Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Heartbreak Ridge & Guns

Heartbreak Ridge~I just love this movie. I love how it reflects life as a Marine, an example of life as a Marine's wife, the way Marines take care of their own, and the battle of "old" vs. "new" Corps. Dave and I went and had Chinese food last night, then we stopped by Wal-Mart to get ice cream and instead of renting a movie we decided to watch "Heartbreak Ridge" again. I don't think we have watched it since he has been back. I have been missing Marine life (shh don't tell Dave) and it was fun to watch the movie. I was actually impressed with myself and how much of the gear I recognized in the movie ("official" names and all) and the fact that even though they act like the movie is set in Camp Lejeune, NC (and to be accurate it should be set in NC) it was actually filmed somewhere West Coast.

Trip to the Gun Store~We traveled to the gun store today so that Dave could talk to one of the sales people to see how he had done refinishing a gun. Dave wants a gun of his refinished and wanted to see how the other guy's turned out before he starts doing it. We are looking down the aisles...taking inventory j/k...and Dave says "you should get a matching AK" (AK 47 for you non gun folk). "Ugh, sweetie what am I going to do with an AK?" His reply "shoot stuff." "So you want me to have a matching AK strapped to my back for when the end of the world comes?" His reply "yes, unless you want something with more distance." My response "I don't think I really need anything at the moment darling. " Then later on I was teasing him about getting a "military duffel bag" and asking whether he needed one (he has at least 3 seabags already). He said he didn't so then I asked if he needed another pack (like a backpack). He said that you never could have too many packs and maybe he should buy one. I said "and do what with it?" He said "you can carry it filled with my ammo." "Ugh, are you kidding me? I am NOT your packhorse sweetie and even just one box of ammo is heavy let alone a whole pack full. I refuse to carry your ammo pack and have an AK strapped to my back when the end of the world arrives."

Oh, the lives of Marine's duty or certainly isn't a boring life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Southern Gun Show

Over the weekend I visited "the biggest gun show in the southeast" according to my husband. The southeast of what, I have no idea. This was my second trip to a gun show and let me tell you it isn't just guns on display. There are all sorts of things on display at southern gun shows~especially Confederate Memorabilia. I made my first trip to a gun show the second year of our marriage right before we moved to North Carolina. We had come to Alabama for a visit in between moves. We went to the gun show and boy did I learn a lot. I was entertained by the crowd alone and could have cared less about the guns on display and for sale. The coolest thing I saw the first trip was actual Confederate money from the Civil War era that someone had on display. This second trip to the gun show I was not disappointed with what I saw. I told Dave I should have brought a notebook to sit in the corner and record my observations. I was saved by the Army recruiter though as he gave me a plastic "shopping" bag and in it were some nice "join the Army" fliers/brochures that I wrote on instead. *Best thing of the day was the free pen and pencil that came in this bag too.*

I'll just give you a description of the sights I took in at the gun show. (Cameras were not allowed, otherwise I would have had pictures to go along with my blog.) First sighting: "I support Confederate history month" stickers on some of the displays. I have no idea which month is Confederate history month, I was under the impression that most Confederates celebrated their history everyday and it wasn't reserved to just one month of the year. .oO(Why yes I am a "damn Yankee".)

Second Sighting: An aged man, my guess would be 50 or so, who was wearing jeans, black biker style boots, and a brightly colored tie-dye t-shirt with the sleeves cut off which listed "10 Reasons to go to Curry HS" on the back of it. The printing was too small to read the actual reasons, especially on a tie-dyed shirt, but I couldn't help wondering where he found the shirt. I'm hoping it wasn't because he has recently graduated from Curry HS. .oO(Again, yes I am a Yankee.)

Third Sighting: Children barely old enough to walk, some not even that old, at the gun show with dad or grandpa. There was one boy who was fast asleep in his stroller at the gun show. Apparently, this gun thing starts at a young age in Alabama. There are gun cases, nylon type ones, that were embroidered with "my first rifle". .oO(The only people I know who use guns in the north are police men and hunters -- and even some hunters use bows and arrows instead...)

