When Alan gets home from New Jersey tonight

This hilarious blogger tells it like it is about parenting when your spouse is out of town. SO TRUE

Remember how I said that Alan wasn’t going on any business trips in December?

Of course, I was wrong. This week turned out to be New Jersey week. You might think that a 14 year Army wife veteran such as myself would not sweat short business trips. I’ve been through more than one year-long deployment, several months-long assignments or deployments, and too many short trips to count.

You might even think that I should be so tough as to enjoy a little extra free time or nights off from cooking dinner, or some other crazy thing that might have held true 12 years ago before we had kids, but that is not the case at all at this point.

Women are always joking about the husband not being able to handle all the kids by themselves. Well, I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I am the mother, and I can’t even handle all this by myself.

Me when Alan is here:

Celiac-friendly melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. They were WONDERFUL!!!

“We are having roast and potatoes for dinner. Go wash your hands.”

Me when Alan is not here:
“What? Oh, you’re hungry? You need supper. Right. Supper…supper…supper…Hold on. I’m pretty sure there’s some frozen chicken fingers in here somewhere…AHA!!  Yes! Frozen chicken strips. There are only 5 in the bag, so one for each of us, and after that you can have cereal.”

When Alan is out of town, cereal is pretty much my answer to all of life’s problems.

School snack?

Cereal.

Breakfast?
Cereal.

Supper?

Well, we talked about that already. Frozen chicken and cereal.

I am obviously NOT going to be piling four boys up in the car and going out to eat or cooking mega meals or going to the grocery store.

Actually, my brain doesn’t even seem to work as well when Alan’s gone. It throws me off. It’s like I’m an earth with only a South Pole and no North.

Do you know what I missed this week?  I missed the way Alan takes care of us when it rains.

Alan is the person who always cleans the backyard before it rains.

If you don’t know what I mean, you must not let your children play in the backyard and just leave their stuff any old way out there, and you probably don’t have four boys. I feel like that’s my ultimate excuse for all of my failings in life. Four boys. Sorry.

So this week it rained for the first time in forever, and apparently our smallest fry had left his tennis shoes and socks out by the trampoline, unbeknownst to me.

Day 1:

“Where are his shoes, where are his shoes????” as I frantically search the house, the car, suitcases from last weekend, everything. I made him just ride in the car without shoes.

Day 2:

“I don’t understand where his shoes are!!!” I searched frantically through the house and the car again. Then I suddenly spotted them through my back door: out in the rain, the POURING rain. Rain day #2, in fact, along with not one, not two, but like four little white socks littered around the trampoline.

I actually had to take him somewhere, so I gave up and put a pair of shoes that’s a size too big for him that I was saving for him to grow into. I bought them for Daniel, but they were too skinny for Dan’s feet, which made them perfect for J.D.

This wasn’t a total loss because the new shoes actually fit him well, and he’s happy with them.

The downside: the old shoes are still laying outside by the trampoline, soaking wet, even now. Let me rush right out there in the cold and wet and get those…right…

Go ahead, shake your head. I know. This is my act, y’all. This is it.

I have no pride left.

Like none. Now whenever Alan lets me know that he’s leaving, I schedule a grandparent to come and stay with us to help out for at least one of the nights of his trip. This week it was my mom who came. I try to trade out between the grandmas so we don’t wear them out. Ha! (Thank you so much, Nana and Nonna!!!!)

There you have it, why I can never have an unbiased opinion about any national military event. I’m affected too directly. Not in a big hurry to get rid of Alan.

See, he’s not just any husband. The man is a machine. I spend most of my energy waiting on John David hand and foot, wiping his bottom, cheauffering kids, cleaning bathrooms, feeding them, and refereeing arguments.

Alan uses his energy to declutter. That man can pick up a full on tornado room in 5 minutes and make it look like Good Housekeeping. He also does laundry and washes pans. Oh! And he finds missing stuff!!

