Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Underbelly of Navy Life

You know, if you have spent any time around the Navy, then you have probably heard the generalizations that people make about the Navy: things like "if you have a tattoo parlor and a strip club, it must be a Navy town." Sadly, most of this is true. My little town in backwater Connecticut DOES have a tattoo parlor and a strip club, but in general, I think that many Navy people are beginning to move away from these perceptions.
As most of you know, our boat just changed hands. My former captain was a man of upstanding morals - a man to be exemplified. It saddens me that the same can not be said of all of those in leadership positions.
Recently I was in the dubious position of defending/deflecting the attention of many navy wives to the seedy underbelly of Navy life. I know the old adage the "boys will be boys" and that things happen on deployment or underways that are out of character for many of our loved ones. Here's the thing though, I married a man, not a boy.
I am not the fun police. I usually don't care what activities men or women choose to engage in while their loved ones are far away, UNTIL they make it my business. When I get concerned phone calls from spouses because the behavior is so bad and seems to be so universal - then I do care. I care when men speak to women using vulgarity and profanity that is inappropriate at any and all times. I care when leadership encourages behavior of the junior officers and enlisted men that is not only bad for their home lives but is, quite frankly, simply immoral and irresponsible.
I know some cling desperately to the "traditions" of the Navy, but quite frankly, I think this is one that should be laid to rest.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Collateral Duty?

Most of you know from the tone of my posts the last couple of days that my husband is gone again. I believe our boat has something like a 78% sea to land ratio. In other words, they aren't home very much. I am so looking forward to some down time and shore duty that I can't even tell you!
I know that it's hard to be gone and work as hard as my husband does. That said though, it takes what, like five seconds to write an e-mail? Honestly? I haven't had a single e-mail since he left, which to be honest sadly isn't all that unusual. Still, it occassionally hurts when I hear from my friends who have gotten e-mails and even phone calls. It makes me feel like I'm not important enough for him to take five seconds out of his day.
Usually I am calm and rational enough to realize that this line of thinking is ridiculous, but this week, I have been anything but calm and rational. It's been one hell of an emotional rollercoaster on so many levels. It's been to such a degree that even my previous captain's wife was worried about me and called to check on me. God, I miss her.
Thankfully, I have such good friends on the boat. One of them told her husband to tell my husband to get off his tush and send me a flippin e-mail. ( Thanks Steph, you rock!!! And so does Chad!) So, I finally get an e-mail from my loving husband. He tells me he loves me and thinks of me always, that he's been busy with charts and he ends the e-mail with "I'm off to watch now so that Chad can get another of his collateral duties." When he gets home, he's going to find my floral combat boots up his collateral behind. E-mailing your wife isn't something someone else should need to even mention, let alone request on her behalf. Men! I love mine but he needs to get his priorities straight! I mean, I am much more important than successfully navigating a billion dollar nuclear powered submarine! ( and for those that don't know me, this is totally me poking fun at myself!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Some Reasons I Hate Barbie

1. They are almost always blonde. Only the "sidekick" Barbies are brunette and the even rarer redhead.

2. The bitch is so plastic that absolutely everything about her is FAKE. Every word out of her mouth is so phony it could probably bounce.

3. She thinks she's all that - and a bag of chips.

4. She hasn't realized yet what even my five year old knows - It really isn't all about her.

5. She'll say sweet things to your face and talk about you horribly as soon as your back is turned.

6. A person never knows where they stand with Barbie because she is plastic.

7. Barbie judges other people by their looks, the length of their non-manicured nails, the label on their clothes. You get the picture.

8. Did I mention that she's plastic?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An Anniversary... of Sorts.

As I was thinking about the impending holiday this coming Saturday, it suddenly occurred to me that it's an anniversary of sorts for Robbie and I. It actually made me both happy and sad when I had this realization. After all, this is a very special Valentine's Day for us, and once again, he isn't here. I'm starting to sound like a broken record, aren't I?
Ten years ago this Saturday is the day that my husband asked me to marry him. I remember it like it was yesterday. We usually would spend the weekends together visiting my mom and stepdad in Melbourne, FL. They had a beautiful place, right off the beach and we loved to visit them there.
Most of my friends know that I am the morning glory in my family - up with the sun and happy about it. My husband, on the other hand, is the night owl who could, and would, sleep in until noon if I would let him. I knew that something was afoot on this particular weekend because he asked me to wake him so that we could go for a walk and watch the sunrise. Odd for him, but it pleased me. We often talked about how we had seen many sunsets together but not too often a sunrise.Plus, we both love the beach and it is so peaceful and beautiful first thing in the morning.
The next morning, I woke him up as promised and he got up and dressed without a complaint. he seemed fidgety looking back on it all and I remember feeling nervous. Deep down I guess I already realized that something momentous in my life was about to happen.
It was a gorgeous morning - clear, blue skies and warm but not hot. I love the beach and on Indiatlantic it is especially nice. There are lots of shells and the brown sugar surf is so soft under your feet. I lived my life there barefoot and this particular morning was no different.
We walked along in silence - hand in hand - for what seemed the longest time. We watched the most amazing sunrise all pink and orange blaze across the sky. I remember thinking that I couldn't tell where his hand ended and mine began and that I always wanted to feel that way. I never wanted to be someone's wife before, nor had I ever really wanted a husband. Personal experience had taught me that such ideals were antiquated and not necessarily positive relationships.
I remember walking over to some stairs on the beach and watching the sun come up. As we watched, I could feel something building up. Finally, he spoke to me. I'd love to tell you that I remember his exact words, but honestly, as I watched him ask me to be his life partner, I was stunned, speechless, nervous, THRILLED! So many emotions were racing through my mind that I couldn't focus on all the words that he said, but I certainly remember the most important ones!
I remember him asking me to be the love of his life, his life partner, his wife and in that moment, I could think of nothing else that I wanted to be more than that. From that day to this, no, long before that day to this, I have loved him with all my heart. Each day, each year doesn't diminish how much I love him but it grows and grows. When I look at him now, ten years later, I still see the man I saw on that beach. I still see his wicked smile, the intelligence and sensitivity behind his eyes, I still feel the gentleness of his hands.
How many Valentines Day's have I taken for granted and looked at as nothing more than the celebration of capatalism in a cynical world? This year, when he can't be here for me to share these things, an epiphany. Even though he can't be here today and he won't be here on Saturday, I know that he is always with me and hopefully, even though I haven't as yet expressed these thoughts in more than writing, deep down I know that his heart already knows.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


