Boy + Girl + Army + e-Harmony = Captain and Mrs. Butters! This is what we're up to. Observations, opinions, events, images, and more.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You, Veterans.

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.
-Elmer Davis
Today I thank all who have served our country, past and present.

The Captain
 I especially thank my husband and my hero, Spike, who served our country in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from January 2009 to January 2010.

I also remember my grandfather Raymond who served in the Navy during World War II, and honor my many friends and acquaintances who have served or currently are serving in the Armed Forces. Your bravery, sacrifices, and selflessness are much appreciated and valued.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We have a new da Vinci among us.

Spike finished his in-processing last week, so for the past few days he has been learning the ropes at his new office. He deviated from the military tasks for a bit today, though. This is what he did during a break:

Yes, I got an email from him this afternoon with this attachment. The filename is "Artist Rendition of My New Truck." As you may have guessed, the Captain just got a new truck. Last night, actually. After months of meticulous research and option-weighing. He's pretty excited. Here's a picture of the actual truck he took this morning:

The resemblance to Spike's Paint picture is striking, right down to the tailpipe. I have to say, when I opened that email I lost it. Completely cracked up. I'm sure I sounded like Jane Eyre's madwoman in the attic with my hysterical cackles bouncing off the as-yet-undecorated walls. Let me tell you, folks, people will be bidding millions of dollars for my husband's artwork several years from now. Obviously.

On an unrelated note, today was Spike's Friday. I'm just a teeny weeny bit jealous.

The South rose again--I won!

In the Internet black hole that PCS-ing has been, it seems that I have won a fellow blogger's contest! And I am incredibly excited about it. Before Halloween, Mel at Head in the game. Heart in the sand. and Goodnight Moon held a childhood Halloween costume contest. Digging up pictures of me in various crazy, pint-sized outfits seemed like too much fun not to do, so of course, I entered with this post. And lo and behold, Mel picked my Civil War soldier tribute to be her winner. If only I could go back in time and congratulate my 12 year-old self! Thanks, Mel!

I had so much fun in this costume!
I'm psyched to see what my prize is...I'll be watching the mail like a hawk. This is like the adult blogger version of waiting for Santa on Christmas morning.

Lest you think I've left my love for the Civil War in the past, though, consider the following. Spike thought this photo, as well as my description of being a sixth-grade history buff, was hilarious. So while he was driving hither and yon all over post during in-processing last week, he got me this at the Cavalry Museum:

It is a tiny painted pewter figurine of Robert E. Lee, all praises be to his sainted name! (Give me a break, I was born and raised in the South.) Now my new desk has a guardian. And he may or may not be joined by some un-painted pewter Civil War soldiers I bought during my costumed glory days.

Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Yeah, it's been a little while! Last week I worked on a folding table in the middle of our new, but still very empty, living room. And I found out that spending all day in a totally empty house is kind of like living in a bubble outside of the normal time-space continuum. As in, although I'd worked all week, I didn't realize it was Friday until lunchtime. Oh well--no lasting harm done.

Spike and I have spent our non-work time poking around our new post and town, trying out different restaurants, and going on several expeditions including truck-shopping, furniture-shopping, and...a zoo. That was until yesterday, when the moving truck arrived. Now, I'm sure, our hands will be full with unpacking. Which I hope is mostly, kind of, manageably squared away by Sunday, at which point I will fly to North Carolina to tie up loose ends there, pack up my belongings, and (with Spike's assistance), schlep them and my car to Kansas.

So, sorry for the past and future blog lapses. I'm sure all of you who have moved or PCS-ed understand! I have to say, while I am incredibly grateful to have a job that moves with me, it's been extra-stessful and exhausing doing all of this while taking as few days off as possible (For one thing, I work under deadlines, and for another, I'm selfish and want to save my days off for "fun" stuff). Right now, I am incredibly jealous of Spike's upcoming four-day weekend. Onward and upward, though! The end is in sight, and then the holidays will be here to enjoy.

A few last things: I was so relieved and comforted by the responses to my last post! I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who has the occasional military-provoked meltdown. Taking a cue from several of you, my future line will be: "I loathe the Army right now...but not you, dearest darlingest Husband!"

