4.30.2007

Welcome Back Mr. Snow

Snow returns to work at White House


I really like Tony Snow. I liked him when he was on FOXNews and I was astounded and thrilled when he was chosen to be the press secretary. One of the few smart moves the White House has made of late.

I am praying for his full recovery and looking forward to him being back at work.




Pau.




- hfs

4.29.2007

General Casey visits

Army Chief Visits Schofield Barracks



Wish I had been able to go. Supposedly every unit was to have invited some of their spouses but I didn't hear about the visit until last night at church. It would have been nice to meet General Casey in person and to have possibly asked a question or two but I suspect that my questions would not have been any different than those that were asked.

I'm impressed that he came for the visit. It would have been nice had he had, in his possession, the person who leaked the announcement regarding the extension so that we might be able to take a swing or two at him. But the fact that General Casey saw fit to come and talk with some of the spouses was good.

Now if only Secretary Gates would have the guts to come for a visit...not going to hold my breath on that one.




Recovery is going well. I'm about back to my old self. I managed to lose part of Tuesday, most of Wednesday, and part of Thursday. I'm thinking that would be a good way to make the rest of this deployment speed by. heh.

I'm starting to pack for my trip to DC. My goal is to get everything I need in my backpack and 1 carry-on suitcase. Should be do-able. I'll make sure to pack the Excedrin PM so I can catch a few ZZZs on the plane and I should be good to go! I'm really looking forward to seeing old friends again and meeting some new ones. And I'm looking forward to jumping back into the blogging world. Feels like I've been gone too long.


One question I would like to put out there - and would have possibly asked General Casey had I been given the opportunity - is what is thought about either reinstituting the draft OR instituting compulsory civil service for all eligible high school graduates? By civil service, I mean either military service or Peace Corps/AmeriCorps service. I think it's a worthwhile discussion. I think that, as a society, one of the reasons support for the "Global War on Terror" is waning is due to the fact that the general population isn't "feeling the burn", so to speak. They aren't invested in it. 9/11 is too far in the past to have much of an effect. And our military members are such a small and elite section of society. So the connection between them and the general populace of this country is minimal at best.

How do we change that?




Pau.




- hfs

4.26.2007

Narcotics are wonderful

So it's been a while...


My friend 'Nifer wonders if it's a wise idea to update my blog while I'm on narcotics. So does my other friend 'Ifer. I say the heck with them - this should be interesting.


Let me bring you up to speed. Right after the kids and I returned from the mainland, a crisis hit and a friend needed help. So we embarked on an adventure that was wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time. Unfortunately, the adventure proved to be too much for my kids and myself. So it's over.


On top of that, it was determined that I needed some surgery. Yet another thing that AWTM have in common. But it went well and HOPEFULLY it will correct the problems I've been having. In the meantime, I have NARCOTICS and it appears I am an amusing drunk. Heh.


Blogging will hopefully resume shortly. Assuming that I am sober enough to find the computer. And next week I get to start packing for the MilBlogging Conference. WOOHOO!!!!! There is going to be a baby shower for the family of wounded Marine, DJ Emery held at this conference. So I was able to go shopping for some baby girl clothes which was great! I had almost forgotten how wonderful little girl clothes are.


If you could continue to keep the military family that lost their baby in your prayers, they could use them. Thanks.




This has been a rollercoaster of a month. A mostly sad, sometimes heartwarming, definitely stressful month. I'm hoping that the showers brought by the month of April yield flowers in the month of May. I know several people that could use some pretty flowers right about now.


The pain killers are kicking in and, rather than say something I'll regret later (I am sure I did that today going into surgery...Versed, Ketamine, and Toridol will do that to you!) I'm going to hit the sack.




Pau.




- hfs

4.14.2007

Hmm...which is worse?

The URL of your blog in the hands of your mother-in-law or your husband's DIVISIONAL rear detachment commander?




heh.




Pau.




- hfs

4.12.2007

Another open letter

To the person who leaked the information about the extensions to the press:


You do not deserve the paycheck that you draw. You do not deserve in any way,shape, or form to be associated with my husband or those who defend this country. You put your own desires and greed ahead of the servicemembers' right to learn about the extension through the proper chain of command.


HOW DARE YOU?


It is bad enough that their length of tour is being extended. It is bad enough that fathers (and mothers) are going to have to miss - yet again - birthdays, the start of another school year, anniversaries, and other special moments. But to have insult added to injury is a special kind of pain. You denied our soldiers what is due them. For that, you owe each and every one of them a public and heartfelt apology. Anything less is unacceptable.

You also owe them your job. You are not fit to be associated with our military and its servicemembers. Your resignation should come at the same time as your public apology.

I look forward to your response.




Sincerely,
*** **********

An open letter to General Peter Pace

Dear General,


Thank you so very much for your years of dedicated service to this country, its citizens, and its ideals. I appreciate the fact that you are the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I am sure that it is a tough and, often times, thankless job.

