The mythical shore draft

I haven’t posted in a while, and to be honest it’s because I’ve been ashamed. And embarrassed.

You see, after about seven or eight years of back to back ship drafts and a deployment every year, Popeye finally, FINALLY got the holy grail of drafts. A shore draft. For 18 months.

Land ahoy!

I was excited. I was elated. I was apprehensive. We have NEVER spent this much time in the same area. He has NEVER been able to come home for this many consecutive evenings.

It was unsettling at first. Unnerving. Having to share my space and meal plan and consider him too. It was odd to have another adult around so consistently to parent our girls. It was weird to find housework tasks done, and to be able to split chores equally and daily.

And the reason I didn’t blog about this before now is the total overwhelming all consuming guilt I have felt, and still feel, about how awesome it is.

Despite several Well Meaning People giving me sage advice like “you’ll be sick of each other in a week”, and such nuggets of wisdom as “you’ll be wishing he was back on deployment in no time” what I have actually found is that I love having Popeye home. It’s great having the love of my life, father of my children here. Physically, emotionally here.

Shocker.

With that came huge waves of guilt.

How could I possibly blog to hundreds, possibly thousands of other military partners about how great this is?!?!

Surely that would be rubbing salt in the wound that is deployment.

But. After speaking to my sister, and some of my Navy Wife BFFs I was urged to blog.

The whole purpose of this blog is to give an honest account of Navy Wife Life. And this is part of that life. To ignore it because I’m awkwardly British and don’t want to tell anyone how happy I am would be doing you guys a disservice.

Also I want to shine a light and let you know there are such a thing as shore drafts! They really exist! They do! Spread the word!

Like some mythical unicorn Popeye has a shore draft. And for a chef to get a shore draft is really quite mythical indeed.

So for a few more months at least I’m going to enjoy every second.

After all these years I think we’ve earned it. Your time will come. And when it does be proud, shout it from the rooftops, and try to ignore the little voice in your head reminding you that soon, this bubble will burst and it’ll be business as usual.

Muchos love,

Olive x

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Farting when they’re home

When your partner is away you can independently let loose with (ahem) flatuence – whenever you need to.


For civvy couples this kind of thing doesn’t happen to them.

They must have a well worked out routine of either: 

  1. Storing up farts until one of the couple falls asleep-then letting loose.
  2. All out, no hold barred, ass emissions as and when necessary.

I don’t really see any middle ground here for them civvies.

However- In the Oyl household, or maybe just in military households: 

Farting is definitely option 2 when Popeye is deployed, and then I try my very best for option 1 when he is home ( at least for the first two weeks of leave).

With the Oyl Household system, there is, an unfortunate overlap come homecoming time.

This time, when he has just come home. That magical time when he’s still unpacking, you are trying not to yell at the children and also trying not to guzzle the wine at the rate you normally do.

When you are trying to be sexy and cool and up-together.

When you are a trying to be a Kirsty Allsop- esque mum. And failing.

And then. There’s a rumbling.

The old pelvic floor gives a creak and-

You guff.

Its not even a quiet one. Not even one you can blame on the kids or the dog.

It’s bad.

In both the olfactory sense and the relationship sense. It’s bad.

And then you look at him and see his momentary disgust. Then humour. And ultimately his respect.

Because yes I fart. And yes he loves me.

Not in spite. 

But because.


Because he loves me and because (shock horror) humans pass gas. This is what our bodies do when we are healthy and fucking comfortable. 

It is embarrassing for that micro second before he laughs and before I remember he has encountered much worse on deployment. 

(P.s screw you Kirsty “let’s-all-casually-weave-a-basket/go-glass-blowing”- Allsop).

Muchos love ❤️ 

I’ve broken a cardinal rule of navy wifedom

I’ve broken one of the cardinal rules of navywifedom.

I’ve booked a holiday for when the ships due back.


Oh yes. 

And it gets worse.

Ive booked it for the day the ship gets back.

Because it’s my birthday that day. 

I’m a total plonker. 

