Posts Tagged ‘good-byes’

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Well, That’s That

October 15, 2015

Well the Chief has shipped out. It was a strange occurrence. I told someone that day that I had never been the one to leave first. In other words, the Chief almost always got the first flight of the day and therefore left at o-dark-thirty, leaving me in bed. But he had a mid-day flight and I had to go to work (my last day of a 21-day assignment). Surely when I was working full-time prior to children this had occurred before but I honestly don’t have a memory of it.

Because the school I was subbing at was only a mile down the road, the Chief texted me about swinging by to do his documents check. When I used to drop him off at the airport, this was always the last thing we did at the trunk of the car–to open up his back pack and his documents folder to verify his TWIC, passport, license, and credentials were all packed and all valid and current. Even when he was leaving at o-dark-thirty I would wake up to check his documents before sending him out the door. I was on a 45 minute break so I went out into the gorgeous sunshine to check his documents one last time.

Callie’s Mariner posted a beautiful piece expressing what many of us are going through this time around called “be safe”. She talks about the routines, the talismans if you will, of the things she always says to her mariner while he is at sea. I guess the document check is sort of our talisman. As I was walking away and he was getting into his rental car, I called back, “Be safe, fly safe. And no hurricanes!” I hadn’t read Callie’s article till later that night.

The Chief texted me from the airport that he almost had a heart attack moment–when he went to pull out his TWIC for his ID he couldn’t find it! He had put it back in his wallet in a different spot! Maybe the change in our routine caused the deviation. We will have to be more careful next time!

Neither T1 nor T2 seems to have any extra anxiety about the Chief going back to sea. We haven’t shielded them from the El Faro incident but I did have to ask at one point, “You do know a ship sank in the hurricane, right?” On the wives FB page “what and when should I tell my children” was a topic of discussion. I have very mixed feelings about it. 1. With the exception of like only two who’s husbands lost classmates, no one on the board had a significant connection to the crew of the El Faro. 2. Many of these spouses were talking about telling toddlers and primary school-aged children of the horrors of being lost at sea. No. Just no.

Too many of the spouses were (are?) so deeply personalizing this tragedy. The fear mongering, the blame casting, the misinformation, the continuous grief expressions are just all really unhealthy and to pass that along to children who for the most part cannot grasp why their parent goes away for stretches at a time is just so unhealthy. And sadly quite a few on the board do not wish to hear any other viewpoints or logic. To me it has ceased to be a supportive outlet and has become quite toxic. Very unfortunate. Through a link on Callie’s Mariner I am going to be checking out a British MM spouse group to see if they are not more supportive and less “dramatic.” I’ll report back on my findings later.

I am pleased to report that T1 seems to have found support from a few of her friends. I don’t know the details of the conversation, if the El Faro came up or not, but when they found out she had gone to school rather than stay home a few final hours with the Chief, they told her she should have stayed home–it was more important than a few hours at school. Okay, most things to a teen are more important than school but the sentiment was appreciated at least by me. I think if they had been a bit younger I would have thought to have them stay home with him for a few hours–of course he had errands to run so it might not have been as beneficial as one would hope.

I’ve had two days off–I had hoped that he would have been here but what can you do? I have a one-day assignment tomorrow. It has been a busy week adjusting to his absence but I know December will be here before we know it. Life move on. But hearing his voice tonight just seems a little more precious and I’ll hold on to that.

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Just a Little Update

June 22, 2013

Haven’t gone anywhere … just really busy. The Chief got to call several days during a port call. We’ve been e-mailing regularly. SAT-phone communication is going to be spotty and expensive at best so we’re making due. He did call T1 on her 13th birthday.
I don’t know how he feels but I think I’m in denial that we have a teenager now. I didn’t even go shopping for her birthday gifts until the night before. How sad is that? We spent her birthday working on location for her Silver Award. We then spent the afternoon at my in-laws … stuck there while T2 tossed her cookies.
I’ve had some good moments of personal growth and purpose. Nothing I can post about yet but thanks to the e-mail I have been able to share with the Chief.
I’ve also had some sad moments–a dear family friend who I have known for more than 30 years has been placed in hospice. The Chief knew I guess and insisted we visit him in the hospital before he left. He had that same feeling with both of his grandparents. I hate having to make that phone call… this time it will be so impersonal with just an e-mail.
Getting ready to start the really busy part of the summer–go, go, go! So I hope to have more to post soon!

