Hello 140’s!!!!!

I can’t believe it! On May 22, I wrote this. It took me a bit longer than I thought for a hot minute, BUT…I am officially in the 140’s at 149.8.

I have to confess that I’m sure part of the delay is because of the chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard (DQ of course) and the M&M concrete (from Culver’s) on top of the Olive Garden fettuccini alfredo combined with the stress of my oldest (see my last post) and some recent developments in my family. So you see, most of it is my own fault and some of it is beyond my control. Bottom line: I met and have exceeded my weight loss goals. I have found my reward in a few different ways though…

  1. I fit into a formal dress I last wore before I was pregnant with my youngest. I had actually given this dress to my daughter, and yep, I just took it back.
  2. I went to Old Navy and bought a couple of pairs of size 6 shorts. *jaw drop* I probably could have gotten a size small dress too, but well…let’s just say this is totally appropriate for me:love
  3. FINALLY people outside of my immediate family are noticing AND commenting. Now that feels really good too.

I have lost a total of 6 inches from my waist and I’m guessing around 3 inches from my glutimus maximum/hips. My 1.5 mile time has also dropped. I am SO close to getting under 14 minutes now. My most recent time was 14:13. I can do 63 situps in about 1:40 and I’m up to about 20 pushups in 2 minutes. I found a new app called Sworkit that is totally awesome! I can choose what sort of workout I want and how long I want to do it for, and voila! Every excercise last about 30 seconds and after about 3 of them, you get a 30 second break. You can also skip exercises if you can’t do them (still can’t do the spiderman push ups yet). I’m loving this so far because it’s not predictable at all!

As far as Navy news: I have submitted my initial application and required copies, all college transcripts have been sent to my recruiter, and I have about 5 recommendation/character reference letters. I don’t know anyone in the Navy or a veteran of the Navy, so I’m not sure if that is going to hurt me later on or not, but it is what it is right?. My next step should be my background check. I sent off an email to my recruiter today, so I’m sure I will hear back from him on Monday. I know my packet is due in November, but there are a lot of steps still to go before then. That’s about all I have for that.

In other news: My oldest son has come to his senses rather quickly now that his dad took away his car and he realizes how hard it is to find a job (welcome to the real world kiddo!). His recruiter told him he will probably be cleared soon thanks to his paperwork from the dermatologist and he will be able to sign a new contract after his follow-up appointment on July 29th. He is now talking about going 11B (Infantry), because he just wants to go quickly, but we’ll see what happens. At this point, I’m just glad he is going to fulfill this obligation and didn’t quit. As soon as I got the word from him on that, I literally raised my hands and thanked God. He answered my prayer: I prayed to either have this door slammed shut with a disqualifying condition OR keep him in and headed off to basic quickly. The door didn’t slam shut and he’s back on track. Hallelujah!

This weekend is my dad’s birthday (on the 4th) and my husband has to work. It’s probably better since he doesn’t like fireworks at all (The first time I ever saw my husband cry was during fireworks). They remind him too much of combat in Iraq, and they make for a long night for sure. Instead, my youngest and I will head to my sister’s for a family cookout and then down to the local park for fireworks. I hope you have an excellent Fourth of July!!

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So what’s the plan now?

I have been trying to write this post since Monday, and I’m still not sure this is going to come out right so bear with me. This past weekend was a really great weekend. My husband was off and we didn’t really have a ton of stuff to do. We bought a gazebo for the back patio and got it put up in about 3 – 4 hours. Not bad considering it was like 100 degrees and full sun trying to get it done. I’m pretty sure I went through 3 bottles of water in that little stretch of time too. The good news is we have some shade and even mosquito netting we can zip closed. My husband even thought of anchoring it down with concrete screws, and it’s a good thing he did because a storm swept through about 3 hours after we finished, and other than the tie backs blowing off (but found), everything was good. Way to go baby!

Friday night we had dinner with my oldest son and my parents. This kiddo was headed off to Army basic training on Monday, so we wanted to be able to get with him and my parents before he left. He lives full time with his dad (same town, different house), so I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like. The meal was good, the company was better, and even though the girls lost at canasta, it was still really fun. Saturday we really didn’t do a whole lot, but we almost ended up with a kitten from a pet store. Instead, I managed to talk my youngest down and get him in the car. He instantly got distracted with gummy bears and all was well again. My husband and I did talk quite a bit about a puppy, so we’ll see what happens with that. We are just such busy people, and I’m not sure how a puppy is going to get properly taken care of. It also just so happens that I’ve never been a pet person. Like never. We moved a TON growing up between the Army and my parents moving for work after the Army, and it always seemed like my dogs and cats were being given away, left outside to fend for themselves, or well…died…a lot. I guess I just never attached to a pet, so I don’t know. Anyway…

Sunday, we went to church and then picked up my oldest son to head up to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). We got him checked in and they we took him out for dinner. He chose Olive Garden, so I of course cheated hard core on my diet. I got fettucini alfredo with a Coke zero. That’s balanced right?! HA! After dropping him off back at the hotel and saying our “good luck”s and “good bye”s, I did manage to squeeze in a short run that night. Monday, I had to go in to work *cue the Boooooooooo’s*. Everything was great until about 10AM. My ex texts me that my oldest is being sent home and has been disqualified from shipping out. What the what?!!!

