Temporary Domestic Bliss

I’m here with DH.  He’s in TLF (temporary housing, like a hotel), so it’s more than a little cramped.  It’s a cute little room though.  It has a super mini stove/fridge/sink area, so I’ve been playing domestic goddess.  I went to the commissary and got food, and I even got up this morning and made him breakfast.  Right now I’m in between cycles on his laundry, and you can finally (I’m pretty sure for the first time ever) see his floor because I picked up all the extraneous gear that was lying around.  Sigh…I’m so happy.

Jenny Spouse has this comic, and I can’t figure out when it was published to link directly to it, but it depicts the first couple weeks after the spouse comes home from deployment.  The wife is all primped out with make-up and high heels.  She’s cooking and cleaning and spoiling her DH to death.  A few weeks later, she’s a little dressed down but still cute.  A few weeks after that she’s in sweats and yelling at her DH to get whatever he needs himself.  It’s so cute and so true!  I love the fact that we’re finally together, so I love running around being Susie Homemaker.  I’m treating this cramped hotel room like it’s a mansion with 10 acres.  I wonder how long it would take for that to get old?

We were lying in bed last night before going to sleep and were joking that on our fifth anniversary we’d look back on that “one year we lived together” and how nice it was.  I’m afraid it’s going to come true.  November when DH finally gets finished with training will be one year since we left our little apartment.  One year without an address of our own.  One year of living out of duffel bags, suitcases, and our car.

I’m going to enjoy every minute of this week, and if I have to squint and tilt my head a little bit to pretend that this room is really our dream home, I will.  Note to self:  In my future dream home, don’t have the air conditioning permanently set so low either, because I’m freezing!

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Hitting The Wall

I am 100% dead tired.  Like crazy, toothpicks-to-hold-your-eyelids-open tired.  Like sad, Enengizer-bunny-might-just-run-out-of-batteries-this-time tired.  It’s that bad.

I think I might have gotten an ear/sinus infection coming back from moving myself out of storage.  No, I haven’t gone to get it checked out.  Every time I think I should call, I swear I might be getting better.  But it’s wore me out.  On top of that, I’ve been commuting about an hour and a half each way to the archives to research for the beast that is eating my life.  This thesis is a soul-sucking monster.  I research all day, which I love.  It’s fun and is making me feel really good.  Being productive with something that I truly enjoy is doing wonders for my mental state.  I’m making friends down there and am finding good stuff for my paper.  Really, it is a good thing.  But research is sooo tiring.  It works your brain muscle super hard.  Day after day of research is mentally exhausting me…but at least it’s a positive exhaustion though.  I get home for supper and get to spend more hours doing homework and (yay) another paper.  My brain is going to explode.

I’ve been crawling into the covers close to midnight every night.  It’s not what my poor body wants.  Yesterday I raked the yard too.  All that exercise drained the last of my energy and gave me blisters in return.  Bastard.

Next week is going to be equally busy with homework and yes, another paper.  But…wait for it…I’ll be doing it with DH.  Sqeeeeelll!!  That’s why I’ve been busting my bum researching super hard, because I’ll be out of town visiting my hubby next week.  I’m so excited.  I miss my Sweet Pea.

To bed, Fred.

Leo, Anna, And A Year Of My Life

*Because of when Anna was written, it is available online in full text through several websites.

 

Anna 

Probably close to a year ago I got a brilliant idea that I wanted to experience Leo Tolstoy.  I had been watching Jeopardy and one of the answers said something to the effect that Tolstoy was considered one the greatest writers in history and his work Anna Karenina was a classic that everyone should read.  Needless to say, I took the challenge.  What I failed to consider was that I had just started graduate school and tackling Tolstoy was just not practical.  I’ve read it off and on during my breaks between classes and finally finished it last weekend.

I feel like I’ve climbed a mountain!  Unfortunately my brain feels like fried jello…beneath the thin crust, it’s all liquidy and useless.  Blame the research.  So this review will not be what Tolstoy deserves, but I in no way feel like an expert on his writing anyway.

First, Tolstoy’s writing is incredibly dense.  The 923 pages read more like double that.  He’s not for the faint of heart.  He is also a wordy writer, and I wadded through long passages just to find out that it was between two strangers on the street and wasn’t relevant to the main characters at all.  Also quite obvious once you get into the book is that it was written as a serial.  Between 1875 and 1877, Anna Karenina was published a few chapters at a time.  When reading as whole, the serial nature of the publishing leads to a build-up of action every few chapters.  It can be distracting if you’re not used to reading that way, but classics like Three Musketeers by Dumas were published in the same fashion.

