Sunday, August 31, 2008

Santa Kitty...

ummm, yeah. It's been an interesting day.

I did let him out into the rest of the apartment- gradually- but he loves being an explorer, so he had a grand time.

He sat on the couch while I was working on some knitting...


(Notice the fireplace in the background that he is so studiously avoiding...)

I was knitting and letting him play explorer when I heard a strange noise- so I put down the knitting (after the end of the row, of course- it's lace!) and went to investigate. You have to understand that this apartment is rather circular, and Ranger Man and I actually walked in circles looking for each other a couple times when he was here. But after about five minutes worth of circling I was getting really confused- where was my cat? Finally I went back in the kitchen, which I didn't think had any hiding places. I was wrong.


Apparently we have to re-learn the "no kitchen counters" rule because this is a new house. sigh.

Then he decided that the fireplace would be fun to check out. Apparently I was not very brilliant and let him do this, but it never occurred to me not to- I mean, I haven't used the fireplace since it's been 90 degrees here every day... what's the harm? So Webster played Santa.


Luckily I had Ranger Man on the webcam and he mentioned something about sooty paws and I said "oh, crap." yeah. Webster's confined to the bathroom again. Dirty Boy!

IMG_0023 IMG_0024

That's him checking out the shower. So he's gotten a pseudo-bath, I've gotten a pseudo-bath, and he's still confined to the bathroom while I hope he dries off enough and stops licking himself enough that I can brush out the remaining soot.

What a Day!

He's Here!

My little man flew in today- so 2/3 of our little family is here in our home now!

I don't have a fresh picture to post because he's been travelling all night and he looks rather disheveled. He has also managed to fall into the toilet already.

For now he's confined to the bathroom, in hope that (a) his toilet- foot will dry and (b) he'll do things like eat, drink, use the litter box etc before letting him loose in the whole apartment.

And, since I've been up since 0230- I'm going to spend a good deal of today taking a nap.

I love having Webster here!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Note to Ranger Man:

I really, really love that, as much as you are in vehement opposition to vegetables, when you are home and making dinner you make some sort of vegetable for me to eat. I think that is really awesome and sweet of you.

However, could you please tell me if you leave leftover vegetables in the non-see through drawer in the refrigerator before you leave for several months? I don't use that drawer because I always forget things are in there, so I don't use it knowing that I don't put anything in there.

On the bright side, I think Webster could maybe have a little brother in the furry pole beans that I discovered today in that drawer.

P.S. Thank you for sending me a card for no reason today. and I love you too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I am totally nonplussed by today. So I'm cheating today and I've got some pictures I'll share.

It's cheating because they're not my pictures. My amazing boyfriend is a photography aficionado and takes great pictures. Accordingly- I picked my favs and I don't know what they're all of.

He totally gave me permission to post them, but he wanted me to give a shout out to his buddy Mike- if you like the underwater-ish pics then check him out, please! (I just did and they're pretty cool!) I don't know the first thing about fish and underwater stuff, so I am sure that I didn't pick the best of Ranger Man's pictures, but I picked some that I thought were pretty.

This (obviously) is an owl- I have no idea where or when, but I like the picture a ton!


Here are the underwater-y ones. Ranger Man wants me to learn how to dive too- and I'm going to do it for him but... (can you sense the trepidation? I don't like water!)

IMG_0044 IMG_0029

Crusty the Crab!


These last two I know- they're from almost exactly a year ago when Ranger Man came back from his deployment (before he left for Super Secret Army Land the first time) and visited me on the Island over Labor Day.


That's the end of my cheating post for today- I hope you enjoyed the eye-candy!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kitty blog!


This is so about to become a kitty blog... (Are there really such things? If there are, um... hm. I don't know if I truly want to go there).

Webster-man has a reservation (I keep wanting to say appointment) for flying across the country. He's going to hate the airplane and be really mad at me... but it will be so worth it. The pic above is him curled up in an old ratty hoody of Ranger Man's. I sleep with (not in) that hoody every night- kind of like a teddy bear... Webster likes it too!

I'll spend the next week prepping my apartment for a cat and holding my breath hoping nothing bad happens!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

restless contentment.

Can such a thing as restless contentment exist?

