So today I have to say goodbye to my husband again. It's just for the weekend -- he's flying home alone to see his family -- but I hate the idea of saying goodbye again so soon, of eating and sleeping alone, all that. Ugh, and I get to do it again next month when he goes to SERE school.
This is a really interesting example of selectively choosing correlation over causation: Does Global Warming Cause Rape Waves?
I never wrote a post when I finished Atlas Shrugged again, but this passage from Wizbang reminded me to blog it out:
While I obviously don't believe in exploiting the poor or the undereducated, I seriously have to wonder about a society that provides multiple safety nets for those who won't (or in the case of the mentally or physically challenged, can't) take risks and make sacrifices, yet treats ambitious, hard-working, self-sacrificing individuals as undeserving, or spoiled, or worse -- evil villains.
Unfortunately we still have a handful of robber-barons in the contemporary guise of crooked CEO's who reward themselves lavishly while building houses of straw. When those houses come tumbling down, the white collar professional, who loves his family just as much as the blue collar worker, who worries about his mortgage and car payments and retirement just as much as the blue collar worker, and who probably pays a lot more in taxes than the blue collar worker, ends up hurting just as much as the blue collar worker. Maybe some people think that seeing the white collar man suffer is payback or "justice" for the plight of manual laborers, but it isn't.
The part about the robber-baron CEOs reminded me of a blog post I saw right before I re-read Atlas and which stuck in my head the whole time I was reading:
Oh, how I wish I could be Dagny Taggart.
Oh, how I long for an enclave like Galt's Gulch.
It all sounds perfect. Utopia.
And it is.
But life isn't perfect and there is no utopia. There are only a few people who lead major corporations with the dedication and pride that the industry leaders in Atlas Shrugged demonstrated. Hank Rearden is my fucking hero. Seriously. If corporate heads were like him, I'd be [all for deregulation, too].
But they're not. For the most part they are slimy assholes who don't give a shit about their product. They don't value hard work, they run from it. The greed that they have is not the same kind of greed that is prevalent in AS.
I kept that post and its comments in my mind the whole time I was reading. The premises behind it have gnawed at me for months. And here's what I have to say about it.
I know a Hank Reardon. He is a man who risked everything to start a company that had an iffy chance for success. He continues to risk. And now that his company has done well, he gets emails and letters all day long about how greedy and selfish he is. His product should be cheaper, it should be made for the masses, it's not fair that some people can't afford it. How dare you set your price at a point above what I can pay? Oh, and by the way, your product is foolish and I wouldn't want one anyway. But make it cheaper, you bastard.
It makes me sick that he is beset by looters all day long, looters who don't stop for a moment to think about how hard he had to work to build the company in the first place and who couldn't care less if his company loses money during these hard economic times.
Norman Borlaug is a Hank Reardon. Everyone on Heroes of Capitalism is a Hank Reardon. You know that movie about the windshield wipers guy? He's a Hank Reardon. Anyone who's ever risked anything is a Hank Reardon.
Remember those train conductors in the book who stopped their trains in the middle of the night and walked away? They were Hank Reardons too. You don't have to have money and fame to be a Hank Reardon; most of the people in this world who take the risks and stand on their principles will be people we have never heard of.
Yes, some CEOs have made a real mess of things. But to dismiss the message and theme of Atlas Shrugged outright because not everyone in this world is Hank Reardon is foolish. What that blog post forgets is that Ayn Rand did in fact understand human nature; the majority of the citizens of the US in Atlas Shrugged were like James Taggart. There were bad CEOs and "slimy assholes" in the book, just like there are James Taggarts in real life.
To dismiss the book because there are more James Taggarts than Hank Reardons is to completely miss the point, in my opinion. It's like throwing the Bible out the window because there's only one Jesus in it. Well, he was perfect and we aren't all like him, so what's the point of this Bible book anyway? No one suggests we should roll our eyes at the Bible because Jesus is too perfect.
And no, I am not one of those Objectivist loonies who thinks Atlas Shrugged is the Bible. But I do indeed think that Hank Reardon is a character to be emulated, and the message of the book invigorates and rejuvenates me every time I re-read it. I think that dismissing the book because of its idealism is sad. When I read the book, I want to work harder to become more like its main characters, not reject it because it's too perfect.
The fact that Hank Reardons are rare in this world is the point of the book. There were only a few of them, but once they shrugged, the whole system fell to pieces. A company won't last long if it has an empty suit at the wheel, or at least it wouldn't if we actually lived in a free market. James Taggart would've failed on his own; it was the government regulation that kept him in business. The idea that "If corporate heads were like [Reardon], I'd be [all for deregulation, too]" is backwards because regulation and corruption went hand in hand in Atlas Shrugged. The Wesley Mouches of the world are the ones who gain power from regulation, not the Hank Reardons. As to the real world, it was the stupid government-imposed lending rules that caused our current bailout problem, and the piling on of government "solutions." The same thing happened with the New Deal: government meddling prolonged the economic agony. If we followed the Reardonesque idea of lending to people whose word meant a damn and who could pay the money back, we wouldn't have the mess we have. Sadly, it doesn't matter how many Reardons there are, if it's the Wesley Mouches who control the markets.
Regardless, it's enough for me to know that there is a handful of Hank Reardons out there. Our country and our system depends on them. And I refuse to lump them in with the bad CEOs and declare them all greedy thieves.
Anyway, to paraphrase one of my favorite SNL characters, Atlas Shrugged is a great book and if you don't like it, then I suggest you eat a bowl of hair because you are a dummy.
This morning's links, via an old friend:
It Turns Out Motherhood And Politics Do Mix
Using High School Debate Strategies for Political Campaigns
I am knitting the hardest thing I've ever knitted before.