I am writing today to raise my concerns not about the extension itself but the way in which the Pentagon and the Department of Defense handled the release of information. I understand that someone within Pentagon staff leaked the information to the press days before it was due to be publicly released. This is unacceptable and I hold you and Secretary Gates personally responsible for this failure. The Pentagon is YOUR responsibility, your ship to run. And, for information to be leaked in such a careless manner, it is obvious that it is not a tight ship. Again, this is unacceptable.

The soldiers (and airmen, sailors, and Marines) are one of your primary responsibilities and for them to find out either from sources such as CNN or their own WIVES as opposed to their chain of command indicates an overall lack of respect on the part of the Pentagon and the Department of Defense. The families of those soldiers are also part of your responsibility and you are failing them as well.

We deserve an apology. From you. From Secretary Gates. And, if possible, from the person who leaked the information to the press. And it should be done in person. If you are unable to find the source of the leak, I will accept your personal apology but I would prefer to hear it from the leak themselves.

My husband, and every other member of the Armed Forces, puts his life on the line for you, for this country, for its citizens each and every day. He deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy, neither of which he has received during this time. And that is unacceptable.

I look forward to your response.


Sincerely,
*** **********

A brilliant decision

So, in light of the (leaked) announcement by the Pentagon that immediately extends my husband's deployment by a minimum of 3 months, our Division has decided that a "town hall meeting" is in order. So they are holding one tomorrow night at 1830 (that's 6:30 p.m. for those of you, LIKE ME, who are not in the military).

And, of course, there will be many people there because there are many questions to be answered and much information to be disseminated. And, of course, many of the people there will be single parents. I don't know about you but, I have a hard time coming up with child care on a less-than-24-hour-notice basis. So my first question when our FRG leader (God love her!) informed me of the meeting was, "Will there be childcare available?" That is my standard question to ANY event that is proposed by ANY entity having ANYTHING to do with military life in ANY way. It's become reflex.

And the answer was "yes" BUT...











(wait for it)















...we have to PAY for it. Yep. For a meeting where crucial information will be disseminated and many questions will be fielded and answers provided (am I a little too optimistic here??)...a meeting that is taking place on a school night in less than 24 hours...and not ONLY are the spaces limited to the first 90 children, but we have to pay for it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting a handout. But you've just dumped a big frickin bombshell in our laps and now you're going to make things even HARDER. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.


Thanks. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that one.




Pau.




- hfs

4.11.2007

And another thing...

You want to know what REALLY pisses me off?? Someone leaked this story. They didn't even have the decency to let the families find out from the proper channels before they ran the story. Thanks, assholes. That just adds insult to injury.


From the Yahoo story...

"Extending the tours of all active-duty Army personnel is an unacceptable price for our troops and their families to pay," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif.



No, what is unacceptable is the fact that our Congress isn't behind us 110% on this one. What is unacceptable is the fact that, while us poor military families are suffering this "unacceptable" burden, those morons up on Capitol Hill are actually voting to yank funding from this war. Hmmm...can anyone say "H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E"???

Put up or shut up. Pick one. Don't go boohooing on MY account for something you don't support properly anyway. It insults me and makes YOU look even more stupid (if that is even possible). Personally speaking I think each and every one of those worthless sacks of shit up on the Hill should be forced to do a year's deployment (hell, we won't even extend you all!) in the Middle East. But wait! They don't have to because people like my husband VOLUNTEER to go so they won't have to.

Am I indignant? Bet your ass I am. It's my one indulgence ;~)



Pau.




- hfs

Well that just sucks.

Extensions all around


Sucks big donkey balls if you ask me. Not that I didn't expect it but it still sucks nonetheless. I'm cranky today. Pardon the foul language. Better to vent here than where little ears can hear me.


I understand the premise behind the extensions. I get it. I understand the logistics. Doesn't make it any easier to swallow. What really pisses me off is the people who COULD serve but don't. They decry the fact that our military is stretched, that families are under too much strain and the whole thing is broken. Um, yes it is. But if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the fucking problem. Don't just sit there and Monday-Morning-Quarterback the situation. Get up off your ass and go DO something. Military pay is decent. It's not great but it's enough to make a living. Those who have the gall to sit back and criticize the military and the way things are run and then head off to their minimum wage job while raking in WIC and other government assistance, why don't you join the military. The pay is better. There is health care, and they even provide housing. Just a thought.

Then maybe, just MAYBE, I would have something else to say to my kids when they cry that they miss their daddy other than "me too".


Am I bitter? Yep. Today I am. I'm wallowing and I'm throwing myself a pity party. This kills our 10th anniversary trip to Colorado. MacGyver will miss Princess Trouble's birthday for the second year in a row. He might even miss two Thanksgivings in a row. He'll miss the start of yet another school year. Halloween. All of it. If we're lucky, he'll be home by Christmas. IF. Not that I'm holding my breath. We ALL know that the military tends to underestimate things like extensions and timeframes. And God help anyone who says "well, it's ONLY three more months. You can DO it!"