I'm content (for the most part) with my home and my job and my life here, but it's not complete. So I'm content, but really restless for the real contentment to begin.

Confession: He got out of the shower yesterday, and I could tell on the webcam because his hair was all shower mushy and well, he just looked cleaner (I don't know- I could just tell). I watched him sit down on his bed and I could smell what he smells like when he gets out of the shower. I could smell the shampoo and the soap and the damp boy smell...

I know that I wasn't actually smelling it. That it was my imagination combining with some strong memory and triggering an olfactory reaction. But if I closed my eyes and just smelled, it was almost like he was here...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Holding my breath

I hate that feeling... Something big and important is about to happen, something you really want and need to happen, but you can't do anything else to make it happen. All you can do is wait and hope that the people you're relying on come through for you.

I hate that feeling.

My mom took Webster to the vet today, to get his "this is a healthy cat, he can fly" certificate. My dad is supposed to do some slight modifications to his crate and then put him on a plane next weekend. All I can do (besides make the reservation tomorrow), is sit here and wait.

I really need that cat here- this gigantic empty apartment is creeping me out. There needs to be something else living and breathing and moving around inside of it.

Oh yeah- and my mom- she's flying to Florida tomorrow. Like, 6 hours away from me instead of, you know, across the county- but she doesn't want to see me. And she flaked on bringing Webster herself next month, which had previously been the plan. No wonder I'm nervous about relying on my parents.

On a happier, cuter note: here's some pictures of my lil man.


He's had that ratty old bed since he was a tiny kitten, but he loves it!


When he was younger and I was an undergrad... Study Break!

I miss him! All I can do is hold my breath and wait and hope that he makes it here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I just posted a post, thought better of it and then deleted it. I don't know if that means it will still show up on feed-readery things or not. If it does, I apologize for the rant. Let me put my frustrations a bit more rationally.

I am having a difficult time adjusting to the not-so-academic setting. I didn't think that would be a problem because technically I'm working in higher education. I was wrong.

My thesis topic, my area of research and my passions lie in an area that is highly political and timely. It makes me very angry when people say that "Islam is a violent religion" or that people have heard that waterboarding has provided valuable information.

We all know I have bad dreams, so I will not pretend to be an expert on waterboarding. Researching torture methods would probably fall right along the lines of the genocide class- BAD IDEA. But I do know that anyone who is truly looking will have a difficult time finding good sources saying that waterboarding is a good method of obtaining reliable information.

This is not information that Ranger Man gave me when he should have, or for that matter than anyone told me who shouldn't have. This is me knowing how to do research. Cursory research even. And anyone who knows Ranger Man will tell you that the idea of him divulging information that he shouldn't is at the very least laughable, if not downright hilarious.

Islam is not a violent religion. Repeat that. Say it out loud and internalize it. Islam is NOT a violent religion. Are there violent interpretations of it? yes. Are there violent interpretations of Christianity too? Absolutely (Can you say Spanish Inquisition?) . Do not condemn an entire religion due to the actions of a few. Learn about Islam, learn about Arab culture. It is beautiful and it is fascinating. Even the bad parts that aren't beautiful are still fascinating. ESPECIALLY don't sit opposite me and tell me that the 'lay person' doesn't know about Islam. Take some time, learn about the 'enemy.' You'll find that it isn't Muslims.

I am missing the academic environment- of true learning and acceptance. I am missing the fact that 'evidence' and 'research' should be vetted, and I am missing true academic conversations.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This is NEWS?

Reporting something in the news should mean that that 'thing' or newsitem is newsworthy. There are a few checks on the newsworthy checklist, but basically it should be new and relevant information. NEW information. Something that people don't already know. Something that people shouldn't already know.


No kidding. You think? This AP writer could possibly up for the duh of the year award.

NO KIDDING the Taliban and AQ weren't on good terms before we started bombing.
NO KIDDING said bombing strengthened a bond that had previously been tenuous at best and really only tolerated due to convenience.

There is no freaking way that this should be presented as novel information.

(Can you tell I'm a little riled up about this? Come ON people- get a clue! Do some research about what is actually going on!)


I just submitted my final assignments for my (ugh) summer class. It has not been the most fun class that I have ever taken- but now I have almost two full weeks before I start classes again! yay!

