Define strong. 

“You’re so strong“. A phrase often heard and seldom repeated by navy wives and girlfriends. It’s usually followed by The dreaded head tilt and something along the lines of “I couldn’t do it, you’re so brave”. Etc etc. 

The truth is, I am not strong. I am not a super person. I am just your average twenty something trying to not totally screw their life up and hopefully, one day, have some plus money in the bank. 

I never feel less strong than when Popeye is away. I cry, I rant, I stall, I freeze, I overreact, heck I probably under react sometimes. The point being that I feel I’m getting through a deployment more by luck than any shining moral fibre. I swear it is a complete, utter fluke. A spin of lifes roulette wheel that means I survive each one by pure chance. 

I have plans for getting through each deployment, sure, but I never follow said plan. I never do the good, wholesome, organised option. I don’t  bounce through the days and weeks and months, looking like someone from a Pantene advert. In fact I say to friends and family on an almost weekly basis that “I’m not coping, I can’t do this!!!” And yet….I do. 

I have never paused to think “omg, check me out, I am so coping right now” because then I am sure to jinx myself and then the car fails its MOT or the dog runs away or the back door lock breaks. Or something. 

The other thing that I just don’t get when head tilters say how strong I am is… What the bloody hell is my alternative?

Pray tell I would love to know what the other option is. Because if I am strong by surviving a deployment, then this definition of “strength” needs to change. 

If I am strong then this needs to include: 

Crying at films, at adverts, at people on the street.

Eating cereal for dinner. A lot.

Walking to the corner shop in your slippers to buy cheap wine because you drank the good bottle already *hic* .

Never having food in the house.

Asking your sailor to ” just come home” when they call, even though they are thousands of miles away and there’s not a snowballs chance in hell.

Staring at photos of him.

Staring at the countdown app until 12.01am so you can tell yourself it’s one less day.

Sticking your face in the wardrobe to smell his clothes.

Frequently forgetting bin day / recycling day then having to do the “clink of shame” walk holding two weeks worth of glass recycling, whilst praying no one sees you and that there are no tell tale clinking noises to dob you in. 

Wandering round the house like a refugee on those horrible weekends you don’t have anything planned.

Pressing refresh on Facebook a gazillion times a day.

Calling my mum at least once a day, 60% of the time to cry or moan about how hard this is.

Saying goodnight to his pillow every most nights. 

I think that’s enough.

So yeah, if that is being a strong person, what the F does a weak person bloody do?!?!?

Muchos love,

Olive x

P.s what amazingly “strong” things do you guys do?  

 

Decisions decisions… The great mayo or salsa debate

Why is it that just before home coming I lose the capacity to make decisions? During deployment I can make decisions like a power hungry Cold War dictator. But during those last few weeks I’m less effective than Nick Clegg wanting to pass a new policy.

Last deployment I was able to organise moving house, I found a new one, bought it (without Popeye seeing it), moved in, grew and birthed a human AND organised building a new bathroom and all the stuff to go in it.

All of these things involved a LOT of decisions and choices. Big decisions, big choices. I was able to do these things swiftly and decisively, confident in my ability to choose, and choose right .

However a month before deployment ended I was minding my own business, daydreaming about homecoming and I had a meltdown at the drive through. Completely lost it. And all because they asked me if I wanted mayo or salsa on my chicken burger.

For a good few seconds my mind went completely blank. What had they just asked me? Oh, a choice! A simple choice! Then… “Oh my God, what do I want??? Mayo? Salsa? Ok, I definitely want salsa. No. I want mayonnaise. WHY IS THIS SO HARD????

IMG_1645-0 With people starting to beep their car horns behind me, and Sweet Pea kicking off in her car seat, I garbled in an anxious ridden tone “I don’t know! Surprise me!” And sped off to the pay window with red cheeks and a pounding heart.

I lose the ability “to decide” in those fabled last four weeks. WHY is this? Popeye is not in anyway Mr Controlling, if anything, infact (and I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this) I am the powerhouse in our marriage that gets things done and organised. He’s more of a laid back ideas man.

