Friday, March 25, 2011

The Deployment Gods...Nasty Little Buggers

My husband and I took extra care trying to get things in order right before he left for Afghanistan. We made sure most home repairs were completed, had our cars serviced, got our finances straight and hired a lawn man who actually cleans gutters and bags the freshly cut grass. We felt that life was squared away and hoped things were set up to run smoothly during his absence. Right. I was asking a little too much.

See, there are these entities called The Deployment Gods and they are NOT nice. Oh they are vicious, nasty little buggers that find it humorous to make my life a freaking nightmare while my husband is gone. It never fails, they do it every time!

So this is how they work. They only give you three options. Number 1: the kids will act like terrors the moment your husband gets on the bus. Number 2: anything and everything expensive will break and need to be repaired or replaced. And if they are feeling especially nasty, you might get option number 3: bad kids and broken crap. I know it sounds a little on the dramatic side but I've yet to come across someone say otherwise. Ask anyone whose husband has just deployed and they will give you one of those scenarios listed above. I promise.

Thankfully I was spared option number 3. A double whammy is no fun. However, they decided to bestow upon me their blessing of stuff breaking and needing to be repaired/replaced. And trust me, I think their timing was cruelly calculated. Our taxes are filed, Jacob and I planned how much we were going to put into savings and talked about the new purchases we were going to make. Like replacing our two box TVs. That's right, no flat screens in this house and it looks like we won't have one anytime soon. The tax money will go to repairs.
So here is this list:

Number 1: A tree infested with carpenter ants. Supposedly insurance won't cover us if it falls.

$$ to hire someone to cut it down $$

Number 2: Broken fixture. I'm sure it's something I could probably fix but I won't due to a past experience.

me + metal + live wire = entire downstairs without power + a healthy fear of electricity

I'll leave it to an expert:
$$ to replace a fixture $$

Number 3: stems to master bedroom faucets need to be replaced and can only be done by someone pulling out the toilet, sink vanity and cutting into walls. My husband tried to temporarily patch the problem so excuse the caulking:)

$$ to replace stems inside the wall $$

Number 4: the stems in the boys bathroom also need to be replaced which will require someone cutting into another wall.

$$ to replace the boys bathroom fixtures $$

Number 5: My cat wanted out real bad so she made her own exit.

$$ to replace 1 window screen $$

Number 6: My cat wanted IN real bad. So she tried to claw her way through another window screen.

$$ to replace 2nd window screen $$

Number 7: My cat wanted out again. So she made herself another exit through another window.

$$ to replace a 3rd window screen $$

Number 8: I'm almost done I promise. See that hole in the above picture, in the lower right corner? Yes, as I was taking this picture I heard a plastic plop sound. As I saw the dryer vent fall from the wall I couldn't help but get a mental picture of The Deployment Gods dropping a small cherry on this iced, crumbling piece of cake.

$$ to replace dryer vent $$

Thanks guys. I appreciate this.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Painfully the Same, Yet Vastly Different

Each deployment brings with it unique challenges here on the home front. All of us left behind are going through different experiences yet somehow we are united with a common goal: making it through with at least a shred of our sanity preserved. This is not my first rodeo with Jacob being gone but my circumstances sure are a whole lot different! But let me backtrack and talk about the days leading up to Jacob's departure.

Jacob often tells me early on when there is talk circulating about possibly deploying. Usually he informs me months ahead of time. I've gotten pretty good about putting it out of my mind. Somehow you make yourself numb to the idea and somehow I really am able to put it in the deepest, darkest, most cobwebbed filled corner of my brain. Of course to keep it filed back there I have to avoid sad songs and any type of military movies, shows (Army Wives), etc.