Not that I can slack- I have got to work on this thesis and I just registered for an Arabic class (squeal) at the local University that starts in three weeks so, while that will be a ton of fun (does that make me a complete nerd?) it will also be a bit of work - one language class on top of two graduate seminars via long-distance and trying to write a thesis. So much for taking it easy!

The Verdict is In.

I can't argue with the majority. Apparently it is perfectly acceptable for me to be happy that he is feeling the not-so-pleasant sensation that is missing someone else terribly. You guys said it, and before anyone else read that post (I think), he read it and said the same thing.

I still feel guilty about it though. I know that feeling and I know it sucks, so being happy that he's going through it makes me feel guilty. Although... I have quite a gift (apparently) for laying guilt trips on myself. Maybe it's just me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

He must really miss me!

I don't know if it's merely a guy thing, a soldier thing, a specOps thing or something all his own, but Ranger Man is SPECTACULAR at compartmentalizing. He's seriously a compartmentalization genius I think. Work is work and home is home and there is very little overlap (well, except when he talks to me a bit too much like he talks to the boys...), but when he leaves for work in the morning, I know that I am not going to hear back from him until he walks in the door at night. That's just the way it is. And I don't know when it is that he's going to get off work usually, so I get to guess. He doesn't see anything wrong with it, because in his mind, he's still at work. Once he gets home, he's all us and it's lovely so it's not usually a big deal.

Today though, he called me during his lunch break. What a guy. "Hi. It's me. I just want to tell you I love you. I have to go back to work now."

He must really miss me. (Is it bad that makes me really happy?)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Knitterly Weekend

I should have been working on my final project/essays for my summer class this weekend.

I'll do that next, I promise! In the meantime, this is what I was doing...

I know the picture isn't that great- I'm back to using my camera. Ranger Man's is nicer and it takes better pictures, but um, I know how to use mine. And I'm not too afraid of breaking mine or accidentally deleting a bunch of really pretty pictures.

I did finish the second baudelaire sock- they're so pretty! and the pattern isn't too hard- I had it memorized by the end of the first sock- and it's got enough going on so as to not be too boring.

And I got a present in the mail. Well, not really a present. I picked out some yarn and used Ranger Man's credit card to order it. It's for his uncle who sent us two boxes of things for our kitchen so I'm making him a pair of socks with this:


Hazel Knits Artisan Sock Yarn in the Weekend Warrior Colorway from The Loopy Ewe. It is so lovely- and it's going to be sssooo great to knit with. That's why I finished the second Baudelaire in like... two days. Because I wanted my sock needs for this yarn!

Interesting Transitions.

Before this current trip to super-secret-Army-land, I thought that Ranger Man and I were getting to be pros at the TDY thing. Little did I know how different this TDY would be.

Being here, in our home waiting for him to come back has made this experience completely and utterly different than before. I'm not going to get into it too much right now (mostly because I don't want to bring myself down!), but there was something interesting that happened last night.

Talking to Ranger Man via webcam last night, I was commenting on how we've still got a while before he comes back. So then, naturally knowing that there is a long weekend coming up, I looked up plane fares from here to there for that long weekend- and it was surprisingly low.

So we talked about it, Ranger Man determined (as the one who would be footing the bill) that it would probably be worth it. At first glance I agreed. Heck, it was my idea. But then the more I thought about the logistics it would take to get me there, and how it would only be a couple days and it just seemed like a lot of money for just a couple days when we don't have a dining room table yet. Or a TV. Or bath mats for the bathroom.

This is the first time that I've had the opportunity to fly across the country to see him that it hasn't been the only opportunity I can see for the foreseeable future.

Let me try to rephrase that so it makes more sense: All last year it felt like if there's an opportunity to spend time with each other, we better take it because we don't know when the next will be. This time I know when he's coming home (home to me!), I know how long he's going to be here, and I know where he's going after that. I know that if I take all that time, energy and money to fly out there in a couple weeks, it won't be that much longer before he'll be flying the other direction back to me and he'll be here for a month. As a sidenote: seriously, a whole month. It's going to be awesome.

The more all of those realizations came, the less it seemed worth it to fly out there for Labor Day. It's not that I don't want to see him- because I really do, but I don't want to say good bye to him again, it just feels easier to plow through, with that end date in sight and just keep going. It was a completely different experience than I've had before... Does that mean we're transitioning into some different aspect of Army couple-hood?

