And they're off...

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No need to reinvent the wheel so I'll first direct you over to Fuzzy's place. She has a wonderful overview of the entire thing.

In case you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about, it's time for the annual Project Valour-IT fundraising drive.

Fuzzy has links to her "selected Valour-IT posts" on the right sidebar of her blog. For a look back at my posts regarding Project Valour-IT, you can check out:

The original Op-Ord
Kickoff for the 2005 fundraising competition
Your hands
Better late than never
MacGyver is just fine

I will post more throughout the fundraiser, which is scheduled to wrap up on Veterans' Day. For now, start collecting those pennies and recycling those cans so you can help Team Army kick everyone else's @$$. Because that is what we do.


- hfs



Why is it that when I go to the commissary, I manage to get stuck behind the stupid people? Seriously.

I had to run today to grab a few things for our potluck tonight and I managed to get stuck behind this couple that insisted on parking their shopping cart smack in the middle of the aisle. Seriously.

Every. Single. Time.

I finally got fed up and simply shoved my way past their cart as it sat in the middle of the aisle while they debated over CocoaPuffs and Captain Crunch. Good grief, people.

And why is it that no one on this island comprehends the difference between a "yield" sign and a "merge" sign? It's really not that freaking hard. A yield sign is like a stop sign if there is cross-traffic present. You STOP and you WAIT until the cross-traffic is GONE. A merge sign means that you blend in with the lane of traffic that has the right of way. They are DIFFERENT.


As I was heading to the commissary, there is a part of the road (off post) that has a lane that takes traffic from another road and directs it on to the road I was on. At the juncture, there is a YIELD sign. Not a merge sign. So I'm moving slowly along the road (there was traffic) and this guy comes up to the YIELD sign on his road. He stopped and then proceeded to try to pull out in front of me. I was trying to move forward as much as possible to give the idiots behind me a chance to get OUT of the way of oncoming traffic (because they were idiots and blocked the intersection while making their left hand turn) and was NOT obligated to let the guy at the Yield sign in front of me.

So I didn't.

He didn't like that and tried to cut me off.

I didn't like that.

So I rolled my window down and told him to back off.

He didn't like that and told me where to go and what to do when I got there.

I didn't let him in front of me. It's just a car and *I* had the right-of-way. So, had he hit me, not only would he have had to have dealt with a pissed-off red head, he would have to foot the bill to repair the damage to my car.

If you're going to argue with me, get your facts straight first, genius.


All good things must come to an end. Or so they say. I think that's bullshit but hey, who am I to tell people how to run their lives?

A few weeks ago a blogger that I admire deeply, Andi (formerly of "Andi's World"), decided to stop blogging at her personal blog. She did so because she has so many other irons in the fire (SpouseBUZZ, MilBlogs, SpouseBUZZ Live, etc.) so it's not like she's disappearing off the face of the earth.

Ok, fine. I can handle that. Seriously.

Then, another blogger that I admire deeply, Cassandra, decided to hang it up. I don't know the details surrounding her decision and, though I respect it, I sure don't like it. But that's ok. She guest-blogs at others' blogs occasionally so I can still get a fix of her wit and intelligence.

Then, today, Lex decides to 'go sinker'.

You all are killing me.


(I'm half-joking. I completely understand that "real life" takes precedence and that there are more important things than blogging and I wish each one of you the best in everything. Now I just have to go find other blogs to read and love. *sniff*)


- hfs


Moto madness

The family that rides together stays together, right? Within days of coming home, MacGyver had Little Man's training wheels and pedals off his bike to teach him how to ride a two-wheeler. Took my son all of about 30 minutes to master that and then he was begging to try the electric motorcycle that Princess Trouble received from Santa a few years ago. Didn't take him long to master that either. Though, if I had a dime for every time MacGyver told him "watch where you're going!" I'd be able to pay for the dentist bill that I'm going to get when I take him in tomorrow. He wasn't watching where he was going and bounced right off the rear tire of the YSR and literally endo'd into a face plant on the asphalt. Thank goodness he had his helmet on. Though he DID manage to give himself a nice fat lip and knock one of his front teeth loose.


