Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Dad's Family is Ridiculous

When Dad passed away in June, I should have known this kind of thing would happen. His family has always been this way. I should have expected them to try and cut me and my sister out of everything. If it hadn't been for my uncle talking to his neighbor who is friends with my mother in law, my sister and I would have found out from my cousin via text message.

Yes, we probably went about it in the entirely wrong way, but it's what Dad told us to do, so we honored his wishes. He told us how thing would go, and he was never more right in his life. Even after death, still hear him talking. He says to let it go and remember what he said.

Let me start with Dad, pre-death. Dad was a photographer. He was a damn good one at that. He loved his kids. He loved my mother even after the divorce, right down to the day he died. He told lame jokes. He did some pretty outrageous things, but all in all, he was my Dad, and regardless of how embarassing he was, I loved him.

Dad struggled with diabetes for as long as I can remember. I don't know if he found out right before or right after I was born, but for 26 years he struggled with it. Dad was stubborn in his own ways, and you couldn't tell him anything, especially when it came to his health. I know he heard what was said. He listened, but he didn't take the advice. Now, this is where the family comes into play.

They always felt like we didn't take care of our dad. We were irresponsible. We should have jumped when he said jump. We should have catered to his every need. Screw that! We weren't irresponsible. We were, and still are, young. I know alot about his disease. I know more about my dad than his own brothers and sisters, or most of them for that matter. I wasn't catering to him. His "needs" consisted of oreos, oranges slices (the little jelly candies with sugar all over them), Taco Bell, Butterfingers, etc. Anyone who knows anything about diabetes knows that THEY CAN'T HAVE THAT CRAP! I refused to let him have it. My sister refused to let him have it. I wanted Dad to be around another day. I listened to his doctors.

Dad was in a nursing home when I was around 21 or 22. He couldn't control his diabetes any longer. While he hated being there because he didn't have any freedom, he knew it was for the better. I hated him being there. I hated to feel like I tortured him. I knew that once he went in there, he was probably never coming out. If I had known the outcome, I would have changed things I did, but it's too late to go back now.

I said before that Dad was a photographer. I take pride in saying that. He taught me everything I know. Sadly, some of my dad's family takes me for a fool. I knew he would probably never take pictures again. I knew that he had one wish, and that was to take pictures of his daughters at their weddings. My sister didn't have a big wedding, and when she got married, Dad was hospitalized anyways. I was going to have a big wedding though. I was going to have my dad, with the help of someone, take my pictures. Boy, did that make his day when I told him that. I saw his face light up, and he filled up with pride, knowing that I had asked him to do it. Granted, that meant he couldn't walk me down the aisle, but he was going to take my wedding pictures.

Unfortunately, the Navy had other ideas. We ended up getting married before our scheduled wedding date. We got married in Illinois while Adam was at Great Lakes. Dad never got to take those wedding pictures. He had gone out and spent all the money and the time to prep and buy the equipment he needed to have for the wedding.

Now all this leads up to the point of this blog. On the day of my father's funeral, my sister, my husband and I asked for a few things that were Dad's. Well, as I said before, we honored my father's wishes. His prized possession was his camera equipment. He said time and time again that we were to fight for that. His exact words being, "They'll do anything to get their hands on my cameras to sell them and make money. These cameras are for you girls. Don't let them have them. I want you both to have a camera case. I have a camera, flash, lenses, and battery packs in these cases. Don't let them get them."

Sarah has her's. They have mine. Dad sold off the rest of his equipment to make some money. The reason he never sold the one is because he had given it to me. I never took it because I had no where to put it when I drove back down to Virginia.

That's okay. The jokes on them. My dad was smarter than they'll ever know. I think somehow, he always knew it would turn out like this. He was quick to make sure that his kids were taken care of. They think they know, but they have no idea. That camera that they're holding hostage, it's a 35mm Canon. They think they're going to sell it and get over $800 for it? IT'S FILM. NOT DIGITAL. FILM. Maybe with the flash and lenses, but it still won't amount to that more than likely. Dad bought it all brand new and the camera itself, he only had $150 in it. Yes, lenses are expensive, but when the statement was made at how much they sold the others for, the exact words were, "I sold three or four of them for your dad and made $800 for him."

Okay, so this one is a bright one. She's a teacher. Let's do some elementary math. Three goes into 800 how many times? Four goes into 800 how many times? YOU DIDN'T MAKE 800 OFF EACH CAMERA. YOU MADE 800 TOTAL. We's got us a Enstein on r hands.