Friday, August 15, 2008


We close the campus where I work at noon on Fridays during the summer. It's quite lovely, actually. I do my grocery shopping (mmm- watermelon is my treat for Friday), go home and take a nap and then veg for the rest of the night.

My agenda?

I have a bottle of chardonnay (which I may or may not have already broken into, I'm not telling), my second baudelaire sock and "Die Hard." I love that I have all of Ranger Man's DVDs to watch!

I'll leave you with an in-process pic of the first baudelaire. It's done now and I'm working on the foot of the second- I love this pattern too!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

One Year

What a difference a year makes.

I'm still in school- and I work for a school, so as far as I'm concerned, this is my "New Year" that's just about to begin. I was thinking about the past year today and wow. How much things have changed.

It was almost exactly a year ago that I was moving onto the Island.

I thought that I was going to a great program where I could continue my studies in military-media relations and go on to work in a field utilizing that research... not so much. I am now, essentially, back to square one. I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I have a job that could easily be a career, but I don't really think that will happen. Some days I want to continue and get another MA and then my PhD, but others I think that I just can't stand any more grad school politics.

I thought that Ranger Man and I weren't that serious. Ha. That one is kind of funny considering that I just moved across the country to live with his stuff. But with everything else that changed this last year, I realized that he was the one that was really helping me with it. And consequently, it was him that I wanted to be with. I could actually point you to a specific day that I started realizing this, but I won't bore anyone with the details.

I thought I had a home. Between me wanting to leave school and go home and my dad telling me that he really meant it when he said I couldn't go back home, and my mom leaving my dad... yeah. I'm glad I've got Ranger Man.

My mom was my best friend a year ago.

I had never seen a cockroach. Or a Praying Mantis. Or a flying Cockroach. Oh my gosh I hate bugs.

A year ago I thought my dreams were somewhat under control. Boy was I wrong about that one (that whole taking a class about genocide idea was not my brightest).

A year ago I did not take any knitting with me- it was packed and ready to be shipped, but it did not come with me. My knitting was one of the first things I planned around this last time I flew. It is amazing how knitting has become a coping mechanism for me.

I think that's a good list for now. What a year.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

good grief

Is it a bad sign when your financial aid department hasn't bothered to answer the question you asked them two months ago?

I do so love my school...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Need of a Duck Behavioralist.

I am not making this up.

In our apartment place, there are a few mini-lakes scattered around the place, and accordingly there are ducks. There are quite a few ducks actually.

Every night, about the time I am coming home from work there is a very strange duck phenomenon that occurs.

These ducks- about 30 or so all get together and march themselves down the sidewalk. I am not kidding. It is a massive duck migration. All other times of the day you can see normal numbers of ducks- small duck families and the like. But right around get off work time, all of these ducks get together and march themselves down the sidewalk and apparently, they all launch themselves into the lake at the same time.


See the duck parade? You can see them all lined up, converging at the launch point.

And then, at one point, I'm taking pictures of them and all of a sudden the thirty ducks turn on me!


I was nervous. That's a lot of ducks to make mad.

I had to share my ducks.

Why do they do that, all at one time, all at the same time every day? I need someone who specializes in duck behavior to answer my burning questions. This can't be normal, right?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Roza's socks

I told you I've been knitting.


Roza's Socks from last year's Spring IK. They've got a longer leg than I usually make, but I think I like them a lot- they fit wonderfully. The brioche pattern kind of felt like purgatory- the two row repeat was a little monotonous, but it was brainless- I was knitting on these while we were at a concert at Turner Field. Hey- I had to do something in between the singers!

Here's a close up of the stitch pattern:


I snagged Ranger Man's camera for these- I like it!

I'll stretch out the FOs for a while, I don't know how long it will be before another, I've started some bigger projects like a blanket and a stole, so they may take me a while. Although I do of course have another pair of socks on the needles too..

Friday, August 8, 2008

The very worst part.

Okay- yes. It is appalling that John Edwards had an affair. yadda yadda yadda. Keep it in your pants, poor Elizabeth etc. Don't lie... got it.

The worst part about the whole thing?

"They" are printing the name of the CHILD he says he did not father.

