Mama’s had a day

Oh oh oh (or should that be Ho Ho Ho given the festive season is deffo upon us?) I have had a BAD day.

Compounded by the serendipitous sods law that this weekend Popeye is duty watch. Of course.

First of all- I committed a major Mum Fail. I forgot Christmas Jumper Day. This puts me squarely on Father Christmas’s naughty list. And Sweetpeas naughty list too if the meltdown she had in the playground this morning is anything to go by.

Picture the scene: It was a cool crisp morning. We were characteristically running late because Mummy had had too many Sauvignon Blancs and had stayed up to watch the election results come rolling in.

We briskly (because of the aforementioned lateness) walk across the playground and she notices that “EVERYONE IS WEARING CHRISTMAS JUMPERS MUMMY! Why have I NOT GOT MINE???”

As other parents dropped of their kids with a kiss on the cheek and a wish of “have a good day darling cherub!” My darling blessings had a meltdown, in the middle of the playground complete with loud wails of “why did you forget mummy- I TOLD you to check the newsletter!!!” (Sweetpea is 5 but has a better handle on current affairs in her world than many of the major politicians at this time).

So after chucking her at the classroom door I grabbed sproglet and we dashed back home. I found a sparkly Christmas-esque jumper, drove back and lobbed it at the unsuspecting receptionist.

“Now” thinks me “im glad that’s over…on with my day”.

I had planned to go to the garage to fix a slow puncture. It was only a 20 min wait, sproglet entertaining the other customers by trying out new cars to buy and being very excited that the map of the country on BBC news was blue- her favourite colour.

Over the polite/slightly annoyed chuckles of the other customers and vauxhall staff, I am informed that my tyre has a nail in it that has gone through to the inner bit and also it’s on the side of the tyre and therefore it cannot be repaired and I need a whole new tyre. (I have no idea what an inner tyre is or why the outside of the wheel is so vulnerable versus the middle bit but whatever).

I calmly enquire how much a new tyre will be. They reply. I think I may be having some kind of stroke. I ask them to repeat the figure. I have a mild panic as we are well skint in the run up to Christmas and we don’t have spare cash pouring out of our orifices to spoof away on tyres.

Luckily for me- I have my credit card. Strictly only to be used for Very Serious Grown Up Emergencies and definitely not to be used for any of the following:

  • Barbie Mermaid films on Amazon Prime
  • The latest series of The Handmaids Tale
  • Monthly beauty box subscription
  • Clothes
  • Emergency wine.

Even though I obviously would never EVER use my Grown Up credit card for the above- it mysteriously had drawn itself nearer its limit. I knew this, sitting in the Vauxhall garage. I felt a bit sick.

Nonetheless I knew I could use it for such an extravagance as a tyre. I pulled out my purse, to find the credit card, with hair flick and a confident smile to the garage man (no one wants the garage man to know you’re skint) aaaaand it’s gone.

Not there.

I give a high pitched slightly hysterical giggle and pull out ALL my cards. Debit card x 2, library card, national insurance card, driving licence, several old gift cards that have about £0.05 balances, zoo pass, gym pass, club card, THREE casino cards (embarrassing), my maternity exemption certificate (my kids are 3&5 years old-no idea why I still have that).

No credit card. Gone.

I turn to poor innocent Sproglet who has a penchant for being a light fingered Dickensian thief playing with mummy’s things and interrogate ask her is she’s nicked borrowed one of mummy’s special money cards. She claims innocence.

So- in front of alllllll the people there (who knew Vauxhall dealers were so busy?) we leave. We are on a quest (I tell myself)- a quest to Find The MasterCard of Destiny.

We are cast out of the warm confines of the Vauxhall dealers. Out into the cold cold winter wind.

The main problem with this quest is that it is mid December. And on the day of the quest we were running late for the school run and there was the whole evil Xmas jumper day forgetting mother drama- so we

were NOT dressed for extreme cold. We had coats over T-shirt’s. No hat scarves or gloves. It was bitterly cold. Sproglet started crying. She fell over twice during the long trek back home. All the time I was worrying about where the fuck she had hidden her thief stash accidentally left my credit card.

