini ACU's turned out to be harder to find than I ever anticipated.  We started at what we thought would be the most logical place, the PX (Post Exchange).  We started with the small PX because Brent had seen them there, but they only had a size 4, no go for our humungo kiddo.  Then we went to the big PX.  When we came up empty handed there we went to the tactical store which sells military clothes, etc.  Again a no go, but this time I got smart.  I was running out of stores to check, so I asked the woman behind the counter if she had any inkling as to where I could find such a thing.  It's amazing where asking a simple question can get you!  She pointed us to a store in the same parking lot....Military Clothing and Sales...who'd thunk!  Sure enough they had all types of military attire from ASU's, ACU's, PT's, and everything in between.  In the back there was a kids section with miniature ACU's in all sizes and even full PT's too!  I swiped up a PT shirt while G was trying on the ACU's for size, but stayed away from the all too small PT shorts ;-)

By this time it was yet again time to feed our faces.  We were meeting another of Curt's friends and her parents for dinner.  We headed off post to Chili's and ordered Gunnar's dinner while we waited.  We had a wonderful time getting to know each other, and I had an incredible respect for her by the time we had to leave.  I know I could not do what she has done and what she will continue to do, just as I cannot do what Curt has done and will continue to do.  She did tell me that she felt she couldn't be in my shoes, so we agreed that I will continue to support from the sidelines with all I have while they continue to serve and protect while being as safe as humanly possible in their Army careers.

Then it was back to the bays for yet another drop off.  Gunnar is routinely asleep by this time, so we make it a point to say a quick goodbye, or "see ya soon" as I am trying so hard to get used to.  As the Army frowns on PDA in uniform, especially ASU's (Also known as dress blues).

Saturday is our true family day.  Curt was allowed to wear his ACU's as long as we stayed on post.  This meant that G-man would be wearing his too so he could look like daddy!  We were not able to pick up Curt until noon so Gunnar and I went for some breakfast and then back to the hotel to do some of his homework.  Shortly before pick up time I got a text requesting I come baring Starbucks, and that if I did my husband would love me forever and ever and ever, even more than he already does.  In case you haven't guessed, I had to go off post to get the Starbucks.  So Gunnar and I scurried to get the coffee and get to the bays on time AND without getting lost since I no longer had an escort.  Mission accomplished!

We grabbed a bite to eat at the food court at the PX and then started exploring the post.  Ft Sill has a historical portion that is beautiful!  We even found the home of the wonderful Lt. Col. from the plane who was so helpful.  I only know because he told me what to look for, and that this last name would be on the outside of the house.  We also went to a museum with all kinds of Civil War era cannons and weapons.  We even got to see a working catapult replica.  We learner some interesting information about "gunners" that I will share another time.  I got a few good pictures of both of my boys in their ACU's by some cool cannons, but the sun was not being my friend, I hadn't planned my photo session very well :-(

Then we went back to the hotel, ordered salads and pizza and just spent some quality time together.  Before I knew it, it was yet again time to head to the bays.  We were told that we would have Sunday to spend together, but based on the MANY times that Curt's AIT (advanced individual training) had been changed, my Army Wife "gut" told me I should say my goodbyes or "see ya soons" that night.  I even said to Curt, "Do I need to say goodbye now?  I can handle a lot of things, but I can't handle not saying goodbye."  As tears flooded my eyes.  He assured me that he was not going to AIT until Monday and we would have the next day together.  I hugged him tight and drove back to the hotel.  No sooner did I have Gunnar tucked in an snoring than I got a text confirming what my gut knew all along.  Curt would be crossing the tracks to AIT the next day.  I said a short prayer that we get at least 30 seconds to say goodbye to him before we had to leave for our other hotel in OKC the next night.

My prayer was granted after waiting over 2 hours in the car, we got about 28 seconds to say goodbye with Curt's battle buddy/roommate by his side.  Hey, at least I got to meet him before I left, how many wives can say that ;-)  The only real reason they even let him come out was because I brought his cigars, and they are considered contraband until he passes his first PT test.  Instead of making him toss $100+ worth of cigars and his traveling humidor, they took pity on him, or me, or the cigars, who knows!  Either way, he was allowed those few precious seconds to say farewell.  Now whoever said the Army is all bad?  NOT ME for sure!  Although I did learn another very valuable lesson that day.  I am an Army Wife now, it's okay for my prayers to be a bit more selfish.  Next time it'll be 5 minutes instead of 30 seconds!

Gunnar and I headed into Lawton for a late lunch before making our way to OKC for the last night in Oklahoma.  We had an early flight home, and by now we were both ready.  I was an easy drive, until I had to figure out how to return the rental car at the airport.  Errr...airport layouts and I do not get along, I don't care how many signs there are!  By the 3rd loop (or so) I made it to the drop off and called the hotel for the shuttle.  Lucky for me the driver was on break and they said to take "just any cab" and it would be hotel pay.  So I did just that.  Apparently in hotel speak "just any cab" means "airport shuttle only" and the cab I took wasn't one, so I had to pay, or the poor guy would have gotten stiffed, and I wasn't going to let him not get paid because I don't understand hotel lingo.  Then set up a shuttle for the morning.  Come to find out I wasn't the only one who didn't speak the guys "lingo" because the next morning when the shuttle was supposed to pick us up at 4:45am and didn't show by 4:50am I went in to find out what was going on.  Turns out the genius sent the shuttle to the wrong hotel.  Good to know it wasn't just me who didn't speak moran.