I have wanted an Aran sweater for a long time, so I started making one. So far I have done eight rows of pattern, four one day and four another. Four is actually too much for one sitting, at least at this point when I haven't really memorized any of the segments of the pattern yet. I have never had to concentrate so hard on a project before.
The pattern isn't available anywhere online, but I found a work-in-progress photo on knitting blog. She had let it sit for over two years and made it her New Year's resolution to finish in 2008. I wonder if she did.
I resolve to do two rows a day.
I also found a hilarious official photo of the sweater. No, I am not making the beret. Or holding a paddle.
Fit Republican president = Selfish, indulgent, creepy fascist.
Fit Democratic president = Disciplined, health-conscious Adonis role model.
My husband finished his MBA three days before deploying. He took a full load of distance classes every term in addition to his full-time Army job. He was always busy. And he finished the program and deployed, so I was really looking forward to having him home and having him to myself. No more homework, no more projects, no more me sitting alone in the TV room all day Saturday and Sunday while he worked.
He sat me down last night and said that he wants to start a new Master's Degree. Or learn Pashto. Or both. Either way, he warned me, he will be busy again. There go our Saturdays and Sundays.
I admire him for taking his professional development so seriously. But I can't help but feel frustrated that the thing I was supposed to be doing -- raising a baby -- hasn't happened yet and I keep sitting around waiting for my life to start. I could relate to Heidi's recent post about being consumed with the way life should have been instead of what it really is. I don't know what to do with myself besides sit around and wait for baby to show up. That's my only major life goal, and I've been twiddling my thumbs on it for two years now.
Maybe I ought to learn Pashto too.
I debated whether I should post that thing on sleep the other day. It seemed unnecessary to cash that chip on the blog. It also made us look like we had problems, and I never like to give that impression.
But if you asked me if we had any reintegration issues in 2005, I would've said that we didn't. A trip back through those archives reveals that we did indeed have a rough patch or two. If I hadn't documented them on the blog, I would've forgotten those tough days and said that we had no problems whatsoever. I wanted to document this issue too.
This reintegration, it is a tricky thing, even for solid couples. My husband is truly my best friend. We like the same movies, the same music, the same foods, the same TV. We're both stingy, both homebodies, and both love Krauthammer. I wanted to show that reintegration is hard even for couples who get along swimmingly. It's an adjustment. I wanted to document that, because to pretend like we weren't frustrated with each other was to lie, in a sense.
He's been home a week now, and we're doing much better. No more grumpiness. He's staying up a little later to be with me and I'm not asking him to stay up as long as I'd like to. We're meeting halfway and doing fine. I want to document that too, to keep a record of when we got back on track.
MORE TO GROK:
More thoughts at SpouseBUZZ.
We hung out together every single moment
'Cause that's what we though married people do
Complete with the grip of artificial chaos
And believing in the country of me and you
The husband is walking the dog and I am on teh internets. I am learning to not want to be with him every waking second.
But we did go out together this afternoon. The husband had a very Happy Boxing Day...
But, you know, technically it's mine because it was my permit. I plan to remind him constantly that they are both my guns but that he can borrow one if he wants to.
Oh, and CVG got me a funny Christmas present. She was bored of getting me knitting books all the time and decided this year to focus on my second hobby. Her husband picked it out for me, which I find phenomenally cute.
My boys are back from their walk now. Gotta go stick to him like glue again...
I never wrote about the shoe thrower, but Maggie's assessment is spot on.
Today was great. My husband didn't fall asleep once! Heh.
We had a lovely day. And we just listened to this and had a good laugh.
I was just getting ready to head to bed when I noticed that my Christmas cactus has a bloom!
Last year, my uncle was trimming one of the plants that's been in our family for generations. I took the trimmings home and put them in a pot. The cactus has grown a little since I got it, but it has never bloomed before.
A Christmas cactus getting its first bloom on Christmas. Now that just makes me smile.
I found the pirate ship online that I made at work:
It was actually not a terrible product. It was way too hard for "age 6 and up" like the box says, but it was made from better quality stuff than the other foam constructions I've done lately.
I think I am done with making foam things for a while now. At least I hope so.
Merry Christmas, mateys.
I watch you as you sleep
I'm jealous of the night
I'd steal you from your dreams
Just to buy more time
Yes, it's true: I heard a Michael Bolton song today at work and it made me think of my husband.
When your spouse is gone, it is easy to romanticize everything. We're the greatest couple that ever existed and we never fight and life is always flowers and sausages. And then he comes home, and you realize you had forgotten the little things that have bugged you for seven years of marriage.
My husband is a sleeper. He loves sleep. He is a soldier; he can sleep anywhere: in the hard metal chair of a tank, on top of a tank with no pillow, sitting straight up, in the middle of a conversation, anywhere.
I am an insomniac who only sleeps because it's biologically necessary.
How on earth did I completely forget this about us?
He came home, and I started talking. And wouldn't stop. So he just fell asleep while I was talking. Not exactly what I had envisioned. So he decided to sneak in his sleep at other times, like in the middle of a movie or TV show. I DVRed seven months of our favorite shows and couldn't wait to watch them together, and he is falling asleep during them.
His sleeping is driving me nuts.
I couldn't wait for him to come home so I could be with him. And I know he's not doing it on purpose, but it feels like he is choosing sleep over me. And since I hate sleep, I cannot fathom why someone would do that. So I get grumpy and frustrated.
Mostly I am just baffled at why I thought he would come home and want to stay up for hours talking to me. He never was like that before, but somehow that's what I imagined when I thought of our homecoming. He wants to sleep, and I want him to want to be with me enough that he doesn't want to sleep.
