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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day Two Hundred Seventy-Three

Operation Flea Killing was a success.

I had a plan, outlined with times. This was today's schedule:

7:00am – Wake up, shower
7:30am – Start laundry
7:40am – Pick up poop, mow lawn, spray outside
8:30am – Move furniture, vacuum downstairs
9:00am – Drop Winston off at groomers
9:45am – Give Dexter flea medicine
10:00am – Bathe Dexter
10:20am – Drop Dexter off at Courtney’s
10:30am – EcoSmart arrives
12:00pm – Spray things
1:30pm - Pick up Winston
2:00pm – Give Winston flea meds

I followed it fairly well, actually. I didn't do the last step yet... but I will once this blog is done!!

I see SUCH an improvement already. Dexter has chewed and itched a bit, but hardly at all. I think I'm going to bathe him a few more times with the flea bath. You can never be too careful, right?

So after the flea stuff, I relaxed with some books and TV. Then I got a call from some people who wanted to buy my super big TV - Goliath!! After some difficulty trying to get them to my house (why can't people listen to my directions?) they decided to buy it. Finally!! I really hope they follow through and actually come to pick it up...

Oh, then I went to the pool with Christina and the boys. That was fun! They even gave me some dinner!

Now I'm off to watch my Netflix. When Brandon was here it screwed up my usual Wednesday-Saturday Netflix watching schedule. Back on track tonight!

And for fun... this is what Winston did the entire time we drove to the groomers:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day Two Hundred Seventy-Two

Ok, I can't hold it in any longer. While Brandon was here, we decided where we would go on block leave. We wanted some sort of vacation and we tossed around a lot of ideas. Finally, it's settled.

Oh yes.

Before he even deployed, we had tossed around the idea of New Zealand and/or Australia. After a bit, Brandon wasn't so sure, so we discussed other options. Maybe go back to Colorado for a visit. Perhaps Canada, since a lot of my relatives are getting together and Brandon had never been there. We looked seriously as doing an Alaskan cruise and I was researching cruise lines. And then when Brandon came home we had a discussion and it came down to it: Why not Australia?

So wow, I have a lot of planning to do. Plane tickets, hotels (thank goodness for our timeshare), transportation, food, activities... ah! Anyone have advice?

In other news... I made an action plan for tomorrow, my flea-killing-spree day. I had a groomer booked for Winston, but the guy got sick and said he couldn't do it, so I might have to do the cat myself. No, I refuse to bathe him. But I can give him a bunch of treatments and bring him somewhere another day. I have flea bath for Dexter, medicine for them both, a spray for the backyard, sprays for inside, and an organic pest control company coming. I am ready for this! Now we just got to start!

Oh, and the termite guys are coming on Thursday morning to spray my kitchen cabinet. Cool.

Brandon is safe and sound back in Iraq and getting back to work. Poor guy has a cold, though!

Day Two Hundred Seventy-One

I was planning on going on a run after work today.

I need to start getting back into working out. The last time I exercised was the day before Brandon came home at spin. Before that? Not much for a week. It was bad. And then Brandon gets here and yeah, we had plans to exercise, but we didn't do much. Swimming a bit in the waves, walking around a lot, and then going on a Death Ride:

Brandon said it was "flat with a few hills." No, no it wasn't. It was "flat with a BIG STEEP HILL." Can you tell that that's a big hill behind me in that first picture? He tried to kill me, I'm pretty sure! Haha.

Anyway, the run didn't happen. I went on a run after work on Saturday and my body still hurts. It feels like I'm back at square one! I only ran 6 minutes and it was tough. Today was only a walk! Maybe tomorrow I'll run or go for a swim. That might be fun!

The head maintenance guy came out to look at my cabinet. He told me pretty much what the other guy did: We'll call the pest control people and replace the cabinet. The catch? It takes 8 to 10 weeks for the cabinet to arrive. Ah well, it's not exactly my kitchen. If they had ordered the cabinet back in January, it would be here by now. If termites eat the rest of the cabinets... oh well!

On other pest news: The pets have fleas. I spent some time at work today when it was slow calling pest control places (found one I like who uses organic stuff) and groomers for flea treatments. Ah, back to regular life, huh?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day Two Hundred Seventy

There's been a few blogs in the blogosphere that have been putting up maps of what States they've been to. I had to participate! Now, my disclaimer is this: Yes, I've been to these states, but not necessarily visited them. Some of these were just drive-by's on my way to another destination. However, I've actually been to a lot of them and spent some time there.

Brandon and I would love to visit Alaska and the New England/Northeast area. One day!

In other news... remember how my cabinet door fell off awhile ago? Maybe you don't, maybe I didn't mention it... but it did. It was at the end of January. Maintenance came out and said it was termites and that they would get Terminix out. Haven't heard anything since. And then when Brandon was here, he opened the other door by accident (he forgot) and the broken door completely popped off. Whoops. We had it propped up for a bit but I knocked it off twice today. Ugh.