We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare because I have yet to kick the neurotic bone in me.  G-man and I got some breakfast and headed for our gate.  Once on the plane we napped until we landed in AZ, where my favorite baby sister came to our rescue and swooped us home so we could get situated for our return to work and school the next day.  And that my friends, was our trip to Ft Sill, OK for Curt's graduation from basic training.  In a nut shell, it was an amazing experience, I wouldn't change for the world.  I am so incredibly proud of all that my husband has accomplished and that Gunnar and I were able to be there to share that special moment with him and be able to spend time with him and meet the incredible people we met and get a true taste of the life we will be leading for the next undetermined amount of time.  This may only be the beginning of our journey, but it is the start of something truly incredible for our family.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 08-Someone who made your life hell or treated you like shit

Are you ready for more redundancy?  If you are boarded I'm sorry, but you cannot say I didn't warn you.

Now, sure there are plenty of people that have treated me like shit in my life.  People that were my friends, and then stabbed me in the back, but none quite like the toxic people I have spoken of in other posts.

The main reason I keep coming back to this family is not because I was hurt so badly, I can get over that, but because my entire family was hurt so badly.  Down to my 6 year old son, who could not understand why he would yell "hi" across the street and get nothing but a nasty glare from his so called "friend", a 9 year old being lead by the actions of her parents.

It's one thing if you hurt me, I am a big girl, and no matter how bad it hurts I will eventually put my big girl panties on and deal with it, but when you hurt my family, you cross the line!  The worst part is that they were repeat offenders.  They hurt us over and over again and I kept going back.  I kept putting my family in a position to get hurt over and over again.

We couldn't get away no matter how hard we tried.  They were in every aspect of our lives.  Curt worked directly with him, I work for the same company as her, we live across the street, so even when we come home there was no getting away.  We'd see them at the grocery store, when we were out to dinner, at Walmart, no place was safe from their glares and loud whispers of disgust.  Only they had no reason to be disgusted, they were the ones that were causing the pain, not us.

During the 4+ years they were in our lives, she often talked down to and about my husband.  She did the same to me, but not in such an obvious way.  She made me think that what she was telling me was because she "loved" me and she was doing what was "best" for me.  If I didn't know better I would swear I was brainwashed. 

What it came down to is that I was scared of her.  I was scared because she had so much control over my life, our lives.  If I didn't do what she wanted, when she wanted, there would be repercussions.  Sometimes the repercussions involved me, sometimes they fell on Curt.  She ruled the roost, so if she didn't like something all it took was a call to her husband to make Curt's life a living hell.  This was one of the most common things she did. 

That and because she "helped" with our finances off and on over the 4+ years, she OFTEN held OUR money over our heads.  If we didn't do exactly as she wanted we couldn't use our own money.  She also frequently allowed me to spend money on frivolous things but would not allow Curt to buy basic needs like work boots.  I was blind to it for so long.  I did what she wanted to keep the peace, or what I thought was keeping the peace.  What I didn't realize was the toll it was taking on my marriage and my child.

You see, this whole family was toxic, and it was turning us toxic.  The little girl is the meanest, most intentionally horrible child I have ever met, and she would constantly degrade Gunnar and try to get him in trouble, or blame him for things she did.  She is the spitting image of her mother.  Normally I would never talk about a child in this manner, but this child is damaged beyond repair.  You can see evil in her eyes. 

The husband went from being Curt's friend to his worst nightmare, hoovering over him at work, trying, however unsuccessfully to get him in trouble.  He did manage to make the schedule though, and made sure that Curt was on call for any and all major or minor family event, holidays, anything you can think of.  One minute Curt's hours were being cut to less than 40 per week, the next he's working 60+ and we never see him. 

She made me mean, there is no way around it.  When I was with her, I became like her.  I stood like her, I ate like her, I dressed like her, I spent money like her, I treated my family like she treated her SHIT!  I hated who I had become, but I didn't know how to get away.  Everything was so intertwined with them.  We live across the street, worked with each other, did nearly everything together.  I couldn't sneeze without her knowing.  I had to take back control of our lives!

It started with our decision for Curt to join the Army, but even that was excitement that had to be kept under wraps.  he enlisted in June but wasn't shipping out until November and he needed his job until then, so we couldn't say anything to his work, or them, which meant having to be VERY careful who we told anything to since our worlds were so connected.  The good thing was, this was the perfect opportunity to start sliding out from under their grasp. 

So we did.  It started kind of gradually, we weren't hanging out with them as much, then it was a wave from across the street instead of sprinting across to talk and dropping everything else around me.  Before I knew it, she wasn't speaking to me.  I couldn't for the life of me figure out what I had done, but I suddenly realized I was glad I had done it (whatever it was).

Other than the awkward moments when we saw each other across the street or in public, life was really starting to get so much better for us.  Curt and I were moving forward with our new adventure, although very few people knew, we did and we were so excited.  It meant a whole new world of possibilities for us.  The best day came when Curt gave his notice and this huge weight was lifted.  we didn't have to hide anymore.  Better yet was that his last day was the day before my birthday, just 1 less day they could try to take away from us.

As of our last encounter, she still tried to put the dissolve of our "friendship" on me.  If that's what makes her sleep at night, than so be it.  Truth be told, I am the one that backed off, I needed to find out who I was apart from her toxic persona.  I needed to find me, a me that was not attached at the hip to someone who spewed vile every time she opened her mouth.  So if that makes me that bad guy in her eyes, so be it.  In the end, I saved my marriage and my family.  I saved myself from turning into a hate filled, spiteful person that thrives on other peoples misery.  In my eyes that means I win!