Thursday, April 15, 2010

Deployment Question #6--Is there a wrong time to call?

Gunner is still at JRTC for the month, and he is working the night shift.  He calls every night before he goes to work.

Doesn't that sound great?

Well, it doesn't work.  Before I sound selfish, and all that crap, I have three kids that need to be fed and watered, bathed, read stories to, and cuddled before bed.  He's gone for a month.  A month!  I know, I know, I read some blogs where they whine about one night apart being too many, but seriously, it's a month!  We've survived 4 years apart, so one month, while not ideal, is not the end of the world after being married over 15 1/2 years.

I tried to talk to him when he called, let him talk to the kids, and then he could listen to me make sure Abs wasn't flooding the bathroom, Junior wasn't off in the dog cage pooping, that dinner isn't burning, that Em isn't using all the hot water, no one is locking themselves in the bathroom, or cramming things down the heater....the list goes on....

If it was once in a while, I could handle it, but every night at the same time.....I had to say something.

Gunner laughed.  He understood.  He said he'll call me tomorrow morning after everyone is fed, dressed, and I am on the way to the gym.   He'll call a couple times a week to talk to the kids, at night.

This works for us.

One of my favorite readers sent me a message and asked me this:

Is it better to talk everyday and have nothing to say or talk every couple of days/to a week and then have a little bit more to talk about? I *like* in theory that he can call each day, but sometimes i just really need to get things done so I take the convo for granted. He uses his magicjack on his computer so it is always there for him to use. I don't want to sound ungrateful but....

I understand that.  We've never been in a position where he could call every day though while he is deployed and with Abs around, I always have something to tell him like this, this, this, and this.

When Gunner went to Bosnia, he called all the time, in the middle of the night, and we chit chatted for hours.  We had no children though.  (I guess he could call in the middle of the night and talk to Abs since she is up anyway.)

So my question is, is there a wrong time to call?  If he calls at an inconvenient time, do you say something or drop everything and talk?  I'm always excited to hear from Gunner, no matter when he calls, and we will chit chat for a bit and then I will tell him a good time to call back.  He can tell when I am stressed and the kids are our first priority across the board.  He also knows that chatting via yahoo isn't happening during dinner time and the witching hour while I try to get everyone in bed.

Let me know how you handle calls while your Soldier is TDY or deployed.  How often do they call?  How do you handle when others get more phone calls than you?  Do you keep a running list of things to talk about?      Give me your best!


d.a.r. said...

I think this is what makes an army wife different from a civilian wife :)

Z called religiously every single day. It was sweet, it reminded me that I was always on his mind, it eased my fears of him being in danger (dumb, dumb, dumb me...but sometimes ignorance is bliss?).

But it drove me crazy. I hate talking on the phone. I hated having to always duck out of dinner plans, family get togethers, etc. That makes me sound SOOO ungrateful, but I hated being a slave to my phone. And most of the time? We had nothing to talk about! "Work is fine, the dogs are weird, the house is still standing" "oh good, I can't tell you anything except that I am still alive and I need more socks".

Though, it was nice hearing from him. I wouldn't wish that away... :)

Lindsey said...

It's funny that you post about this because it's something I have thought about a lot. During DH's first deployment I relished the phone calls. No matter when they were, I would drop EVERYTHING and hide in a corner to talk to him. He called about twice a month, so it wasn't too often and I missed him terribly so any contact with him was welcome.

As time went on and I became a more seasoned MilSpouse I began to realize that some phone calls really didn't have perfect timing. If I'm in the middle of the grocery store with the kids it's hard to focus on him. I feel bad asking him to call back because we know that he may not have an opportunity to do so for a few days.

So, now, when he calls I TRY to give him my undivided attention but it isn't always possible, and he is pretty good at picking up on that so he'll offer to call me later. I don't usually have to be the one to terminate the call because for some reason, I feel guilty doing that. I feel ungrateful, selfish, etc.

Our lives are different now then they were on the first deployment, the boys are older and I have more going on. I love it when he calls but it's not always great timing.

Anonymous said...

I have had this argument with K ALL THE TIME. We've been lucky this deployment, as he's always had personal internet, and skype (and his has an actual phone number, so i can call it from a phone and he can call normal phones from his computer), so we've had (sometimes too much) ample time for phone calls.

I'm really, really, *REALLY* thankful and grateful that we've had as much communication as we've had, but I really, really *really* hate that he expects me to sit on skype with him for hours.

Yes, I miss him, yes, i wish he was home (especially considering he was supposed to leave already and he's still there), but I have so much stuff to do that it's just hard for me to sit on skype with him for hours, and then there's the whole fact that we run out of stuff to talk about, but he doesnt want to hang up b/c he likes being able to see my face, etc.

before he had his skype access, at the beginning of the deployment, I'd drop everything, be it 2pm or 2am, and talk to him when the phone rang. I'd duck out of class, go on break at work, etc. Now sometimes I just wish his skype would quit working for a day or two (does this make me a bad person? gosh i hope not).

