Pretty please can he have leave? With a cherry on top?

I want to talk about leave. More explicitly parental leave. Like when your toddler has decided to throw up at 7.35am and you’ve got a huge important meeting to go to. Or when your kid has conjunctivitis and your childminder can’t have them for one day. Or you’ve used up ALL your parental leave after the last d&v bug did the rounds and now you are facing eating into your annual leave or taking unpaid leave. Whilst your partner is around.

In most couples you have the option of one of you staying home for the compulsory 48hours or whatever until you can whack them back into childcare.

In military couples you are on your own. Shore draft or not. It doesn’t matter.

Although the Navy spouts that it will be flexible in terms of releasing service personnel when they are able to (I.e they are alongside, the ship is in dry dock or have a Mythical Shore Draft ) this, in my experience very very rarely translates to actual help. To an actual parent being ALLOWED to look after your sick child.

If you go to the Welfare service (which is ace but stringent- to weed out the piss takers obvs) or the Naval Families Federation then you can get help and be pointed in the right direction.

BUT that is very hard to do for the following reasons-

  1. It’s 7.36am you’re covered in vomit and you can’t get in touch with your Popeye

2. You can’t ring Welfare or the NFF because it’s sparrows fart o’clock in the morning and you need to ring Work for another parental leave day or sort out some last minute childcare NOW.

3. Your military partners boss has a stick up their ass that they can’t dislodge.

Now. Points 1&2 are either out of our control or are long term solutions to long running child healthcare issues. Point 3 is what really winds me up.

I get the feeling it’s very much of the school of thought of “Well it never did me any harm”- which can be roughly translated to:

“Well I was never there for my wife and she divorced me and that’s why I haven’t handed in my chit coped fine. He should do the same”

This attitude massively pisses me off for one thing it totally disregards the partners career- what if I am the main breadwinner?! Even if I’m not does that mean that my career is less important than his?!?

Does it mean that he shouldn’t be there for his child when he can be???

(Spoiler alert)

No it does not.

(*disclaimer* this whole blog post is very much about the ship being in dry dock/alongside/sitting around waiting to be fixed with harry black maskers/ mythical shore draft- I’m not talking about when the might of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy is flying at full sail.)

The other thing that really really pisses me off is that it actually goes against the Navys own ethos about supporting family life.

The very high ups would be shocked and disappointed that the lower ranks were are abusing their power in this way. Using petty technicality to foster resentment in a relationship, inequity in marriage and ultimately the discrimination in career prospects and performance for the military spouse is quite simply- wrong.

So- speak up! Get shitty! I know that your Popeye (if they are anything like mine) will be mortified that you have taken the initiative and contacted Welfare or the NFF. But do you know what?

It doesn’t matter. I know he will be scared that you speaking up for your legal and policy based rights complaining to Welfare will end up with him getting stick from his superior-

But it’s high time that, in this era of defence budget cuts, 9 month deployments and serious recruitment and retainment issues (and putting operational commitments aside) this culture of “it never did me any harm” should be totally stamped out- and a new culture and understanding of flexibility and responsibility was fostered by the Armed Forces.

Muchos love, Olive x

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Wine and chocolate on the sofa ™️ -how to really cope with deployment

I know there’s a lot of sad posts about deployment. I know there’s a lot of “you can do it champ” style upbeat articles about deployment. Complete with Kirsty Alsop worthy craft projects to “keep you busy” and also make you spend a ridiculous amount on chalk based paint in B&Q and leave you with what was a perfectly good chest of drawers looking like something from Barbies Ikea Dream Palace.

There are also a lot of articles written about taking up a new hobby to fill those hours that deployment has left you with. Such as learning French, going to the gym or other worthy self-improvement activity.

Unfortunately, after doing a couple of deployments following the above advice I do have a bit of a problem with the practicality of its application.

Firstly- I do not have the time nor inclination to randomly start hacking furniture apart after I’ve said goodbye to Popeye. I may want to take apart furniture but that is mostly from rage and not through a new feeling of domestic pride or energy.