Fourth Sighting: The Alabama State a big white rectangle with a red "x" across it. Upon seeing it for the first time my statement was "That's it?!" and I started giggling. Compared to Ohio's flag it is pretty simplistic. Dave's comment was "Keep making fun of my people, they're liable to shoot you if you keep it up." .oO(Guess I am a "damn Yankee" ...who better learn how to shut up once in awhile.)

Fifth Sighting: Not "Obama for President" stickers. I saw two different stickers that were of the opinion that Obama should not be President. The most popular one at the show said "Obama-Oshit" and was for sale at every other booth it seemed like. The second one was "No Obama Nation." Well, I guess some southerners just don't like him. I hadn't seen those stickers before so I thought they were interesting. By the way, he is not a Muslim...some people still don't realize that.

Sixth Sighting: Here comes the sheriff and his deputy. I mentioned that there is a lot of Confederate memorabilia on display at the gun shows. Well, there is a lot of old west type memorabilia as well. There were several booths that had a lot of historical gun styles on display and there was one booth that the gentleman operating the booth had dressed up as a sheriff and a deputy. I didn't take too much notice of it until we were walking down one of the aisles and here comes this old west style sheriff and his deputy. The sheriff was at least 6 ft tall, probably taller, so he made a much bigger impression when he was up walking than he did when he was seated at his booth.

Ok, I think that's all I have to share about my gun show experiences this time around. Dave said that when there is a gun show it is the only time you can walk around downtown Birmingham with a rifle and not get stared at. I'm not too sure about that because I sure did a lot of staring, then again I am a Yankee.

Extra Note: This should have been included in an earlier posting about Katie's trip to AL, but I simply forgot. We were in an elevator in a downtown Birmingham parking garage during our visits to various law schools. There were four gentleman, presumably headed to work, in the elevator along with Katie and I. We reach the street level and the door opens, no one moves until Katie and I get off. Katie looks at me and says "You know you're in the South when four men wait for you to get off an elevator." You sure are!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Crazy Cats 2

My crazy cats also are loving my in-laws house. There are several different things that they love about it. Mostly, the low window sills that they can just sit in front of and watch the birds and other animals outside. They love that there is so much room to lay around and chase each other. Also, Zeke and Zeus really enjoy the stairs... they can often be found there stairing down at whoever is in the kitchen area. There is a little closet just under the hanging pots and my mother-in-law had gotten in there for something. Zeke and Zeus had to watch as she opened the door, rummaged, and closed the door. Silly boys.

Crazy Cats

My boys, the furry ones, love to keep me entertained with the funny stuff they do. Dave and I realized that Zeus had learned how to cover himself up-only because we would find him all covered up in a blanket when no one else had been home to cover him. One night we figured out exactly how he was able to do that. Now would be a good time to mention that I hate making my bed. I never make my bed unless someone is coming to visit. It seems like a huge waste of time and energy to make my bed when I am just going to climb back into that night and have the covers a mess again. As a result my blanket ends up left in a pile on my bed. Zeus will then take his head and nudge the covers around until he is able to tunnel under the covers and sleep all covered. Last night I had gone up to lay in bed and read when Zeus came to join me. At first he decided to nap with his head totally covered and then he finally woke up to pop his head out of the blanket. I just had to take a picture.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vet Trip

It was time to take my "furbabies" to the vet to update all of their shots. I was kind of dreading the bill since Dave and I are essentially jobless at the moment, but since we didn't have the vet actually look at them we only had to pay for the shots. Between the two of them we spent $98 on shots. Last year when we took them to the vet and had them looked at by the vet it was $300. (Yes, they're only cats...I know.) We opted out of the vet checking them and determined we'd take them in if something serious pops up. Today it was just shots...but you would have thought we were doing something more torturous to them.

