The Navy effect: When goodbye doesn’t mean goodbye.

I need to vent, here, in a safe space where I won’t jeopardise my marriage. First let me say I’m not so ungrateful that I don’t love having Popeye home as much as possible. I really really do. 

Ok I’m a navy wife, yes sure, but also I’m a mum. I’m a woman in my own right with a career and friends and stuff to do. 

As much as I love and adore and get a giddy thrill  out of hanging around waiting for Popeye to turn up after however long bobbing around on the big blue it may shock you to know that I don’t like being messed around

Saying goodbye is tough. In fact it’s worse than tough. It’s shit and getting shitter. Having kids has tipped me over the edge in terms of “goodbye tolerance”. Now, when it’s time for him to go, I just want him to go.  

Give us each a kiss, maybe give me a cheeky bum squeeze and go. And more importantly don’t come back!

  

Let me elaborate, due to the “technical issues” the type 45s have been having, “bye” hasn’t actually meant goodbye in our family for almost a month. A friggin month. A month of goodbyes, tears, getting my bum in gear to cope, getting wine in the fridge, giant bars of chocolate in the cupboard, sky+ing “my” programs on TV and getting on with it.

Only for Popeye to turn up! Again! At home! His two feet decidedly still on the land! 

Cue my heart leaping through my chest with happiness, soaring endorphins, goofy grins, cancelled plans with friends and having celebratory takeaways. 

Until tomorrow. And tomorrow’s goodbye. Tomorrows heartache. Looking at our little girls face again and explaining “Daddy’s going night night on his boat, bye bye Daddy.” Waving his car off the driveway and wiping a tear away. Again. 

Again I get my bum in gear. Again  I shift, smoothly and silently into deployed single parent mode. I galvanise myself and my household into coping with Popeye being away. To this being a one-woman show. Complete with fish fingers for dinner, slobbing around watching Peppa Pig and not prioritising washing any of Popeyes stuff. Classy. 

Hang on a sec! what’s that noise? His key turning in the lock? Joy of joys he’s home! It’s brilliant to see him, of course it is. 

But keeping this up is exhausting for me! It can’t be healthy to be up on cloud 9 with a surprise bonus night or weekend of leave to then crash back down with a bump to the horribleness of goodbyes.

(not actually popeyes hand btw)

I know it’s not his fault the ship keeps breaking. I know it’s a fleet wide problem blah blah blah. But what is also a fleet wide problem is the families who are on a non stop roller coaster of not knowing which way is up, when their sailor is going to be home or what the hell is going on! 

Planning a life, or any kind of stability, in this atmosphere of uncertainty feels like trying to eat a picnic in a whirlwind. Which is a weird analogy but it’s the only one I can think of that fits.

 I keep trying to get on with our lives but then “the navy effect” happens and we are once again riding those emotional waves before Popeye has even got onto the real ones. Often with little or notice and whether we want to or not. 

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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

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. 

Leave lists 

They’ve only just got in the door, you’ve stuck the kettle on and already your mind is whirring. 

Like a lioness about to pounce on an innocent grazing (nautical themed) gazelle you judge whether it’s time to strike. 

  

On the outside you’re gazing doe eyed at your sailor as they sip their tea. On the inside you are crouched, coiled with tension, waiting and watching.

They lean back with goofy, satisfied smile. 
“Ahh, that’s better, it’s so good to be home.” Says your Popeye. 

You murmur in reply “It’s so good to have you home” with a smouldering gaze through fluttering eyelashes. 

All the while your lioness half is debating with yourself “Is this the time? Is this the time to strike?!” 

You mull it over for a few seconds, blood coursing through your veins. Heart pounding. Pulse racing. 

 You’ve waited so long for this, you need this. Your mind is spinning with fantasies you’ve been dreaming about during your time apart. 

Popeye goes for his second sip of tea. 

Now” whispers the lioness “just do it now, whilst he’s vulnerable”. 

……. 

You stand up, walk over to him, and get it out.

Placing the innocuous piece of paper down between you both, breathing heavily, trembling with excitement, you begin. 

“Popeye I need you, no, I want you to…. 

….. put the Christmas decorations in the loft, mow the lawn, hang that picture frame, ooh and Sweetpeas flat pack nursery furniture arrives tomorrow so you need to put that together too, the driveway needs pressure washing…” 

You can’t stop. It feels so good. So satisfying. 

You keep talking faster and faster, listing more and more jobs until Popeye just can’t take it anymore and you finish with a climax “Oh and can you sort out the shed, it’s a tip!” 

It feels so good. Finally you get what you need. 

All those weeks of dreaming and now those fantasies  are coming true. 

The “to do” list will be done. 

Oh yeah…

Muchos love

X

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

Safety and the navy wife.

Whether or not Popeye is deployed, I like to think I am a fairly sane and rational woman. I like to think I’ve got it together, the house is towing the line, I’m ticking all the boxes at work and (now) also being a super-awesome-military-spouse-parent-unit thing. My life is organised and above all safe. Living alone without a big hulky sailor around can give you the heeby jeebies late at night. And so I take steps to make our house an impenetrable fortress of solitude and safety.