At least he waited until AFTER MacGyver was home. I knew there was a reason I didn't let them ride that thing while MacGyver was gone! It's crazy around here, I tell you! I love it!


- hfs


Coming up for air

He's been home 150 hours. It's wonderful. A little odd but wonderful nonetheless. One of the things I love the best about our family is how seamlessly we seem to transition. The kids fell right back into place with MacGyver being home.He slipped right back into the role of "Daddy!". And I set aside all of my control issues and have just reveled in having him home. I find myself staring at him for no reason. Touching him constantly. Finding things to do in the room he is in just to be near him. Life is good.

The transition was seamless. So seamless that, within 3 days he had Little Man standing up to pee, riding his bike WITHOUT training wheels, and both kids up and riding the electric motorcycle. Princess Trouble is really good at maneuvering the bike. Little Man likes to go straight and fast ("You're not going to be happy unless you're going Mach-2 with your hair on fire and you know it." Points to anyone who can tell me what movie that is from!). God, help us.

I've had to stop sleeping in the middle of the bed. MacGyver's bigger than me so I can't very well shove him out of the way in the middle of the night. But that's ok. I truly do not mind. It's nice to be able to go take a shower and not have to keep the door open and an ear peeled to listen for the kids while I'm rushing to get in and out as quickly as possible. And I find myself actually bored. For 15 months we stayed BUSY. For 15 months, we rarely stayed home. Rarely sat still. But MacGyver is a homebody so we're not goinggoinggoing all day long anymore. Definitely a shift in the pace of life.

I do feel badly for him in one respect. We had been attending our church for a few months before MacGyver left. After he left, the kids and I really dove into church. Awana on Monday, hula on Thursday, Ohana Bible study/pot-luck dinner on Friday. Military ministry, Old Testament Bible Study, etc. It all kept us busy and out of trouble. The bonus is that everyone at church knows MacGyver through us. They know what he looks like, how his week has been going, his favorite snack foods, reading materials, etc. (from packing care packages) etc.

He doesn't really know them. So dinner on Friday was a little awkward until he started to get names straight. Poor guy. Same thing goes for many of my friends. I made several friends here after he left. So he has some catching up to do. Thankfully we should have some time to do that.


SpouseBUZZ Live 3 is coming!!! We're headed to the Fort Bragg/Pope Air Force Base area on December 1st. Camp Lejune is about 70 miles away so this would be a great opportunity for Marine spouses to come and join us! It's FREE and you can register HERE. I would really encourage you to go if you are in the area. As of right now, each and every author/contributor to SpouseBUZZ will be there (me too!) and it's a great way to meet other spouses, learn some new things, share laughs, and just hang out. I've missed the last 2 live events so I'm completely excited about being able to make it to this one!


Please keep the people in Southern California in your thoughts and prayers. It has been one of the driest years on record there and the Santa Ana winds are blowing something fierce. This all means horrible fires and that is exactly what they are dealing with. Lex is watching and waiting, with a mandatory evacuation order in place for the area just north of him. Fuzzybear Lioness isn't sure whether her house is still standing and hasn't slept in days. Others are evacuating and many have already lost their homes. Belongings and such can be replaced. People cannot. But that doesn't mean the whole thing doesn't suck.

It's been 13 years since I had to worry about the fires. Growing up, we had friends who lived just on the other side of the Hollywood Hills, just below the infamous sign. Anytime we smelled smoke, we would worry about them and prep in case we had to go and help them evacuate. I remember the hills about town being on fire when I was very young and watching them burn as my mom came to get me from Day Care. I also remember the hills between my home and downtown Los Angeles burning. They may be a common occurrence but that doesn't mean it's not stressful. And this looks BAD.


That's about it for now. Lief is pleasingly calm and boring. It is good.


- hfs


Whole again.

We are.


- hfs

The last

When this deployment started, I pondered the first care package and all of the other "firsts" that would come.