And yeah, I know, "at war" and all. But I cracked up when I read Sis B's post because it made sense to me. This time around, my husband got plenty of sleep at war. This isn't a catching-up-on-seven-months thing; this is just who he normally is.
I just somehow had forgotten it. And it's hurting my feelings. Which is dumb.
I have felt gyped so far with our time though. His commander gave him a project to work on that was supposed to be done by Christmas. Well, they came home three days later than expected, so that meant that he had to use his long weekend and our first few days together to sit at a computer and work for six hours a day. So he gets done and just wants to eat and then sleep. And I keep wondering when it is that we're supposed to get to be together. I am resentful that we spent seven months apart and then he has to hole himself up in the computer room while I sit and knit alone.
I'm tired of being alone. I'm tired of sleeping. I'm tired of making foam pirate ships instead of being with him.
I'm ready for togetherness.
So I have to leave my husband this morning and go back to work to build a foam pirate ship. I wish I were kidding.
A link for this morning: The Politics of Everyman
AWTM blogged from her second honeymoon. That's hardcore, and I love it.
Actually, what I really love was when she called me the other evening and asked if my husband was home. She hadn't read about the delays yet. I love that she called me even on the night she thought my husband might have gotten home. She knows I don't have a Do Not Disturb sign.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: You may tell me to stay away from the blog, but you know I won't.
And actually, it was my husband who sheepishly asked this evening if I would mind if he took a trip around the internet. It didn't bother me at all, because I had been trying to figure out the polite way to ask him for the same courtesy.
We've been having fun today, doing nothing at all. We went out to breakfast and took the dog on two walks, and I've been talking his ear off and cashing in some of those chips.
We are happy to be together again and to quickly slide back into our old routine. Except now we have two laptops. Think of the fun we can have being on the internet in the same room!
(And don't worry, Chuck. We're having plenty of fun other ways too.)
I got a call that they were arriving early, so I raced out of the house at 4:25. Guess what? More delays. We just got home, at 10:45.
But the look on my husband's face when Charlie tackled him in the kitchen was priceless.
On Tuesday, my husband apparently told his roommate in Iraq, "Do you know what this is?" His buddy said, "Your uniform?" My husband said, "The uniform my wife's gonna peel off of me tonight."
Yeah, three days later, he's still wearing that exact same uniform. Ewww.
We solved the mystery of where he's been all week. The story is too horrible and annoying to repeat.
But it doesn't matter anymore.
Talked to my manager at work; she was completely understanding. Another girl offered to come in early and work my event (I was only scheduled for two hours in the morning.) So, whew.
He's supposed to be here in an hour, and I haven't heard anything to the contrary. This may actually happen...
This is a swing moment for me. By that I mean my reality is swinging from her being gone to her being here. Right now it feels as if neither is entirely accurate. I'm not experiencing a dizzying rush of relief...the big exhale hasn't really happened yet.
But in these final few moments alone...the last of innumerable moments alone, it occurs to me that these are moments of joyous anticipation. And that is a blessing as well.
I didn't handle this separation as well as I wish I had. But the perpetually messy house is now clean...and the added pounds are mostly lost. That which has been under my control is reasonably as it was.
My house ain't that clean, but these are words I can relate to.
So, I was wrong. I had to return the movie before my husband got home. And the milk expired too. But presumably he is here, at least in this state by now.
And I suppose I should let myself get happy.
We left our wedding ceremony to that song. I am ready to leave this deployment to it today.
And I think he could've walked 500 miles faster than it took him to travel the Army way.
I bought myself my "surviving deployment" present the other day. Last time it was a stand mixer; this time I bought a two time-zone watch...thinking ahead to the next deployment, for there will be another. And we will survive that one too.
Watch out, husband: I am gonna haver my head off tonight.
When my husband finally gets home, we will have a big mystery solved. The Mystery of Where He's Been All Week. Because I have no idea.
I keep calling people to give them updates -- my mom, his mom, friends -- and they want to know what's going on. They keep asking me questions that I simply don't know the answer to. They want me to speculate; I have learned it does no good to speculate about the Army. All I know is the one-line sentence I keep getting from the FRG: "We are meeting at the company area at ___ o'clock." Period.
I have no idea where he has been. I don't know if he was flying commercial or military. I don't know what he's been eating, what he's been wearing (he sure didn't have an extra week's worth of clothes in his ruck), where he's been sleeping. I don't know why none of the soldiers in the company have called home. I don't know if my husband has been getting this same hurry-up-and-wait treatment. I don't know if the delays have been due to weather or plane malfunction or what.
I wonder if he is hungry. I wonder if he gets on planes and gets back off of them, or if he's been sitting in the same room the whole week. I wonder if he's getting enough sleep, if he has a book to read, or if he has been as jittery as I've been.
I wonder if he's wondering what I've been thinking all week.
I can't wait to see him and give him a big hug. And I hope to solve the mystery in the car on the way home!
With no new info this morning, I came down with a case of the screwits. I put no effort into looking nice: didn't shower, just threw on some clothes and went out to run my errands. And the morning was not going well. Fifteen minutes in line behind some guy buying a coat with no price tag using a tax-exempt number. Went to the military pharmacy -- 10 minutes to find a parking space -- and found 40 people in line ahead of me. Nevermind. And then the phone rang.
My husband is crossing the Atlantic as we speak.
Several people told me not to believe any info I have until it comes from my husband's mouth. Well, that's all fine and dandy except none of us in the unit have heard from our husbands since Monday. The only info we have is the official stuff. So I will head to pick up my husband at the designated time tonight and just hope that it's right. And that it doesn't change again.
It's not like things can get any worse, right?
Oh yeah, and I have to go back to work in the morning. I am trying to get out of that one.