So I did this:

Yeah, that's tape. Whatever, it works!

I did tons of work today! I finally vacuumed and washed the sheets, went grocery shopping and other shopping too. I went to the Farmer's Market with Christina and her two boys. Later, I tried to go to Borders to buy a book for my birthday (which is next week) from Brandon, but it wasn't there. Ah well.

Did you watch Army Wives tonight? Wow, that was rough!

Day Two Hundred Sixty-Nine

Woo! R&R was a rush! The time went slowly for us, thank goodness, and we packed our time full of stuff. We saw movies, ate at a bunch of restaurants, went shopping, and really just hung out with each other.

It wasn't weird at all to have him home. I went to the gate to pick him up and was racked by anxiety the whole time (and a couple days before) until he rounded the corner and I saw him. There he was, my husband. Taller than I remembered (he always is) and with the longer hair he promised me. But Brandon. The husband I remembered, my best friend. When we hugged and held hands, it was just the same as always. The whole time he was here was like he had never left. I'm so looking forward to when he gets back for good!

As I promised yesterday, I'll show you some highlights of R&R. I had to narrow down all my photos to only a few. Don't worry, you'll see more photos as time goes on. Now I have a whole new stock to go through!

I want to start with a big purchase we made. Since our washer was dying, we decided to buy a new one. And the matching dryer... I love them!

But other than that, we did a lot of stuff... Like go to the beach a lot.

Watch the sunset on a booze cruise.

Go on an awesome helicopter ride around the island!

Bike up a very steep hill together (with Dexy)

Go on a whale watch cruise

Drink A LOT of beer

Be silly :D

Dress up for a nice, last dinner together at Ruth's Chris

I loved having Brandon here! Today was back to work, of course. Ugh, it sucked. It was so busy and I was reminded about all the fun I was having with Brandon before. Blech!

Before I go, I wanted to send a BIG THANKS to my guest bloggers!! Thanks for keeping my blog interesting while I was off having some fun! I can't tell you enough how grateful I am. :D

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day Two Hundred Sixty-Eight

I'm baaaaccccckkkkk

It also means that Brandon's gone. Sad day. I will admit that I'm not as depressed as I expected myself to be. We were chatting last night over dinner and while driving home. I said, I don't think I'm as sad this time because I know what to expect, and I'm ok with it. And I'm not the one going back to Iraq, he is. And that sucks for him. I get to stay home with my TV, my comfy bed, my pets, and all the thousands of other amenities... and he gets stuck back in Iraq.

Good news, though? We're in the double digits! Not only did we pass the "100 days left until exactly a year" mark, we stumbled into the double digits, and now have about 12 weeks left until he gets back. Now that's something to smile about. I can do 12 weeks. I can do less than 100 days. That's easy.

I was going to share some of our R&R photos tonight, just to get it out of the way, but now that I'm actually sitting at the computer past my bedtime (yeah, my bedtime is between 9 and 10), I just can't be bothered. You'll get some of that tomorrow!

Anyway, just as I picked Brandon up as the sun was rising 17 days ago, I dropped him off after the sun had set today. I pulled into my driveway alone, as I'd done for 8 and a half months before. I unlocked my house to the smiling faces of my babies and that's all. The house looks like he was never even here. The only reminder? His old return ticket sitting on the counter.

Oh, and as I was coming through the gate tonight, they pulled me over for a random car inspection. Just my luck!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day Two Hundred Sixty-Six

Hey all! I'm off enjoying R&R with Brandon!! Hope you enjoy a few guest posts! Today we have Annie from The Buzuleciu's in Hawaii

Hey everyone, I'm Jennifer from The Buzuleciu's in Hawaii, and I'm honored to be guest blogging for the fabulous Chantal while she's enjoying some lovey dovey time with Brandon! Since she and I are both in Hawaii, I decided to blog about my adventures of moving to the Aloha State and what its really like to live here!

Heres the timeline:

*Beginning of January 2010- Kevin and I are freshly engaged and planning our upcoming June wedding. Previously we were told that we had a "really good chance" of getting Germany.

*Mid-January 2010- Found out we weren't going to Germany. Super bummed but okay with staying in Va for a bit longer

*3rd week of January- Kevin is told he will get Hawaii if he re-enlists. He was re-enlisting anyway so he did and got preliminary orders. Jen gets the text "to buy a new bathing suit because we're going to Hawaii!!!!", jumps up and down at work in excitement over said text, and looks like a lunatic.

*April- Mia and Wyatt start their quarantine process at home (Hawaii is a rabies free state and has strict entry laws for pets, even if they are cute fat kitties like Mia and Wyatt).

*June- Got married :) and continued prepping for PCS.

*Beginning of August- Shipped Betty Jeep on the Armys dime. Kevin cries and is non consolable.

*End of August- Crazy packers come into house, put everything we own into boxes, and take off without saying goodbye. I teared up a bit, knowing this big move was real now.

