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.


July 22, 2009

Name: Air Force Wife
Posting date: 7/22/09
Spouse: Preparing to deploy
Milblog: Spousebuzz

With Air Force Guy coming and going on a very frequent basis, it has become accepted fact in our family that my brain is the repository for all things... well, all things. Need to know how old the roof is?  Two years. Family blood types?  Four B negatives and an O negative. Need a kennel?  A mechanic? (I found a great one, by the way, who doesn't overcharge or cheat us!)  Who is our doctor? Husband has a headache -- what could have triggered it? Oh, and by the way, the minivan is about ten miles overdue for an oil change. AND DON'T PUT THAT IN THE DRYER!

Unfortunately, keeping all this information on ready access alert in my head (I do write everything down as well) means that most days I engage in quite a lot of stream of consciousness thought.

For instance:

This morning I woke up and went in the bathroom to take a shower. When I was brushing my teeth, I noticed that the trash was overflowing and took that out right away after I had rinsed and spit. On my way downstairs, I realized that the dogs needed to go out and managed to combine a trash run with putting the dogs out. While the dogs were outside I noticed that several of my plants needed extra water. I went in the kitchen to get the watering container and noticed that no one had done the dishes. I started the dishesand the dogs started barking, so I went to let the dogs in. Oops, I forgot they were out there.

Where was I? Oh yes. The dishes. But wait! I still haven't taken a shower! Or watered my plants! And I've only been up for about 45 minutes. The rest of the day follows something along the same lines.

I also do this when I'm in conversation with people, and it's one of the reasons I feel most comfortable talking with other military spouses. It's nice to find people who can follow my absolutely insane twists of logic without looking utterly perplexed and needing to take notes.

Yesterday AFG and I took our kids to get root beer floats and then to a local farm where they could watch and pet the animals. AFG ended up having to place our order in Spanish, and when we were seated I told him, "If you need IR flags for this deployment, you better tell me now so I can order them without the extra overnight delivery charge!"

"Yes, I will need more IR flags," AFG informed me.  "But what on earth made you think of that right now?"

"Well, you had to order in Spanish, which reminded me how difficult it has been for your mother to pick up English after moving here from Russia. That reminded me that a lot of military spouses have the same language issues, which reminded me that my friend R. was married to a woman from Korea who had some trouble but picked up the language eventually.

Remember that R. had NCO mafia connections for everything (and they were much better than your scrounge club, which disbanded when you got home from deployment) and he was the one that found the IR flags you needed for your last deployment? Which reminded me, we're up on the deadline for getting those things mailed out in time this time, so I needed to ask you if you were issued enough this time around or if I needed to order more."

Honestly, it's like my life is If You Give a Moose a Muffin.


It makes a better read than it does a reality. Thanks for the post. If you ever want a good laugh you can take a pen and paper stress test that will total up to "why am I not dead yet" levels. We took them when getting ready for student teaching. Most of us at the table were not traditional students, older with or w/o spouses but most with kids in the house. And this was peace time without any military connection!!

Just tell AFG that this is just how your brain is wired. He will accept it. Men like simple explanations most of the time. Do take time to consciously breathe once in a while so that you do not hyperventilate and pass out. I'll be thinking of you and yours over this next deployment.

It's called Attention Deficit Disorder. I recommend the book Driven to Distraction by Hallowell and Ratey (and/or their followups) for both you and your spouse. ADD is a spectrum disorder; its impact can go from little more than a 'personality type' all the way to an underlying cause of depression, and can often be far more difficult for your spouse to deal with than for you.

No, it's called being a mom.

Wow, your daily life sounds a lot like mine except I don't have an AFG whose getting ready for deployment.
I will often look at my cat and ask her, "Why did I come into this room?" If she ever tells me, I think I will be in real big trouble or extremely rich -- maybe both.
My friends tell me it's not ADD--just to many busy thoughts & getting old. Great. friends. at least they could pretend. N.O.T.

Miss Em
Austell, Ga.

It's not ADD, it being a mom AND a MilSpouse.

We are also approaching deployment, and have been having some of those random, jumping conversations. All the things you need to ask them if they remembered, 'cause they are mentally half gone already. And who ever said there is nothing romantic about discussing "worst case" arrangements over a surf & turf dinner and a bottle of wine? **sigh**

Oh, just wait until you are 50. Then none of it will matter because you really won't remember, or you won't care!

I have always been told that a short short pencil is better than a long memory!

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