Zeke and Zeus started acting up before we ever left the house. I tried to tackle them and put their harnesses and leashes on to get them out of the house. They weren't having any part of it. (We put them on leashes because they are too heavy for the cat carriers we bought for them when they were smaller...the bottom sags once you put a 12-14 lb cat into it. BTW, we weighed them: Zeus was 12.4lbs and Zeke was 14.5lbs....fat cats!) I finally tackled them and put harnesses and leashes on them. I took Zeus to the backporch while Dave brought the car closer to the door. I went back inside to get Zeke and when I opened the door, zoom, Zeus was back inside. So much for having them ready by the door. I should have known better anyhow, Zeus hates being outside. I take Zeke to the car and he instantly hides under the seat. I go back to the house to get Zeus. Zeus is clinging to me and growling the minute we walk outside the door. Did I mention he's a yellow tabby and shedding like crazy at the moment? I pry him from me and stick him in the car as well. I get in the front seat and look down...I might as well be wearing a fur coat, but I know I might as well not worry about it because there will be more fur before the trip is over.

We arrive at the vets office, about 10 minutes late do to the "getting out the door" ordeal, and take them inside on their leashes. Zeus immediately starts whining and growling. Zeke is bellowing as well. I talk to them for a minute or two and they calm down slightly. Dave and I are sitting on a bench, each with a cat on a leash on the floor. Zeus is content to wander the floor within the range of his leash. Zeke decides he wants to wander to a chair and promptly hops into it to sit down. He apparently needed his space and thinks he is part human. We're sitting there waiting and the next thing we know Zeke is slobbering all over the place and acting like he's going to puke. Dave hurries up and takes him outside, but all he does is slobber some more. Zeke was just worked up about being there I guess.

Finally, they call us back to the examining room. Zeus starts his growling again and Zeke is just glaring at us. The vet assistant goes and gets the shots ready. Zeus whines a bit as they stick him, but puts up no big fuss as Dave holds him while the vet assistant sticks him. Zeke decides he isn't happy the minute I pick him up to get his shots. He wouldn't let go of my shirt and let me set him on the table. Then when Dave goes to hold him he jumps up the minute the assistant gets near him with the needle. They try this about twice and then the assistant goes to get help. The vet comes in and gives Zeke his shots as Dave and the assistant hold Zeke down.

Whew, we're done with that. We go to the desk to pay for their shots. Zeke is still glaring and Zeus is totally fine. (Zeus is usually the whiny one.) Zeke has spent the majority of his time awake today giving us the evil eye. I talked to my mom, or Grandma Brenda as I call her around the cats, and she said to tell the boys she was sorry. I said, "Sorry for what? That we took them to get shots so they stay healthy and don't get some crazy illness?" Ugh. I was worn out after our vet visit...and covered in yellow fur from head to toe. Yeah, I'm still not ready for kids because I know the vet trip was only half as traumatic as a visit to the doctor can be. (Doctor's waiting areas are usually full of other kids...typically upset ones, frustrated parents, and who knows what else.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

~It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year~

I'm humming that song right now. I know Christmas is still several months away...and I really could care less about that. Two things happen in the month of July that I just absolutely adore! The first being the 4th of July. I love the colors, the food, the fireworks and sparklers. It's waaaayyyy better than Christmas if you ask me. The second thing doesn't happen on any magic date, but suddenly in retail stores everywhere the best items start sprouting up. BACK to SCHOOL Supplies and Clothes and all sorts of fun things! I ventured into Wal-Mart today and magically the back to school aisle was filling up. There were notebooks, pencils, folders, scissors, erasers, glue sticks, crayons, colored pencils, and so many other wonderful gems. The best deal of the day were scissors on sale for 60 cents. Last year I paid 98 cents for the same kind of scissors. The only thing that saddens me at the moment is I have no good excuse to buy supplies just yet due to no teaching job in sight. You should have seen my cart last year! Loaded to the gills with stuff. I managed to use nearly all of it too. I had some leftover notebooks at the end of the year, but notebooks don't expire. Dave has to restrain me whenever we pass the "back to school aisle" because I just can't help myself. I can wander and look for hours. Hopefully I will get a teaching job and find an excuse to buy more supplies. I love them!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Arriving in "Sweet Home Alabama" & Crazy Dreams

