Simplifying our Life

We don’t have a close date on our new house yet but we know it should be sometime in June.  I have a garage sale planned for May and have started that pile which has turned into an entire room full.  Nine years ago I moved in here with my ex-husband thinking we would be here, at the most, one year, which obviously wasn’t the case.  Now I’m completely ready to move into  a place with the Husband that is all ours but in order to do that some things must go.

I am the furthest thing from a hoarder but I realized I have still accumulated a lot of shit in the past nine years.  My goal for moving is that really, all of it must go.  Everything. There are a few things I hold sentimental value to but not much.  We will eventually replace all of the furniture, pots and pans will be replaced with wedding gifts that have been in storage.  I am not even saying everything should be brand new but I am saying we need to simplify ourselves. 

The rooms in the new house will be empty and I don’t want to go buy the latest fad to fill them.  I want to slowly fill them with what our family is about and things from our travels.  I don’t think Rebecca needs eight of the same toy and I can get rid of the empty picture frames under the bed.  I don’t need things that will collect dust on a shelf nor do we need that mixing bowl that never gets used.  And really who actually uses a waffle maker because we sure haven’t opened the box.  It is more like an everything must go sale.

While we are having a house built, it won’t be a home over night. Life will slowly turn it into a home but that doesn’t mean I want to fill it with clutter.  I want to fill it with the things that we need most not things we think we want at a moments glance.  I want to simplify our lives.

Moving Forward

Last week I spent a lot of time explaining to Rebecca the recent events surrounding the Boston marathon bombings.  It wasn’t discussed in her classroom, unfortunately, it was only discussed on the playground, where you can imagine how the facts where a bit hazy there.

The fact that I even have to have these conversations with my kid these days is crazy and I didn’t want to be solely focused on just that. I wanted to focus on the good that came out of it, the people who stepped up, the people who worked hard and how the human race came together. 

While her and her friend’s whined a bit about it, we made them wait for the President to come on the TV on Friday night.  We made the kids sit and watch people cheer in the street for our first responders, FBI, officers and so forth.  The other parent’s and I didn’t want them to just be left with the playground talk about where bombs come from.  This is an instance, like so many these days, that they will recall when they are adults one day.  We want them to say that yes, they know where they were when it happened but they also remember how America stood strong.

We used the rest of our weekend to take a step back and visit friends we are normally “too busy” to swing by and chat to.  We had slumber parties on the floor, we played in the mud, we made a big family Sunday breakfast and we talked at the dinner table long after dinner was over.  We did things that we either take for granted or put off for another time.  We did it for the families that can’t. 

I urge you to do the same with your family.  I urge you to take pause and not let our lives get “so busy” all the time.  I urge you to be positive and pay it forward today.  I urge you to thank a soldier, an officer, or any other first responder.  I urge you to have a slumber party with your kids and involve  someones hand with cold water when they are the first to fall asleep.  After all, it all goes so fast.

How Much Should You Sacrifice?

I sat with a friend recently while she vented/cried in my truck about her husband.  They have been married for about five years and she works two jobs to be the primary bread-winner between the two of them.  Her husband is an aspiring actor and they recently had to move back to the area because they have put themselves so far into debt while he has chased his dream.

I said what she wanted to say How much do you sacrifice for your significant others dream before you put your foot down?  She is burnt out, they are in debt, and they don’t have anything on the horizon that looks like it would help.  Sure, we all want to be the supportive spouse, we don’t want to be the one to kill their hopes and dreams. We hear the stories of how a person gets married and one person in the marriage feels like they missed out on something great because of the ole ball and chain.

What is realistic though?  Where would her husband be without her?  When do you say enough is enough?  I honestly could say that if I was her I would be done too.  I would have to have a come to Jesus meeting with my husband and suggest a different route.  I mentioned to her that she needs to not say it is over for him but perhaps he needs to take a break and get a 9-5 job to help pay down the debt and re-evaluate at a later date, say, a year from now.

Could this kill a marriage?  I’ve seen it before and my ex-husband’s job did us in.  His choice in chasing a career meant sacrificing our marriage.  There was no balance.  I don’t think you should sacrifice everything to put yourself on an unstable road for an unrealistic dream.  There are other hours in the day to chase our dreams, we just have to use them wisely.

Hanging Up His Dog Tags

When I met my husband he had just returned from his second deployment in Iraq.  He is in the Army reserves and has been for some time.  I remember sitting at our first date and he told me how much he loved being deployed.  He had nothing holding him back in the states, he made more money being deployed, he loved what he did and it worked for him.  I was a bit taken aback by the bluntness of it but we were on our first date so why would I care?

Fast forward to today and his perspective has changed quite a bit.  His contract is up in 15 months and what once seemed to be a simple decision is not any longer.  If he was deployed again, financially we would be in big trouble.  Not to mention he is now leaving someone and a life behind.  From so many years of deployment and Army his body is protesting against him and he would be probably be medically non-deployable as he needs a few surgeries. 

To him Army retirement used to once be a goal he could hit but anymore that goal seems a long ways away and not even worth it.  It requires more and more time away from his family and job than he would like and the politics/paperwork makes him crazy.  I can tell you that when they say one weekend a month, 2 weeks a year, it is a lie.  It is much more than that on top of his civilian 70 hour work week.