It’s my birthday the day the ships back and it’s a significant number (30 ahem, I mean 21) and I’ve booked up a wholesome weekend in Centre Parcs. 


(*waves at sniggering mumsnetters*).

So of course now I’ve cursed it. I’ve cursed my birthday, and homecoming and everything.

What the actual fuck was I thinking?!?!?!?! 

Have my years as a military wife and prior to that, girlfriend, taught me nothing?!

Am I having some kind of delusional break?! Have I lost my grip on reality?!?!?!?

Of course now the homecoming date will change.

There literally is no point to this post apart from me 

  1. Freaking out about my (21st) birthday
  2. Freaking out about having to see popeye and wear a bikini around him straight away.
  3. Going on holiday with a man I haven’t seen in almost a year with two toddlers
  4. The navy fucking up my (poorly laid) plans.
  5. The actual logistics of sorting the house/kids/myself out, going to homecoming, turning around and bombing it down the A303

This will not be me.
What I wanted was a lovely birthday and holiday with Popeye.

To be honest I was a little miffed that my birthday was going to be all about him. 

What do you think? Am I being totally naive or am I engaging in some weird birthday self sabotage?

Discuss.

P.s if you get the MN and centre parcs reference, don’t jump to conclusions, get your mind out the gutter.
<update> of course something did go wrong and yes I did have to rebook the flipping holiday. I can hear the “I told you so’s” from here. Muchos love x 

*Guest post* Homecoming from the other side.

After a lot of nagging and emailing and threatening to withhold parcels, Popeye has written a blog post!

It’s a subject that I have always been very curious (nosey) about. What is homecoming like for the sailor actually on the gert big honking warship? 

Here at Oyl HQ, that is exactly the kind of burning question we like to answer, so without any further ado, here’s Popeye, giving it a sailors POV:

*pause for drumroll*


I have been asked by my lovely wife olive to write a guest blog post for all of you lovely readers describing homecoming from the other side of the dockside! 

Now my literary prowess is somewhat lacking when it comes to this sort of thing, however I shall endeavour to paint you a “word picture”, here we go…

So, the night before homecoming, affectionately known as channel night, in a bygone era, was an evening (and most part of the morning) celebrating and getting so drunk you can barely stand up.

Nowadays it’s a far more conservative affair, possibly with a few drinks and then early to bed to make the next day come quicker, a bit like Christmas when you were 5 years old. 

Don’t get me wrong there are still some sailors that drink until they shit themselves, but they are few and far between. 

The trouble with this is (and I have witnessed it first hand) the next day you are so hungover you are unable to actually enjoy your homecoming. You are in such a state that you would rather go back to bed than see your family. Or you would rather speak to God on the porcelain telephone than hug your mum.


When I was asked to write this, I got to thinking, these peoples families have travelled for god knows how long to come and see their sailor, who they have missed and worried about and sent parcels and letters to. They stand there all excited, and what they are greeted with is an absolute hungover mess. 

This is a bit of an anticlimax I expect.

That’s why I fall into the 5 year old at Christmas category!

So the morning of the homecoming is here. Normally, you are woken from your lovely sleep by a whistle over the ships broadcast. 

However on homecoming day they wake you up with Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Boys are Back in Town’ or Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Homeward Bound’ then it’s a fairly straightforward routine. Get up, shower, brush teeth put on number 1’s.

Realise that number 1’s do not fit, panic, realise you are trying to put on someone else’s, find your own, put them on and marvel at how much weight you have lost.

 Have breakfast, unless you are morning watch chef, in which case you will be cooking breakfast.

After all this it sort of sinks in that you will be seeing your loved ones again after however many moths and you start to get a bit excited.

Everyone is buzzing, people you have never spoken to in 6 to 9 months suddenly become ‘alright’ and you can talk to them, you have common ground. All anyone wants to do is just get home! 

Then there is a sort of time in purgatory. You aren’t going to work that morning but they have yet to muster you for procedure Alpha (that’s where we all stand on the upper deck) so you bimble about drinking tea and trying not to spill it down yourself. 