It does not fill me joy and a sense of satisfaction to sand and paint and sand and paint and venture into THE SHED OF DOOM to find a screw or Allen key in the pursuit of a home makeover.

It has never been a Kirsty Alsop experience. My floral dress get ruined, the dog ends up covered in masking tape and I end up thinking sod the whole thing I’m going to eat chocolate and watch Friends on the sofa.

Secondly- taking up a soul balancing, calm inducing hobby is a lot easier said than done.

I’ve found that after Popeye has deployed I don’t actually have that much extra time to myself.

It gets filled up quickly with having to do 100% of the life admin stuff overnight. All of a sudden I’m responsible for all bathtimes, lunchboxes, clean clothes, healthy dinners AND breaking up World War 3 that erupts in the living room over whose turn it is to watch Peppa Pig or Nella the Princess Knight. Diplomacy in the Land of Oyl takes a up a lot of my headspace during a deployment.

With all the above there is little time to learn French apart from the difference between Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

My gym involves running around after two toddlers and a mad dog.

I do make sure to have something planned each weekend. Just something simple like meeting up for coffee with a friend or going to hell soft play with the kids.

Then one day is a PJ day and then we are back on the treadmill again.

Take it from me, grand designs are all well and good but they are just that: Designs.

Keep busy doing the everyday and you will get there.

My patented Wine and Chocolate on the Sofa method has been tried and tested and is way more successful at keeping me sane, teaching me French AND I don’t have to go searching in the shed or take out shares in Dulux to achieve it-

My home might not be up cycled to it to it’s eyebrows but it’s a place of everyday comfort. And that is what I need most when getting through a deployment.

So, take your bra off, stick Sabrina on Netflix and relax. You’ve got this.

Muchos love Olive.

I’m baaack!

Hey you guys, I’m back! All I can do is massively apologise for letting my blog slide these last few months pretty much a year. But like I’ve said to you before, I felt like a fraud, a trickster, a charlatan, basically for being happy.

The mythical shore draft was everything we have dreamt about (and by “we” I mean navy wives, not sailors).

I’ve had almost 18 months of help, of weekday evenings watching TV together, of having an actual adult physically there to co-parent with.

I have been living the dream and loving it.

But unfortunately, like every dream at some point you have to wake up

Btw the title to this article is a total South Park reference. Soz if you don’t get it.

So I will be a “normal” navy wife again soon. Popeye is due back on ship at some point in the not too distant future and I will go back to living my life and routine at the whim of the Royal Navy.

It was fun while it lasted. I guess now the kids are a bit older I will have more stressful and slightly unhinged hilarious anecdotes to share with you.

I have visions of parents evenings, after school clubs and general feral children running through my mind. I can only assume that that, plus marriage to a sailor, will provide good writing material?

I’ve always been a glass half full kind of girl.

Muchos love

Olive x

(P.S don’t forget to subscribe to Homeport magazine for exclusive articles written just for them! They are basically like the ones I write for here except Mike the Editor won’t let me swear.)

We dont live in a bubble.

Right, thats it. Im stepping into the ring. Time for a blog post outlining my views on the transgender/transactivist movement.

Those of you that follow me on Twitter @OliveOylNW will have noticed that I do get a tad political over there, and you would have also noticed I am a great big feminist.

So I read my latest copy of Just 4 Her Magazine -this magazine is aimed at the ladeez of all those military folk. In this issue there is an article titled “Gender Fluidity”.  I tried to read it with an open mind, with my milennial, liberal, scientist, psychologist hat on. And I got just a tad wound up.

Firstly, let discuss what it means to be masculine or feminine. According to the article, the authors friend, a male would go “bare faced” when he felt more masculine and “on days when he felt more feminine he would apply a flick of eyeliner”. Good for him. Couldnt care less.

I read the above, whilst sitting in my dining room with my coffee- shock horrow- BARE FACED. I had no idea this meant I was being masculine. I take umbridge with this.

I am a feminine fucking flower whether I have a full face of slap on or not.

Cheezburger Image 2148919552

Next point that pissed me off- parents that choose to dress “their girls in blue or yellow” are NOT being “gender diverse”. What a load of tosh. Same goes for the “non gender specific toys” they mention. Utter utter bollocks.