Maybe in the early stages of deployment it’s just knowing that when he’s away I have no other option than to decide. Theres no choice. The bucks stops here, squarely at me. At this early stage of deployment the idea of him actually being here has taken on a “Stars In Their Eyes” mystical quality that doesn’t seem all that realistic. Homecoming really is a day dream.

Then suddenly, four weeks to go, shit! Get outta the way Mathew Kelly, clear that fog from the fog machine, he’s actually going to be here, to help me!

Crap! I’m going to have to factor in his opinion! His preferences! I’m going to have to start playing as a team player! No more Olive-The-Dictator, time for a UN resolution and swiftly.

This realisation puts my head in a spin. Basically I think my brain stalls.

I temporarily suspend any “decisions”. Big or small. Or even McDonalds miniature happy meal sized ones. My brain just can’t handle it, knowing that the cavalry is just on the top of the hill. Or at least on the sea surrounding the same continent.

This realisation of help, support and opinion being so near yet so far makes stuff like mayo or salsa become a HUMONGOUS decision, towering above my head, staring down at me like a drill sergeant from some 80s military film, “which one is it soldier? You must decide, NOW!”

And yes, I guess I must. I must decide the little things, or go hungry. But the big things, like getting the car serviced (or not), booking a holiday, painting the baby’s room or getting the driveway paved can all wait. Because at this point I can’t plough ahead knowing that this dictatorship is about to become a democracy. And who the hell has salsa anyway?

Muchos love X

Moving goalposts.

“You knew what you signed up for.” One of the many uber helpful, kind and not at all annoying comments I’ve had flung my way as a navy wife. Usually when I’m upset or (dare I say it) moaning about the trials and tribulations of navy-wifedom.

For years I’ve replied with “yes. I know, but it’s still hard” or, “yeah that’s true, fair point”. And as of today have not retaliated verbally or physically, well done me.

BUT a couple of nights ago, about three days before the end of Popeyes leave, I was brushing my teeth before bed (rock and roll) and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Indignantly I spat out the Colgate, took a long hard look at myself and realised:

This so is not what I signed up for!!!

Dear readers, let me take you back in time, to when I was fresh faced graduate, without the odd grey hair, without a baby, with more money, and probably with more optimism. I was out in a bar. I met a young sailor. He came over and bought me a raspberry cosmopolitan. Yes readers, my Popeye.

We spent a good few months getting shiters and doing it having good clean fun, keeping it bright and breezy (deffo not me staring at my phone thinking “why doesn’t he call? He hates me. OMG HES SEEING SOMEONE ELSE. Why won’t it ring? Ahhhhh!” ) . Anyway after some super cute “dates” and, “I love you more” “no, I love you more” type convos, Popeye decides it’s time for The Navy Talk. You know the one, “I will have to go away a lot”, “my job will always have to come first”, “are you sure you want to do this? Are you sure you want this type of relationship? This type of life?” blah blah blah.

So, for once in my life I was sensible. I was practical. I put my emotions aside (“oh how I love him, I’d do anything for him, being a forces wife sounds oh-so-romantic” etc. Bleurgh) .

I asked him exactly what is the worst case scenario.

And he told me. He told me that worst case scenario he’d have a six month deployment every 2-3 years. Plus sea trials, plus duty weekends. He told me the truth. Or at least what was true at the time. Popeyes been in the navy since he was 16 and so was basing this worst case scenario on that.

I can handle that, thinks me. A deployment every couple of years? That’s totally manageable. That is what I signed up for.

So, obviously I went for it. And I’m so glad I did.

However.

About a year into our serious grown up relationship, I notice the goalposts have moved. There’s a six month deployment, plus sea trials, plus duty weekends, plus pissing about whilst stuff breaks over and over
Very important maintenance. “Ok” thinks me, it’s just a couple extra months. Next year is our deployment free year, so that’s ok.

Oh no. Oh no no no no. Like it could be that easy! That straightforward! Then follows a good three years each with it’s own glorious six month deployment! Now with added extra crap warship sea trials! And an extra large helping of fleet ready escort buggering off for Christmas fun!

Ha. Ha. Ha.