*End of August/First few days of September- visit Kevins family in Ohio. Come back, send S.S. Sebring to Hawaii. Jen cries and is non-consolable. Spend a couple of days with Jen's folks, then its off to the airport for what will be the longest day ever.

*September 9, 2010- Check in for flight in Norfolk and put kitties on their flight (with a seperate airline). Jen cries again and is non consolable.

Finally after months of planning, Kevin and I arrived in Hawaii. That first day was long, and it took a couple of days to get used to the time change. We were only in the hotel for a month, which isn't bad! We were lucky enough to be offered a really nice home thats only 4 minutes from Kevins office!

Since we arrived here in September, I have come to realize that its definitely different living here than it is vacationing here. For instance, while it seems really nice to live in a tropical climate all year round, the seasons never change. Fall was the same as winter (minus all the rain!), and spring is just as warm as January. While I'm not complaining at ALL, wearing shorts and flip flops while watching the Super Bowl is just weird and takes some getting used to. When you vacation here, you're only here for a few days at a time, so the tropical-ness is really nice and a great break away from the norm for a bit. Then you go back to your seasons!

Secondly, is the time difference. When college football season starts (Go Buckeyes), we are 6 hours behind the folks on the east coast (where Kevin and I are both from). So when the Buckeyes have a noon game time, it starts at 6am here! Resteraunts and Bar & Grills are open that early serving breakfast for those coming in to catch the game. You definitely don't see that on the mainland! Kevin and I missed most of the games last year because 6am is too early for our blood on a Saturday! Again, this takes some getting used to!

The culture is different here, so much so sometimes that I feel like I live in a different country! Which is a good thing and a bad thing. In reality, some locals (not all, but some) really look down on mainlanders. I still have yet to figure out why, but its kind of uncomfortable sometimes. For the most part, folks are really nice out here and its not too bad. In Hawaii, the driving style is REALLY laid back, so people dont have a problem going 45 in a 55. This was a culture shock for me! Im used to going at least 5 over on interstate highways. Needless to say, it was pretty frustrating to get used to the slow drivers! The traffic here is insane, but we are near a major metropolitan US city (Honolulu) and theres over 800,000 residents on island (only 32 miles wide) at any given time, not including the thousands of vacationers that fly in every day!

Another thing thats different about living here is the constant threat of earthquakes and tsunamis, not to mention volcanic eruptions! Gotta love living in the ring of fire ;)

Other than that, Hawaii is BEAUTIFUL! We are surrounded by gorgeous mountains, beautiful flowers, and world famous beaches (my favorite part!). The local food is delicious here, shave ice is an amazing treat and the fact that its warm every day makes for alot of outdoor time!

Kevin and I love the scenery here and the culture (for the most part!). We have been given an amazing opportunity to live in a place where people only come maybe once in their lives, so we are taking advantage of it and enjoying all of what this wonderful place has to offer!

Head on over to my blog for pictures, as well as our day to day life here in Hawaii!

Thanks for letting me invade your blog, Chantal!!!! :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day Two Hundred Sixty-Four

Hey all! I'm off enjoying R&R with Brandon!! Hope you enjoy a few guest posts! Today we have Annie from We See the Same Stars

The dreaded D-word

"Oh deployment. How I hate you."

I'm sure those words have come out of many of our mouths from the moment our spouses announce they are leaving until the day before they arrive back home (if you are lucky enough to know when within a few days notice) and deployments definitely cause a lot of heartache. From missed phone calls, to fights, to uncertain dates, extentions, the list could go on for years.

However! There is hope for us. Although a lot of people view deployment as very negative (which it is for the most part for the spouse staying home) but there are some benefits to having our spouses gone... for a while. And of course, I'll leave some helpful tips for those who are new to the D-word.

#1) You are alone! Yes, it sucks to be alone and you miss his smell, touch, kiss, and just his presence in the house. But, you are able to go and come as you please (unless you have kids, but still!) and sometimes it's good to have some time to yourself to decide what is best for you.

This sounds harsh, but trust me, you can pick up so many new things and learn new things that can benefit you. I completed my junior year of college while my husband was deployed and luckily for that, it kept me busy enough to make time go by a little faster.

#2) Despite being away from each other, you begin to treasure each other more the longer you are apart. When the time comes and you are reunited again, the level on the appreciation meter goes way up and you treasure every moment together even more than before. You might even get a few bouquets of flowers here and there. :)

For example, my husband bought me flowers, a teddy bear, and chocolate for my birthday while he was deployed and he got us a romantic suite in the mountains after he came home to propose to me. So sweet, isn't it?

#3) Try not to fight. It's easy to fight while away from each other and the distance can definitely make things stressful. Especially since he might not be able to call or email when you really need him to.

Me and my husband definitely fought while he was gone. It's normal to fight while he's deployed but try to do it less often. It will be less stress on both of you and it will prevent bad feelings for when he's finally home.