There is no such thing as gender specific toys. There is no such thing as gender specific colours. Kids can play with whatever they want because they are toys. People can wear whatever colour they want because they are colours.

Image result for girls toys boys toys

 

This is not gender diversity. It is abolishing sex based stereotypes and its a good thing.

Children have sex based differences, but they dont have inherent gender based differences. They are not born with a preference for pink or blue or hammers and prams.

Gender preferences are social constructs. That means that society is built and has evolved in such a way that means that sex stereotypes are still being perpetuated. THAT is why we see more boys playing with cars and girls playing with dolls. (Although thats a load of crap really when you think about it, as women drive cars and men become fathers).

It is SOCIETY that perpetuates gender stereotypes. Not some intrinsic internal child knowledge of what is a “girls toy” or a “boys toy”. It is the adult around them that reinforce gender roles, not the children. Us adults have a responsibility to them to teach them that all this girl stuff boy stuff is a load of crap and they can wear and play what they want because its their fucking childhood for fucks sake.

Moving on. I literally cannot bend my Master Degree level educated woman brain around the next bit of the article, apparently young people (not us oldies) are “embracing the gender diverse nature of their emotions”.

What. Just, what. I cant. I dont get it. <breathe Olive>

Do males and females have some kind of separate list or range of emotions??? I obviously didnt get the memo at birth. My bad. I also forgot to let my two daughters know that there is a prescribed emotional repetoire they must not deviate from unless they are actually boys. In which case they need to consult the Menz List.

It is utter shite like this that has lead to boys feeling unable to express their feelings and may contribute to the higher rate of suicide amongst young men. Because they cant access the feminine list of emotions. I would laugh if it wasnt so scary.

EMOTIONS ARE NOT DEFINED BY SEX OR GENDER.

Image result for male suicide rate uk 2017

Luckily, over half way through the article there is one point I do agree with. “Gender is not defined by biology”. Bravo! Good work!- It isnt!

Biological sex- by that I mean male/female- IS defined by our biology. Gender on the other hand is merely a social construct that varies dependent on culture, time and social norms.

Gender CANNNOT and does not change someones SEX.

Image result for sex not gender

The article references Mermaids UK. For those not in the know Mermaids is a transgender support charity for “gender diverse and transgender children”. Children. Children. Mermaids go into schools and talk to children, who are cognitively vulnerable compared to adults, and educate them about being transgender. And probably confuse the hell out of a lot of them.

Imagine boys who like pink- suddenly, instead of being a boy that likes pink- he may now begin to question his gender identity. Instead of questionning why society thinks that certain colours are for certain sexes. Instead of challening gender stereotypes he buys into the thought process that certain behaviours are for men and some for women. Deviate form this and you must be trangender. Not just a boy that likes pink.

Heaven forfend that a boy should like pink. Or a girl wants to play football. *Barf*.

Can’t people see that this is MASSIVELY reinforcing gender stereotypes??? Leave the kids alone with all the toys and all the colours and all the sports!!! They are children! Concerns about sexuality have NO PLACE in a childs mind.

Gah, sorry for the rant but that shit really boils my piss.

Almost there Olive. Keep going.

Lets talk about the latest buzzword being hefted on people. “Cisgender”. Being cisgender basically means a person who’s biological body matches up to their “gender identity”.

I find the term very offensive. I am NOT “cisgender”. I am a woman. If I choose to become a mechanic, grow my body hair or pee standing up (messy but do-able), I am STILL a woman. I wont be forced into some box that reinforces the idea that there are distinct male and female behaviours that are incompatible with my biological sex. 

Image result for i am not cisgender

I vehemently disagree that (as the article states) you can “pick and change what bits of each sex work for you”. You just cant. Chop off my boobs, im still a woman. Have a hysterectomy. You’re STILL a woman. Shave my head head and yes, you’ve guessed it, still a woman. Because, well, science.

You can pick and choose whether to wear pink or blue, wear makeup or not, grow body hair or not. Fine. Totes fine. You can even lop off your penis or have one made for you. Doesn’t mean you or I can change our biological make up.

