Friday, April 28, 2006


I was thinking about that Destiny’s Child song, talking about how they “need a soldier.” And I got news for ‘em. You don’t want one. It’s not fun. Trust me. I love my soldier-husband, but these days, they eventually have to do some soldiering. And this time that means Iraq.

I thought I’d sufficiently prepared myself for the future. I had my game face on, my mind at peace and my heart sufficiently hardened.

And then I went to the store, and all my steely resolve crumbled.

Walking into the PX, there is a stack of Walking into the PX, there is a stack of Gorilla footlockers there to greet customers right up front. They’re kinda like a hardcore, plastic version of those trunks we all took to college. There were other things around, Hooahs (They’re like the Army version of baby wipes – lame, I know) and various products they would need when they left. And when we drive on-post now, there are huge crates lining the sides of the roads. The crates they use to pack up their stuff and ship it to Iraq. I knew all along they would be leaving soon, but now there’s real physical evidence that he’s going to be gone for a year. And just when we were really starting to like each other.

It’s taken me almost this entire year we’ve been together to get into the swing of this marriage thing. And it’s been work. And I’m the person who has said many times that I don’t like to work hard unless I’m getting paid. See part of the problem? I’m a weird mixed breed of personalities. I need lots of attention but I’m a loner. I tell it like it is, but my feelings are easily hurt. I’m a control freak, but I don’t like making all the decisions. And for those of you who know me, when you put all that together, I’m not the easiest person to get along with. I tend to come across as rude. I’ve had to work on not being the person who walks into the room and starts asking for stuff before saying hello. Or asking about taking the recycleables out before saying good morning. It’s not that I’m TRYING to being rude, my mind is just always racing, thinking about the next thing that needs to be done, and sometimes that other stuff just comes out before my sense of decency has time to catch up.

I’m also a creature of habit. I like to do the same things, at the same time, in my own special way, everyday. When I lived alone, the routine was set: Come home. Walk Taz. Take 30-minute nap with the TV on, waking up just in time to catch Girlfriends reruns. Cook. Eat. Talk on phone. Shower. Talk on phone. Sleep.

I wasn’t really used to having someone in my space, messing up my flow. Only it wasn’t MY space anymore. It was ours. And I couldn’t just turn the TV off just because there was a game playing or turn up Avril Lavigne real loud when I was in one of my moods because now I had to be respectful of someone else. Plus, I’m irritable. And it doesn’t take much irritate me – bad hair day, fat day, can’t-find-the-right-outfit day – is enough to set me off. But I’ve been working on those things. I’ve gotten to the point where if I’m out somewhere and he’s at home, I’m EXCITED to get home to him, even if we aren’t going to be doing anything. When it’s 11:45, I get a little grin on my face because I know he’ll be stopping by for lunch at any moment.

And now he’s leaving. And I don’t feel like I can really talk to anyone about it.

Where I live this is life. It’s the norm. These people have been through this 3,4,5,6 or more times, but this is my first time. I’m nobody special here; my situation is not unique. So I’m feeling like, why burden somebody with real problems? And “outsiders” really don’t get it because they’ve never been through it. Hell, I don’t even “get it” yet. It’s easy for them to just say oh, no and move right on to the next thing because they’re not living it. And for those who ARE living it, who have kids to deal with, who have to play both parents to children who just want to know why daddy keeps leaving, I’m just another whiny new wife who thinks the world revolves around her. So I don’t say anything. I just go on like everything is OK, which I guess it is right now. But how about after sleeping in bed alone for a month? Or what about when I hear someone has been hurt or worse? I try not to think about it, but it’s so close it’s hard not to worry, and it’s hard to stay strong all the time.

My intention in starting this blog was just to write about how I feel about things, and keep my friends up to date on the happenings with me. I never wanted to be an “Army wife” blog about how hard it is during the deployment, and oh, woe is me. But the truth is, no matter how much I hate the term, I am an Army wife. And sometimes, that’s all I’m going to think about. So bear with me friends.

And if you want to help me feel better, send me tapes of the new seasons of all the new shows. Cause you know we ain’t got cable.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Pimpin' All Over the World Part III - The End!

We woke up fairly early in order to get ready for the trip to Jandia to go to the African Market. Everything on the island was like a bus trip, so this was no exception. When we got there, it was like this huge shopping center. With the beach right across the street. The first thing we saw when we got there were the sales people setting up for the market. Actually, there was a group of African women arguing. We couldn’t understand what they were saying, but they were pissed. And they were braiding white people’s hair. Fun! One thing to remember in this type of situation. Don’t look at them. Seriously, walk with your head down and look at the merchandise at the corner of your eye. Because as soon as they spot you looking at something, it’s on.

