Monday, July 25, 2011

The art of distraction

Today has been one of those days. . . I could really use a soothing hug from my sweetheart, some words of encouragement and just some good ol' therapeutic time doing something FUN together. Going for a walk, out for ice cream, watch a movie. . . it's true when they say you don't appreciate what you have until you don't have it anymore. Those little things I took for granted- I see what a wonderful and positive impact they had on my day to day life. Of course, things are never perfect. But having to live an entire year separated from my husband has definitely given me perspective on just how much I appreciate even the little things!

So anyway, moving on with my "theme" for this blog:

How to survive a deployment. . . #2

Find yourself a story.

Really, I think it's just being "invested" in a story- like reading a good book series etc. I have ALWAYS loved stories- I've been an avid reader, love watching movies/TV shows, and just hearing peoples stories in general (probably half the reason people like me as a hairstylist- I show interest in their random stories!).

Now a good "story" for me is preferably a long one (good book series, tv series etc). I like a story with good characters, ones you can almost believe truly exist (if they are fictional), who have good chemistry with the other characters- a story that makes you laugh, cry, etc. A story that makes that makes me think "what if?" A historical account of events from the past. A story which maxes out the imagination. . .

Yep, that's what I like. Pretty much any (good) story.

Seasons 1-7 of Desperate Housewives I found especially therapeutic- I laughed hysterically and cried my little eyes out. The little "truths" from Mary Alice and the lessons in each episode were really fun to watch and (at times) quite moving.

Seasons 1-2 of Dollhouse were also quite fun to watch- talk about maxing out the imagination- WOW! I was pretty unhappy with the ending, but it was still an incredible series to watch.

Seasons 1-4 of Brothers and Sisters- watched a majority of this show with my cousin Tony, was really quite a lot of fun. Season 5 proved to be pretty awful so we haven't finished it yet. . . but the first four seasons were really good. I enjoyed that this particular story was featured in southern California- it was very need to see and learn more about the area there- Pasadena, Ojai. . . (although the completely unrealistic frequent (short) trips from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles were a bit. . . well, unrealistic)- Just in general I really enjoyed the scenery of California! And of course, the story was incredibly intriguing.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel. . . I really thought these shows were stupid for the longest time (and I have to agree some parts are a stretch even for MY imagination) but after actually spending some time learning about the story- HOLY COW! It's so good. And I don't even like vampire lore!!!!

There's been a few other shows that I've watched but these were the ones which I really enjoyed the most. Funny because I find myself just a little obsessed with them now (ok, maybe a lot!) but as my cousin Tony pointed out to me recently- I probably won't even remember them once Adam is back! Which is so true. It's ALL about being distracted, and this is one very good way to keep myself distracted from missing my dear, sweet hubby!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A little late in getting started. . .

I probably should have started this ages ago. . . but here I am, coming up to the end of my husband's deployment overseas with the U.S. Army.

So anyway, I'm going to do some back tracking, some pouring my heart out, and just general ramblings. Consider yourself warned. . .

So here goes. . . how do you survive a deployment? Well I think that answer is different for everyone. The situation affects people differently so I would never assume that I speak for all (or even most) military wives when I talk about what this year has been like. This "how to" is more or less the things I have done during this time and how it has all affected me and my ability to cope with this situation. If anyone out there finds it useful, wonderful! Otherwise hopefully it will make for an interesting read. . . at any rate, it will be my outlet to rant upon in hopes of assisting the coping.

Anyway. . .

let's rewind to the beginning. . .

How to survive a deployment: #1 Move far away and start a new life.

Seems like a stupid thing to do right when you're about to go through a major life changing event- like you'd just be asking for more stress/trouble. For some maybe. . . for myself? It was the best decision ever.

Basically one little ad in a Great Clips publication, and my inquiries into the advertisement, lead to a complete alignment of the stars and bright green flashing arrow pointing to Fair Oaks, California.

Driving out here. . . what an adventure! It proved to be some good one on one uber bonding time with my husband. I mean, what else is there to do when you cram a 30 hour, 2,000 mile drive into- well- 30 hours? Quick pit stops to grab gas, use the toilet, and get some food (which we usually ate in the car, you know, to save time)- literally it was over 30 hours in a Ford Focus jammed pack with all of our stuff- oh- and an almost 2 year old- can it get anymore adventurous?

Somewhere between a cop nearly catching me peeing on the side of the road somewhere in. . . Nebraska- possibly Nevada- one of the "N" states with a whole lot of NOTHING for miles and miles (and miles. . . and miles), our trunk exploding at the California border inspection, and being so incredibly tired that hallucinations of a kangaroo crossing the road ensued- it was truly an adventure to be remembered.

Anyway. . . so after 3 blissful weeks in California it was time:

Time to say goodbye.

Driving back to Minnesota made me feel sick- no, not because I hate the cold winters and will take the ocean over a few lakes any day- but because I knew what was coming.

October 24th 2010, 6:30 am. The sun had not risen yet- it was dark, dreary and rainy. Downtown Saint Paul was quiet, which only seemed to intensify what us family and close friends had come to endure: saying goodbye to a soldier. One last hug- and I watched him walk away. I found myself watching him- drinking up the last few moments of actually seeing him- somehow hoping that a few extra seconds of seeing him would make things easier. Part me felt like I was just saying a normal "Bye, have a good day at work, see you tonight" goodbye, but imagining the reality of the fact that it would be a while until we saw each other again felt impossible.

I didn't have much time to sit and sulk over the situation, an hour later I pulled up in my parents driveway- car re-packed with a second load of belongings- and stepped out to greet my mother. The sun had finally risen, but the clouds blocked any ray of sunshine as they continued to spatter rain down upon us. We finished packing her things into my car and set out on our way.

I drove down 160th street headed towards Lakeville, must have driven that route hundreds of times, never once thinking "Hm one day I will drive this route and I won't be stopping until I get to California". Pulled onto interstate 35 headed south- and didn't look back.

By nightfall we had reached Cheyenne, Wyoming. We checked into our hotel. . . everything seemed so surreal. But instead of climbing into *our* bed and laying there alone thinking of the empty spot beside me, I was climbing into a cheap motel bed several hundred miles from the place I had called "home" for the greater part of my life.

My cell phone rang- it was Adam. We spoke for a while, Mercedes talked to him a little. . . odd because now I hardly remember what it was like- to be able to send a text to a cell phone which I knew he would receive instantly. And to receive multiple phone calls throughout the day to connect with each other, it almost seems foreign now.

And that was the first night alone.