What happens when this poor kid grows up and googles herself? The first thing she's going to see is this crap. That is absolutely uncalled for. The name of the baby, until it is proven to be his, should be privileged information. They won't print rape victims names (and um, that is the story) and thereby perpetuate victim stigma... but they can release the name of an innocent child who did nothing but be born? The child is not the story- the story is that poor choices were made- lots of them. This child has nothing to do with that and does not deserve to be immortalized in this way by the press. That's the really trashy part of this whole thing, if you ask me.

Link to: Yahoo story, NY Times Story I got too nauseous to keep looking after that.

The South- good eats!

Ahh... yum. Watermelon. I love it.

and I totally jinxed my knitting by writing about it yesterday- gr. have to rip out a heel.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Totally geeked out.

I think I just had my fifteen seconds of fame.

Heather talked about me on CraftLit. Or rather, she talked about an email I sent her.

I may or may not have squealed loudly. I'm not telling.

Seriously, this is one of my favorite podcasts... I love it.

About my knitting... I'm going to hijack Ranger Man's left behind camera and take some pictures of some of it this weekend I think. I'll try to figure out how to post those pictures, but my not so tech savvy self may have to revert to my own podunk camera. we'll see.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


One of the airmen that I wrote to for a while a couple winters ago is going back. We've kept in contact a bit since he's been back - we were IMing tonight (after several months of not really talking much) and he said that he's leaving again soon.

So my immediate reaction was "send me your address and I'll write to you!"

He was gone before, I didn't know anything about him (literally I didn't know if I was writing to a guy or a girl) and I still wrote a letter a week to him, so of course I'm going to write to him now that I know he's a he and a little bit about him! Good grief.

Why I love TDYs

I forgot my Cell Phone at work today. It's not attached at my hip and I'm not freaking out because I don't have it. If he were gone gone, I would not be this laissez-faire about my cell phone. I love it!

Adjusting to the South Part 3

I'm going to have to get used to feeling like a lunatic for driving towards the lightning to get home from work at night...

Really, I feel like one of those storm chasers.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


d.a.r. brought up an interesting issue in a comment that I'd like to clarify a bit here:

Maybe I am coming from a different background because of the special ops thing. But I know that there is a small group of guys that Ranger Man works with regularly, I know they know who I am- and therefore the wives at least have access to the knowledge that I'm not a flavor of the week. I don't expect to be acknowledged by the wives of guys in a different battalion, or by his officers' wives (he's an NCO), but I do expect that if we are at an event with a close-knit group of guys, that I will not be treated like the stripper he picked up the night before.

ESPECIALLY if, as in d.a.r.'s experience, they've seen me multiple times. We just got to here to this post, and Ranger Man just left, so I've not had this same experience. But as far as I'm concerned, if a girlfriend is making the effort to go to FRG meetings and show up at events, consistently, then 'real' spouses have no excuse to delineate between the themselves and the girlfriend. At that point, it is OBVIOUS that she's not the stripper/hooker/whatever flavor of the month and they should treat her according to the effort you put forth and the showing she makes of herself in the same lifestyle they are leading. Period.

I understand that the Army doesn't care if I exist or not, but if I am on an NOK list and I am showing up to FRG events consistently, 'real' spouses are only playing elitist if they choose not to recognize my status. period.

I would say that, to some extent, although probably not as much- this should be true of online communities as well. Isn't it interesting that it does seem that experience shows it is easier to be accepted (somewhat, in sort of a junior member status) into online spouse support forums, etc as a girlfriend when, in reality, if the transience of the situation is going to show up in a drastic way at all it's going to show up online where there's much less effort that goes into typing a forum post. I'm talking as opposed to actually showing up to an FRG event. I mean, I assume... seeing as how I've never been able to even get an invite to an event so I could be off base.

Again, I'd like to mention that I've not had these experiences (real, organized FRG experiences). Thankfully. Then again, I know nothing about my FRG here. ha. (bitter and cynical much? yes.)

Wait, wait... I do have something. I was invited to hang out with one couple. By the soldier. His wife never talked to me. We spent several hours together and the wife never talked to me, but the husband made sure to invite me to hang out with them while Ranger Man is gone, both to me in person and to Ranger Man himself again several days later.