Alright, enough bashing people. Back to the joke being on them. Dad must have figured years ago that this would happen. When he left Kmart, he made a comment to us that only seemed to pop into memory when JAG called my sister to say that his pension and 401k with Kmart was frozen, and that we were the only ones who could touch it, along with my mom, who was awarded one or the other in their divorce. Dad had said back when that he had added my sister and myself as beneficiaries to both his pension and 401k. In the event that my mother passed away before he did, we were to be awarded whatever she was granted during the divorce, by the ruling of the court. He wasn't allowed to touch the other one, so he made us beneficiaries on that.

Basically, what he did was make us beneficiaries on both his pension and 401k. In the event that my mother went before he did, the one was coming straight to me and my sister. The other, after my dad passed away, he didn't want his family getting it, so he made us beneficiaries. Looking back I remember that conversation. His reasoning was simple. "I don't want them to get it." (See a repetition going on?) "I worked to take care of my family. I don't want them to get their hands on it. My girls are entitled to it. I know they won't let you girls see any of it if it was up to them, so I'm making sure you're taken care of."

That's my dad. He did whatever he had to do to make sure that his two daughters were taken care of. The funny thing is, at first, I thought he was exaggerating. That some of this stuff he said was him blowing things out of proportion. As I've gotten older, I've seen more and more. I've been shut out. My sister has been shut out. We aren't like them. We never have been. Never will be.

He was right. They did exactly what he said they would do. The best thing is that I know what's coming next. Their world is going to cave in. My sister and I hold the hand that will make them fold. We have the trump card. We're going to rock their world, and the most awesome feeling is knowing that my dad is there backing us up 100%. They don't want to answer our phone calls. They don't want to say anything to us because we hurt their feelings by "attacking" them the day my dad was laid to rest. They want an attack, they haven't seen shit yet. I want nothing to do with them, minus two of my aunts and one uncle and their spouses and kids. I believe in karma. I believe that after the shit they put us through, and by us, I mean Dad, Sarah and myself, I feel their time is coming. It's sad to say, but so very true.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I have to get this off my chest

I read a discussion on facebook in a navy wife group that kind of irks me. Yes, the girl was venting. Yes, she had a point, but something I've learned over the past few months is that her point won't get her very far with other branches and civilians.

So here's what happened. She started a discussion because her cousin, who is an army wife, wasn't sympathizing with her over a deployment. The cousin said it was just the navy. Granted, the cousin shouldn't have said this, but I've learned all too well that when it comes to deployments, each branch sees the other branches deployments differently, and most don't consider a couple of months a "real" deployment.

Okay, so what irks me is that this has become a discussion from a cousin who doesn't act supportive to bashing wives from other branches because they just don't get it and they say mean things. How old are we, really? It's not branch hating. How are you really able to sit there and bash your cousin or your sister or whoever you're talking about and say how they aren't supportive and blah blah blah and call them branch haters, when in all reality, you're doing just the same?

In my past, I have dated guys who were army. My sister is married into the Army. The one guy I dated was deployed during our relationship. It was hard. Every day I panicked. I didn't know what was going on. At first it was just letters. I might get one a week. I might get one three weeks later. It was super stressful. The biggest mistake I've ever made happened with him. I really regret it, but only to the extent that I really hurt him and ruined something reall great, and if I could take it back and still be married to my husband, I would.

My point is that all deployments in the military are hard. I'm not saying any branch has it harder or easier than another branch. I honestly feel like I have an advantage. I don't have to send my husband off for a year or two years. I don't have to go weeks without hearing from him. Yes, he's always got dangers of pirates or the ship having problems with something exploding or sinking.

Army wives say goodbye for a year or more. They only get to see their husbands for 2 weeks in that amount of time. They learn to do it all alone. They learn to juggle work, parenting, getting their kids to school, practices, put their kids to bed, wake them up, get them bathed, dressed, etc. Their kids grow up without their fathers around for a year or so. For little ones, like my nephew, they don't remember who Daddy is. Daddy remembers that 7 month old. When he pictures his son, that's what he sees. His son is now 18 months old. He's walking, talking and potty training. He doesn't take a bottle anymore. He eats adult food. But to my brother in law, he still sleeps all the time. He still takes a bottle. He's barely even crawling.

Navy wives say goodbye for a couple of days or maybe a few months. They get to see their husband's when the ship pulls in at the pier. Sometimes, the ship pulls in for the weekend and then leaves again. Sometimes the ship comes in and is here for a few weeks, or months. Sometimes, the ship goes off to the ship yards for a while to be worked on. Navy wives still do all the things army wives do while the ship is gone. For the little ones, they have to adjust to Daddy coming and going. They usually remember who Daddy is. Daddy knows them as that 2 year old that they were when he left. When he returns, he's still that 2 year old, or maybe he just had his birthday and now he's 3, but he still hasn't gone from baby to toddler while he was gone.

