Saturday, July 31, 2010

Can't they just run through the sprinklers?

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Reason #6548483 that I don't care for my inlaws

It was weird.

My MIL was here visiting.  I think she was ready to leave, so she got pissed over absolutely nothing, and left.  Seriously, she was already packed and ready to go, so it was kind of like she was looking for a reason to take off.  I guess she found one.

I wouldn't normally care, but she left without saying goodbye.  Her son is about to leave for a year, and she does something like that?

If you knew "the rest of the story", you would understand why I have a love/hate relationship with them.  Just when I think they are going to get it together, they do something crappy like this.  Unfortunately, this won't be the last time, as ever single time we give them another chance they somehow manage to screw it up.

Gunner was upset.

We just can't figure it out.

BTW, the dog peed on the floor.  So glad that they issued us a house with carpet.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Best Wishes for Gunner

We are still alive and living among a sea of boxes.

Gunner is still here.

My ankle is not broken, but I did strain it, and am in pain.

I was hoping all my followers would leave some words of advice for Gunner, or well wishes, or something before he leaves soon.

I'm sure he'd love some encouragement.  So comment away, and let him know you care!  Thanks!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Guest Blog: The More the Merrier

ABW here--While I'm busy unpacking, I've asked my friend Dave to fill in again.  This time he provides a unique perspective on my ability to collect (to put it nicely) various items for our household.  After nearly 20 years of knowing me, I do have to admit that he has pretty good handle on my habits.  Enjoy!

Well, here I am guest blogging again while ABW begins to unpack at Fort Carson. Now on day two of guest blogging, I have a sense of how guest hosts on shows such as Regis & Kelly must feel. Viewers are like "oh, Regis isn't here today and now I've got to hear stuff from this random guy." Oh well, that's the way it is today so let's get the show started (play theme music here)...

I've known ABW since college. We met on the sailing team and became fast friends and sailmates--always sailing together when possible at regattas, practices and the like as most people had a partner they sailed with most of the time. Now, though we loved sailing, don't get me wrong--we were often minimalists in terms of the amount of effort that we put into it. I remember our first year on the team when the current leader would say at a meeting "now, some of you need to spend more time on your tacking (which basically means turning in sailing speak) instead of just sailing back and forth across the lake. What? We needed to practice tacking? Um, we had a lot of stuff to talk about and all that practice was getting in the way. We had the wind in our hair and that's all we needed. Well, I exaggerate a little bit, but only a little.

But, I digress. Anyway, that brings me back to the term minimalist. I've always been one as I've moved around quite a bit and see no need to pack or unpack things that I don't need or use. And, since I only have one small dog and no children, this has been easy to maintain. As a matter of fact, as I get older I keep finding more and more things that I feel I can live without. ABW, on the other hand, is not someone that anyone would ever qualify as a minimalist. Now, I'll preface it right now that she has a different set of circumstances than I, what with having three children and a spouse and all, but still... Her husband, Gunner, says about her and her entire family that "if there is a horizontal surface exposed anywhere, it will quickly become covered with stuff." He's not lying.

Now, I'm going to blow the oar out of the water right now and tell you that ABW is basically a hoarder. I'm not talking about one of those that you see on television where they've got pizza boxes from 1997 hidden under a pile of papers or anything--nothing that would entail a visit from CPS or the exterminator or anything like that. But, there's just stuff...and a lot of it. When they moved to the Air Force Academy and she told me they now had a basement I was like NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO because this allowed ABW the luxury of having more room for all her "stuff." And, when she didn't want to unpack all this said stuff, she could just leave much of it boxed up in the basement and buy more stuff--replacement stuff for the stuff already packed and new stuff because now she had a basement. You people reading her blog (and particularly those that also see her facebook status updates as well) have got to have figured this out already. I mean, she's gotten rid of over 30 bags of stuff plus furniture and still confesses that there's lots more to go through. They will need close to three trips with the 26' truck they rented and Gunner has packed that thing to the nines. Three truckloads equals 78' of space packed high and wide and that's not including things packed and transported in their cars.

Now, at this point I'll be surprised if ABW even posts this guest blog. The only reason I feel she might is because she's now in recovery. I think having to move themselves this time instead of having the army do it has really caused her to see the error of her ways. I mean, it's not like she hasn't known this about herself. How could she not as I would call it to her attention every time I would visit? But, where she went wrong over the last couple months was not only telling me about how much she wanted to change, but also telling me about examples that I didn't know anything about. For example, she confessed awhile back that they probably have thirty pairs of scissors scattered or hidden (aka lost) throughout the house. The main reason for them being hidden is to keep them away from Abs for reasons that all of ABW's followers already understand. The reason for so many was because they could never find a pair of scissors when they needed one and would have to buy more. Then there are the books. Oh the books. ABW is a book person. She likes having the physical book for any and everything that she wants (or thinks she wants) to read about. That's a lot of books. And that's not including the "teaching" books she buys for her teaching stash for when she returns to teaching. Let's just say the thrift store isn't really her friend. I'll refrain from sharing much more detail about all the other items ravaging the house, but I will leave you with a couple hints such as clothing, pyrex, scrapbooking, teaching stuff, old electronics and any and everything that might be valuable one day. And, do I even need to mention the sock buckets? I could go on. And on. But I won't.