And now. NOW the goalposts have been moved so far they’d have to strap a football to a freakin rocket to score a goal. Just before he comes home from his seven month deployment, (which I was told was only for six months, after I had moved house and pushed another human out of my hoo hah without him there). Then I am told via bbc freakin news (!) that all deployments will now be for 9 bloody months!!!

Nine! I can make a person in nine months. That is a ridiculous amount of time and NOT what I signed up for!!!

The Royal Navy need to consider the impact this change will have on families and marriages. Not to mention morale and person-power within the fleet.

I’ve got a lot of support for Popeye and have sacrificed for him, for the Royal Navy. I’ve done it because I love him, not his job and I’ve done it with good grace (mostly). I’ve stayed quiet again and again and watched those goalposts recede into the distance with an increasing sense of foreboding. This, quite frankly, is taking the piss.

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Christmas Bingo.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… My arse.

This is a post dedicated to all you ladies who have involuntarily become the Grinch this winter.

Yep, the navy has once again, messed up your festive plans and you’re feeling about as festive as, well, you’re not feeling festive at all.

So in a bid to raise a smile this Yuletide, I’ve come up with Navy Wife Bingo, Christmas Edition.

Let me know if you get some or all of these!

Ahem:

Annoying “home for Christmas” advert on TV makes you want to throw your shoe at the TV.

Annoying “home for Christmas” advert then makes you cry, whilst hugging the other shoe.

Relatives make super helpful not patronising at all comments such as “are you sure you’re still married to Popeye? We haven’t seen you together since your wedding! ” Mega lolz.

You open your fridge and it’s empty. Apart from wine. So you pour yourself a drink, shut the fridge and open it again, in the hope that full Christmas lunch with all the trimmings will appear. You sigh, and reach for the bottle.

You get the Christmas decorations down, either by yourself (brave) or with a relative. You spend a week staring at the box with a look of loathing before deciding a) sod Christmas, hate Christmas, hate happiness. Or b) I will put them up then make a scarf out of tinsel and cry.

Turn on the TV or radio to listen to some jolly Christmas carols to cheer yourself up. After a belter of “a partridge in a pear tree” and “silent night” you put on the Pogues, fairy tale of New York, because it’s your favourite one. But end up singing it fiercely at the top of your lungs, standing up, swaying side to side refusing to let the tears spill over your cheeks. The dog goes upstairs to hide.

You make a den on the sofa and don’t move from it until until Christmas Day. There are blankets and duvets and glasses, cups, bowls scattered about, the TV times is dog eared and listings are circled in biro, and by now there’s a bum imprint in the sofa cushion and your outline is traceable in Quality Street wrappers.

On Christmas Day you become the Festive Phone Ninja. Your phone, possibly with holiday themed ringtone is glued to your hand. You make a trip outside. This is a big deal and you blink in the crisp December sunlight.

Happy couples walking past you holding hands become public enemy number 1. They should not be so bloody happy. Idiots. I hope they break up.

I want to be holding hands walking around with Popeye. Not them. I hate happiness. Stupid Christmas. Stupid couples. They couldn’t do a deployment anyway.

You make it to your Christmas lunch destination. There’s a tiny nagging voice in your head saying that they’ve only invited you out of pity. You ignore it and pull out your biggest ear to ear smile. Everything is going to be fabulous. Just freakin fantastic. So you smile and nod when they do the Dreaded Head Tilt and and the inevitable “heard from Popeye yet? Where is he at the moment?”. You suffer the sympathy and jokes stoically. Just pass the Buck’s Fizz please.

After you’ve eaten, you’ve got the silly cracker hat on and have had your fortune told with a magic fish, you pause for a moment.

This is ok. Dare you think it, you’re actually enjoying yourself.

Is this allowed? Is this alright? I thought I was supposed to be miserable?

Hmm…. I’ll have a second helping of trifle and watch Elf with the family and wait it out for a bit….

I am enjoying myself!!!! Cripes! How did this happen?

Before you know it you’re sitting in front of the TV watching the Christmas special of Downton laughing with your loved ones.