And lastly, I received my first blog award from Unlikely Wife: The "Your Blog is Fabulous" award! Thanks so much--I am incredibly surprised by how much seemingly random observations, emotions, and musings have the power to connect people...and by how inspiring and encouraging we can all be to one another through sharing.

The rules of this award are:
Thank the person who gave it to you and link back (done)! Pass it on to other bloggers you've recently begun reading to tell them they're fabulous, then then answer the questions below. Here are my selections:
Wookie & Co.
Knock Jessica Up

1) What is the one thing you love treat yourself to ...that you rarely do?
Give my inner foodie free reign to go to a nice restaurant and order whatever she wants. Cheese board, appetizers, entree, wine, dessert, coffee...the whole multiple-hour and mucho-dollar works. Mostly 'cause it's expensive.

2) What Book have you read that has just opened your eyes or touched you deeply?
Recently, I finished "The Hunger Games" trilogy. They are a young adult series that was recommended to me by a friend, and I was really surprised by how powerful a punch they packed. They raise many uncomfortable--and often unanswerable--questions about where our society's preferences and values are leading us, what's "justifiable" in terms of the suffering of others, what constitutes love, and much more. They're short and exciting reads...I highly recommend them. 

3) If you were reincarnated as an animal/drink/ice cream flavor, what would it be?
Animal: Owl
Drink: Nicely aged whisky, with a bit of ice to take the edge off
Ice Cream: Birthday cake

4) What celebrity do you ever get mistaken for?
Recently, I've heard the lady from Mythbusters, and Amy Adams. If only!
5) Where is Waldo?
Actually, I saw him in the Hy-Vee grocery store on Halloween.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Welcome to Kansas

We made it to Kansas!

Spike's graduation ceremony was Friday morning (yay Spike!), and then with the help of his parents, we finished packing up and wiping down the house, and hit the road. Spike's parents had generously offered to drive one of our vehicles, so we all caravaned north. Things were going well until we called the Army hotel. They'd told us the day before that they were booked, but that we could stay anywhere else in town, and they'd give us a statement of nonavailability so that we could still pay the government rate. Well, on Friday they informed us that not only were they full, but that every other hotel in town was full as well. Not good. We made some calls on our own, and sure enough--it was Kansas State's homecoming. Gah! Every hotel we could find within a half-hour drive was "No Vacancy!" we ended up driving an extra hour to Topeka so we'd have a place to sleep.

Lesson learned: Book ahead of time no matter what the hotel folks tell you to do.

I don't have a ton of time right now (might not post too many updates this and next week till we get settled...we'll see), but briefly, I REALLY like what I have seen of the area so far. Post is beautiful, and the commissary, PX, etc. are all new. The town of Manhattan is nice too--very clean and "safe"-feeling. There's a Target. (yay!) Also a grocery store called Hy-Vee that I've never encountered, but that made Spike react in much the same way I did to Target.

Okay, in closing, I have a question. Military spouses/significant others, how do you make it clear to your better half that you're frustrated with the system, not with him? You see, two things have happened:

1) We found out after the fact that one of the homes we turned down has amenities we weren't informed of (which might have influenced our choice), and
2) Our stuff won't be delivered to the new house until next Monday.

I was mad about not having all the info up front on the housing situation (makes me feel taken advantage of), and I was frustrated that we'll be living in an empty house for a week. Yes, I know, this is par for the course. But I'm new to the course. And I honest-to-goodness had a meltdown yesterday. As in, I was pouting and whining like a five year old, with a few errant tears leaking out. In the cold light of morning, I'm not terribly upset that we didn't get the house we turned down, and I know I can live with an air mattress for a week. Honestly, I think what pushed me over the edge was the complete lack of agency I have here. I'm not used to being so totally at the mercy of a larger institution, and (even though I'm excited about our life when we get settled) I feel powerless and unimportant as that settling process is unfolding.

None of that has to do with Spike, of course. I know he's trying as hard as he can to make things go smoothly as possible. And instead of thanking him, I lost it. I know he thought I was upset with him, as though he wasn't doing good enough. And that's not it at all. So: how can I better control myself/respond in the future? Any tips or tricks?