“Miss, miss. Come, I give you good deal. What you want? I give you good deal.”
“Hola. Morgen. Good morning,” they went through the obligatory greeting in about 3 languages cause they didn’t know what language we spoke. “Where you from? The UK?”
And to Wood, “Hey, come here my friend. My friend for you I make good deal. This handmade my friend.” And they kept calling him something. Every table we passed they called out to him, “Dell Boy” or “Der boy” or something. I don’t know what the hell they were saying. So we decide to want to buy a couple things. And the negotiations began. He wanted these pictures made out of sand and they guy says they’re like $25 or $30 each. (Note: Ok the prices aren’t in $$, it’s Euro but I can’t find the euro symbol) Wood says we’ll think about it and come back. Those are the magic words. They don’t want you to walk away from the table because they’re scared somebody else will get you. So Wood negotiates to $30 for 2 and our guy walks over to help the next marks customers while we figure out which ones we want. So we pick 2 out and new guy comes to us talking about $40 for both. “My friend,” he says sadly, eyes pleading when we tell him about the previously agreed upon $30.

Then we decide we want some type of sculpture thing. Again, Wood works the magic to get the guy down from like $90 to $65 I think. The guy relents but the whole time he’s yelling about how it’s handmade. But, he adds, “For you, my friend, OK.” Like we don’t know we paying mark ups out the ass for that stuff. But it’s cool, because part of the fun is the bargaining, right?

So after walking the beach, which is again, naked old people city, we decide to find some food. And we settle on Casa Juan. We order a couple of individual sized pizzas and Woods gets a local beer and I get Sangria. When the Sangria comes, to my surprise – and admittedly my delight – it’s a ½ liter. Damn. Who knew? And I couldn’t let it go to waste right? I mean there’s starving kids in the world who would LOVE to get a ½ liter of Sangria. Or something like that. So we eat our pizzas and this delicious warm, fresh bread with some kinda garlic sauce. So good.

That’s pretty much what we did all day. Next day, we got up hella early and snuck food out of the dining area cause we were supposed to go on the Catamaran ride (basically a big sailboat). Only it’s raining hard as hell. After waiting 20 minutes to see if the bus would come, this lady pulls up and jumps out of the car. Trip cancelled. So we spend the day doing a bunch of nothing at the hotel. Well, actually we pretty much finished up the book we’ve been reading at the same time, Teach Me How to Love You by Thomas Weeks, Juanita Bynum’s husband. It’s a good book for married or dating folks looking for marital advice from a Christian point of view. The first couple chapters are hard to get through, but after that it’s pretty much smooth sailing. Ok, let’s skip to our next to the last day cause this is getting long.
We get up early, skipping breakfast again, to make it on time for the Catamaran trip. The sun is shining, birds chirping, the whole nine, so there seems to be no chance of our trip getting rained out again. So the bus comes and we are on our way. We ride for like 7 minutes and stop, so we’re like, yes! That was quick. But no, we stop at like 20 hotels picking people up before we get to the port or whatever it’s called like an hour later. But when we get on the boat, we see something we haven’t in a week. Native English speakers! Yes, they’re from the UK and are still hard to understand, but dammit we can hold a conversation! Wood helps them get the sail up (he scrong!) and we’re off. It’s fun just kinda being on the water in the sun, although it’s hella windy and I have my poncho on so I don’t get cold. Once we stop, they let people get off and snorkel, fish and Jet ski. Me and Wood opt for the Jet Ski. I’m first up somehow, but I enjoy it. The water is FREEZING but I handle minez.

We eat this pretty good meal they cook for us on the boat, and head back. But they play some kind of game that Wood somehow gets volunteered for. His team – the men – lose, but they all get to share a bottle a wine. They give me a cup too. Then he gives me his cup, which makes 4 cups of wine counting the two I had with lunch. Add that to the sun beaming down, and I’m officially tipsy. But what better way to end a vacation right?
Can’t wait for the next one!

Pimpin' all over the world Part II - The trip

So, I know I’m way behind on posting about my trip, but things keep coming up and it’s going to take a minute to do it right, so I decided to just make it short and sweet.

To refresh your memory, me and the hubby went to Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. The hotel was a good 45 minute bus ride from the airport, so by the time we got to the hotel we were But when we get there, it was like paradise. German paradise. My German co-workers booked the trip, which explains why we were the only Americans there. We seemed to be the only Americans on the whole island actually, which we couldn’t hide since we A) Didn’t speak German and B) weren’t African. The only other blacks we saw were African. But we pretty much keep to ourselves so it was cool.