You pointlessly check your e mails. You think about phoning your family, and then think better of it because it might dilute the joy of homecoming! 

Then they finally muster you for procedure Alpha. Now you would have thought getting a bunch of people to stand along the side of a ship is a pretty easy thing to organise. You would be wrong. You have to be placed in order of height and then marched down the side of the ship and told where to stand. I know it doesn’t sound like much but this can take anywhere up to an hour to sort out! So you stand in your spot looking out at Portsmouth/ Plymouth or wherever you happen to be coming in to and it is cold. It is so fucking cold! Number 1’s are not renowned for their thermal retention properties. All you are thinking is hurry the fuck up because I am fucking freezing! 

So you start to enter your port of choice, lots of people waving from the beach and stuff, obviously you can’t wave back because it’s not very military! Oh and as soon as you start to enter your port of choice it for some reason becomes really windy, so with wind chill it’s about -50 degrees Celsius.

 You start to shiver and your lips turn blue. Your feet hurt because not only are they cold but you have squeezed them into a pair of pussers’ shoes that you have only worn twice and they are extremely uncomfortable!

 Then you see a huge throng of people with banners all shouting and cheering.

Then you allow yourself to be very excited, now in the normal running of things you are not allowed to move or wave back until the first rope has gone from the ship to the dockside. 

So you frantically scan the crowd looking for your family, it’s sort of a silent competition, spot them before they spot you. We do have an advantage in this game by being all dressed the same. Olive described it as the hardest game of ‘Where’s Wally’ ever. 

You finally spot them and for me, the first thing I think is “Thank god she’s turned up and not run away with some bloke she met in her yoga class called Fabian who pronounces Barcelona with a ‘th'”she is waving at me. I can’t wave back. She stops waving and gives me the look of “why aren’t you waving back?” (#sadface) then another look of “oh god have I just been waving at a complete stranger?!?!” You try to telepathically communicate that “you are waving at the right person but I cant wave back, look no one else is waving back!” 

Then the first rope goes across and you are allowed to wave but by that time you’re arms and legs do not want to move. Your muscles are all stiff and cold but you make the effort and give them a wave. 

I have always found this fairly awkward. You are waving and stuff but you can’t get off the ship until the gangway is down. So what is the waving etiquette? When do you stop?

Obviously I can’t stand there waving like an idiot for half an hour. 

So you stop waving and try to mouth things to your loved ones but because they are to far away to hear you. They have no idea what you are saying. You try to find someone to talk to so as not to look stupid but at the same time keep one eye on the family in case they move! It’s all very complicated! Then the gangway goes down and wait for the captain’s family to come on and then you have to wait for the bloke who won the ships raffle to be first off the gangway. 

You are finally allowed down the gangway. You move through the crowd like a ninja, not brushing against anyone and twisting this way and that, then you see them and suddenly everything is alright again. 

You forget your hypothermia and broken feet and have the best hug ever, then a kiss, and then you become a bit nervous and wonder what to say. 

I always say the same thing ‘alright?’ with that word I reassure them that I am the same person I was when I left. Then the answer I get is ‘Yeah, you?’ and with that I know they are the same person they were when I left and everything is going to be alright. 

Now imagine trying to

do all that with a raging hangover…
“Muchos  Love”

Popeye 


         

One woman’s homecoming is another’s goodbye

With the return today of HMS Defender (and if many of you wonder why I bang on about this ship in particular ok I will just say it- it’s Popeyes old ship where I met most of my NWBFFs and felt part of the Royal Navy community for the first time and not just some kind of Lone Ranger navy wife freak) and im filled with such excitement on their behalf, I’m so crazily proud of the families who have waited 9 months for them to finally come home. 

(After doing basically a 7 month deployment about 2 mins before this one- mental).

I can see the wives and the girlfriends, the sisters and the brothers and the mummy’s and daddy’s in my minds eye in a few short hours, finally getting that hug and kiss they’ve waited and waited and waited some more for.

9 month in, 9 months out
But as well as all of this excitement for them, and soppiness and nostalgia it’s reminded me that it’s my turn to say goodbye next. For 9 months.

