Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Reintegration Part I

Being that this is our 5th (and LAST!) deployment, I thought we were pros at reintegration.  I choose my battles, and goodness knows with three kids, there is plenty for both of us to do and keep us busy.

The one thing that drives me nuts?

Here is my status from FB yesterday:

ABW Wonders how she survived years driving while Chris was deployed and before I met him, but apparently lost all skills once he returned home. Thank goodness he is here to tell me how to drive, or I might not be able to function.

Someone said instead of like there should be an "Amen".  Most agreed with me.  A civilian friend said her husband would never do that and she wouldn't allow it.  

This all came to a head yesterday when I was driving Gunner's new car.

"Watch out for that parked car."
"This guy might try to cut you off."
"The light might turn red, you should slow down."

I glared at him, and asked him if he wanted to drive.  "Oh no, you're doing fine, I'm just helping."

A little history here.  I am old.  I got my driver's license when I was 16.  In order to do that, I had to pass my dad's strict driving lessons.  Basically that meant that I drove around an empty parking lot in first gear, having to stop and start.  Once I got that down, he would let me coast around in first gear and he would yell "STOP" to test my reaction time.  After passing that little bit of pure hell pure joy, I was able to start shifting gears.

From gear shifting we moved to practicing in a parking garage how to stop and start again without rolling backwards on an incline.  My poor dad spent hours with us behind the wheel making sure that we knew what was going on.  

Gunner?  He got his driver's license when he was 21 (they gave him one to drive a car, when all he had ever driven was a motorcycle).  The first car he drove was a military vehicle--a humvee, so thank goodness it was an automatic.  (Side note, his brother had never driven before and during his first assignment with the Army, he was told to drive a deuce and a half, while he had never driven before.  By the end of the day he felt courageous enough to shift to second gear, lol)  He could have benefited from my dad's "Learn how to drive" class.  Granted he has gotten a lot better over the years, a lot better.  

But.........cause there's always a but....

If I could drive while he was gone (almost a total of 5 years of deployments, and we won't even count field, TDY, and all that other times they are away)......do you think I have lost all ability?  

We do laugh about it, and he is getting better.  After our afternoon trip to the car dealer, I let him drive to go get the girls.  I pointed out how he scans the roads for IEDs, watches for anything out of the "norm", and has been known to drive aggressively like he is in a convoy.

So while I know this part will eventually fade, I do notice a lot of telling the other person how to do things.  While he tells me how to drive, etc., I tell him how to take care of the kids, how things should be done.  Usually by the time we get it ironed out, he is gone again, so we wait another year and start all over again. 

How do you handle this part of reintegration?  


Anonymous said...

Kent got home a little over a year ago.

From the day he got home, I can count on one hand the number of times I have driven my own car while he was in it with me. I just can NOT take his "help."

Three of those times? He was so doped up (fresh out of surgery/appointments) that it doesn't count. I can stare out a window just fine, he can't seem to grasp the "you're not driving, please shut the hell up" part.

He STILL swerves under bridges (we've almost had MULTIPLE accidents because of this, and gotten two tickets), and speeds up randomly because he thinks people are trying to spy on him or something looks "hinky." Once again, multiple tickets.

We probably could have paid off my car with the amount we've had to spend on tickets because of his driving. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I had the same Dad Driving Tests!!!

When I turned 14 I used to have to sit in the front of the car and point out the potential dangers in the road. It was awful, but I suppose I appreciate it now.

Happy Reintegration!

Uncle Dan said...

Your Dad did well!

Uncle Dan said...

Oh I forgot, did you learn on a TR or MG?

Samantha the ArmyWife said...

my dad taught my sister and I to drive the.same.exact.way!! haa
Plus my husband has issues with my driving as well- but that goes both ways! haa

Seriously....Me. said...

Not looking forward to this part when The Husband comes back next year. The first time around was enough for me to announce "I love you...but I don't LIKE you"
The driving thing kills me...always scanning...always flinching...OMG.
And please please please don't take two freshly returned Iraq Veterans out driving around on the Fourth of July...that's a story and a half when someone set off firecrackers. Thought we were going to roll the truck to avoid it. WOW.
Good luck...I was told a day for every day they were gone...that's about right.
Hang in there!

Mr. Superman & Mrs. S. said...

The biggest thing for us was driving too! I got so fed up ha ha

Erin said...

When my hubby came home, I just didn't drive with him in the car. Sometimes that irritated him, but he was exactly like Gunner! I couldn't take it without getting super angry.

After a little while, he got tired of always driving and admitted defeat. Even a year later, he usually drives, but he is much better about keeping his mouth shut when I do. :)

Those are his only two options.

I say, next time he is doing that, pull the car over and put it in park, hand him the keys and say, "You drive." LOL!

Spanish Princess said...

I totally laughed my butt off when I saw your post on FB. I had so much trouble with that when Geo was deployed, but now that he's a commander, he has a driver that takes him everywhere, he is not allowed to drive, that is that Soldier's job ... now driving with my husband is WORSE than ever. Now he likes to give me orders ... and you know I don't take orders, I'm Household 6!