Decreasing anxiety, increasing purpose

I realize it’s almost the new weekend, but I’ve had some thoughts from the previous long weekend I wanted to share.  I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and churn out a post this week because I have a very cranky and irritable little girl who is pushing out a molar…Not fast enough.  On top of that I’m fighting off another cold so yet again this household is a bit of a mess.

Anyway, last weekend was super productive for my little family.  We are continuing to let all the dust settle in our new house.  I don’t recall it taking as long to feel this way when we moved last time, but that was probably because last time we moved “home,” and this time, well, I hate Florida.  I know, news flash!

Here’s a confession of sorts: I have literally painted the walls of every home I’ve ever lived in with my husband (and really as a kid, too).  I hate painting, but love the effect, and so I do it.  I painted walls in our crappy military issue house in Hawaii that had no natural light and no backyard, just to cheer myself up about being lonely on a small island while my new husband was deployed.  I painted the walls of our second Hawaii home because it was a lot nicer and I wanted to make the space feel like a real home.  When we moved to Washington, I went crazy and painted a ton of walls and even did a striped wall in the first home we ever purchased.  And now in Florida, again to cheer myself up and because I’m more experienced and know the house needs some warmth and depth, I’ve started the process over again.

After taking several weeks to decide on a color, and investing in four different sample colors and painting them up on our wall (which I NEVER do- I usually have an exact color in my mind and when I find it, I go for it! Not this time), I finally painted an accent wall in our bedroom.

master-wall1
I went from two paint choices…
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To four…
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After a week of staring at them, I still wasn’t sure so I had to paint a bigger square of the one I was thinking about picking…
master-wall2
And I picked it!  Boy do I hate painting.  Just looking at the room like this stresses me out.  A necessary evil, I tell ya.

Our bedroom is quite large, with a big beautiful picture window that looks out onto our backyard, and vaulted ceilings with crown molding.  The walls were the builder grade “greige” (grayish-beige) color they were when the house was built fourteen years ago.  I know for a fact this home has had two owners, and I can’t understand why no one would want to paint this big, plain, blank slate of a room.  It really is a pretty space but needs a little warmth and a little dimension.  And because I don’t have the time or energy to paint the whole thing, I painted the wall behind our bed as an accent wall.  Voila!

finished-master-wall

Painting the wall the bed sits against really anchors the room to this one feature wall, and draws the eye to it.  It is a warm, muted gray from Lowe’s called “Bleached Shadow,” and I just love it.  I also love the contrast of the wicker wall decor (that I spray painted from a bronze color once upon a time #crafty) above the bed, as well as the light upholstery of our headboard against it.  I am now in search of some more wall decor because I’ve realized this wall is HUGE and needs some subtle art to really show it off.  I’m also on the hunt for new lampshades, as I’ve had the current ones forever and I’m on a crusade against beige these days.  But despite the improvements I still plan to make, thanks to the painting I feel like the room has more purpose.

The process of painting really helped my anxiety, too.  Lately I’ve been having spells of anxiety where my chest feels super tight and I have a hard time taking deep breaths, and though I realize my life is still in upheaval despite my best attempts to settle into our home, I can’t pinpoint one specific thing that would cause me anxiety.  So last week I started working out a bit again, and I also knew that there were several things I wanted to do around the house that have been nagging at me for a WHILE, so I decided to throw myself into a project since I didn’t know what else to do.  And this week I have to say, my anxiety has been a lot better.  Maybe I was just yearning to express myself creatively in this house finally.  And also maybe I really needed to workout.  Like really.

Now I’ve got the bug again and have several little projects I plan to do:

  • Hang bathroom shelves in the master bath room (I already did this promptly after finishing the wall but am saving that for my next post)
  • Finish hanging wall decor
  • Rip out the much hated vertical-blinds and slowly replace them (that will be its own post too- I can’t wait to describe to you how much I truly hate verticals.  Like a lot).
  • Paint sun room and create a true play room for Claire
  • Add curtains to sunroom- if you don’t know what to do with a room but feel like it’s missing something, I beg you to hang some curtains.  You don’t have to spend a fortune, and it adds instant drama and warmth.
  • Paint kitchen table and chairs- I have chalk paint and materials at the ready, I can’t wait to get started!
  • Plant bulbs in planters and cheer up the front and backyards with Spring flowers.