I will check the front door with Obsessive Compulsive thoroughness, once, twice a night, just before and during criminal minds or the walking dead, and once again on the way up to bed.

I will be so paranoid I’ve left the oven on I will wake up in the middle of the night to check, or (this has happen three times) turned around mid commute to work to double check I’ve locked the front door.

I don’t talk to strangers. I have my phone in my coat pocket whilst walking the dog. I have an attack alarm primed and ready to scream at any would be attackers. I always tell my mum or friend if I’m going to something possibly risky, like the pub gym.

I’ve noticed this homecoming though, that upon Popeyes fabled return to the Oyl homestead, I seem to display a flagrant disregard for the safety of myself, my family and my property that would leave my deployment alter ego shaking her head and swigging gin straight from the green glass teat.

All of a sudden it’s fine to leave the electric hob on. So we melted the dogs lead, it’ll make a funny story to tell.

The smoke alarm has been shut in the bathroom so it doesn’t go off when I make toast.

So you went out all morning and left all the downstairs windows wide open. Who cares , that’s what windows are supposed to do, be open. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be fulfilling their window destiny. Or something.

Slept all night with the front door not only unlocked but also open after a slightly heavy night of post homecoming celebrations? Been there done that my friend, and after all the hallway needed an airing.

Get to the car only to realise it’s been unlocked all night? Not a problem, ha aren’t we such crazy homecoming kooks! Lucky we’ve got car insurance and all our CDs are scratched anyway.

In short, when Popeye is deployed I may take the personal safety thing a tad too far, I admit.

However I think that when he’s home I go too far the other way. I don’t seem to give a hoot if the house burns down, because at least we will all be together.

IMG_1609-1.JPG

What. The actual. Fuck.

Muchos love

Xxxxxx

Psychic spots.

I have psychic spots. Exactly a week before homecoming a pimple the size of mount Vesuvius starts to grow. Typical. They must either be psychic or subscribed to link letters I dunno. All I do know is that every single homecoming ones turned up to royally piss me off.

All I think every time I look in the mirror is:

“Dontsqueezeitdontsqueezeitdontsqueezeit”.

When I brush my teeth

dontsqueezeitdontsqueezeitdontsqueezeit

When I’m trying on my homecoming outfit

Dontsqueezeitdontsqueezeitdontsqueezeit

You get the idea.

Time marches on and I get on with the cleaning binge, the navy wife MOT and the squeaky Facebook updates. All the while thinking (on some level) dontsqueezeitdontsqueezeitdontsqueezeit.

I’m really good and do what all the womanly magazines say, drink oceans of water, let the air get to it, put potions and creams on it, hot flannels, the works. Can’t let a spot mar the visage for homecoming.

So naturally the night before homecoming I do a makeup cover-up practise go. The foundation promises to cover all my flaws and make me all radiant and dewy and glowing.

Nope. Just look like a camel.

And mr spot now looks like the hump of a camel.

Argh!!!!

So…..what do you think I do?

Of course, I squeeze the spot.

But I don’t just squeeze it and leave it, oh no, I go all brave heart on it’s spot ass.

IMG_1507-0.JPG

The carnage that is my face stares aghast at me from the mirror, no amount of 001ivory beige ultra smooth satin foundation with micro whatsits and glide on dooh dahs and superglue-forever-stay is going to cover that.

Why oh why did I squeeze the psychic homecoming spot?

Hope that made you smile, Muchos love xxxx

The H word

Homecoming. That date written in your diary then crossed out and written again a few days later because it got put back at some point over the last six or seven months.

Homecoming. The one day of your year where you experience ALL The emotional states known to mankind within a 24 hours period.

Homecoming, where you don’t know if your going to throw up, cry, shit yourself or have some weird pseudo orgasm.

Yep, it’s a tricky day alright. But I’d argue that for me, at least, homecoming starts about 2 days before I’m standing dockside listening to that bloody brass band.

H Minus 48 hours.

I am buffed, waxed, trimmed, polished to within an inch of my life, upon completion of this almost ritualistic Navy Wife MOT I return home feeling, sexy, glamorous and fresh. A little bit like Beyoncé crossed with Mary Poppins.

Sitting down on the sofa I nervously check my emails, again, and again. (No, none from Popeye in the last five minutes Olive!)Time to put another squeaky, high pitched, excited Facebook status up!

That done, a strange bubbling feeling begins to fizzle in my middle, my foot starts twitching, I jump up, walk to the kitchen and notice some washing up on the side. (At this point it has become a tradition in the Oyl household for me to listen to this song on repeat, very loudly.)

The cleaning binge begins.

Washing up leads to cleaning the sink, leads to cleaning the kitchen, leads to mopping the floor, leads to hoovering downstairs, which goes onto hoovering upstairs, that leads to dusting upstairs (the whole time my heart is thumping with adrenaline and I’m so wired I go to the loo for a wee like a zillion times).