The second day we went to the beach.
Nice. We were wearing shorts and open toe shoes, both of which have pretty much been no no’s since like October here. Although the coworkers warned me about what to expect on the beach, nothing could have prepared me for what we saw. Nakedness. Everywhere. And by mostly old people. There’s nothing like seeing a 60-year old man walking naked down the beach. And I’d be happy if I never saw another man in bikini-style swim trunks EVER. It was like a sea of penises. But not in a good way. Ugh!

I started questioning my hairstyle about this point (some ghetto flips I let this my new hairdresser put in). Note to self: Next time you go on a beach vacation, get braids. Plus, I forgot to bring a comb. Idiot.

Days 3: The third day it started to rain so we stayed at the hotel. Since we were there all day, we had time to really observe the Twilight Zone-ish behavior that seemed to be going on. The “feeding” schedule went like this.
Breakfast 0800-1000
Snack time 1100-1230
Lunch 1300-1500
Tea time 1600-1700
Dinner 1800-2000
So pretty much, you could be eating at almost every moment of the day. And that’s exactly what they did. Right after breakfast, the Germans would jump into the cold ass pool, or lie naked in the sun by the pool. They would even change clothes out there. Like seriously. Take off the swimsuit, put on underwear, put on real clothes. Weird. Anyway, about 10 minutes before lunch was to start, everyone would appear at once, like locusts swarming toward the dining area. It actually reminded me a little of Night of the Living Dead or something, where the zombies seem to be mindlessly drawn to brains. Except in this case it was food. And they actually got their plates and formed a line until they were told they could eat. Again – weird.
That night we sat through a presentation – in German – to sign up for some activities. We decided to do the African Market and go on a Catamaran. Then we went to the bar and had at it. Drink of the night: La Cocktail Canaria or something like that. Muy bueno.

Ok, this is super long so more in the next post! Adios!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Guess Who's Back?

As the plane landed, I had a strange sense of foreboding. And sure enough, as soon as we got back to Schweinfurt, the shit hit the proverbial fan. Back from vacation 1 hour, and I’m already feeling that deep stress I get when things aren’t going right. First of all: the party’s cancelled. Over and out. And I’m pissed, but still kinda relieved. Pissed because I totally did stuff in advance for a change. I didn't procrastinate on anything! This coming from someone who would research and write entire papers in college the night before it was due. Without a computer (thanks Riddler!). Anyway, while I was gone, everyone voted on whether to cancel the party or not. Luckily, there was only one “why didn’t you have all this stuff figure out before now” comment, but I didn’t feel good about the whole thing nonetheless. I feel like I let the sorority down. Like I stuck my neck out and got it cut off. And it wasn’t even my fault! Turns out, there are like 3 ANNUAL events going on the same night. I also got one “why didn’t you check the calendar” but I did! We came out with the event, and all of a sudden all this other stuff is going on. And there stuff is cheaper. And they can serve alcohol. But hey, it’s OK. Enough of this self-pitying and feeling sorry for myself. It’s over.

These 5 guys just got arrested for hazing. HAZING!!!!
And they’ve been arrested under this new law that says hazing can be classified as a felony. This is bad. Very bad. Some of these guys were just weeks from graduating. Although what they did was horrible – reading the affidavits shocked me – I feel like these are 5 smart brothers going down for something very, very stupid that’s going to affect them for the rest of their lives. Damn.

Don’t worry, it’s not all bad news with me. I just need a little time to get my thoughts together to recap my trip, which was GREAT by the way. Got me a little tan, had a little fun, you know. PLUS, I got my shoes in the mail. And I’m wearing them today. They say there’s always a silver lining, and if mine has to be shoes, so be it.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Hail Mary

"I ain't a killer but don't push me." - Tupac

Well, I tried not to let outside situations get me down so close to my vacation, but I’ve been unable to avoid it. They've done it this time. I’ve been planning this Sorority party for months. Since November to be exact. Before I brought it to the chapter, I wanted to make sure it was possible to do everything so I looked into the venue, found a caterer, came up with the theme, etc. It was supposed to be something kind of like Capital City Soul in Tallahassee for anyone who live(s) there. It starts with some live poetry and music, gourmet hor d’eourves and the like. Then as the evening progresses, the DJ turns it up and then it’s a hip hop/r&b/rap free for all. So I bring it to the chapter, they love it (yay!) and I put the wheels in motion.