Men and women can behave in ways that dont conform to gender stereotypes and thats ok. Thats how stereotypes change over time. 

Time for the stuff thats going to get me a kicking on Twitter. Yet im doing it anyway.

Transgender people can never truely experience the opposite sex experience. Nature and nurture are unable to be separated. They are undeniabley linked. This whole issue cannot be looked at in a bubble. Boys are socialised into X stereotype, girls are socialised into Y stereotype. We can work against it, and it will and does change over time (holla 1950’s anyone?). Boys who grow up to be transwomen have still grown up in a society of male privieledge, “boys” games, “big boys dont cry” etc. Girls who grow up to be transmen have not shared this male experience. Girls will have experienced everyday sexism, witnessed the wage gap, the glass ceiling, the sexual objectification of women.

All because of their biological sex. SEX MATTERS. Sexism does happen, against both sexes. Lets not stick our heads in the sand. Its a real problem and it is happening every day in tiny little ways.

Transwomen (biological males) will never fully understand things that women have gone through since birth. Being given dolls to play with, being called bossy when they are being assertive,the fear of walking home alone, behaving sexually because you’ll be called tight if you dont. Being called a slag if you do. They wont know how degrading and scary it was at the age of 13 to be whilstled and beeped at by men in a van. How you try to make the rustle of a sanitary towel as quiet a possible in the loos at school. And how it feels to have every academic and sporting achievement overshadowed by how “pretty” we may or may not look. Since infancy.

Image result for female socialisation

 

As I said, you cant look at the gender fluidity or transgender movement in a bubble. Context is key to all of this. We live in a world where the overwhelming majority of violence and sexual violence is carried out by biological males.

The proposed changes to the Gender Reform Act (GRA) mean that anyone can identify as any sex. Just on a whim. Call me cycnical but I am pretty sure this would be expoited by abusive, predatory biological males, posing as transwomen. I am NOT saying that transwomen are a threat to anyone.  Im saying that if any old perve from down the pub can tell the world hes a woman this will be exploited by some sickos. Not by actual transgender people.

If the proposed changes go through then biological males who identify as women will be able to access changing rooms, toilets, religious spaces, sporting events, domestic abuse refuges, perform body searches etc etc where there will be women (and probably children). As my mum says they will “ruin it for the rest of us”. For true trangender people and for vulnerable women, people with certain religious beliefs that require women only spaces and for children.

Transgender people are not required to have a sex change in order to identify as the opposite sex. Infact most transgender people keep their biological genitalia intact and only a small percentage have a full sex change. So thats not an indicator that can be used to sort the real transgender people from others who may seek to exploit these liberal and (on paper) progressive proposals of the GRA.

I think the GRA proposed changes will dilute the transgender voice and the voice of women. I think more discussion needs to be had before these changes come into place.

The real problem here is that gender stereotypes are not being dismantled, they are being upheld and maintained. Because they serve the patriarchy we live in. This is a huge threat to our childrens mental health and to achieving equality accross the sexes.

Image result for fight the patriarchy

Right, im off my soap box now.

Please read up on all this if its sparked any questions.

If you are concerned about an imbalance of information being delivered about gender identity in schools then transgender trend provide information for parents for children that are questionning their identity.

In addition I urge you to look at Womans Place UK they run talks about the proposed GRA changes and the impact they will have on women and childrens ability to access safe spaces. Ive been to one of their talks and it was ace- theres some hate out there from transactivists about them but they are peaceful and measured in their debate.

Also the Mumsnet Feminist Board has facts and stats about all the above and is one of the only places left on the internet where concerns about all this stuff can be discussed in relative safety. Join the discussion!

Well, time to post the blog- lets see how this goes down *ducks for cover*.

Muchos love, Olive x

 

 

Motherhood the Military Wife Way.

Why does no one talk about the Parallel Universe of new flung parenthood?

Sure there are a zillion million websites and vlogs devoted to telling you platitudes Such as “you’re doing brilliantly” and also the bloody classic “motherhood is so hard but it’s so rewarding”.

Well I am just here to raise a small flag (as a mother of 2 and 3 year old girls) to say to hell it is!!!