Every branch has deployments. Every deployments is different. Every wife handles those deployments different. Every wife looks differently at the other branches deployments. To most army wives, we have it easy. To us, they aren't supportive. To us, civilians have it easy. To them, we aren't supportive. We get annoyed when civilians pout over their husbands or boyfriends being gone for a few days, but when we go to an army wife or a marine wife and say we so upset because our spouses are going to be gone for a 3 month deployment, they tend to tell us to suck it up and get over it. Really, we are doing to them like the civilians do to us.

So I'm sorry that I don't feel this girl's cousin wasn't entirely in the wrong. Yes, I feel she should be supportive. That's what military wives do, but to her, she was just slapped in the face by a pouty navy wife. To that army wife, she'd love her husband to be gone for 3 months instead of those 12 months or more, but instead of posting it all over facebook that your cousin didn't comfort you, look at it from her angle.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meeting New Wives

Today, if everything goes right, I'm going to meet a new wife from my husband's ship. I'm super excited! I've talked to her on Facebook and through text messages, but never met her in person. She's new to Hampton Roads, and she happened to come at a time when the ship's schedule was hectic.

I know a few people around here. Ironically, most of the military wives I've met that I actually feel like I click with are from facebook. I mean, I feel a click with the other wives too, but to feel a true connection like the friends I had back home, it's the ladies of facebook that give me that feeling.

My friends back home don't make me feel judged in the slightest bit. I can turn to them with any problem, regardless of how personal it is, and not have to worry about it being spread all over. They're there in a heartbeat when I need them. They're always willing to help out with anything. Some of the wives I've met here aren't like that. Sure, they try to be, but I don't know how much I can trust them.

Have you ever met someone that you felt like you had a connection with? Like, you just met them, and suddenly, you feel like you could trust them with anything? I've only met a couple face-to-face down here that I feel that way about, which is sad, but true. I have a feeling the wife that I'm possibly going to meet today is just like that. I honestly hope so.

Don't get me wrong, my friends back home will never lose their titles as best friends, but I'm hoping today I make a new best friend right here in Hampton Roads that I can share things with who will fully understand what I'm going through when it comes to the military and their b.s. My fingers are crossed...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our Military: The Next Best Thing to High School Drama

My husband is stressed severely. He's totally ready to be done with the Navy. I think he would enjoy it more, but the stress and drama are outrageous! He's an engineer. In his space, there's so much talk about what people did, who they did it with, why they did it, who's not doing their job, who's sleeping with who. It's ridiculous.

Here's an example. There are a couple new girls in the area where my husband works. At first, they seemed fine, but it was only a matter of weeks before that started to change. They're now flirting hard core with married men, and the sad fact is, the married men are flirting just a much in return. They give them rides home every day that they work together. They eat lunch with the on the ship. The wife of one of the guys said that her husband has been texted and has texted one of the girls. The sad fact is, the drama is high in that area, but it's talked about in other places on the ship.

If I heard that my husband was one of those married guys, I'd go off! I trust my husband, but there's still something very off about the whole story that the one wife is being told, and what I'm being told by my husband and a few others. I'd be really worried, and for her, I am.

The sad fact is, although these girls may be scandalous, I feel that the overly flirtacious husbands are more to blame than the girls. The guys should know when to stop. They should be able to put their foot down and say they're married and don't respect it. When my husband comes home and says he's requesting to move to a different space because he's uncomfortable with how these girls act, it's bad. He said he's lost all respect for those involved and even a little for those who stand there and let it happen. He's got a point. You can talk about how great your marriage is and even give advice on other people's marriage, but if you're so happy, why do you feel the need to flirt with another female?

One of the guys made a comment to me that made complete sense. Sure, they wouldn't be able to sleep around on the ship. People would notice they're missing, but when they're at a port or pierside at home, who can really say what's going on? Granted, no one has seen anything super over the top happen, but when they hit a port, who's really paying attention to what's going on with them?

So between lazy people not doing their job, losing respect for people who claim to live a happy life with a wife and kid(s), and still feel the need to flirt with their workers/co-workers, the drama, etc, he's done. He's already got the go ahead from another space to move on over, and he has another that wants him too. He said he's tired of doing work for everyone else. He's tired of getting yelled at by the one in charge of the space because one of the ones he's lost respect for told him to do a job.

I stand behind my husband. I also know for a fact that the one place he's trying to get to doesn't have the amount of drama, not even by half, that the place he currently is in has. I honestly hope he gets the request approved. I want him to do what he's good at, and that's fixing things. I want him to feel like he's worth it. I dont' want him to be held back because they can't get people other than him to do his job because one person wants to do nothing but clean and file paperwork and two others want to spend their day passing out orders and flirting with the new girls. I want him to go where he's truly appreciated and stands the change to move up for the right reasons, not because they think that will make him decide to stay.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I get his job is hard, but that doesn't mean he can't help me

I realize that being in the military is a tough and stressful job. I know that being gone all the time is probably hard. I know it's hard on those of us who are left behind. That doesn't mean you're any less responsible for the housework or the bills.