#4) Care packages and letters. They are what they LOVE and cherish. Even if you are used to getting phone calls and emails (no matter the frequency) still write him some letters. They mean more and really come from the heart, even if he doesn't write back don't take it personally. Care packages are amazing for them. Just make sure that you ask them what they really need and send it on over (of course, with a little flavor from home!)

I was awful at this. Being in school full time and working part time while doing extra curriculars left me no time to do things like that. I think I sent him one care package while he was gone and he always begged me for letters but never sent any. Obviously, a big fail on my part but don't be like me and make sure you send tons of stuff, including letters!

#5) Most importantly, try not to count down. I know it's tough but seeing those big huge numbers can be a bit overwhelming. At least in the beginning. By all means, if you are in the last few weeks, count down! Get excited! Pick out a dress! But, if you have 203 days to go, I wouldn't try and countdown everyday.

I really did well with this. I rarely ever kept track of how many days I had left. I just counted by months. It didn't seem too overwhelming for me but I understand some people get relief out of counting down to something, even if it's far away :)

#6) Something you also tend to do while your spouse is deployed is you learn to do things for yourself that your spouse would normally do (especially if this is your first deployment and you live with them) such as changing a light bulb, taking trash out, changing the oil in your car, dealing with military paperwork, and all kinds of other things. Even though it sucks, you are gaining some experience and then you won't have to rely on your husband so much when he does return, which can be a big relief for him when he's trying to relax from his trip!

I learned how to unclog a toilet when my husband left for Afghan not too long ago. Although I live with my mother at the moment, I continue to learn new things that I wouldn't have normally learned if he had been around. However, I'm still working on getting out of snow banks in my car. It's a work in progress

So, I hope these helped. I'm not saying I'm an expert on deployed or a guru on the military life but I figured this all out on my own while my husband was deployed so I figured my experiences would help those out who have any concerns about their current or up coming deployments. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them (no matter how stupid they sound)!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day Two Hundred Sixty-Two

Hey all! I'm off enjoying R&R with Brandon!! Hope you enjoy a few guest posts! Today we have Annie from Blonde Glambition

Adventures in Paradise

Aloha chickadees! I'm Annie from Blonde Glambition. I'm so excited to be guest blogging for Chantal while she enjoys this much deserved time with her hubby! Thanks Chantal for this opportunity, and thank you to all of her readers for reading my ramblings that follow :)

Like Chantal, my hubby and I are also stationed in the Land of Aloha. Hawaii holds a very special place in my heart since I spent the majority of my youth growing up here, and I met and married my hubby here too.

My hubby and I love to travel, explore, and enjoy the great outdoors. However, for some reason wherever we go, blunders seem to follow, and every adventure never goes exactly as planned. For instance, when we lived in Italy, we took a trip down to Rome. As we were driving on the autostrada in the middle of a rainstorm, our windshield wipers flew off the car. Yep, there is never a dull moment when were together…haha.

Our adventures in Hawaii have not been exempt from these blunders and hiccups either. When my hubby is home we are usually found outside either hiking on the trails scattered around the island, at the beach, or enjoying various water activities.
Now you're probably wondering about these blunders I mentioned. I've narrowed it down to just a few.

The first time we did a hike known as the Pillbox Hike, we thought we had found the beginning of the trail. By the time we reached an elevation high enough to see the peaks around us, it was already midday (think scorching heat) when we realized that we were on a completely different trail and the pillboxes were nearly 2 miles away. Whoops. Not to mention, we only brought one bottle of water. Once we made it to our intended destination (the old WWII bunkers), the view made it well worth the extra effort.

Another time we went kayaking out to a nearby bird sanctuary. We made it out to the island with no problem, but it was leaving the island that presented a problem. My hubby pushed the kayak out into the water with me in it. He was then supposed to jump in and on we would go. However, our timing was off and the waves came crashing in one after another. Needless to say, I ended up being thrown into the water with the kayak on top of me, swallowing a boat load of salty ocean water. It took me forever to get out of the crashing waves. Embarrassing, yes. Funny now, most definitely.

Another time right before my hubby deployed, we decided to go on underwater BOBs (scooters). We showed up for the briefing and quickly found out that we were the only Americans in the group of 30 Japanese tourist who spoke no English. It wasn't until we boarded the boat that the crew realized we had no idea what we were supposed to do considering all the briefings had been given in Japanese. Somehow the blonde girl and the freckly faced guy were overlooked in the crowd. In the end, they gave us a quick run down of the instructions before we jumped on our scooters. We laughed the whole time, and it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

Living in Hawaii is truly a blessing. Our adventures may not always go exactly as planned, but it's the blunders and hiccups that make them far more memorable. And in all honesty, we can't really complain when we get to experience things such as this:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day Two Hundred Sixty

Hey all! I'm off enjoying R&R with Brandon!! Hope you enjoy a few guest posts! Today we have Radiant Redhead from Journey of Life and Love!

I know dual status military couples are not all too uncommon of an occurrence; however, a slightly rarer situation is when a partner joins the military while their significant other is currently deployed.

