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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Monsoon season

I like to plan ahead. I feel like it gives that Murphy guy less to do, the things I plan for don't happen - it is that one thing I miss that screws it all up. SO I knew that July and August were monsoon season and I tried to buy rain boots for the kids and myself but we lived in El Paso, TX which is a desert rain boots were hard to come by in June. No matter since it isn't (so far) days of constant rain. It rains every day for some amount of time, and there is now standing water in lots of places but I don't always get wet when I walk the dog.

The other morning it was really wet air, so you got wet while you walked along but the water had not reached a critical mass and started to fall to earth. I was ok with that and the dog did his thing and I didn't even need to change my clothes when I got back in the apartment. Oh how 5 hours can change the world. Looking out the window while I waited for the elevator I thought, Hmm it is raining a little. In the time it took that little metal box to go from 4th floor to 1st floor it was pouring. Dog had to go, so out we went. Dog was not happy. I found the whole thing laughable. The water ran down my face I couldn't even see, dog did not complete the mission. He tapped out.

So with the standing water and pouring rain - I really need boots. Oddly I am having trouble finding any, you would think shops would capitalize on this moisture and get some rubber boots in, alas so far no luck. Thankfully the rain is back to falling at night. The weather reports say it has been a dry monsoon season, and the country is headed for a drought. I do hope it rains, and the Koreans don't have a drought, I just hope it waits until I find some boots and a really large umbrella for the dog. I don't think he can hold it more than a day at a time.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tossed under the bus . . .

Right now I am writing my resume, can you tell? I was gathering my papers I have this folder that I have kept copies of my resumes through the years and letters of recommendation and cards of love and support from family and friends. I found it was a good place to go when I got sad and felt worthless. I could read all these letters that said I was responsible and a hard worker. Sometimes I forgot about my folder of attagirl, and those months would get dark . . . . Anyhow in the back I found my darkest day, orders leaving Oregon.

Once upon a time I was crazy happy in Salem, Oregon. I had friends, a purpose, I was on a great housekeeping schedule, I felt like I fit in - it was amazing. At the elementary school a ponytail and no makeup it was ok, hell it was standard Mom attire! Only problem, spouse was a recruiter and he was really unhappy, we had grown far apart and lived as roommates. We didn’t even communicate with notes, neither one knew what the other was doing in their life. Then it was time for him to return to the regular Army, he started to come back to me, the sarcastic loving guy I married started to show up at our house. We got our orders for Germany, *squee*, I love Germany. I was excited even though I would leave my home. One week before we were getting on the road they changed our orders – in a voice mail – to Ft Rucker, AL. Southern gals, inspite of the crazy melting humidity, to go everywhere-even the gym in make-up and with hair done. To say I hate Ft Rucker is a supreme understatement, I do not fit in there and we had been there 2x already. I cried for 3 days. I knew I had to make a choice, my marriage (kids were 7 and 3) or my happiness and that really is how I saw it. SO I made a sacrifice for my family, for my kids and returned to HELL.

I went to AL, and held it against him for the 2.5 years there and another 2 years at Ft Bragg, NC. It was pretty bad, I gave up. Actually laid down and gave up. I don’t even know if he could have done anything, at times I told myself that if he at least apologized for what the Army did, or admitted that I gave up so much for him then I could forgive him. LOL my husband isn’t good at sorry even when it is his fault much less for something he can’t control – but my twisted mind felt like there were words he could use to fix it. Like any good martyr I suffered for my cause, I stayed in bed for the better part of 2 years – yeah that’ll teach ‘em!!

When I started to get straight with my health and my mind a therapist asked me why did you leave Oregon? If you were happy there why didn’t you stay? I had to admit that if I had stayed we would have been divorced in a year, we were too far apart at that point and we needed to become husband and wife again. There are strong marriages that can take time apart, or even damaged ones like ours (he was deployed 2x while I continued to hold vigil) can make it if you are together in theory. If I had stayed I would have declared my independence physically when I was already living it mentally. So while he was in Afghanistan the second time I chose to get better. We were supposed to retire in a year so I would get to go back to Oregon and have a career – the kids were 13 and 10 they could function without me. He would retire and be an at home Dad while I got a career. I had a happy family picture in my mind all of my suffering was over my reward earned.

The Army did it again, while deployed he made the Sergeant Major (SGM) list and called to tell me we were going to Ft Bliss for a year and then he had to spend another 4 years in the Army to retire at SGM. I really didn’t know what to do, OH the rollercoaster of emotions. I could go to Oregon and start a life with the kids and he could join us when he retired, I could stay in NC and see where he went after school. I wanted my family intact, but wasn’t ready to trade my soul again. I am nothing if not dramatic! Once again I had a plan and here it was tossed under the bus.