Who knows, maybe we will cross some of these off the list this weekend!  Until next time!

 

Doctor! Doctor!

Think about, for a moment, all of the things or people in your life that you rely on for services.  Do you have a regular person you go to for a haircut?  One who knows just how you like it cut?  Do you have a great doctor who knows your medical history?  How about maybe a chiropractor, who knows why your neck is literally bent the wrong way, and also knows just how to adjust you to relieve that chronic ache you get?

Back home, I had a gal who knew never to cut my hair too short, because if I asked for it short she knew I’d end up crying and feeling like I looked like a boy.  I had an OB who delivered my daughter, and who knew exactly how much damage that wreaked “down there” (she should, she stitched me up after all); she also knew the ins and outs of my pregnancy experience, and brought my daughter into this world (one day I’ll tell you her birth story, and why I think my doctor is literally an angel).  And yes, I had a chiropractor because of my bent neck and he knew just where to adjust me that gave me instant relief.  I also had a dental hygienist who knew why I have gum issues (its genetic) and who did an AMAZING job cleaning my teeth.  I trusted her endlessly.  Really, she was my bff because she basically saved my teeth.  That sounds like I don’t brush or floss my teeth, but I promise you I take better care of my teeth than anyone I know, even you!

dentist

I have been in Florida for almost four months (which I can NOT believe), and am just now starting to feel like I almost have all my ducks in a row.  I never gave much thought to how much a person relies on various services to keep them running healthfully… But I guess now that I’m 31 and actually need to see doctors every now and then, and have to pay extra attention to my teeth, etc., I am painfully (pun intended) aware of how hard it is to find people you can trust for all of these things when you are in a new city, all the way across the freakin’ country.  Here’s a little checklist of all the services I’ve had to locate since moving, just to give you an idea:

  • General practice doctor
  • Gynecologist
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentist
  • Hair stylist
  • Pediatrician
  • Pediatric dentist
  • Gym/yoga studio

Not to mention a great place for a pedicure, which I have yet to find.  Or an eye doctor if you’re most people (I still have great vision but I’m sure that’ll be an issue one day too).  Or the perfect coffee shop or favorite restaurant.  We have found a Chinese takeout place that is better than anything in our little town in Washington, so I guess that’s a plus.

Anyway, up until this week, when I finally got an appointment with a general practice doctor, I felt like I was flying blind, listless in the wind because I didn’t know who to see to clean my teeth, or where to go for a pap smear, and so on.  I have slowly been finding all of these services since we moved, but only recently found an OB/GYN whom I LOVE (without any recommendation, too!  Score.), a good dentist (though I’m not yet convinced they are as good as my previous one) and a doctor for Claire.  And because you probably never thought much about all of the doctors and services you need in your life, you probably have never considered what it feels like to not know who to go see if you’re sick, or have a tooth ache, if your baby is sick, etc.  I know I never did.

(I know, I know: first world problems.  I promise I am not complaining- I am very aware that my family is so very lucky to have these services available to us through insurance and Sean’s job.  I would never complain about having these options or even paying for them.  I believe it is everyone’s right to have these types of services but that is a different discussion altogether.  I’m just trying to express that it’s difficult to constantly change everything every three years, just when you start to feel good about your choices.)

I can tell you, it makes you anxious.  Unrooted.  Like you have no support system, and you don’t know where to go if an emergency occurs, God forbid.  And it’s hard to find all of these people and trust them at the same time.  You’re new in a city, you don’t know a lot of people, how do you know you can trust all these doctors?  It takes a lot of work finding ones who seem to actually listen to you.

Luckily, I knew one gal from our time living in Hawaii, who lives here now with her husband and baby.  She has been a life saver- she pointed me in the direction of my chiropractor, Claire’s pediatrician, and told me about a great yoga studio.  She also connected me to some other Navy wives who have told me of other good places to go for various things.  I discovered a great park only ten minutes from our house thanks to her, and Claire absolutely LOVES it there.

