TBT: Soda Fund

Today’s #TBT photo is from 1996. I was 15 years old, spending the weekend with my Dad up in Fairborn, Ohio. We were in his office after visiting the local Sam’s Club so Dad (an Air Force civilian and Reservist) could buy the items needed to stock the 445th Airlift Wing’s soda fund, which he ran for decades.

I have no idea why I’m scowling. He had all kinds of stuff for sale, and of course, being his kids, we could pull whatever we wanted, thanks to the family discount. At that time in my life, I usually pulled a Snapple, an ice cream bar, some Pop Tarts, and a Hot Pockets.

It didn’t dawn on me that more than a decade later, I would be standing in that same spot as an Air Force Reserve NCO for the wing’s public affairs office, waiting for my coffee and Pop Tarts to heat up in the toaster, making that same face at my Dad who still worked there, but no longer gave family discounts.

End of the Visit

Martin and the kids are on their way home as I type this. Last night during our phone conversation, one girl seemed a bit resigned and the other girl burst into tears at the idea of leaving their grandparents and endless days of kayaking, amusement parks, limitless Nutella jars, shopping sprees and whatever else my family lavished on them. Continue reading

Laundry, Yoga, and Other Things

As Jaz and I were waiting for Martin to join us for a web chat, Jaz was using my back as a speedway for his toy cars. The sacrifices I make for these kids…

 

[dropcap style=”color: #9b9b9b;”]A[/dropcap]s I mentioned in my last post, Martin is away from home again, fulfilling his annual two-week Air Force Reserve obligation (called “annual tour”) at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.

Once again, it’s just the kids and me at home, but this time feels a little different than the previous times Martin’s been away from home. Maybe it’s because we just did this less than two months ago, maybe it’s because it’s only for a short period of time, or maybe it’s because we knew about this one for a long time and everything fell in place according to plan, but in any case, life at home has been pretty breezy, if not the usual controlled chaos.

Martin and the kids on the morning he left.

And for proof that things are, indeed, going swimmingly, I was able to leave the house without the children on Friday night. Ashley came over the hang out with the kids while I ran off to play bunco with my friend Yvonne. I’ve never played the game before, but it wasn’t hard to pick up, and I got to meet several new ladies who all lived in Germany at one time or another, or who had a connection to the military or government work. I had a blast.

Other things the kids and I have done while Martin is gone include:

  • Going to the Native American museum in downtown DC.
  • Taking up yoga. For real. Every day. Our smart TV offers an easy yoga app and the kids love doing it with me.
  • Sorting and purging all our clothes, books, and toys.
  • Got caught up on laundry. Yes. You read that correctly.

As for Martin, he’s doing well down there in Little Rock. He was immediately put on “swing shift” which means he starts working in the middle of the day and doesn’t get off of work until late at night, which makes it a little complicated trying to catch him for a web chat or quick phone call, especially since he’s an hour behind us.

He and the group of Airmen he’s traveled with all went on a road trip to Graceland in nearby Memphis, Tennessee. He was especially pleased when he learned that I’ve never been there myself.

He also had lunch with Livvi, who is the youngest sister of my high school best friend, Jessica, back in Northern Kentucky. The last time I saw Livvi was right after my high school graduation, and she was Lola’s age and still in elementary school. Now? She’s grown up, married, and also serving in the Air Force as a loadmaster stationed at Little Rock. The world is really that small, and I love that we can really go just about anywhere and bump into people we know.

The family that stretches together…

Anyway, he is scheduled to be back next week, and it’s a good thing. From where I sit right now, August is already looking to be a very busy month for us. The girls will be heading off to spend time with family for a few weeks. We will celebrate two birthdays.

And we’ve also heard that the Princesses have returned to a certain wonderland, so we just may have to pay them a visit sooner than later, too.

*ahem*

 

 

Off He Goes … Or Not

Off he goes into the wild blue yonder for another TDY!

One more with my favorite Airman.

He had to touch up before I dropped him off.

Getting our stretch on …

So … this morning, I told Martin that I had a feeling he wouldn’t make it to Arkansas today. After an awkward silence, followed by reassurance that his life insurance is updated, he mentioned, “All my military docs are in order in a folder in the kitchen, you know. Just in case…”

“Oh, no! Not that you are going to crash,” I clarified. “What I meant is, you aren’t even going to get off the ground. You’re going on the KC-135. They’re like the oldest aircraft in the Air Force. It’s a miracle every time there’s lift.”

AAAAAND I was right.

His plane broke before taxiing to the flight line. They put him up in billeting on Andrews. If the bird gets fixed, they fly out tomorrow morning.

My instincts are rarely wrong. These instincts have been finely honed after years of Air Force bird travel!!