I again check with the venue, bartender, DJ in January/February timeframe. So the event is scheduled for May, so my usually procrastinating ass is really trying to do things on time. So in March, these MFs come up with all this stuff, talking about how we need to be registered as a Private Organization in our “city”.

OK, let’s pause for a quickie course in all the BS we’re required to do. The Sorority is allowed to do fundraisers in Germany by the parent organization. So all the "cities" are the kids. A Private Organization, known hereinafter as a PO, is for the purposes of this explanation, an entity that can make money that’s not military. And it’s not really a city, but I’ll call it that b/c it’s easier. Got it? Good.

So, like I said the parents said we can do the shit, but the kids are tripping and they make us go through all this MFing hoops, right? So finally they say OK, you can “exist” in our city. But then the MFs come around and say we can’t serve alcohol at the event? WTF? Now, I’m no alcoholic (haha, really, I’m not I promise) but who in the happy hell is going to a MFing event where they can’t drink? This is not a MFing Alcoholics Anonymous meeting bitches, N****as, be wanted to get twisted! Ugh!!!! And on top of that, I find out there are two other events scheduled for the same date. Now, there are only so many black folks around here willing to pay more than $10 to get into something so that really f’s up the potential customers, Nahmean?!? So, I’m thinking we have to cancel it, right? Because yeah, we can do it just because it’s supposed to be in a month, and just so we can say we did, but really, do we wanna do something that flops? I know “us” and we are quick to write off some lame shit. Trust, I have done it MANY times.

So, what should I do? Cancel it? Let it ride and hope they don’t spread the word that we’re lame? I don’t know. But they can't stop me, oh no. I'm gonna come out with this same event in another city, like Ha! You could have had this business in your city b*****es! And they wonder why nobody likes to use their stuff to do anything. Anyway, I'm going to try to put this on the backburner so I can have a good time this week. But really, don't these MFs know who they're messing with?


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pimpin' All Over the World

Riddle me this: What's better than eating, drinking and lounging all day, every day for a week?
Answer: Doing it in the Canary Islands
b@#$%es!! Ha ha just kidding.

But seriously, me and Woodstock are taking a week-long vacation to the Canary Islands in 4 1/2 days, and I'm finally able to get excited! We're taking a little shopping trip on Friday to prepare and get our warm clothes together. It's still cold here so I won't know how to act if I can go somewhere without a coat, let alone wear shorts and a swimsuit. If you don't know, this is the vacation we get before the hubby leaves for a year so we have to do it up big. We're going to
Fuerteventura on this trip hooked up by my German co-workers. We got the all-inclusive package so all our food and drinks (read: martinis, daquiris and all other things vodka and rum) are ours for the taking. And you know how we do it!

So here's the hotel, which is supposedly a 4 star. Although in Europe, those stars seem loosely based. But I got a good vibe!
A few people I know have gone and loved it, so now I'm just counting the days. Plus, another positive? No body issues! Not that I don't have them, but Europeans don't have them. So for this trip, I'm European. Wearing my bikini without a care in the world. No worrying about stomach, thighs or whatever. I'm soooo excited!!! But don't worry, I'll post some pics after the trip. And hey, maybe I can brush off some of that high school Spanish for the trip.

"Hola. Como esta? Donde es the Vodka?"


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I'm coming out

So, here is part 2 of my awakening. Here is part 1 if you missed it.
During my bridal shower/bachelorette party, there was a portion where my future betrothed answered questions about me. The bridesmaids read them aloud and compared my answers and their answers with what he had written. One of the questions was, “What do I hate the most?” The answer: “When people say they’re going to do something and don’t.” Now I’ve become what I hate most.