As much as I like to call myself the anti-military wife, I have sure relied on her for help adjusting to this place… Hey, just admitting that is progress for someone like me, who thinks they can do everything themselves (and tries to).  Have you tried finding a doctor based solely off of a list on your insurance company’s website?  How are you supposed to choose from a random list of names??

So I guess my advice to you, the military spouse moving somewhere new and far away, is to think of anyone you might know from your past who might live in your new duty station.  And if you can’t think of anyone, search Facebook for a military spouse’s group in your new city (I guarantee you there is one).  Maybe you do know someone based off of that group’s members… And if you don’t, post on that page and ask for any recommendation for anything you need: daycare, groceries, the best fro-yo in town, whatever.  Even someone like me, who is fiercely independent and likes the challenge of figuring everything out on my won, reads every post on my local mil spouse groups, and has asked for numerous recommendations for things.  It can also go a long way in making you feel less isolated and alone.  Seeing new people join the groups, and others moving away reminds you that it is a constant cycle and there are many many other wives out there feeling everything you are feeling.

You might even make new friends that way- this gal I’m speaking of was only really an acquaintance in Hawaii, but now we’ve gotten together for several play dates with our little ones, have done a girls’ night and have another one coming up next week.  Without her I’d still be so lonely!  One friend is better than none!

In all my lamenting and indulging in loneliness, I will say I am thankful for the way in which military spouses are so willing to help each other out.  The more I live this life, the more I realize how important it is to lean on each other when you can.  And that folks, is hard for me to admit, but there you have it.

Now that I have a doctor, I can check all those things off my list.  I even found a hair stylist a month ago who gave me one of the BEST haircuts I’ve ever had!  I am feeling much more at ease, knowing I know who to take my daughter to if she gets sick, knowing I have a trustworthy chiropractor to help with my chronic neck pain, and where to get my annual physicals at a fantastic OB clinic.

I’m not ready to admit to liking it here yet (I’d still move home at the drop of a hat), but finding all these services definitely has me feeling more settled.

Progress.

Monday musings

Mondays are always rough for me, and I assume most stay-at-home moms?  After a weekend of having help with the baby, or at least having a second set of eyes so I can detach myself a little bit from whatever my little is getting into (and don’t forget letting my husband make the baby breakfast, essentially giving me one morning off), it’s hard for me to jump back into our weekly routine with no other help.  Today I feel like there’s not enough coffee in the world to make me feel fully alert.  I really need to go to bed earlier.

On a typical Monday like today, I try to plan out my week and get organized with my goals.  I think about what shopping I need to do (this week: all of it), what errands I need to run, what I need to do around the house (all the bathrooms, Lord help me), and what activities I want to do with Claire so she is happy and entertained.  My mental lists are starting to include this blog: what I want to write about, what’s on my mind, what projects or recipes I should share, etc.  I realize I haven’t shared any projects and just one silly recipe so far, but I know I’ll get there.  It is obvious through my posts that my life has been chaos lately, and currently my blog is my way of venting my frustration.  Once my chest feels lighter, the creativity will come…. I actually did a project yesterday that I’m excited to share here, but I’m too tired today, so this is yet another journal entry, if you will.

So, as I’m organizing my thoughts for a blog post, I realize they (my thoughts) are all over the place.  Here are some things I’ve been thinking about, for your reading pleasure:

  • Ever since I was sick last month, for the entire month, I’ve been taking Emergen-c vitamin packs, and I think they have made a huge difference for me.  Not only do I feel well again, I have a lot of energy throughout the day.  That is probably partially due to the difference in energy levels when you are sick vs. healthy, but I think it’s also the extra boost of vitamins.  Instead of reaching for that third cup of coffee in the morning, I throw back a full glass of water with vitamins and I feel instantly better.  Try it, you’ll like it!
  • This weekend we drove 1.5 hours to Eglin Air Force Base, which has the biggest military exchange around.  There is something so weirdly comforting to me about military exchanges – they are literally exactly the same on any base, anywhere in the world (I’ve been to many), and they all sell the same brands.  They even smell the same.  And you are around families just like you- everyone is most likely far from home, living this crazy nomadic lifestyle.  Plus everything is tax free, so there’s that.  I bought new sunglasses because I lost my beloved Raybans while chasing Claire through Target a couple weeks back.  I am not surprised to report that because I am the pickiest of sunglasses picker-outers, I took a pair home that I will promptly return this week.  Meanwhile I am squinting in the perpetual Florida sunshine until I find the perfect pair (probably by next year).
  • On Thursday Claire and I start a Kindermusik class that I am excited about.  She is OBSESSED with the Baby Bum nursery rhymes on YouTube lately.  Literally, we listen to them every time we are in the car (otherwise she screams, the little dictator), and sometimes while she eats in her highchair.  I kid you not, she is starting to learn the abc’s and can count to five thanks to them.  And she has learned a ton of words too!  She is only 17 months!  Try them here.  But I warn you: I am pretty sure these songs have been etched into my brain for the rest of time- they are CONSTANTLY stuck in my head, never to be fully free of them.  Anyway, she loves music so I’m excited to see how she does in the class.  I’ll share more after Thursday.
  • I need a break.  My husband and I discussed, before we were both sick for the last month, giving me one day per week as a break from mommyhood.  Not the entire day, but enough time for me to go out and get my nails done, or run some errands kid free, or do a little shopping.  OR stay home and enjoy a quiet house while he takes Claire somewhere.  I didn’t get that this weekend, but we’ve decided next Saturday morning will be my “me time.”  I’m thinking a morning yoga class, followed by a pedicure my toes have been screaming for for over a month, and maybe a trip to the book store, as I desperately need something new to read.  Which leads me to:
  • I’m thinking about volunteering and/or getting a little weekend job.  I really want to do something and help those less fortunate, as I am acutely aware of my blessings lately (despite how much I like to complain here), and feel that because I don’t work, I need to do something that makes me feel like I contribute to society.  My husband likes to remind me that raising a child is exactly that, but I need more I think.  I also like the idea of a little Saturday job for some spending cash for me.  Hey, I like to shop.  No shame in my game.
  • Now that I am feeling myself again, I am bursting with creative ideas to turn our new house into a home.  It’s taken me 3.5 months to feel this way, mostly because I know we only will own this house for 3 years max (maybe only 2), so I don’t want to do anything major or sink a ton of money into it, but I have a long list of small projects I want to do, which will make me feel like I’ve left my mark on this house.  I’m anxious to get started and share them with you all here!  Stay tuned!

And lastly, I think I’m figuring out a narrower direction for this blog.  As much as I hate to admit it, and as much as I don’t like to talk about it (honestly, I am so much more than just a military wife), I am realizing everything about my current situation is because I am a military spouse… I know, duh, right?  I am far from home, have no family around, and am basically second priority for my husband due to the fact that the government literally owns him.  All the things I feel lately, all my worries and anxieties and frustrations are due to this one simple fact.  So maybe that’s my niche.  I blogged about it a few posts back, but all of my design ideas and repurposing of things and money spent on new things because not everything fits nicely in this house like it did the other house, etc., is due to our military lifestyle.  I am constantly reinventing our little habitat (not to mention, job, credentials, goals, etc.), which has spurred the inner creative in me but which I also constantly try to deny.  So there you (I) have it- my blog is becoming a tool for the fellow military spouse who also has to reinvent her life here and there, even if they don’t want to.  And, you know, it’s also good entertainment for you normal people whom I so envy, who get to stay in place for as long as they want.

With that, the creative juices are flowing a little faster.  I’ll be back in a day or two to extrapolate on some of my Monday Mental List.

