Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One Thing

Okay okay score 1 for Fayetteville!  I finally found something I like about this place.  Are you ready? 68 DEGREES IN MID-JANUARY.  That's what I'm talking about my friends.  It's amazingly beautiful here right now.  I can genuinely appreciate it having spent most of my years in Ohio.  It has been sunny and the clearest, bluest skies and mildest temps I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing for several days now.  And I've got to say, it does wonders for my mood.  Sure, I haven't talked to my husband in a week and a half, but damn - we play outside every day!  Without snow suits, mittens, hats, coats, boots, and scarves.  I'll admit, it is unseasonably warm right now but for now I'll take it. 

The kids and I did a little exploring in historic (read: old, decrepit) downtown Fayetteville this morning.  It is charming and quaint from a distance.  Up close you'll realize half the store fronts are empty and for lease.  We did have lunch outside in a cute albeit overpriced sidewalk cafe.  I didn't even care I spent $7 on a grilled cheese for the kids because I was sitting in the sun drinking coffee in January. 

Here's the kids at lunch today.  (I have no idea why Gus makes ridiculous faces/gestures in pics these days - must be a 3 yr old thing.)

This one, on the other hand, looks like she's quite enjoying herself.

I shouldn't really complain about all this fun we were having, but really it made me miss my guy even more.  This would be so much fun if he were here!  The more time I have to sit and ponder my weird situation, the better I can pinpoint exactly what I'm missing.  Right now for example, I miss having someone close to me that actually appreciates imported beer and the occasional microbrew as much as I do.  Gunnar and I are so different in so many ways but we actually do have a lot of common interests, thoughts, views on the world etc.  I miss having someone around that knows me and still likes me for my weird interests, thoughts and views.  I can't wait to have that validation back.  Also, it'd be really nice to open some doors and windows around here but I'm still too scared too!  I think about that every day..."if only Gunnar were here, we'd have some nice fresh air in here".  How weird is that?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti vs. Afghanistan

I have really serious issues with natural disasters.  I am Catholic and have gone to church (mostly) my whole life and should have some sort of faith at this point but I gotta say, natural disasters are like sweeping the rug of faith right from under my feet.  After the tsunami in the Pacific a few years back I was done.  So done.  No god could ever ever ever in a million years allow for such devastation to hurt so many people.  It just can't work like that.  Even the lovlier than lovely Jehovah's witnesses that came and sat on the porch all summer long trying to explain that incident away couldn't make it work.  And those people, those people have and answer for everything.  Just ask them. 

So way back in the day when Gunnar was active duty Army and I was in grade school or something, he did a mission or two in Haiti.  I couldn't tell you what the purpose was or anything like that and if I could talk to him on the phone ever I'd ask for the details.  Well, the 82nd Airborne, out of the one and only Fort Bragg, is heading to Haiti today (or yesterday or something like that) and I can't even explain how much I wish Gunnar was going with them!  I guess it's the 17th Cavalry or some other brigade or battalion or whatever but wouldn't it be so great if they could get out of Afghanistan and go somewhere and be useful?  I mean, the vast majority of Afghans that Gunnar has encountered certainly don't want our military there.  And then there's Haiti that is completely devastated and need every ounce of help they can get.  I just wish our Army could go where they are needed, wanted and appreciated.  It's a noble and worthy reason to be there.  I really hope the guys that are heading there can help get things cleaned up and organized. 

I hear lots and lots of stories about what's it's really like in Afghanistan when I do get to talk to Gunnar.  It's far worse than any news report that I've heard so far.  People there live in awful conditions - barely fit for humans.  There are so very many non-government organizations, coalition forces, armies from other countries, government agencies all trying to educate Afghans, improve the quality of life in some way, build roads and bridges etc.  And then it gets blown up and everyone starts over.  What in the world are we still trying to do there?  It's ridiculous!  It makes me lose faith in so many things.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fayetteville - Still Not My Favorite Place on Earth

One of my biggest fears about moving to an Army base was the safety issue.  I don't like to be all gloom and doom about humankind, or maybe I watch too much CSI, but there are some obvious things to worry about around here.  This is a place with over 5,000 homes for the families of soldiers and clearly in a time of war, many of those homes are man-less.  (I know, I know, women deploy too but that's not what I'm talking about here.)  It seems to be that it's an obvious fact that there is a whole heck of a lot of women home alone a lot of the time.  I'm not a paranoid person by nature but I think I've mentioned before I really don't like living alone (with kids!) in a place that's still strange.