I was pretty down and out when Foster left for Iraq. Just like any other military wife or girlfriend, I didn’t want to get out of bed some days; I let daily chores and even school start to slip. The bad days were outweighing the good. I decided I had to do something to make the next nine months go faster, and get me motivated to finish college and get in shape. So, I decided to join the Army. At first I thought is was a great idea. Not only would I be smoking hot by the time Foster got back from overseas, but I would have a little extra money in the bank from my bonus, could pay off some debt, time would fly by, and before I would know it, Foster would be home!

I arrived at Fort Jackson in May, and the timing of my training would get me home exactly two weeks before Foster would fly home; giving me just enough time to get settled back in. When I arrived at Fort Jackson, and my cell phone was taken away from me, I was in complete shock. I had been told, which I am sure more than one recruit has been told, by my recruiter that Fort Jackson was called “relaxin Jackson” for a reason, and we would have our cell phones all through Basic. That was a LIE!

Now I was stuck without any form of communication with Foster. The only way I could talk to him is if he called me! There was no way for him to call me on the payphones, and I had no way of letting him know when I would be calling my mom, in which case he could have called her and we could have done some speaker phone talking. We were only given 3 phone calls, and were never told when we would get them.

I quickly came to the realization that Foster and I would have to communicate and further our relationship through written letters. I “sucked it up and drove on”. If my grandparents could endure two whole years of writing letters to each other while my grandfather was fighting in WWII, then Foster and I could write letters for 60 days.

I made sure to write him every single day. If I had to sneak and write them while on the toilet, on fire guard, or pretending to take notes in our daily classes, I made sure he got a letter. I waited and waited and waited for a response from him. Three whole weeks went by, and I had yet to receive a letter from him. I started to get worried. I thought maybe he had decided to break up with me while I was at Basic. I watched fellow soldiers’ relationships crumble in those three weeks. Two people were actually issued divorce papers while in Basic, and numerous more received “Dear John” letters. I cried myself to sleep each night that third week. I was convinced he had decided to call it quits.

On Monday of the fourth week my name was finally called at mail call, THIRTEEN times. Not only had all of my family members written me, but six very thick envelopes showed up in my pile. I almost cried when I realized the return address was that of his camp. We weren’t allowed to read the letters until we were released for the evening, so I impatiently waited to rip into them.
When I got back to my bunk I ignored all my other letters and went straight for Foster’s. The first letter explained that he would write me at least a three word letter every day. If he didn’t have time to write a whole letter, he would at least say “I Love You” and send it. However, he was going to mail 5-7 letters in one envelope because he knew I would have to do pushups each time I got a letter. (This was true, the night I got the 13 letters, I had to do 65 pushups, but I was THRILLED to do them!)

After that, letters came like clockwork. At least once every week I would get that thick envelope of letters that would keep me busy for an hour and grinning for a week. I cherished every one of them. When we both arrived home, I came to find out that Foster kept every one of the letters I wrote to him. So, in order to give our kids and grandkids the pleasure of reading the letters we wrote, I have stored them in a leather bound book with paper protectors.

The longest sixty days of my life will forever be with us. I just hope they enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed reading my grandparent’s letters.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day Two Hundred Fifty-Eight

Hey all! I'm off enjoying R&R with Brandon!! Hope you enjoy a few guest posts! Today I bring you Sarah from G.I. Joe's Wife


R&R is like intermission for deployment. It’s a short, 2 (ish) week break from the reality SUCK that is deployment. For them, it’s a break from the nasty desert and crazy work hours. For us, it’s a huge sigh of relief – just knowing they’re safe and sound where they belong.

I know that Chantal is beyond relieved and excited to have her hubby home for a couple weeks! She’s waited much longer than the rest of us for R&R to arrive! I honestly don’t know how she’s made it this long. Theoretically, we’ve had the same wait time… It’s just that she had to wait longer to get her break. If that made any sense. Moving on.

Joe (that’s my hubby) and I had our R&R back in December. He was supposed to be in Hawaii for Christmas, but as we all know, things change. About 2 days before he was supposed to leave, someone mentioned to him that he was on the next R&R slot. Both of us were upset, but there wasn’t just a whole lot we could have done. (Though Joe says he could have taken it up with his 1SG.) He ended up getting here on December 2nd, and we spent a wonderful two weeks together.

Let me just tell you (though some of you may know), there is nothing – and I mean nothing – like this moment. I thought I could hold in all my excitement and just walk slowly to him… Nope. I ran. And then I promptly “tackled” him. It was absolutely amazing. I laughed; I cried. We kissed; we hugged.

Absolutely amazing.