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Huzzah!

June 2, 2013

A little personal update now that all the holidays are over…

End of soccer. End of scouts. End of school. Lots of endings.

T2 mediocre soccer season ended with a not unexpected loss in the first rounds of play offs. T1’s undefeated team lost for the first time in their first play-off game. The other team apparently did not practice good sportsmanship and we took consolation that they too were defeated in the championship.

T1 got her cast off and x-rays show nothing. The arm is a little weaker and still smarts if she has to put her weight on it but we will work on that over the summer. She was awarded first chair viola during a chair-challenge ever with the cast on. She has worked hard to regain her seat against a very talented challenger.

I say end of scouts but really it is just one year ending, taking my old troop on a 3-day trip, and starting right back up with a new level and new troop. But I will breathe a sigh of relief when the Court of Awards is over Tuesday night and I can hopefully put this stressful year behind me.

End of School. End of Elementary School for T2. How did this happen? Seriously? End of running the school store program for three years (plus maybe 2 previous years of volunteering). The best part of the job was going to all the kindergarten classes for them to exchange their Caught Being Good coins for school supplies or fun toys. Remembering what they were like on the first day of school and seeing them ready for 1st is always a treat. This being my last time, I went and got Sweet FROG gift certificate for the teachers so that I could tell their students their teacher had been caught being good. It was fun! I saved T1 & T2’s teacher for last. Both of us started choking up. Eight years ago she helped me begin this public school journey, welcoming me to her class so that I could be as involved as my heart desired; and then allowing me to repeat this with T2. Now T1 towers over her and T2 can look her in the eye. T2 graduates tomorrow and I am not ready.

Speaking of public school… last year I had warned T1 that if her standardized tests did not show an improvement and reflection of her classroom grades, I would seriously consider home schooling her. They went down. The day after she received an award for Straight A’s and she’s 2/3s of the way to receiving a special 8th grade award for achieving this feat three years in a row. I loathe standardized tests. I am beyond frustrated.

T1 and I finished our run at the local renn faire. She did a fabulous job with our greyhounds. I had to send her on her own one day as I managed to pick up strep. Went in to double-check a tick bite and I come back with strep. I loathe both but one is the lesser of two evils. With my compromised immune system due to the PsA, it hit like a ton of bricks. Even low-grade fevers make every joint protest with pain. I am on the mend and no longer contagious–but it made me miss not only a day of faire but T2’s 5th grade picnic and water balloon fight. I was not there to capture a single picture… I have nothing to document this right of passage with. It makes me sad.

And yesterday began what will probably be the longest I will have to go without hearing the Chief’s voice in a very, very long time. I will probably get one more phone call or two when they make a port call mid-way but after that it will be “radio silence” or at least phone silence for another 5+ weeks. I will be able to e-mail but it will be company e-mail and he has said he may sat-phone call me from their destination… I guess it is a good thing school and scouts are ending and I have trips planned and summer camp and award projects to keep me busy.  But I miss his voice already and am saddened to know I won’t hear his familiar ring-tone for a long time.

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St. Nick, E.o.t.T., Good-byes

December 7, 2012

SO our family celebrates St. Nicholas Day. My mother, who has German ancestors, learned all about St. Nick while my parents were stationed in Germany. Prior to that it wasn’t celebrated. She got little plastic boots that were put on display with all the decorations but would be “hidden and filled” by St. Nick and we’d have to find them (usually in Mom’s bedroom closet) on the morning of Dec. 6th. My mother even made sure St. Nick found me at college and I’d receive boxes with instructions not to open until Dec. 6th. Our boots were always filled with chocolate.

I chose to carry on this tradition for my children. Our first Christmas together (rather apart really as he was at sea until January 4th, making it home for our first anniversary) I found these awesome boot-shaped baskets just perfect for St. Nick boots. I purchased 6 at the time because I thought for sure we’d be having at least 4 children. My mom and my mother-in-law dove in with both feet on this tradition when the girls were born. For their first years they got stuffed animals and books. Chocolate was introduced on their third St. Nick. I remember the phone call from my mom telling me to just let T1 eat the chocolate pop for breakfast–“it is only one day a year.”