And that’s it, it’s all over, done and dusted. You survived.

It’s done. Finished, and it wasn’t actually half bad.

Trust me, the thought of Christmas alone and the build up to it alone is so much worse than the reality. Go on, embrace the experience, it’s just one day of the deployment after all, just one day. And as much as it sucks, once it’s done you do feel a weird sense of pride and accomplishment. A strength and calmness and an appreciation for family and loved ones both near and far that you wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t for the bloody navy.

Happy Christmas girls. You’re doing great.

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NWBFF

Every navy wife has them, and they are as essential to a deployment as cereal, chocolate, phone card minutes, Whitney Houston and wine, I’m talking about, of course, a navy wife BFF, or, best friend forever.

A navy wife BFF, or as I shall dub them, for ease of typing, NWBFF, is one of the most essential supports for surviving the madness that is having a relationship with a serving member of the armed forces.

These friendships are essential, but also, unconventional. Let me be blunt. Do you really have any civvy friends left that you can text at anytime, anywhere, just to have a moan about your partners latest deployment exploits?

Do you really have any civvy friends that don’t try to make you feel sorry for how hard your sailor is working/remind you that “it’s not long now” or how “strong” you are?!?

Do you really have civvy friends that don’t say how “I could never do it” and that “the time will just fly by/has flown by”.

I think not, and this is exactly why you need a NWBFF. They should be standard issue upon embarking on a relationship with a sailor.

Civvy friends are great, they’re a laugh, they are understanding, they are sympathetic. But they will never really get it. I don’t blame them for that, and I need my civvy friends in other ways. But, when it comes to military crap, you need friends that can understand what you’re going through and don’t do the sideways head tilt, dodging the shit rebounding out of the of the fan towards your post-homecoming head. You need a friend standing there with a poo shield saying, “yeah, that sucks, don’t it?” And holding out a tea towel.

A NWBFF is usually acquired through slightly odd friendship means. It can be through a brief chat on a Facebook group, a random barbecue whilst the ships deployed, or during a one night meet up characterised by cocktails and karaoke.

And that’s all you need. Not even a face to face meeting in some cases, and you’re set for life.

Sometimes the reality of your relationship with a sailor is so bloody crap that you don’t want a laugh. You don’t want to be understood, you don’t want sympathy.

What you want, what you need, is rage. Pure rage.

For example (ahem): How dare the navy screw you over again.
How dare Popeye go out when he promised he’d call. How dare the woman at work say that she understands because her hubby works away on business, and finally, how dare someone say how a friend of theirs is super duper tired from looking after their baby alone for the last week whilst their husband works away. For five days. So they totally know what you’re going through. Yeah.

This is when you pick up the phone, or tablet, or jungle drum, you text or you email, you forum, you Facebook, you smoke signal, you do whatever it takes to get that feeling out to your NWBFF.

And you moan. Oh my god you moan. Then they moan, and you both bitch. And then that turns into a joke. Usually about willys. Then the jokes get ruder. Then you start swapping rude stories about sex things and then you’re both pissing youself laughing and the rage is gone. you end the phone call, or email, or text chat or whatever it is and you feel so much better.

What were you even angry about?! Oh yeah. It’s funny now. Stupid Navy.

When/if you meet up, it’s like you’ve known each other for years, even if you’ve never seen them, aside from their Facebook profile pic. Once you’ve stealthily checked it is your NWBFF, cos you’re not sure, you make it that evenings mission to party as hard as the lads are, wherever they are. And you do. And you wake up with your head pounding, realising you’ve left their front door open all night (sorry Ju).

Even when sober your chatting may get so out of hand you feed someone’s child a dog biscuit by accident (sorry Ang). Or come up with elaborate parcel theme ideas (not sorry at all Em).

Put it this way. The last time I went on a navy wife night out, I went into labour. Seriously. Thanks gals!

So this blog post is dedicated to NWBFFs everywhere. You may not speak for months or years on end, but you’ve been through it all together. And you’ll probably have to do it all again. But, swapping dits, knowing that you’re not alone in this madness,makes it feel like you’re sharing a mess, chatting whilst staring at the bottom of the pit above you whilst counting down the days, even when, in reality, you might be opposite sides of the globe, trying to keep it together in a civvy-wife world.