To make a long story somewhat short: A few months ago on a drill weekend (he is in the Army National Guard), he was having trouble breathing and had a rash. His recruiter told him to go to urgent care and get it documented so that he could miss drill without penalty. So he did. At MEPS on Monday they asked him the standard question: Have you had a reason to see a doctor since you enlisted. So he told them just that one visit that my recruiter got the paperwork on (urgent care gave him an antibiotic for his enflamed through and another medicine to help with the rash—which they said was a heat rash). They asked him why he went to urgent care, and he told them it was for a rash. So they sent him back to medical, doctors looked at him, and they DQ’d him because they had no paperwork saying this rash wasn’t contagious or a condition. Great! I figure if we get the urgent care paperwork up to them, he’s all good to go. His step mom goes to urgent care to get it…no dice. He didn’t fill out the HIPPA portion, so they can’t release the records. Damn. He gets sent home and told he needs to get cleared in order to ship. Ok fine. I tell him to call my dermatologist because they would be able to see him today (and some of them are former military so they know the score). This is like noon at this point. Nope he doesn’t call them. What does he do instead you ask?

Well…he says that while he was waiting to find out what they were going to do with him, he prayed (that’s good!), and now he doesn’t believe the military is what God has planned for his life. I’m sorry come again? Yep, God told him that this isn’t the plan. OH!!!! So you tanked your GPA because the Army was going to be your college money. You never got a job because the Army was going to take you for 5 months so why bother. You don’t have any money saved from your 9 months of drilling because you were going to be set with basic and AIT. You don’t have an apartment to share with your buddy because said buddy has changed his mind. AND you have no idea what you want to do with your life because you were dead set the Army was going to be deploying your unit shortly after getting done with training. Yet NOW….NOW you say God is telling you this isn’t the plan all because your recruiter didn’t turn in the proper paperwork so you’re going to have to do some extra legwork to get in. Yeah….no. Not believing it.

It has taken everything I have to get him to see that he doesn’t even have all of the information to make that conclusion. He hasn’t seen the dermatologist yet (appointment is in 1 hour). His recruiter hasn’t called MEPS yet to see what specifically needs to be done. He hasn’t even asked his recruiter what he needs to do next (because, you know, God told him this isn’t the plan). UGH!!!!! I really just want to slap him.

Yesterday I was literally praying out loud all day that God will make this path absolutely clear to him today. Either he is supposed to fulfill this obligation (which would be the first thing he has finished his ENTIRE life!!!) which means the dermatologist will tell him he is absolutely fine and good to go, MEPS will say just send us the paperwork and he will be cleared, and his recruiter will call with that good news and have a new ship date that is SOON. OR…this isn’t his path and the dermatologist will tell him he does have a disqualifying skin issue, MEPS will permanently disqualify him from serving due to this skin issue, and his recruiter will have his discharge papers drawn up. I really pray it is just that clear. Not a mixed message and certainly not anything wishy washy. Crystal. Clear.

Hopefully my update on this situation comes soon guys. This is exhausting.

 

UPDATE: The dermatologist told him he has Tinea Versicolor. This is a common fungal infection that occurs in hot climates when people with oily skin sweat a lot usually. It’s really common in the military (go figure), and it is not a disqualifier. He is on medication for 3 weeks. Now, he says he is going to send that information to his recruiter and see what happens. BUT he also says, “It is my decision”. Yep…and if he just quits on it…he’s going to regret it. Especially when he finds other doors closed that he thought were going to be oh so easy. Man it’s hard watching your kids make decisions that you know will hurt them. Especially when they are 18 and know everything.

Roadblock

Randy Pausch said, “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

Well I’ve run into my brick wall: I’m old.

 

Now I’m not old in how most people think. I’m 38. But according to the military, I’m too old. I’m too old to join any branch active duty. I’m too old to join go enlisted in the Army National Guard (still waiting on word about officer due to my doctorate degree). Apparently thanks to the ridiculous¬†convenient drawdown, the Air National Guard is only interested in young people even though I technically meet their age cutoff of 40. I’m still waiting on the Air Force Reserves to call me back (I called Friday and I am calling again later today) since I technically meet their age cutoff of 39 as well. I think my last opportunity might be with the Coast Guard Reserves. Who knew at 38 with a doctorate degree not in medicine or law or seminary that I would be unable to serve my country. Just 2 years ago the cutoff was 42, and then it changed. Figures.

