Friday, June 30, 2006

My Turn To Brag

OK…one of the advantages of having a forum that few people read is that I can brag. And I am going to brag unabashedly!

This past week Bonnie Blue has been a Youth Counselor at our state’s National Guard Kids’ AT. It is a camp for kids of National Guardsmen that allows the kids to go away for a time like their parents do every summer for Annual Training (AT). I have tried over the past couple of years to get her interested in going as a camper and then last year as a Youth Counselor but she was never interested. Fortunately, this spring she attended a briefing at our armory that mentioned this camp and she showed some interest. Signed her up right away!!

Through the week I heard from her about every other night and she sounded like she was really enjoying herself. This is the kid who did absolutely nothing without her “posse”. If it was 4-H camp or church camp, she always did everything with a group of local kids and had never done anything like this where she knew absolutely no one! So that in and of itself made the whole week worthwhile.

And then…she was a squad leader. AND she was honored as the Youth Counselor of the Week for her Platoon. Too cool. She had an awesome time and now has a list of cell phone numbers for all of her new friends. Made her mama proud!!!

The other cool thing that happened is she got her ACT scores back. This is her first attempt (10th grade) and she was sure she had scored a 10 maybe 14 if she was lucky! Well she scored a 23 and was just thrilled. That will get her into any school in our state and will allow her to get the necessary state sponsored scholarships. She was upset with the science portion (which was 19 and brought down the 26 in English) but we know that the science program in this school district really stinks. Is there a science program in this district??!!

Anyway...the kid thinks this has been one of her best days in a long time!

I am done bragging and am going back to folding laundry. HOOAH!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Our Travel Log

As I said last night, we ran away from home and went to visit Tanker. As much as I hate the drive, it was great to spend some time as a family. So far this summer, the time is flying by.

• Driver’s Ed…check. Bonnie Blue is now the proud holder of a Learner’s Permit. It’s hard to believe our baby is old enough for this phase of her life but I am getting used to it and have actually survived a couple of rides with her at the wheel.

• Visit Tanker…check. It is amazing to me how my body is no longer happy with me sitting in a vehicle and driving for 8 hours! I used to do that at the drop of a hat to go visit the folks in PA when we were living in Kentucky. Those were the good ole’ days, I guess. Then to top it off, when we got on post the AC was out in his room so we had to move him into another unit…at 10 PM to a room on the 3rd floor with no elevator. This man sure has accumulated a lot of stuff since he has been there!

• Wedding…check. We flew to Pittsburgh to see my youngest cousin’s wedding and had a great time. Flew in on Friday, had dinner with the folks and my brother’s family, wedding on Saturday, stayed with sister Saturday night, and flew back out at 0600 on Sunday. The visit was WAY too short but Tanker had to be back to work so it was the best we could do. Bonnie Blue stayed until Wednesday so we had a few days of couple time which was great (wink, wink).

We are now back home and have a day to get all of Bonnie Blue’s laundry done. We head back out tomorrow morning. She is going to be a youth counselor for our NG Kid’s AT and I am looking forward to a week of peace by myself. Time to get the house back in order.

And ahead we have…

Head back to Tanker. They are having a 4th of July blowout on the post with a concert that we are going to go to. It will be good to spend a normal 4th with Tanker. Last year he was in Iraq and I was with my sister attending my uncle’s funeral. The year before that Tanker was home on leave during their pre-deployment training and we just wanted family time.

We then will come home for a couple of days and then head to the coast with my girlfriend. A week on the white sands of Destin (with a side trip to the outlet mall) will do Bonnie Blue and me some good!

Now all I have to plan is a 16th birthday party for Bonnie Blue in August. I think I want to try to surprise her but I am clueless. Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

We are back!!