No news is good news, right?
So I got in the shower, shaved my legs, put on nice-smelling lotion, got out fancy underpants, and was just putting on the outfit I was going to pick my husband up in when the 1SG's wife called and said they did not get on the flight, that they have been completely scratched from the flight list, and that now we don't even know which day they are coming home, much less a time.
I was supposed to pick him up three hours from now.
This really, really sucks.
Heh, this is rich. Apparently The Washington Post is selling classified ads to welcome the Obamas to the White House and has specified that they will only accept positive, glowing ads.
My favorite comment on this blog post:
It is only fair that WaPo post only positive comments for the winner of the election, after all, they did the same for Mr. Bush right? If John McCain had won, everyone knows they would have done the same for him too. I am also certain no liberals would have had a problem with that either and would have defended their decision. I am also certain McCain would have been Times 'Man of the Year' had he won, as well. That is why he was on the cover just as much as Obama was. Therefore, they are completely objective. People need to realize the myth of media bias is just silly.
First, it was Michael Crichton's linking horse manure to predicting the next century.
Now it's Thomas Sowell:
For thousands of years, horses had been the way to go, whether in buggies or royal coaches, whether pulling trolleys in the cities or plows on the farms. People had bet their futures on something with a track record of reliable success going back many centuries.
Were all these people to be left high and dry? What about all the other people who supplied the things used with horses-- oats, saddles, horse shoes and buggies? Wouldn't they all go falling like dominoes when horses were replaced by cars?
Unfortunately for all the good people who had in good faith gone into all the various lines of work revolving around horses, there was no compassionate government to step in with a bailout or a stimulus package.
If there's a bad analogy involving horses at the turn of the century, I haven't heard it!
My friend said something a while back to the effect of: Sometimes life gets so crappy that you forget it's not normal to do shots of vodka at 3 PM. It made me snicker at the time. I was reminded of it today at 3 PM and thought, what the heck.
Hooo boy. Why couldn't she have said "White Russians" instead?
We had a new ETA for late tonight, so I ran some errands today and started getting excited. I came home to a new message on my machine saying that this timeline is also not happening anymore. The husband is stuck in Europe, waiting on his next leg of the journey. Maybe tomorrow will be our lucky day. Right? This is excruciating.
The last time, I had a vivid dream about the welcome home ceremony. Last night I dreamt that the husband and I were back together in our kitchen. I was wearing the outfit I plan to wear to pick him up, and he was drinking a beer. I woke up with a jolt and realized disappointedly that it was just a dream.
Today has been a very long day. Right now was the original time I was supposed to go pick him up.
I thought I'd better get back to Real blogging today instead of this dumb personal stuff I've been doing. But I can't seem to concentrate on anything lately. I just can't get into the news. Even Blagojevich's bleep-laden tirades couldn't compel me to blog. Only to laugh at home and tease my parents about living in Illinois.
I'm just sitting here crocheting and looking at the clock. Maybe I ought to do some things on that list; it seems healthier than this Waiting Game. I thought about going in to work today even though I got the day off, but the only task I have left to do at work is to put together more of those foam structures. That definitely ain't healthy.
And I haven't heard anything else today, no more updates, no new timeline, no hint of things to come.
Just lots of crocheting.
One chore down...
Poor fella. It's hard out here for a pup.
I just KNEW it was too good to be true.
Just got word that the husband's return has been delayed.
Man.....now there's no excuse for not washing the dog or cleaning the carpet.
I was starting to panic a little that I got nothing constructive done today. And then I did some thinking and decided to throw the list out the window.
I see knitting and Futurama in my future, not vacuums and dog baths.
So T linked to my brain love post, and I realized that I have recently said that I only love my husband with my brain and that I don't want babymaking. Lest anyone think that our love is boring and passionless, I thought I'd point out an old post from his last deployment:
We are mushy too, not just cerebral. I love him with my brain and my heart, and though I often quote that we "care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss"...really, I do love him with all those body parts too.
He will be home so soon...and I am thrilled.
There's another thing that happens when my husband gets home: we have to get back in the business of babymaking. Frankly, I am dreading it.
My cousin is pregnant. When my mom told me, she said, "I know it will happen for you too someday." And I felt this flash of anger and snapped at her. Because she doesn't know that, no one can know that, and it feels like a lie when I hear it. It angers me up because I know it's simply not true.
I don't have any hope that we will get pregnant. I have lost all ability to think about the future. This time last year, when we were reeling from the first miscarriage, I comforted myself with the thought that we could end 2008 with a baby. Not even remotely close. I just don't allow myself to imagine what will happen in 2009. And how on earth is it already almost 2009?
I feel like I have been frozen in time for two years, watching everyone else's life keep moving on. We have no more goals to work towards besides having this stupid baby. Before we got pregnant, we wanted to move back to the US, save x dollars, and finish my husband's MBA; we reached those goals a long time ago. We have lived in this house for two years now, and it feels like I have no idea what we have done in that time. I can't believe it. I feel like my life has made no progress since we started trying to have a baby. That was the next step, and we just can't seem to get there.
And I just want it to be over. I joked the other day that it's like in action movies when someone gets shot and they still keep trying to fight back. I feel like I keep getting shot, but I'm the Good Guy, so I have to press on to save the day and ignore the fact that I keep getting shot. And I feel like I'm limping and dragging my way to some imaginary finish line where I kiss the girl and finally get to go to the hospital...and then finally I can breathe a sigh of relief and say "it's over" while the credits roll. Only I never get there. It's never over. That's part of the reason why 'giving up' is so tempting, because then it might feel like my life can start rolling again. If I stop letting myself get shot, I will stop feeling like I've been wounded.
