Monday, December 31, 2007

To My Husband on New Year's 2008

I always, in my mind, reflect on the previous year's experiences on New Year's Eve. And we sure have had some memories, haven't we? And as the struggles come our way time and time again, and others ponder why I manage to stick it out, I cannot seem to put it into words.
But tonight is the night I live for. The chance for us to have a fresh start, remembering the lessons that we have learned as the old year unfolded before our eyes.
This year is difficult. It is hard to say if it is more difficult than it has been on previous New Years. I have no idea how 2008 will unfold. I do not know if you will be permitted to reenlist. I do not know if and when the day will come when we will have to say goodbye temporarily as you place yourself in harm's way. I cannot say with certainty that you will be here on the earth next year. But I can hope, and I can certainly pray.
I do not remember the exact point in time that your eyes began to crinkle when you smile. I wish I did. That I had memeorized every single moment in this life we have been blessed with together. I just know that as each year passes, we grow and change just a little.Sometimes, when time changes people, they find they are no longer compatible with each other. They look at each other and say "You have become someone I do not know." I will never say that to you. I can honestly say that I love you now as the time weathers you, even more than I did on the day we married.
I hope that 2008 will keep you safe. That wherever you may be throughout the year, whether it be home with me, or on sands of Iraq, that you know just how loved you are. That no matter what changes continue to come our way, this will never change. I will be here, by your side, even if it is miles away, full of blind faith in the man I have decided to spend my life with. While you have the power to disappoint me like no other, know that this is simply because I hold you with such high regard. That whether you are working in a factory somewhere or whether you are off defending all we Americans hold dear, you always have and always will be my hero. That you complete me in a way I will never be able to complete on my own.
I love you, John. Maybe, just maybe, this year will bring more smiles than hardship. That is all we can hope for, after all.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Lament of the New Year's Baby

I honestly do not know what it is about New Year's that gets me in this mood every year. I get weepy and emotional. At the stroke of midnight with each new year, I cry. When I hear Auld Lang Syne, I cry. I have theories as to why this happens, but no definite answers.
I can think of only one person who may read this who actually remembers my mother. All of the others have no idea what they are missing out on. And I don't know how many realize that I am a New Year's Baby,but I am. So on New Year's Eve, each and every year, I miss Mom. Every year, I would get birthday gifts held over from Christmas, and they would come wrapped in Christmas paper. Not a big deal as an adult, but as a kid, this took my big day and lumped it with Christmas, as if my birthday, aside from being a national holiday, were not special at all. I could never have a birthday party, as all of my little friends were at sitters' houses while their parents got drunk. And on New Year's Day, which is actually my birthday, everyone was hung over. But there was one who never forgot. Who would wrap my gifts in the brightest birthday paper she could find, complete with big pink bows. And my sisters never knew, but I got two cakes each year. At the strike of midnight, as we were sitting in pajamas watching Dick Clark, as everyone on Times Square was kissing and singing Auld Lang Syne, Mom would be belting out "Happy Birthday" as the flames on the candles flickered. And we would eat the cake and ice cream while I opened the heap of gifts from my parents. The next day, I would sleep in from my late night, and wake up to a get-together with all of my grown-up siblings, complete with the second cake.
I haven't celebrated my birthday in God-Knows-when. It is just another day, which happens to fall on a holiday that everyone celebrates. This doesn't bother me in the slightest bit, because the biggest, most lavish fete could not hold a candle to the late-night private parties between mother and daughter, as we celebrated the time she brought me into the world. As a mother, I see the appropriateness of that. It truly was our moment.
So this year, like always, I will stay home and watch Dick Clark in my pajamas. As they count down, I will start to get misty-eyed. I will remember all of the events of the past year like a kaleidoscope of images, some of them completely life-altering, and I will secretly make a little birthday wish that all will be better for us in the next year. And as the Ball touches down, and John says "Happy Birthday" instead of the normal "Happy New Year", the tears will be flowing and I will be thinking of the woman who brought me into this world, and the vast and unfillable void she left in my life the day she died.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

You'll Shoot Yer Eye Out, Kid!