This move has sparked a fresh start for ABW. Life will become so much easier now which is exactly what she needs. To make her feel better, please feel free to share stories about things you've bought or kept (or are still buying or keeping) that are essentially ridiculous. Everyone has their thing, what's yours?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guest Blog: An Evening with ABW's kids

Well, ABW asked me to write a guest blog since she's busy moving and suggested that I tell the story of when I came down from Denver one day to babysit as Gunner was off doing army training or something.  At first I felt I wouldn't be able to remember many of the events from that day but then it all started coming back to me like a bad dream.  You have to remember that I don't have children and it's experiences like these that make me glad for that.
I will start off the story by saying that it wasn't that bad overall.  However, that being said, there was still a text to ABW at some point saying something to the effect of "I'm surprised you don't drink more." 
ABW had an early deployment meeting to attend and was going to be gone for about two and a half hours which included travel time and her obsession with being extremely early to everything.  Sammy was so hyper with so much energy that day and I remember thinking that what he really needed was a proper walk.  I thought a trip to the park would be a great activity and that Abs should be a part of this process since dog walking was originally supposed to be one of her responsibilities when they got him.  I explained all of this to Abs and then proceeded to get Junior ready since I also wanted him to go along (I just love that kid--besides the potty training issues, he's the right age and stage for me).  It wasn't that difficult to get him ready, though there was some coercion with socks and shoes and I did have to pry him away from the television.  Luckily he really likes me and didn't put up a fight.  I decided that Em wasn't going with us.  I knew she had no interest in going as she isn't my biggest fan and has no interest in outdoor activities.  Also, she had homework that needed to be completed and getting her to do her homework had been an issue in the house at that time.  So, I informed her that her mother would be checking her homework later and that she'd better be doing her homework and not watching television while we were gone.   
Of course, before we even left the garage, I could see it going downhill.  First there was an issue getting the leash on Sammy.  All he wanted to do was play with it and started going nuts trying to chew/bite it.  I was under the impression that they always used the harness and when I asked Abs about it she didn't know where it was or how to put it on.  I began to get annoyed and was already jumping to the conclusion that Abs wasn't being entirely truthful.  It's just hard to tell with her sometimes and I don't want to be the one that she pulled one over on.  Oh well, I just decided that we would go without the harness.  Then, Abs TOLD me that she was going to ride Andrew's scooter and that I would walk the dog.  Um, no, this wasn't the plan.  She was to walk Sammy and I would walk with Junior.  Of course, once she brought up the scooter idea, Junior wanted to ride it.  Fantastic, now our walk included a scooter.  We were only half a block away and I was already ready to turn back.  Abs wouldn't just walk Sammy like I asked because she kept waiting for Junior and I.  Well, Junior and I were now going super slow as Junior was attempting to ride the scooter.  The main reason for the outing was to give Sammy a walk and this wasn't really happening.  We made it another half a block before Junior fell and barely scuffed his knee--nothing serious but you know how that goes.  We had to discuss his new "ouchy" for awhile before we could get on our way.  Luckily we started moving faster at that point as Junior no longer had an interest in riding the scooter and I was there to carry if for him.   
Once we were at the park, the kids hit the playground area.  I couldn't go into the actual area since dogs aren't allowed in there.  Of course, Abs kept trying to tell me that Sammy could come onto the playground.  On her third attempt to let me let Sammy onto the playground, I finally pointed out the sign above her head stating the playground rules and the subject was dropped.  Of course, Sammy was running and jumping around and wouldn't stop tying to chew/bite his leash and was starting to get really annoying.  That dog is so good in the house, so I was amazed at the transition and couldn't help but think he needed more walks or something. 
Then Abs decided she was going to climb a tree.  I didn't know if this was a good idea, but at least it seemed to calm Sammy down since he could be closer to one of the kids.  And, since I'm tall I figured I could help get her down if need be and there was really no stopping her.  She spent what seemed like forever climbing around on one low branch.  As soon as I mentioned that it was time to go, she announced that she'd "hurt" her ankle and couldn't get down.  I finally had to lift her out of the tree.  Now, don't think I don't listen to the kids and take them seriously.  If one of them says they're hurt, I"m going to check it out.  But, I've also heard many Abs stories over the years so I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a lot of doubt.  After I lifted her out of the tree she proceeded to limp around.  I couldn't actually see her ankle because she was wearing cowboy boots (yes, that's right, cowboy boots).  However, it didn't take me long to notice the inconsistencies of her new limp, particularly when she mentioned that she would HAVE to ride the scooter back because of her injury.  Now I could see where this was going.  After waiting for Junior for what seemed like at least twenty "just one more time" trips down the slide, we proceeded to walk back. 
Abs explained that she had probably sprained her ankle but was doing okay with the use of the scooter (ironically she could still use both legs equally well and her occasional limping would switch from one leg to the other).  She then wanted to hold my hand and asked me not to tell her mother because she'd think Abs was "sweet"on me.  I suggested she keep both hands on the scooter.  Junior didn't want to walk anymore so I had him on my shoulders while walking Sammy who was still going nuts and trying to chew/bite the leash.  Then it finally happened.  Sammy broke the leash and now I had a leashless dog running around.  Great.  There wasn't a lot of traffic on the road we were next to, but I wasn't going to be the one that killed the dog.  So, guess who got to carry Sammy back to the house?  He's not a big dog mind you, but bigger than mine and more than anyone really wants to carry for twenty minutes while he's squirming, etc.  This did nothing for the sciatic pain I was experiencing (and still am, but that's a different matter)..  Of course, Junior still wanted to be carried but understood that I couldn't carry both him and Sammy.  So, he decided to hug one of my legs for support and I was now the walking with a limp due to the extra weight.  Luckily Abs was miraculously getting better as long as she stayed on the scooter of course. 
Anyway, we finally made it home.  That's when I sent the text to ABW about drinking.  Though nothing monumental happened once we got back, it wasn't a time for boredom either.  I had to clean Junior's nearly invisible wound and, more importantly, put a children's band-aid on it.  Of course, Abs also needed a band-aid for her ankle and then asked me not to say anything to her mother about what had happened.  Oh don't worry Abs, your secret is safe with me.  I made individual microwave pizzas for everyone as prescribed by ABW, though Abs was adamant that I didn't need to cut Junior's pizza into smaller pieces.  Junior didn't have a problem with it and ate each and every bite.  Before and during dinner, Abs was using her microscope on the table and was attempting to dye things red to see them better.  Seriously?  This only proved to make a huge red mess on ABW's nearly new kitchen table.  By that point I pulled a "wait until your mother gets home" which caused her to realize she'd better clean it up or ABW wasn't going to be happy.  I asked Em which one of them normally took the first bath and she told me that Junior goes first.  I had no intention of doing that right away and suggested she go first to help me get the ball rolling with Abs.  Of course, I later found out that Em always goes first.  You just can't trust any of them.  Anyway, it wasn't long before ABW made it home and I cracked open a bottle of wine. 
So, babysitting wasn't that bad.  But I know I'd be crazy if they were in my custody all day each and every day--they need a mother's love.  The point of this story is that the things ABW blogs about really do happen and if you're ever in the neighborhood you should stop off and babysit--it's an experience you won't soon forget but will wish you could.
ABW here.....I've known Dave since we were 19 and in college.  He truly does love my children, but not being an experienced parent, he often finds times with them a little on the overwhelming side.  LOL

