Thursday, April 23, 2009

What it Means to Be a Navy Wife

Whenever I need to tell a little about myself, my first thought is that I am a Navy Wife. I never want to lead off with that however. I don't want people to think I define myself by what my husband does for a living. But in reality, I AM a Navy Wife, and my life DOES revolve around my husband and his career.

My sailor and I have been married for over 13 years. When I met him he already had 2 years in. We got engaged, and then I was under the impression that he was going to get out as soon as his enlistment was up. Uh oh,STRIKE ONE- that was just a bad day when he said that, no- he was staying in. So then my little naive self said that I didn't want to have children and for him to be out to sea while I raise our children by myself. STRIKE TWO- he immediately told me that that was something I would have to deal with when/if we had children.

I went ahead and married him anyway. He deployed about 10 months later, after moving to a new base where I knew no one. I was just 22. One day I received a call about a wife support group. After the 2nd invitation I decided to go to a meeting. There I made fast friends with someone I still keep in touch with 12 years later.

I came to learn very quickly what it takes to be a Navy Wife. You must be independent, you must be strong. You must be able to stay faithful during long separations, and trust that your husband that will do the same. You must be able to assure him that all is well at home so that he doesn't have to worry when he is in harm's way- even if it isn't. You must be able to go long periods of time without any communication from him. You must be able to accept that the Navy comes first, no matter what. He can't come home because you "can't handle being alone" or the car broke down. You have to be resourceful. You can't expect someone to lend a helping hand without searching them out. You must be able to make new friends. You must be willing to try new things. You have to know some etiquette. His career isn't reliant on you, but it doesn't look good on him to have a rude wife, or cause trouble for him at work. You can't let one bad experience or even two sour your whole perception of the Navy. You must love your country. You must be proud of your husband and what he does. Stand by him, and support him. The military is different from the civilian world. He can't quit when he feels like it and can't complain if he is made to work 12pm to 8am every day and/or over 40 hours (without overtime pay). You have to be willing to accept that he may have to work weekends, or stand watch on Christmas Day. You are going to miss holidays, anniversaries and birthdays. You need to make the ones you do celebrate together count. You must be able to play the role of Dad to your children. You will need to keep them occupied when he leaves for a long deployment. You must hide your tears from them lest they start crying too. You must be able to withstand their heartbreaking tears and sobbing as they say goodbye to their Daddy.

It sounds like it is all bad- but it balances out with the good too. You will make wonderful friends, and may even meet them again the next time you transfer. Every time he re-enlists- you will be acknowledged for your dedication. After all, without your support he wouldn't be able to do the job he does. You will feel proud when he walks beside you in his dress uniform, and when an old retired sailor shakes his hand with true respect in his eyes. You will feel the ultimate joy when he returns home. Your relationship will be renewed and you will feel like a teenager. The look on the children's faces will make your heart swell with happiness and love. You will get to live in places you may have never been, even live in a foreign country. You will have a huge support network. You will be in a special sisterhood of Navy Wives. Only the strong will remain, there is no doubt about that.

So yes, my life is defined by what my husband does for a living. I have had to leave behind family and friends. I have missed out on promotions because I was leaving my job too soon due to a move. I have been turned down jobs because my husband is in the Navy, and I have also landed jobs for the some reason. Twice I have run a spouse support group as the president. I also volunteered as an Ombudsman twice (a Navy Ombudsman serves a liaison between the command and the families.) I have watched his proudest moment when he made Chief (promoted to E-7)- and received his anchors. I have felt the appreciation from people who appreciate what my husband does and me for supporting him. I have also stepped on a soap box a time or two when someone put down the military for whatever reason. I am so proud of him, of me, of my children. I know he is proud of me, and he has faith in me. I credit the Navy for bringing us closer together. It sounds cliche- but I don't care- absence really does make your heart grow fonder. I am so glad I married a sailor!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And still no passport...

I have been calling the State Department every day about my passport. Finally yesterday I got more than "no new updates" or " they are still working on it." Yesterday they told me that they are sending me a new letter and my application is STILL in suspense. They want an affidavit of some sort from my mother and a hospital record to evidence that I was born there. Hmm, what part of - the hospital no longer exists- do they NOT understand?? My mom, bless her pea pickin' heart- is on the hunt for me now. She has spent the day doing detective work on (org?) and calling the health department, county records- who ever she can think of. What she found out is that they (the hospital I was born in) just closed, nothing else is known. So she found my newborn picture taken at the hospital- let's see if that helps.
I spoke with the lady on base that handles the no-fee passport I am trying to get. It turns out it is only good for our flight out there and when we actually MOVE back home. No trips to see family, or even emergencies. This is the first I have heard of this. I ordered new copies of my birth certificate since I do not have my other one back yet. As soon as I receive them, the kids and I are going to apply for our tourist passports. A different department handles those- lets see if they are more intelligent. Did I mention how rudely I have been treated through out this ordeal? Yesterday when I got off the phone I had to immediately go outside- lest I throw a hug "bitch fit" right there in the middle of the office. I spent rest of the intermittently in tears. This is all getting to be too much. We only have about 3 months to go!!
I will be having a huge party when my passport finally arrives. I will get it, right?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


(the kids having a good time in the front yard.)

