I love blogging. It’s a great way to help sort my thoughts and clear my mind, and let’s face it, my kids are hilarious and I have to keep a record of it somewhere.
For instance, on Saturday Trygg had baseball practice and on the way home I treated him and Trey to lunch at Burger King. While I’m at the drive-thru window waiting on our food they yell to the lady at the window: “Hey, look under there!” She takes their bait and while smiling says: “Look underwear?!” I’m rolling my eyes as they erupt in laughter in the backseat trying to say “you said underwear” through their giggles. That joke never gets old.
Or, when we went out to dinner on Sunday night and the table behind us was full of kids; loud, obnoxious kids. I know first hand that kids are super annoying in restaurants, I have three of my own how could I not know? We were just wrapping up and collecting our things to leave when Trygg announces: “Man, I wish those kids would just shut up and eat already!” Yeah, that was our queue to get the heck out of there.
But you know, as funny as they are I need to blog to maintain mental sanity too. My life as an Army wife is starting to takes it toll on me. I want to shout from a mountain top “I WANT MY LIFE BACK,” but this is my life…so what exactly do I want back? I want to be skinny again, that’s one thing I’d like back and I’d like that back in a hurry. I eat when I’m stressed and when isn’t an Army wife stressed? Curse you smooth, sweet, scrumptious, chocolaty goodness…..curse you.
I was an active participant in trying to prevent the Army from stripping my dreams, goals, desires, and identity away from me in 2004. As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t prevent the inevitable from happening. Everything was stripped away. Taken away from me in a bitter battle that tragically mirrored a nasty divorce where one side wants the divorce and the other is fighting to hang on to what little hope is left in the dysfunctional marriage. I am a fighter and I will fight to the end to get what I want. I didn’t get what I wanted, far from it actually. I had no plans, I had no dreams outside of the Army. It was a few years after the events of 9-11 and we hadn’t faced a ton of casualties yet (I know there were casualties, but the idea of retaining them was still relatively unchartered territory). I was serving in an Army that didn’t retain its walking wounded. They weren’t about to change the record books on my account. As bitter as I am (and sadly, I am still bitter) I understand that God has a plan for me and that somehow, somewhere His master plan might be revealed to me, but then again, it might not.
I had Bruce by my side through all this and that was such a blessing because I don’t know if I could have done it all alone. I mean, my first and final TDY (temporary duty) with the Army was to defend my own career. How sad is that. But having him there still doesn’t make it all better on the inside. Think about it, if someone stripped your career away from you today, your livelihood, because of a disability (the Army can do that, even with the Disabilities Act in place) and just shuffled you out the door with no plan for what to do or where to go next….what would you do? Probably go insane, but not me because I was already there (although I have retained my normal bill of mental health from the psychiatrist, it’s the only proof I have).
So what did I do? I moved to New England. For the first time my dreams and desires didn’t matter. I was no longer an Army officer. I was just an Army wife and all I could do is go where the Army sent Bruce. It was in New England where I met some of the worlds finest people. God is working wonders in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts and my heart aches for their fellowship. Especially when things are tough. And right now, things are tough.
We were told in February that we were being assigned to Okinawa, Japan. Wow! After our heads stopped spinning and our hearts started beating again we embraced this new adventure with open arms (much to our mom’s dismay). We got the kids on board and fired up with the new opportunity to go and see things that most kids their age never get to do. The pets…oh my, how to get the pets there. And my job, wow, will they let me work from Japan? We are planners and we had something to plan – need I say more? Then they told us no. No you are not going to Japan and we don’t know where you are going.
Are these people for real? We aren’t folks that take no for an answer (must be where my kids get it) so we dug into it. Nobody tells us no without having one heck of a good reason. Well, they had a good reason. Seems Trygg isn’t qualified because of his medical conditions. Here we go again…I HATE being told no because of medical conditions, that hits too close to home for me and my fight nasty feelers go up immediately. But as irrational as I am, I can be quite rational when it is necessary. I balance out nicely that way (sometimes). So we dug deeper and found the root cause of it all to be bad information in his medical file. Whew, we can correct this!
We jumped through more hoops than you can find in a three-ring circus or at the Westminster Dog Show and got his packet updated and sent off again. Things were looking good and all we could do was wait. Again. What seemed like forever, was really only a few weeks before we had an answer. They said yes! So we’re back on. Yippee (again, to our mother’s dismay).
Pets, household goods, my job, cars, long-term storage, unaccompanied baggage, sell the stuff we won’t store and can’t take with us, you name it and we had it coordinated. Picture this: Bruce has a dry erase board on the wall in our bedroom. Sexy, I know. It’s a real turn on and I am a strong advocate for dry erase boards to be mandated for use in every master bedroom. There is nothing hotter than a big white board on the wall with lists of things to do and accomplish. Red is for one list, blue for another, and black for yet another. Little boxes with check marks or x’s in them when things were completed. Some of the really lucky tasks were lined through and the extra special ones were set apart with an asterisks. Oh yeah, bring it on baby (now picture me gagging like a cat on a hairball, that’s how I really feel)!
