Tuesday, November 26, 2013

transition - homelessness

We pulled out of Yuma with no idea what was going to happen when we got home.  We knew we needed a place to stay and a place to live, jobs and in general something to do with ourselves but no real plans.  We don't come from the types of families where we can just go back to one of our childhood homes like many.

Just drive northeast, stop when we hit the ocean.

While driving through Kentucky Will got another call from a friend he went to Bible college with (oh have I not mentioned that my Army Ranger husband once attended & was kicked out of Bible college?) who has been begging us to stay with him since he found out we were moving home.  This friend was in California where they went to school before some twist of fate brought him to lead Will's home church in Massachusetts.  With no other options and a huge sense of guilt we accepted.  They have a guestroom in the basement and a playroom with a pullout couch, much more than we could really ask for.

Those of you who know me must know that staying with pastors is not really my comfort zone with my love of vodka and ability to drop a F-bomb without even realizing it but it has been really really good.  When we first got here I was offered a beer...a good beer and from there it has beer pretty smooth.

The home search has been much harder than expected, I knew that the rental market would be much different than the market in a military town, there just isn't the demand here and because of that landlords can be much more selective and that means, for the most part, no dogs.  If they do allow dogs they have to be under 25lbs and, lets face it, a dog under 25lbs is really just a glorified cat.  Our search expanded and expanded and expanded until we finally were offered a duplex that will be 100% brand new in the town of our choice. 

Our hosts have been amazing, and when they say we can stay as long as we need I really believe it.  It has been great for me, to have another mother to talk to, a mother like me!  Dinner dishes in the sink until breakfast with no apologies - there were things to do after dinner that included playing with the kids and unwinding without guilt.  We both like to let the kids just play, independently under the impression that if someone breaks an arm or something they will let us know, no need to run and check every time we hear a cry.  I think I have been reading too many mom blogs that make me feel like a shitty mom for not having a Pottery Barn house and trilingual 3 year olds. 

It will be beyond amazing to get into our own place and be reunited with our Keurig but until that can happen we have been beyond blessed to have been offered such an amazing place to crash during out between time.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Drive

The best decision we made about the trip from Yuma, AZ to Massachusetts was to split up the girls.  I had so much anxiety thinking about them joining forces and driving me insane on the road.  The thought of sending TC to Will's car never even crossed my mind.  When Will suggested it I felt pretty sad, that was a lot of time for them to be apart but the more I thought about it the better it sounded.

I got Addie because she's a little obsessed with me, I think I lucked out.  TC is a talker...she does not stop.  Although Addie wont be 2 until December we decided to forward face her car seat.  I was really stressing over this, I am a big fan of extended rear facing and kept TC rear facing until she was 2.5 but when Addie totally took herself out of her straps while driving home from Target a few days before we left the decision was made.  Rear facing is safer but nothing is safe then she's not strapped in!  It made life so much easier while driving that distance too, I can't lie. 

All in all, it was pretty uneventful, we had a puke stop the first day and a few accidents in TC's car seat but nothing major.  I have to be honest, most of this country is boring to drive through.  A few things of note, northern Arizona is beautiful, it's startling to see a horse and buggy on a major interstate, I never want to eat at a place call Stray Dog BBQ - just sounds wrong, snow in WV is not fun, if you want to listen to church on every radio station on the dial drive through Missouri on Sunday morning.

We didn't follow the original Google map because we stopped outside of Ft. Campbell to see my mom, it was nice for her to finally meet Addie. 

TC was happy to see grandma too, she doesn't remember meeting her 3 years ago but she does like to talk to her on the phone.

Of course I loved seeing her too, I hate that we have to go so long between visits.  Maybe one of us will win the lottery so we wont have to wait so long again.

