What I Learned From Deployment

Posted on: Monday, April 30, 2012

Just a few things about my experience...

For me, the goodbye was not the hard part (it was the awkward, wait, is this the last time we can chat, for reals this time? because they said that last time, part); the hard part was driving away from him. After years of bus rides, car trips and flights to go see Kyle, seeing him off and having him go somewhere I couldn't visit was gut wrenching. I felt so lost walking back to the car, so alone in the big state of Texas. Driving away from him at such a time was so unnatural, but that's all I could do. And then I drove for two days by myself to get back to Pennsylvania. And, seven months later, drove back down to meet him.

I am ok on my own. I don't prefer it that way at all, but what a valuable thing to know about yourself. 

Keep busy, but slow down every once in a while. Keeping busy doesn't fill the gap or adequately make up for anything, but it helps to gloss over the fact that a gap is there, and keeps your mind in a productive state rather than a destructive one. 

Pets are really your best friends. I highly recommend them. 

Cooking for one is not super inspired. Lots of frozen vegetables, yogurt, and being really glad that you eat at work where you cook for a bunch of others. 

There is a lot that you have to do on your own, which sucks when you're figuring it out, driving hundreds of miles on your own, finding a house by yourself, but it forces you to learn essential life skills that you only get from living them, so keep that in mind. You will be a great asset to yourself and your family. 

Take advantage of the time to yourself. Focus on self improvement. Do something you might not normally do. Add something to your routine. Find a new hobby. There will probably be times in the future when all you want is a day or an afternoon to yourself, so take advantage of your alone time now. You will probably feel you should be thinking of him at all times, and you will be, but work some time in there to think about you, too. 

Don't put your life on hold. The most simple and least "heavy" example I have of this is with your tv shows. There were a couple that I didn't watch, saving to watch later with Kyle because it would be more fun together, or simply because "if he can't then I shouldn't" (which is not the way to think. more on that next).  But go ahead and watch your shows. Meet new people, celebrate holidays and the passing of seasons. Don't waste the year. Save things to do with him, certainly, but save a particular recipe to make later with him, don't give up eating altogether (for an extreme example. You get the idea. I didn't stop eating or anything). 

This leads me to my next point:
Dont torture yourself. This took awhile for me to figure out, and the guilt started the day he left. I checked into a nice (not shady. name brand. well lit. fake eggs for breakfast dealio) hotel for the night, cried and cried and cried, and felt bad, guilty because, where would Kyle be sleeping for the next several months to a year? Not a nice hotel. Not a comfy bed with 18 pillows. I was certainly in the mentality that for all the unpleasantries and tough times Kyle was surely experiencing, I should have some misery too. Kyle doesn't get to hang out with friends, I shouldn't get to see friends. I shouldn't have down time. Pretty sure there's no real down time when you're at war. I should work work work and no play (I like work, so that's OK for me, but we all need at least a little fun and relaxation). I shouldn't complain (thats a big one); I mean, he's at war in the desert, stuck in close quarters with a bunch of dudes and their smelly farts (tmi?). Yes, his circumstances are not ideal, but it is true when they say a whole family experiences deployment, suffers through it. You're hurting enough, worried enough, going without enough as it is. Don't feel you need to restrict yourself further. Intentional or not, self-pain and withholding is not a healthy coping mechanism. Treat yourself well, because it is your deployment too, and you need to come out of it healthy and well, just as you need your soldier to.

He really loves me. I don't believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it may make you both more inclined to let the other know just how fond you are of them.

I really mostly dislike any of those military deployment encouraging images floating around Pinterest and internet land. I don't like that they give off a sense of superiority. You're not superior because you love someone and they love you and they have a tough job that keeps you apart sometimes. You're lucky. Just not my thing, but I know everyone handles a situation differently and finds comfort and meaning in different places. I am proud of my husband; I loved him before the military and I will love him after. I will never disparage someone else just because their significant other is not in the military. That makes no sense to me, and it's simply not cool. Sure, I think my husband is the best around; every wife should think that. 
this is what I mean. not cool. 
Write your story down on paper. This is actually something I did when Kyle was at basic and AIT training, not deployment, but it was incredibly therapeutic. You can run through your memories from the beginning, often thinking of times you haven't though about in a long time. It will bring a smile to your face, possibly a tear to your eye, but certainly warmth to your heart.

