Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tie a knot and hang on

"When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

When I first read this I laughed out loud.  I thought, what a great analogy for life!  If I can think of this quote each time I am having a rough day, a tough time or just a "moment" if I can laugh like that, or giggle, or even just smile, that is all I need to pull me out of my funk.

I am convinced some days will require more than just one knot, but I figure as long as I can still hang on it's all good right?!

I'll let you ponder this and see if you find it as wonderfully simplistic and yet deceivingly difficult as I do.  Meanwhile I am going to put these tired eyes to rest.

I Never Thought

I never thought in my wildest dreams I would become a military wife.  I distinctly recall telling Curt when we were first dating that if he had any intention of joining the service I was not the girl for him.  I wanted a man who was going to come home every night, a man who was going to have a "safe" job and someone who I would always know where he was.  HA!  I was pretty delusional, not only about military life, but about my future husband's career as well.  Curt's prior Army career was far from "safe", and although he did come home every night, there was never a guarantee as to when he would be home.  Most nights it was late, some even later, and then there were the nights he would walk in the door just to get a call and have to walk right back out.  As for knowing where he was all the time, not only was/is that unrealistic for anyone to ask of another person, but in Curt's prior line of work he drove all over the valley and sometimes the state.  There is no possible way I could have known where he was at any given time, but he was good about keeping me in the "loop" as much as he could.  For those of you who don't know, Curt was a mobile tire tech for big rigs and heavy equipment before he joined the Army.  He did that for about 11 years, and if you have read much of my blog you know we have been together for about 9 years.  That means he was in this line of work when I met him, so I had no valid reason to be delusional, I simply was because it suited my way of thinking at the time I suppose.  

Now that you understand I had no actual intentions 9+ years ago of being where I am now, you may have a greater appreciation for how far I have come.  Or you may say to yourself (or to me) it's about damn time!  And I wouldn't blame you one bit, it is time, and I am ever so thankful that I have been given the opportunity to grow and succeed the way I have.  I have come to the conclusion that this lifestyle is not for everyone.  This is the part where you sink or swim, where you find out if you can live this life or not, and it's not an easy life by any standards, but the military is the best at training it's soldiers.  Now I may not be the soldier, and I may not have signed on the dotted line, but I will stand beside my husband the whole way through, and if that means I get some "training" alone the way, sign me up!  I am convinced that the training period the soldier goes through is also a training for the family.  It trains us to be away from our loved one for extended periods of time, which is common in the military.  It trains us to go lengths of time with little to no communication from our soldier, also common, but what I found for me to be the most substantial part of the training was to be self sufficient, self reliant and to learn to "put my big girl panties on".

So while I think about how far I have come and how far we have come as a family (both literally and figuratively) in just shy of a year, I know that we have all had victories both large and small.  I think about how much our live have changed and still I wouldn't change any of it.  I see, hear, and do things now on a daily basis that I never imagined I would ever do, see or hear, yet it's all in the realm of our daily lives now.  We pass teams of soldiers and SWAT training on buildings being prepared for renovation when I walk Gunnar to and from school.  We no longer bat an eye.  I sat today and had a conversation with Courtney while her picture frames rattled on the walls from the artillery just miles away.  We often pause our conversations with friends or while on the phone as aircraft fly slowly just above the tree line.  I get a call to drop off Curt's ear pro at the motor pool or to see if his ACH is in the trunk.  The funny thing is I know exactly what he's talking about.  

These are now common everyday occurrences and I don't think much about them as they happen, yet as I sit here and type this I am still in awe that this is my life.  As I live it day in and day out I can't imagine it any other way.  The friendships I've made, and the ones I continue to make are ones I truly believe will stand the test of distance and time.  The love, guidance and genuine respect given and received is amazing to be a part of.