Major mommy breakthrough

 

Before I start, let’s just take a big collective deep breath in……..and out.  And another…..Here’s a little sunset photo I took this week to help.

sunset

That’s better, isn’t it?  After being sick for three weeks, and whining about it plenty on here, my husband and I did something we hadn’t done in over a year and a half.  We got a hotel room, and had over 24 hours to ourselves.  It was heaven.  It was perfection.  It was a giant deep breath in…and out.

We had cocktails at sunset, with no mini me screaming for her goldfish and blueberries, asking to get down and run around like a drunk person, or demanding a bite of anything on my fork.  We just…..talked.  And sipped.  And ate unpasteurized meats and cheeses.  AND LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

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Champagne cocktails, and a water glass I seriously considered stealing. My conscience won out.
meat
#Charcuterie

You see, it was my first night away from Claire…ever.  Sean has had plenty (collectively he’s spent months away from her because of his job), but for me, I’d never spent more than 8 hours away from my baby.  And everyone asked me how I felt, and how it went, as if they were waiting for me to say that I had a nervous breakdown and demanded we drive home immediately.  Boy were they wrong!  I loved every second of it!  I had cocktails, wine, yummy food I didn’t have to share, a bubblebath, we went shopping and took our sweet time in whatever store we wanted.  It was magic!

Don’t get me wrong, we talked about Claire plenty, and I felt myself wishing I could check in on her at night, but after the last four months of moving hell, holidays away from home hell, being sick hell, I was SO READY for a break from reality.  It couldn’t have come at a better time.  And did I ever relish my little sanity break.  A lingering cold couldn’t keep me down; I threw all my cold aid paraphernalia in a bag and hopped in the car.   And the best part?  By the time we got home the next afternoon, I was so excited to see my little nugget and felt more energized than I had in a very long time.  So, please forgive any griping I may have done about my mother-in-law coming to visit.

dessert
Dessert and coffee. Which we took our sweet time eating, because we could. And I only had to share with my husband. Bliss.
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And breakfast room service. A total splurge, but when would we get this chance again? Worth it.  (I also refrained from stealing the water glasses again, somehow)

When I think about my friends in my hometown who still live there, along with their parents, and realize they can just drop their kids off with grandma on any random Saturday or date night, I turn green with envy.  Sure, we can hire a babysitter, but that obviously gets expensive.  And not practical for an overnight.  So now that we had this little retreat, I’m realizing that they will only come around every six months or so.  Next time I’m thinking several days away might be in order…. in Vegas?  A girl can dream.

I’m learning a valuable lesson in mommy guilt.  From day to day, I feel guilty if I don’t play with Claire enough if I have things to do, or that we didn’t read enough books together, or that I didn’t take her to any activities to engage her, etc.  I feel guilty that she doesn’t have many opportunities to socialize with other babies yet.  And when I put her down to bed, I think about how good of a sleeper she is and feel guilt about the cry it out method we used, which was hard (as they all are) but has produced the best sleeper a parent could ask for.  I reflect on the day and wonder what I could have done more of, or better, or different.  It’s exhausting.  But I’m getting tired of feeling that way, and so when this opportunity to get away came around, I told myself I wasn’t allowed to feel guilty about it.  She was happy at home with grandma, and Sean and I needed some time alone together.  And for once, I listened to my inner self and I enjoyed every damn second.  And guess what happened?  Claire was happy as a clam for her Nana and was happy to see us when we got home, but was completely unfazed from us being away from her.

Lesson learned: get out more.  For your own sanity!

 

It’s official: I’m a hermit.

I have a sneaking suspicion about my “new self” down here in the deep south… I think I’m becoming a recluse.  It’s January 20th.  Since arriving home on January 1st after a trip to Orlando with friends, my household (mainly me) has been sick on an off for three weeks.  I didn’t even want to talk about it, but yes, my husband and I are sick yet again.  It’s embarrassing at this point.  I heard that the cold and flu season this year is terrible, but now I can attest to it personally.  In all of the maladies I won’t describe here, I think I have left my house maybe 5 or 6 times in 20 days.  We are rapidly approaching recluse territory here.

