Category Archives: Military Life

A Year Ago

One year ago today, it was a Friday afternoon.  I was scheduled to get married in one month and one day.  My work had just thrown me a lovely bridal shower, and lots of friends and family were preparing to come into town for my official bridal shower the next day.  I was flying high.  Then, I got the news

To say I was devastated would be a bit of an understatement.  I spent the rest of the afternoon bursting into tears and calming myself down, only to start crying again.  Saturday morning came, and though it was supposed to be a happy day (it was, after all, the day of my bridal shower) I felt like there was a black cloud of doom over my head.  Dramatic, yes.  I truly was happy to see everyone, but the news that Brian was heading to Afghanistan one month after we married was in the back of my mind, threatening to spill over into tears at any moment.  I look back at the photos from my wonderful shower and I can’t help but laugh to myself.  It was a wonderful shower, but I couldn’t full enjoy it.  The military has impeccable timing 😉

My bridesmaid Kristin and I at my shower.

On Sunday, I woke up and the black cloud was gone.  I felt like my old self.  Yes, Brian was going to Afghanistan.  However, it wasn’t a death sentence and we would come out of it even stronger.  Yes, it was going to be a long and difficult year apart, but we had/have so much to look forward to. 

Of course, it hasn’t been easy.  Sometimes Brian being gone hit me like a ton of bricks.  Although I love the videos of soldiers reuniting with their families after a deployment, they are hard to watch when you still have so long to go until your own reunion.  Wendy wrote a touching blog post that I looked to when I started to feel sad about Brian being overseas. 

Looking back, though, I wish I could tell myself to not be so sad and that everything is going to be okay.  We are on the tail end of the deployment (he will be home SO SOON :D) and in retrospect, the year went by so quickly.  SO quickly.  No, it was not an ideal way to spend a first year of marriage.  However, I know that it has made us stronger and more appreciative of one another.  We can make it through anything 🙂

When you news of a deployment, it can appear endless (a whole YEAR?).  I’m here to tell you that it isn’t.  Keep yourself busy.  Embark on exciting adventures.  Spend time with family and friends.  And look forward to the best reunion of your life 🙂

Thanks for all of your comments on my running slump.  I am definitely okay, health-wise- I just can’t run or practice hot yoga.  I’ll figure it out soon enough 🙂

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A Reunion

Hi friends!  It’s been a whirlwind of a time these past few weeks.  I spent two wonderful weeks with Bri and am now adjusting back to life without him here in the States.  Saying goodbye to him (again) was heart-wrenching, but I take solace in the fact that it will likely be the last time we say goodbye for a long time.  On top of that, a beloved co-worker passed away this past Monday.  It is going to be a few days before I get back to a normal (3x weekly) blogging/blog reading schedule.  I hope you’ll stick around!  In the meantime, I wanted to share the story of my and Bri’s reunion.  Thank you to all of my wonderful guest posters- I really appreciate it 🙂

Bri was set to arrive around dinner time on Sunday.  On Saturday afternoon, he called me from Germany.  “It looks like I won’t be getting in until midnight tomorrow.”  Dang it, I thought.  Bri really wanted a nice burger for his first meal back in the States and we had plans to grab one at Circus Cafe in Saratoga.  My mind reeled as I thought of burger options available at midnight.  He hadn’t had a proper meal in seven months (from his description of the food over there, I truly think I would starve) and I wanted to make his arrival perfect!   He was flying into Atlanta and then into Albany.  He told me he would call me once he arrived in Atlanta in order to give me his flight info and all of that.

We hung up and I got into planner/list-maker mode.   Technically I could pick up an awesome burger dinner for him around 10 PM on Sunday and keep it in the  oven warm for him.  My stepmom offered to make one of her delicious homemade burgers for us to be ready around midnight.  Gotta love family 🙂  Anyway, I went to sleep on Saturday night, excited that it would be my last night sleeping without Brian for a few weeks and content with the plan for Sunday.  All I had to do was shower, pretty myself up, bake Bri’s favorite cookies (Italian weddding cake) and maybe head to hot yoga. 

Due to Bri’s anticipated late arrival, I slept in until a leisurely 10 AM.  I do love me some sleep.  I read the newspaper and took my time with my morning cup of coffee.  My friend Jennifer called me around 10:30.  “Is Brian’s flight all set?  There is a huge storm in Atlanta and apparently they are canceling a ton of flights.”  Uh no, definitely wasn’t paying attention to that.  Shit.  I jumped onto weather.com and saw the dire weather forecasts.  What if Brian was stranded in Atlanta for days?  Still, there was nothing I could do except wait to hear from him once he got to Atlanta.  If you’re in the military, you kind of have to let go of your planner-like tendencies and just go with the flow. 