I have managed to block a lot of this out while my husband has been gone, but his imminent return is has shown me that I really don't want to think about it.
I don't want to start trying to have a baby again.
Darla has been doing this for seven years. She is amazing. And I know it doesn't work this way, but I would choose for her to get pregnant first if I could.
I've only seen the Terminator movies once before, and I was excited to see T2 again. But...I had forgotten how frustrating it is. I mean, the premise of these movies is great: an unstoppable killing machine. (Though Lileks is right that "the abuse that was once reserved for the Terminator is now doled out to human beings, and they not only aren’t killed instantly, they are capable of acrobatic fistfights while hanging from one hand in a elevator shaft.") And this movie has the absolute greatest villain of all time. Robert Patrick turns my blood cold. He could play Santa Claus and I would be scared to death of him.
But the movie is just so interminably annoying. We're going to change the future and save three billion people from dying, but we can't kill anyone in the process because that's mean. John Connor might die and the world could end, but heaven forbid we kill a rent-a-cop. Enough with the lectures on morality and how evil technology is. Oh, and that speech that Sarah Connor gives about how all men do is destroy but women create because they have wombs blah blah blah. Give me a break.
I have lower standards than just about anyone when it comes to action movies. I will tolerate a lot of crap. But despite having the coolest bad guy of all time, T2 is really preachy. Stop with the voice-overs and get to the terminating already.
(Both links via Conservative Grapevine)
My husband has moved on, from where he was to where he will be. He is still In Country, but he is making progress towards home.
I keep finding myself doing the opposite of what I did with the tortillas earlier this year: every time I hear a deadline, I rejoice that it's after my husband's return. My husband gets home before our milk expires. He gets home before the movie I rented is due. He gets home soon.
God willing and the Creek don't rise, as they say around here.
(And in answer to the couple of questions I've gotten about what actually constitutes a "single digit midget': less than 10 days.)
I chuckled out loud:
Unemployment claims jumped to a 7-year high the week after Obama won the election. Not because of the slow economy, but because “Yes I Can” was added to the application as a valid reason.
(link via Amritas)
I have been meaning to do a lasik follow-up post for a while now, but I just...haven't.
For those of you just joining the story, I got lasik eye surgery five months ago.
And, I have been trying to decide what to tell you all.
In the beginning, I was very uncomfortable. It often felt like I had been swimming all day long; my eyes burned like from chlorine. I used eye drops nonstop. I was decidedly not happy.
Over time, I began to notice my eyeballs less. I started to forget they were in my head; whereas, right after the lasik, all I could think about was how itchy and painful they were. My day was like this: eyeballs, eyeballs, oh good lord, eyeballs. But that has passed. So now, at this point I think on a scale from 1-5, my satisfaction level is at a 4. I manage just fine day-to-day without any glasses anymore. I go to work, read books, knit, watch TV, all without strain. But I notice a marked difference in certain situations. Trying to read street signs while driving is difficult now. I also noticed that I couldn't make out faces clearly when I was at the campaign rally. Being in large crowds is a tad unsettling because I just simply can't see as well. I notice it when I am bustling around the store at work or when I am walking the dog, times when I am looking at things that are further away than my TV or my computer screen.
I had my last follow-up appointment in November. The doctor wrote me a prescription for glasses if I want them: +.50/+.25. Now, before the lasik, my prescription was +5.50/+4.50, so that is a huge improvement. But with corrective lenses, I was at 20/20 vision before. Now I'm more like 20/25 or 20/30. So it's a net worsening, even though I have the joy of not cleaning contacts or wearing glasses.
I just simply don't see as well as I used to. It often feels like I have dirty contacts in, like if I just blink hard enough, I will be able to clear my vision. I also am still battling the blocked tear ducts, so my contact regimen has been replaced by a hot compress for 10 minutes a day. I can't really say that I am noticing any difference in my tears.
What's funny to me is that my lasik experience has kinda mirrored my fertility experience. Just like how I never knew anyone who had trouble getting pregnant, I never knew anyone who wasn't thrilled with lasik. I only heard glorious stories of how it would change my life. It was only after I got it done and was less than 100% satisfied that I found out that, for example, one of the people said that she had had to have a touch-up. I didn't anticipate this touch-up thing, and since, if you remember, I have those thin corneas, it's debatable whether I will even be able to touch-up.
So...I can either look into paying $300 for a touch-up or I can pay $100 for a pair of weak glasses to wear when I am driving or at political rallies. Buying the glasses seems to me like it defeats the whole danged purpose of the lasik. But I hesitate to do a touch-up now, because sometimes after about five years or so, your eyes can shift and get a little worse. So, thin corneas and all, I don't want to waste my one touch-up now and then run the risk of not being able to get it later if I really need it. And I hate to pay the money for glasses and then turn around and pay the money for the touch-up later.
So I am torn, and stuck at a satisfaction level 4.
I keep asking myself if, knowing what I know now, would I do it again? I honestly have not been able to decide. It's an expensive procedure, and if we needed the money badly for something else, I would certainly be more frustrated than I am now. Luckily, we didn't really make a financial trade-off in order for me to have the procedure. But if I end up still needing glasses or weak contacts, then what was the point of spending all that money on lasik?
I do enjoy being able to see the clock at night. When I first had it done, I had a hard time sleeping because I could see everything in the room! It was a major distraction; I was used to being in my cocoon of blindness. I haven't been swimming yet because I hate swimming, but the worst part about it used to also be that cocoon of blindness when I got near a pool. (OK, that's not true: the worst part about swimming is water.) The cocoon of blindness is gone. I'm probably still not swimming though.
