Friday, November 30, 2007

Dare I start Hoping Again?

Christmas. I may get to spend my first Christmas (and birthday) with Ranger Man. Supposedly, his leave form has been approved and his plane tickets purchased... Last weekend was so beautiful, it was so nice to be with him, that I am terrified to get my hopes up- the Army does like to play little jokes on people you know, or change their mind...

I love Christmas. I think it may have something to do with the fat that my birthday is the day before... so I have been ind of forced into the rold of Christmas nerd all my life, but it is a role I do so enjoy. I love the smells and the tastes of Christmas, I love how everyone is happy to see people that they might not normally be happy to see. I'm not particularly looking forward to doing all of this on the Island... but having Ranger Man here, that might help. A lot. I am just afraid to be excited about it.

On another note... yesterday he was filling out some sort of form while he was on the phone with me. And the "Marital Status" box was there... I told him that he was very single. He didn't quite understand... and then it occurred to me why it is much more important to me to get married sooner rather than later, and why he has the luxury of time.

For him, all that will change is that his paycheck will get bigger (and probably he will simultaneously have more thins to spend that paycheck on, but that's another story). But other than that, there are no tangible benefits for him... He will have health insurance whether we are married or not. He will always know where I am, married or not and will always have access to people that know where I am, married or not. He doesn't get a little card identifying him as being married. He can go to the commissary whether we are married or not. I know that all of those things shouldn't matter. I know that in the long run they don't (well... knock on wood with the health insurance thing), and truthfully, until his next deployment, it doesn't matter to me. But what happens then? What happens when I finally don't have to be on this Island anymore... my parents have kicked me out of the house- I literally have no place to go. Oh wait, they did say I could stay in the travel trailer. In the winter. In Washington. Right. I think because my life is so unstable and uncertain right now... it does mean more to me. I recognize that it is because of the fact that I am homeless, etc... and that all of those do not a reason to get married make... but it is always comforting to at least know the source of your issues.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trying to catch my breath.

Wow. So this whole not having the internet at my house thing really blows. And I don't think that I've ever used that phrase before, but I did choose to use it now to try to emphasize the new levels of suckiness...

It's one thing to be completely isolated on this Island and not know anyone... it's quite another thing to have someone rip out your connection to the rest of the civilized world. It's almost as though the internet was some sort of a security blanket, and even though I was all by myself, I could still be connected to that part of the world that still felt 'normal' to me. I could read the news online- in whatever language I picked. I could read blogs of people who were going through things like me, and even things worse than me (i.e. deployments) and keep things in perspective. I could check my email and send emails whenever I wanted. I could blog when something was bothering me. I could even watch tv on my computer when I needed a break from the History of Genocide or whatever it was that I might need a break from. I can do none of that any more. I am completely isolated.

On the bright side I am getting a ton of knitting done, and getting quite the work out as I have to load my backpack up with books to bring them to the library where I can get wireless access. It's a good thing this happened on the heels of an amazing weekend... and that (please, please Army cooperate) it's less than a month until ten more days of bliss. I'm also not a fan of hyperboles like bliss... but seriously- good night's sleep. Not being afraid of rapists hanging out in my closet (the grown up version of monsters?)... and someone to massage my poor carpal tunnel hands whenever I want- I don't know that it gets too much more blissful than that!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Checking in...

Okay, so my internet connection will be sporadic at best for the next little bit... My illustrious roommates (whom I now OFFICIALLY do not like. not one bit.) decided last week, (during the last two weeks of my first semester of graduate school) to cancel our internet service. And not tell me. I got home last tuesday night... no router, no cable... just a note saying that the cable people would be by in a couple weeks to pick up the cable box. The boys of course are not home, and will not be home for another week or so- they did this all completely behind my back without talking to me at all. I am furious.

On a brighter note- I had an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with Ranger Man. The bad dreams stopped the moment I got there... I finally got some sleep. And they started again as soon as I got back- which Ranger Man promptly points to as proof positive that we need to be sleeping together more often. I also got a nasty head cold... but other than that it was a wonderful weekend. We finally got to talk about "stuff" that he can't talk about over the phone, and he feels better and I feel better, and we're praying that the fates will align again over Christmas and we'll get to see each other again. It was so nice to be around him again...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

1 more day.