After dusting, with sweat dripping down my freshly exfoliated face, things start to get really weird. These are all true things I have done two days before The Big H.

Cleaned ALL the windows. Inside and out.

De frosted the freezer, then cleaned the kitchen again because I’ve got melted ice water everywhere.

Washed, dried, and styled the dog.

Re cleaned the whole house as it smells of wet dog.

Pulled out the cooker (dangerous) and cleaned underneath and behind it.

Tidied the inside of all the cupboards in the house.

And finally:

Arranged all the DVDs alphabetically and by genre.

Seriously.

By now it is about 3am and my neighbours are about to complain. So I usually go to bed, cursing my now ruined manicure, blocked pores and bruised knees and wondering how long a burn from bleach takes to heal and can I cover it up with Max Factor…

H minus 24 hours. (think the Jack Bower countdown noise on 24, the TV show, click here!).

It’s time to get practical, I fill the car with petrol, check the tyre pressure, and start to tell everyone I see that Popeye is coming home.

Everyone.

My neighbours, the petrol station man, the check out girl, anyone I see on the dog walk, birds in the trees, inanimate objects…

At some point I do the all important food shop, buying Popeye a new toothbrush fills me with a level of excitement that is hard to contain. I buy all his favourite things and a bottle of champagne too.

I’m just too excited! When I get home, I pace, I jiggle, I tidy and re-tidy.

I get out my “homecoming outfit” and lay it out on the bed, I try it on, I freak out that it looks awful. I try on something else, freak out about that. Try on original outfit and get deodorant marks on it. Burst into tears and call my sister who calms me down and tells me to take off the clothes, put on the pyjamas and get some sleep. Sleep? Pah! The idea of sleeping verges on the ridiculous, as I verge on hysterical. I get maybe two hours then I am AWAKE!

And……

ITS HERE ITS HERE HOMECOMING IS HERE!

I get to see my husband again! All those months of tears and head tilts and parcels and lonely evenings in and weddings alone and emails and phone calls has come down to this day.

No pressure then!

I am out of the house at the crack of dawn, yet still always manage to get to the dock dangerously close to when the ship gets back. I have no idea where this time goes, but go it does.

Then the brass band starts playing, I find this particularly annoying, don’t ask me why but I feel it makes what is quite a personal moment feel like a parade.

When I see the ship, I get dizzy. My love for the much under appreciated tug boat must be noted now, because for all of the might of a warship, they still rely on the little tug boat to bring them safely home. I’ve always said to Popeye, if I was a ship I’d be a tug boat, small, chunky and sturdy, built to last and 100% dependable.

The ship comes alongside, and there they are! Gorgeous sailors standing in line, no matter what the weather. Then the search begins. Can you spot your sailor? For some reason if another wife finds Popeye first I get annoyed, so I scan frantically.

As a side note, at my first homecoming, after spending 6 months worrying whether I’d recognise Popeye, whether he would still fancy me, and whether he would get off the ship, look me up and down and go “erm, no thanks” and turn tail, I had decided, in my MOT wisdom, to not wear my glasses to homecoming.

Dear readers, I could not find Popeye on deck. Not only could I not find Popeye, but I started waving at a sailor I had guessed was Popeye, but in fact, was not. All the time Popeye can see me, frantically waving at the wrong sailor.

In summary, if you can wear your glasses. Or do as I did and invest in contacts.

Anyway….

You spot them! Then they disappear as they start to come down the gangway.

There they are.

And that’s it. That’s the moment. They are right there in front of you, and then they’re in your arms and you kiss. And time stands still, the world melts away and you drift away from your own body. Your spirit sings.

You’ve done it, they are there. Really there.

Home.

Muchos love,

Olive
X

Navy wife word porn

There are a few short phrases that will leave any military spouse weak at the knees, salivating, crouched ready to spring and jump her sailor.

We are a straight forward lot, our needs are simple, and our feelings strong.

Sailors! Take heed! Listen up! Just spout these phrases and your wife will become putty in your hand….

(*Please read this using the voice of the M&S advert lady for full effect.*)

“Comms are up, promise I’ll call later today”.

I’ve got that funny feeling in my tummy!

“I’ve taken Friday off”

Oh yeah! Hubba hubba.

“Weekend duty was cancelled”

Cue Marvin Gaye.

“I’m definitely home for Christmas/your birthday/our anniversary”

Eeeeeek!!! Having to hold myself back here!

“Deployment date is postponed”.

Move over Christian Grey. Popeye is 50 shades of battleship grey sexier than you right now.

“I’ll be coming home early, I’ve got advanced leave”.

It’s like I can hear my clothes saying “the floor! The floor! We should be on the flooooooor!!!”

And then the best, sexiest, most leg shaking, bits tingling words of all…

“Homecoming date has been brought forward”

Holy shit Popeye!

What can I say…you had me at homecoming.

Xxxx

  

“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