Let yourself be angry. At him. At life. Don't always suppress it. Don't let resentment build. If you're angry, just be angry. You know you agreed to this, that you married him, that this was going to happen, that you love him and wouldn't give him up to save yourself a few painful months or years, to have a different life. So let yourself be angry, and then you won't be anymore. It's all good. 

To be everyday thankful for the person you are sharing your life with. When they're back, to not nag too much (but nag you really sometimes must, because how else is all that Army crap going to get picked up and put away?). To smile. To know you can probably make it through anything, because you made it through being so very far apart, together. 

Don't expect being together to be all roses and sunshine, just because you are back together. It is wonderful, and you certainly don't take it for granted, but being together presents a whole other slew of challenges. Frustrations will come up in any relationship, no matter who or where you are (though the military really brings frustration to a whole new level and consistency, I am certain). It's not being together that makes a relationship work, it's working together.


My First Bike Ride

Posted on: Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm not sure why, but on Saturday I agreed to going out for my first few motorcycle rides. We had a couple things to get at Home Depot, which isn't far, but I wanted to just go around the neighborhood a little bit first, having never been on a motorcycle and all. Well, by the end of the day we ended up going around the neighborhood, to Home Depot, and out a ways (over a bridge, past a lake and a bunch of cows and the little houses where ponies are tied in the front yard) to the grand opening of the bike shop Kyle has been going to for parts and advice. 

I was definitely worried we would tip over or crash into something the first time. Turns out Kyle also thought there was a chance of that happening, as he's never ridden with a passenger and things run a little differently (he didn't tell me until after the first ride). But it was fun! I had an uncomfortable jacket on (not made for riding), but my helmet and gloves were great. It is definitely windy at high speeds and you feel bugs hitting your knees. I wasn't sure how I was allowed to sit or move, so it got uncomfortable by the return trip of our longer ride and needed to stretch my knees and back, but his bike overall is pretty comfortable. I don't know how long I would enjoy riding on it for, though. To which Kyle responded that we'll have to get me a bike of my own. But he has been saying that for months.


PS- Friends are graduating from Pitt! I miss them. Congrats ladies!

So There Went April...

Posted on: Friday, April 27, 2012

UPS has a great signature machine- yep, that looks right. :: Kitties :: gold tiger, for wedding :: Kyle made tasty dinner! Cooking things in beer is a good idea. ::  new Vibrams. I love. ::  What I've been eating for lunch lately. :: Cajun chicken pasta, with rice instead. Visually appealing but lacking in flavor. ::  More kitties. :: Soon to be accompanied by wedding photos! :: Trying on my shoes. :: Dead bird in the backyard. :: What's left of the snail bush. :: Silly Huxley. :: Wedding projects and things. :: D in a tree. :: Spray painted frame! :: Hux chilling on Kyle's laptop. :: adding a bit of glitter to the wedding. :: pretty thank you cards.

What Time is It?

A Story:

I am awoken in the night, notice the hallway and bathroom lights are on and Kyle is up doing things. I am confused because I feel like we just went to bed about an hour ago (we went to bed late last night), so what was Kyle doing up? I can't have fallen asleep too long ago. It's not 3am yet, is it? I sleepily ask him what he is doing and he replies that he's getting ready for work. He plops a cat down on me as usual. I sleepily say "ohhhk I just asked cuz I thought we went to bed like an hour ago huh weird." Kyle continues to get read in the bathroom. I turn over in bed and look at the clock which reads around 11:15. Huh? Is the clock right? If so then we did just go to bed an hour ago. Why was he getting ready for work? I check his phone for a text message from Army calling him in or something, but nothing. I lay confused in bed. Am I going crazy? What is going on? Is this the Twilight Zone? 