I just have one more full day and one more full night before I can get into a car with someone I don't know to go to an airport I've only been in once as I was exiting a plane to go to a city I've never been to where I can wait for an hour or two after my plane arrives at midnight local time for Ranger Man to finish all his work for the weekend and drive to the airport when I'll finally get to see him. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I'm sure to a lot of people none of that is a big deal- but I'm not the best with new things/places/unpredictibility... so it's kind of a big thing for me, and I am so excited.

This weekend is great, there's no pressure, no strings, no expectations. It's not like we have to adjust perfectly to being around each other because I'm getting back on a plane on Sunday.We don't have to set up a routine or anything like that. All we have to do is be together and relax. The only reintegration issues are going to be us, not having seen each other in 80 days, and before that just for a weekend after his last deployment. I'm not saying that's going to be easy- nor is Christmas time when he has 10 days off, and we've never spent 10 consecutive days together before... but I'm certainly excited to try it and see what it's like!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Today means...

77 and 2.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The REAL countdown

We are officially at 74 and 5.
74 since I've seen Ranger Man and 5 until I get to see him again.

(wow that feels weird typing, like it's a OPSEC violation or something. Maybe I should check to make sure this isn't a classified movement).

What I learned today in Graduate School

Soldiers make better lovers.

No. Seriously. It was in my readings for today. Good Soldiers, specifically, not bad ones...
J. Glenn Gray's Warriors (I think that's the title) is a good book if you can handle some existentialism in your war reading. And he makes the point that any Army significant other will attest to...
I love it!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Borrowing from BW

The Life and Times of a Butterfly Wife: More on people who get it
Butterfly Wife posted this yesterday about being around "people who get it," and I really liked it. I think this is one of the major difficulties being a girlfriend, or probably being a spouse who doesn't stay near base during a deployment. When Ranger Man is deployed and I meet new people- I purposefully don't tell them I have a boyfriend unless they point-blank ask (I can't lie about it, right?). And then, I try to give the least amount of information possible. "Yes I have a boyfriend." "No, he's not here right now." "He's away for a little while." "Darn it all, he's in the Army, he's deployed." Because when that finally comes out- that's when you get the look.

There's one of two looks. The first I think I've already talked about- it's the "You must be a slutty barracks whore, you can't be too lonely" look, and the second is the pity look. I think the pity look is worse... It's the "I have no idea what you're going through and it must be terrible. Why on Earth would you choose to put yourself through that?" look. I really hate the look.
I can't say that too many people have tried to tell me that they know what I'm going through- although occassionally a girlfriend will liken it to some disagreement they are having with their live-in significant other, and THAT makes me want to scream... but for the most part, I get the pity look or the slut look... so I try not to tell anyone.

Which brings me to the one good thing about this Island. Not only are my classes great- but most everyone in my classes actually DO understand. Half of my classes are active duty servicemen and women. There's one wife and one pseudo-girlfriend (who sort of gets it). I still don't volunteer that I'm a Ranger girlfriend... but the few people that I have told have been really great. I don't live on base, I can't go to the commissary or the PX and feel like I'm not the only one in the world going through Army Life, but I get a little bit of understanding in class. That's nice. So, things could be worse I guess. Plus, Ranger Man is still non-deployable for four more months. Thank goodness for that.

Ranger Man called me this morning (which he doesn't usually get to do, so it was a great surprise), and I said guess what- a week from now, you won't have to call me to talk to me! Yay! One more week...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What to Do?