One aspect of his wordy style is that it painted a detailed, elaborate, and accurate picture of mid to late nineteenth century Russian society.  As a history nut, I find that really interesting, so it didn’t bother me as much as it might have otherwise.

One frustrating aspect of the story, however, was Russian names.  Each name has several forms, the formal and informal.  It leaves the reader who is unfamiliar with this aspect of the Russian language to feel like there’s twice as many characters as there really are.  Russian society in the late nineteenth century also spoke a lot of French as a sign of high society and class, so many French phrases are purposely left in the text.  Most are footnoted and translated, but again, for someone unfamiliar with this, it could be distracting and discouraging.

The plot itself was less scandalous than it would have been over a hundred years ago.  It’s meant to be a love story and examines all kinds including adulterous love, true love, parental love, and love for God.  I can see how parts could be considered trashy romance in the 1800s…hehe.  I was disappointed with the ending because it felt like it just faded off, emphasizing that life continues on I suppose.  Certainly not the bang I was looking for though.

Speaking of life continuing, readers get the sense that as Tolstoy jumps from character to character, their lives continued on without the reader.  When, several chapters later you get back to Anna’s life, sometimes it feels like you missed something.  Nowhere is this more obvious than when she starts to mentally lose it towards the end.  It feels very abrupt, and since I have stopped and started reading the text several times, I even backed up a few chapters thinking I forgot something in the interim.

Worth my time?

Definitely.

Made me rethink the feeling that I should read War and Peace sometime in my lifetime?

Oh yeah.

Fishing Trip

I said quite awhile ago that I would elaborate on the fishing trip that I went on while Super Rad was here.  I’m going to be busy this week, plus I took some pretty good pictures.  For me, it’s good if the people’s heads actually make it in the frame, plus the boat was being tossed in some decent sized waves…so I’m going to brag a little and give you a little treat and mini vacation for your eyes.

 

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This is just to prove that the boat really was being tossed around…(getting Gilligan flashbacks yet?).  And my dad was taking the picture, and he didn’t have my awesome skills. 🙂  That’s me and Super Rad and the captain by the way.  Check out his tats.  I’m so jealous.

 

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That’s my dad untangling and rebaiting the lines.  I’m not sure whether he was helping or just getting in the way.

 

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Super Rad was reeling in the big one.  No joke.  He caught a 31″ walleye that was over 11 lbs.  It was a beast.

 

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And there it is.  It tasted great too.

 

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I’m reeling like a mad woman.  I had to sit and do it because the rod hurt too much on my hip.

 

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There’s the fruits of all my labor.  Super Rad was helping out the first mate on that one.

As you can see, it was a gorgeous day, and we had a ton of fun.  We caught so much fish.  We’re still eating it almost a month later.  I’m off to bed.  Have a good night.

Beaming…Because I Am the Shiz-Niz

It’s super late, but I have to toot my own horn a bit before I crash.  I just got back from a whirlwind trip back up to DH and my’s original home back before this moving and training craziness started to MOVE OUT!  Yes, yes, it is exciting.  Way back in November when we got the two week notice to quit work, pack, and drive several thousand miles because DH’s orders got moved way up, we had not time to do anything.  We put all out stuff in the local storage facility in town.  It happens to be a video rental, dollar store, mobile home supplies, and self storage (very, very tiny town), but it was within a block or two of our apartment, so it was gold at the time.  Since then, we got in contact with the personal property office and got movers scheduled.

Yesterday was the day.  I spent the whole day Sunday taking the train up there.  Monday I showed up bright and early to meet my movers and packers.  There is nothing as sweet as finally getting this ball rolling!  The storage place had a problem with their sprinkler system/fire alarm in the middle of the night before, so repair guys were there sharing our space.  Plus it was also partly storage for the dollar store, so we had very little room to stack boxes.  On top of it, there was nowhere for the moving truck to pull up to the building after he finally got unlost because there’s no parking lot.  People just park on the side of the road.  My packing guys, Lou and Jim (saints in my book), did an excellent job even still.  They teased me all day, but they were wonderful workers and got me safely packed in record time.  My stuff is right this minute headed to my next duty station.  Gasp!  Could it actually be?  It will sit in storage there too, but at least it will be there waiting for me when I get there.  Sigh…I couldn’t be happier.  Hehe!