The thing about R&R is that you can just relax and be yourself…around your other half. I don’t know about you, but I always feel like something is missing when he’s gone. I can be happy and content, but something just doesn’t feel complete without him. So, we spent two weeks doing things like…

Chillin’ out at the beach…

Being very silly. =P

And going on dates. =)

It also involved both of us getting colds, me “dying” from said cold, being holed up in the house because of colds and insane Hawaii rain, and playing silly games on the Wii. We also celebrated Christmas early. We’d planned on celebrating it together, but the Army had different plans for us. I would have loved to spend Christmas with him in Hawaii, but I don’t think I would trade a single minute of the time we had together.

It was a very welcome break from the monotony and suck of the daily deployment life. I know that Chantal will have a great time with her husband while he’s home! It’s definitely a well-deserved break. =)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day Two Hundred Fifty-Six

Hey all! I'm off enjoying R&R with Brandon!! Hope you enjoy a few guest posts! Today we have Jenn from Chances I'm Taking

R&R is something that I feel changes as you go through the different phases of life. As a single guy my husband was very flexible in the times in which he took his R&R. He could go anywhere and do anything with that time.

Ticket in hand, he boarded a plane to Japan. His first and only R&R to date. Hubby was traveling to see his brother's family who were stationed there at the time. He described to me the excitement he was feeling to finally meet the new baby boy they had only 3 months earlier. Hubby's grinning ear to ear talking about his first encounter with the little guy: "It was nice, everyone welcomed me back if only for a short time. Mom and my brothers were there. I had a blast."

Where do I come into all of this? Well I was the girl he was talking to at all hours of the day and night. The one whom at Tokyo Disney he search high and low for a picture of tigger because it was the only thing I would accept when he asked me what I wanted since we were only dating during that time, if you can call that dating.

Being married now hubby thinks if he was on R&R we would or should vacation somewhere. Take a fight and meet up somewhere warm I hope. He would just want it to be the two of us.

Knowing that we are looking to start the next phase of life with children I think that it changes what we would do during R&R. Hubby says at that point he thinks that 2 weeks at home with the family would be heaven. I tend to agree. I wouldn't want the stress of traveling with children and readjusting to hubby being home throughout it all.

Then again I'm not at that point yet, so who knows, I could easily change my mind. So I ask all of you: do you think that the phase of life you are in effects the way you spend your R&R?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day Two Hundred Fifty-Four

Hey all! I'm off enjoying R&R with Brandon!! Hope you enjoy a few guest posts!

I’m pleased to be guest blogging for Chantal while she enjoys some time on R & R with her husband. I’m currently (hopefully) picking up my husband, OccDoc, from his 7 month deployment to Afghanistan, so Chantal and I decided to swap blogs for the day! I’m normally blogging over at the annoyed army wife

The Annoyed Army Wife

Any good MilSpouse knows when your spouse leaves for deployment/training/whatever Murphy moves right in with you ready to screw with your life. I was 100% prepared when OccDoc deployed in August. Murphy actually moved in early.
Two weeks before OccDoc left our beloved Keurig bit the dust. No more fancy coffee for us. I actually like grinding my own beans and the old coffee maker, so that wasn’t too bad. OccDoc was traumatized, however.

The morning we had to leave for Colorado for our, what turned out to be 6 week, TCS (temporary change of station) before deployment, the washing machine busted. OccDoc spent the better part of an hour with a bucket bailing out the washer while I packed the car and ran around the house like a lunatic. We decided to get the water out and to just leave the washer busted until I got back. Our poor house sitter would have to trek to the laundry mat. Bummer for her. When I got back solo it took 3 visits from the repair guy and two weeks to finally fix the washer. I was mildly annoyed.

A week after the washer was fully functional our beautiful/expensive stainless steel microwave broke. I have no idea where the receipt was and couldn’t even remember where we bought it. I chucked it and got a new, really cheap microwave. I had a coupon, so it ended up being a bargain. No biggie.

About a month later our power went out for longer than a day. I got nervous and tossed out some fish from the freezer. Nothing really broke, I just wasted some food.

My tire pressure light kept going on in my car. I took it the mechanic to ‘fix’ it, but nothing is wrong with it. Apparently it just does that. Whatever, I ignore it now. I fill up my tires every month just to be the safe side.

Before Christmas Mrs. S from The Adventures of Mr. Superman and Mrs. S was in town and came over to make some stockings. When I was giving her the grand tour we realized my basement was flooded. Stellar. Water heater (it’s a rental home, thank goodness) was busted. Of course this happened on a Friday night, so the emergency water disaster clean up guy came over, set up some giant fans, and said the water had to stay off until Monday. I was thankful Mrs. S was over because he was freakin’ scary looking. I ended up checking into a hotel for the weekend – I needed a bit of a break. The good news is that we got a brand spanking new water heater, so score one for us! A few things from our storage area got ruined, but that’s okay we weren’t really using them. It gave me an opportunity to declutter that area anyway.