Yeah, I might have to punch someone's lights out. Seriously.

Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.




Pau.




- hfs

4.06.2007

Update on us

Nothing wrong, we just have a lot on our plate right now. No confirmation on an extension for MacGyver's unit yet but, being the realist that I am, I'm anticipating it. We'll see.

Blogging is going to be light for a while. Try not to get into TOO much trouble!




Pau.




- hfs

4.03.2007

Disappointed and sad

NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense

No. 364-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 02, 2007
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
Public/Industry(703) 428-0711

DoD Announces Force Adjustments

The Department of Defense announced today additional major units scheduled to
deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.The announcement involves one corps
headquarters, two division headquarters and one brigade combat team consisting
of approximately 7,000 personnel

Specific decisions made by the secretary of defense include:

XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters, Fort Bragg, N.C.

1st Armored Division Headquarters, Wiesbaden, Germany

4th Infantry Division Headquarters, Fort Hood, Texas

1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

Additionally, the Department announced that the 25th Infantry Division headquarters will have its tour extended by approximately 45 days. (emphasis mine)

Other combat-support and combat-service-support units consisting of
approximately 2,000 personnel have also been identified to deploy in support of operations in Iraq.

More combat-support and combat-service-support units may be deployed should
commanders determine additional support forces are required.

These deployments reflect the continued commitment of the United States to the
security of the Iraqi people.The Department recognizes the continued sacrifices
of these units and their family members.

DoD will continue to announce major unit deployments as they are identified and
those units are alerted. For information on the units announced today or other
units involved in this rotation, please contact Army Public Affairs at (703)
692-2000.





I knew this was coming. Even before the rumors started, I had a gut feeling. Mentally I've been prepared to be happy if MacGyver makes it home before Christmas 2007. Still doesn't make it any easier to swallow when you get official notification. *sigh*

There are many families that this is hitting hard. They could use our prayers. Come home soon, MacGyver. Safely too, please.




Pau.




- hfs

4.01.2007

The itch

Growing up, I moved once. When I was about 2. My parents moved from our home in Redondo Beach to a suburb northeast of Los Angeles. I don't remember the house in Redondo, only the house I grew up in. My parents sold that house in 1991 and moved to the southeast. Moving out of that house was a shock to me. I had lived there all my life and then *poof*...it was gone. I moved out to go to college and rather than rent my room out to the mailman, my parents just sold the house. At least they gave me the forwarding address.

During the next 7 years, I moved 10 times. THEN MacGyver joined the Army and the real "adventure in moving" began. Our first move was from SoCal up to Alaska. Talk about an adventure. But we were fortunate that Alaska, being an OCONUS (outside the continental United States) assignment, was a 3 year tour. Woohoo - we were going to be able to stay put for a bit! I could actually hang pictures on the wall. What a concept!

But a funny thing happened. About 18 months into our tour in Alaska, I started to get the itch to move. At first, I couldn't put my finger on what the issue was. I was antsy, craving change. But I didn't know why. And then it dawned on me (and made me chuckle) - I needed to move. The girl who had SUCH a hard time with the fact that her parents sold her childhood home was now a girl who CRAVED change. Ah, the irony. So, because moving wasn't an option at that point (the -50 degree weather was the major obstacle), I rearranged the furniture instead. Solved the problem for the time being.

Following Alaska, we moved 4 times in 3 years. So I never had to deal with that itch again. Until now. A few months back, I started to find myself wanting a change. Because moving isn't an option (already did that...don't want to do it again until I have to), I did what any military wife with 2 small children whose husband is deployed would do - I planned a multi-day, multi-state, multi-mode-of-transportation trip. Three weeks, 4 states, 700 miles by car, 7,000 miles by plane with a 3 year old and a 5 year old. By myself. Sounds like a plan to me!

Just remember, folks...there is a FINE line between bravery and stupidity. And I walked that line every day for the past 3 weeks. About 1/2 way across the Pacific Ocean, as Little Man is fidgeting in and out of his seat and driving me up the germ-infested wall of the cabin, I asked myself what the HELL I was thinking when I planned this trip. Didn't get an answer.

In all actuality, the kids were great. And we managed to dodge "The Curse" which was a blessing. But it's not something I would recommend to the faint of heart (or the sound of mind).

What IS it with us military spouses? All we seem to long for is a place to put down roots. Walls that we can paint any color we desire with the knowledge that we're not going to have to paint them back to the institutional beige color they were when we moved in in just a few short months. And yet, before the next set of PCS orders come through, we're already itching to go. Not sure where we're itching to go.

We just itch. Isn't there a cream for that?? Sheesh.




Pau.




- hfs