Now I get to revel in the "lasts".

For the last time, I took my daughter to school alone. That's not to say MacGyver will be able to take her to school every day but at least he'll be able to consider the possibility. Other than R&R, he's missed every day of her school career thus far.

For the last time, I took my kids to Awana alone. From now on, if MacGyver isn't working he'll be able to join us and see exactly how much fun the kids have each week and what they learn.

For the last time, I tucked my babies in bed and for the last time I wished that their Daddy was here to give them a kiss goodnight. Tonight they went to bed with huge smiles on their faces because they know that, when I wake them up in just a few precious hours, we will be on our way to pick Daddy up.

For the last time, I took the garbage out. I HATE taking the garbage out.

For the last time, I slept in the bed by myself. Granted this could be a double-edged sword but I will willingly give up sleeping in the middle of the bed alone.

For the last time, I sat out on the back lanai and wondered which star MacGyver was looking at before he went to bed and whether it was the same one I was looking at a world away. For the last time I said a prayer that he would come home safe, sound, and soon.

For the last time.

The house is quiet. I can hear my kids breathing in their room. I can hear the sound of the ceiling fan spinning and the rain falling outside. The floors are mopped, the carpet vacuumed, the bed made.

The elephant has left the room. I can breathe again...almost.


- hfs


Is this weird?

I've been waiting, praying, and itching for this time to come. And it's about here. And I don't think I could BE any more excited.

But folding laundry last night, I realized that there is a part of me that wants this time to go slowly. I want to savor this. I spent the weeks before MacGyver's departure dreading the day he would leave. I spent the 15 months of the deployment dying for the end to get here.

And now it's here. And it's incredible. And there is a small part of me that doesn't want it to end. The excitement and anticipation is like a drug and I want more. It's intoxicating! Everything seems sweeter. Everything feels MORE.

As anxious as I am to tackle the man, I am seriously enjoying the wait. Strange.


- hfs


Blues on the Bay

The Blue Angels came to Hawaii this weekend and, after our experience with the Thunderbirds in Wakiki last month, I couldn't resist taking the kids. So we went. And it was awesome.

First, they had all sorts of other planes and pilots doing all sorts of crazy things, mocking gravity and defying death. The one that really blew me away was the Red Bull Helicopter. The guy that flies it, Chuck Aaron, is the son of a fixed-wing pilot who flew in WWII. Chuck has over 17,000 hours in a helicopter and was the first civilian to be rated as an aerobatic pilot. He had that thing doing maneuvers that fixed-wing aircraft should not be doing. I didn't get any decent pictures of it (I was too dumbfounded to operate my camera...) but you can check out the video on YouTube. There's a fine line between bravery and stupidity...

His performance alone was almost worth the cost of the seats.

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The show was opened with the Navy SEALs bringing the American flag in. Spot-on landing. Of course.

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We were sitting right in front of where the aircraft were parked. The whole thing was just so...precise. Which is a good thing when you're flying that close to one another.

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Like I said, precision is a good thing. They were incredible.

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It was a great day. And a wonderful way to kill time ;)

UPDATE: Check out this video for a great wrap up of the show!


- hfs


We have a date

It's tentative but it's a date. And it's soon. Thank GOD.


- hfs


Several of my friends' husbands came home today from Iraq. (and before anyone asks, no I still do not have a date or even a ballpark...but we won't go there right now) I went to help welcome them home and to support a friend of mine whose husband won't be coming home.

I am exhausted. Mentally, physically, emotionally. When I decided to go, my first thought was "What the hell are you thinking? YOUR husband isn't even home yet. Going to someone else's homecoming is crazy and asking for pain." And yes, a very big part of me is sad that MacGyver is not yet home.

But oh, wow.

Part of me is so incredibly happy for my friends. To witness the whole thing was incredible. I am so glad they allowed me to tag along. It did my heart good. So good. To see them literally tackle each other and their kids and melt into one another was just heartwarming. It's an odd sensation to sit here with a huge grin on my face while tears stream down my cheeks. But here I sit.

