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.)

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?

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”.

    Related image
    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.

     

     

    You really don’t have to be a cool military wife

    You really don’t.

    There’s no rule saying you have to suck it up and smile sweetly when they tell you they are missing your anniversary.

    You can be annoyed, and rightly so,  you can be hurt, you can be miffed and vexed and whatever-the-hell-you-need-to-feel when they “forget” to tell you they are duty weekend until 4pm on a Friday. 

    Sometimes we military wives need a little reality check.


    It is fine to be pissed off when your partner cancels plans. Even if the reason for this cancelled plans is some MOD top priority mission. It’s fine.

    It’s normal to be slightly vexed at having to switch Friday night plans from romantic dinner then bars then casino to dominoes and a bottle of red for one in your pjs at 45 minutes notice.

    It’s understandable to not be cheerful and jolly ho and well wishing, when calling up the travel agent and praying with crossed fingers, that you can rebook the holiday you’ve saved a whole year for.

    It is healthy to feel the rage at these times. It would be bizarre if you didn’t. And if it didn’t you might start doing weird passive aggressive things like deliberately putting gone off milk in his tea before he leaves, or “accidentally”‘deleting all the game of thrones on the sky planner. Or you might take it out on the BBKB  (Big Black Kit Bag) in a barely contained fit of rage.

    Although it might make you feel better in the short term it won’t for long.

    So please please ladies, don’t try to hold it together. When you feel pissed off, be pissed off

    Get vocal, get sweary, hang up on them if you need to. Cry if you need to.

    Just don’t for Petes sake, bottle it all up. 

    Because at the end of the day, whether you lose the plot and let him have it both barrels, or you suppress it with your best stepford wife smile, the shits still going to hit you just the same. 

    At least this way you will deal with it in a way that it healthy for you. Because sadly the shits going to hit that military  relationship fan again and again. And yes as time goes on you will get used to it in a way- but that doesn’t mean the shit doesn’t still stink. 

    Shout it loud and shout it proud ladies- but only if you want to.

    Muchos love,

    Olive x 

    Popeye couldn’t handle it

    The other evening, I was speaking with beloved Popeye about the shocking possibility he might have to spend some time on his own. 

    On his own, in our house.

    Holy crapsticks.

    Now the weirdness of this will not be lost on you dear fellow navy wife or girlfriend or partners or fuck buddy  casual relationship person. 

    We are the ones who are alone in the house all the time. We are the ones who might as well have a bachelors degree in Americas Next Top Model or X Factor or whatever. 

    Popeye doesn’t know where anything is.

    Popeye has only just learnt when bin day is.

    Popeye has no idea where any paperwork is kept or filed. He may genuinely believe it all lives in the pile in the kitchen under the boiler, I don’t know.

    Anyway this conversation got me thinking. What would Popeye do if he was the navy wife and I was the deploying sailor?
    The short term answer (obviously) is that he would play a lot of Playstation, eat a ridiculous amount of dominoes and watch a gross amount of porn watch lots of TV.

    “But what would he do after that?” I wondered. 

    And then it hit me. And him. 

    He couldn’t handle it. It’s not that we aren’t strong enough, it’s that he wouldn’t be able to stand being the one out of control, hanging on my every phone call, waiting for each ping of his email inbox. 

    That makes him sound a bit controlling and fifty shades of grey-ish. Trust me, he’s reaaaalllllly  not. For truths.

    And he would get so fed up at having to make me parcels and he wouldn’t be able to think of interesting ideas. Accept maybe an entire box devoted to Arnie films. (Can you imagine my glee-not.) The idea of him writing me a letter is bizarre in the extreme. 

    He admits he would get v jealous knowing I was visiting all these exotic places whilst he would be stuck flicking through the TV guide with a can of diet coke in his hand. 

    (Actually I do get insanely jealous of where he goes but I just try to remind  myself of all the absolute sh*t holes he also has to go to too.)

    ( I also remind myself that he basically has seen the inside of a handful of pubs a ten minute walk from the dockyard in aforementioned magical exotic locations, and has not  had the spiritual and cultural experience that I am lusting after). 

    The dog would probably starve or run away, or have his own dominoes pizza order. 

    Our car would mostly like be towed or pulled over at some point. With Popeye looking all bemused when the police officer asks him why he hasn’t taxed/MOT’d/insured it. He has never really had to do these things, at least not without substantial nagging, and it would honestly not occur to him. We once paid no council tax for six months because it was the one bill we decided he would be in charge of. I got a letter saying when our court date was. For real. 