And I am seriously freaking out.

After I did my first deployment and met Popeye at the homecoming I was naive. I didn’t pause to think there will be another one. And another and another. 

The second he stepped off the ship a new countdown started to the next time he would deploy.

What happened? We had a minimum of a 6 month deployment with less than 12 months inbetween for four years. That’s a lot of deploying.

It was awful. It was hard. It was surreal. 

But it was doable. I look back at “deployment Olive” with no small degree of awe. She was hardcore.

“Did really do that?”

How did I do all those deployments?”

Can I really do it all again?

(in a very small voice, like a stroppy toddler) “But I don’t want to!”

Thinking about this upcoming deployment is filling me with dread. Not just because I know how hard it will be, but because this time I’m on my todd with our two gorgeous baby girls. No pressure then.

And that’s going to bring a whole new level of shit and heartache and stress and strain that I haven’t encountered before. 

And that is a type of deployment I know nothing about. 

So watch this space my lovelies. Hopefully my blog will stay the chirpy quirky space it’s always been. Not some kind of weird online written record of my unraveling. 

I need success stories please!

So as the WAGs of HMS Defender wave that mighty ship home, with the sodding brass band blasting, and the little tug boat getting zilch recognition; my thoughts are bitter sweet and let’s be honest, a bit “me me me.” 

This navy life is (as my good pal Ronan would say) a roller coaster. 

I’d rather be on the dodgems. 

Muchos love,

Olive X 


Woah! Who’s that man in my bed?!

It’s a few days after homecoming, it’s the weekend, the sunlight is shining out of the edges of the curtains, birds are singing, you stretch, yawn and reach over to your phone to check Facebook obsessively, then your foot brushes up against a distinctly hairy *thing*in your bed.

Disclaimer: this is not what i look like when i wake up. Anyone claiming to look like this when they wake up is a massive liar liar pants on fire.

“WTAF IS THAT????” You think, you flip over, iPhone raised heavenward and at the ready- a man is sleeping next to you! One arm raised, mouth slightly open, stubbly chin, and a *you know what* down there, yep definitely a man. Here. In my bed. Now. Doing a little morning fart.

“holy crap there is a man in my bed!” 

(Whoops I mean our bed of course)

It is of course Popeye home after deployment and not some freaky stalker/narcoleptic burglar but if you are anything like me there will be the odd sleepyheaded morning moment when you forget that he has actually come home. 

So (if you are slightly crackers like me) you try to slide out of the bed without showing any of the skin that was showing when you both got into bed the night before. Then I have to manically try to find something to cover said skin without waking him up so he doesn’t actually have to see me naked in the sunlight and be turned to stone. Or something. 

Ahh thats better. This is much more like me when I wake up. Good one google.

This is just one of the weird post homecoming issues I have had to get to grips with, others include:

  • Shower diplomacy. With my own husband. I never knew how annoying it is to have to have the “no no you get the first shower”, “no it’s fine you go for it” with someone who isn’t even a freakin guest. 
  • Being a considerate human being #1. All of a sudden I have to factor in what he likes for dinner and the sad realisation that special k with red berries just won’t do for two.
  • Being a considerate human being #2. Having to decide what to watch on tv in the evening. Together. And like compromise and shit. Eurgh.
  • Washing two peoples worth of clothes and feeling a teeny bit resentful  about it.
  • Forgetting he gets hay fever and buying loads of flowers that are reduced in tesco (my bad, sorry hubby).
  • Letting him drive my (our) car. It’s a bit how I imagine my mum felt when she gave me my first (and last) driving lesson. 
  • He eats all my chocolate. All of it. End of.

Eventually I/we realise we have become a “we” again. It takes time and a lot of reality checks, deep breaths and compromises on both sides to be honest. 

The reality of being an “us” or a “we” or a “them” after so bloody long being an “I” or a “me” takes just a little while to sink in. 

And first thing on a Saturday morning it’s easy to forget that it’s us in our bed after so many days of it being me in my bed. 