Over Christmas while I was out of town visiting my parents my lovely housesitter sent me a text message saying she melted a metal teapot to our glass top stove. Oh joy. Turns out the teapot is destroyed. And the glass top stove has some pretty nasty chips in it on one of the front (of course) burners. I’m not sure what the damage is because I’m just avoiding using that burner. I’m sure we’ll find out what it’s going to cost when it comes time to move out and we don’t get our security deposit back.
During a winter storm a giant branch of the tree in our front yard, which is easily 50 years old, broke off and missed our roof by about a foot. I left it in the yard so OccDoc could see what a close call it was. And so he can rent a chainsaw and chop it up since I know that’s something he’d enjoy. Thank you, Murphy, for sparing us this time.

Approximately three weeks ago I turned on my defroster in my car and my entire windshield cracked all the way across. Excellent. I have yet to fix that. Mainly because I don’t want to drive to the nearest Army post 47 miles away to get a new DoD decal and also because my neighbor said not to get it replaced until the weather is nice or else I’ll have problems down the road. What so I should procrastinate more? Done and done! On the plus side some of my readers said the windshield guy might be able to get the sticker off the old windshield and put it on the new one sparing me the trip!

That’s it so far. The important thing is that OccDoc is healthy-ish and has stayed safe during this deployment, I’m healthy, and all of our pets are healthy. The house could crumble around us, but as long as we’re still standing it will be okay. Although I am waiting to see what Murphy has in store next…

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day Two Hundred Fifty-Two (Part 2)

Hey all! I'm off enjoying R&R with Brandon!! Hope you enjoy a few guest posts! Today we have Amanda from My Sometimes Crazy Life.

Before I get started I would like to thank Chantal for having me guest post for her. I hope she is enjoying her time with Brandon on R&R!! I cant wait to hear about when to comes back to her blog.

My Boyfriend and I are getting close to wrapping up our first deployment, so I thought it would be appropriate to write about deployment. The one thing I have learned is that no two deployments are ever the same, so trying to compare them are pointless. We knew about his deployment about a year ahead time and man the anticipation of the deployment was so much worse than the actual deployment.

Boyfriend is on fast attack submarines so his deployment is different. He is not over in the typical war zone. For this deployment he was in the Pacific Ocean doing missions, take that to mean whatever you want because I most certainly do not know and I probably wont ever know. The thing that I am grateful about is that I don’t know, ignorance is bliss…right? Communications with Boyfriend was certainly very limited but to tell you all the truth I did not mind it.

When you are going through a deployment you are faced with two options, sulk and let the sadness overwhelm you or put your big girl panties on and face the challenges. I have learned that most people chose the second option. During a deployment you realize that you really are a lot stronger than you thought. I had hard days but one thing that got me through was thinking if I was just strong enough then Boyfriend would be proud of me. Its only temporary before they will be back again.

The one thing I was not prepared for was the overwhelming fear I would feel as homecoming has gotten closer and closer. During deployment you get into a routine and you change. As your significant other prepares to come home it is going to affect your new routine and this new person you have become. The thing is, it is normal and it is ok! Your significant other has most likely changed too. You two will find a way merge into this new wonderful couple.

Day Two Hundred Fifty-Two (Part 1)

This is a scheduled post because...

Brandon came home for R&R today!!

So bear with me during the next two weeks while I have fun with my husband.

You'll be treated to a few wonderful guest blogs (starting tonight!)

I'll even pop in a few times to update you (and my family) about our R&R fun!

See you soon!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day Two Hundred Fifty-One

Today, while playing my afternoon Sims, I managed to sneak a picture of Dexter. He's so hard to take pictures of because when he sees me move my phone, he walks away. But this time, he was passed out!

But then he woke up and was like "Whuh?" Hehe.

So hey, I got a good phone call at 5:30am this morning. Someone was apologetic for waking me up, but I assured him that I didn't care. I now have a flight number and a time. Oh my goodness! It's happening! My stomach keeps doing flips!

I ended up just getting up after our phone call and got on with my day. I washed the car and claned the bathrooms. I even brought Dexter and Kimber to the dog park, and hung out at Christina's for one last time before my two week hiatus.

Wow! It's happening!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day Two Hundred Fifty

Dear Brandon,

You're causing my anxiety to hit record highs today.

See, I haven't heard from you in over 2 days now. I have no idea in the world where you are. It's kind of a funny feeling thinking that you could be anywhere on the globe! For the last 250 days, I've known for the most part where you are. Except now. I have my ideas, my guesstimations, but they are only that, guesses.

Adding to the anxiety is that people keeping joking that you're going to surprise me. I don't want that. I'm a planner, I like things a certain way, I have a certain vision in my brain. Surprises do not fit in. But I can't help thinking whenever I open the gate that you'll be sitting in the backyard, or when I go out there you'll be, or I'll even wake up to you making breakfast downstairs. Ah, it makes me heart beat fast, but in an anxious way! I'm panicking here! Every phone call I get, I'm jumping. So call me, already!

You'll be happy to know that I'm taking advantage of this time off and keeping busy.