To say things have been busy this past month would be a huge understatement. I somehow managed to finish up my second year of teaching without any major issues. I did indeed manage to pack up my classroom and an entire townhouse full of junk in the same two week span. It wasn't without its problems, but the moving thing finally happened. I have a few stories to share about the drama of moving.

Story #1 - Mechanical Problems
As part of the military reimbursement for moving (since they pay to move us) we have to have certified weight receipts of the truck & trailer with an empty weight and a full weight. (Dave's rank allots him 8,ooo lbs that they will reimburse us for moving.) Well, my father-in-law drove down and arrived on a Friday evening with the truck and borrowed trailer, which saved us a ton of money not having to rent one. So the boys get up Saturday morning to go get the trailer weighed and the truck won't start. Moving is at a standstill at this point while they work on the truck all afternoon. They ended up replacing a starter, but not before all the certified weight scales were closed for the weekend. I'm still furiously packing boxes, but they are not moving to the truck because they need to weigh it empty. Finally Monday arrives and they were able to get the truck weighed and the loading process began. ...I was still trying to shove things in boxes, not many things...but enough things. They get all 5,600 lbs of stuff loaded by around 3:30pm. The boys have a half hour to get the truck 3 mi down the road to get it weighed for its full weight slip. I jump in the shower because we were going out to dinner since the kitchen was packed and closed for business. I get out of the shower and have just put on my dinner clothes when I get a phone call. Dave says I need to go pick him up from the scales place, uh why? He replies, "we have a flat tire on the trailer." Ugh! So I pick him up and we head around town to find a replacement tire. Apparently the brand new car hauler that we were using as a trailer (the kind they haul nice racin' cars in) had a screw that went all the way from the inside of the trailer in the wheel well through to the outside where the tire rubs. The screw wasn't a problem when the trailer was empty, but as the trailer was weighed down and the tire expanded it became a huge problem. The boys filed off the end of the screw and put on the new tire and we were back in the moving business. They left for AL the next morning and arrived that evening without further delay.

#2 Wendy's Travels to AL
I did not leave when the truck with out stuff left. I stayed in good ol' J-ville a few more days to get the place cleaned up, the carpets cleaned, and to have it treated for fleas. All of those things were part of our rental agreement as things we needed to do when we left. Upon leaving J-ville, I made a slight detour to Myrtle Beach where my father, his children, and his wife were vacationing. It was a pretty good time to spend two days at the beach with dad, my sisters (all 2.5 of them) and my half brother. The kids are cute at ages 2 & 4, but it reaffirmed the fact that I am NOT ready to be a Mommy. Nope, can't stand the constant noise. Then after two days at the beach Katie and I traveled to AL...