The reality of the situation starts to sink in a little over a month before he leaves. In my mind I start thinking about the important dates we'll miss together as a family. Our anniversary, birthdays and don't even get me started on the firsts. By that I mean our kids first crawl, first words, first steps, first time in time-out (that would be with our drama king, Matthew), first birthday and any other first that is important to parents. We are so blessed that Jacob hasn't missed the big holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. For me, Christmas is the big one that would be hard to get through...........

Of course with these thoughts comes the sadness and even a little anger. Why is it that my husband has to go again when there are so many that haven't even been once?! I know it's not right to think this way but it's the truth.

And as I watch Matthew running after his dad, all but trying to climb into that sea bag, I can't help but think, "It's just not fair".

However, once Jacob leaves a little excitement starts to build. No, not about him leaving but about the upcoming challenges. Can I do this? Can I handle everything on my own? Can I handle Matthew and Nicholas, their playdates, my own social life, grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, doctor appointments, paying bills, saving money, making (and keeping) the budget, upkeep on the house, yard, vehicles, cooking, pet care, soccer games and practices, gymnastics.... Oh and I almost forgot to throw in working in another county, over an hour away, 5 days a week. Look, I just proofread this paragraph and I feel like I need a nap:)

But seriously, there is something exciting about proving to myself and to others that I can do it! And there is nothing more exciting than when you find your routine. That one routine that somehow allows you to accomplish everything on that list written above.

Here it goes, Monday-Friday:

5am: wake up and get ready for work

6:15am: Out the door and on my way to work over an hour away

7:23am: pull into Union High School

7:23-8:00am: prep for school

8am-3pm: teach Physical Science

3-4:15pm: tutor for Physical Science, grade papers, set up and break down labs, and come up with whatever else that might help my students learn

4:15-5:45pm: drive home and stop by the grocery store for small things

6pm-6:30pm: feed everyone dinner

6:30-7pm: clean up dinner, wipe down counters and other surfaces, vacuum

7-7:30pm: Matthew plays in the bathtub, Nicholas gets a bath in the kitchen sink. I also feed him a bottle, put him to bed and switch out laundry

7:30-8pm: brush teeth, clean ears, play with Matthew

8-10pm: eat my own dinner, get myself ready for bed and finish up whatever chores.

5am: it starts all over again

Now on Monday and Tuesday we have to adjust this schedule for gymnastics and soccer practice. I wish I could say that I spend all weekend playing with my kids but there is cleaning, grocery shopping, more laundry and everything else that needs to be done. Everyday is so painfully the same but to deviate from this routine would mean total and utter chaos.

Thankfully my days are filled with those little, unexpected, yet much needed surprises. Like Matthew FINALLY playing nicely with his brother. Usually I have to keep a close eye on him while I'm cleaning. He likes to scream at Nicholas for some reason:/ But one evening I kept hearing Matthew saying, "Arrrrggghhhh, Matey. Take 'er away!" I'm thinking what in the world is he doing? And this is what I found

"Look mom! He's my first mate!" Apparently Nicholas became co-captain of the Cavanaugh ship. AAAAARRRGGHHHH (ECU?)

Or what about the afternoon I lost Nicholas? Him and Matthew were playing in the living room while I was cooking dinner. I heard a whine and went to go get Nicholas to bring him in the kitchen. I get in the living room and he isn't there. I'm thinking, "I know I'm not that much of a blond! Nicholas was in here playing a second ago, he can't crawl, where is he?" Immediately I start to panic and then I hear his voice again. I get on my stomach and lift up the flap under the couch and sure enough


Oh this is a good one. So I'm doing my laundry as usual and look out the window to find this

My kid has NO shame.......

This week I had quite a few good moments. First of all my wine finally arrived. I attended an at home wine tasting hosted by Wine Shop. I finally found one red wine I like! It has a yummy buttery undertone and lets face it. Who doesn't like butter? Sorry honey, I really did try and save it for when you got home.

I also had a wonderful surprise from my husband. During 4th period a student came to my room and delivered a beautiful bouquet of flowers and huge box of chocolates.

