Enough Is Enough

Now that the blog is up and running, I should let the readers know that some time has passed and Ben has already been away for 2 1/2 months. Although I risk sounding like my grandmother here, where did the time go?? I’m so excited about all the great response to the blog and how already, I feel people have a better understanding of the lives we lead. And my scope is just such a small window of what the military is. So, shortly after Ben left, I realized I had been sitting in our house as though I was going through a bad breakup, surrounded by the usual suspects; ice cream, tissues, romance movies, and best of all, my dog Duncan. Poor Duncan has been loyally sitting at the door at 4 p.m. everyday, waiting for Ben to come home and give him an obligatory scratch. I have to tell you, it has become downright depressing. My solution to the problem is to feed him a plenitude of treats which leaves him temporarily distracted and happy. Oh, I can already see the kind of mother I’d be! I’ve found that since Ben left, I feel very entitled to my sad feelings and in fact, I feel like trumpeting them all over my unit, announcing to people that “Ben just left for Afghanistan”, as if this will explain my red eyes and swollen cheeks (Thompson women are notoriously ugly criers…swollen, blotchy, hideous). I wait for the inevitable “Oh, that’s too bad”, and promptly expect a wash of sympathy, which usually does not come from fellow military coworkers. Instead, I’ve taken to calling my best friend Nikki (a more sympathetic civilian) to complain and whine to her. I think I have another week to go before she officially cuts me off. Determined to pull myself out of my funk, I decided to take Duncan to Dairy Queen for ice cream. I ordered and then sat outside with him, licking my cone delicately in an attempt to offset his total annihilation of both ice cream and plastic cup while other customers stared at me with disdain. I feel like I need a sign that says “Don’t judge me. We’ve earned this.” I came home feeling much better and prepared to tackle my next hurdle…the first online chat with Ben. It’s strange to talk over web cam when he has nothing interesting to report (half of it he can’t discuss due to security and the other half of his life is Groundhog Day…each day the same as the last) and I feel full of useless chatter about my day. Suddenly, all those things you are used to discussing with someone on a daily basis feel very trite. I don’t know if the web cam is a good thing. Sometimes it makes me miss him more. I’m also slowly getting into a routine of my own, adjusting to having to wake up early, feed the dog (if I forget, he stands with his head facing the food bowl until I catch the reminder…thanks Dunc), get him outside to do his business, run the dishwasher, empty the bucket for the dehumidifier, cook all the meals…sigh, it all feels so laborious even though it isn’t. I have taken to eating many dinners over the kitchen sink (most “dinners” have been bowls of cereal) for lack of desire or energy to cook for one. I keep thinking, how do people do this when they have children who miss their Mom or Dad and they have real needs beyond a daily walk and a little scratch behind the ear? To all those Afghanistan Single Parents, I salute you. Seriously. On a lighter note, I’ve hired someone to mow the lawn because that’s one household chore that has the potential to cause me tears. Now if only I could teach Duncan to check out the scary sounds… Stay tuned for my next post about my first “mess dinner” and my latest parade. Even better, these events were during last week’s 35 degree heat and our uniforms are made of WOOL. Yes, I have photos, and no, they are not pretty. Kelly T

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