We have had sunshine the last 3 days in the Pacific Northwest. It just puts us all in a good mood around here. Saturday I bought my first ever baseball glove. The kids and I went to the ballpark and played catch. I think brother really enjoyed. I am sure he misses these things with his dad.
Yesterday we played around again and I mowed the front lawn. I hate yard work! I love having a beautiful green front lawn though! My tulips are all just about up- it is gorgeous. I plan on taking the kids to the tulip festival this weekend- I hope it doesn't rain! Brother cut his toe pretty good yesterday too. I have never seen anyone bleed that much. It was hard not to freak out, he practically has a mouth on the bottom of his 2nd to big toe on the underside. I had to IM my good friend the nurse and helped me to decide if he would need stitches. He thinks he needs them- I am not sure he would be thrilled getting them! At any rate- I would not make a good nurse!
I really hope this weather continues. It is so hard for me to be motivated when it is cold and dreary. On those days I just want to curl up on the couch and veg.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Well the kids have their passports...

I still do not have mine, however. I have been calling everyday. I just get told that they are working on it. What the heck are they "working on"??- Working on driving me mad??! Still the kids passport pictures are adorable and they think its pretty cool to have their own passports. Hopefully mine will be straightened out soon. The sad part is, these are "no-fee" passports, which means that they are only issued in conjunction to being a military family member stationed overseas. In other words, it is only good for Japan- where Hubby is stationed. Sooo, we need to apply for a regular passport as well. We want to be able to travel to Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, maybe even Australia. There are shopping trips where they fly you over to Korea for the day, and then you fly back. That sounds like a blast. Lord knows I love my retail therapy!

On a sadder note, I think brother is having a hard time with his dad being gone. He had a bad dream that we were married to different people. Maybe that is because he feels we are no longer a couple since we are physically separated? Today he had a couple of bad encounters with his friends and classmates. He got in trouble at Boys and Girls Club- where he goes after school. He walked away from a staff member and that earned him a time-out. Of course getting into trouble set him off even more. He was spitting mad and just plain upset when I picked him up. He was at the point of being violent, wanting to hurt someone or break something. I felt so helpless- I couldn't console him. Soon I too was in tears. All I could do was hug him and ask what I could do. He hds a baseball game afterwards. I was worried he wouldn't be able to shake his mood. But the team did really well tonight, winning yet another game. He was pumped by the time the game was over. I love watching him get excited like that. In fact, all of the boys were pumped- it was heart warming to see their huge smiles!

Now he is looking sad again. I hope I can find a way to help him, this is breaking my heart...

Monday, April 13, 2009

And this one day, a friend talked me into signing up for Facebook

Life will never be the same! I am talking with friends I have heard from in YEARS. It is wonderful and terrible all at the same time. I am sure everyone goes through it and it completely amazed at the process. I have to say it has sucked all of my free time I had this weekend! On a good note I found an old friend (we're talking from when I was 4 years old), that I had lost touch with. She's living in a different state, so its no wonder I couldn't find her before.
I am trying to talk Hubby into getting an account, I think he would enjoy it as some of our mutual friends are on. But he's too busy with World of Warcrap to tear himself away long enough I think. Yes, I intentionally say Warcrap in place of Warcrap. I'll have to post my thoughts on that lovely game at another time.
So I am supposed to be getting ready to move, instead I am busy on the computer blogging and getting in touch with old friends. Who can blame me? This is so much more fun!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tulip festival is here, where are the tulips?

It is so cold! I wish for warm weather and sunshine! Some of my tulips have finally popped up when the sun came out last weekend. But now it is freezing cold again, the rest of the bulbs may decide to go back into the ground and wait it out. Now is when I miss sunny Southern California.
Brother is sick yet again. I left work early to pick him up from school and he had a 102 fever. Took him back to the doctor- its just a virus on top of his double ear infections he already has. We got his fever down and he felt well enough to play his baseball game tonight. It got so cold I really felt bad for him. He did very well in spite of it. He got to pitch tonight and was doing pretty good. But then he walked one of the batters and he got so upset with himself that coach found someone else to pitch. He is so darn hard on himself, I don't know how to make him loosen up and forgive himself. I think he gets that from me, I don;t like making mistakes either- especially when everyone is looking. And when you are the pitcher everyone watches what you do.

Well, I hope the weather report is wrong and the Eater Bunny brings us some sunshine this weekend!! Here are some pictures of my flowers in my garden.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My little girl will be 7 next month

Tonight Sissy helped cook dinner- at her insistence. She is always asking to help, but i get nervous about letting her use the stove. Tonight I realized how big she is getting when she stepped right up to brown the ground turkey. She knows to hold the pan just right and how to be careful and not burn herself. When did she go from being a baby to being able to help cook dinner? Pretty soon she will be MAKING dinner. While the thought of having someone cook for me doesn't sound so bad- it makes me sad that she is growing so fast.
Brother had a baseball game tonight. There is a big pile of dirt right behind the playing field. Sissy ran right to it and started to dig. I told her to stay out of the dirt, but then changed my mind. What's so bad about her getting dirty, playing in the dirt? I am glad she still enjoys it. It is so much better than chasing boys! I am sure that day will come, but for now I will remind myself to enjoy the playing in dirt days.