Return to the Crazy Life

Martin is home now from his Air Force temporary duty (TDY) in Delaware. He arrived Friday afternoon and immediately went out back to play soccer with the kids and check out Miss C’s toy drone which she got while he was gone. He was also given a tour of the house since we moved things around. I think he did a pretty good job overlooking the dusty corners and piles of laundry.

Instead, he praised Miss C’s new bedroom (our former guest room), gasped when he saw everyone’s closets (which I culled free of winter/out-grown garments, sorted, and organized according to color), and nodded approvingly when he saw the space I carved out for him in his man-cave as part of the total house spring-cleaning I did throughout the month of May.

 

As wonderful as it was to go out and visit him every other weekend, we’re all pretty happy to have him home with us full time again. This past month felt really scrambled for all of us. Even though he was only gone for a month — and not the four months he was away for basic military training and tech school — we didn’t have the luxury of easing into a new routine, getting the kids and house prepared like last time. He was given less than 24 hours notice to up and go, and while the things we *could* control (like finances and childcare) were always at the ready, the disruption to our lives was much more apparent and I never felt like I recovered from that.

But now he’s back and I can catch my breath (and a nap)!

Routine as we [usually] know it can return again … until he leaves for more out-of-state training next month.

 

 

Dusty Corners

Another group shot on the beach from over the weekend. Patches der Hund joined us this time!

 

Like the corners of my house, this corner of the Internet has collected dust in recent weeks. The only thing missing here — other than my presence — is a wad of pet hair, but frankly, my expectations and standards right now are pretty low, I wouldn’t even care if there WAS a dust bunny on this page.

And I usually hate dust bunnies very much.

But I’ve since decided dust bunnies add character. Let’s just say my house is exploding with character, thankyouverymuch. Continue reading

It Happens In Threes

Photo from earlier this year, but it could really be from any day at our house.

 

I’ve written about the “deployment curse” on this blog before. It’s a military thing, and not specific to deployments. It also happens when the military member leaves on temporary duty, or even just a short business trip. It’s very similar to Murphy’s Law, but in addition to the whole “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” part of it, there’s the caveat that all of it will happen within the first week or two of the loved one’s departure.

And the things happen in threes, too. Continue reading

Change of Course

That’s a four-mile bridge, ya’ll. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

I took some leave time and drove Martin out to Delaware yesterday. He’s on active duty orders for a month now, working at Dover Air Force Base, one of the Air Force’s busiest transport hubs in the United States. He was originally scheduled back in January to do three months of this hands-on work experience there. His bags were packed, our childcare arrangement was in place. However, the morning of his scheduled departure, he was put on hold because of ‘paperwork issues’ and we hung in a state of suspension ever since.

Of course, after awhile, one gets a little numb from just hanging there, especially being told so many versions of “I’m waiting to hear back from so-and-so … just hang on … the paperwork will get to you tomorrow … I’ll call you back …

Not our first rodeo, of course. But nevertheless, it was still jarring when he got an email — an email –on Monday with his orders requiring him to travel to Delaware on Tuesday for him to begin work today.

That was awesome.

Fortunately, I am blessed with Sarah, my friend and fellow Air Force mom who lives just five minutes away, the same one who used to come over and help me fold clothes when Martin was at BMT. She came over and stayed with the kids while I dropped off Martin. We wanted the minivan to stay with the kids, and I need my car for work, so he took his bike and metal detector because there’s not much else to do in Delaware.

When I returned home, the kids were all fed and ready for bed. And she cleaned my entire first floor. Even the bathroom. That’s a true friend.

No lie, though — even with a super clean house, all my planning in place, and my flexible attitude, this first day was rough and exhausting. Jaz was wired. Lola was a tad bit more dramatic than usual, no doubt a reaction to having her Dad suddenly gone again. Admittedly, I was also a bit more dramatic as well, having had less sleep, and needing to get up earlier.

But we’ll get used to this new routine in no time. And, thank the lord, this is only for a month. I’ll sneeze and it’ll be over. It’s nothing compared to the six-months to a year some of our friends are doing for deployments right now.

Before I know it, Martin will be back and we’ll adjust with a new routine all over again.

 

 

A List (Just Because)

I am pretty awesome at making lists. Any occasion. Any need. I have several lists running in my mind at any given time. Here’s one that I call “Things That Happened on a Monday.”

1) My zebra-print wellies (love that word) arrived in the mail just days after I ordered them. For awhile, I was leaning toward polka-dots, but then I saw these, and the search was over. Though not intentional, I have more than a few zebra prints in my wardrobe. Plus, zebras are known for their stamina, and so am I. However, zebras are also known for their excellent eyesight and I’m blind as a bat. So … moving on … Continue reading