So once ive got my head around the fact that he is actually home with me it’s usually quite a good time to refocus my thoughts on what other activities we can do in our bed.

😉

Muchos love X 

Same/different. Deal with it.

So Popeye is coming HOME today!!!!!

Yippee! I have officially made it to the end of BOST (Basic Operational Sea Trials) without killing the children or having a nervous breakdown! Go me *proud face*!

I attribute my success in Forces Spouse Parenting to a winning combo of rosé spritzers after the kids bedtime, going out to the park a LOT and lowering my housekeeping standards to just above “slovenly”. 


Popeye phoned last night and because of crap signal we of course got cut off mid conversation (standard). 

I didn’t get to do my usual “Some things are different and some things are the same” potentially slightly patronising debrief. 

Let me elaborate, Popeye, and I suspect many other sailors and service persons out there, find it quite difficult to understand that time has passed here at home.

Some things have (duhn duhn duuuhn!) changed. The house he left does not look exactly the same as when he left. I have (shockingly) kept calm and carried on. Without him.

During the couple of months of BOST par examplé I have-

  • Moved the basket where we keep the towels and swapped it with the laundry bin. (Duhn duhn duuuuhn!)
  • Moved the microwave to under the boiler on the other side of the kitchen. (Omfg I’m a monster)
  • Put black out curtains up in sweet peas room because I was fed of of waiting for him to do it. (Sweet Jesus  the humanity!)
  • In a mad fit of “the good life meet gardeners world” weirdness I dug and planted a veg garden with tomato, courgette and runner beans. (Side note: there is an 80% chance they will all die). 
  • Bought two plants to put next to the front door so we look posher than we are. (They are from lidl. Fucking love lidl and its mystery aisle. )

oh la la its like being at downton here

So stuff has moved around. And there is new stuff in our house.

Popeye does not like this. I can just tell he feels uncomfortable or a bit miffed when he steps in the house and it’s not a photocopy of how it was when he left us.

I swear he thinks the second he departs on that bloody tin can time freezes here. 

Even though I do tell him on the phone that I’ve bought X, Y, Z or I’ve put up a picture or whatnot; he doesn’t really ever seem to register that it has actually happened. What I am telling you on the phone is my real life. Like actually real. 

Im not making it up. I’m not trying to dupe him. I’m not trying to make him feel out of place or confused in his own home. 

I’m running a household. I’m doing exactly what I would have done had he been here.

I won’t put my life on hold, or wait for him to be home in order to get stuff sorted out in Maison de Oyl. 

So I usually have a special “some things are different and some are the same chat”. 

Except I couldn’t this time because we got cut off after talking about the girls.

I guess that’s another different thing. He left me as a blubbering, exhausted, desperate for help mother of two under two asking herself “how am I going to do this with no help?!” 

Instead he will come back to find me a coping, exhausted mother of two under two. Still in need of help but not in that panic zone. Still in love with my Popeye, still hating the navy. 

look at me, freakin coping my ass off here

Because I’ve bloody done it. And it feels amazing. Amazingly different. And amazingly the same. 

Muchos love. 

Olive 

X

P.s if you like reading my blog, or if your wife/partner keeps sending you links to my posts and find yourself lol-ing when reading them onboard how about voting for me in the MAD blog awards? I’m a finalist in the best lifestyle blog category and it would mean SO much to win it. I’m the only forces person in the whole awards (guilt trip guilt trip). It takes 2 mins. Click right here and vote for ME! Ta muchly X 

Memory blindness.

I want to talk about something that has happened to me every single deployment. 

It’s not something I’m proud of but its still a thing that happens time and time again so I’m hoping that it is therefore, normal and healthy. And sane. 

It happens when they’ve been gone for a good chunk of time. 2-3 months maybe. The longer they’ve been gone the worse it is.

Im going about my day to day fabulousness and I’m generally coping and looking pretty fly whilst doing so.

It hits me.

The crippling, genuine fear that I’ve actually forgotten what Popeye looks like and/or sounds like. 