So…I’m still following my diet (I admit I cheated and had a coke and pizza the day I found out the Air NG didn’t want me), still losing weight (I’m at 153.1 today), and still running/working out. I have my brother’s wedding coming up in August, and I got to wear my size 6 dress pants for the first time since before I got pregnant with my youngest. So, I’m finding victory in little things right now. This brick wall sucks. I don’t think I thought about how badly I really wanted to serve my country until the brick walls started being built. Now I know. I’m not giving up yet. It’s harder to stay as motivated, but I’m not giving up. I have to go find my shovel or maybe a strong rope for climbing, but I don’t want this wall to beat me.

Perception vs Reality

I have to say the past few days have been a little tough. It all started when my wonderful husband decided to try and “fix up” my dad’s Army display case. My husband’s case is pretty well put-together and it still needs to be updated, but my dad’s looks pretty empty. By way of it being a surprise for my dad, my husband convinced my mom to give him a copy of my dad’s DD214 (for all you non-military people that is basically a piece of paper that says what you’ve done while you served as far as jobs and education and training). Ok, so we get my dad’s form, and I’m like WTF?!

Growing up I have some very vivid memories and some not-so vivid memories of my dad’s time in the Army. I thought up until about 6 months ago that my dad was in the active duty army and was a drill sergeant. 6 months ago when my oldest joined the Army National Guard, I found out my dad was actually in the NG and then got an AGR (Active Guard Reserves) position before he was honorably discharged. I honestly had no idea. And what difference does it make you ask? Well that part, I guess none really. It’s just that I remember living on base and my dad being saluted. I remember he played volleyball on base and the guys at the gate. I can remember playing in like a recreation room. Bottom line: the reality didn’t match my perception.

Yesterday, my husband and I went over to my parents’ house to get some upgrading done on our Goldwing. I started bringing up my memories and asking questions. Slowly the truth came out. My dad did serve in the Army NG after my 3rd sister was born. He then got an AGR position and we did live on base. He went to Drill Sergeant school, but not to be a drill sergreant. Rather, it was to become a Supply Sergeant. He was honorably discharged shortly thereafter thanks to many things including a motorcycle accident that left him with a rod in his leg and pins in his ankle. Ok so my dad wasn’t this “badass” drill sergeant. The saluting I remember actually had a cute story. Apparently when my mom and I showed up on base for his BCT graduation, I was saluting everybody I saw in uniform. Most of them thought it was so stinkin’ cute that they saluted me back. Pretty cool huh?! I was saluted. Awesome.

So now I’m dealing with this reality that is a whole heck of a lot different than my perception. I feel like my dad may not have blatantly lied to me, but he has let all of us believe a non-truth. My husband said, “It doesn’t matter. He still served, and that still makes him a badass in an elite group.” I do love that man of mine. This explains why my dad told my husband he has a lot of respect for my husband because he “really did it”. I didn’t understand the comment at the time and thought it was because my husband deployed overseas and my dad never had to deploy. Nope that wasn’t it.

Interestingly, I’ve always thought my husband was a badass. He was in Iraq in 2003-2004 as an infantryman kicking in doors and defending our country with all of the strength and courage and honor on the planet. Yep a badass. It wasn’t about just that he served his country and sacrificed so much. It wasn’t just that he was on the ground in the middle of the worst circumstances and getting the mission done. It wasn’t just that he would lay it all on the line tomorrow given the opportunity. It’s all of that and more. He has done and continues to do more to help people and protect our livelihood in this country than I could ever imagine. I could only dream of doing something that honorable.

honor

And I feel like my dad’s true story somehow tarnishes the memories that I have of him and my childhood. It somehow tarnishes the honor that I thought he had. Is that weird? What’s weirder is that for fleeting moments I actually consider joining the National Guard myself to restore some of that honor and to know what it feels like to truly protect our great country. I guess there are moments when I don’t feel like I’ve done or am doing enough. Then reality hits me, and I’m like dude…I would have to lose 15 pounds, leave for 10-16 weeks plus weekends and annual training plus deployments. What the heck would I do? Administration? I mean geesh I have a doctorate degree in organizational leadership. What does that really get me in the military? I know what it means to be left at home, and how could I do that to my husband. Plus, this is his dream. He’s the one that wants to do his last 5 years and retire. Who the hell am I to try and weasel my way into this arena? I don’t know. It’s all sort of crazy, and I’m sure the crazy will pass. At least my perception is now well-grounded in reality in one aspect of my life. Most importantly, I will always be a part of a proud Army family.

