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

Friday, June 24, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In: 24 June, 2011

It's been awhile since I've done a Fill-In. So back to the fun! If it tickles your fancy, join in and read other responses at Wife of a Sailor!  

1. Are you a different person than you were five years ago? submitted by Sisterly Thoughts
Let's see...five years ago I was getting ready to start my senior year of college. So yes, I think I'm very different than I was then. My core values haven't changed, but I do believe I've done a lot of growing up.

2. If you could go on Amazing Race, who would you take with you as your partner and why? submitted by Thoughts from a Poekitten
I've only watched a few episodes of the show, but I think Spike would be the natural choice. We work well together, and more to the point, he's got all those Army survival/endurance skills. He can fly a plane, is a certified rescue diver, and is a decent mechanic. Plus, he'll eat just about anything.

3. Does Facebook or Twitter actually bring more stress or good in to your life? submitted by Just an Arizona Girl
I don't "Do the Twitter," but I am on Facebook. For me, it's pure entertainment. I don't post often, but I lurk and observe quite a bit. I'd say it's a good thing.

4. June is National Soul Food Month- what’s your soul food? submitted by NH Girl Displaced
Pinto beans and all types of Mexican food!

5.  If you could live in any other era than the current, which one would it be & why? submitted by Sugar in My Grits 
Tough question. History is my academic passion, but as I think most historians would agree, you couldn't pay me any amount of money to actually live in my era of interest (the Middle Ages, specifically; Anglo-Saxon pre-Conquest England). I would observe daily life from INSIDE the time machine. If I had to pick an era, I guess I'd go with Regency England, but only (warning, I'm about to be classist) if I could be a member of the gentry or aristocracy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I wrote my "Angry!" post last week mostly for myself, just to vent. I was touched by the number of sympathetic responses I got: a couple of comments here, a very nice email from a friend, and several phone calls from people I didn't even realize read this blog! Thanks, guys.

In one of those funny twists of fate, the day I wrote the post Spike actually made it home at 6:30 and we got to spend a few hours together before going to bed. He didn't know I'd written about my frustrations, but (for those of you who watch How I Met Your Mother) in one of those Marshall-Lily telepathy moments, started talking about his rear-d command and how he wasn't happy with the effect it was having on our little family. Without being prompted by me, he echoed many of my own frustrations--which was exactly what I needed to hear. He actually made me get a little weepy-eyed by picking up his favorite picture of us and saying something along the lines of, "Every time I see this picture I'm reminded of the fact that I tricked the best woman in the world into marrying me. I hate that I'm not able to give her all of the love and attention she deserves right now. Eventually something will have to give, and it's not going to be my family."

I'm pretty sure I don't deserve him.

Anyway, we talked about what the future might hold for us after this command is over. It's pretty much a big, giant unknown. Spike doesn't necessarily WANT to get out of the military, but since his commitment ends next February, we're going to a job fair tonight just so he can start getting an idea of what some other alternatives might be. It never hurts to be informed.

And lastly, randomly, here's a photobooth strip Spike and I did the last time we stuck our heads into the mall.

As you can see, he thinks it's hysterical to lick me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I just need to get it out there: I'm angry. A lot. Just when I think Spike's schedule has gotten as bad as it can be, it gets worse. We're only 4 months into his rear-detachment command, and I already feel like I've had as much as I can take.

My husband is home (aka not deployed), but he's hardly ever really home.When he finally gets to come home from the office (usually after a 14 or 15 hour day), he's understandably too drained and tired to do much of anything other than sleep. He's also at work a fair amount on weekends. And when he and I do try to make plans, it seems as though he gets called in or has to stay late, without fail. I don't even look forward to the rare date night anymore because we can pretty much count on his phone buzzing in the middle of dinner. Then I get dropped off at home, pissed and disappointed, while he has to deal with the latest crisis.

I'm angry because this is not what I envisioned our first year of marriage being. (Welcome to the Army, right?)

I'm angry because our marriage and I always come second to Spike's job. Things that are important to me and even to Spike aren't important to the Army, so we just have to deal.

I'm angry because the only time I'm able to have a meaningful conversation with Spike is on the weekends (if we're lucky).

I'm angry because soldiers who get DUIs, are arrested, or do other ill-advised things get priority on his time and attention, no matter what time of the day or night it is. I know that's part of the job, but I think my cheerful forbearance ran out after the first 20 incidents or so.

