The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


January 25, 2007

Name: Sharon Swanke
Posting date: 1/25/07

Husband stationed in: Kuwait
Hometown: Bloomington, IL

On the home front...

1:30 a.m.  The smoke detector on the main floor starts intermittently beeping, loud enough to wake me but not the kids. It is running low on batteries.

1:45 a.m.  A thorough search of the house reveals that all batteries that fit the beeping smoke detector went overseas with deployed husband.

1:50 a.m.  Shop for batteries at the local 24-hour store. Outside temperature is 17 degrees. My bed was a whole lot warmer than this.

2:10 a.m.  Stand on chair and struggle with smoke detector re-installation.

2:25 a.m.  Check e-mail just once more....No message from my spouse.  Six days without a message, and counting. Prior to his deployment we had daily contact for 20 years. It is a big adjustment to go without: his message, his voice, his touch.

4:00 a.m. Eyes wide open, no sleep tonight.

Still, it is better than being shot at. Remind self: next time husband deploys, check his bags for basic household items that are going with him, then restock said items.



Sharon... That was clever and cute and it got your point across... Thank you for all that you give up, or have to compensate for... Most of us know how hard it is for you and we appreciate your sacrifice... God be with you, your family and your husband...(TRUE UNDERSTANDING FROM ONE MOM/WIFE TO ANOTHER)... Peace be with you!

I've walked in your shoes and couldn't help but smile, with empathy & sympathy, as you described your morning. If your Soldier goes again be sure to check your CD and DVD libraries. I was in the mood for one of our favorite DVD's only to discover it had gone missing. You know where it went, don't you?

I know it's trite but it's true - hang in there! Murphy's Law goes into overdrive the moment the wheels are up - guaranteed. So, try to keep a handle on your sense of humor and learn to appreciate all the absurdities that will surely come to pass before your Soldier comes home again.

Saying a prayer for his safety, your sanity, and all who serve in our Armed Forces.

Sharon ~ I too understand the sleepless nights. I recently wrote:
"When the phone rings at 21:45, I run. I don't walk, I don't saunter and I certainly don't just "let the machine get it." Jumping out of bed grabbing whatever I can to wrap around me, tripping over the ever vigilant guard dog and whatever happens to be in the entryway, stubbing a toe as I round the end of the sofa to grab the receiver before the last ring because I know it is him. I run, and world class sprinters would do well to keep up."
Living with someone for any amount of time, we unfortunately take for granted their daily existence in our lives. I for one, never realized how much I would miss his snoring. ;0) It gets easier.

I also have a connection to the madness you talk about.
My son is now in his 2nd deployment to Baghdad. My daughter(-in-law)has her hands full back in Texas. She has a 3 1/2 year old and a soon to be 10 month old (both boys)and a basset hound. She should write a book on all that goes on with them while my son is in Iraq. I don't know what I would do without our friendship. She calls me everyday if i don't call her. I work full time and always take the time to talk to her even at work. It does not bother me that my son calls her more than he calls me because of our great relationship. I admire her for all that she has to deal with on a daily basis. I wrote my son a letter in December and told him he could not have picked anyone as sweet as she is to me. I love my daughter (in-law) as if she was one of my own. Sharon, I hope you have a lot of support.
God bless all the wives of our men in harm's way. God bless all the moms and dads of these brave men and women serving.
And of course God bless the USA.

Everyone always thanks us for serving overseas, but no one ever thanks the spouses for their service. In some ways your job is tougher than what we are going through. During depolyments the thought of home and my family gives me hope strength and the knowlege that whatever happens I have somewhere to go and people who love me. Be strong and keep up the good work he will be home soon.

I totally relate. I have been on the leaving end and on the staying back end as well... much harder being the one left behind... keep your head up.

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