Don't mistake what I'm saying, this is no easy journey.  The days can be long and the nights can be lonely, however I know I am never really alone.  I always have a friend to call anytime day or night.  I always have a shoulder to cry on.  Our children always have a "daddy" to hug even if THEIR Daddy isn't home that night.  We make it through and we do a lot of it together.  I've learned very quickly there is no shame in asking for help because I will be asked back.  We don't keep tally's and we don't keep secrets.  We don't knock on the door, we walk in, we don't call before we come because we are always welcome and we don't take no for an answer.  These aren't just friends, these are extended family and I wouldn't have it any other way!

So for all the things I never thought I would do, and for all the places I never thought I would go....HA!  Look at me now!  I'm doing it and I'm going there!  So if you think you can't, you won't.  If you think you don't, you aren't.  However if you choose to, you will.  If you think you do, it's as good as done.

Carpe Diem-Seize the Day!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's Been Too Long...UPDATE!!

First I want to apologize that it has been so long since I last wrote.  I've had some computer problems that limited my access among some other issues I will let you know about over the last few months.  Thanks to my amazing Dad I no longer have computer issues and cannot use that as an excuse not to write!
Now I will try to make this update as short and sweet as possible, but if you know me you know that is probably going to be a promise I am bound to break.  It has been too long and I have much too much to tell.
Well, there is no better place to begin than the beginning, so I'll start with the beginning of the journey that has me writing this. So in case you haven't guessed, Curt's TDY was approved so he was able to fly home to help us move.  We chose to do a DITY (Do It Yourself) move, we have always moved our own things and didn't think much of it, but the furthest we had ever moved was the 2 hours from Tucson to Mesa.  We'd NEVER moved 2,500 miles and it is/was no easy task.  I will forever be a proponent of the Army moving us from here forward!
We made it safely and rather quickly if I do say so myself in 3.5 days.  We even managed to meet my sweet friend Jesslyn for brunch.  On our longest day we drove over 900 miles and 4 states.  Gunnar was in the Penske (aka "The Big Banana") with Curt for the whole trip.  That left me and our tortis George following in the Juke.
We made it to Ft. Bragg on Mother's Day evening.  We stayed in a short term apartment off post until our house was ready on Memorial Day weekend.  I won't lie, it was small.  Two bedrooms and one bathroom about the size of the bathrooms you find in an airplane.  NO JOKE!  All things considered though it wasn't too bad.  It was livable for sure, especially since we were told we would be relocated to a larger, renovated home in the future.  No one however could tell us when the "future" was, it could be 6 months or a year or more.
We got Gunnar enrolled in school to finish 1st grade and he loved his teacher and his school.  We started meeting people and making friends right away.  It was amazing!  We had our first BBQ before we ever even moved into our house and then those friends helped us move in.  Their names are Jay and Courtney and their children are Alex (7) and Hailey (2).  You will hear those names a lot.  Thank goodness for them, Jay specifically because there is no way I could have lifted some of our furniture up those stairs!
Then the real chaos began.  Curtis was in the field for a training exercise and had been gone almost a week when I went off post to do some errands while Gunnar was at school.  I got lost and ended up getting into a wreck.  I T-boned a white SUV, I still don't know what kind it was.  I was very luck that I didn't hurt anyone in the other car and that I was alone in mine, but I did total my brand new Juke.  I had minor injuries and was taken to the hospital by ambulance.  I was able to reach another friend I was supposed to be meeting to let her know what happened.  She was able to reach Curt's Commander in the field to let her know what happened.  Curt's Commander let him go to meet me at the hospital.  I was able to go home after several hours and multiple tests.  I had a minor concussion, lots of bruising and pain but I was thrilled to be alive and mostly unscathed considering the severity of the accident.  I think that little car saved my life....
A few days later Gunnar finished school for the summer.  No second car and a banged up Mama made for a blah start to the summer for G-man.  Then a week or so later we went to a marriage retreat a few hours away in Charlotte.  We had a great time and while there had a surprise call letting us know Curt had orders (don't get TOO excited) to move to the new house.  Apparently you need orders for EVERYTHING in the military.  More on that later. 