I put on my big girl panties, it took me a couple of months to find them. I was pleasantly surprised that they were too big, while getting healthy I lost 50 lbs and 2 sizes. With new found pleasure at my healthy success I loaded up the family to move to Ft Bliss, TX for a whole 10 months. In Texas we discovered each other again. He came home for dinner and lunch and we laughed and enjoyed each other, both pleasantly surprised to find we were still in love. I let go of my martyrdom, and he forgave the years of passive aggressive behavior. I am a fool, I planned on getting to Ft Lewis, WA and starting my life 3 hours away in Oregon.  Thought we could have it all. Oh the Gods have a sense of humor.

I am writing this from Pyeongtaek South Korea. This time I got through my shock and dismay in about 24 hours and decided this was my overseas adventure that I had waited 8 years for, being a martyr did finally pay off.   

Monday, June 2, 2014

Motherhood Sucks

Motherhood sucks

My oldest is 14, I only have 2 kids and I am still on my first husband. And in a minute you will see why it is nice that he is still putting up with me. Husband is in the military so we move every few years and it was hard to find career worthy jobs – I decided to stay home and call that my job. Well it was way too thankless.

At work you get paid, and the boss doesn’t care what you do with that money. As a SAHM you are expected to keep everyone happy while figuring out how to save money to prove that you have contributed to the family. For me that meant I didn’t buy myself things like new clothes, or get my hair done. A job offers accolades when you do well, at home you can never please everyone. When a project is finished at the office you celebrate and review what went well and how to improve the next project. When dinner is finished there is no thank you and as a prize I get to do the dishes. There will be more dishes in 2 hours after everyone has dessert, so I guess that ‘project’ is never done.

To add insult to injury while dinner and then dishes are being done the rest of the family does as they please – watch TV, play on computers, enjoy their free time. This year I have decided to do as I please and to force the rest of the family into working. It was hard. When they complained I wanted to jump in and take over, but I believed that my movie watching was just as important as their free time so I kept my ass on that couch!! When guilt over the mess in the kitchen started to upset my stomach, I walked to the living room and checked into Facebook. My time and effort have paid off; I think I found some new hobbies. The fact that they really can do house work shows me that I can get a job, and it won’t lead to social services visiting my home.

Best of all, I am not caught up in getting stuff done so that I actually stop and spend time really listening to my kids instead of multitasking my way through a conversation. I still don’t get many thank yous, and the place is a little out of control sometimes – but it is worth it to have a life. Maybe motherhood isn’t too bad, maybe I was just doing it wrong. Shhh don’t tell my husband.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Back to the Gym

So I have been trying to lose weight for – well since I turned 12 and I am 44 now so . . .you do the math. After 40, with 2 kids and a couple bouts of depression, where I stayed in bed for months I was in really bad physical condition and I decided to make a change. It took 2 years of trying different workout methods, and eating plans before I realized that I couldn’t make myself work hard enough to change alone – I got a trainer 3x a week and she made me hurt every day. I love her – she saved my life.

 It took 12 months to lose 50 pounds, and then we moved. So I lost my gym, my grocery store, and my workout buddies. I got settled and started again – thankfully I didn’t gain any of the weight back, unfortunately I didn’t keep making progress either. So here I sit with really another 50 pounds to lose to be healthy, again trying to make a go of it on my own. (I hear the song “All By Myself” playing, hmmm).

A local friend is a runner and got me to try a race with giant inflatables.

 I started the couch to 5k program using this app so that I wouldn’t slow down the real runners too much.

It went well in 4 weeks I got to where I could run for 90 second intervals at a pretty good pace. On day one of the program my 60 second run on a treadmill showed my heart rate going to 188,(might have been close to a heart attack, but since I didn’t pass out it’s all good) by the fourth week I was running faster and my heart rate only made it to 170 and my recovery was much faster. We did 3.5 miles with 11 obstacles in just under an hour – not bad for newbies.

We finished the race and I didn’t have another one on the calendar so I didn’t run for 3 weeks – I walked and did the elliptical but it was a half-assed effort. Truth be told I really dislike running, but I found it was an easy way to knock out 300+ calories in 30 minutes, then 30 minutes on core work and some weight lifting and you have real progress in 1 hour. I returned reluctantly to the gym, and decided to start again at week 1 but day 3, I thought maybe I had a little conditioning left – WOW I was shocked I ran the whole routine at my faster speeds and without any extra recovery time, and no slowing down WOO-HOO!!!