My in-laws are country people. There has been a sort of constant ribbing since they met me, about how I am a city girl. To get a rise out of me, my sister-in-law's husband (does this make him my brother in law, or is that only if he were married to my sister or my was husband's brother?) has always told me he is going to buy the Kid a gun as soon as he was big enough to hold one in his own little hands. You must understand something here. I do not hunt. I do not know anyone who has hunted anything in my life, unless it is a rare designer garment or something of the sort. That is not us. Subsequently, I will not touch meat from any wild animal. I prefer to purchase such items from a grocery store where I know they have cleanliness standards. I know, I know...I'm strange! Yeah, I get it! But that is just me. Anyhow, here I am married into a family where even the female members of the family hunt. The very first Christmas I spent with them, my sister-and-law recieved a pair of camo waders. I kid you not!
I guess I always assumed that the gun issue was a joke. It was not. Here we all are on Christmas Day. The Kid has a heap of presents in front of him that renders him unable to see over them. He is feverishly tearing the wrapping paper from the packages. Then he gets to this long, slender box. He just barely tears a teensy corner of the paper before we hear "Wait! Wait! Stop!" It would have seemed that this gift required a soothing introduction. Oh No!
"Now Andrea, Evan is getting older." Uh-Huh. "It is time for him to have some big-boy toys." Ummmm, okay, sure. "Anything , really, can be dangerous if not used properly." Oh crap. "The trick is to be careful about how you handle it, and to train him to be safe." As in looking both ways before crossing the street???
The sound of wrapping paper tearing follows, then the sound of little Evan doing the quick intake of breath in excitement. Oh. Oh Shit. It is a BB GUN. I ask them if this is a toy, to which they reply that it is not. I give John the Look, but it is obvious that he is more eager to get outside with it than The Kid is. I am outnumbered. I reluctantly agree.
I could not help but think of A Christmas Story, where Ralphie wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, and everyone tells him the same line. Only I do not picture Evan's glasses flying off and getting stepped on (is this because Evan does not wear glasses?), but instead picture, oh I don't know...maybe his spleen full of BB's as we rush him to the hospital. I am not thrilled with the present. No, I just plain do not like it at all. I am worried about my baby. But I am worried that I am more worried about the fact that my baby really is old enough for this, and that somehow I missed it. The men in the house were talking about it. They looked at John's dad and asked him what kind he got. It was like a milestone or Rite of Passage they had all gone through at one point. I just wanted to scream, as I do now, that they are mistaken. Just a few months ago, he was colicky and I was pacing the floor with him in my arms throughout the night. He got his first tooth and said his first word. I cried along with him when he got his immunizations. Just yesterday he took his first step. This is not possible. All of his toys are supposed to come complete with a Fisher Price logo. The little boy that walks up to me with outstretched arms saying "Mommy, dance with me" in the middle of the kitchen after school is simply not old enough to play with BB guns. But I bet when John's mom looks at him, she doesn't think her baby is old enough to play with M-16's. I guess they never truly grow up in our eyes.

Yes, I Do Indeed Suck!

Time has this way of getting away from you, doesn't it? I have so much to write about that it is pathetic. I could not possibly keep it all in one little post, so I guess I will have to break it up by topic. Hopefully after a few days back, I will have covered everything.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Holiday Season

In case you need to know where I will be:

  • December 17th: Work/ Pack
  • December 18th: Pack
  • December 19th: Pack/ On-Call 7pm-7am
  • December 20th: Move/ On-Call 7pm-7am
  • December 21st: Work 7pm-7am
  • December 22nd: Work 7pm-7am
  • December 23rd: Work 7pm-7am
  • December 24th: Work 3pm-11pm, Our Wedding Anniversary
  • December 25th: Travel to Kentucky, Christmas with In-laws
  • December 26th: Return trip from Kentucky, On-Call 7pm-7am
  • December 27th: Off, Nothing planned
  • December 28th: Work 7pm-7am
  • December 29th: Work 7 pm-7 am
  • December 30th: Work 7 pm-7am
  • December 31st: New Year's Eve
  • January 1st: New Year's Day/ My Birthday

Old, Old, Old Picture!

John's boot camp picture. Haha! I know it looks like "Bert joins the Marine Corps", but this is my baby. Trust me, the unibrow is gone! Funny thing is, he looks like this again, without the unibrow and with broader shoulders added!

Hey, It's the Kid!

Sure, he looks innocent. I can assure you he is not!
Too close, but look at those brown eyes! He uses them to his advantage like some sort of tool when he is introuble!

No, No he was not singing the National Anthem. He was playing in the backyard, and I tried to quickly snap a picture. When I wanted a little boy, this is what I wanted. Rough and Tumble. Little jerseys and Nikes. Football. This is my baby.

This had to be the easiest costume I have ever made! I think it took about twenty minutes. He ended up winning concert tickets for this one.

Kindergarten, 2008. I burned my hand trying to iron this tiny shirt, and he ended up doing God-knows-what in it, and so it ended up wrinked again! Kids!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Randomness= The State of Being Random

Warning: Long, boring post of miscellaneous crap!

We started the process of searching for an apartment several days ago. I was very upset by the entire process. Every apartment in a 50 mile radius around our house is based on income. So I would call these places, only to be laughed at because my income is too great. So what do people do? I would think that substantial income would be desirable in a prospective tenant.

So when all was said and done, the last place I called had no income guidelines. We ended up securing a 3 bedroom townhouse right down the street from where I work at the hospital.