The phrase “we’re all in the same boat” has never been so apt.

This post is dedicated to my NWBFFs, Julia, Angie, Emma.

Love you ladies

Muchos love

X

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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.

Olive Oyl: Super Mum. Another dream bites the dust.

I am proud to announce that mini Popeye, (or as it’s a girl, should that be mini olive?, we’ll call her Sweet Pea) arrived five weeks ago. Which is why there has been such a gap in posts. It’s amazing how sleep deprivation, leaking body parts and feelings of abandonment can cramp your writing flow.

So yes my years of wild partying have been temporarily suspended, instead of Chanel I now smell mostly of non bio detergent and stale milk. A main component of my daily beauty routine involves rubbing sections of my body at a time frantically with johnsons baby wipes whilst singing bootylicious at the top of my lungs (she will not settle to nursery rhymes or other age appropriate music. Instead she drifts off to Duffy, destinys child, Beyoncé, Aretha franklin and/or Tori Amos, God help us we have spawned a diva).

And of course, I am alone raising our first born child, as Popeye has gone back on deployment. I am living each day in survival mode, drifting from one adrenaline filled crying session to the next (and that can be me or the baby, FYI).

My deployment countdown is no longer in weeks and days, or even months, but in hours. As in, I survived the first 24 hours without Popeye, then 36, 48 etc. the phrase “living on a wish and a prayer” has never been more fervently understood than by moi, right now.

 I have developed major anger issues towards civvy wives and mums. I know it’s completely unjustified, and unhinged, and unfair. But I don’t care. I am having to be a single mum without the government benefits. I am having to be a single mum whilst also being a phone ninja (not that he’s been able to call anyway!) and whilst still being expected to send lengthy interesting emails. Plus pictures. Plus boxes with pictures printed off. Plus still send sexy flirty messages. Something’s gotta give.

As any new mum will tell you, It takes hours to get out of the house. A busy day involves walking the dog and/or shaving my armpits. Sweet Pea is like this brilliant, awful, fantastic grenade that has exploded into my life and has made everything, everything change.

Not for Popeye though, oh no. Everything on board is the same, except he’s got new pictures up by his pit. At least this is what I tell myself as I wipe up the latest pile of human bodily fluids. And the stupid thing is that I knew this was how it would be. We talked it through extensively. But back in the good old days where I could take a crap at leisure and eat with two hands. And eat my food hot. And not cut up into chunks prior to me sitting down. And slowly. *sigh…..*

sorry, I’ve had two hours sleep and my minds wandering. Yes, back in B.B (before baby) I thought what I was doing was noble. The self sacrificing navy wife. The constant, smiling heart-of-the-house earth mama. The sun to the solar system that is our family. How satisfying! How fulfilling! How wonderous!

How fucking ridiculous! The reality of my life is screaming blue murder in your face and pooing across your floor.

  
Yet for Popeye, the mental picture of me, tenderly changing a nappy whilst lovingly gazing at Sweet Pea, possibly surrounded by a halo of white light, is still intact. At least whilst he’s away and not able to call.

  
And there’s a big part of me that wants it to stay like that, for him to keep that frankly ridiculous image of me, “Olive, Super Mum” in his head. A bit like before Sweet Pea was here and he thought I walked around with full makeup and lace undies on everyday. He now thinks of me and her in this madonna- and baby esque way. I ask myself everyday, Should I burst his bubble? Should I send the email telling him exactly how I feel during those moments of desperation? I don’t think I will, although I’ve considered it!

What good would it do? It won’t get him home any faster, it probably wouldn’t make me feel any better. And it sure would make Popeye feel awful. Which a tiny part of me wants, but a bigger part (the non-evil part) realises that then we would both be miserable, and making him miserable is not what I want to do. I want him to be happy, but not too happy, I want him to not miss me, but really I want him to mega miss me, and I want him to have fun, but not too much fun.

