Posts by sannie:
This is, of course, Military Spouse Appreciation Month! And in that spirit, I would like to share a little bit more about me than maybe you would like to know. But not too much. I know where to draw the line. Mostly.
This nifty little questionairre (put together by our very own Kristen Smith, people!) would be great to pass out at FRG meetings to get to know your fellow spouses. Come on, you know you all are tired of the boring ‘fill-in-the blanks’ papers that get passed out. We are a lot more than our kids’ birthdays and where we live.
Ah, Spring! When a young man’s fancy turns lightly to thoughts of love…and my thoughts turn to where I can get the best deal on Murphy’s Oil Soap bought by the gallon.
Yes, it is time for spring cleaning, the quaint tradition of cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, or washing every single item in the house. It’s fun on a bun! A lot of people also choose this time to get rid of items that are cluttering up the house. As I have recently unpacked 208 boxes of household goods, I learned a nifty trick that I would like to share with you all regarding decluttering. It’s called the rule of PLUM (because it rhymes with thumb, get it?).
P- Does it have a place? Can you find a place for it? Is this place pleasing to the eye? I couldn’t find a place for my wok, other than on my living room table, so away it went. Also, “under the bed” is a perfectly viable storage option. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
L- Do you love it? Does your spouse love it? Do your kids love it? Those are the opinions on loving an item that matter, not what your mother loves. Unless she lives in your house, which is a topic for a completely different blog post.
U- Is it useful? Does it have more than one use? Can you repurpose it for a better use? Be careful with the last question. Entire Pinterest boards have been dedicated to the repurposement (or upcycling) of things. While it might be a nifty idea to make a handbag out of old soda pull tabs, consider the logic of storing said pull tabs. Or consider the fact that you may have NO idea how to make a handbag out of old soda pull tabs and they will just sit forever.
M- Does it have a good memory associated with it? Does it remind you of a happy time in your life? Or, conversely, does it bring up bad memories? Don’t hang on to things that don’t make you happy. My mother-in-law crocheted an afghan for me years ago. A perfectly lovely afghan, but every time I see it, I think of what a failure I am in her eyes. So I put it into storage, in the hopes that someday she will like me again.
This rule of PLUM has helped me to get rid of a lot of the ‘clutter’ in my house, and as we all know, a clutter free house inspires a clutter free mind. *snort* Here’s hoping, anyway.
It’s February, and we all know what that means- the return of “The Walking Dead”! I mean Valentine’s Day. I totally meant to say Valentine’s Day.
Every Valentine’s Day, I try to do something a little bit special for Big Sarge. We have been apart for so many of them (a common lament among Army wives). Inspiration is a hard time coming, though, this year. So to give inspiration a swift kick in the fanny, I’m going to go back to the beginning and remember how we met. I’m also going to share the story with you, because it’s one of my favorite love stories.
So there I was in Camp Doha, Kuwait. Living in a big warehouse, semi-out of a job because they had local nationals working in the dining facility, and going to the gym across the street every day. I was in the best shape of my life! One day in June, my battle buddy and I were going out to the gym, and almost breezed right past the young soldier pulling CQ duty at the door. (Because even in Kuwait, there is CQ duty. I believe that’s because the Army just wants to have the familiarity for soldiers.)
The wickedly handsome young soldier on CQ looked so sad. My battle buddy asked him why he looked so down. Before he could answer, I blurted out, “He’s bummed because I look better in a tank top than he does.” Don’t judge, dear readers. I was young and dumb.
And that, as they say, is that. He thought I was hilarious. And agreed that I did, in fact, not look too shabby in a tank top. We would play pool at the MWR, hang out at the gym, and bemoan the fact that the biscuits at the Camp Doha KFC were actually hamburger buns.
The only issue we had at the time was the fact that he was in the Reserves. In a few months, he would go back to Virginia and I would go back to Fort Bragg. But the young soldier who would become Big Sarge had a plan. He would join the regular Army.
In numerous strokes of luck which amounted to winning the Powerball 3 weeks in a row, the future Big Sarge would get sent to Fort Bragg after going active. Then he was assigned to the side of post that I was on (the non-airborne side). Then he would be sent to the same company that I was in. And as the capper-he was put in the same platoon as yours truly.