This last picture is Sissy sleeping with "Wolfie"- Brother brought it home for her from Great Wolf Lodge.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sick of sick

My poor kids keep getting sick. and what's worse is that Hubby isn't here to help out. So that means I am missing all kinds of work. It sounds selfish, but it has a spiraling effect. Since I have missed work due to the kids being sick, I have to play catch up. In the mean time I need to take time off to take care of moving chores that need to be done. But I can't take time off because I have missed too much work. I really wish I could just quit right now and be done with it and take care of the kids and moving. But of course I can't do that as it would put my co-workers in a huge bind (we are so so so busy in mortgage world)- and it would ruin any chances of my returning when I get back (hopefully) to the great Northwest.
Brother was sick today and called me from school crying. I left work early, but not early enough, poor guy. I hope he doesn't have an ear infection. I keep apologizing to my supervisor for missing work, but she totally understands I have no options as I have no other family to help. We'll see if tomorrow is another sick day. I hope not, Sonny needs to feel better- he was miserable today.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A great quote to remember

"If Life hands you lemons, get a bottle of tequila and make killer margaritas."
(Armando Montelongo from Flip That House.)
What a great way to look at a challenge. Besides, margaritas are so much better than lemonade!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Where the Sidewalk Ends brings me back

We used to record ourselves reading the poems out of this book on a cassette recorder. I remember many of these poems by heart to this day. My favorite- "I cannot go to school today, said little Peggy Ann Mckay, I have the measles and the mumps, a gash, a rash and purple bumps". I think that is how it goes, my kids stole my book...

It's lonely being a Navy wife sometimes

Hubby has been gone for almost 2 months now. I really miss him and feel very lonely right now. In the past, when he was deployed, I would get together with the other wives. This time is so different as he isn't deployed, I just live in a different country right now. I am bad at making friends. I have friends, but not the kind I hang out with on a regular basis, you know? I really need that right now, but my really good friends live too far away. It's Friday night and I just wish I had someone to hang out with, drink some coffee, watch some movies, whatever. I guess I am just in a state of self pity. I have been so emotional lately, I just want to cry at everything. Yesterday I gave my notice at work. It is still a few months away, but they need to be able to find a good replacement. It was so hard to do. I walked into my supervisor's office, gave her the letter, and then had to rush out because I was about to start sobbing. I have never had this hard of a time leaving a job, and I have left quite a few. I love where I work, and the people I work with are awesome. We find something to laugh about everyday, and that is so important. It is required for good health to laugh I think. Without laughter, where is the joy and happiness in life? Maybe we will come back here and I can work for them again. My boss called me in his office to tell me how sad he is to see me go and that if I come back they will welcome me back there. That is nice to hear. I guess I should stop this pity party and be grateful for a good experience.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Passport troubles

I guess I have taken my US citizenship for granted, I never thought I would have to prove that I am a US citizen. Apparently the State Dept. finds it necessary! Because there is no hospital name listed on my birth certificate, the passport people have suspended my application due to suspicion of fraud. My parents were born here, my grandparents, my great-grandparents- but yet they find it necessary to prove that I was born here too! Hubby made fun of me for keeping all of my report cards from when I was a kid- but I am hoping they come in handy now! I have sent off report cards and immunization records, as well as my old original birth certificate. I hope it works. Of course the website where I can check on the status is "temporarily unavailable" and has been all week.
This is a major stress point for me right now, I will feel so much better when this is cleared up! I am refusing to believe this will interfere with my move!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

first blog entry of my first blog

The idea to start blogging when I realized I needed an outlet and also to save my co-workers from every drama that seems to befall me these days. My hubby the sailor is in Japan and I am at home with our two children. We will be joining him in Japan this summer as we are moving there for about 3 years as a part of hubby's transfer. So here I am, I am dealing with all the trials a single parent faces- and trying to get our house ready to rent out, and all of the many many details that need to be taken cared of before we can leave.
I was not happy about Japan at first. We live in a small town in the Pacific Northwest that I love. We bought our first house here almost 4 years ago. I really thought we were here to stay. Hubby should have been able to get new orders and stay here right? I have been a Navy wife for more than 13 years now- but I had fooled myself into thinking we were civilians now. But- home is where the Navy sends you. I was also really upset about leaving my job. But it is just a job, and I will truly miss my friends I have made there- but I shouldn't be upset about the job itself- other opportunities will come my way.
Now, I am excited. I don't know why I never considered Japan before. I think it is because I had my hopes on Italy or Spain (never will happen.) Everyone I talk to that has lived there or know someone who did says they LOVED it there. I have been trying to learn some of the language- I now know how to order two beers- one for each hand I guess? Ha. The kids are very hip to eating lots of Japanese food- so going out to eat is something we all look forward to. We have made the promise of taking them to Disney Tokyo as well- so they took the bait. :)
We have 4 months to go- it is going to go by fast!