I'm angry because if Spike stays in the Army he's going to deploy, and his time here with me really hasn't been what either of us would like it to be. On a daily basis, there's typically little to no time for "us." And somewhat more frivolously, we can't get away! I don't think going on vacation for a long weekend with my husband who has over 60 days of leave built up should be too much to ask, but apparently it is. I'm not gunning for the big trip to Ireland we want to plan, just 4 days at the beach. Or heck, even one night in Kansas City! (Although deep down, I really do want to take awesome-young-married-couple trips, the kind that might not be feasible once kids come along. Time is ticking.)

I'm also angry because Spike is working himself into the ground, literally giving everything he can to carry out his responsibilities, and is getting very little thanks or appreciation for it (that I can see, anyway). His attitude, patience, and perseverance are much better than mine would be if I were in his shoes. I think he deserves heartfelt recognition for the hundreds of things he does well every day, but instead he just gets grief for the few things that weren't completed to others' satisfaction.

The worst part is, I don't know what to do with my anger. I'm not angry at Spike, he knows that, and I'm not about to take my frustrations out at him. I'm angry at circumstances, and I'm really having a problem cheerfully making the best of them. It's very important to both Spike and me that we grow together, not just co-exist in the same house. It scares me that there's much more of the latter going on, and that this will probably be the case at least until next spring.

I know that I might sound ungrateful, whiny, and selfish in this post. But I think we've all been there. At least with the military, I keep telling myself, everything is temporary. On the positive side, I'm still very proud of Spike for getting this command position, even if it makes me want to punch multiple people in the throat most days. And I've met a few spouses in the unit with whom I click pretty well, which is fabulous.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dinner with a picture

Yesterday, I had a nice dinner with my friend Jenna and her husband. Jenna and I were dressed up, and her husband was looking pretty shiny himself. Our meal consisted of goat cheese bruschetta, filet mignon, champagne, and blackberry-lemonade ice cream. We were celebrating Jenna's second anniversary with her husband...who attended the meal in framed-picture form. He had his own chair and everything, and we addressed comments to him throughout the meal. He's deployed right now, so it was the best we could do.

I was very honored to be his conversational fill-in! Our waitress got into the spirit of the thing as well, and put a lit candle in the ice cream to mark the occasion.

Sometimes it's heart-wrenchingly obvious that life as a military spouse isn't "normal." But it can still be good with the help of friends. Here's to Jenna's husband's safe return so that they can, as he wrote on the card he sent with her flower delivery, "try to do one of these together next year."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Should I book it?

I haven't posted much recently because life has felt rather "blah." But I get the sense that I might be about to break free of the daily-grind quagmire in a big way. It has taken longer than I'd expected (don't most things?), but it's looking like I'll finally be cutting back from full-time work this month. I don't know how quickly the drawdown will happen, or even if this will be the final outcome, but I think my eventual goal is to be "contracted" in to do project work for my company instead of having a set-in-stone daily schedule. We'll see.

So, what am I going to be doing in my free time? Several ideas have been percolating, but the one I want to share with you poor sods (apparently my inner British gent is coming out, but I'm too lazy to delete that phrase and think of something new) is a book idea! I'm honestly thinking about writing a book, and I'm fairly committed to the idea.

A few weeks ago my neighbor Jenna and I were talking about how a lot of books for military spouses are great at giving you information and how-tos. So great, in fact, that you get the sense that if you learn enough and are prepared enough, military life will be straightforward. You'll know what to do, when to do it, and where to go in every situation. You'll never be surprised! Meanwhile, as your confidence builds with each chapter, the Military Gods are rolling in the floor and peeing their pants with laughter. (And that's not even mentioning the books that talk about etiquette, how to write the proper thank-yous, and when to wear white gloves.)

Now, Jenna and I are not trying to downplay the info-centric books and manuals. Not in the least. But we also said to ourselves, "Hey, don't you think other spouses in our situation would appreciate a more story-based book about the realities of the first year being a MilSpouse?" We're envisioning a short, witty, irreverent book in which each chapter contains one or more humorous stories on a certain topic; for example, the Commissary, On-Post Housing, Deployments, and Making Friends. We'd be aiming for the tone of Chelsea Handler's My Horizontal Life, without all the sleeping around. Perhaps Jenna and I are delusional narcissists, but we think that, between the two of us and our other acquaintances, we can come up with some compelling tales. Which I may test drive here on the blog.

The only book in this genre I've heard of is Mollie Gross' Confessions of a Military Wife. (I've never read it, and might continue to avoid it so I don't accidentally steal stuff from her.) Mollie is a Marine wife, so I figure there's at least a nominal niche for an Army book.

So, my questions are: is this a good idea? Would you read such a book, assuming publishers didn't laugh uproariously upon receiving the manuscript? (And is there a whole list of MilSpouse humor books of which I'm currently unaware? If so, please tell me!)