Plus, it’s just lonely, parenting alone, especially in a new place.

Alan gets home in 5 hours now. I only have to make it 5 more hours.

Only 1 hurdle left: I’m supposed to take the kids to Wednesday night church supper and AWANA by myself. I had to quit choir because every single trip crosses a Wednesday night, and there’s no way I’m coming home that late with 4 boys, all wound up from AWANA, to get ready for bed. Really the only reason I still even go to AWANA when Alan isn’t here is that I already skipped it so many times that Daniel is behind the other kids on his badges, and you know if Daniel is behind on something that it’s my fault, and it kills him to not have those badges on his vest. Sooooooo… we are all sucking it up and going tonight so Daniel can say his verse, get his badge, and then I promised them we can all go straight home.

Then I just have to get through bath and bedtime, and I don’t suppose I should let the little ones skip that yet again tonight….

I asked my doctor if I should try vitamins to see if that could help me have more energy to handle this gargantuan job, but my docs never take me seriously about this. They always say, “Well, but you have four boys……that’s why you’re tired.”

My doctor actually said that she thought vitamins would be bad for me since my blood work is good. I don’t know how to get more energy!

Stress, man! What an exhausting job! Do any of you dread your spouse leaving town as much as I do??? What tricks do you do to get through it?

I fantasize sometimes. Like this:

When Alan gets home from New Jersey,

–I am going to finish ALL my Christmas shopping–ALONE.

–I am going to take a bath, and lock the door.

–I am going to go for a hike, ALONE.

–I am going to check into a hotel, right down the street and SLEEP…..and watch t.v.—whatever I want to watch!!!!—and eat snacks in bed!!

–I just want Alan to take all 4 kids away for a weekend to anywhere, and I’m going to clean this house……oh who am I kidding, I’d end up writing and working on my blog anyway!

Merry Christmas, y’all!

 

 

 

The Best Dam Trip We’ve Ever Taken

 

hoover dam

Hoover Dam, the 2nd tallest dam in America, but probably the best known.  (The tallest one, in case that made you as curious as it made me, is the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California, east of Sacramento.)

This trip was all for Alan. I was all, “Why waste our time in southern Nevada and California? It’s out of the way, and I have zero interest in seeing Vegas. Casinos and showgirls? Sorry. Not our scene.”

Alan was all, “What!!  The Hoover Dam is an engineering marvel!! ” And then he said a whole bunch of stuff about the dam–I had no idea what he was talking about, really. Engineering: also not my scene. Alan talks about civil engineering frequently, actually, and that’s why it took us so long to go from friends to more than friends. 😉 ha! Love you, Alan!

I do occasionally TRY to be a good wife, though. (Hey, give me a little credit: I did bear him several children, in spite of my repeated nightmare deliveries.)

And like a good wife, I can admit when I’m wrong.

I was wrong.

The dam was not blah blah blah. We even went on the TOUR of the POWER PLANT of the dam, and I just knew that I would fall asleep. There was really no way out of it. I totally had Alan talked out of doing it, but then the lady at the ticket booth talked us into it with our big $2 discount, simply because Alan is military.  (But just to clarify, there’s really nothing that ‘simple’ about being in the military. If you want our discount, you would have to do things like live in the Iraqi desert for a year at a time. It’s 130 degrees there, ya’ll. Do you still want the $2 discounts?)  Ha!! Me neither! I won’t even stay outside if it goes over 100 degrees! When I was a high schooler, getting calls from military recruiters, I simply laughed, explained to them that I was too prissy for the Navy/Army/whatever, and hung up the phone. 😉

Before I knew it, I was in the dam tour line, patiently waiting to learn all about the dam power plant. 😉

April, the reluctant tourist

April, the reluctant tourist

First came the movie. No problem. I love movies. Yes, there was a lot of blah blah blah, but ALSO it was fascinating!!  And they had actual footage of the dam being built, which made it so much easier to understand. I learned a ton!