Take today, for example. I no longer can wait for word on where you are, so I cleaned the entire house. Top to bottom. Ok, except for the bathrooms, those will be tomorrow. I vacuumed real well and mopped the floor. I dusted, I wiped, I even washed the sheets. Yeah, I wanted clean clean sheets for when you arrive, but they were too far gone. Now I'll enjoy them, alone, tonight!

Oh, and the repair guy came to look at our washer. The timer is messed up and we need to replace it. I say, let's replace the whole thing!

I haven't been making much dinner either. I can't get myself to do it. Christina and her mom have been very nice and feeding me. We even went out to dinner tonight! It was delicious.

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that you just need to call me. Or come home. But for God's sake, do NOT surprise me. I don't think my heart can handle it!

Day Two Hundred Forty-Nine

After days of storms, you can imagine that when I woke up and saw light out my window, I was pretty happy! I let Dexter outside and had to take a picture of the beautiful blue sky!

I actually kept fairly busy today! I went to the farmer's market and to the outlet malls! I even got this cute t-shirt at Charlotte Russe. You know I have to buy something there every time I do! Of course, I did all this stuff with Christina, her mom and the boys.

I went back home for a few hours in the afternoon. I've been dealing with my stupid washer again... it's not draining!! My mom seems to think it's the pump. Boo!! Maybe I'll get a new washer...?

I had a yummy dinner at Christina's and stayed to watch some TV. I have a headache now though! Coming back home made me a little angry. First, the gate guard stopped me because my safety check is expired. Been expired since September, funny enough! Second, my stupid sunglasses broke in my purse! I just bought these ones!

I haven't heard from Brandon yet today. I wish I could hear some news!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day Two Hundred Forty-Eight

Stilllll waaaaiiittttiinnngg. Ok, I'm not complaining. I don't mind waiting, I've been waiting for over 8 months, for 248 days. What's a few more days? Brandon called me today at an unusual time and gave me some more details.

I opened the door to this today:

They didn't want to follow the labels! Haha. Everything is fine inside. Sorry, I'm not telling you what's inside yet. It's secret!

When Brandon called, I tried to tell him what I did all day. What did I do?! Ok, I went to the grocery store today, I played Sims, I reorganized the junk drawers in the kitchen, I read a bit! I even found time to hang out at Christina's house and play a board game!

This evening was great, though. I headed out with Jennifer to Panda Express, then we met Michelle at the movies to see The King's Speech. Great movie! We chatted a bit too before I headed home. I'm all awake now!

I have some hope, though, courtesy of a fortune cookie!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day Two Hundred Forty-Seven

I'm glad Brandon called me this morning, because I was faced with a dilemma. See, the food in the house is my food. We're talking turkey, fish, carrots, apple sauce, plain yogurt, baby bell cheese... that sort of thing. Healthy food. Non-Brandon food. It occurred to me last night - I cannot remember what he eats! How sad is that? But I haven't had to grocery shop for both of us in over 8 months... like 9 months!

Luckily, he told me he isn't requesting much, except maybe some Oreo cookies. So Oreo's he gets!

He also told me some news on R&R flights. Looks like I need to find stuff to occupy my time for a bit longer. ;)

I did end up getting a pedicure today! Not without some anger and frustration to start with. First, when I left the house I got stuck in the traffic of an ending deployment ceremony - yuck. Then at the gas station, the pump kept releasing and would barely pump any gas for me. Then I got stuck in some more traffic right outside the pedicure place. AHHHH. Luckily the pedicure was nice and relaxing and I hung out with Christina, her mom and the boys.

After some Sims playing, I went back to her house with Dexter to chill. I spent much of the time with Dominic laying on my chest. He's such a sweet boy!

I'm loving this new Sims thing I'm doing, by the way. I made "Fraser's Ridge" from the Outlander Series, and have some of the characters there! I'm currently playing with Fergus and Marsali, and their four kids.

Oh God, I need Brandon to come home, don't I?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day Two Hundred Forty-Six

I thought I'd sleep in this morning, because I hardly slept the night before. It sounded like a good idea, until I opened my eyes in the morning. The time? 7am. Of course.So I let Dex out and thought I'd try to sleep again, but it wasn't happening. Oh well!

After relaxing for a couple hours, I spent almost 3 hours cleaning my car. Not the outside, because it was raining, but the inside. See, I haven't vacuumed it since... well, since we moved here. That was awhile ago! It was filled with dog hair and sand, gross. I also Armor-All'd the dashboard and wiped down the windows. It looks pretty swanky in there! I know I don't HAVE to clean the car for Brandon, but I have to keep up the illusion that I'm taking care of things, right?

Most of the afternoon I hung out at Christina's house, since she came home this morning. I held Dominic for a bit, played with Marcus, and chatted with Michelle, who came over a couple hours after I was there. It was nice!

Back home it was Sims2, dinner, and now I'm watching a foreign film. Hard to read subtitles while doing other things!

I haven't heard much from Brandon the last couple of days. He's getting ready to head off and he's gone to another place, so our schedule is messed up. I hope he calls tonight or tomorrow morning!!