We (eventually, after many trials and tribulations) get home. I set her up watching CBeebies (standard). I go for a fag and swear at the sky immediately start looting methodically searching the house.

I looked ALL MORNING. It was gone. Disappeared. Vanished.

Bollocks.

So I check my banking app. Hmm several transactions from Luxembourg. I have never been to Luxembourg. In fact I probably have only ventured as far as London in the last few months. I’m not entirely sure where Luxembourg is.

This is Luxembourg. Looks lovely doesn’t it. Shame it’s filled with credit card stealing twats.

Shit.

I ring Popeye. It goes to that snooty bitch otherwise known as “Voicemail” because he’s on ship.

I leave a second “losing my mind” voicemail (the first was mid walk home when I was cold, alone panicking and ashamed- I may have also sworn at him a bit- uncalled for. My bad).

Give up on contacting my husband. Remember I’m a Navy Wife. Realise I can do this. This is nothing compared to what I’ve coped with before.

I ring the bank. I speak to a lovely lovely lovely man called Rishi (who also spoke to Sproglet who was watching Moana- Rishi apparently looks like Maui- they spent some time bonding over this whilst I was trying to sort out my life).

Disclaimer: this is in no way an accurate representation of Rishi and his amazing customer service skillz

Rishi calmed me down and sorted out my funds. Credit Card is locked.

Me and Sproglet walk back in appropriate winter attire. By this time it’s time to pick up Sweetpea from school. We get home. Popeye rings. He has not heard the manic, panicked voicemails. I fill him in.

He has the termerity to ask me “what else did you manage to get done today?”.

My head explodes.

I open the wine and blog about it.

If you’re a military spouse- you get it.

As they say in Luxembourg- Proust!

Muchos love,

Olive x

P.s- also this:

Xxxxx

WAG guilt.

I’m worried. I think I may be a rubbish wife and/or cold hearted cowbag.

I keep seeing, everywhere, stuff about how other WAGs (wives and girlfriends) are proud of their sailor. I see endless posts and gifs and memes and poems and songs ALL stating, without a doubt, that their service person is a hero. that they are noble, brave, honourable gentlemen who makes their partners giddy with pride and ooey gooey rushes of love.

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I’m worried because, dear readers this kind of stuff makes me feel sick.

I can’t stand it. It makes me cringe. it makes me reflexively curl my toes up and, sometimes do a fake gag thing and pretend to stick my fingers down my throat.

It’s too much. It’s too corny. It’s too cheesy. It smacks of a fakeness to me that, if I subscribed to it, would be doing my relationship with Popeye a great disservice. Maybe it helps other WAGs get through a deployment, I dunno. It winds me up. I like to remember the real man.

The one who makes me a cup of tea without asking if I want one, the one who always likes to listen to songs that remind him of when we were dating when we go on long car journeys (and sing along at the top of our voices), the one who teases me and always makes a geeky goofy face at me when I talk about my blog, the one who loves his job and hates his job in equal measure.

He is a hero, he has done heroic acts. He has been to war and seen live combat. He was trained for this, I respect him for this but I respect him for everything else he has done too. I respect that he gives money to the homeless, that he opens doors for me, that he loves his mum, that he has strong values and that he actively engages in discussion about how we raise our daughter.

If I jumped aboard the “my hero” train it would be like loving a ghost, or a dream, not Popeye. We argue and nag and have annoying habits that drive each other crazy. We have a real marriage. It takes work. It takes commitment. It takes strength. And it takes 50/50 effort. Building up Popeye into some mythical hero figure skews that balance and implies he is a wonderous god and I am his slavish worshiper. That’s just not how we roll, sorry.

The “my hero” attitude also yanks my feminist chain too, to some extent. It makes me feel that our sailors or soldiers, or (crap! What do you call RAF people?!? Is it pilots! No they can’t all be pilots, surely? *EDIT* it’s airmen! Of course it is! -thanks Jo!-wait, shouldn’t that be “air person”?)
…..or Airmen…..are viewed as swooping in to save us weak and possibly hysterical WAGs who have only just survived a nervous breakdown during a deployment.

…………

I do not need saving.