And to see my friend's grace and strength in the face of all that has happened and all that she has lost leaves me speechless. She welcomed those guys - men who loved her husband and called him friend - home with open arms. What an amazing woman.

Welcome home 2-6 Cav. Welcome home.


- hfs


Anticipation SUCKS

I don't even know how to start this post. I don't want to make anyone think I'm mad at them (I'm not) nor do I want anyone to think I'm bitter (ok, maybe a little but I'm working on that). So, here goes...

No, I do not know when my husband is coming home yet.

No, I do not have a date yet.

No, I do not know what chalk number he is on.

No, it is NOT getting easier.

In fact, I think it's getting harder.

Remember when you were a kid and Christmas (or your birthday) was approaching? Remember how it became more and more difficult to contain yourself as the date came closer and closer? Remember the anticipation? The feeling of wanting to be able to hit the fast-forward button on life and speed things up? The feeling of just about coming out of your skin with excitement?

That's me only I don't know when I get my present. We won't go into details here (I'm not exactly sure who in my husband's chain of command actually reads this blog and the words I would use to describe the situation would not be conducive to his career...) but he's in limbo at the moment. He's out of harm's way but he has no clue as to when he'll be heading home.


And I swear, the next person who pats me on the shoulder and says, "but he's going to be home soon, right?" as if that is supposed to make life ANY easier is going to get smacked.


There, I feel a little better. Not much. But a little.

And on a different note - a note that has nothing to do with ME - could you please hold our Cav unit and their families in your prayers? They come home soon and without 2 of their pilots. The wife of one is back on the island to welcome them home and thank them for their love and support. I cannot imagine how difficult this is going to be for all of them and their families. Such a bittersweet event. But they are strong and so is she.


- hfs


I'm weird

Not that that should come as news to anyone. But I am. Most people, as they get closer to a much-anticipated event, get outwardly excited. They get antsy and hyper and...excited.

Me? Nope.

Not on the outside at least.

I went to lunch with some friends today. I had received a piece of good news at o'dark thirty in the morning and you would think I would be bouncing off the walls with excitement. Nope. One of my friends called me later this afternoon to make sure I was ok. It seems that, the closer I get to MacGyver's return, the more reserved I become.

Stop laughing.

Those of you who have met me would most likely never use the word "reserved" when describing me. The word probably would not be used in the same conversation as my name. I'm not a reserved person. I'm a red head. And Irish (among other things). And, if you've met my mom, you understand the gene pool I come from.

I am not reserved.

Yet, here I am. The closer we get to MacGyver's homecoming, the more reserved I get. At least on the outside. Inside is a completely different story. I'm wound tighter than a spring. I tend to carry my stress in my shoulders (for those of you who are familiar with human anatomy...not that part of the anatomy, geez...it's specifically in my rhomoboids and trapezius) and my jaw. And right now, you could bounce a quarter off my back and it would bounce pretty darn high. I'm not sure I remember the last night I slept well. My appetite is a mess. My stomach is one big knot.

All on the inside. Outside, I'm as cool as a cucumber. Almost stoic. I don't get it.

I'm weird.

Then again, that really isn't much of a surprise, is it? Like MacGyver says, "Normal is boring."


- hfs


No more excuses

I've become quite absent-minded lately. Well, over the past 14-15 months or so. I've forgotten commitments, forgotten to grab my list/purse/items to return/what-have-you on the way out the door, forgotten my name from time to time.

I've blamed it all on the deployment.

Actually, I've blamed just about everything on the deployment. My absent-mindedness, my fatigue, my crankiness, my bad hair days. You name it, it's due to the deployment. It's a convenient excuse. Who is going to argue with me? I've yet to find anyone.

I lose my mind over something seemingly insignificant? Stress from being a single parent due to the deployment.

I cry over something that doesn't really warrant a frown, let alone tears? Stress from the worry over the safety of my husband.