So I think that poses an interesting question. Personally, I would never think of accepting an invitation (especially such an open one) made by the servicemember-husband, when there was no such welcome by the spouse. Maybe even if there was a welcome from the spouse, it just feels weird calling the dude and saying "hey, I know you said I could come over if I got too stir-crazy, can I take you up on that offer?" And then what would I say to the wife when I got there, "Um, I know that we didn't talk at all the other day but your husband said I could come hang out with you. I hope that's okay." right. that doesn't feel comfortable to me. Is that me overreacting?? Is that even normal to have such one-sided invitations?

Monday, August 4, 2008

so timely

Wow... talk about timely.

I recently met a spouse. Not through Ranger Man- so someone who knew nothing about me or him or us... merely asked why I moved here (like everyone else in this city, it seems like) and I told the truth: "My boyfriend is in the Army." This is after she asked me where I was from originally.

The dripping-with-disdain response? "Oh, so... are you planning on getting married? Or just trying it out?" wtf? first of all, it's none of your dang business if you're going to use that tone. Second of all- um yeah. I moved ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY on a freaking whim- to 'try it out.' Right.

Okay, but on the same-ish note, I was thinking today... Wouldn't it make much more sense for all those spouses that think I either need to get married or get lost to encourage my non-spouse relationship? I'm doing all the same things as them, taking care of my soldier, but we're not getting BAH, I'm not taking up their precious appointments at the hospital, I'm not making their lines at the commissary longer... all of those resources that I'm not getting- now there's more for them. Shouldn't they be encouraging that? Shouldnt the Army be encouraging that rather than pushing us into a position where they'll be doling out more money and more resources?

All those spouses that have the marry or drop mentality should really think about how much they could gain by encouraging non-traditional (ie non-spouse) relationships.

oh yeah, and all that bragging about how well I was sleeping that I did yesterday. Well, let's just say I spoke too soon on that one. Last night wasn't good.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

On the Virtues of the Webcam...

I am getting so spoiled during this TDY. Ranger Man is working normal hours (getting off at 6 every day? That's unheard of!), and he's staying in a room that has internet access.

This means that he and I can communicate via webcam rather than solely by email or phone. Holy moley does it make a difference to be able to see him! And, it's all voice-enabled too, so gone are the days of late night phone calls! yay!

But the true value of the webcam? It helps me sleep.

We all know that I'm a crazy insomniac that doesn't sleep worth a darn. I don't think before now Ranger Man had ever actually seen me sleep- he always falls asleep first and I am always waking him up in the morning when I have had enough of the trying to sleep bit, so I don't think he's ever actually seen me sleep.

But now... I think whoever invented the webcam should get some sort of award from the insomniac's guild or something because seriously- wow it helps so much!
I can do my thing, get ready for bed, and he's there. I can get into bed, lay down and relax and I don't have to do it by myself. He's there as I drift in and out and he will talk to me if I talk to him, but other than that he's just there, watching tv or something. It's very comforting and it's very centering. It's just enough that I have something to focus on so my mind doesn't race, and it's comforting to know that he's there (and awake!) in case I have a bad dream, but it's not stimulating enough to re-activate my mind, it just helps to slow everything down gradually.

So I'll do that for a while until I actually drift off for a while and then when I wake up I'll be groggy, say goodnight and turn off the light. It's amazing. I still don't sleep well, but it sure takes a lot of the dread out of the going to sleep part. And that is saying something. I love it!

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Okay. I was kind of avoiding it, but I guess I'll put in my two cents re: this post on Spousebuzz.

I (obviously) have strong opinions about this...

Yes, I am a girlfriend and I hate it. But, on the other hand, do I want to get married before Ranger Man is ready or for the wrong reasons? Absolutely not.

I think it is crap that what feels some days like the entire world telling me that because I'm not married I must be either a. crazy or b. some sort of dirty barracks whore.

Every day, multiple times a day, people ask me why in the world would I move to Georgia, of all places? And, not being a very good liar, I respond with the truth- that my boyfriend is in the Army and is stationed here. This is met with varying degrees of skepticism, disgust and other myriad reactions. I actually had someone that I work with tell me "for just a boyfriend? you're brave." Seriously? holy cow.