I read at the kitchen table for another hour or so and got to work making Italian wedding cookies.  I was mixing the batter with my little hand mixer when I heard my phone ring.  I looked at the clock.  12:30.  I looked at the number calling my phone.  518?  Who is calling me from Albany?  Tentatively, I picked up the phone.  “Hello?”

“Katie?”

“Yes?”

“Hi.  I’m here!”

“Um, what?  Who is this?  Brian??!”

I knew it was him but my mind was failing to register it.  How could he be in Albany?  He was supposed to be calling me from Atlanta.

“Yeah, I’m sorry I didn’t call you from Atlanta.  They canceled my later flight and I had to run to the gate to catch the last flight out.  The plane had pulled away from the tarmac and air traffic control actually directed the plane back to the gate to let me on.  Otherwise I would have been stuck in Atlanta until Wednesday at the earliest.”  (Amazing, right?)

I think I asked him at least ten times if he was serious.  Then excitement set in.  Then panic.  “Bri, I haven’t even showered!  Your cookies aren’t done!  I’m forty minutes away!!!  Ah!  Can I shower?  Should I shower?  I’ll just leave.”  He laughed at my ridiculousness and told me to take my time.  I was in and out of the shower in less than five minutes and out the door in less than ten.  No time for contacts, no time for makeup, no time to blow dry my hair.  I threw on my jeggings, uggs and a sweater.  So much for planning a glamourous outfit 😉  My mixer still sat in the mixing dish with the batter. 

As I sped down the highway, I could hardly contain myself.  The tears started around exit 10.  I couldn’t believe I was going to see my husband after seven long months!  There were a ton of cops on the road.  I laughed to myself thinking of what I would do if I got pulled over.  I made it to the airport 42 minutes after I picked up the phone.  Nice!  As I walked through the parking lot, my heart was pounding.  I was almost nervous in a sense.  I walked through the airport doors with tears in my eyes.  I scanned the baggage claim.  No sign of him.  Hmm, maybe he was upstairs getting coffee.  I ran up to check.  No dice.  I went back downstairs.  Maybe he was near the comfortable chairs over by check in.  Nope.  I turned around and headed back towards the baggage claim.  I saw Brian, dressed in full military garb.*  I couldn’t believe it- I thought he would be wearing civilian clothes!  He smiled at me and I ran towards him and then jumped into his arms, sobbing.  We stayed like that, hugging and crying (well, I think I was the one crying) for five minutes.  There were people around us, but I didn’t care.  I was finally reunited with my husband.   Seven long months in the making. 

*It turns out that a local veteran’s organization spotted Brian waiting for me in the baggage claim area and asked him to come sign their book in a private room they maintained at the airport, which is why I didn’t see him when he first entered.

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Two Months

Two months ago I said goodbye to my husband as he walked away from my car, taking my heart with him to Afghanistan.  Two months ago we sat down in a restaurant for our last lunch together in a long time, asking our waiter if he could pack the food to go because I was crying too hard to eat in public.  Two months ago, a year apart seemed endless.  It still does.  Each day that passes is another day closer to seeing each other once again.  I’ve been handling it very well and keeping myself incredibly busy.  However, today his absence hit me like a ton of bricks.  I can’t seem to stop crying at my desk.  Perhaps it was seeing my friend’s photos of her reunion with her husband returning from his deployment.  I want my reunion.  Alas, there are still many, many days that must pass before that day comes.  I know it’s just a mood that I’m going through and I have to say that I’m grateful I don’t feel this way every day.  It would make for a really long year.  Of course, I miss him terribly and that feeling is with me every second of every day.  This feeling has been manageable, though.  Some of my saving graces include:

  • Family– I am really lucky to be surrounded by family and friends.   Be it catching a drink with my brother, having dinner on the porch with my father, grabbing a bite with my grandmother, going to hot yoga with my stepmother or spending a weekend wine-tasting with the in-laws, it’s nice to be surrounded by people that provide support.
  • Friends– I’ve had a lot of fun taking the time to visit friends outside of the Capital District- be it weekends in Long Island with Nicole or yoga in Pennsylvania with Kristin.  My local friends are wonderful too, of course 😉
  • A Jam-Packed Schedule– This may just be the busiest summer of my life.  I definitely planned it that way, with the goal of having the time fly by.  And it is!  I had a huge work conference in June, the Boilermaker, the aforementioned travels, weddings, bridal showers and concerts upon concerts.  All provide nice distractions.
  • Yoga– I am so glad to have yoga in my life.  Its benefits are tremendous.  I leave each class feeling more calm and at peace.  I can literally feel my mind unwind and relax during the classes.   
  • Running Ah, running.  Running has become almost therapeutic for me.  I love coming up with training plans and accomplishing a workout.  The feelings of success after finishing a difficult race are pretty hard to beat.  As I pound away the miles on the pavement, my heart gets a little lighter with each step.
  • Google Chat– the time difference between here and Afghanistan is eight and a half hours.  So when Bri is going to bed, I’m finishing up my work day.  When I’m going to sleep, he is just waking up to start his day.  It’s weird.  Google chat has given us the ability to talk for a few minutes about our days and reconnect with one another.  I love it!
  • Skype– Bri and I usually chat once or twice a week on skype.  His work schedule is incredibly demanding and makes it difficult use it more than that.  When we do get to skype, it is such an incredible treat.  Just seeing his face makes me smile.  J
  • Bailey– Sometimes, a simple cuddle from your puppy is all you need to take your mind off of your troubles.  