    The Royal Navy equips our loved ones with fantastic practical  skills; It picks them up by the earlobes gives them a good shake et voilá! They become a skilled engineer or chef or weapons firer thing. 

    In fact, I can say, hand on my heart, that if Popeye hadn’t joined up I would not have fancied him. He admits he used to be just a bit chavvy rough around the edges let’s say. Not Olives type at all.
    Instead the Navy took the gobby teen and taught him self discipline, motivation to succeed, how to work hard at a goal, and how to support a team.   It taught him self respect and self worth.

    However it did not teach him to sort the colours from whites nor prepared him for encounters with the DVLA. 

    It didn’t teach him to pop round to a neighbours on moving day to ask when the recycling and rubbish goes, or to always have a frozen emergency pint of milk in the freezer. Only “real life”, or civvie life let’s say, can teach you stuff like that.

    Navy life taught him a lot of things, things that I have literally no idea about (and let’s be honest here, no interest in either).

    Civvie life taught me the mundane crap to keep me (hopefully) out of court and with a roof over our heads. 


    He really would find it tricky to keep this little Oyl family running smoothly if I was deployed. And emotionally I don’t know how he would cope. Luckily, for him, he won’t have to find out how to. 

    Muchos love

    X

    P.s please if you haven’t voted for me in the Best Lifestyle Category of the MAD Blog awards yet please do just click right here. Huge massive thank you’s and a big snog. X 

    Friday night idiot or optimist

    Ok so the rational, sensible grown-up part of me, the one who does her car-tax and uses clubcard coupons knows that Popeye can’t come home this weekend.

    But his ship is alongside somewhere in the UK. 

    Hmm… The U.K.  you say… Interesting because that’s where I am too…

    Suddenly, buried deeply underneath the realistic brain comes a beaming shaft of optimism. Or stupidity. 

    Maybe he’s going to come home on weekend leave and surprise me!”

    The split second my traitorous brain thinks this I slam shut the mental door on the escapee thought.

    But it’s too late. 

    It’s too late, I’ve thought it now and it’s in my head. Wiggling and dancing across all my other thoughts for the rest of the day.

      
    Maybe, just maybe, he will be coming home.

    Tick tock, tick tock.

    I wonder if the ship is alongside yet? *checks Google and Twitter and Facebook*

    Tick tock, tick tock.

    I wonder how long it takes to get from X to our house? *checks AA route planner*

    Tick tock, tick tock.

    I wonder what times a train would get in from where he is? *checks the trainline.com for an early/middle and late train*

    I get on with the evening routine. Making dinner and trying my very best not to look at the door over and over whenever the dog makes a noise or a car door slams. 

      
    Trying my very grown-up-sensible-brain best not to do time maths to work out “omg omg if he got that train he’d be back any moment now!”

    But of course I do because my treacherous brain let the thought come flying out before I could stop it. Stupid brain.

     

    This pic has nothing to do with the post but i think its fucking hilarious
     
    Finally I decide to just give him a quick ring, you know, for a chat. Because he’s not coming home (except maybe he is- squeeee!) and it would be nice for a catch up even if he’s not coming home (unless he is and he’s coming to surprise me any second now!!! Double squeeee!) .

    Tossing my hair over my shoulder with a blasé shrug, I dial the number… 

    …And I crumple as it does straight to voicemail. 

    …………

    Ah, I see. He’s still below deck. On board. With no signal. Hence the voicemail. 

    So he’s really really not coming home. Just like he said. Just like I knew.

    Crapsticks I am such an idiot. 

    And all I can think is thank god I’ve never ever told anyone I do this. No-one apart from me and my traitor brain know how crazy I get the second that optimistic thought gets out. Just don’t tell anyone and then the secrets safe Olive. 

    People would think I’m totally mad, wouldn’t they? 

    Bedtime leave revolution 

    You wait weeks, months sometimes for them to come home.

    You swap emails and have long (but never long enough) phone calls musing about what you will do when you are reunited.

    He says things like “I miss you so much, I can’t wait to see you, to hold you, to kiss you.”

    Aww.

    Why is it then that after about five flipping seconds back at home out comes the Xbox or PlayStation from the BBKB and you don’t see beloved Popeye again for hours.

      

    Once more you are going to bed by yourself. Ears ringing with empty promises of “I’ll be up in a minute babe, just let me finish this level/check out this vault/this round”. 

    You know it’s not true and that they will creep up to bed at 4am and fall asleep with their mouth wide open and snore all night until a well aimed elbow stops them.