Before I moved here, I applied for all kinds of jobs related to journalism. In a military community overseas, it’s hard as hell to find a job in your field. Even if you are qualified. So I took a job as a test examiner, giving soldiers tests, grading tests, giving ACTs, GEDs, that type of thing. Then 3 months into it, I got a call for a job interview. Overseas, getting a “GS” job is like finally finding the match to a pair of favorite shoes you haven’t worn in a while. And although the position was listed as temporary, I was told off the bat that I would probably get it extended, unless I just totally didn’t work out. The only problem is that it wasn’t in my field. But it paid good and it was in my city so I accepted it. The week before I was supposed to in-process into the job, I got an e-mail about my perfect job (well, here anyway. Not in the real world of course). Public Affairs specialist. Pays the same amount as my job and I’d be editing the community paper, as well as performing various other PA tasks (i.e. writing speeches and stuff for the base commander). And around the same time, a reporter from the other newspaper (military affiliated, but not military run) told me he was leaving and that I should apply for his job. But there were a few glitches.
1. I’d already verbally agreed to the other job.
2. There was no guarantee I’d get this new job, so if I backed out of the other one, I might end up ass out. I was pretty confident I could get the government job, though. As for the newspaper, I didn’t meet the requirements on paper, but my mantra is if I can get to the interview, I got ‘em. But I digress.
3. The other jobs were in other cities between 30-45 minutes away. Now, that’s not really a long commute, but it would mean that I wouldn’t see Woodstock before leaving for work and then would get home around 6. We go to sleep at 10. And we couldn’t eat lunch together. I’m not usually one of those chicks that has to be under my man all the time, but I had to put into account that we’d have less than a year to spend together (not including field exercises) before he deployed for a year.
4. The other government job was temporary with no possible extension.

So I took the job I have now. And I feel like a sell out. I’m not passionate about many things, so when I gave up my true passion – writing, it felt kind of like a lost a little bit of my soul. Which is where what I hate most comes in. I’m a big believer in the “Don’t talk about it, be about it mantra.” And I’m not being about it. Tha Riddler has been on me for like 5 years to start writing a book. So why don’t I? My excuse was that I didn’t have a laptop (cause you know all writers gotta have a cute little Mac Powerbook. They do on TV, and what makes them better than me?).

But I’m tired of reading all these blogs about people doing what they love, sisters doing big thangs, while I’m letting the world pass me by. I’m tired of sitting depressed, letting stupid excuses hold me back from my dreams. So no more excuses. I have to get off my mental ass and do what makes me happy. So hold me to it. Make me write. An essay, an article, a short story, SOMETHING. I mean I’m about to have a whole year just me and Taz. I have to show some type of productivity.

And don’t worry, you chicks will be in the acknowledgements. The ones of you who comment anyway (hint, hint).


Monday, April 03, 2006


March 31 came and went without incident. I made an off-hand comment to the hubby about it, but other than that, I didn’t think much of it. And then Sunday came. A woman was visiting our church from the States. Although she turned out to be the pastor’s mother in law, he called her mama.

It made me think of my dad.

March 31st would have been his 50th birthday. Although it’s been almost 12 years, every now and then something happens that makes me think of him, and miss him, as if so much time hadn’t already passed. I wonder if he would be proud of me, finishing college, going on to get a master’s degree, working, getting married. I like to think he would be. I imagine him calling Woodstock just to talk. I think they could relate, at least on some level. Before my father started teaching again, he worked at the Mississippi Army Ammo plant – maybe making the type of ammo Wood works with on a daily basis. I imagine him coming to visit me here. As a foreign language teacher, he spoke German, French and Spanish. He would have loved to have the chance to speak those languages in their native countries. I could call him, ask to speak to him and German, and practice my language skills. Maybe I would know French by now. I took it in college but didn’t want to continue because it didn’t fit into my plan. Even though my teacher said I had a “gift.” I wonder if he would have been disappointed that I quit.

Would my life be different? What about my relationship with men? Would I have gone to college where I did? Become so independent so fast? I don’t know. I know God does things for a reason, and I want to believe that maybe I took something positive away from his death. But I still wonder sometimes.

I imagine a different life where my dad teaches me how to drive a stick instead of my pastor. And we go shopping for my first car together, because unlike my mom, he knows something about cars. He helps me move into my dorm room, and subsequently 4 or 5 apartments after I graduate. Instead of my brothers, he walks me down the aisle at my wedding. Looks at my soon-to-be husband in that way that is meant to strike fear in his heart; that look that lasts less than 5 seconds but says, “You better not hurt my little girl or I’m coming after you.” A life where he gets to come and visit me for his birthday, and we go shopping downtown, and make my doctor’s appointments for me, easily asking for and saying all the things that I have to try to convey using gestures and slowly speaking a mix of English words and stuff I’ve made up (“I see float-y things in front of my eyes. Floooaaat-yyy thinnnngggssss.”) We would go to France and Spain, too, where he could tell us if the natives are talking about us behind our backs or not.

But it’s not a different life, it’s this one, and he’s not here. And he can’t help me with French or German. And he didn’t give me away at my wedding or do any of those other things. And that makes me sad. But I still did those things, I still learned to drive a stick, I still got married, I’m still struggling to learn how to conjugate verbs in German. And even though he’s not here to help me with those things, I know I’m not alone.

Happy birthday, dad.