#3 Katie and AL
Katie came to visit me for a week in Alabama. I LOVED having her here. Dave and I keep trying to talk Katie into coming to AL for law school. We've offered to let her stay with us for a small, small rent fee for the duration of law school and beyond. So, as part of that we took her to visit two different law schools in the vicinity. The first stop was Birmingham School of Law, which is rather small and would be good only for practicing law in the state of AL. The second stop was Sanford. We were lucky enough to spend some time talking with an admissions counselor there. She shared a wealth of knowledge with Katie and I about the process of applying to law school, ways to prepare for the LSAT, and some things to think about as far as an application for law school goes. We were both very impressed. Katie said she might like to really go there. (Of course I rooting for it too!) Katie left AL on a Saturday to head back to Athens, OH for school. She needed to move out of her apartment from last school year and into her new one for the upcoming school year by July 1. Katie is about 2 hrs from school when we get a phone call about a problem with her tire area. Dave determines it is Katie's wheel baring and it must be replaced asap during the diagnostic phone call. Katie is a a ways off from the next exit in Owensville, KY when this even occurs. Katie was blessed with the presence of a young couple that stopped to help her out. The gentleman of the couple had his wife get out of the car first so that Katie would feel safer when they stopped to assist her. He also said that they were good church going people when he first talked to Katie. Good church going people they were indeed! They drove Katie all over to assist her. She visited the shop to get it towed and they said they probably wouldn't be able to get it fixed until Monday. They then took Katie to get the part she needed and drove back to drop it off. Then to the hotel to check-in to a room. Then back to Katie's car to get some clothes and her laptop and then back to the hotel. The couple invited Katie to church with them the following day where the gentleman's father was a minister. Katie ended up going to church with them and then ate lunch at a dinner thing they were doing at the church after the service. The couple dropped Katie off at the hotel again and gave her a variety of phone numbers at which they could be reached if she needed anything else. Katie got the call on Sunday that he car was done so they came along later and took her to her car. God is good. I felt so blessed to know that Katie was taken care of even though she was technically stranded. She arrived back in Athens on Sunday evening without further delay.

Ok, on to the crazy dreams story. To say moving was stressful would be another gross understatement. I ended up with a lot of burdens while my husband didn't seem to have nearly as many. I've also been frustrated with our plan to live temporarily with my in-laws (I HATE being dependent). I just wanted to move into a place that was ours again. However, I rationally understand the wisdom of waiting til we both secure jobs and figure out what we can realistically afford. Irrationally, I want what I want. The stress and frustrated feelings left me feeling very angry with my husband. I was rather grumpy to him most of the first few days here in Alabama. We even had a little talk about it one night before going to sleep. That very night when I was so irritated and angry I had a dream. I dreamed that we had packed up our entire house in J-ville and we set to leave the next day when Dave told me that he wanted to re-enlist and would be deploying the next day instead. Talk about crying!!! I cried and cried and cried in my dream. He just up and left me for deployment to Iraq instead of moving to AL. I woke up from that dream and snuggled up to my husband. From that moment on I've been grateful to be here instead of saying yet another good-bye to my husband as he travels into a world of uknowns for several months. (Do you think God may have been trying to remind me of how much I Love my husband?) We're slowly working our way back to the relationship we had prior to deployment. It's been a struggle with some give and take on both ends. He needed to unwind and realize I'm his wife and not a fellow Marine. I needed to realize that even though I did everything while he was gone and am capable, that I need to let him be needed. I also need to get used to actually having him around instead of being alone all the time (ok, with two furbabies all the time) and not just talking to him for a few minutes at a time sporadically.

Another tidbit: I am SUPER excited to spend the 4th of July with my husband. My husband who is no longer an active duty Marine, but who will always be a Marine. .oO(I'll always feel like a Marine's wife as well...) I think the 4th of July is better than Christmas! I love fireworks and sparklers and parades and whatever else the 4th brings. If I had decided to have a big ol' fancy weddin' I would have planned it for the 4th of July and of course had red, white, and blue as my colors. On this 4th of July as I am enjoying life as a civilian, not a military dependent, I will be thinking of all those brave men and women who volunteer to endure hardships, spend the majority of their time away from family-in the US and in other parts of the world (combat or no combat), and be thankful for their willingness to sacrifice, and pray for their safety so their loved ones can welcome them home with open arms. I'll also be thinking about 4th of July's from the past...actually seeing the fireworks in Washington, DC (I hope to make it back at least a few more times), and the 4th spent with Marines preparing to deploy who were setting all kinds of things on fire at my house and making lighted watermelon boats. (See last year's post about the 4th if you'd like to see some pictures.) I hope you all have a happy and safe 4th of July and take a few minutes to think about those who help protect our freedoms and Independence that we celebrate.