It’s happened. 

I’ve gone memory blind.

  

“Omg omg omg I am the worst wife/girlfriend/life partner ever.” 

I blush and get a hot and cold panicky feeling in the bottom of my tummy. 

Suddenly I pelt my poor deployment beaten brain with such questions as:

What does his nose look like?!

What are the shade of his eyes?!

Does he have Gaston from beauty and the beast type chin or a Rick from TWD type chin?!

Does he like ketchup or mayonnaise?

Exactly how tall is he?!

WHO IS POPEYE?!?!?!!!!!!!” 

                                     

Sure sure I could just whip my phone out and look at a picture. But that would be cheating. So instead I go for the self torture route. Of course. Very healthy. Very British. 

I test myself. I quiz myself and berate myself for every question my memory can’t answer perfectly and instantly. 

“What are the shape of his lips?

How do I hold hands?

What does kissing feel like?!?!” 

These last two tie me up in knots as I freak out over whether I will remember how to snog on homecoming day. 

Visions of teeth crashing together or accidentally giving him a Glaswegian Kiss sail into my merciless mind as I struggle to remember the slant of his eyebrows.

Cursing my memory to the depths of Hades- I give in and open up Facebook to see Popeyes smiling face. I let myself have a little cry and resolve to study every freckle and hair, every quirk and crease until they are tattooed on my memory. 

And as for the kissing and hand holding I will just have to wing it on the day and hope that he’s feeling as beyond nervous as I am to see each other face to face again.

Besides if I do accidentally nut him in the face it will be one hell of an ice breaker, right? 

Muchos love,

Olive

X

To my civvy friends

To my civvy friends,

First of all I need to say thank you. Thank you for being there for me when I was doing my first deployment and doubting if Popeye would still fancy me when he came back. Reassuring me when I had worries about if I could do this navy life lark, and turning up with a clinking carrier bag and packet of twenty. 

Thank you for being there during all the other deployments when I leant on you for support, when I needed an emergency buddy at A&E, when the car broke down and I needed help. For sending round your partner to mow the lawn when I was by myself with Sweetpea. For answering the phone when I was in tears from watching Christmas adverts.

Now for the apologies. And an explanation. 

I’m sorry that as soon as Popeye has leave I go to ground. I’m less reliable than a Flake. I don’t text back. I forget plans. I cancel plans and I am so vague about making plans until the last minute. 

Please don’t take this personally. I still love you and need your friendship. I’m not ditching you. I think or rather I hope you understand this.

If you don’t then maybe our friendship isn’t strong enough to survive one of us being a military spouse. And my marriage will always come first. 

My time with Popeye is so precious. And since we became parents it is even more so. When he’s home we are in our own bubble and we never know what we want to do day to day. Except to be together. As much as possible. Even when we start to annoy each other.

Because of this we don’t make plans. When he’s home I find it hard to socialise and not be a bit unhinged. We might do a longstanding birthday party or a few spur of the moment meet ups, but, in general we are, and will continue to be selfish.  

 

When he has leave it is our one chance to put us first, possibly all year. 

Our relationship might need alone time desperately, not just rudey times but quality time. 

We need time together to get to know each other again. We’ve both changed whilst he’s been away and we need time to date, to flirt and then to become a functioning couple again. Whenever he comes back it feels weird to even kiss him or have him close to me for a few days. It’s a good kind of weird but it still takes a while to get used to it.

We need to create memories. All the missed birthdays and anniversaries have to be compensated for in a few short weeks during the summer and possibly Easter. Christmas is usually filled with family visits and as such is so mentally busy we hardly see each other. Besides he’s never had all 3 bouts of leave in a year since I’ve known him. So we use these precious few days to treat ourselves and spoil each other. Because we don’t know when our next opportunity will be.

Sometimes our time apart has really tested us. We need time to resolve any issues that have come up whilst we’ve been apart. This is not something we can do in a public/social arena. We need to be at home, talking and finding our way back to normal. 

We need to get practical. As you know I try to carry on as “normal” when he’s away but there are always projects or plans saved for leave. This can be because only he can do them or because I feel only he should do them.