proud

In His palm

Today when I woke up for the second time (the first time being 5AM when my husband got home), all I could think was Thank God it’s FRIDAY!!! The sun is shining, it’s warm outside, everyone is healthy, and I didn’t have to be at work until 9AM. I had to drive about 30 miles to a meeting with district staff members, but it was a good meeting. We got a lot accomplished, and my teachers will be really happy that we were able to eliminate some of the redundant tasks they’ve had to do in the past. YAY! During this meeting, we had a Code Red II drill. This is for when there is an active shooter situation. We were ushered into a storage closet (all 7 of us) with lights off and told to get on the floor and stay quiet. We really didn’t do that great of a job at the staying quiet thing (oops!), and then it was over. Meeting commenced, and away we went. While we were in the closet, I made the comment that if it was for real, you wouldn’t catch me hiding in the closet. My boss says, “Where would you be?”

Now maybe it’s because I’m married to a police officer, and maybe it’s because I’ve been in education during all of the tragic active shooter situations, but I can’t walk into a building without immediately thinking about how I would get out if something happened. I take note of exits, hallways, hiding spots sure, what floor I’m on and where the windows are, and if I can-how those windows open (in or out). ¬†I do this in a few glances while still carrying on conversations. So when asked the question today, I told her I would have jumped out the window if I couldn’t get to an actual exit. She thought I was nuts because we were technically on the second floor. What she didn’t know was that the side of the building where this meeting room is located is actually about a floor and a half-ish off the ground and that there is grass/flower beds below the windows not concrete. So, I might have sprained an ankle, but I sure as hell wouldn’t have been inside the building where bullets were flying. I guess hiding isn’t my first choice in a situation. I’d much rather be actively doing something to save myself and others than sit and hope I’m not found. It’s sad that this is a reality for many people today, especially in our schools, but it’s a fact that remains nonetheless.

Anyway, after this meeting got over, we were walking back to our cars and a colleague noticed the flag was at half-mast. He asked if anyone knew the reason why. I will be really honest here and say I truly didn’t know and in fact my husband and I had noticed the same thing on Tuesday. When another colleague pointed out it was because of the helicopter accident that claimed the lives of 7 marines and 4 army national guardsmen, I felt about a centimeter tall. How could I NOT know that?! Obviously, I’m too wrapped up in my own little world. I mean I CLEARLY knew about the accident and even talked about in church on Sunday when I asked the congregation to be praying for those families and the families of the army national guardsmen who deployed this week. BUT I let life get back to business as usual this week. That made me kind of sad and ashamed.

I take for granted that my husband is here with me, and my oldest son is here with me. I take for granted that I have made plans for vacations, date nights, dinners, and weekends. Not one day is ever promised to any of us. I should have been a wife saying “see ya later” on Monday to my husband. That was supposed to be us. If he had re-enlisted when we were talking about it last summer, it would have been him going. God had another plan, but it could have been us.

army deployment

My husband and I went on a long motorcycle ride on Tuesday, and of course our headsets ran out of battery before we began the hour plus ride home. During that hour, I just kept thinking about what I would be doing if it had been us. I would definitely be blogging every day. Mostly to keep him updated on what we did every day without emailing him or trying to squeeze it all into a phone conversation IF we even got to talk at all. I would have kept very busy this week, and I would not be looking forward to this weekend. Weekends and nights are hard when he’s not home. I would have started my countdown clock, and I would have already planned my first care package. I would have started running again to deal with the stress and to lose some weight before he came home. I would have stocked up on Kleenex and Tylenol PM to help me get through the long lonely nights, and in direct conflict with the running, I would have a freezer of ice cream too. Heck we might even have had ice cream for dinner one night (or two). I would have planned a weekly “kid’s night” where each kid gets to pick what we eat, what we watch, and what we do with our time. We have 4 kids at home with us all the time, so one kid each week would give each kid 13 times of having their turn. I already have a list of things that could be done around the house, so that would keep me busy too. Busy…stay busy.

When I think about that “plan” for a deployment that didn’t happen for us, and then take a look outside and see the lowered flags, I realize that all the plans in the world are for nothing but me really. That any time, God may decide to call me, or any of my loved ones, home to Him. And while I can’t even imagine (and don’t want to) how I would move on with life, I know that God’s plan is the only plan I want to follow. So…today I will make sure my husband knows how much he means to me and my kids know how lucky I am to be there mom. I will continue to make plans and dreams for the future knowing all the while that God has me in the palm of his hand.

palm