I’ve always left my opinion on the Army to myself.  It is completely up to him at the end of the day and I will support him no matter what path he chooses.  We even talked about him going full-time at one time.  I think I would make a horrible full-time Army wife but I would have done it.  Instead he applied for IRR which has a long definition that basically means he no longer has to go to drill.  We wait for his contract to run out and hope he doesn’t get called up to deploy. 

Today is his last day of drill.  We sat at dinner last night and as much as he wants out I think it is hitting both of us.  He is leaving men that are his best friends.  Men he stood next to and trusted them to save his life.  Men he has shared something with that I will never understand.  Men who understand his PTSD.  He won’t be putting the uniform back on again.  This is a part of him I have always known.  I’ve never not known him in uniform. 

It will be interesting to see where this takes us.  Sure, he has the option to say forget the IRR and he also has the option to re-up when his contract comes around.  For now though, this is it.  Tonight he will take his uniform off for the last time and hang up his dog tags but he will always be a soldier. 

First Thought Wrong

The Husband I are big fans of going to the comedy club.  Recently we went and saw a comic that was divorced and shared all of the antics of his ex-wife.  The thing that made this comic stand out was as much as he made fun of something he also threw in some good life lessons.  He said we may laugh at him a lot but at some point in the next few weeks something he said will click with us.

One thing did and it is called First Thought Wrong.

In a marriage, or just about anything in life, when someone says or does something you don’t care for then your usual response is something probably equally bad.  Your first thought is wrong.  If you pause and think it through then you may realize this is the worst response. So. Freakin.  True.

Example: The Husband is usually in charge of changing the sheets on the bed every week.  Don’t ask why, this is just in his chore column.  He asked for help, as always, which means I end up changing the sheets but I told him to do it on his own for once.  He came around the corner and yelled “First thought wrong!”  Oh no.  His first thought to get back at me for not helping was to make only his side of the bed with the new sheets.  I don’t even know how this is possible and I think it would actually take more work but he thought to do it. Yes, Husband, first thought wrong.  On second thought, he made the entire bed. 

Try it.  You would be surprised at what your first thought always is. 


Because sometimes you have to dance on top of the bar…

I have a friend whose family has become my own.  Together we are all dysfunctional, crazy and a bit off but aren’t most families?  They are the family that has accepted me no matter what and doesn’t question anything as long as I don’t question them.  This weekend all the bits and pieces of the family came from all over and converged on our area.  It was planned around a 5 year olds birthday party but turned into an excuse for the adults.

Just like that, shit got out of control.

We ended up at a local bar, already tipsy from pre-drinking.  We ordered round after round and loosened up, falling back into the same place we left off when we were last together.  For a few hours life outside that bar didn’t exist.  There didn’t need to be polite restaurant manners or fancy dresses.  Instead it was jeans and someone who gave you a helping hand as you jumped on the bar to dance.  Talk didn’t center around safe topics, such as kids and the news.  It was telling my husband old stories of when we were stuck on a river in the rain with an air boat.  We didn’t worry about bills and the adult life we get tired of.  We worried about not crashing into the band when we danced too hard or falling on our asses from the drinks spilt everywhere.

We could party like we were 21 and didn’t have a care in the world for once.  We could lose ourselves in the past and make new memories in the present.  I watched my husband sit with my ex-boyfriend, laughing at God only knows what.  I watched a “brother,” who was supposed to die from cancer 6 months ago, kiss a strange woman and take shots.  I spent more time kissing girls than my husband and we all took turns trying to one up each other in the drinking and dancing department.  We chose vodka and beer bottles over wine and pretty glasses.  We went for Taco Bell instead of fine cheese.  We pulled our hair in pony tails not caring it took us 2 hours to do it earlier.  Sure, we were reminded the next day, as we sat through the birthday party, that we weren’t 21 any longer.  In fact, we were all paying dearly for our antics but it was totally worth it.  Sometimes you just have to let go, you just have to throw your cares out for a bit because life isn’t all about perfection and rules.  If you don’t shake it up every now and then what’s the point?  Plus, being an adult is over rated and it is okay to throw it out the window every now and then.

Now is the time for good things

On the first of the month I told the Husband that I felt like April was just going to be a great month.  It felt positive.  It felt like big things were about to happen. Perhaps it was the hint of spring after this never-ending winter but something just felt different.

Here we are three days into the month and it has been good news after good news from friends. Some have wedding plans coming along, one has come into an inheritance, one has a marriage turning for the better, one is able to move closer to her family and another has found a job she will be happier in.  There is just something wonderful about listening to everyone share their good news and then in turn being able to celebrate with them and cheer them on.  I feel like the crap so many have struggled with over the winter was well worth it.

On my desk I have a note that says “Have faith not fear” and I’ve kept that going with my friends.  I feel like that faith we keep talking about is finally showing itself to the world.  We all need that ray of sunlight from time to time, without it, it seems we are just floating and waiting for something that will never happen.  We do eventually get there and yet we still can stand there shocked wondering how it happened.  Who’s to say we aren’t good enough, especially after we have put in the hard work?

So if you are one of those struggling with your faith in something right now I hope some of this positivity comes your way.  I hope you find that ray of sunshine that seems hard to find and I hope April gives you a chance to breathe.