My husband is currently driving me crazy. I can clean the house, spend hours doing it, and he comes home and either trashes what I did get done, or he tells me that it's not good enough. I'm to the point where I'm protesting. I realize that I'm here more than he is, but I can't do it all, when I get no respect out of it in the end.

His mom does it. I should be able to do it too, right? No. I'm not wonder woman, and it's time for him to meet me halfway. I spent my entire day cleaning the house. Granted, it wasn't spotless by any means, but it was still a heck of alot better than it was, and in a matter of a couple hours, it was trashed again.

His idea of cleaning: drag the things out of the fridge or a room, because that might help me work on cleaning the fridge or that room, and then leave it there hoping I'll get the hint. Well, I'm sorry, but I'm not the damn maid. He lives here too, and if he's going to drag the shit out, the least he could do is finish what he started. I'm tried of trying to keep things clean when all he's going to do is drag crap out, leave trash laying around, have his friends over and trash the place after I worked 6-8 hours trying to get things clean.

I feel under appreciated. It can always be better. I dont' get a, "Hey, thanks! That looks nice." No. I busted my butt one day to get this house clean so that he could relax when he came home, and what do I get? "There's a belt on the couch. Why is there a DVD laying right there?"

I retaliated. He left his crap laying all over the kitchen after I spent two or three hours busting my butt to clean up the last mess he made. I threw it all in his "Man Cave" and left it there. I wanted him to know what if felt like to spend time cleaning a room and then having it trashed in a matter of a few minutes.

I'm currently watching my sister's dog. He likes to pee on things and crap in places. Granted, it ticks me off. My husband goes off and threatens to kill the dog. He's not joking, which ticks me off even more. My sister's dog does that, and all hell breaks lose, but it's okay for his dog to hump the couch and leave stains all over it? Really? Really. The dog is 150 pounds. My sister's dog is 15 pounds. It's really frustrating.

I'm done cleaning until he can respect that I bust my butt to get this house clean. We have a semi-annual inspection coming up with our landlords. I'm embarassed to have them come in here. The sad fact is that I'll be the one cleaning up the mess, again. My parents came to visit this weekend, and I'm ashamed to have them over. I was never allowed to live like this. Neither was he. His mommy did everything for him, and now I can't get him to do it himself. He takes me for granted and that's still not enough. I don't think I'm being unreasonable. I'm to the point where enough is enough.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Trying to Understand the Hype

So I've come across several ladies who strike me as desperate to be a military spouse. One even told me it's her "destiny." I realize that they have military family members, or maybe they were a military brat growing up, but when they're 18 or 19 and they feel it's their calling, I think they're crazy.
The way I see it, being a military spouse isn't a calling. Being a service member is a calling. You dream of being a banker, doctor, lawyer, mother, father, etc. If you dream of the day you'll be a military spouse, and that's all you can think of, or your life revolves around rushing out and marrying a service member, then you're crazy. You are the reason the rest of us have a bad reputation as a military wife.
The ladies who marry into the military at a really young age, mainly the ones fresh out of high school, are the ones who later realize that they didn't get the time to transition between gradution from high school and being an adult. They jump into their marriage so fast that it practically spits them back out. They realize that they really didn't know what they got themselves into.
Military life is hard. The spouses are constantly coming and going. The wives/husbands that are left behind have to help transition the kids, pay the bills, clean the house, work, run the errands, take the kids to school/sporting events, etc. It's not all about being a military wife.
For those of you who feel that it's so different and boring being a civilian wife, let me put things in perspective. There's no difference in the day to day life. The only real differences are that your spouse is gone all the time, you can't move where you want to move to, you can't take a family vacation when and where you want. You begin to understand that most of your time, you're single. You do everything like a single person when your spouse is gone.
For those ladies who feel it's they're calling, understand that there is no such thing as a calling. Face it, if something happened tomorrow and you lost out on that chance to be a military spouse or girlfriend with your current boyfriend or husband, you'd try to find someone else to help make that "dream" a reality. It's the girls like you who end up feeling like your trapped. You end up being unfaithful to your spouse and make a name for the rest of us who don't deserve it.
Now, I'm not lashing out. I'm just hoping that someone takes into account for the fact that it's a hard life. It's not all the glory. I just get frustrated with the ladies who feel that they have to rush out and marry a military guy, and if things fall apart, then they move on to the next. I can tell you right now, most of these ladies want the "glorified" title and the benefits, but in the end, they are the ones who give us the bad reputation and tarnish that title.