I wait as Kyle finishes shaving and getting ready in the bathroom. It takes about an eternity, and my sanity quickly deteriorates. Kyle comes back into the room to get his phone. I suppose he saw the time and he says "Is the clock right?" And it dawns on us both that Kyle for some reason, somehow thought it was time for him to get up. His alarm didn't go off or anything, but he got up to shave and get ready. We chat and laugh about how I thought I was going crazy, and how he actually is going crazy, and go back to bed. "At least you don't have to shave in the morning?" I say.



Wednesday Wedding: Nails

Posted on: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Now that I've got the dress, shoes, earrings, and starting to figure out hair accessories, I've been thinking about my nails. Before last July, I never painted them, and they were usually bitten down pretty short. But since I just decided to stop biting and grow them out, they are significantly longer, and always painted (I don't like my "long" nails unpainted. it just feels weird). True story: I've never had my nails done. So, I am looking forward to getting a professional to do my nails! With the shoes I'll be wearing, my toes will certainly need to be looking pretty! Deciding how I want my nails to be done is a little detail, but a fun and non-stress inducing one to think about. I'm thinking toe nails to match the sangria color of my ladies dresses, and something lighter (perhaps to match the light pink in my earrings), maybe with a little sparkle for my fingers. Or maybe just match toes and fingers and do sangria shade on both. I've got some time to decide. For now, here is some of my wedding day nail inspiration!

Emily's wedding nails
unknown on Pinterest

some color options

Since my dress and accessories will be pretty sparkly, I think I'd prefer just emphasizing maybe my ring finger with a sparkle top coat, like in the first photo. Though I do also love the look of colorful, bright nails on white... I definitely don't want my nails to be too crazy or elaborate. Simple, with a bit of fun. What do you think?

Linking up, as always! :) 

On a marriage-related note, you should read this post, "15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years." I think it's pretty good.

Out to Eat in Texas pt. 2

Posted on: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Since Kyle and I got a refrigerator (we were without one for a bit when we first moved down here), there's a lot less eating out and a lot more of me cooking and sometimes Kyle cooking. But some days you're too tired to cook or just don't know what to make. So you pay someone to make food for you. Continuing from the handful of Texas eateries I told you about months ago, here are some new places we've been to.

Fat Boy's BBQ. This place is really close to us as well (I guess everything is pretty close in this relatively small town). Our first attempt going here after getting back from Austin didn't work as it was closed, as was a burger place we tried going to across the street. Apparently it is not weird for some restaurants to close by 7pm on a Friday. The second time we wanted to go there, we could tell it was open by the plethora of trucks parked outside. We figured we'd just order a family pack, and have leftovers for a few days. Turns out when you do that, you get a whole loaf of bread! A really long loaf of bread, too. But Kyle and I don't tend to make our bbq into sandwiches, so we crossed bread off of our grocery list! I like this barbecue more than Clem Mikeska's. Well, I definitely liked the brisket. The pork loin was ok (but I'm not the biggest pork loin fan in the first place), and I didn't really try the chicken. The sides (potato salad, corn, green beans) were also all really good. I realize I didn't really get pictures of the food, I think I was just amazed by the whole loaf of bread.

Rylander's Best Hamburgers. Back to that Friday night after our trip to Austin when we came back to Temple and everything was closed. So after trying two places, we stopped at a third, which looked completely empty but at least was open for a bit longer. We ended up at Rylander's, across the street from Clem's, a burger place obviously. It appears that the only pictures I took of the place/food were of their awesome Easter decor. The burgers were good. I quite liked mine but I think Kyle prefers a thicker patty. I think we were both just glad they were open and gave us food.

Taste of Thai. After driving around all afternoon, visiting every motorcycle shop in ours and the surrounding towns, we tried out a new (to us) Thai restaurant in downtown Temple. I'd been wanting some Thai for a little while, and my craving was satisfied! It was really good. We got the "medium" spicy sauce, and it was just right, I think. I'll have to venture out and try something aside from the pad thai next time. Maybe.

This post has been in the works for a while, and we've tried another couple places since, but I'll save those for next time! And I will try to do better with getting pictures of the actual FOOD. 

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