I have a meltdown over something that usually would roll right off my back? Lack of sleep brought on by the stresses of the deployment.

Grey hair? Wrinkles? An extra 5 pounds? Yep. Damn deployment stress.

Comes in quite handy, doesn't it?

Yeah...that gig is just about up. What on earth am I going to do? I might actually have to take responsibility for my actions. Oh Lord. This could get interesting. Dammit.


- hfs


Productive day

~ clean fridge (inside and out): DONE
~ scrub baseboards in kitchen and entry: DONE
~ clean out kids play closet (aka The Harry Potter Closet): DONE
~ tidy up garage: DONE
~ laundry x 2 loads: DONE
~ paint 1 "Welcome Home" sign: DONE

~ more laundry
~ scrub baseboards in living room
~ paint trim surrounding front door
~ paint entryway baseboards
~ paint door to garage and surrounding trim
~ scrub banister
~ paint banister if time permits

~ reorganize entertainment center (VHS is dead. Need to take it out and move DVD and DVD/R around)
~ paint baseboards in living room
~ paint trim around back sliding door

Monday we'll be taking a break to go bowling and get to Awana. Tuesday the kids need haircuts and I need to check on renting a Rug Doctor. And I need to get some of that Windex Outdoor No-Wipe spray so I can hit the outsides of the windows. Easier than trying to yank the screens out. Wednesday the girl goes back to school and Thursday the boy starts back to preschool. WOOHOO! That should keep me busy and out of trouble...for a bit!


- hfs


Reunion Nesting, part II

In case you missed the first installment, you can read about it HERE. And, before I go any further, I need to say thank you to my friend 'ifer for coining the phrase "reunion nesting". She was the one that first said it and I took it and ran with it (because that is what I do).

A little update...

I've spoken with MacGyver and he has told me that he will be out of Iraq shortly and home sooner than I expected (remember, I am a pessimist...I wasn't planning on him being home until close to Halloween). And even though his impending return originally left me somewhat apathetic, that has worn off and I'm now in full "reunion nesting mode".

To that end, I just spent the last hour clearing out my pantry, sorting through the items in said pantry, tossing dated items, consolidating others (really, does one family NEED 3 boxes of flavored oatmeal?), scrubbing down the shelves, and putting everything back in neatly. It looks so pretty! And it will...

...until the kids get up in the morning. Maybe I should go take a picture.

Nah. I need to get to work on the fridge. Need to make room for the beer! (yeah, still working on that one...)

The portraits are at the framers. I have plans to rent a Rug Doctor and do the downstairs carpets. I am borrowing a friend's pressure washer and plan to attack the concrete this weekend. Ditto on the windows. I'm catching up on the laundry. The kids room is in my sights next week. And I need to get to Lowes to pick up a gallon of paint.

I've decided that, rather than scrub the baseboards I am going to paint them. Really, I'm not lazy. Whoever painted this house (whenever the last time this house was painted...?) was either blind, spastic, or both. The trim that surrounds my back sliding glass door looks like my 3 year old took a paint brush dipped in beige paint and dragged it up the molding with one swipe. It only goes up about 3 feet. The swipe coming down only goes for about 3 feet. The molding is 8 feet tall.

YOU do the math.

It's pathetic. As are the baseboards, the banister, the interior doors, and the walls in all 3 bathrooms. I'm not planning to tackle the bathrooms right now but I do plan to paint the baseboards and molding (and doors if I have any paint left).

I need to finish going through our files and purge them. I need to tackle my desk area and the craft closet. And there's always laundry needing to be taken care of. The list goes on and on.

And on. I realize at some point I am going to have to prioritize. I doubt that I will be able to get to everything on my list. But that's ok. In the meantime, I will stay busy which will hopefully keep me out of trouble and prevent me from spontaneously combusting from the anticipation of MacGyver coming home.

Soon I won't have to be the only adult in the house. Soon...


- hfs


Wrote this six years ago. Nothing's changed.  One of my favorite movies is 'Bull Durham'. And one of my favorite scenes in ...