Thursday, October 27, 2011

Drumroll Please...He's Home!!!

Tuesday did not start out very well at all. I returned home after dropping the elder Spawnderella at school. Then I realized I had accidentally spilled coffee on my garage door opener, rendering it useless. And of course, I didn't have my house keys on me because for some reason I have my car keys and my house keys on two different keychains. So I was locked out of my house. In my pajamas. (Yes, I drop my child off at school sometimes in my pajamas, no judging please - its not like I get out of the car, so really....who cares?) Anyway, the bigger problem was this: Spawnderella #2 must get her anti-rejection meds every 12 hours. I give them at 9am and 9pm. And it was 8:55am. Giving anti-rejection med as little as 15 minutes late can have dire consequences - you know, like an episode of rejection. Not good. So of course, I start to freak out. (Quietly, as to not alert Spawnderella #2 to the gravity of the situation.)  If I can't get into my house, what am I going to do? How the hell am I supposed to break in? And although I live just down the road from the pharmacy where we get the anti-rejections meds I didn't really want to waltz through there in my damn pj's just to see if they by chance would let me buy a single dose of her medication. So I decided to take the damn garage door opener apart to see if I could simply dry the inside of it out using some tissues and hot air. (Just call me MacGyver.) Lucky for me, it worked. (Ok, I also had to take the battery out and dry it off. Then I put the battery in the wrong way and didn't realize it until the damn garage door still wouldn't open. Whatever.) So we made it inside the house at 9am on the dot and I gave her the meds. Whew. Oh and for about 20 minutes afterwards my garage door mysteriously kept opening and closing all by itself. Maybe that's why the Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on the door - perhaps they thought my garage door was possessed and needed saved. I don't know. I just knew that my morning was going to hell in a handbasket and damn, it was still early!!!!

So there I was, doing laundry, trying to study and watching Maya turn my living room into a Barbie convention from hell......Until I received a text from John saying that HE WAS FLYING IN THAT NIGHT!! Woo-hoo, finally! Of course, my first thought was oh shit I better shave my legs....But anyway, at 9:30 Tuesday night, he strolled through the airport and back into the waiting arms of myself and our two girls....making Tuesday officially one of the best days of my life. He's been home for a few days and its been super - having him home sharing the parenting (and the dishes and the laundry among other things) has definitely improved my demeanor. But I'm not sure about sharing my wine.....;-)

p.s. After the garage debacle I learned my lesson and now I have my keys all on one keychain. Which is great...until I lose my keys.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Writing as a Journey - Learning A Little Bit More Every Day

I love to read. I mostly read fiction and it's also what I like to write. However, the college experience is already broadening my horizons. During the last few years I have wanted to write a non-fiction book about our journey through our daughter's liver disease and subsequent liver transplant. But something always held me back. Mostly I think it was fear of revisiting that horrendously scary emotional point in our lives. So instead, I have been working on a fictionalized version of those events. To me that seemed easier. 

But recently, through one of the classes I'm taking, I realized that now is the time to write the non-fiction project as well. One of my required classes is a memoir writing course. We are reading different types of memoirs ("Born Standing Up" by Steve Martin, "Just Kids" by Patti Smith, "Truth & Beaty" by Ann Patchett to name a few) and we are constructing our own. (And because of these books I have most definitely developed a taste for non-fiction - who knew?) 

We had a wide range of freedom - we could write about our whole lives OR a specific event/time period, etc. We turn in 3-4 pages every week. Dr. S then critiques them and gives them back to us.  I was very nervous, but what I've found is that it's actually cathartic to look back on that time and then look at Maya (and our family) today and see how far we've come. I think I needed that kick in the pants - a structured course that would provide the necessary tools AND a deadline. I like to think I'm laying the groundwork to be able to turn it into a book that people will want to read - a book that might be able to provide not only information but maybe a little bit hope as well. 

Of course, I'm still working on the novel - and that project is also getting a kick in the pants due to the upcoming NaNoWriMo. And there are a even a few short stories being brought to life right now. Besides, I've got to write - what else am I going to do through the upcoming frigid season in Ohio? 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Armpit of Virginia: Also Known as Ft. Lee

I feel the need to preface what I have to say here with this statement: I am grateful for the military and all they do to protect our country. I am also grateful to the people who helped John during this nightmare of bureaucracy. But I also feel the need to say that there are a number of people in the military who probably wouldn't last long in the private sector because they are lazy, stupid, power hungry gasbags. So here goes....

After a week of vague half-answers and laziness on the part of a few sergeants, John finally received some worthwhile information today. Of course, this information came after making repeated phone calls to military personnel OUTSIDE Ft. Lee - namely the Ohio National Guard organization. It seems that he finally caught the attention of someone fairly high up in the military's chain of command and that person promptly called Ft. Lee to find out what the hold up was. Turns out, there was no good reason anyone could come up with for not letting John outprocess and go home. From an outsider's point of view (outside the military anyway), it looks like this whole mess could have been prevented if a certain sergeant (or two) had pulled themselves up, dusted their lazy asses off and actually did their assigned jobs. In fact, after these phone calls were made, a certain sergeant actually threatened to keep him there longer....just because he could. (Well, now he can't because this particular case has been removed from his duties.) It seems that he was angry that someone higher up than him found out that he screwed up and was actually making him do his job. I wonder how long he would last if he had a job in the real world instead of being cushioned and protected by the military.