Let’s just say that Bruce is equally as anal as I am in some regards, and in others (this dry erase board for example) he is just OVER THE TOP and a bit out there. I’m not selling the board. I’m giving it away. In fact, I’d pay someone to come and take it out of my bedroom and out of my house (ok, not really, I’m too cheap). Use a notebook or your iPhone for heaven’s sake. You have technology at your fingertips, embrace it, enjoy it, use it!
Anyway, as you can see we are organized. No matter how organized we are though there is still one thing missing. Our orders. Nobody moves anywhere in the Army without orders and we didn’t have any. Three weeks before our first scheduled pack out and pick up (which is now roughly 8 days away) Bruce decided to drop in on the orders office here at Fort Leavenworth to see what the hold up was.
Lord have mercy on me and please forgive me for the things I said about those people that day. They told him his family travel was denied. What?! Now we are back to no, when was someone going to tell us. Panic has hit the Bredlow family square in the face. Let’s not overreact just yet (whatever, too late for that!). Many calls and emails later and Bruce was able to track down the problem (thank God for his amazing sponsor in Japan). Apparently when they told us yes before it was only a preliminary yes, now they decided it was a no. Nothing changed between the yes and the no…nothing, well, except their minds. I’m starting to think they should run for office. All this flip-flopping has me itching to vote for someone.
Here’s the bottom line. Bruce was going to get a job in Japan that is vital to his career progression. Sure, there are other jobs out there; but to go on and do what he wants to do in the Army he needs this job like a fish needs water. We are in the bottom of the 9th and a storm is coming in…there can be no extra innings in this game. It must end and our team must win. The stakes are astronomical. Aside from the great opportunity for the kids and I and our family as a whole, this is a must get kind of thing for his career. They can’t pull him out of the game and send him to the showers now. There are no other positions of this caliber open anywhere. Anywhere. It is simply too late.
Sure, there are other jobs out there. And there always will be. But this is not good. It’s like pulling the goalie out in a tie game when there are thirty seconds left on the clock and your team has a guy in the penalty box. It’s idiocy at its finest and I don’t deal well with idiocy. So what do we do? We wait. Yes we fired back with one last triumphant volley of information that they already had available to them. The doctors here are equally as baffled as we are in this situation. I mean, Tyler’s doctor had that WTF look on his face when Bruce explained it to him and Trygg’s doctor was at a loss on how to make it any clearer than she already has. But alas, all we can do is wait.
All this waiting has me thinking, and that is never a good thing. I’m looking at the uncanny parallels of it all to my fight to stay in the Army. No matter what I tried I just couldn’t convince them I was worth retaining. I have a hard time standing by and watching the Army do the same thing to Bruce. I know he’ll still be serving no matter what they decide, but the point is that this has the potential to throw his career train off the tracks and leave it in a jumbled heap on the side of the career path superhighway. This could be a career killer. I have a hard time stomaching that, no matter what Bruce says to me. I know he dreams of battalion command and this could take that chance away. I can’t watch this happen and yet I have no choice but to watch it happen. I feel helpless. Psalm 27:14 is where we’re at.
I don’t wait very well. What don’t they get? Do they not realize they are messing with peoples lives? Their livelihoods? Their families? My kids don’t know where they will be living come July. They don’t know where they will be going to school next fall. I don’t know about you but that just breaks my heart. It’s hard enough to deal with this as an adult, but my oldest is eleven and I can see the toll it’s taking on him already.
If we don’t get this assignment then what? Will Bruce deploy right away and we’ll be stuck somewhere without him again? Will we be relocated stateside after we just put our RV in storage and sold the truck we tow it with? Someone, somewhere needs to pull their head out of their ass and get their act together. 8 days. 8 days is our first pack out date for our unaccompanied baggage. And we still don’t know if we are going or not. And the worst part is that all we can do is sit back and wait while our fate, Bruce’s future, rests in their hands. I pray they know what they are doing.
And I have a word or two for the big guy regarding this…I know He won’t give us what we can’t handle and that somehow this plays into His bigger plan for each of us but seriously, haven’t we been through enough already? We are only human you know?!
I hate being that ant under the microscope in the heat of a bright sunny day. When we get there that medical staff is going to hate us, or fear us. Par for the course I guess, we had the same medical legacy in El Paso by the time we left Fort Bliss. I still run into people who know us there. Not by our names, but by our legacy. It’s nice to leave such a lasting impression on such a large community….but is this the way to make a first impression?