Not only are they positively beautiful but their smell brings you to a time of sunshine, warm spring nights, fireflies, open windows with cool breezes and the noise of crickets in the early evening.

♥Thank you so much baby! If you haven't already figured it out, you made my day ♥XOXO

The next two things that happened this week were A.W.E.S.O.M.E

Nicholas has been getting up on all fours but falls anytime he tries to go somewhere. Today he finally crawled. I was so lucky to catch it on video for Jacob. Enjoy the video baby!! Our little man is getting big so fast.

And finally, I got an email. I'll let you read it for yourself.

Even though the weeks are long and exhausting, there is never a dull moment in the Cavanaugh house. When it comes to each deployment and each day during a deployment, I think Kate from John and Kate Plus 8 sums it up pretty well. "Each day is painfully the same yet vastly different."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Typical Saturday

I was sleeping so good Saturday morning. When I peeped my eyes open I could tell from the sunlight that it was still pretty early in the morning. My guess was maybe 7, 7:15 at the latest. Yes!! That means the kids shouldn't be up for another hour. I rolled over, snuggled back down into the covers and was getting ready to fall back asleep...

And then I feel a sharp kick on my lower back. I just laid there as still as possible. Maybe if I laid still long enough he'll just go back to sleep. And then Matthew, my almost 4 year old son, kicks me again. I'm not sure about anyone else but I do not like being woken up by being beaten on.

So I did what any other sleep deprived mom would do. I took Matthew downstairs, gave him his milk cup, a pop tart, and turned on the moose channel, aka Nick Jr. And then I went upstairs and laid back down. All I needed was one more hour of sleep....just one!

As soon as I got comfortable that's when I heard it. The baby was awake......Matthew had probably woken Nicholas up when he yelled as we were going down the stairs. So I gritted my teeth, got up, and went to get the baby. Needless to say I was already a little irritated.

But I'll tell you what. Nicholas is the happiest baby in the world. He really is. Very rarely does he get upset and he is always smiling. I can count on starting every morning with a huge smile and it really puts my bad mood in check. And sure enough when I peeked in his room there he was looking at me with a huge grin on his face.

His smile just makes my day!

But for reasons I haven't yet figured out, my kids can never be happy at the same time. When one is being a little angel the other is acting like a devil. Well that morning Matthew decided to be the one with a negative attitude.

As soon as I brought Nicholas downstairs Matthew started acting like a terror. I need more milk now, find my cup, don't talk to me, put Nicholas back in his crib......blah blah blah. I thought, "Oh geeze, here we go". And this morning we didn't have time to play around. My husband is deployed so on Saturdays I have to do the whole morning routine and get the kids to our soccer game. They needed to be fed, teeth brushed, clothes changed, uniforms put on, diaper bags packed, car loaded up etc. And this could take hours if one kid doesn't feel like cooperating.

Needless to say, it took almost 2 hours for all of us to get ready but we made it. AND bonus to me for not forgetting to bring drinks for the team:)

Alright, let me explain something when it comes to the under 4 Yellow soccer team. WE. ARE. AWFUL. The Bad News Bears look awesome compared to this poor soccer team. I think we lost every game during the fall season and it looks like we aren't going to break our losing streak anytime soon!

So everything started off pretty well.

The kids were stretching...

Patting down their shinguards....

And we even had a moment to try and get a few good pictures to send to daddy in Afghanastan.

The game starts and I'm thinking OK maybe the Yellow team will actually play some soccer. Oh was I wrong. Our team slowly fell apart about 10 minutes in.

One team member just wasn't feeling it

Another one just flat out refused to play

And yet another member had to be carried off the field by his dad

We were dropping like flies. Somewhere inbetween all the meltdowns and crying the kids did play something that sort of resembled soccer.

Final score of the game:

Red Team: a lot

Yellow team: very little

Next weekend we get to go through this painful process all over again. Good times....good times...:)

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