That time is quickly drawing near when my husband will be floating out of my life again. I guess, after the last three years, that I should be used to it but I'm not and I wonder if I ever will.

I hate the time just before a departure. I can feel us both pulling away, seperating from one another. I realize that at least for me this is a defensive mechanism. If I don't feel connected then maybe it won't hurt so much when he leaves. It still sucks though.

I watch him getting crankier and less patient with the children. I know that he isn't looking forward to the coming time either. It would be nice if he would communicate the way he really feels with me, but I guess the pulling away is a defensive thing for him too, at least in a way.

I am looking forward to the time when this won't be our life, one big series of hellos and goodbyes. Some sick, sadistic part of me will miss it but for the most part it will be wonderful to have my family whole and well - all of the time.

For now, this is our life and things go as they must. I will drive him to the waterfront with a smile on my face and spend the rest of the morning crying. He won't see, he won't ever know, but as I watch him walk away part of me is so very proud and the other part is a little girl, curled up in a ball dying.....

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Groundhog Better Give Me Good News.... OR ELSE!!!

Today is the day when Punxsutawney Phil will come out of his whole, take a good look around and decide whether it will be an early spring or another six long dreary weeks of winter. I, for one, am hoping that it is as overcast as it usually is in Pennsylvania and that good ole Phil takes a good look around, doesn't see his shadow and decides that we are due for some early spring. My heart and my spirit could definitely use the good news.

Here in Connecticut we have had quite the winter. My husband came home and since then, we have had a significant snowfall every week - at least one. I haven't seen the ground since the 18th of December - it's been covered in white since then. How sad is that? Seriously, I like winter. I love the pretty snowfall, cuddling up under a blanket, hot cocoa, building snowmen and the whole nine yards. But honestly? Enough is enough already!

Have you ever had that unpleasant experience where you are walking along, minding your own business and all of a sudden - PLOP!- a bird shits on you from out of nowhere? Nothing is quite as unpleasant as that, trust me! Well.... I feel like this winter has been one endless succession of bird shit being heaped on my head. Even the snow is starting to look that way.

So Phil, if you are reading this, here is the deal: either you come out of that hole and give us some good news or I am packing up my two little girls, driving us all down there to Pennsylvania so that they can drive YOU crazy on the snow days! Trust me, it won't be pretty!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Harder Than I'm Sorry

People always say that it's hard to say you're sorry. I guess that it is, goodness knows that I hate to be wrong. Still, when I am, I woman up and admit it. It usually isn't too hard for me to say that I'm sorry.

Goodbye is the hardest thing for me to say. I hate goodbyes and as a Navy wife, I get to say a lot of them. All this time in the Navy, 11 years now, is starting to take it's toll. As I get older and my children get older, I find it harder and harder to make new friends. I look at the woman around me who have life long friends and I feel envy. I don't know what that is anymore. I don't feel any deep connections, instead, I find myself looking at each new person and wondering how long they will be in my life and whether or not they are worth the emotional labor of attempting to become their friend. I've become jaded.

Each new goodby just adds to the sorrow that I feel. It's like piling on in football - the first goodbye is bad and each successive one gets progressively worse. It's a sad fact of my reality that I really don't do change well, which is almost ironic considering how much I get to deal with on a fairly regular basis.

All things considered, last night was difficult. It was the Hail and Farewell for both our Weapons officer and our Captain. I like and admire both of their wives, and their shoes will be particularly difficult to fill. Our captains place will be almost impossible for anyone to fill in my eyes.

He's a truly good man. He's a good husband, a good father and a great leader (most of the time). I worried less for my husband's safety when he was in command because I trusted him to make the right decisions for the benefit of the entire crew. I'm sure that our new captain is a good man and a very capable individual, but trust takes a long time to earn.

So last night, we said yet another goodbye. eople seem to move in and out of my life in a rapid flurry and even though I won't foget them, my roots feel like they get shallower and shallower with each successive farewell. I long to be more firmly planted.