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Today (Saturday) DH and I took Charley along when we ran some errands in town. Our first stop wasn’t an errand though. It was the Linear Trail that snakes around BigUtown. It was such a beautiful autumn day. Perfect weather for walking a dog and hanging out together.

After the walk, we tried out the new local custard place. Delicious! Charley got a cup of refreshing cold water after we got done eating cheese fries and custard confections.

We rented Expelled from RedBox last night. Insightful, thought-provoking movie by Ben Stein. I’d recommend seeing it.

Enjoy the pictures!

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Metal Head

Posted on: November 1, 2008

Chipotle had a deal yesterday – if you came dressed in tinfoil like a burrito, you’d get a free meal. DH got in the spirit. Unfortunately when we drove up, the line stretched down the block and around the corner. We had dinner at IHOP instead. And DH didn’t get to show anyone his tinfoil head.

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Joyful

Posted on: October 27, 2008

We went on the Ghost Tour on post tonight. It’s a pretty chilly evening outside, so the hot cocoa stop about halfway through was appreciated. DH was bored, but I found the tour interesting. A bit of history along with many ghost stories. The fort has been around since the 1850’s, so there have been many deaths. In the late 1800’s there was a cholera epidemic that killed many people. During WWI there was a Spanish Flu pandemic that took many more lives. Add that to the usual deaths that happen and you get a place ripe for spirits and hauntings. Some of the people that told stories as part of the tour spoke from personal experience. Believe if you will. I personally believe that there is more going on in our world than we can see or hear.

It was good to come home for a cup of hot tea at the end of the night. And to take care of the infirmary duties around here. If we want a bit more scare, I guess we can watch Rt. 666 on the SciFi channel. I enjoy Halloween and this time of year.

Stress mess

Posted on: October 16, 2008

Wow. Do you ever have one of those moments when everything just hits you all at once. I’m having one of those right now. It sucks.

First, our dog Maddie had a weird looking thing growing on her back leg. It got even weirder looking. We joked that she was going through some sort of asexual reproduction process and we were going to end up with a mini-Maddie. Didn’t seem to bother her, but it changed, so DH took her to the vet. Maddie has a sarcoma. Won’t know until next week if it’s benign or maligned. (Yes, I know that’s not the right word.) Had no idea how much this actually worried me. (I was out of town while most of this was going on this week.)

Went on a job interview. Don’t think I’ll get the job. But it made me realize how horrid things really are where I am even though generally I deal pretty well. (Except when I’m complaining here or pondering leaving.) Top it off with the fact that I’m torn about changing jobs right now because it would likely mean another big move. Which means weekends at home would be out because it’d be too far to travel. This isn’t the best time to be contemplating that. So I’ve got to figure out some way to deal with this crap as it is in a way that will allow me to stay sane and not get sucked into the petty silliness. Maybe I’ll start my own committee of silly walks to ease my tension.

And LittleU screwed up my retirement pay. It was supposed to have started coming out of my check back in June. We are required to contribute 5.5% of our gross. Not a huge deal until you double that for three months to get caught up. At a time when we’re now facing vet bills. Not to mention Christmas. This financial fiasco is the main reason I opted not to go to CA for a conference. Not a good time to have a huge outflow of cash. They were apologetic about it, but an apology doesn’t come with money attached. Ah…

Add all this to the stress of two upcoming conference presentations that I’ve had little time to prep for, unexpected travel that ate up my relaxed time off, and a failing friendship with someone and you get one messy, teary J. You know it’s bad when I look forward to my next dental appointment because it means I have a whole day off. (I take whole days when they’re going to numb my face because it takes me hours before I stop biting my cheek and drooling. Not a pretty sight to share with other people. And I’m always super-cranky because I’m biting my cheek and drooling.)

Thanks for allowing me to rant. Meditating is helping me keep it together more than this shows. And heaven knows that my problems are really quite small compared to people with real problems like illness and true poverty and war. On occasion, I lose perspective. (I’m working on it.)

Despite this stuff, the week has had good points. I got to see my in-laws again. Always enjoy spending time with them. It’s another home away from home. The drive back to KS was beautiful today with all the fall colors popping out. Found a couple new pairs of jeans that fit well (length and other places) which is almost miraculous. Came home to dog and DH love after my trip. Get to teach tomorrow. The weather is finally cooling a bit so it feels like fall is here. The interview helped me get a few things in perspective in terms of what type of job I’m really looking for. And I get to be on a panel this weekend for one of the library school classes.

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I’m writing this in response to a request on FriendFeed to talk about what DH’s upcoming deployment means to me.

This is the first deployment for him (and hopefully the last since he will retire when he returns.) We are still a over a year away from the actual deployment, which means a year to worry and prepare.

I want to say upfront that I do not speak for every military spouse. In many ways, I’m not the typical spouse at all living a typical military spouse’s life. So, I can’t imagine that I speak for the thousands of other families out there affected by deployments.

My husband is in the Army band. Sounds like a soft life, huh? But he knows how to fire a weapon, has went through basic training, and basically is a soldier just like every other soldier out there. When he deploys, he’ll be going where the troops are, providing entertainment and support. This is an incredibly important job because morale is a huge thing for all those soldiers so far away from home.

To me it means that every day he is away I will live with worry and fear. Not just fear for his safety, although that will be there, but also fear for his sanity. I know that our soldiers see and experience things that most of us will never begin to understand and I hope that we’ll both be strong enough to endure the consequences. That I’ll be good enough, compassionate enough, kind enough to deal with someone who may be changed in subtle ways when he finally returns to me.