Like putting together his daughters new bedroom furniture because he missed her birth and first 6 months of her life. Like decorating the house so it feels like it’s his home too, and so he can find out where everything is kept in the kitchen before we have that big summer BBQ. Because he hasn’t been here since before we moved house and he would be mortified if a guest asked him where something was and he didn’t know. In short we need time for him to feel at home. 

I hope you accept my apologies because we won’t be changing. And I hope you accept my thanks because I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for being my civvy friend and balancing out the madness and giving me a reality check of how it’s supposed to be. Thank you for your perspective. 

I hope you understand why I am the way that I am.

All my love,

A military spouse, or partner.

Xxxxxx

The Big Black Kit Bag and me.

You will all know about The Big Black Kit Bag. That HUGE bag with a zillion handles and really useful pockets all around the outside. And it has like the hugest, strongest, chunkiest zip that can do up no matter how many pairs of shoes you squeeze into it.

  
It’s usually used for carrying all of Popeyes belongings to and from the ship or everything we need for going on a family holiday or for hiding Christmas presents. Very useful.  Also very annoying.

It is also called the “Kit Bag”, a “Pussers Grip” (apparently) and “That fucking bag” or “that stupid thing” (usually precluded by me tripping over it and shouting “Popeye MOVE that fucking bag/stupid thing”- for a little context). 

I have a very messed up relationship with this bag. In fact I can go so far to say that it is by far the most complicated relationship I have with a bag. 

:-/

I LOVE the Big Black Kit Bag when I see Popeye emerging down the gangway in his civvys at homecoming with it slung over his shoulder.

I LOVE seeing the Big Black Kit Bag on the back seat of the car in the rear view mirror when we are driving home and getting the hell outta Pompey.
I LOVE the Big Black Kit Bag when it’s put down in the dining room or kitchen or hallway when he first gets home. 

During these times, when the BBKB catches my eye, I get a little “zing”, a little rush of happiness and adrenaline. “I love this baaaaaaag!!!!!!” I squeal in my head. I have to restrain myself from dive bombing it in a bear hug and getting into it. I probably would try to sleep in it if I could. (Aside: I can actually fit in it btw. Don’t try this at home etc, go out instead).

However,

I HATE the Big Black Kit Bag when it has been sitting in the dining room or kitchen or hallway for a good few days, or even over a week, getting in my way and generally spewing it’s contents out in every direction all over my/ our (super duper post-deployment tidied) house. I can only imagine Popeye does this because 

  1. He NEEDS his Xbox RIGHT NOW as a matter of life and death and had to grab it out of the BBKB in a nanosecond. 
  2. He feels the need to display all of his dirty kit and civvy clothes to me as either a subtle hint for me to wash it for him (not going to happen) or to show how very very hard he has worked. Poor lamb.
  3. Some kind of Tracy Emin “Unmade Bed” modern art tribute.
  4. To mess with my head and/or trip me up because he is jealous of my lovely toes and feet. 

The other time I HATE HATE HATE that bloody Big Black Kit Bag is when it’s on the bed. Being filled with clothes and books and stuff getting ready for a deployment.

I hate it then. It makes me cry. Seeing it get filled with stuff makes me loathe it because it means Popeye is going away.

I kick it off the bed. 

I do. I know it’s childish but I don’t care. I kick that monstrous thing off the bed onto the floor so Popeye has to repack. I do it every time he packs it. It’s like a compulsion.

So much so that last time he left he was so worried about what I’d do (post baby hormonal Olive is apparently v v scary) he packed secretly so I couldn’t kick the bag over. 

I also hide things he has packed and tip it out onto the floor. I also hide the bag. 

Like that will stop him deploying. 

As I said, a very useful, practical kit bag. I just wish I didn’t have to see it about 50% of the time. It’s a weird coincidence that those times are when Popeye is leaving or the homecoming excitement has worn off.

Yes. Just a coincidence. Sure Olive, sure. 

Muchos love, 

Olive.