Well I really wasn’t ready for St. Nick this year. Did I buy candy? I hadn’t gotten any Christmas related books or movies? T2 was so excited St. Nick day was coming. When she excitedly announced “Tonight’s the night we put out our boots” I said, “What? Tonight? No, he doesn’t come until the night OF St. Nick Day.” “Uh, no Mom, he doesn’t.” I managed to gather everything together–forgetting that I had already stashed Hello Kitty Fruity Christmas Flavor Jelly Bellies in their boots (so I wouldn’t forget where I put them)–and leave their St. Nick surprises outside their doors. Here is a picture of the two of them when T2 got chocolate for the first time (that’s the chocolate pop in her hand–and yes, they did eat them for breakfast!).

St. Nick Day 2004

St. Nick Day 2004

Interesting fact I discovered while finding a good link for St. Nick Day: St. Nick is the patron saint of sailors and children. Good to know if you do the whole saint thing and you’re married to a sailor. 🙂 (We don’t but it is good trivia/)

I had to change my E.o.t.T. schedule this week so I went in two days in a row. Wednesday’s Prowler circuit whipped me but at least my back didn’t go out this week because of doing something stupid. Thursday we were going for a personal best bench press. I have to tell you, I was nervous. I was letting the weight psych me out. I actually bobbled my first attempt. You see I was slowing down the decent, losing momentum, realized I hadn’t touched my sternum so I “bobbled” and went for the touch but then I could not push it back up. My trainer was like “What was that mess?” He gave me a second chance. It wasn’t pretty but I did it. PBR: 135 lbs. My trainer offered to take a picture of my holding it up with the big 45 lb. plates on the bar to send to the Chief. Before anyone freaks that I don’t have a spotter in this picture–I can easily hold 135 lbs. up … it is the press that I need a spotter with and this was for a brief 5 seconds.

PBR: 135 lb. bench press. E.o.t.T. baby!

PBR: 135 lb. bench press. E.o.t.T. baby!

I went in to substitute half day for a sick kindergarten teacher after that. During that afternoon the Chief got the confirmation call that he would indeed be leaving at 0’dark thirty Saturday morning. I feel like we’ve been rushing ever since. Thankfully my car was finally read to be picked up. The Chief and I have been running so many last-minute errands and we chaperoned T2’s class field trip today. We finished out pine wood derby cars and dropped them off for the race tomorrow. We went out to dinner–I was hoping we’d do either some place we could get a turkey dinner or pizza (our Christmas Eve tradition) but neither of those appealed to the Chief (something about the thought of a 6 hour flight on a belly full of carbs or cheese & grease). So we ate chinese. New tradition in the making? We gave the Chief his Christmas gifts. Stackable storage bins for his garage. Miami Dolphins decal for his car (though he said it was going on the hood of mine, smack dab in the middle). Two huge glass mugs to replace the ones he broke this time home. The new Lady Antebellum Christmas CD “on this winter’s night” (he knows this was really for me). And a “build your own motorized mammoth” kit.

This was actually funny because it was a gift he insisted we get for T1. The reason he got it is because T1 is getting a gift that is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase and therefore $$ so she is getting nothing else for Christmas. The little snot announced “That’s what I was so excited about and wanted!” I pantomimed the gift she is getting. “Yeah, but Dad said I may be getting an I.O.U.” “Really? You think you should get gifts AND an I.O.U. gift just because you’re waiting? I don’t think so.” Later we did talk to her about the reality of the price tag and she is a bit more understanding. Hopefully it will not be an I.O.U. and it will be ready for Christmas.

We’re all getting up at o’dark thirty because T1 is going on a mission trip with the teen group. T2 and I will be going to the pine wood derby later in the day and I’ve arranged a play date for her so that I can go to the candlelight tour of historic homes. Hopefully that will keep me in the Christmas spirit. I’m really not looking forward to the Chief being gone. This is an awkward schedule that I’m not very fond of but I really don’t have a choice.

Guess I better be off to make sure his sea bag is packed with all the essentials and we can get a good night’s rest…

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