As a new Mum all you can think about is four things (mostly 1 &2 to be fair)

  1. sleep. Glorious sexy wanton sleep. SLEEP.
  2. breastfeeding- my boobs! They hurt! Am I doing this right? Are they getting enough and I can’t believe stuff is coming out of them!!!!

3. Am I clean? *sniffs self*. Nope.

4. I really should eat.

5. Sleep. I really want to sleep. I would commit a crime in order to sleep right now.

And that’s basically it.

For the first few week or so as a new Mum the entire world can just do one.

All that matters in the world is you and your little one. And getting the sodding bastarding latch right.

And I think that’s okay.

In fact I think it’s more than ok.

I think it’s a essential component of human kinds survival.

I think it’s an instinct.

I think it’s a way of saying that I NEED to hold my baby right now, thanks mother in law/ helpful now-great-aunt but this is MY JOB.

And yes- I don’t know what the fuck I am doing.

And yes!!! It fucking hurts!

And yes!!! I AM GOING TO KEEP GOING

Because…

It’s my baby and my body and my mind all involved in this gig called motherhood.

My body can tolerate more than my husband or partner will ever know.

I know my mind is strong. I’m the strongest woman Popeye will ever know and I’ve got this.

I look at my baby’s face and realise failure not an option anymore because I made this.

This total and utter perfection. This smallness. This beauty.

This infinite potential.

Let me tell you mothers of small squidgins of loveliness- the haze will lift. And you won’t even know its happening.

An hours more sleep here, a shower alone during nap time there, slowly the streams of babbling get clearer, they reach out a small hand into the wide world and grasp precisely what they were aiming for.

And suddenly they are there- demanding food in receptacles that YOU TAUGHT HER TO SAY. And she can sing all the songs from Frozen.

Now suddenly she can get dressed, tell me the plot to moana and insist she has pigtails today.

And I know. I’ve done it.

I’m a mother.

The fog. It’s gone. Her clarity brings my role sharply into focus like it wasn’t when she was my infant baby.

How did this happen?! From those first crazy days of learning how to latch, how baby wipes are an essential component of civilised society and wtf a jumperoo was- I really don’t know. But I did it man.

I never ever knew what I was doing.

I was alone and scared a lot of the time. During deployments with a newborn to a six month old, and another 9 month deployment with a 2 year old and a six month old. Woah.

I did that. We did that.

I don’t know how it happened. From the moment I found out I was pregnant it’s been like a runaway train. There was excitement. Then tiredness. And goodbyes. And homecomings. Then more goodbyes then (more) tiredness. And another homecoming.

I see them grow and bloom. And now I’m back at excitement again.

What will they do next?

I pause for a moment.

And away my babies fly.

Muchos love, Olive x

What the Navy means to me.

<<<<GUEST BLOG POST>>>>

What the Navy means to me?

The Navy is endless dreams, limitless opportunity, ‘a life without limits.’

…from whose perspective?

The navy is weekending, spending week days apart and weekends at home.

The navy is rubbish signal, unanswered text messages, ‘one tick’ WhatsApp’s, and satellite calls- calls on a timer, non private calls, no calls as he’s at sea, drunken inebriated calls after a run ashore, quick calls as he is exhausted from fire exercises and desperately needs sleep.

The Navy is missed dates, missed appointments, missed opportunities, missed anniversaries, missed birthdays, giving birth alone.

Cancelled weddings, rearranged weddings, then ‘back to the original date’ weddings, to be ‘ship’s programme has changed again but nothing is set in stone so who knows? Weddings’.

The Navy extracts the usual impending excitement towards approaching milestones and events, replacing it with anxiety and worry; missed excitement because deep down you know that until he is in front of you and it is happening at that moment, things change and it may never come to fruition.

The Navy is deployments, the emotional cycle of deployment, emotionally distancing yourselves from the relationship as a form of self preservation, attempting to live a normal life when a ‘normal’ life is blatantly incompatible with retaining the serving person’s deployability and operational capability.