The good news was we were getting our newer, bigger house that much sooner!  On the other hand my mom was going to be there in a week and it was going to be Gunnar's birthday.  I was NOT looking forward to moving AGAIN.  My mom however thought it was a great idea to move while she was there.  She loves to move and decorate.  Ugh!  So we had to go to a briefing about the relocation due to renovations (or some such brief).  What I didn't know is the strange looking paperwork we got from the housing office was in fact Curt's orders for this move (they looked NOTHING like his other orders).  Silly me didn't bring them to the brief and since the briefs were only held on Friday's and Monday's we had to wait until the following Friday due to July 4th being a Monday.  The good thing about my little slip up....we wouldn't be moving while my mom was here or over G's birthday.  Gotta love when The Big Guy looks out for ya. 
Mom was here for Gunnar'sGunnar's birthday at Jay and Courtney's house because Alex and Gunnar were born a day apart and the boys hit it off right away so it just made sense.  A bit chaotic but still fun just the same, and the boys had a great time, so that's really all that matters.  We watched the fireworks from home to avoid the heat, humidity and most important (to me) the crowds!  
Before I knew it mom was heading home and it was back to life as normal.  Or as normal as it can be when all we seemed to be doing was moving.  This time it was MUCH easier!  The moving company came in and packed our house.  The next day they loaded the truck and unloaded at the new house.  Meanwhile my stress level was starting to go through the roof.  I was trying to get the car wreck taken care of, the move done, our AZ house sold, entertain G-man (poor guy) and tons of other little things.  Curt seemed to sense I needed a break and he couldn't get leave to go to NJ for a long weekend like we had planned.  That's when he decided to fly me and Gunnar out for a week while he stayed here.  I was beside myself.  I knew I needed a break and I wanted so badly to go and see family as well as to give G some (if short lived) enjoyable time during the summer.  I didn't want to leave my husband though.  There were times I wouldn't have thought much about it, but after being apart for so long and never knowing when he may have to leave again for training or the dreaded D word, I hate to be away if I don't have to be.
True to form Curt didn't let me dwell on it long.  He assured me the trip was exactly what I needed and that he would be fine and waiting right here when we got home.  We NEEDED to see family and to take a break from the chaos.  Damn I love that man!  He always knows what I need, even if sometimes I don't.
We had a great time in NJ.  I got to see family I haven't seen since I was a teenager.  Lots of cousins, some I hadn't even met since they were born after I left the East coast.  I was able to spend some quality time with my grandparents and my aunt.  I even got to see my Nana (mom's mom) and introduce Gunnar as a surprise!  She was so excited and shocked.  I don't think I'll ever forget the look on her face.  
Alright I know this is getting long, so let me try to sum this up for you.  We got the AZ house sold!  It was a short sale, but that is what we were going from from the beginning so it was no shock.  We put it on the market as a short sale and the first offer was accepted.  It was all a matter of the bank coming through and the paperwork being approved.  I'm happy to say all is complete.  Although I prefer to "never say never" I would also prefer NOT to purchase and/or sell another house until Curtis is retired from the military!  That was no piece of cake, and the only benefit for us is that we didn't have to foreclose.  I'm still working feverishly on trying to close my GAP claim from the wreck.  Gunnar started 2nd grade on August 25th.  He loves his school and is teacher.  He's also playing soccer with his first game coming up on the 17th.  
Okay, I know there is plenty more but I'll leave it here for now.  I promise I will keep up better on the blog.  I have so much I want to say, I just need to get it out of my head and onto the blog.  As you can see there have been HUGE victories in our lives over the last couple months.  Moving cross country in one piece as a family and staying in tact no matter the trials.  Overcoming a sever wreck and coming out stronger for it.  Moving AGAIN less than 2 months after getting here.  Making some great friends and being open to new people and new things.  It's not peaches and cream every day, but we make it work and we learn as we go.  What's your victory...big or small?