Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Then and Now

Gunnar has been in the Middle East for almost 1 month now. I am looking forward to the 1 month milestone because it seems like time has actually passed somehow! Our life one month ago was so very different from it is today. I personally can't speak for Gunnar's day to day activities. I know very little about how and where he is actually living. But last month at this time, oh let me just tell you - it was nearly perfect! Gunnar left for work in the morning, was home for a nice lunch midday, done for the day mid afternoon and we had all evening to be together! I had dinner made, we had meals at the table as a family. Life was good.

Life now is just missing something. Something huge. It's Gunnar. I love him and miss him like crazy. I had the mindset to just get through every day so tomorrow will come and we can just get through that day too. Then a really very wise and incredibly inspirational woman told me I need to actually live this time and not just get through it. Truer words were never spoken, I'd say.

I'm really going to work on changing how I am living this year without Gunnar.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes

I was getting pretty down in the dumps after not hearing from Gunnar for a week straight. That's something that I can simply never get used to. When two people's lives are really one life, which is what happens after lots of years together, if you're lucky, missing your other half is very profound. I just wanted to hear his voice and know that he is ok.

So last night when the phone rang at 11:37pm with a funky number on the caller ID, I knew it was him. And guess what? He sounded great! He is comfortable, eating well, sleeping well, not in need of any major necessities although he did ask me to send him a coffee mug (random much?). I was really proud of myself for not turning into a sobbing mess because I was this close to doing just that when I heard him say "hi baby" to me, like he always does. We talked and laughed and joked around. It was exactly what we both needed. We only had a few minutes to chat - there is only one phone for the platoon and he is a swell guy and passed it onto the next fellow after 10 or 15 minutes.

Today I had an entirely different outlook on things. I just really needed that confirmation that he is doing ok to get on with my life here too.

I'd like to also point out how amazing I think it is that all the different units in the Army have Facebook pages. It's a fantastic way for everyone to communicate and I guess I had no idea the Army was so into social networking sites. The 1st Sgt for Gunnar's company posted over 60 photos of Gunnar and his platoon. Getting to see his face was almost as good as hearing his voice. In case you didn't see the FB pics here's one for your viewing pleasure.

Am I a lucky girl or what?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fayetteville is No Fun - First Edition

We (meaning I) decided to get out and about today and go do something fun. We've been indoors most of the week and pretty much starting to go crazy. The weather effects of Tropical Storm Ida reached North Carolina early this week bringing with it rain, chilly temperatures and 40mph winds. Suffice to say - we stayed in. A lot.

Today was beautiful though and we decided to check out Fascinate-U, Fayetteville's childrens museum. I don't think this place qualifies as a museum by anyone's definition. It is advertised as a miniature town with a post office, grocery store, etc. Truth be told it really wasn't anything like that at all. The toys were dingy and old and most things didn't even resemble what they were meant to. The kids were amused, but not for very long. I had high hopes that this place was going to be at least a little bit awesome, I would buy a membership and we would have something to do all winter here. No such luck. I did get a few good pics before the batteries in my camera died (of course).

Gus at the command center. What you can't see is the sharp, torn mesh around the speaker. Awesome.

Gus is a pretty excellent meteorologist.

Gus and Maisie, crime fighters.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gone Daddy Gone

Sorry for my absence but the days leading up to Gunnar's deployment were spent just being together mostly. We made lists upon lists of things to pack, in addition to the lists the army supplied him. Gunnar and I were mostly fine and normal and joking and parenting together and then one of us would get so sad and just look at the other. No need for words - we knew exactly what the other was thinking.

"Damn. I don't want you to leave/Damn. I don't want leave you."

We cried a little, every now and then. For God's sake we just spent 4 months apart and now we're saying goodbye for A YEAR. It's a completely unfathomable amount of time to be away from your home, your family, your country, your wife, your life, your children. Gunnar calculated that out of 17 months our family will have lived together for only 1. Talk about testing your strength!

I dropped Gunnar off with his unit the evening of Wednesday, October 21st. He was required to be there at 9:45pm. We spent all day looking at the clock - mentally counting down how many more hours and minutes we had together. I dropped him off and the following morning he began traveling. They first flew to Maine, then Ireland, before finally making it to the Middle East. He was still a country or two away from Afghanistan for a few days waiting for another flight. We were able to talk daily which truly made this transition loads easier for both of us.

Gunnar arrived in Afghanistan last week and still hasn't made it to his actual job location. His assignment will involve him living on the side of a mountain, basically in a cave, with access to showers and some form of civilization only once monthly. I cannot begin to imagine what that life will be like for him. I intend to send tons of letters, pictures and care packages but knowing it takes a few weeks to get to him is really frustrating.

Afghanistan is dangerous. It really, really is. He has only been there a few days and is already telling me about crazy shit he has seen. I am in a constant state of worry not knowing if he is safe or ok.

The kids and I spent a week or so in Ohio immediately after Gunnar left. It was wonderful to be back home with my incredibly awesome and supportive family and friends. There were a lot of times I was strongly tempted to move back for the time that Gunnar is deployed. After lots and lots of thinking and talking, I decided to come back to North Carolina and do my best to make a life for me and kids here while we wait for Gunnar to come home.

So far, so good. Life is 100% different without Gunnar here. It's just me and the kids. All day, every day. I am going to have to come up with lots of crafty things for us to do all winter to make the time go by. I worry about them getting bored. As for me, I'll be fine. I've got Netflix, DVR, and my crochet hooks.