Well, there are signs and then there are flashing neon signs. 4 months after this handsome young soldier made it to Fort Bragg, he and I were married. 4 months after our marriage, we were on our way to Camp Taji, Iraq. As you can see from the picture, I outranked him by the end of our Iraq deployment. I actually used this picture as our Christmas card photo.
For the past 8 1/2 years, our lives have been an adventure. I left the Army, we had 2 kids, we’ve moved a dozen times, he’s been promoted, worked 19 hour days, and been gone for months at a time. It’s not all sunshine and roses. His PT’s still smell stinky, I still am a bit of a hoarder, and his mom still hates me. But there is no other person that I would love to follow around the Army world. I love you, Big Sarge. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Well, we finally made it. After working like mad for a solid week with 9 finals, shipping my car, and watching the movers break one of my glass table tops, we are finally all together in Alaska! And as a happy bonus, we are already in on-post housing. This will mark the first time that I have ever lived in post housing. Shocking, I know. It will also mark the longest time we will spend at one address (3 years!).
I cannot say enough about how completely gorgeous Alaska is. I have a mountain view from my bedroom! There is SNOW, as is befitting wintertime. 80 degree winter Georgia weather- be taking notes here. Izzy had her first day of kindergarten at her new school yesterday and was over the moon that she got to go sledding for P.E. Bullet is not as enthusiastic about Alaska yet, but that could be because she is stuck with boring ol’ Mommy all day. I am certain that once we get our household goods, she will really warm up to the place.
Speaking of household goods, and my lack thereof, we are really roughing it. I am doing all my cooking with a crock pot, a cast iron skillet, a dutch oven, and a Leatherma
n. Sadly, I did not send Big Sarge ahead with several things that would be nice to have right now. Like a set of knives and a cutting board. I did bring along important things, like the corkscrew and the can opener. I remembered to bring my crochet hooks, and am filling the time with crochet. One star blanket, 2 infinity scarves, and 2 Hello Kitty hats later….it will be nice to have something to dust again.
With most of our meals coming from the Crock-Pot, I would like to pass along the best one I have tried so far. I can’t wait to try this with some homemade bread. As soon as my loaf pans and my mixer get to us.
Tuscan Beef Stew
2 pounds cubed stew beef
2-3 T. oil
10 3/4 oz. can tomato soup
10 1/2 can beef broth
1/2 cup red wine or beef broth
2 16 oz. canns cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 carrots, sliced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 t. garlic powder
In a large skillet (like Suzy, my cast iron skillet), brown beef in oil over medium high heat. Drain. Transfer beef to your handy dandy Crock-Pot (I haven’t named mine yet). Throw in all the rest of the ingredients and give it a good stir. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Adjust seasoning before serving. Big Sarge likes more salt, so I always throw more in. This recipe will serve 6, unless your husband is very hungry or your kids are really picky.
One quick motion-right off! At least that is the dream for me. It is less than 2 months away, our PCS move, and I am already starting to say goodbye to people. Hey, if everyone keeps asking me when I am moving, I am going to assume that they don’t want me around anymore.
But what is the protocol when you have said your ‘PCS Goodbye’ to someone and then you run into her again at the commissary? “Oh HI! (Awkward giggle) I didn’t mean to make you believe that we were leaving last week, but I wanted to say my goodbye to you early.” I can’t just say my goodbyes and then hibernate in the house until the movers come. For one thing, I think we would run out of food.
I am so worried that I will forget to say goodbye to someone. This has been a very memorable post, and we have stayed here for THREE WHOLE YEARS. I’ve met a lot of people, people that I don’t want to forget to see before we leave. I wish that time (and money) allowed me to have one last girls night out with all of the friends that I have made here. Unfortunately, despite what the day care provider thinks, soldiers do not make THAT much money.
At this point, I am just so thankful for social media. I can run a countdown until we leave, thus giving all of my friends a deadline to the big day. It also might help with disentangling myself from all the volunteer work that I am ‘voluntold’ for. Nothing like being able to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you with your gift wrap fundraiser. Oh, why not? It’s because I’m moving 4 time zones away in 3 days.” Who am I kidding? I’m going to be baking cookies for the FRG right up until the movers pack my mixer on the moving truck.
For me, saying goodbye is never easy. As Army spouses, though, we have the privilege of moving and meeting new, fabulous, awesome people wherever we go. And we should never forget that the Army is a small, small world. Who knows when we might run into each other again?