So, that’s where I’m at with respect to deployment.  Writing this post has been cathartic, as I no longer have tears in my eyes.  I miss you, honey.  Stay safe.

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Exciting Stuff!

Hi friends! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. I purchased a new smartphone yesterday- the motorola droid! I love it. I went with verizon for the free skype aspect- skype will be my main source of communication with Bri when he is overseas. Speaking of Bri, I get to see him tonight!! Yay! I miss him so much.

The new blog transition is going well. My next post will be the one announcing the new site! And thanks for your comments on my last post- switching to wordpress simply requires the push of a button! Wow 🙂 I am in the process of transitioning my reader over from my old google account to my new google account but I’m almost there!

I saw SATC 2 on Memorial Day and I was NOT a fan. Samantha really bothered me. It also irritated me that they were essentially promoting Suz*anne So*mmers and all of her hormone added craziness. Miranda was amazing though. One good thing that came out of the movie is that they showed the preview for Eat, Pray, Love, which inspired me to go purchase the book. Wow. I am a third of the way through it and I love it. So far I highly highly recommend!

Have a great weekend lovelies! I’m excited to see Bri but at the same time very sad… he is headed to war! Hopefully this year will fly by quickly…

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A Fantastic Run and Lots of Stuff

Hey hey! I can’t believe it’s been a week practically since I posted. Things have been crazy! I feel like they aren’t going to settle down for a while. Virginia Beach was great this past weekend but man, saying goodbye to Bri (I’m not sure if I’ll get to see him while he’s in training prior to deployment) was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I don’t think I’ve ever cried that hard! Anyway…

I had a nice run on Friday. Well, it was nice when it was over. I ran five miles in the afternoon sun in VB, and I’m not going to lie, it was difficult. I would much rather run in cool weather. On Saturday our parents came to help us pack up the condo and all of that. Afterwards we had the most amazing nachos I’ve EVER had. Nachos aren’t the healthiest obviously but it was a special treat! Although if the restaurant were in my neck of the woods I’d be in trouble. The nachos had shrimp, crab meat, a little bit of hot sauce, cheese and all of the other standard fixins. AMAZING. Woo.

I got in LATE Monday night after an emotional and tiring nine hour drive. Tonight I am dogsitting for my best friend for the week/weekend. She and her husband have a sweet one year old chocolate lab, Sadie. I love to watch her but I feel so discombobulated. I need to be home and get organized! The Ragnar Relay is in two weeks and that Sunday I have a huge work conference, where I’m putting on three presentations. I guess I’m just a bit overwhelmed and posting will be a bit sporadic (although, when isn’t it, hahaha).

I did, however, have an awesome run after work! I headed over to a local park to get in a quick three miles before heading over to take care of Sadie. It was windy and slightly hilly and I wasn’t even trying to go fast, but I did! For me at least, ha. I had negative splits for the first time in my life!

Mile 1: 9:58
Mile 2: 9:53
Mile 3: 9:22

Yippee! I totally see a sub-30 5k in my future.

I hope everyone is doing well! What have you been up to?

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Some News

“Hey, Katie, are you in there?” The receptionist’s voice came through on my office phone.
I didn’t think much of it. One of the main components of my job is to answer legal inquiries from our members.
“Yeah, I’m here. What’s up?”
“It’s Brian.”
“Ohh, okay, put him through, thanks”. He must be calling to see how the work shower went, I thought, smiling to myself.
“Hey honey, how’s it going?!”. My standard greeting for him.
“It’s going, how was the shower?”
I chatted on excitedly about how great it was, how fantastic my co-workers are.
“I even got a red velvet cake in the shape of an engagement ring!!”. Red velvet is my favorite cake.
“So”, he says, “are you ready for this one?” He sounded anxious. My heart dropped. I sat back in my chair, gripping my desk. I knew. We’ve been waiting to hear.
“Yeah”, I said nervously, “what’s up?”
“I got my orders. I leave in April. 365 days. Afghanistan”.

Approximately 30 days after becoming husband and wife, my new husband will be traveling halfway across the world, to a hostile country, for over a year. Thousands of brave soldiers do this each year, and we go about our daily lives, appreciating it but not necessarily feeling the impact. Until it hits home. And it sits pretty heavy.

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