The even bigger news is that I just completed my very first solo PSC.  Yay!!  I handled everything, and I did it semi-confidently and even was pretty social.  I’m so awesome.  I had a slight panic attack during it, and I don’t know why because by that point we were wrapping up.  Probably just relief that it was over.  One military spouse rite of passage down, and I did it long distance.  Yeah, Baby!

After that I stopped into my old work to say hi to my old co-workers and boss.  A lot of people were out on vacation or working on reduced summer hours, so that was a bummer.  I found out my old boss is getting married in September.  Congrats!!  I’m so excited for her.  I was really good there too and chatted with everyone.  I was happy and confident; I’m so proud of myself!  I flew back today and am very, very happy to be back.  I’m exhausted.  It was such a busy couple days.  Traveling wears me out, and I couldn’t eat very well while I was out, so my tummy is not happy with me.  Man, that bed is going to feel so good tonight.

As this process is coming to a close, I realize that maybe it’s good that I’m going to be doing the next bajillion months on my own.  I don’t know if I could grow and gain the self-agency that I need to with DH around.  It’s just not possible.  I rely too much on him when we’re together, but I love our time together.  It’s too complicated right now to be with him but learn to exert my own authority at the same time.  So I’m going to make sure I learn it by myself.  Some people have to do things the long, painful, slow way.  This is one of those times.  But if the last few days are any indication, I’m going to manage during the deployment.  I’m going to miss him like crazy, but I will be able to function.  No one could be more proud of me than I am right now.

A History Nerd Haven

Yesterday was my first day researching at the National Archives for my thesis.  It was such an experience.  I’m a little at a loss for words.  I trained people on how to do archival research.  I did it every day and really loved it.  I’d never been to the National Archives before, but really, how hard could it be?  Wrong.  Dead wrong.

That building is so big.  It’s gorgeous, totally what you need when you need when you’re doing research.  The building itself is so old, so it’s chunked up into lots of separate rooms.  That made it hard to find my way around, which wasn’t a big deal except there’s super security at the entrance of almost all the rooms.  You also aren’t allowed to take pretty much anything in either:  a computer (as long as it’s screened and registered), loose leaf paper (as long as it’s approved and stamped), and a pencil.  Trying to juggle it all while finding my way and managing security made me a little awestruck.

I also realized I have no idea what I’m doing!  I talked tons with the Legislative Archivist and his two interns.  They helped me tons and got me pointed in the right direction.  I only thought I had an idea about what I wanted to research.  I was probably two steps below ever touching primary documents when I showed up.  Welcome to the big leagues…  I have so much to do.

But I got my researchers card.  It’s so cool.  I’m such a nerd…  Adding to my nerdiness was just being surrounded by tons of people who were just as enthused about history and researching as I was.  People were bustling about and digging though files.  Some people who are there often recognized each other and were sharing research finds.  The level of discourse that was generally going on there was amazing.  It was intelligent, academic, and full of energy.  The people were excited about what they were talking about.  It feels so rare to find other history nerds out in the world.  Usually I’m the only one who likes this stuff and gets so wound up over talking about it.  Sigh…

I also made lots of friends with the guards.  I know it sounds silly, but it’s hard for me to be at ease in social situations.  Chatting with friendly guards was a big thing for me.  It made the whole trip that much better.  I can’t wait to go back.

That being said, I left yesterday feeling really dejected.  As any good archivist would do, the one I talked with really tried to discourage me.  It sounds weird, but most people have never done this type of research before and start with really high hopes.  Shrinking their expectations is necessary.  I thought I was going into it realistically, but I underestimated how much bigger the job was at such a large facility.  There’s just so much to look at.  By the time I got home, I was feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.  This is going to be a big job.

It doesn’t help that my advisor is being really quiet.  I can’t get him to help me brainstorm or approve anything.  I still haven’t nailed down a specific thesis statement, making my date range and official topic still fairly fluid.  I don’t want to get too far into my research and waste time if my advisor ends up speaking up against it.  Arg.  Nothing can be easy, can it?  My available research days are quickly disappearing, so I’m pressing on with or without him.