I know I sound like a broken record here, but hear me out.  The scary part is I haven’t even really been that stir crazy.  Usually if I’m home too much I am scratching at the walls until I can escape, but not this time.  As I said before, where would I go?  Every time I leave my house I am reminded that I am in a new strange town, with little idea of where to go to just wander around, or when I do go outside, it stinks (literally).  I joked before I got here that I would just hole myself up inside my house and pretend I wasn’t living in Florida, and without consciously doing so, that’s what I’ve done!

In our old town (still and forever to be referred to as “home”), we had the most adorable downtown area that looked like a little European village.  It had antique shops, cute boutiques, cafes, and the best pastry shop you’ll ever visit.  And adjacent to the main street was a park, a marina and a little trail that led to a grassy park by the bay.  This grassy park had a baby swing that I would take Claire to very often when I was feeling the walls closing in on us at home.  Our routine was to put her in the stroller, stop at a cafe and grab a coffee for myself (even when money is tight, I figure if all I purchase that day is a cup of coffee then I’m still being frugal.  My logic is sound.), walk the main street and peek in the windows, then make our way through the park and to the baby swing.  Sometimes I would lay a blanket down and bring some toys and let Claire crawl around and discover the grass and the leaves, or I’d take her down to the water and dip her toes in the water.  It was the best way to spend an afternoon together, and the best part was this idyllic spot was less than ten minutes from our house.

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Downtown at home, yes it really is this quaint.
poulsbotown
Posting these just makes my heart hurt!
poulsbo3
I took this picture on a day downtown with Claire; this is the boardwalk to the park.
claire-in-poulsbo-park
One of my favorite days at the park with Claire, 9 months. I will never forget this day.

That might be one of the things I miss most about home.  There is a similar kind of place in this town, the “historical district” that does have some shops and cafes, but it is not as quaint, is about 20 minutes from our house, and let’s not forget it’s hot and muggy out.  I much prefer air conditioning to this humidity, and my hair hasn’t quite figured out how to deal with this new climate.

And so we hibernate.  Perhaps I would be more adventurous if I haven’t been continuously knocked down several pegs by being constantly sick this month.  But I feel like it’s more than my weakened immune system.  My spirit isn’t even eager to leave my house because it doesn’t quite know what to do with itself either yet.  At least at home we are around the things that make us comfortable and that feel familiar; every time we step outside, we are thrown out of our comfort zone and sense of familiarity, and we just aren’t sure what to do with that.

For all my whining, I do know it will get better with time.  I do know we will get used to things.  And I do know now that it’s ok to give in to these feelings I have right now.  If I just need to hibernate for a while until I figure out what to do with myself, then I will.  I will eventually brave the 20 minute drive to the shops and cafes that make me happy, and I will learn of some spots to take Claire to when we just need to leave the house.  And maybe the silver lining to dealing with this flu (aside from an iron clad immune system, I’m hoping), is that it has forced me to be home and to think, and rest, and recover for a while.  Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing.  My body needs to recover from illness, but I think my spirit was in need of recovery as well.  This move has been so hard on all of us.

I’m realizing that all of my posts so far have been like a weekly therapy session, when I really do have plans for projects, cooking and maybe even some weekly French lessons.  I hope anyone reading this stays tuned for those… Once I am fully recovered and have the energy, I have plans for this blog!  Aside from the free therapy sessions it offers me.  Do you have experience facing a big move in your life too?  How did you cope with it?  I would love some feedback!

Ch-ch-ch-changes 🎵

claire-beach
My little southern transplant, taking a walk along the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s a weird Tuesday.  Yesterday was a holiday so my husband had the day off, and we got some things done around the house.  We finally cleared out and organized the spare bedroom (which we have been calling ‘The Room of Requirement,’ as everything we didn’t want to deal with since the move had been haphazardly piled on top of the bed), because my mother-in-law is arriving tomorrow night (joy).  My husband moved more crap from the garage to the handy dandy attic we didn’t know we had when we bought the place, so we are a little bit closer to parking both cars in the garage.  We bought a couple potted plants to decorate the back porch with, and Sean has started getting the hot tub in working condition so we might be able to enjoy it in the coming weeks.  Progress.