Alan was so excited, when halfway through the film, I said a completely serious, “Wow!”

That really made his day!

After the movie, they took us through the power plant of the dam. It really wasn’t so bad. Thankfully, it didn’t last too long, and it all made Alan so happy.

 

nevada3

The Hoover Dam provides power for parts of Arizona, Nevada, and California. Plus it provides those states with water.

Do you know what it is that makes the Hoover Dam amazing??  Before we went, I thought it would be what it looked like. I thought, “Oh, people think it’s amazing because it’s gigantic.” No, that’s not it. It’s amazing because of what it accomplishes.

Here is what I learned:

-Before the Hoover Dam, the Colorado River caused a lot of trouble for everyone in its path. It caused flooding, and it was just a treacherous river.

-The Dam pretty much tamed the monstrous Colorado River.

-It controlled the flow of the water, and prevents flooding.

-The dam brings water to California, Nevada, and Arizona, and after driving through these states, let me tell you: they need water super badly!!

-The dam brings electricity to those states too.

-This makes those states habitable, really. Have you seen the Southwest? A whole lot of what we saw in those states was beautiful, but it was also dry, and some of it is comparable to the vast, dry mountains of Afghanistan.

-It’s a clean energy source. Isn’t that nice! No smog or nuclear fallout coming from the Hoover Dam.

how-it-works diagram. I sort of understood some of this, and I am okay with that. If you'd like to know more, just ask Alan.

how-it-works diagram. I sort of understood some of this, and I am okay with that. If you’d like to know more, just ask Alan.

hydro-electric pumps--or something like that

hydro-electric pumps–or something like that

Also, you do not want to touch that coppery railing--totally burned my arm!

Also, you do NOT want to touch that coppery railing–totally burned my arm!

-It’s also a marvel that all of those states and Congress could work together and get the Dam to come together. Imagine today’s Congress accomplishing that. They did an amazing job, and that’s why they later named it after Hoover, who worked so hard to orchestrate this ‘engineering marvel’.

-Oh, and by the way, even the parking deck outside the thing looks like a feat in itself.

-Lake Mead is a BEAUTIFUL blue.

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This cute young couple had their picture made standing on the Nevada/Arizona border

-The area is experiencing a 13 year drought. They said the problem is that Colorado hasn’t had enough snow to melt into the river. I am going to pray for these people and their drought. The water in the river is insanely low right now. Won’t you join me in praying for rain for these folks?

IMG_3625_Fotor

We drove into Nevada on that bridge. It had barriers up, so you can’t see the dam if you’re driving. If I had known how high up this bridge was, i would have been a little bit chicken!

-Apparently, I’ve been pronouncing Nevada all wrong. The second syllable is pronounced “a” as in “apple” not “o” as in “ostrich”…according to our tour guide.

-While we were at the dam, that’s when I saw a sudden …fashion shift. Suddenly, there were more young people, and they didn’t seem to think that covering up was something to bother with. I get it. It’s the desert, and it was over 100 degrees. We have that problem in the south too, and we do wear as little clothing as we can, while still looking decent. These girls just didn’t bother with the whole ‘looking decent’ part.

Also a good rule of thumb, my sweet, young friends: If your shorts are so short, that you cannot wear regular underwear, because they are longer than your shorts, then save those shorts for your house. They are not for public wear. It’s getting hard to tell the hookers from the not-hookers, just sayin’.

-Okay, one last thought on the Hoover Dam, totally unrelated to fashion choices:  I love, love, love how man is able to cultivate the earth to make it work better for all of us. God made man–and when I say man–I do mean mankind (both men and women)–in his image. We are intelligent and can do wonderful things.

Nature left to itself tends toward disorder, out of control rivers, no electricity, and no pretty little tidy gardens. That is why the idea that man just spontaneously formed, without a creator is ludicrous. Have you ever seen a garden left untended? The weeds and grasses quickly choke out the beauty that was there. Creation itself testifies to the creator, and it is our job to take care of that creation.