There are reasons why I am glad I did it. But I am not Lasik's Biggest Advocate. Just like with babymaking, I am now the wet blanket, the rain on everyone's parade: If you want to get it done, just be aware that it may not turn out to be perfect. I expected perfection, because I never learn my lesson. I advise you not to expect 20/20 vision.
But you will be able to see your clock in bed. That is a biggie.
I don't like many modern love stories, but I do like the old ones. I watched Sabrina tonight and took pause at this conversation between the Larabee brothers:
But you've got all the money in the world!
What's money got to do with it? If making money were all there was to business, it'd hardly be worthwhile going to the office. Money is a by-product.
Then what's the main objective? Power?
Bah, that's become a dirty word.
Well then, what's the urge? You're going into plastics now; what will that prove?
Prove? Nothing much. A new product has been found, something of use to the world, so a new industry moves into an undeveloped area, factories go up, machines are brought in, harbors are dug, and you're in business. It's purely coincidental, of course, that people who never saw a dime before suddenly have a dollar, and barefooted kids wear shoes and have their teeth fixed and their faces washed.
That's so Reardon-esque that it made me swoon.
And I wonder...does the 1995 remake have the same speech? I may have to watch someday to find out.
Why do I doubt it though...
When my husband is gone, my bedtime creeps later and later. I have begun the process of pushing it back to where it needs to be to match my husband's sleep cycle. So Saturday was my last hurrah and I was going to go to bed early last night.
I let Charlie outside one last time, and I noticed he was spending a suspicious amount of time in the garden. We came back in the house, went upstairs, and he immediately crawled under the bed and barfed.
Had he mathematically calculated, he couldn't have done a better job of finding the middle of our queen sized bed. So I'm squeezed under the bed, my arm stretched as far as it will go, scooping up vomit.
Then I notice that the genius dog has also barfed all over his front paws. So into the bathtub he goes.
Guess who didn't really go to bed early last night?
Sleep shifting starts tonight...
A couple of you have been freaked out of late by my blog post titles. No, I'm not throwing in the towel anytime soon. You're stuck with me.
By the way, I finally watched The Terminator tonight. And yes, other people on my case, I have gotten the memo that The Wire is good. I plan to watch that with my husband though, not without him. I gotta get my chick flicks in before he gets home...what guy wants to watch Die Hard or The Terminator?
And while I have your attention: did one of you lovely imaginary people get me one of these fantastic bracelets for Christmas? It came in the mail with no note, and it's not from my mother or husband, so I'm clueless.
Incidentally, my husband said, "Oh, well dang...wish I had thought of it."
[Cross-posted at SpouseBUZZ]
AWTM has the distinction at SpouseBUZZ, like it or not, of being our resident go-to person on reintegration. And I personally always felt fine letting her have that title, because I didn't really grok her experience. I always assumed that her discomfort with reintegration came from the fact that she had babies while her husband was gone, so they went from being just a couple to being a family. Or I thought it was because her husband came back changed. Or that they were having a hard time getting back in sync as a family when he got home. Since I had not experienced any of those things, I never fully understood AWTM's trepidation about reintegration.
But I wrote before that deployments are like snowflakes. I was talking about my soldier in that case, but I am starting to see that deployments can feel very different from the homefront too.
My husband's first deployment was harder on him than this one has been: tougher mission, less amenities, more danger, longer deployment time. He was out in the thick of things and had some difficult experiences. During that deployment, my life was relatively straightforward. Nothing big happened to me that year, so our focus was on my husband and how he would react coming home.
This time around has been the reverse. My husband's job is easier -- safer, shorter, and relatively cushy -- but my life has been tumultuous. I have gone through some pretty heavy emotional growth in the past eight months. And all of a sudden, we're single digit midgets...and I am starting to think that this reintegration will play out differently.
AWTM called me the other day and asked me how I was doing. I didn't even fully realize that I was so apprehensive until she began to drag it out of me. And then she told me something that I know will be part of my vocabulary for the rest of my life. She told me about an interview with Mike Myers in which he talks about how hard it was to lose his father:
I've always felt I was given these emotional casino chips which had no value until I went home and told my dad about things. My father was like my spiritual cash window. I would tell him about stuff, just to hear his reaction.
AWTM said that she and I and people like us need a "spiritual cash window." We need someone to vent to, to rehash every detail of our day with, to take note of every ebb and flow of our emotional cycle. We need someone to cash our chips in to. And for both of us, that person is our husband. So when our husbands are gone, we stockpile our emotional casino chips.
I seem to have a lot of emotional chips from this deployment.
I have started to realize this past week that I am afraid of overwhelming my husband when he gets home. I am afraid that when he walks in that door, I am going to unload on him like a firehose. I'm afraid I won't be able to pace myself...because I have over seven months of chips in my hands that I am going to dump on him at once.
And I've realized that I am also sad that he hasn't been here for me to cash my chips in to on a daily basis. He hasn't seen me grow moment by moment. He is going to get the insane recap version at the end, where I have to explain every detail of everything that has happened to me lately.
And how do you do that? How do you explain what you were feeling six months ago and still make it relevant? How do you tell someone that, while you are no longer feeling stressed about X, Y, or Z, you used to feel stressed about it and therefore would still like to cash it in?
My husband does not have emotional casino chips. The last time he was gone, the majority of the fighting and danger he faced happened at the beginning of his deployment. By the time he got home eight months later, that was old news to him. That was over and done with. He didn't need to cash it in. And I remember feeling a tad hurt that he didn't need to do this, like what did he need me for if I wasn't his spiritual cash window? I didn't understand how he could've had these enormous life experiences -- to include watching a man die -- and not need to cash it in.
I just never knew how to put that feeling into words.
I have always known I am this kind of person, but it took AWTM acknowledging it and giving it a name for me to realize how important it is to me and how hesitant I feel about our reintegration this time around.