I'm happy he CAN call every day, but that doesnt mean I need to spend hours on the phone with him every day.

Time For Something New said...

I’ve yet to go through deployment, and hopefully wont for several more years (I am only an army girlfriend, and we're both very new to this life) but he attends military college nine hours away and is kept quite busy most of the time. So maybe it’s my "care free" college, no kids, little responsibility lifestyle, but I drop everything. I’ve left the cafeteria in the middle of dinner to come back to my room and video chat, I’ve stopped friends dead in the middle of their sentences to squeal into my phone and just say I love you for two minutes. Haha. Perhaps it’s just the honeymoon phase? But that’s how the ball rolls for us right now.

I really enjoy the blog, especially stories about your middle child. I was her when I was little, haha. I wonder if this wasn’t just exactly how my mom felt.

Keep writing, Ashlie :)

Jenn B said...

For us, if it's a short separation, the daily calls are fine. But for long ones, we end up agreeing that once a week is fine, because there is not much to say otherwise. But if he does call daily and we have NOTHING to say, it's usually a "hello. hello. Nothing new. Same here. Love you. Love you. Bye. Bye." Never have to hear that recorded voice because we are done!

Vintage Love and Photographs said...

When my husband is deployed he calls every 3-5 weeks. Which after four deployments made me so angry but he finally confessed why there was such huge gaps between calls..he said it was easier for him (and in a way for me as well) to not call as often because it's just too hard. He would have saved me a lot of anger had he told me that at first. I do think he should call every other week, I think that is pretty generous. The longest I've not heard from him was three months, but of course that was a little before and at the beginning of the Iraqi war.

Gypsy at heart said...

Oh, the good 'ole days when we had letters coming and going.....
Maybe the phone calls could be interspersed with letters. Once a phone call is done, it is gone. Maybe a letter or a card that could be touched, smelled (her perfume / his after shave), read and reread would be something to have. It could be pulled out and enjoyed when needed and you have time to savor.
Buy some nice and / or funny cards to send once a week or so. you can even make them on your computer to cut costs. Send a pack of, already addressed, cards / postcards he can mail back to the kids. I think his postage is free, so he just has to pen a short note. (Of course, it could be she!)

The Social Frog said...

Our first couple of deployments we were not able to talk daily, even though we wanted to, we just could not afford it. His last 6 month deployment this past June, we did talk just about every day, when we could. If he called the house and I was not home he'd call my cell. I think it is very different for everyone. I talked to some other Navy wives about this and they were fine not talking for a week or two at a time. We however would not be okay with that.

Queenie Jeannie said...

The first one (the initial invasion) he called about 8 times. So yeah, I dropped EVERYTHING for him and cried for days if I missed his call. The second and third times it was pretty much every day.

I did get to the point where I would tell him when it was or wasn't a good time to call. And if I was truly busy and couldn't talk, he had to let me go without being a big baby about it.

It's tough on both sides but I swear they have more time to call/talk than we do, lol!!!

BryceandWhit said...

I talk to my Husband who is in THE STAN twice a day. Morning and Night...He says he likes to start his days off good and end his days good... We always find things to talk about...I fill that the least I can do is talk to him for 20 minutes to get his mind off being over there for that short time talking to him...I know what ppl are thinking holy crap you talk alot but even when he was in the states I would see him everynight and he would call and txt me through out the day still... I guess we are just one of those couples...

Wife of a Sailor said...

Let me preface with the fact that we have no kids.

Huzzy calls when he can. Before they actually go on the submarine, he can call nearly every day. But they are 17 hours ahead. So it's invariably 4 a.m. here when he calls. At the beginning of the deployment, I have a hard time waking up enough to talk to him, let alone remember what I want to tell him. If I have something to really tell him, I email him. Otherwise, there's a good chance that I won't remember at 4 a.m.

However, on the return part of the deployment where I haven't talked to him sometimes upwards of 2-3 months AT ALL, I don't care when he calls. I'll be wide awake and I'm UP.

Wiley said...

DM calls every day if he can, and usually the only times he can't he's off the FOB. He has it down to a fine art and even sometimes warns me if he's going traveling soon so if I don't hear from him for a few days I'm not so worried. I will drop everything to talk to him, with to only exception being if I'm on the loo... Phonecalls are all we've had for about 80% of our time together, so we are pretty good at them. There are times when neither of us has much to say, but sometimes it's nice just to hear him breathe.
That said, when he was in the US and I was in Australia, we would talk twice a day - morning and night. And as much as I loved it, I did become something of a hermit because I never wanted to miss his calls, and I didn't so much love that.