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East Coast to West Coast in Only 6 Weeks!

working hard

planning, planning, planning!

So much has happened this past week.  Once our military orders arrived, all systems are GO, GO, GO!  You know all those stereotypes about men?  You know what I’m talking about:  “When men are sick they lay down, but women keep working,” and other such derogatory thoughts our society has attached to our males?

Well, let me tell you, Alan blows all those negative sexist remarks out of the water.  That’s right.  I said sexist.  Everyone’s so quick to call female stereotypes ‘sexist,’ but making fun of men is perfectly okay.  What’s up with that? Maybe you haven’t noticed.  I certainly have.  Being the wife of a high type-A, thorough planner like Alan, plus being the mother of four little boys, makes me a little more sensitive to the negative things our society likes to say about our men.

My husband, sick as a dog, plus recovering from surgery, has gotten more done in the day he got ‘request for orders’ than most healthy people could accomplish in a week’s worth of time. Alan, you are AMAZING!!!

Want to know his secret?  This is how he got this move plan running so quickly:

1.  Before he even secured the orders, he got me the smartphone I wanted, complete with synchronized Google Calendars.  This is my Mother’s Day gift.  I love it.  I used up my whole data plan in two days.  Oops.  There’s a learning curve to these things! But with this phone, I can be a touch more organized.

2. He sat down with me and even managed to get my UNDIVIDED attention to discuss EVERY DETAIL of our moving plan.  You name it, it is planned for on the calendar.

My undivided attention is about impossible to attain! I am never doing less than two things at once, and I’m often doing more than that.  C’mon, ya’ll, there are four little boys here!

3.  He went down to the orders office armed with a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts.  Plus, he’d dropped by and schmoozed with those ladies in advance.  Ha! Good job, Alan!

4. He went straight from the orders office to setting up the shipment of household goods. He whipped out the Google Calendar and managed to get the exact dates we had planned for.  Success!!!

windowCaleb

 

5. On Saturday, we had our Yard Sale!!  We got rid of tons of junk this weekend!  But actually, I may never do a yard sale again:  sunburn, people wanting to buy all of my stuff for $1, and Daniel playing tug-of-war with kids that were buying the toys he really never plays with.  No thank you!  Never again.

Everything is running like clock work! At least I can claim the Yard Sale accomplishment as my own.  Remember “The Great Clean Out”?  I have gone through almost every drawer and cabinet, so I’ll be taking credit for that part.  : )

 

When we rolled into DC, 5 years ago, it was just Alan, me, Joshua, and Caleb.

 

….and I was 10 pounds heavier…deployment weight.  Can any other military wives relate to the deployment weight??  What causes that?  Ugh!

But look how cute the boys were:

Awww!  That was back when they let ME pick out their clothes.

And we’re leaving the D.C. area as a slightly larger group:

bestEasterphoto14

How far we have come!

I can’t believe we’re only 6 weeks out from our biggest move yet!

Here are a few quotes from our crazy week:

It was POURING RAIN the other day, and I had to get all of the children into the car.  As I was buckling Joshua in, he said, “Mom, I will buckle Daniel in so you don’t have to keep standing out in the rain.”

*heart melting in my soaking wet spot*

: )  Thank you, Joshua, and that’s why you’re the one we’re going to send to college. ; )  (I’m just kidding.  Caleb often voluntarily unbuckles Daniel for me, so he will get to go to college too. Yes, that’s what you go by!!!)

*****

and bringing the funny as usual….

Caleb walked into the kitchen and said, “Whatever you do, do NOT talk to the toilet.”

“Why not?” I asked him.

“Because, it copies you.”

Daniel immediately ran to the toilet and started shouting into it.

Just another day in the House O’ Boys!

 

 

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