Because, boy, do I have chips that need cashing.
And all of a sudden, I understood what AWTM has been talking about for years. It clicked for me, and I realized that it wasn't just having her husband underfoot in the house, or that he had a daughter he had never met, or that he might be jumpy or less patient. It was that she held these chips too and didn't know how to cash them in.
I didn't realize that she was this type of person too, and I think we both felt some relief talking about it on the phone and realizing that we're not the only one who holds these emotional chips.
Heck, Mike Myers does too. Maybe he should read SpouseBUZZ...
I had my FRG meeting tonight. The ladies were nice. I love our Rear D commander.
And we have a return date.
The end was so much harder for me last time. Last time, my husband was one of the last people home. I watched all my friends and neighbors welcome their husbands home three weeks before I did. That was rough. Last time my husband came home with a whole brigade, so there were ceremonies and fanfare. This time it's just a handful of families, and since all my friends are imaginary, it doesn't matter like it did last time. I honestly haven't been thinking about it. Even when Sis B's husband came home yesterday, it still didn't feel like my turn was coming up.
Even when I heard the dates and started talking about the return process -- where to pick him up, what he will need to do afterwards, when block leave starts -- it didn't really sink in.
But since I was on post, I had decided to make a stop at the Class Six: the husband has put in his booze request. And as I circled the store shopping, I started thinking that soon we would be drinking that booze together.
And then shit just got real: I am a few days away from being a single digit midget.
Couldn't wipe the grin off my face in that Class Six.
I don't watch American Idol or shows like it, but I happened upon a youtube tonight of the winner of the British version. Paul Potts is a real life Mr. Tanner, only with a happy ending.
This clip of his initial tryout for the show is excellent. You can just see the dread on the judges' faces when he says he's going to sing opera.
It is beautiful.
Why don't we get opera singers winning American Idol?
I have never heard the expression "That just rips my knitting" -- which apparently is Scottish for "chaps my hide" -- but I totally want to start using it.
Learned here, in an excellent post by Wendy Sullivan at Ladyblog. Which they describe "Like Fight Club, but with better hygiene." Heh.
I used to be bothered that my friends are not from my Real Life. I used to think there was something wrong with me. I used to feel that something was missing.
But this day was a tipping point. Since then, I have felt the Importance Scale tip from real life to imaginary.
And some days I am just overwhelmed by how happy I am.
How much I love you all.
Today is one such day.
Tomorrow night we have an FRG meeting. I don't know anyone in my FRG. I don't even know where my husband's company is located; I had to ask him via chat how to get there.
My real life is the illusion, and you are my world.
I live in a gulch in my mind and I am surrounded by the most wonderful people.
I don't think it's possible for anyone to feel more blessed than I do right now.
Today at work I had to put together the small version of the foam gingerbread house. It is not nearly as maddening, so if you are looking to buy one of these for torture purposes, I suggest splurging on the big one.
Well, the little one isn't as bad...provided it actually comes with all its pieces. Which mine did not.
I did take a photo of the masterpiece I put together the other day. Behold, in all its glory:
I also forgot to mention the other day that all I had to go on was a 2"x2" black and white photo of the thing. Hardly good instructions.
Each heart? Individually applied. I know I mentioned that. It's worth repeating.
Do not attempt this at home, kids.
What Girls Want: A series of vampire novels illuminates the complexities of female adolescent desire
This almost makes me want to read Twilight. Almost.
It also makes me realize why I can't: I am no longer thirteen.
I have been thinking about being thirteen a lot lately.
I have been thinking about sitting on the sofa with a boy watching Pink Floyd's The Wall and thinking that after the movie was over, I would tell him I love him. And I did. And he smiled.
Three years later, he was dead. And I replay that night in my head, the delicious memory of feeling so grown-up and alive.
And that love, that love I felt for those illustrious three, it is nothing like the love I have for my husband. It was impetuous and consuming. It spawned poetry and diary entries. That was love with my heart. I am glad I experienced it; I am also glad I don't experience it any longer. It is an exhausting love.
But I have been thinking about it a lot lately and feeling nostalgic. That article gave me some insight into why.
And now I understand the Twilight craze.
So far today, two people have said that they're worried about me and my general level of usch. I didn't realize I was that transparent. I have been feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders lately.
So I shrugged.
Tonight I swung through BK for a #12, I rummed up my Coke, and I'm sitting down to watch 300 and work on my awesome top-secret knitting project.
Seriously, how could I be in a bad mood with that lineup?
I intended to link to this last week but just didn't. My brain came back to it today. I think it's worth reading and thinking about: Black Friday and Love
I would like to apologize for the present I gave you last Christmas. I had no idea.
You see, I loved the story of Pink Ninja wanting an activity set. It's one of my favorite kid stories ever. So when I found the foam nativity kits that you can build yourself, I thought it was perfect: it was both an activity and a nativity set!
I had never put together one of those kits before.
As I mentioned, I received all the Michaels store decorations for Valentine's Day already. Inclosed were several of those foam kits for pink gingerbread-style houses covered in hearts. It's my job to put them together for the store display.
I spent two hours on that house today. I am 31 years old.
The base of the thing was 10"x15". The house was a two-story castle with a turret and a covered porch. Covered in hearts. Which you have to individually attach.
Every time I tried to touch the roof, it fell off. And then the ceiling caved in.
You see in this picture of the little gingerbread house, you see how the seams don't exactly match up? Now try building a second story on top of that. And adding a roof with seams that don't match. I was ready to shoot myself.
And it seems I'm not the only one who's been in foam hell this week.
Two hours and a glue gun later, the Valentine's house is presentable. Provided no one goes near it, breathes on it, or even looks at it too piercingly.