For me, it will mean dealing with all the responsibilities of a household on my own. We don’t have children and I’m even more grateful at this point that we don’t. I have a great deal of respect for all the spouses that have to be both mother and father. But my husband has overseen our finances for most of our married life, a responsibility I was glad to hand over. I have to relearn things like balancing a checkbook and develop a system to make sure everything gets paid on time and whatever else needs to be done gets done, like oil changes, lawn care, etc. I’ll admit that I’ve been very spoiled to have someone take care of so many of the details of daily life while I’ve pursued my career.

I will have to live without easy access to my best friend for a year. My husband is the one person I trust completely in this world. By nature, I’m shy and it is hard for me to make friends and even harder to get to that deeper level of trusting, safe friendships…particularly when one moves as much as we have in the past nine years. I hope that I can find a way to move closer to family because I’m going to need their support and love while he’s away. This is hard for me to admit and accept, because I like to consider myself independent. But all the things that I enjoy doing with him – going to movies, eating out, going for drives, talking, etc. – will be put on hold. My life as I know it, will wait breathlessly for the day when he is home safe.

Nothing will be the same when he deploys. Yet, I would never ask him to shirk his duty to his country. I will bid him good-bye with tears, but also with pride that he has served his country for the past 18 years. It has meant sacrifice for both us, but I have never once regretted marrying an Army man. While the military doesn’t define him or our lives, it still has offered me opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if I’d never met him.

When I say the Pledge of Allegiance or sing our national anthem or stand when the American flag passes in a parade, I am reminded of all that has occurred in our history and I am proud to say that I am an American. You will never see me at a war protest or find me burning our country’s flag. There are too many good, honest, decent Americans who have given so much to this country. I could never be so disrespectful.

So while I will worry, have sleepless nights, live with my cell phone in my hand, I am glad to do what little I can to support my husband and all the others who want to make sure evil will not be allowed to continue. Call me idealistic, but there is true evil in the world and we cannot turn a blind eye to it or attempt to negotiate with it. Neither will work. I hope and pray that someday there truly will be a world where people live in peace with each other. We’re not there yet and until we are, we must do fight against things like genocide, terrorism, cruel dictatorships, etc. If we turn our back we are no better than those who engage in such activities.

I end this post with this thought. If you know where it comes from, leave a comment. Although it was said more than 40 years ago, it is still true today.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

It’s really been a good week. DH and I went bowling on Monday. He did well, I was able to get the ball in my lane most of the time. *laugh* It’s been at least three years since I’ve bowled. Hard to believe, but the last time was in Alaska and we came back to the lower 48 almost 3 years ago.

The library was closed tonight since it’s Fall Break, so I ended up coming back to BigUtown last night and scored a work at home day. I didn’t get as much accomplished as I wanted, so I’m also working tomorrow even though it’s technically my day off.

I got a message yesterday about a job in Kewanee. Yes, Illinois! We’re considering moving back as a possibility. It’s a job I’m very interested in (although I’m really not applying for anything I’m not interested in) and would be a good opportunity. I called them back this morning and have an interview set up for next week. It’ll be a super quick trip there and back, but I’m excited. Things seem to be moving a bit more now in the job search front.

And DH is off Friday. Looks like it should be another beautiful day. We plan to play a round of golf on the course here in the neighborhood.

A week full of good things!


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Upcoming

Mar. 10 - Photography Class

Mar. 11 - Quad Cities SnB

Mar. 12 - Lincoln Reenactor performance at BHE

Mar. 13 - Annual budget due

Mar. 14 - SnB trip to Galena

Mar. 16-21 - Spring Break

Mar. 16-18 - On the Front Lines library conference in Springfield

Mar. 19-22 - In Kansas

Mar. 23 - Orientation in Quad Cities

Mar. 24 - Photography Class

Mar. 26 - Spring Break for Academic Librarians workshop in Peoria

Mar. 27 - Supervisor Development in Quad Cities

Apr. 2 - Using Social Technologies in Library Instruction workshop

Apr. 6 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 6 - My birthday

Apr. 7 - Photography Class

Apr. 9-12 - In Kansas

Apr. 10 - College Closed

Apr. 12 - Easter

Apr. 13-19 - National Library Week

Apr. 13 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 14 - Photography Class

Apr. 16 - Evening Instruction Session

Apr. 17 - Information Literacy Summit

Apr. 18 - A Day of Books and Quilts at Toulon Public Library

Apr. 20 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 21 - Photography Class

Apr. 22 - Renegade Reference meeting in Bloomington

Apr. 23 - Illinois Library Day

Apr. 24 - Quarterly Supervisors Meeting

Apr. 27 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 28 - Photography Class

Apr. 29 - Supervisor Training in Quad Cities

May 5 - Photography Class

May 12 - National Library Legislative Day

May 25 - Memorial Day - College Closed

June 4 - RSA Users' Group meeting in Peoria

June 6 - SIL's birthday June 6 - Brother and SIL Anniversary

June 8 - Nancy Pearl at Bradley University

June 13 - WWKIP train trip to St. Louis

July 3 - Holiday - College Closed

July 4 - Independence Day

July 10 - Mom's Birthday

July 10-15 - ALA Annual Conference in Chicago

July 17-19 - Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair in Crystal Lake, IL

July 31 - 10th Anniversary

Sept. 7 - Labor Day, College closed

Oct. 6-9 - Illinois Library Association Annual Conference in Peoria

Nov. 23 - Brother's birthday

Nov. 26 - Thanksgiving Day, College closed

Nov. 27 - College Closed

Dec. 7 - MIL's birthday

Dec. 18 - DH's birthday

Dec. 25 - Christmas Day

Dec. 26 - Dad's birthday

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