Sorry for the disappearing act! We headed out to visit Tanker and the computer situation there was less than desirable. Thanks to those of you who have checked in while I have been gone (especially Miss Smitten) and I promise to update after I get some sleep.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


It is now 2:47 PM (CST) on 06/06/06 and we are still here. Imagine that!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006


As I have aged, my thoughts about motherhood and career have changed dramatically. I certainly bought into the whole “you can have it all” BS that was given to us as the result of the women’s movement. I worked my entire life with small amounts of time where I felt I needed to be home. And during those times I was home, I was constantly working on how I would get back into the workforce. It was just what I thought was expected. If I was a good enough Mom, if I was a good enough woman, I would figure out how to do this…juggle all these balls and make it work.

I remember vividly when Bonnie Blue was an infant and Big Bubba was about 9 years old. We had just moved to a new city after her birth and I had not yet found a job and, although I knew it was where I needed to be, I was having difficulty not contributing to the household financially. Issues of dependency I think now as I look back but I digress

Big Bubba would come home from school, literally throw his backpack in the front door, and head back outside. Everyday. Same ole’ thing. Whenever there was discussion of me going back to work, this boy became extremely quiet. Tanker felt Big Bubba just wanted to know I was there. A constant. Mom was home. And at the time, I was too young or too stupid to see it. I had grown up thinking I was inadequate if I wasn’t able to have well adjusted kids, the perfect home, AND a job.

The latest decision to head back home is the result of finally learning that I can’t have it all. Granted, I don’t have the benefit of having Tanker home to help with all of the activities that Bonnie Blue is involved with but the bottom line is that she needs me available. Being gone from the house for almost 50 hours a week wasn’t working for us. And my husband needs me. Although staying Active Duty is a decision he has made (and I support this decision completely), and he loves what he is doing, it is my job as a wife to be there for him.

This is a HUGH change in my thinking. There is such a peace that I am finally doing what is right. You probably wonder what brought this all on. Apparently, Elizabeth Vargas’ decision to leave ABC is causing folks in the women’s movement to question what’s really going on. Why can’t they just embrace this woman, support her decision, and believe what she is saying? Maybe there is more to the story, but why do they automatically question her decision.

God bless you, Elizabeth Vargas. Enjoy your time with your family. Because in the grand scheme of things, there is nothing more important than family.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Back From Iraq

Our guys have been back from Iraq since last fall. Everyone I have talked to since then are dealing with what I see as normal post-deployment issues; i.e., sleeplessness, irritability, and the ever popular “creative” driving techniques. I will never forget the time I went to pick Tanker up during their demob process (they were sent home during the Hurricane Rita evacuation) and we got caught up in all the traffic caused by the folks heading north. Fortunately I was driving. We were in bumper to bumper traffic and I needed to get into the right lane to make an exit. To my right was a pickup whose driver was not very interested in being kind that day. Tanker’s response was “Just push him into the bridge!” He was just livid with this idiot in a pickup truck and I saw a look in his eyes that I never had seen before. This should have been my first indication that we might be headed for an interesting adjustment period.

Since their return, Tanker has stayed Active Duty and is stationed far enough away that we see each other a couple of times a month. It really isn’t any different than our life before he deployed. His civilian job (long haul trucker) required that he was home every other weekend and we had been doing this for about 3 years.

Over the past few months, I have occasionally wondered how things will be when this phase of our life is over and he is home full time but I can’t say that I have been too worried…until tonight.

During our conversation this evening, I was updating him on some of the guys in his unit and how they were doing. Some are having trouble adjusting to work, school, and/or living situations. I then mentioned one guy in particular whose wife had called and was concerned with some anger issues he was having.

Tanker then says…”I can understand that completely. I really had to check myself last weekend when you were so insistent about the Phelmer thing.” We had been discussing a change in ownership of a local auto repair shop and he had half of the facts right and I was just trying to explain the piece of information that he was missing. No big deal. Or so I thought.

This is the guy that is normally so easy going. We have always been proud of the fact that we really don’t argue. We both have been married before and really knew what we didn’t want when we married…and big blow up fights just weren’t part of what we wanted for us.

Fortunately, his next comment was that he thought he might go back to see the counselor that he saw a few times when he got back. And maybe I need to talk with the Family Life counselors they have available for us around here.

It’s been 9 months since he has been back in the states. He probably won’t be home for good until November. Maybe then we can really begin our “demob” process.