The next night we stopped in West Virgina, it was almost a disaster.  While driving though the mountains Will's eyes just gave out.  Since his injury his night vision is just crap and he was to the point when he could drive no more.  We pulled into a Days Hotel and the two young girls informed me that they didn't allow pets.  We decided to just leave them in the car for the night, not the end of the world, until we realized it was going to be below freezing and they were expecting snow.  I lost it, I cried to the girls that he was a disabled vet and he couldn't drive anymore for the night and wondered if there was anything we could do...that night Moses was promoted to service dog.  (My cat was fine in the car with her carrier under a pile of blankets.)  I am still so grateful to those girls for helping us out, I don't know what we would have done.

We woke up to a beautiful mountain snow but not so beautiful to drive through, like many things on the trip the snow was my fault.  Will had no problem blaming me for so many ridiculous things along our way.  I spent a good amount of time crying while driving along.  I am not sure I really want to get into all of that just yet, but I do want to make sure that I am not pretending all of our problems disappeared as we bee-bopped across the country. 

The girls did pretty well.   I am no expert but splitting them up really did help us, they seemed excited to see each other each night and didn't wake each other from naps on the way or anything else that would have driven me nuts.  Also, handing back an iPad when nothing else worked was great, a few games or a movie on that and then they were out.  I had crackers in hand for Addie and Will kept oranges and apples ready for TC.  Also having a stash of sippy cups at the ready made picking drinks really easy, I didn't have to worry about what may or may not spill.

When we rolled into New England it was like a weight was lifted.  I have never been more excited to see "Welcome to Connecticut".  When we finally made it to Providence, RI I cried real big fat tears.  I just felt home.  Setting my radio stations was like a religious experience for me.  I can't really explain it...we had no place to live and no idea what was going to happen but I knew I was home.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Moment

I didn't start this new blog just to neglect it, I promise!  We are staying with friends and they have 3 kids so between the five kids and four adults there are just not many chances to sit down.

But the good news is that we found a place to live and I will most likely be starting a job soon after we move in.  The bad news is that the place wont be ready until Dec 5!  Yikes.  But we can have our dog and our my cat so it's worth the wait. 

Until then we are house guests.  It is no fun being long term house guests but we are lucky that Will had these great friends who really seem to enjoy our company.  The kids are doing as well as can be expected given the circumstances, I just can't wait to get them settled into our new life and actually start living.

I have a lot of things I hope to get down in the next few days, I want to document the drive and the rental search but mostly I want to talk about reintegration, not post deployment but post army.  I think I will make that a theme I go back to a lot over this first year out - it's been as hard, if not harder, than I expected.

I have also been asked a few times about my old blog, I will be making it public again at some point in the future but I need to reread some things. I may make edits to some of the rawest posts, I am not sure how I feel about it all being out there right now.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hello Again

This is it, messy hair, no makeup but big smiles!
After almost 6 years at my previous (and private at the moment) blog Random Rants of An Army Wife it was time for a change and here it is.  So much has changed since I started sharing my life on the internet.  I never thought anyone would ever care what I had to say, I just needed an outlet in which to say it but I found such an amazing community through blogging.  I can't imagine how my journey would have gone without it.

Who am I?  I suppose that is a good question for a first blog post.  I am Amber, mother of two beautiful little girls and wife to a someone broken man.  As my past blog title tells you, I was an army wife.  My husband was injured four years ago in Iraq and, as of December 28th, he will no longer be in the army.  This wont be a place to deal with army life since it is no longer my life but I am sure my experiences from the past 8 years will come in handy.  I spent a lot of time talking about my husband's Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in my last blog, this time I am going to really try to not focus on that.  It is a major part of our life together but I will focus more on myself and not him.  I am also going to try to honor his request to keep his picture off of this blog.

My girls TC 3 and Addie 23 months are my world.  I would do anything to make sure they are happy, healthy and well adjusted little humans.  It isn't easy as a father with a TBI makes things very difficult but above all, they come first.  I am sure I will (over) share how I try to do this.  I am not a mommy blogger in the sense that I want to tell you how you should be doing things or anything like that, but I am a mom and this is my blog so take that however you want.

I don't really know what direction this blog will take.  I know I will be here venting and sharing my life.  Recording moments with my girls and hopefully celebrating moments with my husband.  There are so many changes in my life right now, my only current blog goal is to get things out of my head before I go insane.