I do not need saving, and whilst, yes, deployments and moving and hell, the entire navy/military wife thing is reach-for-the-wine-and-dairy-milk hard, it is not going to kill me. It is not going to break me. It won’t. And Popeye coming home is not going to magically fix all the stress in my life either. He is not Superman, even though he is a super man.

And the final thing that gets my goat is that I have other stuff going on. My life does not revolve around Popeyes job. If the roles were reversed, just imagine how strange it would be for him to be posting stuff on Facebook all about my job! How I’m freakin awesome for carrying out my job role. How I’m so good/brave/humble/awesome/totes amazeballs for doing what my contract specifies I do. Aside from it being a huge ego trip it would also be bloody funny.

I’m not saying service persons going into combat situations or natural disasters aren’t brave. They are incredibly brave. I don’t think I would have the steel to do it. I am saying that they are all real people, with faults, idiosyncrasies and morning breath. They can be brave and honourable and still be irritating and sometimes a dickhead. Trust me.

Am I a total cowbag for feeling this way? Is it wrong that all the soppiness makes me squirm uncomfortably? Is it a British thing? I really don’t know.

What I do know is that Popeye is one hell of a man, and I love him and I’m proud of him, warts an all. The fact that he is a sailor is a bonus.

Long distance arguments.

Arguing is a healthy component of any successful relationship. Let me be clear before I start this post, It does not mean I enjoy it. It does not make it fun or a competition. I prefer to think of it as a necessary evil for when Popeye is being an idiot.

I want to address one crucial difference between civvy versus forces arguments:

Forces girlfriends and wives don’t have the luxury of time.

When Im annoyed with Popeye, a situation that may arise that deserves the ‘not answering your phone for a day and ignoring texts’ standard operating procedure.

  
If you’re like me and have navy wife friends, you call up a trusted lady and first, check that you are not overreacting (even if you are they will say you’re not because they are awesome like that). Then you will vow loudly and clearly that:

I will NOT answer the phone if he calls, not matter what, I’m just too angry. Nope. No way. Nada.”

(Your trusted navy wife friend or, occasionally, excellent civvy friend will say something like “you go girl!” “Girl power!”, or, my personal fave recently, a simple text saying “VOTES FOR WOMEN!!!”)

You get on with your day, heart hammering and adrenaline flowing, repeatedly telling yourself if he calls “No way, I’m not answering it. He needs to know I’m properly upset. And just because he’s away doesn’t change that. Good one olive. This is very strong and Beyoncé-esque of you. This is horrible but necessary.”

You managed to not reply to his emails by washing up, cleaning the windows, ironing your pants and/or shampooing the carpets and re-reading that last shitty email on your phone repeatedly.

Until…

Ring ring! Ring ring!

You let it ring, your blood pressure soars, your stomach drops, your palms start to sweat. For some reason you go into the room where the phone is, and stare at it, hands clasped together.

Before you know what your doing you’ve crossed the room and grabbed the ringing phone. With shaking hands that just know voicemail will cut in if you let it ring once more, you answer, cursing yourself to the deepest depths of hades for being such a weakling.

“Hello? Popeye??? I’m sorry I got mad, I love you! I miss you!!!!”

Duuuuuude. What happened? You were doing SO well!

See. We don’t have time to stay angry.

(Also, they often don’t realise you’re not talking to them as comms are down. This is especially irritating, because then you have to tell them they were being ignored, and now they’re not. And this, apparently is hilarious to a deployed husband. Humpf.)

I often don’t bother arguing with Popeye because using paradigm minutes saying stuff like “fine then, be like that” *silence* fills me with irrational horror.

Any kind of silence when we could be communicating be it via email or phone, or Skype, makes me want to combust because usually at least two of the following are true:

A) we haven’t spoken in ages
B) we won’t speak again for ages
C) we don’t have long to speak until he has to go back to work

Sometimes arguing with a sailor is just a waste of time.

Muchos love,

Olive.
X

P.s

Also, just because I need to vent, why is it that:

They always work harder than us.
They are always more tired than us.
Tropical beach paradises are rubbish and we should understand and give never ending sympathy.
We are always (apparently) asking them to leave the navy even when we have never, ever, mentioned that at all. And this would solve every problem, ever.

I feel SO much better now. I think I will answer that phone after all!