I am back to the gym, on my way to being in great shape!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Count down to PCS (permanent change of duty station)

As you might have gathered from earlier posts we are getting stationed in South Korea. This was a real shock to all of us it was 27th on our wish list followed by Ft Rucker, AL; and Ft Polk LA – and my spouse already has over 20 years in the Army so we would be potentially retiring at the end of our tour in Korea – hmm seems complicated to me.  We live our lives “at the needs of the Army” so South Korea it will be.

In 4 weeks we have managed to get 2 passports each (one of the bureaucratic hoops we get to jump through), the cat and dog have their shots and lab work, we had our physicals, and some needed paperwork has come in so that I can start the next series of appointments.  My time has been loaded with interesting ‘things to do’, seems our last duty station didn’t put any of our medical visits in the computer so I had to re-do all the fun appointments – the boob smasher, and every lady loves “could you scoot a little farther down the table?” Fortunately even with the constant need to do things twice we are still moving down the check list.

 Unfortunately it has taken up so much of my time I haven’t been able to do research on the fun parts of moving to South Korea, just the nuts and bolts of getting 4 humans, a dog, and a cat there. I have lots of ideas I want to research – local festivals, National events and celebrations, and basic info- what is the weather like  *sigh* hopefully I will have some cool things to tell eventually, right now I need to get on the phone and check the cost of shipping an 80 pound Lab from Dallas to Seoul . . . .

Sunday, April 27, 2014


GRRRR . . .

 I did make it to the gym, and Oh My Gods!!! It did as I needed; I had a great day full of energy. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it back again this week – grr spent lots of time dealing with bureaucrats trying to get things done for the big move.

 I am trying to complete the ‘to do’ list for the Army, clean out and organize the closets and shelves, get to the gym 3x or more a week, get myself career ready, keep kids inline, have a hobby (reading, and embroidery), and do regular wife work and for me this ends in A LOT of stress. I am left wondering if regular people get freaked out trying to ‘do’ life or I am special – and not in a good or acceptable way. AND let the whining begin – am I disorganized, or under motivated? Some days I crank through work and feel great and other days I am trapped in a cycle of crazy. Let’s be clear here, the crazy can be of my own creation, one of those days where I go into one room to put an item away and get distracted by a pile of items to put away, or end up involved in another project. This leads to many projects started but few finished – I think of it as the shiny effect, you know- “oh, look something shiny . . .”. Other days the crazy is from outside sources, endless time on hold or some additional project that wasn’t on my to do list.

That is my usual method of staying on track – the beloved to do list. On a bad day I will back fill the list with items like shower, eat lunch, and check email just so I have items to cross off. Of course I also end up transferring the jobs I don’t like – filing and bill paying might be on the list for a week. Spouse was making fun of me the other day when I was getting stressed and I said, “I need to empty my brain, and make a to do list, to relieve some stress.” Well he thought that was hilarious! I got to hear about it all day – but it really does keep me focused and on track, and prevents jobs from falling through the cracks. I guess that is my answer for stress control – make a list, and for happiness put go to gym at the top.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Depression is so sneaky

Depression is so sneaky

I have had a relationship with depression for most of my life, it took me to the age of 35 to realize it was real, and not my fault. I spent the early years thinking it was something I could power through – and to some extent I still feel this way. I spent some years on medications, like so many people these days, for just over 2 years I have been off medications.  It is hard to have a flaw you can’t control you can only mitigate its effect on your life, but I have found ways to work through the dark days.

So let’s look at what depression looks like for me this week; my mother died suddenly 6 months ago and I worry a lot about my dad, his elderly dog passed away a few days ago, and we are getting sent overseas to Korea with the military for 2 years - -lots of big things to deal with not to mention the little things of everyday life with teens.  I find myself battling that tired achy feeling, I have learned over the years this isn’t a bug or germ manifesting in me there is no reason to go to bed and wait to get better. In the past that was what I did, but that can take months and no real sickness arrives just more lethargy. Inactivity feeds on itself and you can end up in bed for a long time, that is how depression sneaks back into your life. What would help is going to the gym, get feel good hormones flowing and get sweaty – but I am not there yet. For the last 2 days I have pushed on through the fog and exhausted feelings to get stuff done and so far I still have my head above water, my face is sometimes covered in tears but I am pressing on.

I have gone out to my volunteer job this week, and took the kids to an art exhibit. Today laundry is getting done and dinner is in the works. The final push really is that trip to the gym, it makes all the difference for my mood – even when I cry while I work out, hey it happens!! When I was young it seemed I could just cry it all out then move on, but I have found that in this decade tears lead to more tears. Let’s hope I get to the gym, and turn the corner.