I think what I want, and what I will never have, is for him to understand wholly, completely, what it’s like day in day out with a newborn.

But what I will never ever understand, is how it feels to be separated from your daughter and wife and only see her growing up in pictures. I can only imagine. And it’s pretty awful.

So whilst the image of “Olive Oyl: Super Mum” is a complete work of fiction, my view of him and his life onboard is equally as rosy tinted and idyllic, as his is of us at home.

Who am I to add to his unhappiness at the situation by enlightening him to the pooey, noisy, sleep deprived truth, it’ll all be waiting for him when he’s home!

“It’s complicated” -my relationship with time.

I think I’m in an abusive relationship. Not with hubster Popeye, don’t worry, he’s a kitten, but with time. Let me explain this analogy, ahem: Time, it treats me badly again and again, reduces me to tears and g&t’s and yet I always go back to it when it promises me it will never treat me like that again and how much it wants to make me happy.

See? Time+navy+me=abusive relationship! Or at the very least some kind of unhealthy codependent relationship based on love/hate.

When you are doing a deployment countdown you view time as your mortal enemy, and I, at least, spend a large chunk of each day taking it down a peg or two mentally (hang on maybe I’m the abusive one…). I spend a RIDICULOUS amount of time thinking about time (ironic) and how months and weeks are really not all that long. In short, when Popeye is deployed I demean time, I shorten it and patronise it, I beat it into submission until its not too scary.

For example, two months sounds scary, eight weeks, not so much. Also to say he’s still away for two and half months is awful, but if I take time by the gonads and twist, two and a half months magically turns into ten weeks! Tah dah!

You can also do this not just with months and weeks, but also with days. *gets magic wand and magicians hat*. Firstly, this works best when you’re in the ten week countdown. It also works best when you are alone in the house, holding a giant bar of dairy milk, standing in front of your calendar. No one knows why this is, its just physics or something.

Basically you don’t count the day they are coming back, nor do you count the day you are currently on. This means you can easily, at any point, shave two days off of your countdown as and when needed. Viola! Take that countdown! Here’s some more time magic…

You don’t count the day they are back, because omgomgomgtheyarebacktodayimawakeat3amandIwenttobedat2.45.

You can also not count maybe two or three days before they are home because omgomgimsoexcitedandihavetocleanthehouseandwashthedogandthecarandmyselfanddefuzzandbuyfivenewoutfitsandemergencydiet.

Not enough? You can also cut off any days you are meeting up with friends or staying at other peoples houses, or hotels, because then you won’t miss your sailor as much when you go to bed if you are tired and tipsy and also (as every navy wife knows) time passes quicker when you’re busy.

At the beginning of a deployment round up how much time you have done to give yourself an ego and moral boost. So if they’ve been gone for ten days, that turns into a fortnight, which you mentally say as “half a month”. And then abracadabra-10 days = half a month! Which sounds a hell of a lot better than telling yourself “they’ve only been gone a week and a bit”.

A month consists, always, of four weeks, not five, no matter what the calendar (or the bank) says. This way you can say “one month down, five/six/seven to go!” sooner and feel smugger faster. (I know “smugger” is not a word, but I am employing word magic here as well as time magic so there). You can then use this feeling of amazingness to combat the ‘I don’t know how you do it’ well meaning people’s looks with an “aha but I have already almost,kind of, I’m getting there, DONE it biatches!”

Aaand the best thing is, this feeling of wowzers look at me surviving and time passing aren’t I brilliant only gets better as more time passes!

I suggest you continue lengthen time in this way so that you feel freakin awesome until you reach the halfway point when you can start to shorten time again because, hey you’ve done half a deployment now chick and you are feelin pretty fly.

So that’s one side of my relationship with time, the other side is the side when Popeye is home on leave. Suddenly the very fabric of time changes! Three weeks, which was a very short and laughable amount of nothing-time during deployment is now a beautifully long vast insurmountable amount of time that will last forever. Three weeks becomes an eternity that you refuse to see the end of.