Knowing that the love of my life has a dangerous job, where people periodically get some pretty good chances to shoot at him and his buddies... is it irresponsible of me to take the next year and stay away from him? I've always tried hard not to make plans as though something 'bad' were going to happen, but is that realistic, or is that just stupid? I mean, on the one hand- if I move to Georgia this summer and nothing happens to him and I'm now a bad risk for Ph.D programs so I can't get in anywhere... then will that be a bad decision? On the other hand, if he deploys this spring and doesn't come back... and I've only seen him for two weeks of the last six months because I'm pursuing my own selfish dreams, will that be a bad decision?
I know what the statistics look like if I quit this program now, even with the intention of 'going back to school' later- I know they look bad. I also know that I am pretty good at not fitting stereotypical, statistical type molds.
I know that Ranger Man's old job in the Army kept him pretty safe. He has told me that he "doesn't really know" what he'll be doing after he's done at Super-Secret School... I know that Rangers usually come home from deployments. But I also know that they don't always. I know that I hate being away from him, but I also know that I really want to finish my degree.
I've always kind of been against being that girl who rearranges her life for a guy. But I don't like being away from him.
So I don't know what to do. I don't have a place to live, either here after the end of December or, as I just found out, at home with my parents. How screwed up is that? They keep my cat, but if I want to come home, I have to sleep outside, in the travel trailer. In the winter. Not only that- but they first told me "sure, come on home..." didn't tell me until two days later that coming home and having a place to sleep at home were apparently two different things. wow. thanks guys. then I find out from one of my professors that dropping out of this program wil hurt my chances of getting into others. For two days, I was finally feeling better, because I thought I didn't have to stay here... and now I'm just confused. and hurt. and more confused.
I do not know what to do. Ranger Man says we'll figure it out over Thanksgiving. Only eight more days before I see him...

Monday, November 12, 2007

PTSD by proxy?

I had a thought in class the other night...

It's entirely possible that I'm either a) completely off base or b) stating something that's already been studied and documented and everyone else knows but me. Either way, I'm still sharing my though.

During the Cold War- the era of the eminent threat of nuclear annhilation by atomic bomb via Mutually Assured Destruction, children (and probably adults) who lived in fear of "the bomb" day in and day out developed some of the symptoms of PTSD. Notably, nightmares. The fear was so great and so internalized that even though it wasn't something they had actually experienced, the fear of experiencing it gave them bad dreams.

So- can kids growing up in the post-Cold War era, in a home environment where there is no unnatural violence, be so sensitive to the thought of violence or strife that they internalize it to the same degree and experience the same PTSD symptoms? I understand that it isn't really PTSD, but that's the kind of dreams they say I have. Is it the same as "the bomb" dreams of the Cold War?

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Count (up)?

Okay, I decided that a different name was in order. I am not sure if I'm about to get really sick or if I just have allergies (wouldn't it figure that I'm allergic to the Island?), so I took a couple sleeping days...

So now- add to the list of things to do,

FIND A NEW PLACE TO LIVE. As if I didn't have enough going on. It will be nice not to have to live with messy gross boys, but I really don't have time - or enough spare sanity- to deal with this right now. ugh.

Mission for today- finish rough draft of historiography paper.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Countdown - day one

well, I suppose if I'm counting starting at one, that would make it a count UP rather than a count down, right?

Anyways, Book Review Done, Historiography paper started.

Also, finished knitting on the knitalong danica scarf, although I'm still weaving in the ends and debating if I want to block it or not. Hopefully one of these times I am procrastinating from school work I'll get some pictures of it posted!

Had a funny thought today that made me grin... I'm going to be a Ranger Wife... That has such a nicer ring than Ranger Girlfriend... well, once he proposes but honestly, he's been talking about it way way more than I have lately... what a nice guy. I've found some interesting graduate programs in the Columbus, GA area... it's got to be better than the Island, right?

Monday, November 5, 2007

End of Semester Countdown

Okay, so I'm nearing the end of the semester, and I have just a few large projects left...

(1) Historiography literature review paper, 10-12 pages ("The Historiography of the milblog")
(1) Diplomacy literature review paper 10-12 pages (I think on public diplomacy in the middle east)
(1) Ethics paper, 20 pages (no idea, apparently my topic is still way too broad..)
(1) Genocide paper, 20(?) pages (theories of bystander noninvolvement in Rwanda)
(1) reading summary for diplomacy
(1) advocacy assignment for genocide
(1) book review - due today, it's almost done
of course the daily readings for class...

and most importantly, one very important trip to Super Secret Army Land!

I promise, compared to everything else, this isn't really that much... at least that's what I'm telling myself.

Also, I registered for classes for winter term and spring semester, and I found out where Ranger Man's next duty station will be, now I'm looking for doctorate programs nearby. What fun.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Tonight I got to give candy to trick-or-treaters. There was a grand total of 8 of them. This was a wonderful night One of the Roommates is going downtown tonight dressed as a construction worker- hard hat and tool belt and suspenders and all. I don't think I'll go, because I don't want anything to ruin the fun I had with my eight trick-or-treaters. I won today, Island.... I won.