The Navy is the psychotic ex girlfriend who has the power over your every move, who can and will swoop in at any given moment to rain on your parade, exert her authority and remind you that no matter what SHE comes first and she always will, ‘suck it up buttercup and pull up your big girl pants!’

The Navy is arguments about whose fault it is, about resentment, loneliness and a longing for a sense of permanency.

The Navy makes you question what is important to you in life? What defines whether a person is successful, what your purpose is in life, are you doing the right thing? Are you, as the wife / partner selfish for holding them back by expecting their devotion to you and the family? Are you, the serving person selfish for expecting your partner to stay at home, suck it up, smile and get on with it, be the one who is left behind alone at last minute, be the one to pick up the pieces and cope with whatever life throws at you, alone… or is the Navy actually asking the impossible?

The Navy is ‘you knew what you were getting into?’ REALLY? How can you know until you live it? The answer is you can’t and you don’t!

The Navy is separate lives, living and breathing the ship, down time, work time, duties,

Living your life to the Navy’s ideology.

The Navy is awkward questions and discussions,

Strange activities that are somehow only within the military’s realm of normality and acceptance,

A shared sense of understanding as, for want of a better term ‘you’re all in the same boat.’

The Navy pushes you to your limit, your family to their limit, your friends to theirs-

It causes arguments, rifts, sleepless nights, anxiety, depression and uncertainty.

The Navy forces you to sink or swim.

In a couple or alone.

Faced with choices that either make you solidify your relationship and hatch a plan,

Or force cracks at the seams and force you apart.

The Navy has many positives as an employer but it is primarily the Navy and it ‘protects our nation’s interests’ but at what cost

Who pays the price?

Closing time? The empowering secret ALL milspo need to know.

I sit here. In an empty pub. After an argument with my husband.

Listening to kings of Leon’s- wait for me.

So far so normal. Also a tad ironic thanks to the playlist. All seems well. I look like a civvy. In a civvy relationship. I look normal.

But it’s far from normal. It’s just not.

I’ve walked out of the house tonight. Valentine’s Day night.

Yeah. So kind of a big deal. I guess. I mean I’ve never put too much stock in V day. But to be honest that’s because we never ever seem to spend them together.

And as I sit here I have realised something.

Something amazing.

Something a little bit sexy.

Something empowering,

For ALL of us. Not just me.

It’s scary. I’ve warned you. It’s scary because it makes your realise the strength we have.

The POWER we have.

(Cut to the chase drunk Olive I hear you cry!)

WE CAN DO THIS WITHOUT THEM!

(See I told you it was empowering and sexy).

We can cope without them. Let’s be honest. Having our partners home is an added bonus to our lives.

We can drop them if they aren’t up to scratch.

We can do the 24/7 childcare.

We can go to work.

We can run a house.

We can study.

We can socialise.

We can LIVE.

We can literally live without them.

Knowing this is bloody empowering. It’s liberating. And it should make you look at your partner and consider them-

Ask yourself this-

Do they respect me?

Do they like my friends?

Do they build me up or knock me down?

Do they celebrate my achievements?

Do they recognise my sacrifice because of their job?

Will they sacrifice because of my job?

Will they see my pursuits as equal value to their own?

Will they understand my insecurities about their job?

Will they address my insecurities in a calm and rational manner?

Do they feel that special considerations should be made because of their behaviour on deployment?

If they can’t add to your life then… well, what are they really doing there?

You know, you fucking know you can do this. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve done it. We can all keep doing it.

If we need to. If they aren’t good enough. We can call time on the relationship. In full confidence and knowledge that we can cope with it.

Can they?

Told you.

It’s scary.

It’s powerful.

It’s true.

Muchos love.

Olive.

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

Deployment dreams

Ok *oversharing alert* family and friends click away now.

Popeye has just reminded me of something that has happened every deployment and I’m wondering if it happens to you too.

Thing is, it’s a tad embarrassing.

A smidge, a pinch, a wee bit cringe inducing.

Soooo….

When your partner deploys, companionship and wholesome friendship issues aside, it leaves a big gap in your sex life. There’s a *ahem* how do I put it- a romantic need that he just *ahem* can’t fulfill because he is several thousand miles away.