That is until time tricks you once again. Because no matter how 100% sure you are that three weeks is, in fact, forever and ever, no matter how much stuff you plan to cram into those weeks, you will wake up one day, usually for me around about day 17-18 and go “oh crap we haven’t done anything apart from stay in bed,walk the dog, watch walking dead and eat subway for two and a half weeks! How did this happen???”

Answer: Time has tricked me, once again.

And so it starts again, the feeling of super-duper-time-on-steroids whizzing past us both, heading terminally towards him going back to that bloody ship again to spirit him away for odd weeks here and there until the next deployment.

It makes me feel like Wiley coyote and the “meep meep” bird. It really does.

One of our strengths is, as navy wives and girlfriends, we can weave a mysterious magic with time. But, as Spider-Man taught me, with great power comes great responsibility. And time will come back around and bite you on the bum the second you start to relax your attention to it.

My advice, never take your eyes off it, it’s a tricky, sneaky thing, which is simultaneously my best friend and my greatest enemy.

Muchos love,

Olive Oyl
Xxxx

Well Meaning people

Hey there people in blog world!

Happy 2014 and all that jazz! After a fairly crappy crimbo for me (which I can’t talk about right now -its a top secret matter blah blah blah), I thought I’d get cracking on another post to entertain you navy wives out there in cyber space, and hopefully make you think “jeez at least I’m not as mental as her“.

So off they’ve gone to save the world again. And you’re at home coping, leaving your clothes on the floor, not hoovering quite as much as you should, and singing and dancing along to Cher with a glass of Pinot Grigio on a Friday night because hell, you can.

Home life, although stressful and/or tedious at times is pretty much sorted. You’ve got this single woman living down. However when you step outside that front door and into the real world, there are some well disguised threats to your new found sense of equilibrium.

Well Meaning people, often coworkers, are the worst for this. “How are you doing since Popeye left?” Is a common question, accompanied by the Dreaded Head Tilt. The tilt that simultaneously says “oh isn’t she a little trooper” and “I really pity you” at the same time.

Fighting the urge to punch them in the face or burst into tears, you must give the obligatory response: “I’m ok, it’s been X many months and so far I’m doing alright”. Whilst at the same time giving a small shrug and looking humble and yet bashful.

You must say this or a variation of this. Trust me.

Screaming “I can’t cope, the house is a bomb site, the dog keeps vomiting something orange onto the carpets, in the last two weeks all I’ve had is a sodding one line email from Popeye and I haven’t shaved my legs nor armpits in 3 months” is NOT what the Well Meanings want to hear.

Other phrases I’ve come across that Well Meanings feel compelled to say, include, but are not limited to:

“Oh the time will just fly by”. (Really? And your knowledge on the “psychological interpretation of the passage of time during deployment” comes from which fully controlled and scientifically valid study???)

“I’d love 6 months without [insert civvy spouse name here], I wish they’d leave for that long!” (Why don’t you just divorce them then?)

“It must be great having the bed to yourself/tv to yourself” etc. (ok yes these are perks but gosh darn I DO NOT want you to tell me about them. When you do it makes me want to grind my teeth for some reason).

“My husband went away on business for 3 weeks, it was awful, I know exactly how you feel”. ( at this point my brain actually explodes).

Boy writing this has actually made me a little tense! *breathe*

The thing is they are genuinely trying to be kind. It’s just that when you try and comfort someone about something you have absolutely no experience of, and cannot relate to, you reach into your mind and pull out something that you vaguely hope will work. Then you’ve done your bit without staring vaguely at the person in an extended version of The Dreaded Head Tilt.

The truth is, nothing will ever be adequate, because unless they say “oh by the by my husbands the admiral of the fleet, I put in a word for you and Popeye will be home by tea time” then whatever they do say just wont cut the mustard.

And of course my reactions aren’t always as violent as described above. Those reactions are usually what I think after the third or fourth Well Meaning person has asked them.

I know I sound like an ungrateful cow for dismissing these honest to goodness questions and positive assertions about how I will cope during the deployment. And it’s so bad, because these people are kind and supportive and good people. I guess I’m just not as good as them! I’m just so glad I’ve got this space to write out my ramblings and rants. Because I really don’t want to punch a coworker in the face.