Monday, July 26, 2010

Break Time!

Gunner and his mom ran to Burger King for lunch, so I am taking a break too.

Moving is for the birds.  Luckily the unloading she be a lot quicker, because even with a 26' truck, we have at least three loads that we'll have to do.  That's crazy!

I labeled the boxes that I packed, and Gunner didn't find them very funny.  

They included:
   --useless Army Crap
   --TA50 that never sees the light of day, so why are we carting it around
   --clothes that were in the MBR but belong to children who failed to pick up their laundry
   --comic books that I plan on selling during Gunner's deployment (he would kill me)
   --every canned good we own, because you are strong as an ox (he was able to carry it)
   --BDU's & DCU's why are you still in my house (he says he has plans for them)

The list went on.  Then I noticed boxes with "how much scrapbook crap can one person own" and "will this scrapbook stuff ever get used?".  

Okay, okay, point made.  Good thing he is cute. 

My MIL arrived and has been put to work.  She's a determined German, so you better stay out of her way while she is carrying boxes.  

I hear my name being yelled from the basement.  They must need my brute strength...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thank you Army

Every once in a while I am thankful for things that the Army does.  Not too often, but they can surprise you.

Gunner got his flight delayed three days because of the move.  Every little bit counts.

The Army is letting them off about thirty minutes early every day to have more family time.  Not a whole lot of time, but I'm not going to complain.  This past week they had half days, 4 day, then half days this week.  

Paternity leave.  While we are done, done, done, having babies, I like that they give paternity leave to the Soldiers.  If you have a child due during the deployment, your Soldier will get paternity leave when they return.  Funny thing is that Gunner had a great chain of command when Em and Abs arrived and he got paternity leave.  With Junior, not so much, but that's okay.

I love, love, love, love that the Army moves you.  They are not moving us from where we live now to where we are going, because it is a local move.  This boxing up crap, renting a truck, and paying for everything with blood, sweat, tears, and a ton of money is not my idea of fun.  I'll leave it to the Army from now on.

I love that they don't charge leave for R&R.  They did during the first deployment, and there were guys who weren't able to go home because you had to have more than 15 days saved up.  Glad they are with the times now.

I love that housing means I don't have to worry about a mortgage and all that goes along with it.

I love homecomings, and the anticipation of a homecoming.  There's nothing like it.  (the 12 months leading up to the homecoming is for the birds!)

Is there anything that you love about the Army?