We all have our own “coping mechanisms” and this post is not about that. It’s about something else that happens after a “dry spell” spanning several months.

Every time Popeye has been on deployment I have had (occasional) rude dreams.

(This, so far, is pretty normal right? Stay with me. It gets weird)

Every time Popeye has been on deployment I have had rude dreams that are not starring Popeye.

(Ok ok we’re all grown ups here, we can admit that dreaming about someone other than your partner does happen and although totes cringey and not something you mention down the phone- not exactly something entering into the realms of bizarre.)

Here it is- 

Every time Popeye has deployed I have had rude dreams about low status TV personalities. 

Not even proper slebs! These fantasy dreams have starred such well known hotties as 

  • Alan Titchmarsh


    And

    • Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall 



    Each time I’ve woken up totally and utterly freaked out and emailed Popeye in a state of utter squeamishness. 


    I don’t know why my subconscious seeks out middle aged gardeners and organic chefs as prime X rated dream stars.

    But it does. And it scares me. I don’t get my brain. When I’m awake, they do nothing for me. Sorry Al and Hugh, no offence but you’re just not my type(s). 

    Tell me I’m not the only one?

    Seriously, you guys have had freaky weird sex dreams too, right guys? Right?!

    Muchos love

    Olive x 

    Well Meaning People- Part 2

    I want to set the record straight once and for all about something that gets said to military wives frequently around homecoming time. It is usually said by our old pals Well Meaning people but can also be chucked around by randoms you meet out and about, who have all the quiet tact and discretion of HMS Queen Liz coming into Portsmouth.

    Heres the basic script:

    Military spouse: “OMGOMGOMG I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL POPEYE IS HOOOOOME!”

    Well meaning twat person: “Aww thats cute. Give it a few days and you’ll wish they were away again. Lolz”.

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    Excuse me? Wtf did you just say to me?

    Oh how we all laughed! These well meaning people, how spot on they are. How well they know what we go through. Its uncanny. Unsettling even.

    (Heavy sarcasm alert.)

    Why on gods green earth would we want them to bugger off again?

    Image result for 1950s woman pissed off
    “Im just going to file that comment under “B” for Bullshit.”

    This is what I want to say to these well meaning people (because you cant really say it to their faces, unless you’re a total cow/self confident superstar.)

    Statement of truth, from Olive, to all you Well Meaning People:

    “When the loves of our lives return to us from the sea, or the land, or the sky, from war torn countries, landscapes filled with unimaginable horrors, dangers and poor wifi, we are elated. 

    They are home safe. We can speak to them again, we can touch them again, we can smell them again (not in a creep way).

    After the initial dazzling, hazy period after homecoming fades, when all the friends and relatives have been visited, the family holiday completed, the special homecoming food and booze consumed; the return to real life commences.

    Its not glamorous, its not perfect, its not chocolates and flowers.

    Its remembering their annoying habits (leaving his toothbrush on the side of the sink), their idiosyncrasies (like letting rip with the hugest fart every morning when they wake), and their faults (cannot load the dishwasher correctly).

    Its them getting used to being at home with us again too. Its very much a two way street. We change when they’re away too. 

    We are stronger, we are more confident, we can top up the oil in the car, get two kids up and out by 8am and we can manage the family finances alone.

    It takes time to find the balance.

    Healthy, normal couples find the balance by communicating. Synonyms for this include bickering, nagging, sarcastically reminding, huffing and stropping and of course, the old classic, moaning.

    And here we come to the core of the issue-

    None of this means we want them to leave again!

    Yes they can do our heads in, and I’m sure I annoy the hell out of Popeye at times (infact I know I do, because he tells me).

    But understand, dearest Well Meaning Person, that this in NO way equates to us wanting them to leave, to having to go through a deployment again.

    What it does mean is that we, as a normal couple, are finding our way back to everyday life together, again.

    So please, when you think of your “hilarious” commentary on my relationship, kindly STFU.

    Yours in frankness,

    Olive Oyl,

    Muchos Love xxxx”

    Image result for 1950s woman husband deploying
    “I could SO go for another 9 monther right now” said no Military Spouse ever.