And I still have three more kits to make.
So, AWTM, I am sorry if your activity set turned into an activity that made you want to kill me.
In the past year, 30 percent of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store and 64 percent have cheated on a test, according to a new, large-scale survey suggesting that Americans are too apathetic about ethical standards.
Let the record show that I have never shoplifted or cheated on a test.
Educators reacting to the findings questioned any suggestion that today's young people are less honest than previous generations, but several agreed that intensified pressures are prompting many students to cut corners.
"The competition is greater, the pressures on kids have increased dramatically," said Mel Riddle of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. "They have opportunities their predecessors didn't have (to cheat). The temptation is greater."
Even back in my day, we had graphing calculators that stored information in them. I don't remember any of my friends using that storage to cheat. But regardless, this person is gonna argue that greater competition and opportunity is an excuse for cheating?
Despite such responses, 93 percent of the students said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character, and 77 percent affirmed that "when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know."
Sick. That's the result of parents and their unconditional love and praise. Heaven forbid you hurt little Johnny's self-esteem by telling him he needs to "live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life."
"A lot of people like to blame society's problems on young people, without recognizing that young people aren't making the decisions about what's happening in society," said Dzurinko, 32. "They're very easy to scapegoat."
FAIL. Young people will be making those decisions in ten years, and they have a foundation of cheating and stealing to build on. They're not scapegoats if they admit their immoral behavior. We are totally boned when they become businessmen, educators, and politicians.
"This generation is leading incredibly busy lives -- involved in athletics, clubs, so many with part-time jobs, and -- for seniors -- an incredibly demanding and anxiety-producing college search," he offered as an explanation.
FAIL. Getting into college is stressful, so I'm gonna go out and shoplift, you know, to take the edge off.
I find it incredible that all these principals and administrators are making excuses for these results. Actually, no, I don't find it incredible: I think it's the reason they came up with these results. Adults coddle kids entirely too much these days. They want kids to like them. You know what my philosophy is? Your teenager should hate you...until he's about 25. Then he should start to grok everything you did for him. I am still realizing all the lessons my parents taught me, and I try to inform them when I have finally understood why they did the things they did. And I'm glad they didn't try to "be my friend" when I was in high school. Shoot, my mother doesn't even try to be my friend today; she still lets me know when she thinks I have acted wrong.
"We have to create situations where it's easy for kids to do the right things," he added. "We need to create classrooms where learning takes on more importance than having the right answer."
Weeping Jesus on the cross: FAIL.
There is nothing more important in school than having the right answer. I can't think of any other response to that last quote that doesn't involve cuss words. And you don't create situations for people to do the right thing; you teach young people the right thing to do and then expect them to do it, even when it's hard. That's what morals and values are for!
I don't have any kids yet, much less teenagers. But I have thought about it constantly for the past two years, and I have closely observed the parents around me, looking for what works and what doesn't. And you know how I said I love my husband with my brain instead of my heart? I will love my children the same way. I don't believe in unconditional live; I believe love is earned through thoughts and actions. And I vow that I will never watch my child become a shoplifter and a cheat and then make the kinds of excuses found in this article.
I have a friend who recently said, "Normally when a childless person talks about what she'll do when she has kids, I roll my eyes and think 'just you wait.' But with you, I actually think you will do all these things you say you'll do."
I considered that an enormous compliment.
Nothing to do but cut and run, huh? What else? What about the old American social custom of self-defense? If the police don't defend us, maybe we ought to do it ourselves.
We're not pioneers anymore, Dad.
What are we, Jack?
What do you mean?
I mean, if we're not pioneers, what have we become? What do you call people who, when they're faced with a condition of fear, do nothing about it, they just run and hide?
I watched Death Wish tonight. This scene reminded me of something I read yesterday about Mumbai:
But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back."
If being civilized means that we let barbarians destroy everything we hold sacred, then count me out.
The last time I wrote about vigilantism, Amritas left this comment:
Is there a correlation between vigilante fantasy entertainment and an increasingly criminal-coddling society? (The rise of the Death Wish movies after the 60s might indicate that the answer is yes.) I don't think there was anything 'cool' about frontier justice 'back in the day'; it was a harsh fact of life. But nowadays such justice has turned into escapism and the reality is that people want to deny responsibility.
How much easier things would be if a Batman would come along and take care of the War on Terror for us. If someone else could take care of the barbarians at the gates. If someone else could go and fight the dragons.
If we could sit and watch from the sidelines while someone else polices the world.
But thank heavens there are some people in this world who are not sidelines people. From the imdb page on Death Wish:
After finishing The Stone Killer (1973), Charles Bronson and Michael Winner wanted to make another film together, and were discussing further projects. "What do we do next?" asked Bronson. "The best script I've got is 'Death Wish'. It's about a man whose wife and daughter are mugged and he goes out and shoots muggers," said Winner. "I'd like to do that," Bronson said. "The film?" asked Winner. Bronson replied, "No . . . shoot muggers."
Just heard on the radio: "The historic move to make Hillary Clinton Secretary of State..."
I don't get it. What's historic about it? We currently have a female Secretary of State. What, it's historic to give a former president's wife such an important job?
Yep, still cynical.
Now it is the month when my husband comes home from deployment.
I still haven't watched the Terminator movies yet because they are on backorder. Same with 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story, which has been in my queue the entire time my husband has been gone.
Seems we mouth-breathin', gun-clingin' rednecks are all lined up to watch our moving pictures.
But there's plenty of Redacteds to rent.
I also have been working a lot, since I got promoted right before Christmas and right when the only other person who can do my job had back surgery. Oh well, a few more hours gives me a little more wealth for Obama to spread around.
Cynical today, eh?