Anyway, John is going to (hopefully) be able to outprocess on October 25th. That doesn't mean he'll be home on that date. That's just the first available date the lieutenant could give him. Outprocessing isn't rocket science - its an appointment that involves signing a bunch of paperwork and takes about 30 minutes.  After outprocessing, a soldier is set up with a plane ticket home and that's that. Today John was told that his situation was a "discrepancy". Even the military personnel that I spoke to today through the National Guard said they had never seen this before - and it was most definitely NOT John's fault in any way, shape or form.

So that's it - that's our tax dollars at work. Ineptitude at its finest. Thanks alot, Ft. Lee.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

And Still We Wait.....

We are going on seven days of being in military limbo. John is still being detained - for no reason other than the fact that the military has not gotten up off its collective ass and issued the necessary paperwork to outprocess him. They did find the "lost" paperwork that created this mess in the first place. They did lift the "flag" they put on his file. Emails and phone calls are supposedly being traded between the appropriate personnel about getting him released - any day now. But we've been hearing that for a week. On top of everything else, a different sergeant was in charge today and he made John (and the unlucky few around him) give up his phone for the day because HE said they weren't allowed to have them. Excuse me, what? Luckily, the lieutenant returned everyone's phones to them within a few hours.

But seriously, enough is enough. John has jumped through all the hoops, passed all the tests and shown that he has what it takes to be a soldier - excelling through Basic Training and AIT. Yet for all intents and purposes he is being treated like a prisoner instead of someone who has enlisted to serve and protect his country. Interesting.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Light at the End of the Tunnel.....Maybe

We are making progress...or rather I should say the military is making progress...slowly, very slowly. After the ruckus regarding the lost paperwork on Wednesday, John spent all day Thursday trying to get ahold of various higher-up muckety mucks to see what needed to be done about the situation. He was finally told that he would have to take the PT test again if the appropriate paperwork could not be located. Finally, he was told to report to the testing area at 0400 hours on Friday. That's 4am for the non-military folks. I call it prime sleeping time because who in the gay hell wants to be up at 4 in the morning (well technically that's the time I used to be getting home especially if I had a really good evening, but that's another story)...Anyway, I digress. So this morning he was up and getting ready to retake a test that he had already passed. Then, miracle of miracles, just as he was getting ready to start - someone showed up with the missing paperwork!!! Woo-hoo! Of course, this saga is far from over. I bet they have to call the President of the United States and get his approval that all the forms are filled out correctly. Then they'll have to make a copy of his approval, and then they'll lose it. Because that seems to be the norm for the military. Oops, I'm digressing again.  Hopefully on Monday the necessary steps will be taken to start the outprocessing process...again. But this is the military we're talking about it - and they certainly have their own timetable. We're still not sure when he's going to be able to come home, but with a little luck it should be some time next week.

But I'm still mad at the military.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Guess What the Military Lost?

I think I'm in a little bit of shock right now. This was the week that John was supposed to come home from military training. Actually, he was supposed to be home on or around October 13th. He made it through AIT and graduated yesterday, October 11th. He has passed all the tests, patiently moving through each part of his specialized training. Today he was supposed to get his ticket and finish outprocessing. Unfortunately, the MILITARY HAS LOST HIS PAPERWORK! Yes, they lost it. Not all of it - but a specific portion that is needed in order for him to be released. They told him of this issue an hour before he was to get on the bus to go get his plane ticket home. The missing paperwork is regarding a PT test he took 3 weeks ago - a test that he passed. The military has no record of him ever taking the test. He took it with 25 other guys, surrounded by all types of other military personnel. They know he was there, they saw him taking (and passing) the test, but they can't find the paperwork to prove it. So because the appropriate paperwork does not exist (according to the military), he has been flagged. Which means he cannot leave until at least 5 days after the flag on his paperwork is removed. However, no one seems to know what to do at this point in order to get the flag removed. Does he have to take the PT test again? If so, when? And what the hell does it matter at this point? He has already graduated from AIT!!!

John is very upset, as are the girls and myself. After all, we spent months planning for this day and talking about how great it would be when we were all reunited. But now that day has been delayed indefinitely. He might be home next week, he might be home the week after next. All because of a paperwork snafu that wasn't noticed by multiple military personnel until the hour before he was supposed to get his plane ticket. Big, fat fail, miltary. Big, fat FAIL.

Sometimes living in the moment isn't all it's cracked up to be. (See previous post, lol.)

But damn, he is handsome. So I shall wait.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Summer is long gone and now we are well into fall. It has been about five months since John departed for military training. So much has happened in that time period, both good and bad. I quit my job and returned to school. I have gotten in touch with extended family and sadly, a cousin of mine recently lost her life at way too young of an age. Maya is stable and doing very well, but she is on two extra medications and I have had to make two trips to Cincinnati Children's Hospital with her for some unexpected tests. Laely has been missing her father like crazy, but she is excelling at school and has been a huge help to me. The girls and I went on an adventurous and fun weeklong roadtrip, which also included a pukefest and an epic storm. It has been five months of ups and downs, questions and answers, tears and laughter. But I know we have mostly been lucky. I'm so happy that John is coming home next week. We don't know how long he'll be home because deployment overseas is a real possibility. But for now I'm not going to think about that. I'm going to live (and love) in the moment as opposed to worrying about the future. If the past five months has taught me anything, it is the fact that life is short. It passes by so quickly and we don't always get a second chance. And although sometimes life hands us pukefests, epic storms or other types of tragedies it also gives us love and the capacity to remember the good times.