All these little things add up to helping us feel just a bit more settled.  Emphasis on just a bit.  Despite my insistence on being miserable still, I have had some chances to be social, including today when I met some other moms at the park.  Everyone seemed perfectly nice, but I haven’t met anyone here that I just connect with.  My friend Amber back in Washington was my best pal from the day we met at a work barbecue, and though she lives in Japan now and I live in the South, we message each other back and forth almost every day.  Friends like her are special and don’t come around super often, but I still hope to make one or two girlfriends I can just be regular old me around, without having to try too hard.

amber
My bestie, Amber (left).  How I miss her!

I posted this chain post on Facebook yesterday when I came across it on my Newsfeed, and I thought I’d post it here too, because it really hit home for me right now.  Though I am blessed that my husband won’t be going anywhere while we live here, we did just come from what is considered “arduous sea duty,” meaning he was gone all. the. time.  So many of the other statements ring true: we sold the couch we had since we were first married because there was no place for it in this new house, I haven’t hung a lot of curtains because they just don’t “go” where they went in our old house, I have purchased a home, sold a car, fixed a toilet, and mowed the lawn while having an infant; I left so many good friends and a stable social life, and I basically did not want to move here, but I bucked myself up somehow and followed my husband because I love him and it was the right thing for our family.  And so here we are.  So many military wives have it so much harder than I do, and I have the utmost respect for them.  But I have to recognize that my situation is hard too, and though we are blessed with enough money and creature comforts, it’s so hard to move every three years and constantly reinvent yourself.  This move has been the hardest yet, I think because we have a baby now and I really feel the desire to be settled and to establish a real life, and also because I am 31 and no longer feel like moving all the freakin’ time is some “great big adventure” like they tell you it is.  I said in an older post that I am very aware that this move coincides with a new chapter of my life, and part of that means I am starting to really understand what I want in my life, what makes me happy, and what I truly need in order to have that happiness.  And while I continue to try and adapt to my new surroundings, I’m trying to justify with my inner self where my family needs to go from here.  Deep thoughts, I tell ya.

But without further ado, here is the sentiment that hits close to home right now.

“Lots of moving. Moving…moving…moving…far from home. Moving a car, a baby and a dog. Moving sofas to basements because they won’t go in THIS house. Moving curtains that won’t fit. Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours. Moving away from friends. Moving towards new friends. Moving her most important luggage: her trunk full of memories.
Often waiting. Waiting…waiting…waiting for housing. Waiting for orders. Waiting for deployments. Waiting for phone calls. Waiting for reunions. Waiting for the new curtains to arrive. Waiting for him to come home, for dinner…AGAIN!
They call her ‘Military Dependent’, but she knows better. She is fiercely in-dependent. She can balance a check book, handle the yard work, fix a noisy toilet, bury the family pet. She is intimately familiar with drywall anchors and toggle bolts. She can file the taxes, sell a house, buy a car, or set up a move. All with ONE Power of Attorney.
She welcomes neighbors that don’t welcome her. She reinvents her career with every PCS; locates a house in the desert, the Arctic, or the deep south. She learns to call them all ‘home’. She MAKES them all home.
Military wives are somewhat hasty. They leap into: decorating, leadership, volunteering, career alternatives, churches, and friendships. They don’t have 15 years to get to know people. Their roots are short but flexible. They plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come after them.
Military wives quickly learn to value each other. They connect over coffee, rely on the spouse network, accept offers of friendship and favors, and record addresses in pencil.
Military wives have a common bond: she has a husband unlike other husbands; his commitment is unique. He doesn’t have a ‘JOB’ he has a ‘MISSION’ that he can’t just decide to quit. He’s on-call for his country 24/7. But for her, he’s the most unreliable guy in town! His language is foreign: TDY PCS OPR SOS ACC BDU ACU BAR CIB TAD EPR. And so, a military wife is a translator for her family and his. She is the long-distance link to keep them informed; the glue that holds them together.
A military wife has her moments. She wants to wring his neck and refuse to move to Japan, but she pulls herself together. Give her a few days, a travel brochure, a long hot bath, a pledge to the flag, a wedding picture, and she goes. She packs. She moves. She follows.
Why? What for? How come? You may think it is because she has lost her mind. But actually it is because she has lost her heart. It was stolen from her by a man who puts duty first, who longs to deploy, who salutes the flag, and whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her military husband, she will remain his military wife. And would have it no other way.”