    But still, optimistically, you peck them on the cheek and climb the stairs to your cold bed. 

    It’s either that they are lying or that they have forgotten how much they missed you.

    Or they literally lose all sense of time and place as soon that bloody loading screen lights up.

    To be honest it takes the piss a bit. 

    I’m declaring we all do the same and start playing Spyro the Dragon or The Sims with slack jaws, one hand down our pants and a packet of share size crisps open on the coffee table. 

    All. Night. Long.

    Who’s with me?!?! 

      

    The rank elephant in the room

    There are tens if not hundreds of blog posts and articles and memes saying categorically, without a doubt, that your partners rank has no relation to the importance of you, his partner.

    They stress that there is no connection  between his rank and your importance. 

      
    We are told time and again how it doesn’t matter if he’s the lowliest AB or the kiss hug man! Written articles reassure you over and over that you two gals (as partners of said AB and XO) can get along and soon become best buds. Swapping hilarious stories and confiding in each other over Facebook chat. 

    Even if one of your hubby’s spends his days ironing the others blues. 

    Even if your hubby is responsible for cleaning out the COs bath. It shouldn’t be awkward at all for you all to sit around and have a good giggle about it over a moderately priced bottle of wine.

    You can all be friends!” Spout such blogs. “Their ranks don’t matter!” They quip. Dripping in positivity and all American wholesomeness. 

    Well how come, in reality, it does seem to matter?

    Why are these dynamics getting written about, again and again? Surely if it was such a non-issue then they’d be writing about other burning military spouse problems like….

     Erm, like…. I dunno, “10 homecoming haircut tips” or “20 ways to get him to notice the new deployment you” or how about “get a leg gap in just 100 thigh crunching  steps”or “101 ways to sob down the phone without snotting into the receiver”. Or “phone card sex: how to get him off before you’re cut off”. 

    (Btw that’s why I don’t ever attempt serious blog posts- they would suck).

    Why  do women, wives, girlfriends and parents having the same old cat fights and arguments and name calling and bitching over and over again- the world over?! 

    Why? When we are told over and over rank doesn’t matter?

    I have a theory. 

    Bear with me.

    1. We all know it’s completely batshit crazy to think for a second that our Popeyes rank somehow elevates or lowers us in the eyes of other military wives. It’s ludicrous.

    And yet we are so. Freaking. PROUD of our sailors. We are proud when they get on the signal and then pass one of those god awful promotion courses. (Those evil promotion courses that turn even the most placid, loving sailor into a complete and utter selfish, tunnel visioned, uncaring twat-yes you know the ones). 

    2. We are so proud of ourselves that we didn’t dump them or kick them out (or we’re proud that we let them back into our lives after going on the course- toma(y)to/tomato) .

    So somewhere in the back of our mind we want a little tiny speck of recognition. Just a bit. Just a little pat on the back to say “jeez well done. You’ve survived FOUR promotion courses and a boarding party course.” Hardcore wifeydom right there.

    3. It makes sense that at some point some peoples wires get crossed. And they start to feel entitled to the respect their sailor gets onboard from us- regular scummy civvies. Doesn’t make it right but it seems foolish to deny that it happens. 

    We shouldn’t give women respect based on their hubby’s rank because- well let’s be honest we all have to survive horrible courses. And we all have to do deployments. And we all have to listen to our sailors bitch about the navy over and over but do nothing about it. We all do it. And we all have our own lives to lead. 

                  
    So what I’m suggesting is that instead of insisting (like other blogs or articles tell you to) that we must all be happy clappy wives and girlfriends holding hands across rank, race and creed- we all just step back for a moment and get along with the other wives and girlfriends that we actually like.

    Shocking I know. 

    The idea we may genuinely not like the wife of our hubbys boss. 

    Or we may really get along with the ships doctors missus. 

    Or we may have a blood-feud-vendetta with the girlfriend of the matelot in charge of the gangway. 

    Or think one of the engineers wives is so dull you want to poke your eyes out every time you speak to her just so you don’t fall asleep. 

    Whatever. We are all grown women who can form our own opinions of these other women. We can judge and think for ourselves based on these women’s actions. Not the actions of their husbands.

    I do not think we all should forget about rank. We should be aware it does mean some women may go a bit psycho with assumed power. 

    It does effect some (not all!!!) relationships. It makes some women go weird. 

    I think less of the women who feel a sense of entitlement or superiority due to their husbands rank. But this is more about their personality than their husbands rank or job. 

    To suggest we should all get along is quite patronising and simplistic. And it simply does not happen! 

    Argh!