Mental Illness Series: Relationships

So life has continued…I, on the other hand, have not. I’m still struggling. I haven’t figured out what exactly his bringing me down yet either. Everything seems to be making me upset and my emotions have been swinging wildly even along the low end of the spectrum. I’m officially a mess.

Part of it is a little piece of homesickness. Let me correct that. I was watching a rerun of How I Met Your Mother (such a cute show), and Robin was homesick for Canada. Marshall is from Minnesota, and since they’re similar, he was helping her cope. It really struck a chord with me, and I started thinking that maybe I was homesick too. I really miss Prairieville, as I always do. I have always felt that the people there are more like me, think more like me, and hold similar values. I feel most accepted when I’m there. In retrospect, I think because I’ve been feeling lonely, ignored, and angry with my current situation I latched onto the idea of Prairieville. It signifies a better place for me. My friends are there. I had good experiences when I lived there. I love visiting. I think I just wanted to feel included and loved, which led to homesickness. But at the same time, I am homesick for my life back. I told Red in a phone call that I was tired to being a family of one. I want my husband back. I want our life together back. I want to be back under the same roof where we cooked supper, worried over money, and got ready for work in a tiny, cramped bathroom. I know we’re going to be moving tons, and that’s ok, but right now feels like such a huge holding pattern. At least if we’re moving we’d be together working toward our goals again. I’m homesick for my own job again and my furniture. I want to curl up and read while DH plays video games.

I need help remembering that this weird phase is still a version of that. I’m working hard toward finishing school while DH is busy training. We are still moving forward, day by day.

DH is taking the brunt of this as usual. Talking to him makes me feel worse. If it’s not the actual conversation, it’s saying goodbye at the end. My solution has been to avoid contact. I know I’m doing this all wrong. I know and feel like I’m being a bad wife. I want to ask how his day is going and wish him luck on his PT test, but our phone conversations send me so close to the edge that I can’t. I feel like it’s better for us both if I just don’t call. He gets frustrated because I’m upset again and he can’t help. I get frantic and desperate because…it’s what I do. I feel like there’s something I need from him so badly, and he’s just not giving it. I know he could help. I know in my gut that I need something from him.

I feel like he’s just not trying. I know that’s horrible, but I can’t help it. I feel like he doesn’t want to take the time, especially since he’s far away. In a relationship I expect the person to reach a certain level of “knowing” me. If I’m upset one day, the very next day I want that person to check on me. “How are you doing today?” “Has anything changed?” At least assume that unless I notify you otherwise, the status quo continues and I am still upset. I don’t feel like I get that from DH. There’s a convenient obliviousness and amnesia that erases his memory. He answers the phone surprised every time that I’m still struggling. His repeated question of what’s bothering me drives me to the brink of an explosion like nothing else. I feel like I shouldn’t have to re-explain it over and over. It makes me feel like he’s not thinking of me or concerned because in my book, a concerned person would REMEMBER. How bad do I have to get to warrant that?

I don’t want this to be a rant against DH. It’s not. The point is that I’m not feeling wanted or worth remembering, and of all people, I want that from DH. I shouldn’t have to ask for it, let alone be disappointed when it’s not delivered. I will not accept that it’s just a guy thing. That guys don’t store such information for a later date. That’s bull shit and a cop out. I may complain, but our relationship is still strained on both sides because I’m having such a rough time.

I’ve been writing this over several days now, and for the past day or two I’ve had a small resurgence of good feelings. My trip to research helped some I think. I’ve also been experimenting with ending the phone conversation before DH does. It’s a very small act, but I feel like it’s on my terms. In a lot of ways, I don’t want to quit talking, but I know it’s ending anyway. I’ve been saying that I want to go and get a snack, and now DH has commented that I’ve been snacking an awful lot. Hehe. I haven’t mentioned my experiment because somehow I think it will ruin it. I still have feelings of abandonment and a seemingly very obvious false attitude of perkiness, but I’ve felt better about hanging up. Is this the right way to fix the problem? I don’t know. It’s all I can manage on my own right now though, so I think it good that at least I’m trying to do something.

I don’t want to hope that maybe my dark funk has subsided for awhile. I can still feel it waiting to come out if I don’t keep busy and ignore it. I’m going to be busy for the next few days though, and I might get lucky. I really need this break, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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