And then my fears are realized when it's all over the news there is a serial rapist making attacks in the area.  Great.  That's just great.  The vast majority of the attacks (so far there's been 9 - yikes) have happened off post, in the Fayetteville area, but he did manage to get on base and attack a woman here too.  If I had issues sleeping at night before, they just got worse!!  This little bit of info I've decided to not share with Gunnar till he comes home.  I know he'd be worried sick about something happening to his family and he really doesn't need that stress when he's got enough going on over there.   I think I'm going to look into some self defense classes on post and see if there's anything available.  I'm hoping this house is pretty sturdy and the doors and locks are not the usual apartment grade crap.  But you can believe they'll all be locked as well as can be!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What's With All This Reintegration Business?

While I will never be able to say I understand what soldiers go through, I imagine it's a lot tougher than civilians like me think.  Gunnar probably avoids telling me things that would stress me out or make me worry about him.  I don't pretend like I know what it feels like to be shot at, or shoot at someone else.  I would never even begin to act like I know what it's like.  That being said, I don't really understand what the big deal about post-deployment family reintegration.  It sounds like pure bliss to have my family back together.  There are ads all around post and on military websites about how to deal with post deployment family issues etc.  I am not that naive that I think every family would be all rainbows and sunshine every minute of every day.  I live (mostly) in the real world and know relationships require work, sometimes lots of it.  I just can't see what would be so hard about having your husband home, or wife, or whatever.  Barring psychological trauma I would think easing back into family life should be fairly seemless.  Maybe I'm way off base here.  I guess we'll find out in 9 months or so. 

I'm not gonna lie, there are some things that do get a bit easier with a household made up of just me and the kids.  Less laundry, less spent on grocery bills, less work to clean the bathrooms.  None of that can ever make up for the lonliness, the empitness, the sadness of being so far away from my husband. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hello 2010!

Well the holidays are done and over with and I'm back in North Carolina. We set a record longest ride ever wasting a half hour driving around god-knows-where West Virginia looking for new wiper blades for my car. The drivers side wiper blade rubber part tore away from the blade itself and wasn't clearing the windshield in just the exact area I needed to see out of. Seriously the whole darned windshield was crystal clear except one big smear in front of my face. All the gross sludge and old snow on the roads just kept making it worse of course. When I decided I definitely needed to replace the stupid thing was when I realized both kids had miraculously fallen asleep. That's a boat I'm certainly not willing to rock since they hate the traveling so much. So I crouched down and watched the road from a little spot way down by the dashboard for and hour and a half while they slept.

I stopped at a "TravelMart" in mid-West Virginia. Seemed like a logical place to get automotive odds and ends typically needed by travelers. Of course all they had were WV shot glasses and onesies. (Have I mentioned before how much I dislike the whole entire state of WV? Nothing good ever happens there.) Anyway they directed me to a few exits down where I could find a "GoMart" (somehow much different than a "TravelMart". I did find wiper blades there and I do have the basic automotive skills to do a small fix like that. However, when the little clippy thing that holds the old, decrepit, falling apart wiper blade in place is all corroded and jacked up, it makes the job go not so smoothly. I managed to get a trucker to lend me his jackknife to free the little clip and it was easy from that point. The whole scenario just sucked though. It makes me wish I still had my man around! Ok - truth be told, I'm usually the one fixing Gunnar's car. He isn't bad at car stuff, I just seem to be the one doing it most of the time. I replaced his water pump, he handed me tools. So it's not like I really needed him there to do it for me or anything like that. It's just when you're stuck in dumb situations like that, it's nice to have your support person there. Or at least not feeling like you are doing everything on your own.

Gunnar called on New Year's Day to chat for a few minutes. His company was moving to a new FOB (Forward Operations Base) in Afghanistan the following day. They are building it from the ground up, not joining an existing base and have to do a ton of work on it before it's actually safe and liveable. He won't have access to running water, showers, internet or phone for a few weeks. Which makes me think they weren't really ready for the guys to move to the new FOB but what the hell do I know? I am learning (still!) to have low expectations for communication with him so I can be pleasantly surprised when I do hear from him.

Here's some recent pics from Afghanistan.

I'm definitely hoping that 2010 flies by, for the most part. I can't wait to see this guy again!