I do everything that wives do. I have moved across the country, I have rearranged my school schedule so I could be with him, I left my family behind to be with him. I wash his uniforms and I put up with the late night phone calls he gets from his privates. I do all of this - just like wives do, for the amazing compensation of 18 freaking days with him.

Oh, and I do it without the perks. I don't have health insurance, I can't shop at the commissary to save money, I don't have an FRG and I absolutely had to change my residency last month because no state is going to look the other way for a camp follower residing in their state illegally. So now I have to pay income tax (unlike the last 23 years of my life). I do it without certain knowledge that I will be notified in case of 'anything.' Oh, and Ranger Man doesn't get BAH and he's still paying our rent (what a guy).

I do it with full knowledge that everyone, including (especially?) my family doesn't even believe in my ability to make this decision and do what is best for me. I do it despite the sideways glances and the whispers. I do it despite the fact that while the adoring, militarized public showers appreciation on servicemembers and their families, that same militarized public looks upon me with disdain and suspicion and assumes that my experience is somehow fundamentally different because I don't have a marriage certificate. That somehow, I support Ranger Man less than wives do, and that somehow the separation is easier on me.

Why do I do it? For him of course, and for us. I love him, and I love the person that he helps me to be. I love that he lets me be weird and that it's okay that I know more about COIN operations than he does. I also love that I'm totally rubbing off on him and he's able to use some of my 'academic' knowledge on his current TDY.

That feels like the same old rant over and over again. But I think part of the problem, as a post on Loquita's blog suggests, isn't so much that the resources aren't available for non-married servicemember spouses (I just made up that term, and I think I like it). It's that there is an inherent assumption that we're somehow different.

I understand why the assumption is there. I understand the transient nature of being 'a girlfriend,' that either we get married or break up- but let's be honest. Isn't divorce prevalent in all sectors of today's society as well? Is it okay to assume that we're not going to make it as a couple, especially those of us that actively seek out spouse support information (like SpouseBuzz)?

As far as I'm concerned, the only thing that is different about our relationship than any other military relationship is that we haven't had a wedding ceremony of any kind. We've done the deployment thing, we've done the PCS thing, we've done the TDY thing... what more do I have to do to be accepted as a spouse? Don't tell me that it's having kids. That's not true.

I'm not ranting against all spouses, nor all civilians. But I honestly can't say that my experience has even been any more half and half good reactions and bad reactions to my situation. There have been really wonderful spouses and there have been really horrible spouses. There have been really wonderful civilians and really horrible civilians. Shoot, even in my family there's probably a 50/50 split as far as saying nice things versus saying hurtful things about my choice to move to Georgia. Maybe that proportion wouldn't change- maybe just as many people would think that I shouldn't even marry him; I don't know that because I don't have a crystal ball. I do know that my experience as a military non-spouse (oh, I like that too) is looked down upon as being inferior to that as a bonafide milspouse at least half the time.

I don't have a solution. Yes, obviously getting married would be one, but like I mentioned, I'm not willing to do that until he's ready to do that, and we're thinking that perhaps we should spend more than 18 days together first. Do I understand the perspective of those that, from experience, treat me the way they do? Yes. I don't appreciate it or justify it, but I do understand it and I know that they're probably dealing with things that are a lot more important than the way their words and actions make a lowly girlfriend feel. That's okay.

Why do spouse-support organizations exclude us? I understand that transience and the verification and the suspicion. I understand it, but I don't think that justifies it. I do just as much as I am able for Ranger Man, but I am not afforded any actual status, or any even recognition of what I do. I don't think there should be separate places for military non-spouses to congregate and commiserate because that would perpetuate the stereotypes and the divisions.

I don't think that it is right for any institution to force marriage, and the Armed Forces are probably even more influential than churches in doing just that. Perhaps, spousal support organizations could be influential in fostering an environment of inclusion and true support that could help younger couples in making the decision to marry before it actually happens, rather than reinforcing the message that the only way for a non-spouse to exist is to become a bonafide spouse.

Friday, August 1, 2008


I am officially a Georgia resident. I've got a new driver's license and license plates to go on my car.

Adjusting to the South difference for the day:
I've alway said (and heard) that you 'get' grades. For example, "I got an A in World Civ." Here they say they 'made' a grade. I think that way makes more sense, but it sounds funny to my West Coast ears!