 

1 step forward, 2 steps back

Well, I thought I was getting healthy… I even did a mini workout earlier this week to motivate me to get ready to do regular workouts again.  I got all of the Christmas decorations put away, I caught up on laundry, I cooked dinner for several nights in a row.

And then I woke up sick again.  ANOTHER stomach flu, worse than the first one.  I had to walk around bent in half, among other lovely symptoms I won’t scandalize you with.  My husband was at work and all I could do was lay on the living room floor while my daughter played around me in a tornado of toys I was too weak to pick up.  I managed to feed her and get her down for a nap, then hobbled to my bed and called my husband.  THANK GOD Claire decided it was a good day for a 3.5 hour nap, because I was immobile.  Sean still wan’t home when she woke so I had to hobble to her room, change her diaper and feed her again, still bent in half.

Anyway, before the evening was over I had thrown up and felt much better, but I still couldn’t quite make it out of bed.  I was so frustrated with being sick!  I only really get a bad cold about once per year, and in these last two weeks I had the stomach flu, a bad cold, and then another stomach flu!  Way to kick a girl when she’s down, world!  I blame Florida.

I’m just convinced it’s this shitty state’s fault.  It can sense that I’m miserable here, and now it’s twisting the knife in my side a bit more.  Yesterday when I was feeling much more myself, I told Sean I just had to get out of the house, so we decided to go walk on the beach… Immediately upon exiting our house to walk to the car, the putrid waft of the paper mill made its way to my senses, and I felt myself turning green again.  I don’t know what I’m going to do about that smell, it is simply disgusting.  I don’t understand how people just go about their lives when that smell comes around (which is often)!  Then again, I don’t know how people say they “love it here,” and call it “paradise.”  Psshhh.  Not to sound haughty, but I’ve lived in France, Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest.  If this is your “paradise,” you really need to get out more.

A fellow Navy wife I recently met, who is also new here, was posting on Facebook about how much she is enjoying Florida, after I had seen an earlier post of hers about how depressed she was due to the lack of Winter… The new post showed her playing in the sunshine talking about how much she “loved it here so far,” and all I could think was, someone is trying way too hard.  Not to be rude, because to a certain extent that means she has a better outlook than me.  At least she’s trying!  Fake it till you make it, amiright?

I just can’t fake it yet.  I’m the kind of person who needs to get out of the house most days, or I go stir crazy.  But lately I have had almost zero desire to go anywhere.  Mostly because I’ve been too sick to want to leave the house, but also because where would I go?  What can I do that’s entertaining yet free?  (We are on a strict budget this month.  Moving’s expensive.)  My pessimistic mind thinks that everything sucks or stinks (literally) around here, so why would I want to go anywhere?

Sorry to be such a Negative Nancy.  I’m actually feeling a lot better today: I went on a nice trip to Target with my little one, who was a good girl and let me shop in relative peace, came home and bleached the hell out of the bathroom and still had time to write this post while the baby naps.  I guess I just needed to vent my frustrations of the last week.  This blog is a journey that begins with my new journey in the South, and I need to be honest otherwise it’s not therapeutic.  So there’s my dish of honesty for ya: The South; not a fan so far.

And all I can think is, it’s 77 degrees today, in January, and it’s only going to get so much hotter and more humid.  Help.

Which is why I’m making plans to make my home an oasis from the South.  A place I can be among my things and my family and pretend I don’t live where I live, until I decide I’m ok with living here, if that happens.  I will be documenting these projects on this blog, so stay tuned, if you don’t mind the sarcastic anecdotes.

If it helps, I feel a little better after writing that.  Happy weekend!  Maybe we’ll finally get the Christmas lights down tomorrow…