The moving process is going to be high on the suckage scale. With the exception of two days, and of Christmas Day, I have no days completely off. Christmas Day will be spent with John's family in Kentucky, so that is out the window. Some of those nights, I am only on call. However, when I am on call, I am pretty much grounded to my house. The wrath of my boss would be upon me if I was needed and could not be reached.
So here I am, completely devoid of time, and have to pretty much just open up the front door of the new place and fling the boxes into the house. But the clencher is that we have had ice and snow, rain and sleet all weekend. Right now it is fifteen degrees out there, so there is no hope of anything thawing in the near future. I am going to have to move in ice skates, which is not cute. I am certainly not graceful enough for this.
All of this stuff that has been going on has kept me from the pool. And with my work schedule the way it is over the next couple of weeks, I do not foresee it getting any easier to make time in the water a part of my daily routine. I am debating on whether I should suspend swimming until after the New Year. After all, there is a lot going on, with John's struggle with reenlistment reaching a conclusion soon, the moving, the weather, my schedule. I am afraid that I am using all of this as an excuse.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Something With Sprinkles On It

First of all, this picture is not mine. I found it online with the caption "The worst birthday cake ever", but it seemed appropriate for this post, and made me laugh.
I have been off of work for nearly two weeks, barring the 3 hours I was required to go in to the hospital to recertify my basic life support. I have worked the past two nights. Nothing extreme--just my run-of-the-mill twelve hour shifts. But for some reason my poor feet are screaming. I am exhausted and stressed. I had a patient that was circling the drain all night last night. I came home this morning and went straight to bed as-is. Translation: I took off my coat at the door, kicked off my cute pink Crocs, and landed in the bed. I was still wearing my scrubs, my badge, and even still had my stethoscope around my neck, until I turned over in the bed and felt it tugging on me. I slept for the normal few hours, then woke up and transferred to the sofa. The house is a wreck and the Kid is running rampant, telling me he is hungry. The lunch provided by his father, while more than adequate, was not what he had in mind.
So here I am, wanting nothing more than an hour of peace. I want this hour so badly that I would willingly exchange my arsenal of expensive designer handbags for said hour. Instead, the kid is dancing around me in circles, chanting that he is hungry and he wants something "with sprinkles on it". I stagger to the kitchen and think for a moment, then brandish a Little Debbie cake. It is sweet and chocolate, and has the requisite sprinkles. This does not apease the Kid. He goes on to inform me that he wants the sprinkles that are in the cabinet. He is referring to the supplies I bought to make a chocolate cake while at the grocery store a few days ago. He wants me to bake a #$%^&* cake. He wants me to do this NOW.
The man has forbidden the baking of something with sprinkles on it, telling the Kid that Mommy is tired, that she has spent at least the past 48 hours taking care of cranky sick people, that she needs to relax and therefore is not going to bake a cake for him.
I tried to reason with the Kid, telling him that I will bake the cake while he is at school tomorrow afternoon, after I have recovered from another twelve hours. This is not acceptable to the Kid. He wants the cake now, and I am in Hell because I will not give in.
Why am I writing this? This is the standard struggle of the working mother. My poor child is deprived of a cake becasue I have a career. Nevermind that, without said career, there would be no money to purchase the ingredients for the now-infamous cake. This makes me wonder how other mothers do it. I think it is because for three days a week, I am out of comission for my family. During those three days, it does not matter if laundry is piled to the ceiling. I cannot do anything about it. The trade-off is that they have me for the other 4.5 days of the week. Undivided attention. Most mothers work a set shift 5 days a week, get to spend a few hours with their children daily, then have the weekend to do whatever they want. Instead, my family gets most of me. So why in the world could the Kid not want something with sprinkles between Monday and Friday???

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Home Stretch

It has been months. The topic has dropped from conversation in the home. What about the Marine Corps? John has just a few more pounds to lose before he reaches the goal weight the recruiters have set for him. He has worked so diligently. If it were not for the awesome fried chicken available across the street from our home, he would probably already be there. In the meantime, the paperwork has been completed and is ready to be sent off. The PFT has been done. So he has just these few pounds and a visit to MEPS standing in his way.
I am nervous still. I do not know if I will be able to adapt to the life of a military spouse. I hope that I am strong enough. I just know that I am so proud of this man of mine. He looks great. He is more confident. He has reverted back to the John I married many years ago. For this, all I can say is God Bless the United States Marine Corps!

See Ya January 7th, LSU!

Okay, it is now official and my boys will be playing LSU on January 7th. I cannot wait. For tomorrow's to do list, I have to remember to buy a stuffed tiger and rope for a noose. Time to get in the spirit of things. I really hope that they learned their lesson last year against Florida, and this will not result in a repeat of history. We need this. Game On!

The Title Shot

I realize i should have named this The Ohio State Chronicles, as that has been the subject of most of my blogging. But I cannot help it. This is my life okay? I'm a Buckeye. Football season has served as a healthy distraction to the crap storm that is my life at times. And my boys just made it to the Dance, so to speak!